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Lady of the Lake Chapter 3 part 2

He sat up. “What sort of boat is it?”
“Fairy Child is a converted fishing boat. She is ocean going with sails and also an engine.
“Fairy Child is Ella in the Gaelic tongue.” Mordred sat up and stretched.
John had never picked up on her choice of name for her pride and joy. Why did it have to be a stranger? “You’re right. However, here is where we part company.” She tried to put all the authority she didn’t feel into that statement.
“Is the boat made of metal, or is it wooden?”
What did this matter? A boat was a boat. “She is wooden.”
“I be a coming along with you, then.”
Damn, and double damn. Why couldn’t she have just said metal? “You said I would be free. You promised I would when I got you clear of the police.”
“I did be saying that I would free thee when thee got me to the place where the wild things are. Thee has not done this.”
With her head spinning, Ella didn’t have the strength to argue any more. She had to get sleep before she passed out. “Fine, here are the car keys. You saw me open the trunk. I want everything in this car loaded onto that boat with the blue paint on the third jetty along. When you have done that, you can wake me up, and I will start her engines.”
She was too tired to care what he did now. Ella opened the car door and stumbled to the jetty. She weaved across the gangplank and somehow got down below to crash onto a berth.
***
“Mistress Ella.” A hard hand shook her awake. “I have done as thou commanded.”
Dear heavens would this never end? Maybe she could drop him off on the Sicily Isles? Ella fought layers of exhaustion to dig for the boat keys in her suitcase. Everything was neatly stacked in the cabin. He even handed her the car keys.
“Can I possibly hope that you can sail? If I get her out of harbor, can you head southwest with the sails?”
“No bad magic? Just wind power? Yes, this be possible.”
The first thing Ella did on reaching the deck was to hurl the car keys over the side. Spiteful and petty, but if Mordred had locked the car it would be an added charge to John’s account as it would not have the keys. She went to the wheel house, turned on the ignition and fired the engine. Gauges and the radar came online. She had a full tank of fuel, thankfully something she always had attended to whenever she docked after a trip.
“Mordred, can you go cast off the docking lines?”
He looked hard at her for a moment before running to do as she asked. The thought crossed her mind of throttling up and leaving him on the jetty, but she would have to back out, and he’d have time to jump aboard. If he didn’t and was captured, there was still her part in all this. She could face prison time for helping him. John would relish that. No, she would dump Mordred only when he was free and clear.
Mordred ran back up the gangplank and pulled it onboard after him. He started for the wheel house with a peculiar mincing gait that terminated with him sitting on the steps to pull off John’s rubber boots. These sailed over the side to join the car keys.
Ella suppressed a smile. Those boots must have been painful. She maneuvered Fairy Child out of the dock and into the open water. Once more, her hands shook, but this time with exhaustion. Ten minutes later and they hit ocean water. She powered down the engine to join Mordred on the deck. He was staring at the rigging, bemused.
“Right, you said you understood sails. Here is how these ones work.” Ten minutes later and he was as proficient as she could have wished and then some. Whatever else he was, the guy understood sails. He followed her back to the wheel house. “Look at this gauge. It tells you where the land masses are and our position.”
