Saturday, November 21, 2009

Adventures in Arkady



Ariana woke the next morning after writing down the wonderfully peaceful dream to the sounds of a battle outside and sprang to the window to see what was going on. Pirata was leading the rebels in hand to hand combat exercises. The sun was very high in the sky, practically overhead. She stretched carefully and went into the bathroom to bathe and brush her teeth. She peeled off the bandages and was surprised that she wasn’t more banged up than she was. The welt was still an angry red and there was a small amount of bruising, but the dried blood washed off easily enough.

She toweled off and slid on a light-weight linen chiton of sky blue and girded with a silver cord. She brushed her hair carefully and wound it into a roll in the back of her head and pinned it with a silver barrette. She went downstairs to the kitchen and poured herself a cup of coffee and almost felt guilty that she hadn’t checked in on Aristotles as she had gone by. She made herself a brunch of eggs and ham, with fresh milk and orange juice. After she finished, she covered her dress with an apron and washed the too many pots and pans that had accumulated. She hoped her mother wasn’t feeding every single one of the soldiers. It was bad enough to be feeding the two already! Aiding and Abetting went through her mind again…

She went outside to check the few animals they had left: a couple of cows, a rooster, and some scrawny, not even good for soup hens, but they laid wonderful eggs, and she really like the flighty things. As she crossed the yard with the rooster in her arms, she remembered climbing the huge, ancient oak tree, falling out of it, almost breaking her neck, running through the fields growing high with wheat and wildflowers, riding horses across the knolls, planting her favourite flowers in beds and vines to cling to the portico. She sighed deeply thinking of how things had changed so dramatically in such a little amount of time.

Ariana hadn’t been paying attention to where she’d been walking…she had never had to before…but she found herself out where some of the men had been.

“I got a better cock for you to pat.” The voice came from behind her and the good old rooster crowed and raised his hackles. He jumped away from Ariana and spurred the man, who kicked the bird. The rooster wasn’t going to run away from protecting his mistress and came back for another round. She grabbed her bird up before the soldier could punt him again and looked desperately for a friendly face. Even Pirata’s son would be more than welcome, but he had kept a low profile since his punishment.

A warning flashed through her mind quickly, and she released the bird so that he could get away and Goddess knew, if he could, get help for her. An arm came around her throat from behind and she found herself on the ground fighting for air. She struggled and managed a gurgling scream before a piece of cloth was shoved in her mouth and her hands held above her head. The sun was baking her bare skin as her dress was torn away and she heard an electric crackle over the lustful panting above her. She wanted to just go away from her body; to not feel what was going to happen.

The men didn’t hear the whip singing above their heads until the first lash landed. The group that surrounded her broke apart like mist in the sun. The infamous electric whip cleared the way for her rescuers. She could’ve cried with relief when she saw Pirata and Vulpes, with her rooster on his shoulder like a big goofy parrot.

The older man reached her a step before his son and lifted her to her feet. He whisked her away without a word. Her dignity was long gone and she couldn’t control the hurt and terrified sobs that broke free from her soul. The two men got her to the front door, then Pirata whispered something to his son, and returned to the scene of the crime.

As Vulpes walked her up the stairs, she asked, “How did you know I was in…trouble?” He rubbed the bird’s wattles and said, “The rooster went into the tree and wouldn’t shut up. When Ari went looking to see if you could do it, you weren’t in your room and our troops were too quiet all of a sudden…”

She left her escort outside the door and went inside. Aristotles’ eyes followed her across the room. She took off her now destroyed clothes showered with water as hot as she could stand, and put on a dress that had seen better days, being patched with various stains on it…she used it when she did the heavy cleaning. She took the barrette out of her hair and threw it on the floor.

“I’m sorry, Ariana. I’ll have to have a talk with my men. This kind of thing can’t be happening when I’m not out there with them.”

“Talk to them!” she screeched. “They should be beaten to within an inch of their lives! Starting with YOU!!!” The rebel leader flinched at her words.

Aristotles finished tucking his shirt into his pants and turned back to her. “Come with me.” She meekly followed him. Pirata had the men in formation. When the rebel leader motioned Ariana and Helen forward, she almost wished one of them would raise their ashamed faces to her so she could glare at them. He put his hand on the women’s shoulders and stated, “The Lady Helen and her daughter are the owners of this place and no harm will come to them. If there are any concerns between them and you, come to me. I will take care of it. They will NOT be used for your sport. If these ladies are hurt by anything that you do, the penalty will be 50 lashes, then hanging. It is not open to debate. This I have decreed.”

He turned to Vulpes and said, “And give Ariana back that Gods damned bird…” She stuck out her arm and the rooster marched regally from the boy’s shoulder to hers. Pirata dismissed the men and Ariana went to put the rooster back with his hens…she walked by the kitchen and broke him off a piece of bread for his valiant efforts. She dropped him and his treat off in the yard with an extra pat.

“Do you have a minute?” Ariana turned so fast all the birds scattered. She trailed Pirata to the barn and they perched on some old hay bales.

“You need to know something about him…Ari’s father was an Archon many years ago. He was stealing and lying and cheating his people so that the poor had nothing. They rose up and deposed him. In return, he blamed all his troubles on his child. He was beaten constantly…” Ariana felt another twinge of conscience because of what she had said. “Most of the physical scars are gone, but there are some mental ones that still fester. When he grew up, he knew he’d join a rebellion so that another like his father might not come to power.”

She looked him straight in the eye and asked simply, “What are you warning me about?”

“I’m just asking you to be careful around him.”

“Don’t you trust your leader?”

“With my life, Ariana. And you can trust him with yours. And Helen’s. I wouldn’t have my youngest serve with him if I thought I couldn’t. I just thought you should know.”

She thanked him and left…that was something else to think about. She felt that she could trust Pirata, maybe Vulpes, but their friend and leader, not so much. Especially if what the old one eyed soldier said was true…which she had no reason to doubt. She knew the battle scarred veteran wouldn’t lie to make her feel sorry for Aristotles. That WAS a shitty upbringing, and she was once again reminded of how good she had had it with her two loving parents.

Ariana was surprised that she hadn’t had a reaction yet to the attack on her. She hadn’t ever been that close to having had such a personal attack. Her suitors might’ve tried a grope or two, or stolen kisses, but they had been easily fended off…If no one had noticed, the rape most certainly would’ve taken place. She wouldn’t have been able to stop it…Even though it was summertime warm, she started to shiver and her teeth chattered…She fled up the stairs and into her room. She jumped into the bed, gathered some heavy blankets around her, and let herself have a good cry. In the next moment, her mother was there, rocking her like she was a baby, and looking her over from head to toe. She cried harder.

“She wasn’t touched, Helen.” Pirata stated from the doorway. “We got to her in time.”

“Thank Hera!” her mother exclaimed. “No man would have her otherwise.”

Well SHIT! Ariana thought. That can’t be all she cares about…So she asked, plainly and baldly for the truth in front of witnesses. “Why would you think that, mother?”

“Your virginity is part of your dowry.”

“How backwards is that? If there’s a value to be had it should be for what’s between a woman’s ears rather than what’s between her legs…” Ariana blushed to the roots of her hair at Aristotles’ words. If he meant it as a compliment for her brain power, she would take it as such. It really WAS a backward way of thinking. There was more to life than to just bear children: she wanted to travel like her father, learn and do and experience, just like he had. Then maybe she’d settle down with the man of her choice, when she was darned good and ready. That’s what her father got for telling her stories about property owning women, women who ran whole estates, leading armies and all sorts of other empowering activities without the help of men. She knew her own mind. She knew what she wanted and a guy wasn’t going to get into the middle of it and just plain fuck it up. If she had to be completely honest, she’d much rather Aristotles to little Yiorgios, her bespectacled, bugeyed betrothed…yeesh!

After a while, she mechanically went through the motions of preparing dinner. She had no idea what she cooked, but ate it anyway. The other three at the table kept casting glances her way, but she didn’t notice, so lost in her thoughts she was. She went to bed early, still with the cogs of her mind spinning endlessly.
Those damned blue eyes were in the middle of it all…and their child…What the Hades was up with that?

It took a couple of days for her to work it all through…She’d keep her mouth shut about the dream/vision. The rebel leader didn’t need to know about it. There was no feeling of how the child had been conceived, consensual or through force. It didn’t seem like force to her, so they would be close sometime…he had looked older, so it was in a distant future. She almost wished she could figure out the exact timing…She sighed…no, she really didn’t need to know…

“Are you done brooding now?” Her mother asked, when she passed by with a tray of freshly baked bread…

It wasn’t brooding as much as heavily involved thinking…and that always took time…she’d sometimes take off to a secret glade in the woods and just ponder for hours. She felt trapped in the house with all the men around it. It had never bothered her this much when the workers were there, what was the big difference?

