Friday, January 27, 2017

The White Witch Rides a Diatryma

Scan10005

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

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

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Is Abaddon Putting her in Peril?

HenryCavill
Daniel and Ariel were brought up to have the most circumspect virtue and modesty. Even if they were to become the most powerful in the world amongst the magically endowed, they were never allowed to show it. It is not at all surprising then, that they kept many games and amusements to themselves. They routinely played a kind of invisible tag asshutterstock_89916550 they traveled by spell back and forth across the broad basin of obsidian sands between Spring 'n' Drain and Razzmorten's great sink-hole "tower" at the Vaults of Niarg. Today, they arrived outside the Vaults playing a rough game of "spell jousting," with Ariel getting there in time to knock Daniel a good fifty rods wide of where he meant to appear. 
"Damn!" he cried, tumbling out of the air onto his hands and knees in the sand. "How'd you get here first?" He was on his feet at once, swatting his hat against his leg as he hurried over to where she stood. Suddenly he stopped short to watch a streak of lightning branch out across the heavens before a black shelf of lowering clouds. "What did you do to the sky?"
"Nothing!"
"Fiddlesticks!" he cried. "Here it comes!" And with that, they raced uphill for a gaping lava tube in time to be overtaken and thoroughly soaked by the arrival of a pelting wall of rain before they managed to get inside.
"How long's it been?" she said, catching her breath as she squeezed water from her hair.
"Since the last rain?" he said, studying the deluge which was already tumbling in torrents down the folds in the hillside. "I was just thinking. I'd allow it's been every bit of the seven years they say it's supposed to be between rains, even if you did cause it..."
"I did not! And you know it. But I could sure feel the spirit of it in the air, right when we were spell jousting. I wondered why on earth it was so bloomin' hard to heave you off to one side."
"Maybe you thought so, but you sure sent me a-sprawling. You command a right smart amount of power these days, sister dear," he said, pausing to squint at her face. "All right. What's the matter?"
Ariel shook her head.
"Oh yes there is. I know my dear sister. What is it? Abaddon's poisoning your well again? What's he saying this time? The Prophecy's just an old wives' tale, or what?"
"He is not!" she said, biting her thumbnail as she looked out into the rain.
Daniel folded his arms and rolled his eyes.a9d58e6a220145c3376074ebc15e9f02
"Very well. He found out that the Prophecy actually came from the Fire Sprites of the Eastern Continent and not the Elves at all, so he's begun using that."
"He's crazy."
1e97d87cfb68e52a666665bdc0f45198"Yea..." she said as a crash of thunder made both of them jump. "About me, he is. The thought of losing me is starting to tear him up."
"Damn him!"
"He doesn't want anything to happen to you either, while you're being all hard on him..."
"Hard on him?" he said, flinging a rock out into the storm. "Shit fire! I don't care if you do have a heart bond. You keep listening to his drivel and you'll lose what it takes at the last minute and get both of us killed."
"I will not! No way! Not with everything Grandfather's taught us over the years..."
Bede on his deathbed completing his translation of St. John’s Gospel, by James Doyle Penrose (1902)

"Now that's giving me credit..." said Razzmorten from right behind them.
"Grandfather!" she gasped. "How long have you been there?"
"You mean how much did I hear?" he said, lunging out with a proper brown spit for the storm. "I heard enough to know that your taking this particular time to worry about your heart bond may be putting you in peril. I mean, if you're daring to think of anything but the task ahead, then I may well have been remiss in my teaching..."

"Peril! What earthly peril could there be when neither witch has so much as flown across the desert within our lifetimes?"
Razzmorten stepped into her gaze and gently patted her cheek. "Then I have indeed been remiss," he said, "And Neron will return any day now." 

