Friday, August 28, 2015

Ocker the Raven





"Now look!" cried Demonica. "You knocked my flowers into the syrup, fowl!"
"So? Stop waving your swyving arms, then. Besides, I want you to do something for me..."
"What, then?"
"I want you to make hit so that I can travel anywhere I want by spell, instead of just to here and back," he said as he wiped off his beak and gave himself a thorough shake.
"For what? What's your news?"
"I already gave hit to you when you said you gave me the powers of a swyving hedge wizard..."
"So you suddenly think I should pay you twice, aye?"
"Listen, queinte!" he squawked, thrusting himself up to bristle like a pine cone. "I've learnt from a right true source that magic powers can't be given. You're either born with them, or you're not. And I was, so you knew hit when you tricked me."
"I'll pay you well for the name of who told you."
Ocker is the only raven known who is able to use magic. In Good Sister, Bad Sister, he lives with his wife Urr-Urr at their nest atop the great bluff overlooking the keep of the evil wizard Razzorbauch. Based on the behavioral studies of ravens by ethologist Bernd Heinrich and the folklore of Native Americans and Celts, Ocker is a profane, amoral huckster, who is forever wheedling things he wants from powerful people in exchange for tidbits of choice information. He does routine business with Demonica the sorceress as well as Razzorbauch, but he also has occasional dealings with Meri Greenwood the Fairy and the Jutland Elves. When Ocker sells the whereabouts of Greenwood's lover to Razzorbauch as well as to Greenwood, the lover and her sisters are doomed to live in Mount Bed forever. Even so, it is Ocker who ends up saving the day.
We seldom use profanities in our writing, but Ocker is a most profane character, so we have him swearing exclusively with obsolete English words. The above passage is as foul and graphic as any swearing you'll ever hear on the street.




Carol Marrs Phipps & Tom Phipps  

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The White Witch Rides a Diatryma

Scan10005
Part One
Diatryma - Diatryma gigantia R., ten foot tall, flightless birds, members of the Thunderbird (Adar Taranus) Dynasty which originally escaped extinction by the Mwyaf Fawr Llosg ordiatryma Greatest Burning, when the rest of the Dynasty was exterminated, only to mysteriously become extinct a few million years later. They were accidentally revived from fine Eocene shales by the wizard Razzorbauch when he penetrated the Earth's crust while forming the magma chamber for the Fudge Volcano. They are omnivorous, opportunistic feeders that are capable of downing and dismembering small ungulates. They are covered with deep iridescent green plumage. Their tail feathers and imagesprimary flight feathers have brilliant red and yellow patches on each feather's trailing blade that remain completely hidden unless the bird is displaying. Their bony tails are not entirely fused into a pygostyle as in modern birds, but rather consist of a pygostylic terminus at the end of ten un-fused vertebrae, giving the birds a fan of feathers that can be waved about on the end of a flexible tail. There is nearly no sexual dimorphism, though males tend to be a few percent heavier and have deeper voices than the females. They are exceptionally intelligent, having a brain cavity of about 650cc, or roughly half the volume of modern humans. However, being far less fatty than a mammalian brain, this is a very respectable computer. Possibly due to natural selection pressures favoring the keeping track of stashes of food morsels, diatrymas seem to have little or no barrier between the conscious and subconscious minds and have instantaneous recall of all the details that they once observed during any previous experience.Diatryma_by_ministerart
Stone_Heart_Cover_for_Kindle
The_Burgeoning_Cover_for_KindleMary the White Witch's mounts and closest friends are Ceidwad the female diatryma, who is the wife of Lladdwr and the mother of Arwr, their cockerel. Razzmorten describes these three as the most intelligent beings he has ever been in the presence of, and they become key characters in the tale of The Heart of the Staff, (books three through six, Stone HeartThe BurgeoningReaper Witch and Doom). Ceidwad and Lladder were brought back to life by accident by the evil Wizard Razzorbauch and were raised by the Fairy sisters in Mount Bed before their association with Mary. Perhaps their most stunning talent is being able to listen to a language for a short while and then suddenly start speaking it fluently.
Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000031_00028]The Reaper Witch 01 copyWhat sorts of birds tower in your imagination? Do they play a role in your dreams?