The rebel leader was the big difference, if she was honest. They walked around each other like wary animals, but she sensed a few tentative first steps towards a truce. Her mother and Pirata were having a great time together…it was rather sickening actually. Holding hands when they thought noone could see them. Yuck! The morning that she came out of the room with a basket of her dirty laundry and there was Pirata in her mother’s bed, just completely freaked her out…and she couldn’t even look at either of them.

Not that she’d begrudge her mother any happiness that she could get. Gods knew it had been a struggle for them. If it hadn’t been for her father’s insurance which had been extremely generous, pensions from being Archon, and other sundry little things that arrived every now and again by messenger, they wouldn’t have been able to get through it all.

A couple of weeks into the rebel’s stay, Ariana and Aristotles found themselves alone in the house. The wheat was being harvested to be ground. It always made her allergies act up so she got out of that part of it and the threshing. Pirata, Helen and most of the armed force had gone to help out because it seemed like the usual pickers were not coming because they had been taken to interment camps until they could be sorted out as to which side they were on…Actually, they weren’t on any side, just following the harvests. It made Ariana ill to think of all the nice people that had helped out being caged like wild beasts.

She was heading out to the portico to sit and read a book with her cup of coffee.

“May I join you?” He must’ve been sneaking right up behind her because she hadn’t heard him. She jumped up, dropped her book, losing her place and sloshing her coffee onto her dress and her bare feet.

“Dammit!” She swore. “I thought I was the only one here.”

He produced a handkerchief from a pocket in his uniform pants, and dabbed at her dress. It was wonderfully sheer from the moisture and there was no hiding the fact that she was a grown woman from him, a full figured one at that.

His eyes blazed like blue lasers, and he couldn’t seem to find any words…after what seemed like an aeon, he pointed to the door and Ariana ran to change…She had just been made more aware that Aristotles was a fine specimen of human male and she had seen his more than normal reaction to her near nakedness.

She splashed water on her face, hoping that her internal trembling wouldn’t show on the outside. His touching her had had nothing sexual to it, but DAMN! The butterflies that were flitting through her seemed the size of Python. She had never felt like that! Ever! They had touched briefly when passing such mundane items as a salt shaker at supper or she’d put a hand on his shoulder when it was time for lunch. She had seen him shirtless, but even on the night that she had woken screaming, she hadn’t seen him naked, she had been too afraid to even sneak a peek.

Ariana descended and went back to the porch. There was more coffee poured, the creamer and honey jar, and her book was on the wicker table. A knock sounded on the door frame and she turned. “I didn’t know how you liked it. Sorry.” It seemed like the rebel leader was back under control too. She silently thanked the Gods for that. She poured in her usual ton of milk. She liked it with no sweeteners even though most folks used honey.

In a comedy of errors, she was sitting on the near side of the table and the other chair was on the far side. Either she moved or he had to step over her feet to sit…She decided to move at the same time that he decided to step over. They inadvertently brushed against each other all way up.

“Mithra, Ariana.” Was all he managed to say. The coffee was forgotten as he crushed her to him. She felt as though her body was butter melting in the sun…His kisses became more forceful, and she tentatively ran her hand up his chest to his shoulder feeling the hair under her fingertips. She fit into the shape of him like a hand in a glove He finally broke the embrace and stepped away to the far side of the porch. He ran his fingers through his hair as she sunk into the chair because there were no bones left anywhere in her body.


“Thank the Gods”
“Thank Mithra”

The older folks’ arrival couldn’t have been better timed. They looked between the two younger people…Pirata swore softly.

“You cannot do this!” Her mother shrieked.

“We didn’t do anything.” Ariana protested.

“This is your future, I’m worrying about.”

“Oh for the Gods’ sakes, Mother! I am STILL a virgin! Your money is still safe!”

“Do you have anything to say, mister?!” She turned on Aristotles.

“No, kyria. I have not violated your daughter.” He explained why she had changed clothes and Ariana produced the evidence.

Pirata didn’t look any less dismayed. He sighed heavily and dropped into the chair Ariana had vacated.

“Ari, our coming here wasn’t an accident. I knew where this place was. I had been here with your father a few times. I met Helen back then.”

The rebel leader looked stunned. “What are you getting at?”

Ariana pieced it together first. ”It’s possible we’re half siblings.” Oh Gods. Ewww! No wonder her mother was so shocked when she saw Pirata. “Your father left Athenai, came here and started over with a new family.”

“That son of a bitch!” My mother swore. “I never knew!”

“He kept it quiet, Helen. He would’ve been tracked down and denounced as the traitor he was and then you and Ariana would’ve been denounced too. And the two of you would’ve been probably executed…”

Shit…Could it be any worse? What about now? Same deal seemed like it applied only now they KNEW that they were harboring criminals…Who was to say that the current Archon didn’t know about this place too? Ariana asked the question.

“Only Zeno and I knew about this place. And now that he’s gone…” The one eye shrugged. “Now Ari does too.”

“That’s not all of it is there?” Ariana looked straight at Pirata. “Ari…” the name felt familiar on her lips. “He wears the crest of your house, not Zeno’s like I do…” It was a custom to tattoo the children with a crest or monogram of the father’s house.

Ariana’s tattoo was an interwoven A and Z, but Pirata‘s, Vulpes’ and Ari‘s were a fox head.

“Ari’s my foster son.” She tapped her foot and waited for the whole truth to finally emerge…

“I was seduced by Lena, Zeno’s wife, as revenge because he was ignoring her. I was young and stupid and cheated on my sons‘ mother. Lena told him during a fight and we had words…”

“Had words! Bullshit! Pirata! He took your eye!”

The others on the porch gaped at Ariana, except for Ari.

“I think I’ve known all along. You took me into your home when Zeno left. Your wife never liked me and I thought it was because I was just a foster child…Now I know the truth. Thank you, old friend.”

She crossed to Ari and took his hand. She got a quick flash of her father beating his son for the smallest offense, until the little boy finally stood up to him at the tender age of 8. He was then cast off to the Vulpes clan to wave the mistake under his true father and his wife’s nose. Pirata had never treated Ari any differently than his troop of legitimate sons. All 10 of them!!

The older couple left the younger one. Helen still wasn’t happy about the closeness they were sharing, but at least her daughter was still chaste…she couldn’t even remotely say that about her and Pirata though…

An hour later, the veteran called to Ari and Ariana that it was supper time. Once again, she had no idea what she ate. Her mother was a good cook too. She got let out of dish duty because Pirata took up that slack for the night. She figured her mother and he wanted some alone time too.

It was sunny out, but dusk was coming, so they decided to take advantage of it.

“Be careful.” Pirata warned. She presumed it wasn’t about sex. At the very least they weren’t related by blood, thank Hera! No relation at all really. She had known anyways…the dream she had of Ari’s child had pointed that out for her. Ariana knew that Ari would be honorable, at least she hoped he would be. He hadn’t done anything more than a quick kiss when they had gone through the front door.

Helen had once told an old school friend that you could walk for days before coming to all the edges of our property. Ariana had never tried. She had heard stories of people getting “taken” in the woods and thought it was all scary stories so the kids wouldn’t go in and get lost. She had taken Yiorgios once to the edge of the forest and he wimped out and didn’t want to go in after he got there. She had gone to her special place and waited for him to come too, but he had never showed and she had gone back to the house to find him crying that he had lost her in the forest. Ariana had been grounded for a month. If it had been Ari, she knew that he would’ve followed right in after her.

A tugging at her wrist made her stop. Ari had paused to talk to some of his troops. She wasn’t afraid of anything happening to her anymore. She felt safe and protected with Ari nearby. She wandered a bit more, but stopped short feeling a presence behind her. It was Vulpes, smiling shyly.

“I haven’t thanked you for saving me, kyria. I’m sorry you got hurt too.”

“That’s alright. I was stupid and it was my own fault.”

“Would you like me to walk with you? Ari seems to be tied up…” She had noticed that too. He was stopping and talking to whoever came up to him.

“That’s okay, Vulpes, I’ve been walking these woods since I was a child. I’ll be fine.”

She continued on a couple of steps, before he grabbed her arm, glancing nervously back at the encampment. “But, kyria, it’s not safe anymore.”

“Release me this instant!” She yelped, more frightened than angry. He looked guiltily at the ground as Ari came stomping over.

“What’s going on here?!” He wanted a good answer and quickly.

She spoke soothingly. “Not a thing. Your foster brother just wanted to let me know that if you were going to be tied up for any length of time, that he’d see me safely on my walk.”

