Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Abaddon Goes Into the Mountain




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Lance shifted on his saddle in the thick whirling snow and gathered his collar over his muffler as he peered from under his hat at the top of the mountain. "Well Abaddon," he called out cheerfully over the wind, "we'll be over the top directly and we'll be getting out of this weather!"
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"My momma's goin' 'o kill you for stealing me away from her," said Abaddon with a baleful snarl. "And when I tell her all about it, she'll hurt you a whole lot for a long, long time before she stops your heart."
"Oh, she'll have to catch us first," said Lance buoyantly, as a shudder ran through him.
"She'll catch you, all right! Oh, yes she will! And it'll be a lot of fun!"
"After five long days in the cold, it's a mercy we won't have to sleep out in this," thought Lance with another shudder as the unicorns stepped their way up, crunching loose shards of stone through the new layer of snow. Having grown up here, he was familiar with the sudden fierce winter storms up in the Pitmaster's Kettles. He glanced aside at Abaddon. In spite of how good he'd always been with children, the boy unnerved him. "I'll do it for James," he thought, wishing he did not have to. Abaddon looked up at him with a red-eyed glower, as if he knew exactly what he had just been thinking, giving him a sudden bristle of goose flesh. He quickly turned away. "Surely he doesn't read thoughts. I've never heard that Spitemorta does." He looked back again to suddenly feel guilty for thinking all of this at the sight of Abaddon looking right at him with the innocent smile of a boy on an adventure. He smiled back and began searching for the path over the top. "Here we go!" he called out. "Right yonder! Just keep Sheba close to Stepper and we'll soon be out of the weather in the heart of this ol' mountain!"
"What do you mean? You don't mean we're going clean inside it, do you?"
"Sure do," said Lance with a nod. "This is a vulcan mountain. Its top was once a cauldron of melted red-hot rock. If it weren't for the snow, you'd see frozen rivers of rock running down it's sides from long ago. That's what all the black rock between the trees was, 'way back down below, before we ever started up here. The top of each one of these mountains for miles and miles is a deep pit. that's why they're called the Pitmaster's Kettles. And here we are." He slapped his hand onto his hat in the furious wind at the very top of the slope as his unicorn hesitated between a pair of boulders on the rim, stepping restlessly from side to side before finding his first steps of the steep decent beyond. "See out yonder? the whole top of this mountain is naught but a giant deep hole. And here we go, on the path right down into the mountain, but you watch out and keep Sheba close behind. I don't want you falling off the side. It's a long way down."Extinct-volcano-crater-Mo-013
"I better not fall. My momma would kill you even worse if I did."
"Yea, and your dad wouldn't be too happy either."
Abaddon gave a contemptuous snort, but quickly donned a look of excited expectancy in spite of himself. Soon they were below the wind, carefully finding their way down the narrow path, knocking loose rocks to go skittering and bounding off into the depths. He anxiously peered down into the crater, but strain as he might, he could not see the bottom. "Hey," he demanded. "It's gettin' darker and darker. How are we going to see? In fact, what's going to keep us from falling off?"
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"Stepper and Sheba. The unicorns see a lot better in the dark than we do and they're completely sure-footed if you don't rush them. They'll find their way. Besides, it'll get lighter before long."
"You're crazy. It's been getting darker and darker."
"Well, when you get down far enough, there's quite a lot of glow lichen growing, though we're not far enough to tell it yet. Have you noticed it getting warmer?"
"The wind's died down is all. It's not any warmer."
"Well, what do you suppose happened to all the snow, Abby?"
"You're not allowed to say things like that! You're supposed to call me 'Your Highness!'"
"Well, maybe when you earn it..."
Abaddon drew a breath for a furious shout, but fell silent with a gasp at the sudden sight of a faint glow, far below in the blackness.





Carol Marrs Phipps & Tom Phipps

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Spitemorta's Troll Baby has the Strongest Magical Aura She's Ever Seen