Carol Marrs Phipps & Tom Phipps

Monday, August 24, 2015

Rose and Fuzz Reach Dragonsport



images
"Right there," said Rose, looking out from under the flat of her hand. "That's where we have to go. As you can see, the snow white cliffs are turning out to be a whole forest of limestone pillars which we could never begin to sail between, if we haven't improved since Oyster Cove."
"Remember when I took Edward to explore all the abandoned buildings of Dragonsport?" said Fuzz. "I had no idea about this side."
"You've not seen anything," she said. "Wait until we start in."
"Those leaning trees on top of the pillars are spectacular," said Olloo.
wind-blown-trees-north-of-cape-farewell
"You can see those?" said Rose.
"Well, I can't decide if they're oaks..."
269495336_32314966dc"My word!" said Fuzz. "Leaning oaks is indeed what they are. Derwen pwysaf is the old name. I only know that from discussions, 'way back when I was here. But I can't see whether the vegetation on top is trees or not."
Before long, they had furled their sails and dropped anchor. They decided to row ashore, leaving their unicorns and their strike falcons by themselves on board, except for Olloo's bird, Baase. Rose had indeed been correct about where to go, for they found themselves rowing ashore along a broad corridor between the gigantic columns of limestone, making for the break in the sheer cliffs behind, which formed a narrow canal where teams of dragons once hauled ships inland to the lagoon and the quays of Dragonsport.
cliffs-of-etretat-normandie-coast-france-18
At the quays, Baase hopped out with a splash and dashed after a lizard. They stepped out as he gobbled it down and hauled their boat ashore in a pulsing sea of cicada calls in the noonday sun and made their way past the abandoned barns and warehouses and up the blinding white dirt lane beyond, which wended up a great flat topped hill covered with leaning oaks.
wind-shaped-oak-trees
"They seldom brought in ships when we were here, so no signs of anyone didn't bother me," said Rose, pausing to look back the way they had come. "But the only tracks up this entire lane are ours. Well. If they're not here, it's off to the Black Desert, then."
"I don't know," said Fuzz. "The Black Desert is a huge wasteland."
"Yea, but we're going to find them."
"You know that? If it were any one but you a-saying such a thing, I'd not be paying attention."Shuanghe-Dongqun
Before long, they came to the broad hole in the ground with its great stairway, which was the entrance to the Dragon Caves. By the time they had reached the enormous fountain and statuary of dragons being driven by Razzorbauch at the bottom of the stairs, the caves seemed abandoned to everyone. The Elves begged for an explanation about the towering sculpture from Rose, and held their breaths in rapt attention as her tale echoed from the empty reaches of the vast gallery. There was not a soul.
mezstairs
Soon they found themselves in Spark and Lipperella's cavern, respectfully turning over this and that of their remaining flotsam. Rose stepped into Edward and Laora's room. "Fuzz," she said, pulling out a wooden stick from under Edward's mattress. "Look 'ee here."Sextantio-Le-Grotte-Della-Civita_11
"My word!" he said, looking it over. "That's the very sword I was not finished carving for his sixth birthday. I reckon he missed it, under the bed like that. My. Now I never once had the slightest amorous urge for Myrtlebell, as I've said many times, but Edward actually grew up as a son to me. Did I ever tell you that he was even born in my old den?"
Wooden_Master_Sword_WIP_by_DSenderM
"Why no."
"Oh my. I'm no midwife. I just ran back and forth, fetching clean rags and pans of water. But it had me worried. I mean, I hadn't so much as pulled a calf nor helped an old ewe in my life, so I dashed out and found Rotundra."
Rose laughed out. "You didn't need her."
"At least I quit dropping and spilling things when she came. And I even managed to pour Myrtlebell's shot of whisky for Edward's crowning without spilling a drop. But mercy, did I ever regret it."
"Why?"
"Have you any idea how many cozy little romantic suppers I ended up obliged to share with Rotundra after that?"
"Very many?"
"Oh my land yes. An entire eternity of them. At least two, as I remember."
"Aw!" laughed Rose. "Rotundra was sweet, Fuzz. But I was glad her pursuit of you ended when she became Mary the White. I mean, she's beautiful and things might have turned out different."
"Go on! Not after we'd met. I've actually been in love with you since we were first acquainted."
"Fiddlesticks! I was a child."
"Yea. Sixteen and heart stopping gorgeous. And I was a bear with no hair. I could only yearn. Just remember that there's a lot behind it when I tell you that you are a dream come true."
"I love you Fuzz," she said giving him a dear hug. "Say. You just said something. You said that he must have missed it, you know, the sword. I don't see how he could have. It was down here, sticking half way out from under his mattress like this, see? Hey look! This paper was right here with it."
imagesx"Why that's a map," he said.
"Titled, 'New Dragon Caves!'" she gasped. "And look. A letter to us both. He says he copied this from a map in dragon's council room. Thank the Fates the witches never found this."
"If Spark or any of the other adults had known Edward had this, they'd have snapped it up for just that reason."
"Edward undoubtedly thought that this was his only way of leaving it behind."
"He just isn't old enough to grasp how dangerous something like this could be," he said. "Hey! You were right. I bet we do find them."
The Reaper Witch 01 copy




















