Originally this scene was in my book, “Ogre Clan Chronicles: The Prophecy”, as is. I needed to make a few small changes, however, so that it would fit better and the keep the flow of events moving. Still, I always did like it and wanted to save it. A little background as you read it. Dualta is a kind of spiritual leader for his people. He is a Spirittalker. Khellian is the leader of those people and they are very close. Chakai is an ogre War Chief thrown into the discovery of who else she is, and not happy about it. Here she is “learning” how to use, what to her, is just another weapon to master, though it is far more than that. Chakirra, briefly mentioned, is a really bad guy. The conversations that are in :: :: are not spoken aloud, but in their minds. Think telepathy of a sort. Enjoy!))
“Show me how to ‘find’ you.”
Dualta’s brow furrowed as he tried to figure out what she wanted to be taught exactly. She closed the distance between them again and reached down and took his hand in hers, the grip tight and unrelenting, but not painful.
“I followed what Taishan did when he was healing a wound on me. Show me how to do that when I want.”
“War Chief, what you ask isn’t that easy and in your current state of mind it could be dange..”
“Ye be a teacher. Now teach. If what ye say is true about me then show me.”
:: This would be a good time for you to be paying attention to me, Spirits. :: he prayed hopefully.
“I’ll try, but not many get it right away and I won’t make you a promise I may not be able to keep. If you don’t get the hang of it don’t say I didn’t tell you that was a possibility.”
“Agreed. Sit and we start.”
:: Khellian? ::
:: Yes, I’m here. ::
:: Monitor me, dear friend. If I go silent send Lyrith to Chakai’s tent. ::
:: What?? What’s happening? Do you need me to come? ::
:: No. I want no one else here but us, but please do as I ask. ::
:: Yes, yes, of course. Please be careful! ::
Dualta sat down on the longer couch. “Sit beside me please. I know you’re used to giving orders, but in this, you must do as I tell you. I don’t want either of us to get hurt. Will you do this?”
“Aye. A good leader knows when it be time to lead, and when it be time to follow. I will follow.”
He smiled at her and took both her hands in his. “Try to relax. It will be easier for you to concentrate if you aren’t a raging storm inside.” For the first time a ghost of a smile touched her lips and he smiled more broadly at her. “Now I want you to listen to me carefully. It’s your will that guides and directs the power to the use you wish to put it. In your case there is no problem with strength of will, so it’s more a matter of teaching you how to direct it.”
She nodded, listening, and Dualta could feel a lessening of the chaos inside her. She was doing something proactively instead of just being acted upon and she preferred that. It was calming her somewhat.
“I use a mental picture of something like ivy. It sends out tendrils that weave in and out of other things and holds on tightly. Later you won’t need the visualization, but in the beginning it helps. I’m going to reach out with my mind, with my will guiding it, and touch your mind. I don’t want you to be surprised by it so expect it, alright?” He smiled and squeezed her hands, falling into the mode of teacher to a nervous student as he had thousands of times before. Gently he reached out and encountered the walls he knew were there. They were less prickly than they had been earlier.
“You have strong defenses up around your mind, which isn’t a bad thing, but in your case, you need to learn how, and when, to control their reaction to someone else’s touch. There are times you will need to let others in so you can work with them. It doesn’t mean you are helpless though. You can slam them shut anytime, and you only have to let them in as far as you’re comfortable with, but you cannot mentally attack everyone who tries to work with you or teach you. Picture your mind as a fortress with high strong walls, for that’s what you have. Now form a door, a small one, and with your mind’s eye, open it when you feel me.” He gently touched the walls of her mind and exerted a small amount of pressure against them. At first they resisted and he felt them grow spiky again in defense, but then he felt the spikes withdraw and saw a “door” open just a crack. He gently slipped inside and remained still, letting her get used to the feeling.
:: You can hear me? :: He kept his ‘voice’ pitched low and gentle so that it wouldn’t sound threatening. He knew Taishan said she was able to speak to him, but he wasn’t prepared for the great booming sound of it.
