Monday, January 30, 2017

Ugleeuh Loves Her Bloated Hubba Hubba



Lukus swelled up with a rejoinder, but dropped it at the sight of ol' Ma'am returning with an Scan10067armload of blankets. On her shoulder perched a huge smug crow. "What a conceited fowl," he thought.
"Here's my dearest," she said grandly. “His name is Hubba Hubba and he is such a darling, but I'm afraid he enjoys eating more than he does flying. He's just a bit too plump to get off the ground these days..."
***
“Yea," said Hubba Hubba with pompous arrogance. "Time to eat." 
Rose bolted upright, wide eyed. “It talks!” she said, flinging back her covers. “I thought only parrots could do that, and not even all of them.”
Ugleeuh and Hubba Hubba turned to glare at her with one icy accord, reminding her so much of a pair of glaciers, that without thinking she pulled her blankets back over her legs.
“My name is Hubba Hubba,” he said with a flash of his eyes, as he straightened his heft beneath his bristling mantle of feathers. "I am not a thing. Do not refer to me as 'It!'” 
Ugleeuh swelled up with a hiss through her nose to glower down at Rose.
Rose shrank back into her bed roll.
“I don’t like parrots," she snarled. "I would never have one, and I prefer not to discuss the vile creatures. Crows, particularly this one, have far greater command of language than any parrot. And from now on, if either of you talks about or speaks to my dearest, you'll call him Hubba Hubba. Is that perfectly clear?”
 ****
crow
“So," said Hubba Hubba with a rasp like a rusty hinge as he leveled a derisive squint. "Just how much of the time which you just spent outside was actually taken up by deciding if your unicorns were indeed gone? At this rate, I’ll be lucky to get into the air before Ugleeuh gets back. Why, she might not even see me up there and crash into me. Chaos and mayhem. I’d be dead and you two would be to blame. She'd never get over it. She'd never forgive you. Never let you go if she even let you live.”
“Don’t you dare threaten us with that old sow witch of yours, Lard Ball!” shouted Lukus, lunging at him with a stamp. “What I want to know is what the old bat's done with our unicorns. She has no right to take them! She could hang for it, don't you know. Where are they? She has no...”
“Careful there snot,” he said as he leant forward, following Lukus's movements minutely. “You’re repeating yourself. And I'd also advise you to be cautious about how you speak to me and how you treat me, because Ugleeuh will hear of it. In fact, she's told me to give her a complete report of your entire behavior upon her return, and I must say that it's not very favorable, so far.”

 ***
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“Good," she said. "Then I suppose we have no choice for our next step but to hitch up the sparrows.” She shuddered as she looked about and found them, shackled to their iron balls, pecking at crumbs on the floor. “So then, Hubba Hubba, just how does one wrangle venomous little birds into harnesses and make them do your bidding without getting poisoned in the process?”
He made no reply, but Rose's comment stopped all three sparrows at once. They gazed up at her, keenly absorbed in what she was up to. He leant forward, clacked his beak and leered at them, but the grumpy gesture caused them to break out in a titter. He ruffled up with a heavy shake and hoisted himself into an aloof posture.                   
Rose turned to Lukus. He shrugged, making it quite clear that he knew no more about the matter than she.
“Well,” said Hubba Hubba from under a half opened eye, “they might not be quite as deadly as Ugleeuh led you to believe.”
“Just how much risk is there to handling them?” said Rose.
“Practically none,” he said, almost meekly.
“Practically!” yelped Lukus. “What does that mean? Either the birds are dangerous or they aren't, Tubbo!”
"Name calling is very childish and rude," said Hubba Hubba as he drew himself up on his perch, obviously stung by Lukus’s taunts about his corpulence. "It was not I, dear impetuous one, who told you that tale about the slaves, you know.”
"No, but you're the one who's refused to be clear about it, yet."
“Lukus! None of this is getting us anywhere,” said Rose. “Hubba Hubba, are the sparrows poisonous or not?” 
"Not in the least," he sighed. "Chirp, Tweet and Squeak merely have small minds."