“Get back to camp, Vulpes!” The kid slunk away. Ariana wanted to go with him. They hadn’t done anything wrong, but she felt as if she had been caught with her hand in the cookie jar.

“I don’t want my soldiers to get the wrong idea about my arraboniastikia.” Ariana knew her mouth was hanging open…

“Ari, I’ve been promised to Yiorgios Pallas. We‘ve been betrothed since I was 10 years old.”

“Do you love him, Ariana? Can you say that he makes your heart beat faster? Or make your knees give way?”

She wanted to tell him “Yes!” but couldn’t lie. She shook her head. “If I break the contract, we’d lose our house. His family lent us the money for the taxes when my father left. It was part of the agreement.”

“Is it just the money? When this is all over, I will have that and more. I can repay the loan to them.”

“I’m not a mercenary, Ari. If there was more time, I could fall in love with you. But I know that the time’s not right, and you’ll be leaving…” her voice broke. “And I will have nothing left to give to my husband.”

This conversation was not going to end well and she knew it. She was in love with the blond blue-eyed rebel, and in lust with him too…she needed some time alone to think and she’d only be able to get that peace in one spot…

She gave Ari a lingering kiss on the lips and slipped into the woods. He stood stunned for a few seconds before he pursued her. She knew the small paths and thickets to hide in to evade him. He was pretty good though, almost finding her twice. At last she made it to the safety of her secret spot. There was a standing stone, and a tiny brook, with a lovely natural arbour that formed a cave overhead.

She heard him calling out for her, but resisted answering. If he found her now, there would be only one conclusion and it would involve her giving herself to him and that just couldn’t happen. Not with the loan and the dowry hanging over her head. It was finally almost full dark. There were no rustling in the bushes of the night animals starting to forage and that wasn’t right and she suddenly got a frisson of fear rising up her spine.

She turned at a footstep beside her and a dark shadow reached for her. It wasn’t Ari and the animal/zoo smell of the arm that grabbed her wasn’t human…Before she was able to fight whatever it was off, two more hands grabbed her throat and pressed. The waning light turned into complete blackness and she was lost to the world.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Adventures in Arkady Part 1 Chapter 2

What seemed like an eternity later, Ariana thought that she had dreamed the whole thing…until she rolled onto her back. She let out an agonized groan which brought Pirata over to her. Her head felt stuffed with cotton and she asked the time, at which he told her that she had been asleep for 2 nights and a day…She saw something in the old man’s eye that almost made her ask about the rebel leader…but she hadn’t even uttered the question when he answered her anyway.

“Ari blames himself for you getting hurt.” Well no kidding…It WAS his fault! “You really should’ve stayed inside, Ariana.”
“I couldn’t have let him kill your son, Pirata. I just couldn’t….” He patted her arm.

“He wouldn’t have gone that far. And I have more older and wiser sons who could take Vulpes’ place.” She wanted to ask another question, but a rap sounded on the door. Aristotles came in and, ignoring her, asked Pirata how she was…He shrugged.


“Then take your leave, old friend. There’s real coffee brewed.” The one eye stretched and yawned and left the two of them alone in HER room. Aristotles looked tired and she squashed the slight tinge of feeling sorry for him. Helen told her later that he hadn’t slept since the incident and had paced the house asking after her every five minutes. He closed the door after his friend had left, then came closer to collapse into an over stuffed chair by her bed. He rubbed the back of his neck, then took one of her hands in his. It was rough and calloused, but felt like it belonged there…”Oh NO!!!” Her inner voice screamed…”This was NOT going to happen!” Ariana closed her fingers tentatively tighter around it. The rebel leader shifted in the chair so that he was looking directly down at her. There were dark circles under his eyes and he didn’t appear as if he had shaved in quite a while either. “He’s actually pretty cute” she thought. “Scruffily cute.” He ran his free hand through his cross cropped blond hair and tried to stifle a yawn.

“Maybe you should get some sleep, too.” She finally said, after finishing her inspection of him.

“I can’t…” he stated simply.

“Why not?”

“Because it’s all YOUR fault…”

“What?!! My fault! I saw the blood lust in your eyes…you would’ve killed the boy! And the punishment no way NEAR fit the crime…”

“I cannot have dissension in the ranks!”

“But he’s only a child…

“He’s a half score and six years and has been with us for 3 years now. He should know better to hold his tongue by now…”

Three years!!! And they were just hearing about a rebellion NOW?! Stupid state run media…
“Nice of you to be stealing children for your rebellion.”

“Look, I won’t get into this right. I’m too tired to have an around the sundial argument with you.” His grip loosened and his eyelids fluttered shut.

“Now what“, she thought. “Should I wake him? He can’t stay here, even if he’s asleep and I would hope he’d know that I’m not…” She couldn’t finish the ridiculous way her mind was going.

Gritting her teeth and pushing the light linen sheet back, she rolled over and swung her feet out of the bed. She smirked at the surprised expression he had when she poked his shoulder and his eyes flew open.

“Take the bed, I’m done with sleeping…”she said. “It won’t be the first time I’ve slept in that chair.”

“But your back…”

“It really doesn’t hurt all that much.” She grimaced as a fold of her way too short, way too sheer summer cotton nightgown scraped across one of the wounds.

“There’s plenty of room.” The rebel leader looked between the bed and her.

“For who?”

“For the both of us…”

Ariana must’ve looked absolutely petrified, like Medusa had just peeked in the window, because he changed the subject. “Let me check your dressing.” She turned around, not wanting to watch him seeing her bare skin and what any response might be. But unfortunately, she could still see him in the mirror that hung on the door. They both winced. She because it hurt and he because he must’ve known how badly it hurt for him to be peeling off some of the tape to look.

“Looks like Pirata knew what he was doing with that herbal junk. There’s no infection, and you seem to be healing nicely.” Only one of the cords had actually landed on her back, thank the Gods, but still…she knew she’d have a nice scar to explain to her family someday. She could feel herself blushing as Aristotles’ eyes met hers in the mirror. He let the back of the gown down slowly so that it wouldn’t hurt her more and turned away. To give him some privacy, she went into the bathroom, used the facilities, brushed her teeth, even though raising her arms hurt like Hades; and splashed water on her face. She didn’t know if the dress she had been wearing would be worth saving or just put into the give away pile. When she figured enough time had gone by, she came back into her bedroom to find his clothes left on the floor and the man in her bed…To run away screaming would’ve been the wisest course of action, but Ariana didn’t. She pulled up a footstool and tried to get comfortable in the chair. She felt his eyes on her, but ignored the rebel leader’s glance. She was still a little groggy from the shot she had been given, and weak from the pain and knew that she still needed more sleep to help her heal.

She gave up the attempt to find a way for her injury not to be pressed on in any way after a few minutes while sleeping sitting up and made her way back to her bed. She kept her eyes averted and slipped under the sheet. The bed moved as he shifted next to her, but she closed her eyes and prayed that he wouldn’t get any ideas…or maybe she was just worried that her own curiosity would get the best of her…

As his breath became slow and deep, Ariana knew there would be no way that she’d be able to fall asleep as quickly, if at all. On the other side of the bathroom was the room her mother had set up for him, so she made her escape. She closed the door on her bedroom side, but locked the one in the other room. Doors weren’t usually locked in the house, but she felt a bit safer that way. She flopped on the bed, and was lost to the Land of Hypnos.

She dreamt of Aristotles and what would be. She’d have a child with him. Pirata would be fine with Helen and the rebellion would be ended. Too many times, when she dreamed, it came to pass. She had given up on telling anyone. There were lots of people who thought she was a prophetess or worse, a WITCH! Having such a curse, or a talent, wasn’t for the weak, she knew after the first time she told a friend that her mother was going to have a baby and it wasn’t going to be the husband’s…and got beaten up for her trouble. It had started after she had become a woman and sometimes she wished BOTH things would go away. She wrote the dreams down just to keep a record of them. Some of the more vague ones didn’t happen, but if there was any clarity with people and places and times, things that could be experienced by her senses, those were the ones that would come true.

Why she hadn’t dreamed of Ari before he appeared in her home shocked her! How could something so earth shattering not have come to her beforehand? She couldn’t say anything to him. Just because the Oracle at Delphi was still being used didn’t mean that everyone had to be one or even listened to. She remembered the story of Cassandra who wouldn’t yield her virginity to Apollo and he gave her the gift of prophecy with the fine print that she would never be believed. Or would the rebel leader drag her all over the country, hoping he could use her in some way to make the battles go his way?

Ariana rolled over, and felt again the stinging of the whip and a flash of light as it descended and woke up screaming! The bathroom side door was broken in, and Pirata and Helen rushed in to find a naked Aristotles holding the hysterical woman in his arms. The thunder from outside and another bolt of lightning lit the room.