:: I hear. This be Spirit gift? This way of talking? ::
:: Yes, although not all can do it. The stronger you are, the more likely it is that you will hear easily and be able to speak to othersmore easily. Do you understand how you are able to respond to me? :: :: Nay. ::
:: It is your will to answer me. Your will chooses to answer me this way and the power that is within you, and around us, gives you the “voice” to do it with. The closer you are to someone, both in distance, and personally, the easier it is to speak to them like this and to hear their responses. Now let yourself feel me, feel my touch in your mind. Try to respond to that touch with one of your own, like a handshake. ::
Whatever he’d been expecting it wasn’t the image of the heavily armed and massively muscled woman that appeared in his mind. She stood, sword drawn, before him as if challenging him. They were standing in a black space with flashes of images that came and went. The events and memories those images represented played out like bits and pieces of vignettes then were gone as quickly as they came. More surprising was that she had projected an image of himself so that she had someone to actually look at. He was fascinated. Perhaps it was the very literal nature of ogres that caused her to automatically seek a non-nebulous representation for both herself and him. Whatever the reason it seemed to work well for her. He moved forward, doing it as he always had, but now he saw an image of himself walking towards her.
:: Now what? ::
His mind self smiled and chuckled. He let more power flow along the tendril that was holding the door open, though nothing of that increase showed in the image they were viewing.
:: I am here by your invitation and I’ll leave when you ask me to. The images you see flashing around us, are memories of events, people, place that have shaped your life. The deeper the contact with the person, the more private and personal the images would be. Also, things that have happened most recently, if they affected you strongly, would be more vivid than old memories. ::
As if his words had triggered the memory of earlier he saw a picture of a robed male ogre with dark hair and dark eyes. He smiled but it was a calculating, cold smile. He felt “wrong” and Dualta knew he was looking at Chakirra. Chakai looked at the image of the male and then looked back at Dualta, knowing the Spirittalker had seen the image.
:: There is less ability to hide your true nature when you are with someone this way. Look at me. What do you feel from me?
:: The Chakai image walked around him, her eyes thoughtful. :: Ye feel warm, steady. I can feel power in ye, around ye. :: Then her images eyebrows rose. :: Ye be worried, too. No, more then that. Ye be afraid but I can nay tell what ye are afraid of. Ye be afraid of me? ::
Dualta smiled, but he felt his own body tense. She was far too intuitive and was feeling more from him than he’d thought she would.
:: Who is that robed man, War Chief? :: She looked at the image which had yet again appeared.
:: I met him this afternoon. He had a lot of interesting things to say. ::
:: Like what? :: Instead of answering though, she held out her hand and stared at it and a long dagger formed in her palm. Dualta could feel the power around the two of them, in the physical realm, gathering and building. He also felt a curiosity and joy start to rise in her.
:: I can create things here? ::
:: Yes. Not many can do that. You must be careful though. ::
:: Why? ::
He felt the power swirl around him and he looked down to find a sword in his hand. By the Gods…
:: This is serious, Chakai, you should not take this lightly. What happens here can have repercussions outside of our minds as well. ::
But Chakai was enjoying herself now. He knew that for all the discipline and rules she lived her life by, this touched the wild heart of the ogress and she reveled in it. He could feel her gathering the earth powers to herself and knew she could feel it now as well.
:: Come. We play. I want to learn. ::
Dualta moved back a step and felt himself starting to grow angry.
:: This is no game! ::
The image of the male ogre appeared, closer to her this time, and she frowned at the Dualta-image. She tilted her head as if considering how do do something. Moments later, Dualta felt the gathering power swirl around his feet and looking down, he felt cords of power vining around his feet, holding him in place.
:: What are you doing? :: the Dualta-image demanded. Why are you restraining me? ::
:: Do nay be afraid. :: the cords let him go and it was as if they had never been.
:: I did nay hurt ye. Ye know how to do that when we nay be in here? ::
:: Why do you want to know this, Chakai? ::
:: Someone told me these.. gifts.. be no different than learning to wield a new weapon. ::
:: I wish to leave now. We will discuss this outside of here. :: He started to withdraw, cutting off the flow of his own gift gradually so that the withdrawal would not hurt her and suddenly he found himself stopped. The Chakai-image held her fist in front of her and the image of the door that she’d formed to let him in, was gone. On his end it felt as if the flow of power had been cut off entirely and he was trapped in her mind. He tried not to panic.