Carol Marrs Phipps & Tom Phipps


Friday, January 27, 2017

The White Witch Rides a Diatryma

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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

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Minuet Tells Rose to Let Her Heart Decide

Rose and Lukus had been home less than a week, when a page knocked on her door and announced the arrival of Prince James. Rose's heart fell at this. "I shall meet him directly, in the second drawing room off the dining hall," she said with a quiver to her voice that she didn't expect.
"Very good, Your Highness," said the page. "I shall convey this at once."
Just as she was about to go out the door, Minuet arrived with an encouraging smile. "Rose, your Father and I have discussed your marriage at length since your return. We've decided that if you still find James objectionable after you've seen him, we'll make some sort of reparation to King Edmond and cancel the wedding."
"But...you said that such an action might start a war."
"Anything's possible, but we think that war is very unlikely for the time being. King Edmond would fare very badly in a war and frankly, a tidy windfall might be exceedingly beneficial to him."
"Why Mother, what's happened in Loxmere?"
"It's a right lengthy tale, I'm afraid," said Minuet as she put her arm around Rose and walked her out the door and down the stairs. "There's no time now. James awaits. Go to him, and let your heart and nothing else decide, Rose."
Rose hugged her and hurried through the dining hall to the drawing room, relieved to be able to make short work of her childhood nightmare. She entered softly. There was James, standing with his back to her, warming his hands at the fireplace. She studied him
for a moment. "He's certainly not the short, pudgy thing he used to be," she thought. "James?" she said.
Ch. 30, The Collector Witch                                                          
"O-ooh! That arrogant, dimwitted pig boy!" said Rose between breaths, at the top of the spiraled staircase. "How could I ever have believed he'd changed?"
"Rose?" said King Hebraun softly, making her gasp and jump.
She'd not seen Minuet and him following her all the way up. She turned to face them and panicked. What could she say to them? She began at once in trembling dismay, telling them everything as they carefully listened.
"...And so," she said with a tremulous heave, "I told him I'd not marry him now, or ever." She looked at their faces with tears filling her eyes and added a squeaky: "I'm so sorry!"
"Rose," said Hebraun. "it sounds to me as though you handled the situation in the only responsible and sensible way possible. Your Mother and I stand behind your decision completely. The timing might be a bit awkward, considering the large numbers of guests who've already arrived..."
"Hebraun!" said Minuet, as Rose's tears brimmed over and ran down her cheeks.
Hebraun went wide eyed and quickly gave Rose a shoulder to cry on.
"Hey!" cried Lukus, charging to the top of the stairs, full of dash from having just been with Soraya. "How come you all are up here? Oh!" He saw Rose's reddened eyes. "So what's going on?"
"I told James I'm not going to marry him, Lukus," she said over her handkerchief. "The wedding's off."
"No! It's...no! Rose, you're making this up, right?" he said. Of course he could see that she was not. "Whoa! So what happened? Is James the same old pea-slinging gwrtaith he always was, Rose?"
"Lukus!" cried Minuet. "Walls have ears."
Hebraun jerked his finger to his lips.
Rose nodded. "Lukus is right!"
"I am? You mean to say he actually shot peas at you? If he did, do you want me to...?"
"Lukus! If you're not teasing, don't be so dim. If you are, I've just been through too much. You're about to become betrothed yourself, so I'd think that you'd..."
"That's it!" cried Hebraun, giving Minuet a jubilant nod of resolution. "Where did anyone last see King Neron?"
"I left Soraya at his chamber, just now," said Lukus. "I think they might be taking a stroll out by the big fountain."
Carol Marrs Phipps & Tom Phipps

Monday, January 23, 2017

Who is Herio?