Carol Marrs Phipps & Tom Phipps

Friday, August 21, 2015

People Have the Right to Know What They're Breathing



2015_Apache_spraying_high_res-1024x682


Posted below is a recent letter I wrote to my congressmen:

Dear Senator Largesse:
For years, big chemical outfits such as Monsanto have paid for a substantial amount of the research at the University of Illinois and other land grant colleges. As a result, the farmers in this area have almost entirely abandoned conventional tillage for no-till farming. This means that farmers are using sprays instead of controlling weeds and pests by mechanical means such as disking and cultivating.
The problem with this is that pests and weeds have a high rate of reproduction and consequently a high probability of adaptive mutation. That is, they quickly develop 16079-a-man-spraying-a-pesticide-on-some-plants-in-his-garden-pvresistance to the sprays, requiring the farmers to use ever greater quantities of spray to keep the weeds and pests under control. Eventually sprays will cease to be effective against the new resistant strains of weeds and pests, but by that time, spray use will have increased to levels disastrous to the environment and human health.
Years ago, when I was getting my degrees in botany and zoology, I was quite taken by how very similar human cell machinery was to that of all other organisms. Our cells' structure and chemistry are not very different from those of agricultural pests and weeds.
TRAUDT AERIAL SERVICE
Already, we have resistant strains appearing, such as a resistant pigweed in beans, and spray use is increasing astronomically. So to hide this from the public, someone has allowed the chemical companies to sell sprays without the distinctive safety odor which has until now warned people that they were breathing something toxic. Now, the public no longer has a choice about whether they have to breath toxic fumes. The sprays are odorless and being sprayed with impunity.
After a career of teaching, my wife and I came back home to the farm I grew up on, PesticideSprayerlooking forward to enjoying being out of doors. And up until now, if we got a whiff of spray, we simply avoided it. This year, the bean fields have been inundated with odorless spray. Ditches everywhere have been turned brown with spray instead of being mowed. And before we know it, we find ourselves breathing the sprays long enough to be caught up in the throes of asthma attacks and convulsive coughing seizures and migraine after migraine. After waiting all year for warm weather, we now can not ride our tandem bicycle without getting migraines, strangling and chest pains. We have been forced to give up riding our bike, and now we scarcely dare to go outdoors.
insecticide-spraying
This has to stop! It is bad enough to base a new agriculture on a toxic and unsustainable chemistry in the first place, but it is utter insanity to allow greedy chemical companies to take away people's right to avoid exposure to their poisons. Please, PLEASE do something to make it illegal to sell or to apply odorless pesticides, herbicides and fungicides. Please legislate it to be mandatory for all sprays to have a vile and easily recognized safety scent in order to allow their use.