“She’s always been afraid when Zeus is hurling his thunderbolts.” her mother, switching on the light, explained as Pirata threw his friend a blanket to put around him. She felt safe in the rebel leader’s embrace, but moved away to use an offered handkerchief from her mother. Mortified wasn’t even close enough to use to describe her current situation…Screaming out loud, and crying like a baby, being found in a naked man’s arms, let alone one she had known for all of 3 days…

What an intolerable situation! Ariana was still trembling, with her heart beating a mile a minute, but at least she was fully clothed. That would’ve made it so much worse. There would’ve been no suitable explanation. It was bad enough that HE didn’t have anything on, but with HER bare too…forget it! Her father would’ve forced them to be married at gunpoint or just shot him on the spot…All of a sudden, she wanted her daddy back. He had been her rock of Gibraltar and she needed him right now.

She squared her shoulders, blew her nose and took a deep breath, centering herself and feeling the security of her home around her. The rebel leader put his hand on her shoulder. She turned to look at him. “I’m okay now, thanks.” He removed it and stood. He nodded to the two older people and left through the broken door.

“Would you like me to give you a sleeping potion?” She nodded and within 5 minutes her mother came back with a drink that tasted of mint and caused her dreams of quiet green realms, burbling streams and Satyrs playing their pipes.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Nano 09~Adventures in Arkady~~

This one's set in Greece around the time of the Trojan War.
The main characters are Ariana, Aristotles, King Theran. There are lots of incidental characters too.


It started like any other early summer morning in Ariana’s short life…how was she to know that what was about to happen would change her life, and she hadn’t even had the good (or bad) fortune to have seen it coming.

She and her mother were in the parlour of their home watching the video screen. When the breaking news fanfare blared and the banner appeared, she felt that something had gone wrong, and nothing would be the same again.

The bad feeling was reinforced when the talking heads stated that the country was at war. The government was going to do all they could to stop the Rebellion, but it would be a long drawn-out ordeal and they needed all of the citizens’ “help” to shorten it.

Neither woman agreed with the current leaders’ idiocy…he was a blathering puppet to his advisor’s puppet masters. When he made appearances, it was like they propped him up and pulled his strings to make him move correctly…

Since they were way out in the country, away from the large cities, they figured they’d have plenty of time to prepare in case the worst came to pass. The crops were all planted and doing well. The winter had been mild, like it usually was, just a dusting of snow, more of an annoyance than a hazard. Ariana had heard that some parts could be completely covered. The big city of Athenai didn’t get much either, not that they went there all that often now that her father was gone. It was amazing to think it had been as many years as it had. She knew that her mother, Helen Zeno, missed him. She had seen her staring down the road too many times when she was younger. She had always hoped that he’d come back. He had to give her away at her wedding. She had been betrothed at the age of 10 in an arranged marriage to a son on a neighboring (if you could say, 4 miles away was neighboring) estate.

While her mother was lost in her thoughts, and Ariana pondered what might need to be done in the fields in the next few weeks, a sharp rap sounded at the door. They weren’t expecting any visitors, because they would’ve been sent a message before hand…

Helen went to open the door anyway. A uniformed man and about a dozen others pushed their way in. Helen was shoved aside as they checked all the rooms on the first floor with guns drawn, then went up the stairs. Ariana sprang to her feet as they streamed in.

“You’ve got no right here!” she yelled, glaring at the leader. “Get out of our house!”

He looked down at her and stated quietly, “We have every right. There’s a war on.”

My mother went to turn off the video screen, but as she did the Archon came on and started to blather on about the Rebels: their appearances; he made them out to look like trolls or worse, except for their leader who he described as having one eye and a beard. Photos were flashed on the screen, as the vitriol continued. It ended with one of the puppet masters telling the citizenry that they were all armed and considered dangerous and anyone giving aid to them would be considered traitors too…

“Wonderful,” Ariana thought. “We’ve been struggling all these years to prevent our home from being taken by the government for taxes, just so they can take it through no fault of ours.”

The voice died out as one of the soldiers put his rifle butt through the screen. Helen gasped in horror, and Ariana picked up a heavy crystal trinket dish to hurl at the man.

“That will be enough!” A different voice snapped. “We are guests in these ladies’ house and will act accordingly.”

“Not the rabble you obviously are.” Ariana muttered under her breath. She didn’t think that anyone heard her, but HE did…

“Very true”. The soldier stated drily, as his ice blue eyes scanned her up and down. Ariana’s spine stiffened and her chin came up as she took offense to being looked over like she was a ewe going to market. It seemed like THIS was the man in charge rather than the one that the Archon THOUGHT was the leader as he seemed to defer to the younger man. “Interesting” Ariana thought to herself.

The one eyed older man came to stand beside the newcomer and an expression of the Gods knew what came into his face as he looked at his leader, Helen and she. Her mother seemed to try to become invisible under the one-eye’s dark gaze. The two men spoke quietly, before the command of “At Ease!” came. The clatter of rifles being dropped to the floor sounded and soldiers kept watch out the windows, while others flopped where they were.

Helen ran out to the kitchen and as Ariana watched her go, she got a chill as she realized that they were just two women against however many armed rebels. She wasn’t keen on the odds at all. The old one eye looked at her and as if reading her mind growled, “There is less harm to come from us than your Archon, so you don’t have to be afraid.”

The leader glanced at his men and then around the room.

“Is there a place to talk here?”

She led them down the hall and into the dining room. It had two open windows which the leader gazed at nervously before she shut them and closed the curtains. The older man stood guard by the door, which he closed after looking behind them.

Without too much preamble, the leader started explaining why they chose this particular place instead of another.

“My name is Aristotles and am the head of this band of soldiers. My friend here” He indicated the one eyed man, “Is Pirata Vulpes and we have need of an out of the way place to house our forces. We don’t wish harm to you or your property, but if it comes to that, we will not hesitate to take what we need by force…”

“We’ve heard what the Archon said.” Ariana stated. “Is it true? That we could lose everything by helping you?”

Both rebel leaders nodded.

“Shit!” she thought. “At least they’re standing up for something while the rest of the country sit and complain and do nothing…”

Aristotles must’ve realized that she was thinking fiercely because when she again paid attention to where she was, he had a wry smile on his face.

It was just about noon and Ariana’s stomach felt the embarrassing need to growl that it was time to be fed. Not that she wanted to be aiding and abetting people on the government Shit List, but ingrained politeness required her to ask if they were hungry.

The three went into the kitchen where Helen was finishing up making some simple sandwiches. They were Ariana’s favourite too: Tuna with celery, onions and tomatoes…She went to the refrigerator, took out the pitcher of lemonade, put it on the table and got four glasses for them all. Her mother opened the jar of Kalamata Olives and Feta cheese and set that out too.

The guys set into the food like it had been years since they had seen any… After the tableware had been set into the sink, Ariana started washing them. “Evkeristo” Aristotles said from too close behind her. She almost jumped out of her skin. When she turned around, he had taken off the soft cap he wore and she saw the blond hair and blue eyes that were so rare in the country. She, herself, had light brown hair and grey eyes, a small nose, and round face from some long distant lost traveler from over the mountains, and thousands of miles and years away.

She could hardly fathom where HIS ancestors were from, except the WAY far North where they wore bear furs and horned helmets and wrote in a strange alphabet, and raped and pillaged. She had learned about some of the cultures outside her own because of her father’s travels. He used to bring back momentos that he’d let her rummage through his cases to find. It was like a small treasure hunt when he returned. Ariana gave herself a mental shake as Pirata’s voice broke through her reverie.

“Gods, Ari, you have good fortune in finding excellent locations.” He continued. “ Although we’re in the middle of nowhere, the estate is in the very heart of Archon territory. Lady Helen told me…”

Ariana’s jaw dropped. How dare the rebel refer to her mother by her given name?!

“She also showed me the storehouses and the root cellar. There’s enough food for all of us…” Us WHO?! Ariana thought “to last a long siege.”

“Good” Aristotles, purred, rubbing at the scruff of a beard. Because the house stood on a bit of a hill and the forest edges were over a mile away with one long winding road in, it was easily defensible…Ariana could almost hear the gears turning in his mind.

Her father had picked the spot for the same reason…”Clever man. Is his daughter as intelligent?” Ariana blinked at the rebel leader.

“Excuse me?!”

Aristotles spoke to her again as if she were a simple child…”I asked if you had any brains in that pretty little head of yours…but since you didn’t answer, I would presume not…”

In outrage, she took a swing at him. “How dare he think that she was a stupid child?!!!” He had hold of her fist before it made it halfway to his jaw. “She doesn’t have very much good sense, does she? I cannot in good conscience converse with a child with a half score of years behind her….”She swung the other fist at him. Pirata grabbed the angry young woman from behind, as she spluttered and hissed like a cross between a wild cat and a serpent.
“It doesn’t look like your daughter has too good of control of her temper, Helen…”

“Sometimes she’s too much like Zeno, rather than me.”