02apollo
Herio is a plucky youth from the pastures of Ashmore, living just outside the village of Ash Fork with his mother and his little brother Cefnogi Rhywun, when Queen Spitemorta of Goll destroysStone_Heart_Cover_for_Kindle everything he has ever known, in Stone Heart. She sets out to incite war with Niarg by sending Brutus, her captain of the royal guard, across the Loxmere river with her army to burn Ash Fork to the ground. She demands that he get a retaliation led by Niarg's King Hebraun himself by any means necessary.
Brutus chooses to hang Cefnogi Rhywun in front of Herio and to have Sergeant Dunvel  take Herio to Castle Niarg to report the invasion to King Hebraun and to tell him that someone would hang for each day it takes for him to arrive at Ash Fork. Hebraun does indeed retaliate after he takes Dunvel into custody and leaves Herio with Queen Minuet as her protector. He kills Brutus, destroys Goll's army and discovers that everyone in Ash Fork has been slain. 
As Herio gets used to living in Castle Niarg, in The BurgeoningThe_Burgeoning_Cover_for_KindleQueen Spitemorta and her grandmother Demonica become a perilous threat to Niarg, which might be relieved if they were to place a spy in Castle Goll. Herio volunteers to go there with Hubba Hubba and do just that. Before they set out, Minuet knights Herio. When they return with news of Spitemorta's plan to attack Niarg, she also adopts him, turning him into a prince and making him a possible heir to the throne. In time, he manages to return to Goll with a major shock for The Reaper Witch 01 copySpitemorta, which turns him into target for her in The Reaper Witch.






Carol Marrs Phipps & Tom Phipps



Friday, January 20, 2017

Fuzz Loves Rose's Rows of Buttons


matthew
The_Burgeoning_Cover_for_KindleFuzz and Rose are newly married in The Burgeoning, but instead of a proper honeymoon, they must make an urgent voyage instead. Even so...
The sound of the latch of the door of their berth woke Rose. She opened her eyes to see Fuzz coming quietly to the side of their bed. "It's a perfect day, Rose," he said with a smile as he knelt to put his arm around her and give her forehead a kiss. "Absolutely perfect. We may have had a storm last night, but it's not at all cold as one would expect it to be. It's plain balmy out, just like spring."
"It probably means that there's more storm on its way," she said, sitting up with a yawn.
"Oh I expect so, particularly since the wind is in the very same direction that it was in yesterday evening..."
"Did I just hear birds outside?" she said, suddenly alert.8-11-IMG_1422
"Terns. We've been helping the cook fling slop to 'em. They showed up right after the sun. I saw gulls, too. We're coming to land. The captain and Yann-Ber say that these winds will have us at Dark's Cove by noon or even before. So come up on deck with me and enjoy this last lovely bit of air and sunshine over the water before we land."
"I think you just want my company."
"Oh I crave it."
"Well then, just give me a moment or two and I'll be right up."
"Splendid," he said as he sat on the edge of the bed. "I'll just wait for you right here though, if you don't mind. Yann-Ber's up there pacing and champing at the bit and worrying to the point that it's calmer here."
doublet_buttons
"Even with my buttons?"
"Oh, I look forward to your buttons."
"Then I'll have a row for you, directly," she said, throwing aside her covers and putting her feet onto the floor. She felt the swell and fall of the sea through the boards as she always did the first time she stood up. She went to her great trunk, set on end and 156148312051794935_9bDzYXu3_bopened out like a folding wardrobe and fished amongst her dresses. "My," she thought, "The same ones day in and day out." She glanced aside at Fuzz, staring at the backs of his hands and grabbed out one at random. "I just can't keep my mind on anything since
Lukus's message globe came with news of Father..."
Fuzz was on his feet at once, putting his arms around her. They each gave a sigh. It had all been said. She turned aside and stepped into her dress. She could read his concern as she did so, even from the corner of her eye. She offered him her row of buttons. He was getting quick. When he fastened her top button, he gave her a quick hug and released her to brush her hair.
"Sorry I took so long," she said, looking up with a cheerful smile to cover up her somber sigh. "Shall we go?"
He nodded, following her out and up the cramped stair.
"Oh, it is nice out," she said, taking his hand and squeezing it, as she closed her eyes and turnedBlack-Terns-1-Tropical-Atlantic-Ocean-27-Sep-2012
 her face into the wind and sun. "You always know just what I need."
"And you my dear, give me far more credit than I deserve. Nevertheless, I shall shamelessly romp and wallow in your praise if you must." Ch 5 The Burgeoning