Mordred didn’t stir. “Thee said a southwest route. I don’t need the bad magic things to tell me how to find direction or land.”
“You can’t sail without the radar.”
“I have the sun and the stars to steer by. The smell of land and the sight of kelp, and the seabirds to tell me when I be near safe haven.”
Ella started to argue, but the room swirled to a violent buzzing in her ears. The next thing she knew was Mordred gently tucking her into a berth.
“Thee rest now.”
“No, I …” His grass green eyes seemed to expand, and somehow she was in a field of flowers, brightly colored flowers with lots of butterflies dipping down to drink the nectar. The real world receded into nothingness.
***
Ella woke to the gentle roll of the boat into a gray light. A faint noise from the other berth startled her. Mordred was curled up in covers, fast asleep. Panic sent her flying to the wheel house. All the sails were furled, the sea anchor had been let down and the boat was bobbing in the ocean, going nowhere. He must have sailed until exhaustion hit, and then made them safe. The goose bumps on her arms died down.
Silver slivers of predawn sliced through the sky. How long had she slept? A quick check on the instruments confirmed that the boat was on course. Ella exhaled. Her stomach told her it thought her head had been amputated. She went down to the galley, just in front of the sleeping quarters to rummage through the food boxes. Perishable food must be eaten first as there was no way of keeping it fresh on Fairy Child. She took an opened packet of bacon, sliced bread, tomatoes, and eggs. Halfway through cooking them Mordred blundered into the galley with a sleepy but hopeful expression on his face. The sounds his stomach made signaled his need.
He had ditched his cheek pads and his wig now the immediate threat had gone. Still he looked startlingly like John. She averted her eyes. “There are plates in the top cabinet over to your left. Can you snag a couple so I can get them warming?”
“Snag?”
Ella sighed as she flipped the eggs. “Open the cupboard. Take out two plates. Give them to me.”
Mordred followed her orders, and she put the plates to warm underneath the hob.
“Do you prefer coffee or tea?”
Mordred gave her a blank look.
“I guess that will be coffee as we don’t have juice.” She began a brew. A few minutes later she set the tiny table and served breakfast. Mordred inhaled his in record time. He sipped at the coffee, pulling a face.
Ella finished her breakfast and picked up her coffee, satisfied, comfortable, and then her world crashed down upon her head. John was supposed to be sitting across from her. Why had he done this to her? Where had the love gone? The tears started and wouldn’t stop. She made a break for the deck, but Mordred was there, in her way.
“I be very sorry for the grief. I do know I have caused a rift between thee and thine husband. I do swear I will leave thee in peace as soon as I find my place.”
The tears wouldn’t stop. When she tried to push by him, he didn’t give an inch. She had to get away. “It is not you, it is him.” Those words choked out of her.
Mordred’s arms enfolded her. She howled into his chest, unable to stop. His hand gently stroked her hair as he rocked her.
“Whist now, what can I be a doing to make this right? I never meant to hurt thee.”
His kind words set off more tears. Ella struggled for control, aware she was in the arms of a psycho nut-bar. Oh God, could this get any worse?
Mordred steered her to her berth, pushed her down and sat himself beside her.
“It was him.” A sob threatened to close her throat. “You made things worse.” Tears rolled down her cheeks, and she rocked back and forth, her arms wrapped around her.
“I don’t make war on women. I make war on those who do. Where is he?” A note of steel had crept into his voice.