Pirata’s eye widened in surprise…at her father’s name, but Aristotles didn’t catch it. Ariana filed that little bit away in her memory for later.

“I’ve heard of the man. He was an Archon many years ago.” he stated.

“He was my husband.” was all Helen quietly said.

Ariana had loved her father. Her mother hadn’t said too much when he left for the last time…neither of them had known that at the time, though. She still missed him too, even if it had been almost a decade since the bad news had come.

The rebel leader asked for a tour of the property so he could tell his soldiers where to set up tents, and whatever else they might have to use while they were there. The two women wanted to defer, but neither could find a credible excuse. Ariana took Aristotles outside to check the outbuildings while Pirata and Helen and a couple of the other soldiers would do an actual inventory of supplies. They had a stable, but no horses: they had had to sell them to pay the ever rising taxes levied for no good reason. They bartered for meat and wool from some of the neighbours’ flocks, weaving fabric and selling it back. Ariana could read and write and was great with numbers so she’d do the accounts in exchange. They hired some itinerants every year and they were so fair in their dealings that the same people kept coming back for each season. She explained that they were pretty self sufficient. The summer wheat would be ready to harvest shortly. She hoped that the soldiers wouldn’t still be there then. There’d be too much explaining to have to do and if word got out that they were harboring criminals, they’d be out on the street with nothing.

The rebel leader didn’t say much, but she knew that he was processing the information as she prattled on. She noticed that more soldiers had come since they had been inside. How many more would there be? The situation was making her more and more uncomfortable. She didn’t KNOW these men. They could be murderers or rapists or worse! She wanted to run back into the house, bolt the door and hide until it was all over with.

As sick and tired as she was over the never ending restrictions on travel(not that they went anywhere), rising taxes on the middle and lower classes, subsidizing producers not to produce, and outright thievery by the rich, she was not going to openly rebel! She couldn’t! Not if it meant losing the only home she had known, maybe going to prison or having to beg on the streets or become a prostitute, which in her virgin state might prove to be a lost cause(no pun intended), and Gods only knew what might become of her mother! She was too old to be made to do unsavory things…They were both healthy so maybe they could go along with the itinerants as they went from field to field. Ariana sighed. There had to be something they could do. Not like packing up the whole estate in a bag and moving away hadn’t occurred to her more than once.

By a quick count of tents and estimating that each could hold 2 or 3 men, she guessed that there were close to a hundred rebels on the grounds in front of the house…no way that they could hide them in case anyone came around snooping. Shit! She hoped that it wasn’t likely, but it wasn’t like that it hadn’t happened before…

She stopped the rebel leader and asked if it was possible that they could move their encampment to the back of the house or anywhere not so openly “out there.” She made a quick visual measurement to see whether they’d all fit in the back…

Aristotles did the same, taking quick glances between the tents and the house. “I guess you DO have a brain after all.” Ariana didn’t know whether to be insulted or complimented. “I’ll have my men move so we won’t be so obvious. Will that make you less nervous?” Having them find somewhere ELSE to stay would be a big help on that point, but she wisely kept her mouth shut.

He gestured to a young man, not much older than a boy really and told him to have all the gear moved more towards the back of the property so that it couldn’t be seen from the front.
“But I thought…” the kid started. Aristotles didn’t say or do anything to make him, but he stopped and went to carry out his leader’s order. She didn’t know if it was respect for Aristotles, fear, or something else that kept his soldiers in line and didn’t really want to find out the hard way.

They ended up where they started, on the portico at the front of the house. Ariana’s companion rested a hip on the railing and looked around once more, making sure that the kid was doing what he had been told. Helen and Pirata joined them a while later. The older woman had opened up a couple of other bedrooms for the two men to use. Ariana thought it was a bit presumptuous. She’d rather they not be that near NOR anywhere in the house at all. Having a man that they didn’t know and wasn’t family in the house, made Ariana’s skin crawl. It just didn’t seem right; like they were opening their home to them…just opening the doors and saying “Do what you want, we won’t say anything…”

It wasn’t like her mother to be like that, and that was something else that made her nervous. She had never even looked at a guy since her father had died…maybe it was about time…but Shit! Someone who against the government? How could she be that stupid?

The two women went back in the house to start getting supper prepared to be cooked. It would be stuffed eggplants, and peppers with a salad. Helen told Ariana to put out the good dishes and silverware…and they got into an argument when she set the table with the everyday stuff anyways…

“Do you want them to think that we’re rich or something? That would just give them incentive to steal! What are you thinking??!!!”

“Daughter, I am thinking that we are entertaining guests in our house and your father would be shocked to think that his child wouldn’t as respectful…”

Ariana threw up her hands. “What-EVER!!” and reset the table with the good stuff.

Once everything was cooked, Helen sent Ariana out to find Aristotles and Pirata. She would rather be hand feeding Argos and Kerberus…

They were in the parlour listening to the radio…She knocked on the door jamb. Another thing she was adding to the Shit List. Knocking on doors in her own house, broken video screen, aiding and abetting…Dammit! She called…once, then again, then yelled “Supper!!!” and returned to the dining room. They had all the windows open once again as it was hot, and there was no way that Ariana was going to close up the house so that THEY could feel more comfortable. To Hades with that!!! They weren’t invited guests. They were unwanted and she had no reason to make it any easier on them…

She knew she was acting like a spoiled child, but couldn’t help herself. She and her mother had been doing alright by themselves…they didn’t need guys to be underfoot, telling them better ways to do things and to just be annoying. But then the guys that she knew from growing up were like that. 98% of the time she wanted to smack her betrothed senseless because he either deferred to whatever she said or told her that he would do it differently.

There were others who envied the estate and wanted THAT more than her, some that were too young, too old, too fat, too thin, smelled like feet, lots of excuses…but at this point marriage wasn’t a top priority. Getting the soldiers to move on was…

She was running through various delicious ways of making them leave when she heard her name mentioned…
What in Hades name was her mother doing?! It was bad enough that she was making them welcome, but giving names out freely just went against it all! She had made SURE that she hadn’t introduced herself…

“Ariana, that’s a very pretty name…means “Very Holy”…doesn’t it?”

“My husband named her.” the other woman elucidated.

That was the final straw that broke the camel’s back. Ariana lost her temper and turned on her mother. “Why don’t you tell them that I can speak 4 languages, write in two others, keep books, thresh grain, churn butter, plant crops, slaughter animals for food, and that though I have been kissed, I have never lain with a man!”

By the end, she was yelling at the top of her voice. Aristotles had the good sense to blush. Her mother had her face in her hands and Pirata was trying hard not to laugh. Once again her tongue had gotten her in trouble. Gods dammit! Would she never learn?!

There were soldiers with guns drawn standing in the open doorway wondering what the cause of the commotion was. Stupidity, basically was the cause…Ariana wanted to hide. The soldiers were mumbling between themselves and she saw coins change hands…Lovely, taking bets on whether their leader could bed the landowner’s daughter…just great…

“Take off!” Pirata yelled. “It’s no concern of yours what goes on in the house…”
“Or doesn’t…” a higher voice piped in.

“10 Lashes, Vulpes,” Aristotles, bellowed getting out of his chair…there were too many shocked faces as the soldiers slunk away…

What the Hades?! He was going to whip some kid because he opened his mouth at the wrong time? Would he stop there or was it possible that they could be whipped too? Pirata told the women to stay in the house. But Ariana being her stubborn self, felt drawn to the actions outside. She knew she shouldn’t care about the soldier’s internal strife, but if it would keep them out of their hair, she wanted to know.

“Ariana?!” Her mother pleaded. “Stay inside with me!” That wasn’t going to happen and she should’ve not wasted her breath.

She went out the front door, and around the house. And she found out WHY she should’ve stayed inside. The boy was shirtless and tied to a tree. Aristotles produced the whip…she had seen one before and wasn’t impressed. But there was some switch on the handle and the cords of the cat o’ nine tails started to glow with some sort of electrical charge…She was fascinated and repelled at the same time. She could only hope that it would NEVER be used on her mother or herself.