Ch. 13, Doom
Doom








Carol Marrs Phipps and Tom Phipps



Friday, January 6, 2017

Abaddon Needs pie



apples

 He found Abaddon playing quietly with the yarn dolls which he insisted were "soldiers."
"So. You'll be leaving now," said Abaddon without looking up.
"I have no choice as you well know, Abbey," he said, squatting beside him.
"Sure," he said with a shrug and gravel in his throat, still refusing to look up. "He's your friend. He's your best friend, and he counts 'way more 'n I do!"
Lance went wide eyed at the resentment he heard in Abaddon's voice. "These days, you've gotten to be my friend too, Abbey," he said, putting his hand on the boy's shoulder, "but you know as well as I do what's going to happen to him if I don't get him out..."
"Well go then!" he said, flinging away Lance's hand. "But you're too late!"
"How? Wait a minute! You say I'm too late?"
"If you're so ready to leave, just go, but someone else rescued your friend James."
"What?"
"I said somebody got him out..."
"Who?"
"I don't know. Some stupid knaves. Boy, is my momma ever goin' 'o kill them bad if she catches them. They'd better never get caught."
"How do I know you're not making up all this so I'll not leave?"
"You think I'd lie about something like this?" cried Abaddon with wounded fury.
"Yea. I'm sorry to say so, but from what I've seen, if it got you what you wanted, you sure might."
Abaddon yanked his scrying crystal from his neck, flung it at Lance and dashed out of sight into the lava tube.
Lance glanced at the talisman in his hands. "He was scrying the very moment I walked in!" he gasped, riveting his gaze back upon it. "Fates! Is that James? It is! He looks like a bearded ghost. And I don't know a one of those knaves, but each one of 'em looks familiar." He gave the pendant a thoughtful heft before clenching it tight in his fist as he sprang to his feet to find Abaddon. "I sure hope my putting it straight to him hasn't undone everything."  
Ch. 21, The Burgeoning 
Lance found Abaddon lying belly down on his bed. "What do you want, stupid?" said Abaddon, looking up suddenly from his scrying crystal. "Didn't your dumb Fairies ever teach you to knock to announce yourself to your betters when you enter their private quarters?" 
"I learnt it as a courtesy for anyone, and I learnt that it wasn't the only courtesy one could use either..."
"Yea?"
"Yea. Like this pie. I could say, 'Hey Abby, here's the best pie in the world. Want some?'" He gave a beckoning nod.
"That's vulgar clumsiness in place of proper respect for royals, but I've come to expect as much..."
"Well, better dig in while I'm being rude, so it won't get cold."
Abaddon scowled as he took the saucer, but his first delicate whiff of the pie arrested every urge he had in mind until he had wolfed down every bit of it. Lance sat on the bed and waited, looking at the backs of his hands.
"That was pretty good," said Abaddon, handing back the saucer. "Thanks."
"Why, you're welcome," he said, stumbling to recover from being completely thrown off by Abaddon's polite remark. "So, you were scrying when I came in. Did you see anything interesting?"
"Nay, not much. Just James and his idiot knaves on some old road out in the grass."
"Gollmoor? It'd have to be Gollmoor, but they could be anywhere out on it. Did you watch long enough to see anything else?"
"I didn't get a chance to because of your clumsy entry."
"Did you see a river...?"
"I just said I didn't, stupid."
Lance studied him for a moment. "Abbey, would you do me a huge favor and scry your dad again, long enough for me to tell where he is?"
"Why? So you can run off and leave me here with your crazy Fairies and Ratman and be where he is?" he said with gravel in his throat. "That's really stupid, you know. Sooner or later Momma's going find him and his knaves and they're all going to die, screaming and kicking. No way she won't do it, either. And if you're with them, she'll really kill you, 'cause you're his friend and my kidnapper. She'll figure out ways to kill you for an extra, extra long time."
"Oh, I don't doubt that for one moment, Abbey. That's why I need your help, and that's why your father needs it, too."
"You and James need me?" he said, suddenly free of his sullen demeanor.
"Way more than you might imagine. Only you can save us from being killed by your mother and Demonica."
Abaddon went altogether wide eyed. "Lance my magic is still little," he said. "It's not nearly big enough to stop my momma or Nana Demonica. They'd kill me, too!"
"Oh no Abbey. I'd never put you in that kind of danger. All I need is for you to scry your father again so I can figure out just where he is. I think I know of a way to protect him, if I can get to him quickly enough."
Abaddon took on a sullen look at once.
"Look Abbey, you really wouldn't think much of me if I let a good friend of mine die when I might've been able to save him, would you?"
Abaddon picked at a piece of lint on his bedspread, his mouth set tightly.
"So could you?" said Lance, carefully.
"Maybe," he said, looking up from his piece of lint. "But you can't leave me here with the old Fairies. You're going to need me along with my crystal. You don't think James and his knaves are going to just stay in one spot and wait for you to get there, do you?"
Lance drew a breath to speak but let it out. "Hmm..."
Abaddon's eyes lit up. "Then you'll do it?" he said with an excited bounce on the bed. "You'll take me with you?"
Lance nodded slowly, stunned at himself for agreeing to Abaddon's ruse. "Well then," he said softly, "let's look at your crystal."
Abaddon already had it out, staring at the shapes of James and his companions appearing amongst its swirling colors.
Ch. 26, The Burgeoning






Carol Marrs Phipps & Tom Phipps