Woo Hoo! Five star review of Shadow Over Avalon

Five star review of Shadow Over Avalon
An absolutely spellbinding, reiteration of a classic! August 29, 2016
A brilliant retelling of the Arthurian legend filled with creative twists and complex layers that kept me turning pages. Definitely a must-read for Sci/Fi & Fantasy fans! It very much reminded me of Arthur meets Atlantis, but that is where the similarities ended. As the tale unfolded, I couldn’t help devouring chapter after chapter as the compelling characters and intricate plot drew me in and then tugged me along, calling for me to keep up when I was forced to lay the book down. An absolutely spellbinding, mesmerizing reiteration of a classic story that should not be missed!

http://amzn.to/1UdlhE5  And on all the Amazons, plus Kobo, Nook and iTunes.

Only 99c for an epic-sized science fantasy.

 

 

Death Angel, another chunk

A technician walked around Azriel running a scan over her torso as she stood to attention in a windowless office deep below the surface. He frowned, his craggy face marred by his obvious disapproval. “This unit is damaged beyond acceptable parameters. I recommend rejuvenation.”

She waited for a decision, the blood beginning to ooze through the field dressing under her tattered jacket. A sickly sweet, metallic stink filled the air around her…blood. Her limbs trembled from her theft of energy to kill the intolerable pain. No option there as none of them dare risk being reacquired with open, unconscious minds.

The controller steepled his pudgy fingers together, looking at her over his authentic wooden desk carved from a tree unknown on this world where few could grow. Sweat glistened on his bald head, but not from the heat. Climate control ensured that the special people enjoyed a pleasant environment. This deep, not much was needed.

“Take it to maintenance and stop it leaking blood everywhere. I want this unit capable of walking three hundred ahns and looking alive for another two days. Fit it out with a night-fighter suit, we have more to spare of those, and make sure it smells clean.” His nose wrinkled in distaste.

A wild hope began to bloom in Azriel. He hadn’t ordered rejuvenation. Sweet oblivion of death, is this what he intended, an ending to the waking hell of immortality? How many times had she woken to a new body? She had lost count in the mists of despair.

The controller turned to his console. “Bring it to me when you have finished.” Her temporary guard, the technician, led her out of the luxurious level of headquarters. She managed to walk as far as a grav shaft before her legs buckled under her.

Hissing, with disapproval written on his face, he hefted her over his shoulder. Pain grayed out her mind until she landed on a surgical table.

More technicians cut away her clothing, cleaned the wound and packed wadding in the gaping hole left by the projectile’s exit. They tied her down when she couldn’t bear the pain any longer and tried to fight them off. Another pad of wadding jammed into her mouth stopped her screams.

Replacement blood and high-energy fluid infused through her system, boosting it into a semblance of recovery. The technicians strapped another pack of energy liquid to her abdomen, fixing a needle with a tiny pump into her flesh. Without pausing, they manhandled her into a shower, cleaned her up and dressed her in full night-fighter attire. The bulky padding, covered by matte-black cloth hid their other fixes.

Azriel longed for downtime, but she dared not expose the others to her agony through the link. Whatever the controller wanted of her promised the blessed escape of death. She drifted in a sea of pain and exhaustion until she stood before her tormentor again, one technician to either side of her holding her upright.

“I thought I told you to make it look alive. Give it a pain suppressant. I want it to understand my orders.” He sat back in his padded chair, watching her, his eyes narrowed and a slight tic twitching at the corner of his mouth. A slapshot to the neck reduced pain to a mild ache. She stood straighter.

“Leave us.” The controller flicked his hand at the technicians, waiting until they closed the door behind them.

Azriel’s vague outline reflected from a large glass ornament case behind the controller, smart in black battle dress, with steel-toed black boots visible around the desk, but no gun for her shoulder holster, or knife for her belt sheath. No one took undue risks around angels.

“The job was not well done.” He glanced at his console, a nervous shifting of his eyes. The glass of the case reflected an image of text appearing, if not clear enough for definition. “My customer isn’t happy with the outcome, not happy at all.”

The baby must have survived for she was certain the mark had not. Her heart jumped; a tired hiccup.

“So your program will not continue. I have ordered the reclamation of the cadaver flesh.” He watched her intently, the faint whiff of his adrenaline wafting around him.

“All except one body I’ll keep for safeguard against your performance. I detected a termination wish I am willing to grant for a price.”

Azriel’s pulse beat faster. She tried to get her body under control, knowing how it betrayed her, but she was too weak.

He glanced at the console and the words appearing. “You will take advenite…” His face reflected first shock, and then rage, his words tailing off as the magnitude of what he was reading aloud stunned him.

The door to the controller’s inner sanctum opened behind him. A man in a tailored gray uniform stepped through. A single beryl stud on his collar marked the man for a general. The military man tossed a cloth bag onto the desk in front of her. It landed with a dull thud. “Take the fifteen advenite crystals in the bag with you to the western docking hub. Across the landing strip will be an Outworlder squad with a hostage. You will take yourself and the crystals to them in exchange for the girl.” He leaned over the controller to activate a small holo image of a young female and turned the screen towards Azriel.