The number of soldiers had increased even more and they were spreading around the sides of the house. She had to get to the rebel leader and stop his punishment of the kid…so he opened his mouth at the wrong time. She did it every day at least once. As the first lash hit his back the boy named Vulpes screamed…
“Damn, Damn Damn!” Ariana thought. “This cannot be happening. I can’t allow this!” The kid fell silent as the progression of lashes continued. Somehow or another she got between the soldiers and was able to get to Pirata’s side. She put her hand on his arm. The rebels were all muttering nervously, because it seemed like he had never had to use a whip on any of them before and never for such a little thing…

The old one eye looked down at her, before he cast his glance back to the boy, who Ariana had finally figured out was his son…His knuckles were white and she knew that he was feeling it as much as Vulpes was. She was mentally counting 5-6-7...

“Stop this!!” she shrieked running forward without thinking right in front of the whip’s falling lashes…Ariana wound up taking the boy’s 8th lash.
She couldn’t imagine anything more painful than the scorpions line dancing on her back while wearing cleats. “Shit, shit Shit!” she remembered herself saying. Aristotles was saying worse, having dropped the whip as soon as it had hit her and was kneeling by her side. Pirata cut his son down with a knife from his boot, shoved his leader out of the way and picked up the hurt young woman. There was blood on her back, and he ran to the house anyway with her in his arms. Helen was already in Aristotles’ face about the whole thing…she didn’t know her mother had it in her. Pirata gave her some sort of injection that made her float into the black of unconsciousness.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

It time for NaNo again...Ack!!!

Since I've been doing creative writing since cuneiform LOL I still have tons of old stories that I had put aside. Of course, I had to find them. I went straight to my nightstand where I had the latest two that I hadn't started. I certainly didn't want to do the 684 handwritten page one. That one will be broken at least in half, maybe thirds. I had one where I didn't like the Male Main Character, so I never finished that one. I have a scifi/adventure that might've worked, a fantasy/thriller about Selkies one I wrote in 79 and another I got an A on in college. They were in this humungous file that I had stuffed in the cellar. And because it floods, the edges of them all got a bit wet. If I have strange dreams that might make an interesting story, I write them down. Cuz you just never know...

This is a bit of background about LAST YEAR'S story:

I decided to use the one that was the most heartbreaking romance I had ever read, next to Knight in Shining Armour. It's based in the present day. The FMC(Female Main Character) is an orphan and the MMC(Male Main Character) is a reincarnated soul making up for pastlife misdeeds. It's based on a dream I had way back in 93 ish. The person that I based the MMC died soon after I started the story and when I put it aside he came to me and told me that he was disappointed in me that I hadn't finished it. Depression even hurts dead people. sigh. The FMC isn't based on a real person, not even me LOL

I even won a contest for the first week for having the most words at 15K. I won a sweatshirt that says "Renegade Writer". The head of the region where I am is really a writer for Silhouette. Lucky!

So here's a few excerpts from Last Year's effortfor your enjoyment:

Excerpt One:
Nila Olwen pushed back her newly hennaed hair and sighed. She was absolutely finished with people! She couldn't believe that after all hard work and complaining that she had had to endure with her last client that the woman had had the unmitigated GALL to paint the crappy 70's ranch PeptoBismol Pink with Mint Green shutters and Venous Blood Purple railings!

She was definitely a reject from good taste class! Nila had chosen a classic Barn Red with a complimentary Creamy White and it would've looked awesome! She almost wished that her mother hens, Esther and Sarah hadn't stopped by her cramped pigeon hole in the basement of Welcome Home Realty Company, but they HAD gotten her a lot of her work. Nila restored old houses and made newer ones look fresher and brighter. Her jobs were pretty seasonal and since she had a work force of one, she couldn't be THAT selective. She could tear down and put up drywall with the best of the guys and wielded a pretty effective paint brush. Her clients had always praised her use of colour and paper…except for this last one…She made it a matter of pride that she frequented the local Mom and Pop shops in Weymouth, Braintree, and Quincy for her supplies, sometimes wandering as far afield as Dorchester and Southie if need be for a special order.

Right now, since she had finished with Mrs. Taste-in-her-Ass's place,she had no new projects on the near horizon. But with the economy swirling the drain, everyone was hurting. Interest rates were bouncing like rubber balls, and no one was looking for a new house or were too busy trying to keep the one they HAD over their head. She could use that monthly mystery check right about now. They had been coming for as long as she could remember. They were always drawn on a big Boston bank and forwarded to her at Welcome Home. More than once she had been down to her last dollar and the check would show up and she'd be solvent once again. And it wasn't like she was an airhead when it came to money matters, but living in a tight economy was just very hard for a single girl on her own. Sometimes the check had been enough to cover her rent and other bills, sometimes leeway, and sometimes a little extra to treat herself to takeout at Panda Palace or La Paloma. Her parents had always made her save a part of the checks even though they themselves didn't believe in banks. Well they were around in the 60's and all…And Nila always thought it was strange that her brother Kenny never got a mystery check. She had always assumed that it came from grandparents that her parents had gotten into a fight with and never forgave, but had always been close to the little girl anyways. Thinking of her family always made Nila depressed…as strange as they had been, she knew that they had loved their children. And now that they were gone, she was extremely conscious of what she was missing.

As she pondered, the office manager knocked on the door.

"Hi, John, come in."

He was okay looking her books: brown hair and hazel eyes and he was always nice to her. They had gone out a few times, but Nila had made it clear that she wanted to be his friend and nothing more. He had readily agreed and things had remained pleasant between them.

"Nice colour, Nila, but was it in your budget?" He indicated her new hair colour.

"It was until my last client stiffed me her last payment", she responded bitterly.

"Taste-in-her-Ass woman, I presume."

"Yep. None other."

"Well then, I've got good news and bad news for you, friend. Which would you like first?"

"Neither" she thought.

"Then I will decide! Bad news is no spring off for you this year, my girl. And the good news is, da-da-daah! There's a registered letter in my office for a certain Nila Olwen, who comes highly recommended. The person wants their house updated over on Old Town Way."

Nila knew the one. It hadn't been lived in for years and Esther and Sarah couldn't even give it away!

"It hasn't fallen down yet?"

"No such luck, but that's the one. AND, they want you to start next week."

Nila dutifully consulted her ever present Witches' Date Book and said that she was clear until next year.

Nila spent the following two days closing the book on her previous client. She was debating take her to small claims court, but decided against the action. If the woman wanted to live in a house that someone could throw up on and not notice a change, that was fine. Besides, she could always write it off on her taxes as a business loss.

Saturday, Nila spent at the Town Hall, then at the Public Library, taking pages and pages of notes. There hadn't been an owner of record for 50 years, but the taxes had always been paid from an Estate account…

"Curious", she thought, filing the fact away. The last owner on the list had died during World War II in the Philippines and his body was never found…Lots of bodies were just left by the wayside during the Death Marches; 25% she recalled. The poor guy had been a philanthropist, and had never married or had children. There was a yellowed picture in the microfiched archives. He was handsome, but his eyes were sad.

"Bummer", she said out loud, looking quickly around to make sure no one heard her.

The house was over a hundred years old, she wrote in her notes, and the family had come from old, old, OLD Spanish money.

Excerpt Two:

Monday, she went to the office on Centre Street and got the key for the house. It was this huge, heavy, antique, filigreed monstrosity, but it was the only one for the place. It was at the foot of a dead end street, and looked just as bad as the last time she had made the trip out there. She had always preferred to work on old houses. In Nila's opinion, the newer models didn't have the potential of an Colonial or Victorian. She pulled her Piece of Crap K car wagon into the drive. She got out, grabbed her work bag with her digital camera and notebook inside, and climbed the stairs. Inserting the key into the lock, she was amazed that the door opened as if it had just been locked rather than 50 years ago. There weren't nearly as many broken windows as she would've thought, and it seems structurally sound, as she rapped on walls and stomped on floorboards. She decided to check out the upper floors first. With her foot on the first riser, she heard a sound, like that of a coin being dropped into a ceramic piggy bank. She took out her pepper spray, hoping she wouldn't have to use it, and went from room to room. The last place to look was the covered porch and she was humming the theme from "The Twilight Zone" as she she only saw HER footprints in the dust. She turned to go back into the house through the kitchen when, to her surprise, on a large wooden table that looked like it had come over on the Mayflower, was a clear glass bottle with a coin inside and a cork in the mouth.

"Alright guys! This isn't funny!" She yelled thinking that her buddies were playing a trick on her. She needed to get her preliminary photos done and the light was fading. She hurried upstairs and checked out the rooms. The largest room would be changed into a master suite with the adjoining bath. She had nearly fainted over the orgy-sized clawfooted tub and the high tank commode with the brass pull chain. The first floor den would have floor to ceiling bookcases installed. The new owner had insisted on that, so at least it was a possibility that they liked books…At the office they had tried to figure out the size of the family that would live in the house once it was finished.