Thank you for your time,
Tom Phipps
Please feel free to copy and use this letter to send to your Congressmen.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

No Feeble Magic for Hubba Hubba


امازون دبل يلو
corvo

Hubba Hubba slowly ran his beak along the length of the back of a chair in the empty parlour and turned square about to run it all the way back. "All right, all right," he said, pausing to give his feathers a shake before strutting on. "I said I would, I said I would. I did, I did. But now that it comes to it, I don't know what I think about being a crow again. And what if something goes wrong? What if Razzmorten is so weak that he can't handle the spell and turns me into a roach or a maggot? What if his spell gives out just as I fly in to spy on Spitemorta and Demonica? They'll kill me, is what. Pull out my feathers and wring my neck."
queen-with-sword
Without warning a long blade sliced the air near his head. "Help!" he quacked as he tumbled into a gasping heap of feathers on the floor. "Hey Queen! What is this, a test of my mortality or what? As you can see, I can handle apoplexy but my head would come right off with that thing."
"Hubba Hubba!" she cried, stopping amidst her next swing. "I didn't see you!"
Buddy_3985_WarningHubba Hubba quacked again and backed under the chair.
"I'm so sorry! I just had Hebraun's claymore and...!"
"Minuet, what is all of this?" said Razzmorten, appearing as much without warning as she had.
"Why must these big missions always threaten to take off my head?" said Hubba Hubba, bristling and panting from the shadows.
"I'll learn this now, Father," said Minuet. "When Niarg goes to battle, they'll still have the crown to lead them forth."
"No!" said Razzmorten with a look of shock "Niarg needs you here. It can't afford to lose both Hebraun and you. If Spitemorta..."
Edward Kelley Biography"Ha!" barked Minuet bitterly, echoing in the arches of the ceiling. "Spitemorta! Yes! Let her come! When she does, I will cut out her black heart and feed it to the hogs. She took the light of my life and she'll meet her doom if she dares come at me."
"I will not cooperate with sweet and sour parrot. Traumatized, yes. Compliant? No. I refuse, I refuse. Queen, you and your awful sister..."
"What?" said Minuet as she stopped short to peer under the chair.
"I'll have you know that I'm not being dilatory," said Hubba Hubba with his tail fanned wide as he marched out from under the chair, running his beak along the floor as he came. "I'm right ready to set out on this mission without hesitation. I will not be threatened further..."
"Minuet please," said Razzmorten. "Hebraun would never have you do such a thing. For the love of the Fates, daughter, it's the very thing that got him killed."
"Yes, I know," she said, turning to face him, "and she did it. And that's exactly why I have to do this. You love me and don't want to lose me, so you want to stop me. Please know that I would never cause you grief. I own that I'm being vengeful, but you can rest assured that I'm not being rash. I'm set! You could ease my burden enormously by supporting my decision. If you can't, I'll not be resentful, but I'll not stray from my path."
"I'm going, I'm going!" said Hubba Hubba, pushing his beak around in circles on the floor. "You don't have to threaten me..."
"Hubba Hubba," said Minuet, "What makes you think I'm threatening you?"
"Right. Ugleeuh wasn't threatening me either. She was merely distraught. And you're just what, vengeful did you say?"
"Hubba Hubba! Here I've gone and had a grand packet of food made up for you..."
"What? With all my favorite treats?"
"Well yes..."
"See? Runs in the family. Put away your blade. I'm ready! I'm ready!"
300px-Amazona_-two_species_-captive_in_Mexico-8a"And what are you doing down there?" said Pebbles as she and the chicks alighted on the back of the chair.
"Here's Herio," said Minuet as she scooped up Hubba Hubba and gave him a scratch before letting him step off onto the chair. "Looks like he's ready."
2782516016_d92bbc36e2_o"Well, so am I," said Hubba Hubba with a confused look as Pebbles rattled her beak through his cheek feathers. 
"Ready enough for me to change you into a crow?" said Razzmorten.
The_Burgeoning_Cover_for_Kindle