The face appeared on news stations often enough for anyone to recognize the Planetary Governor’s wife. Azriel nodded once.

“Once you are aboard their ship you will wait two days for them to clear from this system and then you will kill as many as you can.” The general frowned. “I would prefer the ship destroyed.”

She waited for the rest, because the news seemed to come as a surprise for her master. The controller’s face was now flushed an unhealthy red, but angels didn’t speak to controllers. Angels weren’t people.

“I can’t allow the actual exchange, General. We agreed to terminate all of them on the landing pad once we had Carielle safe.”

The general settled into an easy stance and raised one gray eyebrow at the controller. “You will do precisely what you are told. Bankers like you might hide behind layers of security; you could even recall all of your angels for protection, but then they wouldn’t be out earning enormous revenue for you, would they? Sooner or later one of you will need to emerge, or a member of one of your families, it doesn’t matter to us.”

“Look, you don’t understand.” The controller’s fists clenched. “Angels are reinforced with metal along their ribs, skulls, vertebra, long bones …” He swallowed. “We render down the cadaver for a return on our investment.”

The general smiled; a sunny lifting of the lips. “How much is your life worth? As much as the metal you stand to lose? This angel will do my bidding.”

The controller stood, his hands gripping the edge of his desk as if he needed it to keep him upright. His knuckles showed white through the skin of his hands. He looked at Azriel. “If you disobey and refuse, hoping to die from your wounds, I will have you rejuvenated and then …” He smiled, a stretching of the lips, “then you will spend all of eternity in a pain amplifier. Comply and you will gain death as a reward.”

Azriel tried to swallow, her mouth suddenly dry. Controllers never bargained with angels. No one could threaten controllers. No one had the power to intimidate the money men, or did they? What sort of threat was the general waving at the controller? Whatever fired his spark must have been the mother of all snarl-ups.

The controller jabbed at a button on his desk. Two technicians entered so fast they almost fell into the room.

“Take it to the location I gave you and make sure it has pain medication. Enough for two days.”

She felt sorry for the men. They hadn’t received instructions for where to go after her delivery. Azriel wondered if they knew they weren’t coming back. There would be others sent to make sure they didn’t.

Wildenwold Chapter 3

Chapter 3

“Mistress Ella, canst thee make this chariot stop?”
They hadn’t gotten more than five miles beyond the police cordon. What was he thinking?