On Friday, John met her at the house. Nila went in ahead. She smelled cigar smoke and the bottle was still there. She went to get her companion and it was gone! She couldn't figure out how he might be playing that trick, but figured if she ignored him, he'd get tired of baiting her. She did a couple of quick sketches of what she wanted to do upstairs and in the attic. The widow's walk needed a lot of work. An expert would be hired to do that. Blacksmithing wasn't in her repertoire. From there, she could see the tops of the surrounding trees and she felt as if she was walking on air.

"It would be nice up here in the summer" John remarked from behind her. "You'd just have to be careful of bats".

"Bats don't get in your hair, you dingdong. They like to eat the insects that you kick up."

"Speaking of that, how about lunch?"

"You buying?" When he nodded, Nila agreed. It was about time for a good meatball sub.

The weekend she spent writing the requisite report and suggestions for the property. Word processing wasn't her forte, but she managed to bang things out on her ancient Smith Corona paperweight. The owner had the contract written up and her first payment was safely in her bank account. She was to mail her report registered mail to the Sheraton. If they could afford that, Hell, they could afford a lot better house than the one she was working on. But that $1,000 would go a long way towards keeping her safely ensconced in her dinky in-law apartment for a while longer. Hopefully, this job would help her get out of it before her landlord got too much more "friendly". She had to run his gauntlet coming and going and she was getting tired of it. She wished that he might slip under the wheels of a T bus and she'd be rid of him for good. She still felt sick when she remembered the day that she had found him in her place supposedly fixing a place that was "leaking" with something that wasn't a pipe wrench in his hand standing over her underwear drawer. She immediately called the cops and a day in lock up hadn't helped matters. Nor had the restraining order made out at the same time.

Nila cooled her heels for a week, chewing her nails and pacing, until the owner got back to her. It was okay for her to start the work…In the middle of March, she was in the house to check colours for paint and paper. For some strange reason, she tried the door and found it was unlocked…but she clearly remembered locking it up and the girls hadn't been by because she had the only key.

"Okay, what gives?" She thought wishing for a rabid Tasmanian Devil in her bag. She pushed the door open.

"Hello? Anyone home?" She was tempted to beat feet back to the car when she smelled the cigar smoke again, but knowing there was the much needed money in her account made her mind up for her. She took a deep breath and went straight upstairs to work. She found nearly perfect matches for paper that was already hanging in 3 out of 4 of the upstairs rooms. The master bedroom was giving her a hard time, but she knew she'd get it right if she had to travel to Mars to get it. The floors throughout needed to be sanded down and refinished and did the chair rails and the banisters. The brass fittings in the closet sized first floor bath would take forever to polish up, but it would be worth the worn knuckles in the end.

She went downstairs to the kitchen again, to see what she could do there. And again, the bottle was sitting in the middle of the table! She decided to take the matter in hand. She carefully picked it up and shook it around so that she could see the coin better. It was a Piece of Eight that looked like it had been minted just this year, even though the date was 1521!

"Who would leave such an expensive artifact in this place?" She asked aloud.

"¿Este lugar?"

Nila spun around and dropped the bottle which shattered when it hit the floor. The coin rolled around her feet, under the table and right to the speaker, who picked it up and pocketed it.

Excerpt Three:

"What are you doing in my house?" she squeaked.

"Your house?" the man echoed. "I have bought this casa and you must be Mrs. Olwen. Me llama Senor Santiago Anastasio Diego Ab-del Hussein de Arcelay".

Nila was too busy looking her client over to come up with any words that might've made sense.

He stood just about six feet tall with dark wavy hair, graying at his temples. His dark eyes were magnified by the gold wire rimmed glasses he wore. He had on a charcoal grey double breasted suit that certainly wasn't off the rack, a white linen shirt and a silk tie, all of which set off his dark olive skin. He helped her outside and sat her down on the back steps. Nila was

rather glad of the help or she would've fallen down already. He sat beside her and lit another cigar. She noticed that it was also expensive…Obviously, he never went half way with anything. His baritone had just the trace of an accent, but she felt as if he could read a take out menu and have it sound like a Browning sonnet.

"I am sorry that I frightened you, but I was informed that I had to see the pretty Senorita who was in my house."

Nila vowed to kick her two matchmaking buddies. She hadn't had a man in her life since the divorce two years, three months, one week and 5 days ago, she mentally tallied. The shit head had left her for a younger woman!

"Since when is 32 so damned old?" she asked herself.

"I think it's a wonderful age, querida."

She was so embarrassed that she had spoken out loud that she did the most reasonable thing: She fled, leaving a rooster tail of gravel behind her, and the mysterious Mr. Arcelay sitting on the stairs with his cigar.

Nila went home, took the phone off the hook, got into some well-loved sweats and curled up in her battered LaZboy to get some paperwork done.

"Dammit!" she cursed. She had left her work bag back at the house. But there was no way she was going back there unless she KNEW that HE wasn't there. Maybe he'd be a REAL gentleman and drop it off at the office. Then to her horror, she realized that she had also left her wallet in it! What if he brought it to her house now that he knew her address? She would rather have a cage match with a pissed off kitty.

Nila awoke to a knocking at her front door. She stretched to get the kinks out of her back from sleeping in the recliner. She had fallen asleep with Japanese horror movies for company, with her popcorn bowl on her lap. She was disheveled, with stray salt clinging to her lips, as she stumbled to open it. Her grey eyes got so wide that she was amazed that they didn't fall out and roll around on the floor at the sight of her visitor. She grabbed her bag from his outstretched hand and slammed the door shut. It didn't latch and bounced open again. He poked his head inside, inspecting her living room. She had dumped the popcorn bowl on the floor so there were kernels everywhere.

"What if he thinks I'm like this all the time?" she thought in mortification. She threw on her favourite denim jumper over a white pin tucked shirt and a pair of leather boots. "Just a minute", she called running a brush through her hair before putting it into a ponytail.

"I prefer a woman's hair loose", he stated, examining her. Nila hoped he didn't find her too lacking in whatever he was looking for, then wanted to kick herself for even thinking that way.

"What brings you here, Senor?"

"I presume that you wanted to continue your work, no?"

"But I only work on unoccupied houses. It's not very effective to have to step over people when I'm working. And, besides, I left my job."

"Senorita, I have seen others' work and yours. And yours is the best and I would appreciate it if you would continue. I have taken the liberty of speaking with Mr. Sanders and he said that it's fine if you finish."

Someone was going to get a kick in the ass, when she went back to the office.

"How about if I give you your money back?" she offered.

"All I want is for you to do some work for me, querida, nada mas."

Anything else would complicate things. And Nila had been out of the dating scene for so long that she had no idea whether the rules had changed, but she had no excuses left. She sighed.

"Okay" and they shook hands to seal the deal.

"May I have your company for desayuno?"

Her stomach rumbled for an answer. She had planned on McDonald's drive through, but the restaurant that Mr. Arcelay named would've made Henry the Eighth stop in his tracks. Outside, she gasped in horror at the mint Cordoba that was parked in front. Thank the Gods she hadn't hit it. Mr. Arcelay drove the classic car with a leisurely grace that would've made him seem equally at home on horseback. It's white leather interior was immaculate and the wine body was perfect. Rust was the only thing holding HER car together.

Once at the restaurant, the Maitre d' looked down his nose at Nila's casual garb and she was sure that she wouldn't be let in, but one look at her host made him change his mind.

She could've rolled out of the restaurant when they were done. Mr. Arcelay hadn't even let her leave a tip, which would've bankrupted her for the week, but put the meal on his charge. He slipped the waitress an extra $5 for her service along with the 20% that was already added to the bill. Once again, Nila was reminded of how nice it would be to have money to throw around.

Mr. Arcelay opened the car door for her, and shut it once she was settled and belted in. He turned the key and adjusted the stereo. It was like being on the 50 yard line at Carnegie Hall. She could feel the music flowing over her like a wave of honey. The album playing was something called "Thunder Drums" and her feet couldn't help, but keep time to the rhythm.

"You like this?" he questioned.


"I am glad. It reminds me of old Spain before the Inquisitors."

"Is Spain where you're from?"

"Yes and no", he replied, and changed the subject. "You can be at the house at 8 on Monday?"

"Yes, and thanks for breakfast."

"No, querida, the pleasure was all mine."

After Mr. Arcelay dropped her off, she noticed that it was after 2:30! They had spent over 2 hours at the restaurant! Nila was disconcerted. Had she eaten too much? Did he like women that ate a grain of rice and said that they were full? Had he minded that she had 3 cups of coffee to his one? She promised herself to be more ladylike the next time…

"What next time, dunderhead?", she asked herself. Maybe he had done it out of pity for the airhead that left her things behind. But she was almost afraid to hope that he WOULD ask her out again, just because he was such a conundrum and he fascinated her.