:: Khellian! :: he shouted as loudly as he could but had no idea if it had reached his friend or not. He struggled and he felt himself grow furious.
:: Chakai let me go, Now! I do not find this honorable or amusing. ::
He felt honest surprise from her and she raised her eyebrows.
:: I be nay hurting you. Why ye be so angry? I just wanted to see what would happen. I would nay harm ye. Why ye be afraid? ::
Immediately he felt himself filled with the power that he himself had been trying to call on and he left quickly, not worrying about if he hurt her or not. The wince on her face gave him a shameful second of pleasure which he quickly scolded himself for. He pulled his hands out of hers and stood, walking across the room from her.
:: DUALTA! :: He winced at Khellian’s scream in his mind. :: I’m fine.. I think. I’m here at least. I cannot talk now though. Please.. Gods Khellian… we underestimated her… ::
Chakai stood also, watching him closely.
Well, you made it to the end — congratulations! Now is the perfect time to reflect on your 2011 in blogging, and your goals for 2012.
Here are eleven questions to help you determine your blogging strategy for the new year:
- Why did you start the Post a Day/Week Challenge?
- Describe the state of your blog at the time you started the challenge.
- How did your blog evolve over the course of the challenge?
- Did you post as often as you had hoped? Why or why not?
- What type of blogging strategy works best for you?
- If you could go back to the beginning, what would you do differently?
- What are you most proud of accomplishing this year?
- Name 3 great blogs you discovered through the challenge.
- What surprised you about the challenge?
- What advice would you give to others who want to blog regularly?
- What are your blogging goals for 2012?
1. I was looking for something to help spur me on with ideas and to make sure I didn’t get too lazy.
2. My blog was, and still is, pretty new. I am not an experienced blogger so there is a learning curve to be sure. My blog was fairly bare.
3. I think my blogging has improved somewhat. I try to make sure there is some direction to my post, something worth reading. Sometimes I fail at that and its just a rambling mess, but I’ve been trying to improve on that.
4. I’m part of Postaweek and yes, I’ve kept to that. I often post more than one thing, but so long as I make my one a week, I’m happy with myself.
5. I don’t have a strategy really. I blog what comes to me or what has inspired me; prompts, events, others posts, etc.
6. I wish I would have found this sooner.
7. What I’ve been learning as I tried to make the blog better. It’s fun to have something to aim for.
8. I didn’t understand, and am still trying to learn how, to find other blogs. I spent the first couple months not really seeing anyones blogs unless they found me first. Now I go out looking for them and am having fun discovering new blogs. I spend a lot of time over at Whimseytopia@wordpress.com and Northernnarratives@wordpress.com . Two new blogs I’ve been enjoying is email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org . All of them are run by folks who seem to be as quirky as me and good senses of humor about things. We all need a laugh now and then and to know what we are not alone in our oopsies, booboos, uhohs and wow cools.
9. How much I’ve enjoyed doing it. I wasn’t sure I could. I failed rather miserably at Nanowrimo, so I was nervous about trying this next.
10. Read others blogs. You would be surprised at how many ideas spawn from reading others experiences, insights and ramblings. Also, watch the prompts. I don’t use them all the time, but sometimes they are just the push I need to think of something to write.
11. I truly would like to expand my subscriptions and make my blog look its best. Its nice to say, I’m going to blog for me, to write my own thoughts down, but it really does make one feel good when others read your stuff and can find something in it that speaks to them, encourages them, makes them laugh, etc. I’ve found that far more fulfilling than I really thought I would. I also want to become a better subscriber and do the same for others folks out there.
Even if you didn’t do the postaday or postaweek thing you could answer these questions. How do you feel about your blogging experience over the last year? or more?
((This very short story came to my mind while I was writing my book. There was no place for it in the book, but I liked the story so much that I kept it as a short.))
“Freak! Beast! Brute!”