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After her address, Spitemorta tied up her skinweler in its pouch and dropped it into her bag. She missed the awed multitudes beyond the balcony of her throne room at Castle Goll. "A little trollish supplication might be just the thing," she said as she picked up the Staff. She stepped into the hall, trotted downstairs and out into the glory of dandelions, wren chatter and bright sunshine. Bethan was on her knees, picking strawberries and didn't see her set the Staff in the air, mount it and lean forward to shoot away into the deep blue sky.
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She didn't know exactly where Oilean Gairdin was beyond its being somewhere in the Jut of Niarg. But after some time, hurtling along the length of the Jut, she spied the remains of stone walls standing in a tumble of pink quartz rubble, surrounded by abandoned orchards and formal gardens on an island in the middle of Jutland Lake. "This has to be it," she said as she settled her feet into the knee-deep grass and sat on her hovering stick, looking about. Grackles scolded, mobbing something in the crown of an apple tree. She dismounted and waded through the grass toward the ruins, pausing at an arbor to eat grapes. She saw no sure signs of trolls at all, but there were getting to be paths tramped flat in the grass as she neared the rubble. A striped blue lizard as big around as a pitchfork handle, vanished into the cracks of a stone fence. She stood, looking all about from under her hand. Over near a wall she saw bones. "Ha!" She hurried up her wallow through the grass to find a collapsed bedroom, overflowing the window sills with bones. Outside the broken walls, she now saw a good score of stone circles for campfires, most of them with live coals, scattered randomly about a courtyard littered with gnawed pieces of animal carcass and barefoot prints in the ankle deep dust. Presently she was hearing deep rumbling snores coming from every hole and recess that might protect from rain.
"Oh yes," she said, stopping short. "I very nearly forgot. I'll have to change to Fnadiyaphn's throat. At least Fnadi-phnig-nyd and Dyr-jinyr-yy will know who I am as a human. It's still hard to swallow from the last time." She held the Heart to her throat. It began glowing at once. "Gaah-hoof!" she bellowed, jerking the Heart away. "Aah-hoof-aah-hoof!"
She could hear trolls mumbling and stirring as she stood there with pains shooting through her head, working her jaw. She began quietly peering into holes, wincing each time she bent over for a look. By the time she was wondering if she could bear any more bending over, she found Dyr-jinyr-yy sound asleep on his back not far away from a huge breasted sow, asleep against a wall under her snarled bush of fiery red hair, snoring away like a giant bullfrog with a grimy toddler in her arms. "Maybe I'm getting lucky," she thought as she tiptoed close to peer at the baby. "He actually looks like James, except he's a troll. Well we'll see." She went back to stand over Dyr-jinyr-yy. "Jy-oyf-ny-oyd-fif, Dyr- jinyr-yy," she rumbled as she gave him a sharp poke with the Staff. "Ni!"
images (18)"Zawk-skok..." he smacked, suddenly sitting up with wide-eyed urgency.
"Jyrp-dyoy-dyn-yoy-oyr," said Spitemorta with a phosphorescent flicker in her eyes. "You'll live."
With a squeal, he pitched forward and flattened himself at her feet. "Fnadiyaphn!" he whimpered into the foul dirt. "Goddess come-give Veyfnaryr big-head-nod looky-look?"
"And you're going to show me," she said with a cherubic nod.
Dyr-jinyr-yy was on his feet at once, dashing over to Fnayooph to give her hair a good yank.
Fnayooph gave an explosive swing of her fist, barely missing Dyr-jinyr-yy, who sat backwards with a bounce in the dirt. She gasped in shock at the sudden sight of 503-700w163251Spitemorta and grabbed up a club, giving it a furious fling right by her ear.
Spitemorta gave a crackling jab with the Staff, setting aglow a patch of earth in front of Fnayooph which immediately exploded, blinding everyone with dirt and making Veyfnaryr howl.
"Fnayooph!" cried Dyr-jinyr-yy. "She-be Goddess Fnadiyaphn! Fnadiyaphn play human queen." 
Veyfnaryr wiggled out of her arms and stood up with his fists in his eyes, wailing at the topneanderthal-baby of his lungs. Fnayooph grabbed him into her lap and silenced him with a teat as she ground at her eyes with the heel of her other hand.
"Good job that you took care of my baby before you even tried to see," said Spitemorta, "otherwise, you would be dead right now. Does he bite?"
Fnayooph looked up with one confused eye, shook her head and held out Veyfnaryr for Spitemorta to take.
Spitemorta got a whiff of him and held up a pious hand. "I don't need to take him," she said. "I can see that he is getting the best of care." She pursed her lips as a look of awe flickered across her face. "My word!" she thought. "He simply glows with magical power."
She turned to Dyr-jinyr-yy. "I shall not keep you awake any longer," she said. "You all are doing quite well indeed. I'll simply be back from time to time to see how he's doing." And with that, she took to the air on her staff and vanished over the trees.
Well beyond Jutland lake, she landed and used the Heart to return her human throat and end her pounding headache. "My word!" she said as she climbed into the sky once more. "Nobody I've ever been around has that strong an aura..."
"See?" came a voice in her ear. "What did I try to tell you?"
"Shut up!" she screamed as she shook the Staff. "Shut up! Shut up Demonica!"
"Well I'm glad to see that you didn't completely lose control of the Staff this time, dear," came the voice again.
"Shut up!" she screamed. "Leave me alone!"
"Now just what kind of respect for the dead is that, Rouanez Bras?"
"Why can't you leave me alone?"
"Believe me," said the voice, "I most certainly would if it weren't for your endless need of guidance. But since you clearly resent even the slightest inclination which I might have to help..."
"All right!" cried Spitemorta. "If I let you help me, will you go away?"
imagesdemonica"Mission accomplished, dear."
"Very well, what do I need help with then, Grandmother?"
"Didn't I tell you that your troll baby was going to be more powerful than the great Razzmorten himself?"
"I don't remember."
"Of course not," said the voice. "I couldn't get you to hold off your demands to have him killed long enough to notice what I was saying, as I recall."
"And I can see that you're just as tedious to listen to as ever."
"Well let's try again, dear. Did you notice what I said this time?"
"What?"
"Veyfnaryr. Razzmorten..."
"What? Being stronger? Get out of here, Demonica! I know very well what all that means."
"Do you then? What does all this mean? This should be good."
"Why go through telling you?" said Spitemorta. "You already have all the answers. But if you must, it means that even if the Elves do manage to raise some dangerously powerful wizard, your ugly little troll monster just might destroy him. Right?"
"Bravo!" cheered the voice with the sound of clapping. "But the 'ugly little troll monster' as you put it, is yours, dear."
"My monster? It was your turning me into Fnadiyaphn, Grandmother."
There did not seem to be an answer.
"Grandmother?" said Spitemorta, frantically looking all about. "Demonica? Damn you! Where'd you go? Hey Demonica!"