“It’s too soon to stop. If you want to get away, we need a good distance between them and you.” Ella gunned the gas, not pleased that he had picked up on her name. And what was with the Mistress thing?
“Please. I fear I shall become unwell.”
Oh fuck, he was going to hurl. All she needed. Ella activated the air vents to blow cold air. There was no way she could pull over on a single lane highway with no hard shoulder. “Mordred, wind down your window. The lever with the round end.”
He did but put his head in his hands. This was so not good. There was no way she could drive with the stench of vomit in the car, and if she stopped, blocking traffic, she risked being charged with accessory after the fact, hostage or not. Would anyone believe her after her performance? Probably not.
“Please, Mistress Ella.”
“I can’t stop here. Sit up and take deep breaths. I’ll look for somewhere and stop as soon as I can. Just hold on.”
Mordred started heaving. Ella wildly looked ahead and spotted a gate to a field. She slowed, driving into the narrow entrance. He continued to heave but didn’t move. What was wrong with him? She flicked on the overhead light. His face was as white as milk and beads of sweat dripped off him. She reached over him to unlatch the door and pushed him partially out. The seatbelt held him from falling while he lost his supper with a vengeance. The rancid odor of vomit hit her like a wall, and she stuck her head out of her window to draw deep breaths. Finally, the spasms ceased. He eased back into the car.
“Is this likely to happen often?” Heaven help her if she had to plan ahead for each lay-by.
“Magical carts do upset my innards.” His head was down, and he shook.
“Look, I’m sure I packed some bottled water. It is in the trunk, and I need to go get it. I think if you sip that it might help.” When he didn’t object, she fetched the water, fortunately, placed in the top box of provisions. She unscrewed the lid and passed it to him when she got back in the car. “Take little sips and tell me when you think you can go on.”
What would have been the best fix would have been for him to walk a bit outside, but that wasn’t going to happen. He didn’t trust her not to leave him. After a while, he sighed and nodded. Ella reversed out of the gate entrance and put the pedal to the metal. Maybe, if she got a decent distance, he would agree to go his own way. He said he wanted a wild place. Fine, she would look out for a forest.
Mordred didn’t volunteer to leave, despite three more sick stops in the course of a very long night. Ella even pulled over when they reached the Devon moorland, hoping he would take the hint, but he didn’t. By the time they had pulled into Falmouth harbor, she was beginning to see imaginary things jumping out in front of her. Beyond exhausted as the silvery lights of new day emerged, she was in no mood to argue.
“Mordred, my boat is just ahead. I have fulfilled my side of the bargain. Take your bag, the documents, and the money and leave me be.”
He roused from a doze. “What sort of boat is it?”
“Fairy Child is a converted fishing boat. She is ocean going with sails and also an engine.
“Fairy Child is Ella in the Gaelic tongue.” Mordred sat up and stretched.
John had never picked up on her choice of name for her pride and joy. Why did it have to be a stranger? “You’re right. However, here is where we part company.” She tried to put all the authority she didn’t feel into that statement.
“Is the boat made of metal, or is it wooden?”
What did this matter? A boat was a boat. “She is wooden.”
“I be a coming along with you, then.”
Damn, and double damn. Why couldn’t she have just said metal? “You said I would be free. You promised I would when I got you clear of the police.”
“I did be saying that I would free thee when thee got me to the place where the wild things are. Thee has not done this.”
With her head spinning, Ella didn’t have the strength to argue any more. She had to get sleep before she passed out. “Fine, here are the car keys. You saw me open the trunk. I want everything in this car loaded onto that boat with the blue paint on the third jetty along. When you have done that, you can wake me up, and I will start her engines.”
She was too tired to care what he did now. Ella opened the car door and stumbled to the jetty. She weaved across the gangplank and somehow got down below to crash onto a berth.
***
“Mistress Ella.” A hard hand shook her awake. “I have done as thou commanded.”
Dear heavens would this never end? Maybe she could drop him off on the Sicily Isles? Ella fought layers of exhaustion to dig for the boat keys in her suitcase. Everything was neatly stacked in the cabin. He even handed her the car keys.
“Can I possibly hope that you can sail? If I get her out of harbor, can you head southwest with the sails?”
“No bad magic? Just wind power? Yes, this be possible.”
The first thing Ella did on reaching the deck was to hurl the car keys over the side. Spiteful and petty, but if Mordred had locked the car it would be an added charge to John’s account as it would not have the keys. She went to the wheel house, turned on the ignition and fired the engine. Gauges and the radar came online. She had a full tank of fuel, thankfully something she always had attended to whenever she docked after a trip.
“Mordred, can you go cast off the docking lines?”
He looked hard at her for a moment before running to do as she asked. The thought crossed her mind of throttling up and leaving him on the jetty, but she would have to back out, and he’d have time to jump aboard. If he didn’t and was captured, there was still her part in all this. She could face prison time for helping him. John would relish that. No, she would dump Mordred only when he was free and clear.
Mordred ran back up the gangplank and pulled it onboard after him. He started for the wheel house with a peculiar mincing gait that terminated with him sitting on the steps to pull off John’s rubber boots. These sailed over the side to join the car keys.
Ella suppressed a smile. Those boots must have been painful. She maneuvered Fairy Child out of the dock and into the open water. Once more, her hands shook, but this time with exhaustion. Ten minutes later and they hit ocean water. She powered down the engine to join Mordred on the deck. He was staring at the rigging, bemused.
“Right, you said you understood sails. Here is how these ones work.” Ten minutes later and he was as proficient as she could have wished and then some. Whatever else he was, the guy understood sails. He followed her back to the wheel house. “Look at this gauge. It tells you where the land masses are and our position.”
Mordred didn’t stir. “Thee said a southwest route. I don’t need the bad magic things to tell me how to find direction or land.”
“You can’t sail without the radar.”