Carol Marrs Phipps & Tom Phipps


Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Daniel and Ariel's Dirty Little Tummies

two-kids
Lukus strapped the last of their gear onto Shimmer's panniers and turned to Soraya as hand-holding-crystal-ball_1676626849she finished burying the coals with sand. "You reckon it would be too much trouble to send a message globe to Mother and Grandfather to let them know that we're safe?" he said over the giggles of Daniel and Ariel as they each grabbed one of his ankles. "It's been a very long time since we fled Oilean Gairdin."
001aa018f83f142336ef19Soraya stood up and brushed the dirt from her skirts. "I'm sure they could do with one less worry," she said, looking about. "Since it'll be a while before we're ready to leave here, why don't we go find Great-Grandfather right now? I'd bet he has time.
Lukus scooped up a squirming and giggling Daniel and Ariel in each arm, blew a raspberry on each dirty little tummy and fell into stride behind the fat_pigeon_by_captain_marmote-d59o7duprettiest young lady in the whole wide world, off to find Neron. By the time Lukus was swinging his leg over Starfire's saddle whistling Pigeon on the Gate, the message globe was hurtling over the Great Barrier Mountains like a shot.
The_Burgeoning_Cover_for_Kindle








Carol Marrs Phipps and Tom Phipps

Monday, January 16, 2017

News of Daniel and Ariel's Birth Arrives by Elven Message Globe

Hand holding crystal ball

Minuet looked up with a start from her knitting as Hebraun burst into their parlor with a small globe and a huge grin. He held out the tiny orb.
"Here! Talk to it," he said, parking it in her outstretched palm. "Ask it to play your Scan10075message."
Minuet hesitated, having not actually seen such a thing before. "Please deliver your message," she said.
The ball lit from within and directly Lukus appeared with a huge grin. "Congratulations," he declared. "You are the grandparents of a fine healthy grandson. Soraya and I have named him Daniel. You are also the very fortunate grandparents of the most beautiful baby girl that has ever been born. We have named her Ariel." He stepped aside for them to see Soraya sitting up in bed, radiantly holding forth first one baby then the other so they could have a good look. Lukus stepped back into view. "Grandfather and Rose will be home before long. They've much news to bring you. Soraya and I will not be returning to Niarg for a bit yet. We'll let you know when we do. In the meantime, I'll say that you have yet another happy surprise coming, though I'm not at liberty to tell you what it is. We love 84526848you and miss you. And you must set down this globe so that it can fly back to King Neron. Goodbye." The image in the globe vanished. Its glow faded out and Minuet set it down, still astonished by it, as it rose and flew like a shot out the window.
"Twins Hebraun! A boy and a girl!"
Hebraun smiled and put his arm around her. "Guess you'll be needing both the pink and the blue layettes after all, dearest."
"Of course," she said as she spun 'round to look up into his face. "What do you reckon Lukus meant by, 'at least one more happy surprise?'"
"Can't imagine," said Hebraun. "But at least it's going to be pleasant, and we can use all the joy we can rake in. I think it may be a good long time before we have much more."
"I know," she said. "We've got bad times ahead."
"We knew this was coming," he said, squeezing her hand.
"Yes, but I kept hoping that somehow the Elves were wrong, for once."
"I'd hoped it, too," said Hebraun, hugging her as they stood at the window, gazing into the starlit night as the newborn hope for their world slept in their mother's arms across the miles in the Jutwoods.
Ch 30, Stone Heart







Carol Marrs Phipps and Tom Phipps