The Reaper Witch 1280x2000








Carol Marrs Phipps and Tom Phipps



Friday, May 26, 2017

Spitemorta takes over her Mother's House


Spitemorta lay in Demonica's bed, listening to the cries of gulls out her window as the first rays of sunlight lit the wall behind her. She threw back her covers, sat on the side of the bed and nearly fell when she tried to stand up. She hobbled to the tea table and ate some of the cheese and corned beef she had found in one of the larders while hunting skinwelerio├╣. She had forgotten all about eating for some time and discovered that she was quite hungry. At last she decided to get dressed. The broadening daylight made her want to hurry.
"Well, it's back west to Niarg before rejoining Coel and Cunneda," she said as she stepped into her black kirtle, "but I'll never be able to straddle the Staff for the entire way across the Orin Ocean. I'll just have to pick a place where I can vomit when I get there."
She laced up her bodice, grabbed up the Staff and turned her dress deep vermilion. She put the strap of her bag across her shoulder and sat on the bed with her skinweler. "Now just where is it?" she said as the swirling colors in the skinweler gave way to images. "Show me the manor house at Peach Knob. So that's where Mother grew up with Auntie Min and Grandfather Razzmorten. Why would it be so dark? Very well, let's find some place out of the way, around back." 
Suddenly she was on her hands and knees in a pandemonium of terrified chickens, squawking and flapping dust and old feathers all about her in the dim light of dawn as she retched and heaved her breakfast onto the floor between her hands. "Aangh!" she cried, catching her breath and sitting back on her heels as the chickens crowded round to snap up tidbits of her cheese and corned beef.
She grabbed up the Staff and sprang to her feet to pound with her fist along the chicken house
wall until she found the door and threw it open. "My dress!" she wailed, waltzing into the pigweed with her arms held wide. Just then it occurred to her that she was holding the Staff and she quickly used it to make herself as clean as she was when she was first dressed. Suddenly she stopped short with a scald of alarm at the sight of her second sunrise in one day. "No!" She shook her head. "No way it's Demonica. It can't be anything but the traveling spell.      
"There's the house," she said, looking uphill beyond the big orchard. "And that was my very last traveling spell ever, ever, ever, I swear." She started walking up the grassy lane between the rows of peach trees. An oriole gave a bawdy whistle. Up the lane, a kingbird chased away a pair of grackles. She could hear a tinkling of bells as sheep came running.
"Hoy!" she thought she heard someone holler. She looked back beyond the sheep to see a stooped old man wave. She turned away and made for the house. The summer kitchen reared up before her as she came out of the trees. She got a whiff of steak and eggs as she heard someone bang a skillet. She stopped and looked up at the manor house behind the kitchen. "Good for gentry," she said. "At lest it's temporary."
A heavy set woman appeared in the doorway of the summer kitchen, wiping her hands on her apron. "Good morning to you, mistress," she called out with a smile. "You look bewildered, a-coming up on us out o' the orchard, that a-way. I've just fixed breakfast and I already set out an extra..."  
"Oh I know exactly where I am."
"Well now I'm Bethan, but should I know who you be?"
"It makes no difference who you are. But it's always best to know your new queen, particularly when you work on her manor."
"Peredur," said Bethan as the old man appeared behind Spitemorta. "did you hear what she just said to me?"
"No, but I can't begin to imagine what she was doing in the chicken house."
Bethan folded her arms and looked Spitemorta in the eye. "Well since I can't begin to believe what you just told me, dear, why don't you be so kind as to tell him what it was?"
"It's quite simple. I'm queen and you're in my house."
"Minuet is queen, and I'm queen mother. I raised the queen and her two children. This is my house. Razzmorten and the crown gave it to me."
Spitemorta let out a whoop of laughter and stopped. "Minuet is dead, dead, dead and you may be lucky enough to be the hired help in my house, if you don't get carried away," she said with a satiny rustle as she stepped into the doorway and pushed past Bethan.
"Now look 'ee here, child! Queen Minuet and Razzmorten saw us just days ago, and she certainly was queen then..."
"Yea? My soldiers found them dead of the plague when we destroyed Castle Niarg, what, yesterday? And my mother grew up in this house, so it's mine."
Bethan went apoplectically wide eyed. "You're Queen Spitemorta!" she gasped.
"It is Bethan's house," said Peredur as he steadied himself, stepping inside, "and I'm to live out my days here, too."
"Which could be up any moment from what I see," said Spitemorta as she picked up a piece of steak and took a bite.
"That won't hold up before the Bench," said Peredur.
"Queen's Bench," said Spitemorta with a cherubic smile and another bite.
Bethan caught his eye and shook her head. 
"If you're a willing part of my loyal service, you'll be alive to wait on me when I come back to stay."
"At your service, Your Majesty," said Bethan with a heavy curtsey.
"At your service," said Peredur with a bow.
Spitemorta stepped out into the grass and mounted the Staff. "Ta-Ta," she said and flew away into the morning sky.
"My word!" said Peredur as they watched from the doorway. "That witch! What have we got into?"
"Something you and I are going to live through, that's what."