“I have the sun and the stars to steer by. The smell of land and the sight of kelp, and the seabirds to tell me when I be near safe haven.”
Ella started to argue, but the room swirled to a violent buzzing in her ears. The next thing she knew was Mordred gently tucking her into a berth.
“Thee rest now.”
“No, I …” His grass green eyes seemed to expand, and somehow she was in a field of flowers, brightly colored flowers with lots of butterflies dipping down to drink the nectar. The real world receded into nothingness.
***
Ella woke to the gentle roll of the boat into a gray light. A faint noise from the other berth startled her. Mordred was curled up in covers, fast asleep. Panic sent her flying to the wheel house. All the sails were furled, the sea anchor had been let down and the boat was bobbing in the ocean, going nowhere. He must have sailed until exhaustion hit, and then made them safe. The goose bumps on her arms died down.
Silver slivers of predawn sliced through the sky. How long had she slept? A quick check on the instruments confirmed that the boat was on course. Ella exhaled. Her stomach told her it thought her head had been amputated. She went down to the galley, just in front of the sleeping quarters to rummage through the food boxes. Perishable food must be eaten first as there was no way of keeping it fresh on Fairy Child. She took an opened packet of bacon, sliced bread, tomatoes, and eggs. Halfway through cooking them Mordred blundered into the galley with a sleepy but hopeful expression on his face. The sounds his stomach made signaled his need.
He had ditched his cheek pads and his wig now the immediate threat had gone. Still he looked startlingly like John. She averted her eyes. “There are plates in the top cabinet over to your left. Can you snag a couple so I can get them warming?”
“Snag?”
Ella sighed as she flipped the eggs. “Open the cupboard. Take out two plates. Give them to me.”
Mordred followed her orders, and she put the plates to warm underneath the hob.
“Do you prefer coffee or tea?”
Mordred gave her a blank look.
“I guess that will be coffee as we don’t have juice.” She began a brew. A few minutes later she set the tiny table and served breakfast. Mordred inhaled his in record time. He sipped at the coffee, pulling a face.
Ella finished her breakfast and picked up her coffee, satisfied, comfortable, and then her world crashed down upon her head. John was supposed to be sitting across from her. Why had he done this to her? Where had the love gone? The tears started and wouldn’t stop. She made a break for the deck, but Mordred was there, in her way.
“I be very sorry for the grief. I do know I have caused a rift between thee and thine husband. I do swear I will leave thee in peace as soon as I find my place.”
The tears wouldn’t stop. When she tried to push by him, he didn’t give an inch. She had to get away. “It is not you, it is him.” Those words choked out of her.
Mordred’s arms enfolded her. She howled into his chest, unable to stop. His hand gently stroked her hair as he rocked her.
“Whist now, what can I be a doing to make this right? I never meant to hurt thee.”
His kind words set off more tears. Ella struggled for control, aware she was in the arms of a psycho nut-bar. Oh God, could this get any worse?
Mordred steered her to her berth, pushed her down and sat himself beside her.
“It was him.” A sob threatened to close her throat. “You made things worse.” Tears rolled down her cheeks, and she rocked back and forth, her arms wrapped around her.
“I don’t make war on women. I make war on those who do. Where is he?” A note of steel had crept into his voice.