The words followed him as he walked down the street, but she ignored them, same as always. Ignoring them was getting harder and harder of late. Loudest of all was Kerg’s voice. Of course. He would be leading the chorus, as usual.
“Tessa, can ye come help me for a second?” Calger’s voice called out from their house just down the road.
“Coming mother,” she called back and broke into a jog, reaching the house quickly. “What do you need, mother?”
“Will ye please play with Sarth for a few minutes? He’s driving me out of my mind and I be trying to get dinner finished. He adores ye and yer so good with him.”
“Sure,” she said as she looked down at the large, chunky toddler who was even now reaching towards her.
“Tessss!” he said and she giggled, flopping down in front of him and starting to play with the small sword and shield their father had given him.
Tessa knew she was loved, but sometimes she wished she wasn’t so different from everyone else. Her mother had been Calger’s friend even though Calger was of the ogre clans and Tessa’s mother, Theria, had been human. Theria was the daughter of a traveling merchant and they passed close enough to Calger’s clan lands on their trade route to trade with the ogre clan. They often stayed several days and Theria and Calger had hit it off as children and become fast friends, all differences aside. That friendship had only grown deeper as they grew. The road could be a rough place to live and raise a family, however. One afternoon while Theria was off with her daughter gathering herbs and roots for dinner a group of bandits had attacked the wagon and killed Tessa’s father, taking with them the horses and wagon and everything the family owned. Theria was alone with a baby and only the clothes on their back. They walked to the closest town and Theria had “borrowed” a horse from the inn and they made their way to Calger’s clan.
Theria had gone to live with Calger and Starak, but she never truly recovered from the shock of finding her beloved husband in the shape he’d been in after the bandits were finished with him. It had been a gruesome sight and Tessa was glad she had been too young to remember the scene in any detail. When her mother died, Calger said of a broken heart, they had taken Tessa in as another daughter. They loved her as much as any parents could love a daughter and Tessa adored both of them. She was raised with love, tenderness, and enough rules to keep her safe. Most of the clan accepted her as readily as had Calger and Starak, but their children, as children tended to be, were often mean to her because she so different.
Looking at Sarth more closely Theria compared the boy to her own remembered features. Most of the ogre children were large, chunky and big-boned. Even as children they had big hands and feet and had heavy, though not overhanging, brows. Tessa was small boned with a piquant face. She would have been considered petit even among her own race. Sarth innately had the hard, aggressive nature that was so rewarded in an ogre clan, whereas Tessa had been a gentle and pliable child.
Growing up, Tessa had never been able to keep up with the others in the rough physical play of the ogre children and she didn’t have the strength to win in the “mock” battles they waged endlessly with each other. While she trained in weapons and fighting along with every other child, she couldn’t master the heavier weapons they favored and special practice armor had had to be made to fit her since nothing they had was made for someone of her size.
Their eyes were generally brown and black with a different color showing up but rarely, but Tessa had bright green eyes like fresh spring dandelion leaves. The clan’s hair mostly ran to shades of brown, black and dark blond, but Tessa had bright red locks that were always unruly.
In every way, she stuck out like a sore thumb in the clan and she wondered often what she would do to make a place for herself here. The children aside, this was still her home and the only one she really remembered. She just wished that Kerg and his group didn’t make her life such hell.
A gong rang out loudly and everything came to a standstill in the house. It was the alarm gong. Something was very wrong.
“Stay with Sarth,” her mother said, “I’ll go see what’s happened.”
Tessa waited impatiently for her mother to return and when she did, her face was grim.
“I need ye to go to the Chieftain, Tessa. Kerg has fallen into a crevice and canna get out. No one be small enough to reach him but ye. I know how much ye hate him, and for good reason, but . . . “
“I may hate him but he is strong and my clan brother. I will not let down the clan who took me in and has made me their daughter, no matter how I feel about Kerg personally.”
Calger smiled and hugged Tessa tightly. “No mother could be more proud of a daughter than I am of you, Tessa. Go now, and please, be careful. I’ll be out there soon as I find someone to tend to Sarth for me.”