The Reaper Witch 1280x2000








Carol Marrs Phipps and Tom Phipps

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Languages in The Heart of the Staff


 
Modern English is the language spoken throughout Elf Killers and the epic series, Heart of the Staff.  Fairies speak Middle English without most of its obsolete words in The BurgeoningReaper Witch (February, 2013) and Doom (Summer, 2013). The rest of the languages used appear as isolated words and sentences chosen to give realism and color to various characters. Most of these are explained by context and all can be found translated in the respective glossaries in the books where they appear.
 






 Language:                              What it is:                               Who speaks it:

Niarg Standard                       current Modern English          Kingdom of Niarg
                                                                                                Kingdom of Loxmere
                                                                                                Kingdom of Goll
                                                                                                Kingdom of Bratin Brute
                                                                                                Jutish Elves
                                                                                                naked dragons
                                                                                                Cyclopsia

Archaic Modern Niarg            Middle English                       all Fairies
                                                                                            all profanities uttered by
                                                                                                  Ocker the raven
                                                                                            Niarg (600 yrs prior)

Old Niarg Standard                Welsh                                     Kingdom of Niarg
                                                                                             Kingdom of Loxmere
                                                                                             Kingdom of Goll
                                                                                             Kingdom of Bratin Brute
                                                                                             Cyclopsia

Jutish Elven                             Irish                                        Jutish Elves

Old Gwaelic Elven                 Irish                                         Gwaelic Elves (1M yrs prior)

Gwaelic Elven                         Manx                                      Gwaelic Elves

Gwaelic                                   Cornish                                   Gwael

Headlandish                            Breton                                     Penvro (Head)
                                                                                              Dark Empire
                                                                                              Mammvro

Goblish-Beakish                      Pictish                                     Kingdom of Marr (Beaks)
                                                Doric
                                                Scots

Ngop                                       Wagiman                                 the Ngop

Wagiman is almost extinct. The last I knew, only ten Australian Aboriginals still speak it.

Trollish                                    transposition of an                    trolls
                                               aboriginal language

Trollish is a very nasal sounding language, the transposition of an aboriginal New World language, where each letter in the original tongue is replaced with a different letter. In particular, the sounds most frequently used by the aboriginal speakers are replaced with the sounds which are the very most difficult for them to pronounce. Trollish uses such non European peculiarities as noun-verbs, which we originally tried to represent in English by running nouns and verbs together (as they are in the aboriginal) in words such as, headsmashjuicychampcantgoback, rollybottomhohoslap and grabupsqueakers, which we soon changed to head-smashjuicy-champcan't-go-backrolly-bottom-ho-ho-slap and grab-up-squeakers in order to be easy to read.
And as always, please let us know what you think,