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Widdershins, my nano project chapter 5

The truck fired into a healthy sounding purr when Rowan turned the ignition. He had finished packing the trunk in the box with anything he thought they might need, plus Morgan’s stash of potential weapons under the passenger seat while the battery was recharging. With twilight approaching, he wanted to make a start if he could cut her loose from that computer. Knowing who was after her wasn’t going to change her problem, so why keep digging into the grubby details? She was only going to upset herself even more as he guessed the weapons she gathered were to self-eliminate if those men caught up. Morgan wasn’t a hunter…not yet. He left the engine running to heat up the cab while he went to fetch Morgan.

As he guessed, she was hunched over the computer in the master bedroom nook. She had a medical website online and was looking into tingling sensations of the extremities. Waves of guilt rushed over him for what he had done to her and yet there was no choice.
She’d be grateful one day.

“Time to go,” he said.

“In a moment. I think I am coming down with something and I just want to see if this site has any suggestions.”

“You do know that if we are tracked to this cabin the laptop will be checked for your browsing history?” And then the searchers would know someone had a problem. Not a good thought. He would rather the man in charge of the hunt not know what he had done to Morgan.

Morgan turned to him, “Just how does a werewolf know so much about tech?”

She had a point. “I have another personae, who happens to be a rich property owner and who has all the toys to go along with the lifestyle. ‘Brandon’ became a tad too interesting to various government people a few years back, so now he is on an extended vacation overseas.”

She closed down the site, deleted her browsing history from a proxy server, deleted the proxy server, emptied the trash box and turned off the laptop before turning to him again. “What did you do to interest them?”

“I got sloppy and didn’t pay attention to my appearance as much as I should have done. I had gotten very comfortable with ‘Brandon’, who someone noticed wasn’t aging. ‘Brandon’s’ son will be able to take on his role in another couple of decades, but for now, I need to have him elsewhere and out of sight.”

Shock stiffened through Morgan. “You don’t age? How old are you?”

“I don’t keep an exact tally. I’m old enough to remember the Pilgrim Fathers settling in America.” He shrugged.” Now if you are quite ready, I would like to move out before someone gets worried about our smoke signals. It would be nice to drive a vehicle that isn’t reported as stolen.”

She got up, only to lurch sideways. Rowan caught her before she fell. “Hey, you need to take a nap. I have a nice, warm cab with a blanket on the back seat.”

“I’m fine. Put me down.”
“No, I don’t think so. I can feel you trembling. How about if I get you settled in the truck and then take a look around for something to help you when we stop?” He marched down the stairs with her cradled in his arms.

“I didn’t find any match for my symptoms on the site,” she objected.

Now at the door of the truck, he settled her in place. “Old Rowan knows the ways of nature and herbs. You just get some rest while I drive.” Yes, he did know herbs to help her. He had found them around the lake shore and cabin before she her symptoms started. Once they came to a place where they could rest for a while, he’d brew his concoction, and then she would sleep through the worst of it. Guilt wracked him for taking the choice away from Morgan. Her star burnt too bright to fizzle into oblivion, which it would if nature to took its cruel course. Her hunters would never stop until she was dead, even if one culprit was incarcerated. This man’s boss had very long arms, as Rowan knew from personal experience in his other personae. Morgan wore a huge target engraved on her back for as long as she remained among the accountable.
The night beckoned. He put the truck into drive.

***
Morgan awakened on a hard bed in what looked like a poor motel room. The requisite TV was anchored high to a wall. Underneath, a coffee maker festered. A smell of rancid fat permeated the air. A small kitchenette emitted fumes from the concoction Rowan brewed over the stove. She tried to sit up, but the room whirled and she was on fire. She groaned. Had her leg become infected? The wound seemed to have closed up nicely with the fine stitches Rowan had sewn. It hadn’t felt uncomfortable for a while now.

“Welcome back to the land of the living.” Rowan tipped his concoction into a mug, using a tea filter. He walked over to hand her the drink.