Reaching the Chieftain’s tent, Tessa was quickly apprised of the situation. She and several of the men, Kerg’s father included, ran to where Kerg was stuck. They could hear him shouting to the others already gathered around the crevice as they arrived.
“Kerg, ye will be quiet and listen now. We can nay reach ye. Ye ye be down too far for any of us to come in without also getting stuck. We have one chance. We be sending down Tessa. She be smallest. She will slather ye with lard and hopefully we’ll be able to pull ye free. Ye ken?”
“Aye, Chieftain, I ken,” came the muffled reply.
“Tessa,” the Chieftain said, bending down so that only she could hear his next words. “Thank ye for yer willingness to do this. All know how ye feel about each other. Kerg will be needing to learn a lot of lessons the hard way in his life because he be selfish and nay secure in himself. He WILL learn, but he has nay yet. Ye may think we do nay notice his cruelties but we do and it be partially because he gets angry about being caught and punished for it that he takes it out on ye. He is nay very bright.”
The Chieftain grinned and winked at her and she stifled a giggle.
“Still, he be a member of the clan and a strong lad. Ye are also a clan member and I want ye to always remember that yer home be here with us. Thank ye for putting yer feelings behind to do what be best for the clan and for that foolish cub.”
Tessa beamed at the ogre Chieftain. He epitomized in looks all that outsiders feared most about ogres, but his heart was kind and gentle where his own were concerned.
“I’ll do my best, Chieftain. I promise.”
“I know ye will, cub. Of ye I never doubted anything less.”
He coughed and stood, gruffly shouting for someone to wrap a rope around her waist and give her the lard.
The trip into the crevice was slow but without incident and when she reached where Kerg was stuck she hailed him.
“I’m here Kerg. I’ll have you covered with lard in a few minutes and they will haul you out of here as slick as a dart through a blowpipe.”
“Tessa, I . . . why are ye here?”
“Because you are my clan brother no matter what else you do or say, Kerg. You will be a good, strong hunter for the clan and I would not deprive them of that no matter how I feel about you.”
“Oh . . . well, thank ye. I be sorry that I’ve . . . “
“Don’t go saying anything you’ll regret later,” she said wryly.
“Just don’t fall in any more crevices. There . . . you are about as greased as I can manage to get you. Pull him up!” Tessa shouted the last part upwards and immediately she saw the rope around Kerg’s arms tighten.
She pushed and pulled him as best she could from her own dangling position and after a lot of grunting, groaning and abrasions she felt him break free and start to rise. She could hear the cheering above and felt her own rope start to rise, lifting her out of the rocky space. When they were both up on solid ground and untied, Tessa started to walk towards her mother, who was waiting for her in the crowd that had been watching.
“Tessa, wait . . . “ Kerg said gruffly.
She turned and faced him knowing he wouldn’t say anything mean in front of so many witnesses.
“I was wrong. Ye look different, but ye be nay beast, nor ugly. I have been the beast. Ye be clan and ye belong here. I will nay say otherwise ever again. I owe ye my life and I will nay ever forget that debt.”
Tessa couldn’t have felt more shocked. She looked around at the brutish, rough, heavy features of the ogres, who she knew outsiders called beasts and savages and smiled. She was home. She could take whatever names she got called, just as they did, for she knew her place and she knew her home and family. She would never ignore the taunts again, but stand up for herself because she had the right to do so. She was as beautiful as they were and belonged here just as they did.
Yep, its that time again. I’m signed up, have my ideas ready to hit paper and am getting little bits of nerves. Will I make the entire 50K word count? I don’t know. I like my book idea, but is there enough to fill that many pages? (approx. 200) I guess I’ll find out. I really should have taken the time to do more of a layout for myself, but one thing or another keeps taking precedence. I’m going to remember now to be too hard on myself if I don’t make it. It’s my first time doing this and will be a learning experience no matter how I do. I’m not being defeatist, but I’m also not going to beat myself up or make myself sick as has happened on other projects too numerous to count. I’m going to view this as a fun adventure and not a matter of life or death.
Wish me luck all. I’ll keep my word counts posted. I’ll try making a text box down the sidebar and see if I can keep it updated there.