Carol Marrs Phipps 
& Tom Phipps

Monday, August 17, 2015

Spark Loses His Feathers


archpaint

A shadow passed over them. Ugleeuh looked up with a start to see a deep green dragon with a turquoise crest, the size of a cow, gliding majestically for a row of openings into lava tubes running up the nearby dome. "It's a bird with teeth!" she cried, springing to her feet to shade her eyes. "And I swear I saw claws in its wings..."
"You did, dear," said Demonica. "And I trust you realize that this is one of the very dragons that we came for..."
"I knew what it was."
Demonica was not listening. "Here comes another," she said, touching Razzorbauch's arm.
"Good," he said, "I knew that this was the place, but until the first one swooped in, I hadn't quite spotted their caves. I was a bit further down, the time before. I spent all day,
and I allowed that there was above two hundred dragon a-coming and going. That ought
to suit my needs..."
"Yes," said Demonica. "They should suit us quite nicely."
"What if it saw us?" said Ugleeuh.
"I doubt if it did," said Demonica. "Had it seen us, it would be trying to set us alight, this minute. The pines hid us. That's why I changed into this terrible green kirtle before we left Head."
Sinornithosaurus_mag
"I've not seen a one, yet," said Demonica to Razzorbauch as she gave an impatient head to toe glance at Ugleeuh.
"You will," he said.
At that very moment, an echoing bellow from the caves got their attention in time for them to see a dozen dragons charging out abreast into the open air, blinded by the stinging fiery nightshade fumes, snorting and gasping, flapping their wings and stumbling
about.
"Keep them blind!" shouted Razzorbauch as he ran toward the dragons with his staff leveled. "Don't let them spit flames! Freeze any that try to fly!"
Demonica set to work at once, hurling crackling lavender bolts from her staff into the faces of beast after beast as they thundered from the caves, while Razzorbauch sent out a pounding hail of flashes from his, causing the plumage to fall free from the dragons' wings and bodies in cascading bundles and wads, as the terrified animals flapped
themselves to nakedness, and the air filled with the stench of singeing feathers. More and
more came in a frantic rush for fresh air only to be undressed in their bewildered frenzy,
until at last the wash in front of the caves was filled with a milling herd of better than two
hundred naked dragons, fenced in by a corralling spell cast by Demonica.
Razzorbauch climbed a large red rock to stand above their heads. "Peoc'h!" he roared, addressing them in Headlandish. "Silence!"
At once, the only sounds to be heard were the rattling of cottonwood leaves and the nearby calls of laughing quail. As he stood there counting them, a young male who happened to be outside of Demonica's spell, was carefully inching away. Suddenly he
broke into a run for the caves. Razzorbauch jerked his staff aloft at the sight of him,
shooting him with a brilliant beam of ruby light from the Heart in its end, blowing him
apart with a thundering concussion which left a hole in the ground big enough to bury
several dragons, as a peppering of dirt and flecks of flesh rained down through the leaves
of the cottonwoods.
"N'eus ket tu da," said Razzorbauch, speaking out over the hushed herd. "There's no way to. There's no way anyone else could possibly break away and run. But you see what would happen if he could. From this moment on, for as long as you live, you are each my chattel. Now. I'm going to walk to the sea and you're going to follow me. It will be a few days to get there and a few more to wait for ships which will take you to my plantation." He paused to look over their numbers for a moment before clambering down from his rock. "Poent eo mont kuit!" he cried with a wave of his staff. "It's time to leave!" And with that, he began walking.
images (4)
The dragon multitude formed a lumbering queue as they followed, utterly beaten, as Demonica set out in their wake with her staff. Ugleeuh picked up one of the great green feathers littering the ground, every bit as long as she was tall and was astonished at how very light it was. "My!" she said. "These are light as a feather."
"One does expect that with feathers, dear," said Demonica.
Ugleeuh thought it would make quite a souvenir, but tossed it aside at the thought of the long walk ahead. "So," she said, catching up. "'Mammvro.' Wouldn't that be Headlandish for 'Motherland?'"
"It is. It's the dragon word for it, really. I call it that because of the dragons. The rest of the continent calls these the Red Lands or the Red Desert..."
"Dragon word? They can talk?"
(Click on Book Title Or Image to Download Free
From Amazon)

Carol Marrs Phipps & Tom Phipps