Morgan viewed the contents with distrust. It smelled nasty. “Why should I drink this?
“Because you are sick and it will make you feel better. Of course, you can decline and suffer.” His eyes dared her to refuse his help.

“It is herbs, right? I drink this and my fever goes down?”

“Something like that. How about trying the brew? He hunkered down by the side of her bed.

Her head spun, her guts churned and she couldn’t focus. Whatever it was he offered might help her. His painkiller concoction at the cabin certainly worked like a charm. She sipped the drink. Not unpleasant, with the faint aftertaste of herbs. At least it quenched her thirst.

“How long before I get the benefits?”

“As we are three days from a full moon, it is difficult to say. Just try to sleep.”

Not a problem. Already, her eyes couldn’t focus. Strange his medicines always seemed to have this effect. She drifted off into a cloud of fluff.

***

Rowan cleaned up his mess with a heavy heart. Yes, Morgan was going to recover. Of that, he had no doubt. If she ever forgave him was another issue.

He slipped the ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign on the outside handle of their door, drew the curtains and positioned a padded chair with its back against the door. Next, he took out a pack of beef jerky from his backpack and hooked the comforter from his bed. Morgan might rest quiet tonight, although he wanted to make sure she didn’t wander. She would have to wake him to get outside, should the urge strike her. Satisfied, he gnawed on both the jerky and the problem of the next stage in their journey. He had to get them to the forests of British Columbia before the next full moon.

Frank_the_upright

Truth and Lies.

Fiction writing is making things up that aren’t true. This is another way of saying writing lies, but there are two sorts of lies, the simple lie and the compound lie.

Simple lies are those to be desired as they stick very close to truth wherever possible. One way to see this is in the world creation of the book. It can happen in a real place or a fantasy world but the important thing here is that wherever is chosen must seem real. In order for this to happen there are rules to follow. Simplistically, an orchid would not grow in a barren ice desert. Cheating by calling a bunny a floodle or a moopsie is still not going to change the fact that it is a bunny and will be constrained within the confines of bunny actions if it is to suspend the reader’s ability to disbelieve; really what all this is about.

Character are more complex, as they should be if they are to come to life in a sense.  A character must have motivations and for those to form, he/she has to have a past filled with things that form the motivations and promote the actions resulting from them. A lot of research can go into the creation of a character, FREX, my futuristic King Arthur in the Shadow series has over 500k notes in files of things that are useful or critical to know. A lot of this goes back to the original Welsh poems and songs. It is interesting to note a lot of the accepted history of the king was invented by one Geoffrey of Monmouth, a misogamist monk who disapproved of any instances of women recorded as having any power. They had to be evil so he made up the entire incest story to discredit Morgan Le Fay. A person has to wonder how a celibate monk got those sorts of ideas, but there you go, the lie is told and retold. Of course, only a fraction of the research goes into the book so what is the purpose, you may ask? The writer has to know how the character ticks and which way they will jump. Does the person like beef or lamb and if so, why? It is not just looking out of their eyes, it is knowing everything.

Now we get to the compound lie and it is here books can founder. This lie starts off simple but then gets additions not attaching securely to the first because the original intention wasn’t clearly envisaged or has been forgotten. This is where the term plot hole originates. Someone has just done something or had something happen that should not have come to pass because this makes nonsense of what has gone before.

Example? How about the easy fantasy trope of a farmer’s boy needing to leave his farm to explore the world as he feels confined by his simplistic circumstances? Some threat is fine at this point and it is still a simple lie. Many chapters later this same character has lost the farm he owned valiantly defending it against a marauding dragon whose existence was never mentioned in the first part of the story. The character doesn’t seem to believe he is inventing things and nor do those around him, with him on his journey from the beginning. Here is an enormous plot hole. The story is going to fail at this point.  Obviously, some plot holes are more subtle, but they are still the result of the compound lie, which always fails.

A good story should have the ability to make the reader both laugh and cry.