Monday at 7:30 she was pulling into the drive at Number 5 Old Town Way. She had gotten up way too early, not having slept all that well. She took an extra long shower with her best soap which hadn't been used since her last date…Her mind stopped cold. It wasn't a DATE, she was working and was sure to be covered in wallpaper crumbs and dust by 10. After she dried off, she slipped on her favourite work outfit: winter camouflage pants and a special edition Gipsy Kings T-shirt that John had gotten her when he went to the concert. She hadn't been able to go. In that type of a mood anyways, she popped the live album, the Outback, the Los Lobos soundtrack of La Bamba, and the original Broadway recording of West Side Story into her bag with her headset. Earbuds gave her the willies…too many horror movies. She hoped that Mr. Arcelay wasn't going to be there, but if he was he wouldn't be too upset with her music choices.

His car was in the drive so she parked out front. Nila hesitated about going in the front with him inside, so she snuck around the back. He must've been waiting for her, because he called her name.

"Only servants go to the back", he explained. Today he was dressed in a burgundy velour shirt, navy Dockers and oxblood tassel loafers. Nila had always though that tassels were sort of "gay" on men's shoes, but he could carry it off. She dropped her gear in the kitchen, dragged her portable CD player and CD's out and started for the stairs.

"Have you eaten yet?"

"Yes," she lied. "But I could go for a cup of coffee."

"You are early so we may go out, no?"

Nila was torn between just running out to Dunkin Donuts or staying in the house with the mysterious owner

"Why can't you make it here?"

"All of my things are in a storage facility, querida. So we must go out. Beside's it is a lovely spring day. Should we not get to enjoy a small slice of it?"

"But shouldn't I be working?" he shot her a disappointed look.

"But I pay you, no?" What could she say to that? It WAS true.

An hour later, she was ready to begin work. And Mr. Arcelay insisted on helping! Nila was pleasantly surprised. In her experience, most of the clients ran for the hills. The rest hovered and complained or changed their minds halfway through the project. They bickered amiably over the width of the burgundy stripe for the master suite until she asked him if he would be able to stand living in a room that resembled a candy cane. They worked on taking off the old paper and gladly found that the former owner had been considerate enough NOT to have made an archaeological dig on the walls to make her job that much easier. In her little place, there had been six layers, each tackier than the last. In frustration, she had yanked down all the drywall and hung brand new sheetrock, then sponge painted the whole thing so that it resembled a beach. The slimy landlord had reduced her rent "just this once" and taken her security deposit "just in case" before "suggesting" that she do the same in his bedroom. Nila had wisely rebuffed the offer. She had feelers out for a new place, but the way things were, who knew? At least, Mr. Arcelay had money to burn, she thought spitefully. Redoing his house, even at her more than reasonable rates, would cost him a pretty peso. They worked all day and got all the old paper down, the walls washed with TSP and two coats of stain kill and basecoat .. Mr. Arcelay decided to call it quits. He had said that he was staying at the Sheraton until she was done. She couldn't even afford a cocktail napkin and he was going to be there for at least 6 months…Nila thought caustically.

"You are angry with me, querida…Why?"

"People with money suck!" She spat. "They act like the whole damned world owes them something. I work like a freaking dog to keep a crappy roof over my head and people like you just roll a C-note to light your stupid cancer sticks. You probably haven't worked a day in your life, inheriting your money from some old Inquisitor and are trying to spend it all before you drop dead yourself!"

These last words were muffled in a drop cloth as she angrily dashed the tears from her eyes. She hadn't noticed that Mr. Arcelay had gone dead white at the mention of the Inquisition, because her back was to him.

He crossed to where she stood, as rigid in her resentment as the walls they had been working on, and put a hand on her shoulder.

"Do you truly believe this, querida? That I have never worked a day in my life? Look at my hands, Nila. They have seen much work". She made note of the callouses and some disfigurement from writing.

"Come with me a minute".

They went out to his car and drove to his storage unit. He unlocked it and lifted the door. "This is my work, Nila."

She stepped around him and gazed in awe. NO WONDER he wanted built-in bookshelves! The whole space was filled with books, arranged in neat stacks as tall as she was. She examined some of the closest, fingering the fancy gold lettering on the spines. Mr. Arcelay's name, greatly abbreviated, was featured on at least 75% of them!

"You wrote all these?"

"Only the translations and a couple of the others."

Nila saw more than a couple. She scooped up a newer looking clump with a sheet of paper on top. It had a listing of ALL of the tomes that were contained in that storage unit. There were histories of Spain and the New World, the Inquisition, all the way up to Francisco Franco's death. But she was more shocked to see Carlos Castenada, Starhawk, Murry Hope, Sylvia Browne, and a couple of Fate and Archaeology magazines listed too.

"I thought you'd be too old for some of this stuff", she informed him.

"One is never too old to learn, querida. Will you inform Torquemada?" Nila winced as she recalled what she had yelled at him.

"Not even if I went through the Auto de Fe". He took her hand and gave her a quite Continental kiss on the back of it.

"We should get back to mi casa" Mr. Arcelay stated. "Can you be ready for dinner by 8?"

It was 6 now, but Nila already knew what she'd be wearing: her Gypsy outfit, velvet patchwork skirt, black velvet vest, plain white tux shirt (all from Pier One) and her totally out of her budget, but had to have black velvet "witch" boots. Mr. Jordan and Mr. Marsh were probably giving each other high fives over the sale.

She had almost convinced herself to say "No" to Mr. Arcelay, but she had enjoyed the man's company too much. No one she had dated before had ever made her feel so special and they weren't really even dating! He was her BOSS for the Gods' sakes.

Nila was dressed and made up by 7:15. She paced her apartment and waited…and waited. The minutes crept by at the speed of glacier. When the doorbell finally rang, she flew to the door to let him in.

"Goin' out tonight, are we?" It was her landlord who shoved past her into her sanctuary. She glanced quickly at her Marvin the Martian watch and prayed for a miracle. 7:25. "Come on, Mr. Arcelay, please don't be late!"

A car door closed and she sprang to the door again. Her landlord gave her boss a once-over, noting the 24 karat tie tack, Rolex watch and Burberry trench coat.

"Got yourself a sugar daddy, dontcha?" Nila ignored him and went to get her wool cape. "She's a real nice one, ain't she?" Mr. Arcelay followed her to the closet.

"I do not like this man. He is unclean." he muttered in Nila's ear. "Must you stay in this place?"

"It's all I can afford right now, Mr. Arcelay" she retorted. "If I could leave, I would".

"I am sorry to have upset you once again today. May I be forgiven?"

They both heard the fake vomiting sounds from the doorway and turned around.

"What the Hell do you want anyway?" Nila, snapped, feeling her wonderful mood flying out the window.

"I'll see you later", the landlord oozed. She had to check the urge to scrub the place clean with napalm after he left.

The night's restaurant Mr. Arcelay had chosen was excellent, of course. Nila found herself like the finer things that her boss was able to show her. They had a Filet Mignon that was so tender that you could've used a straw to eat it. Her salad had huge leaves of lettuce and tomato chunks you could've climbed like Mount Everest. He had chosen a rich burgundy to complement the meal and she felt it go straight to her head. The Senor was a wonderful conversationalist, regaling her with tales of Spain, the New World and the Caribbean Island countries she had once governed. He made it seem as if he had actually been there, but it had to have been all of the research for his writing. His parents had sent him to the best Catholic schools while praying he would find his calling with the priesthood.

"I'm glad you didn't", Nila blurted, covered her mouth, then giggled. The Senor smiled indulgently.

"I'm a fine catch, no?"

"No! Yes! Oh, Hell!" she giggled again. "I'm making such an ass of myself. I'm sorry Santiago." she peeped over the top of her linen napkin at him in dread.

"It is okay if you call me by name, querida. The sky will not fall on you."

"I apologize. I…It must be the wine. I don't usually drink." Nila lowered her gaze to her empty glass. She didn't drink because that was what had taken her family from her. They had gotten stuck at the Allston/Brighton tolls and some drunken asshole had smashed into them from behind. The Pinto had exploded into the fireball that they had been recalled for, and the only thing left had been ashes. The drunk had had a tooth knocked out, that was the extent of her injuries. It hadn't been fair to the 13 year old and it still hurt as much as the day it had happened. She had spent the next 5 years in foster homes and no one had appeared to adopt her. At 18, she had taken the insurance money and struck out on her own for college. She had done a double major of interior design and architecture and had 3.5's in both. The only side track had been her ill-fated marriage. When she had finally gotten tired of his women-on-the-side deal, Nila had tracked him down at the bimbo "du jour" and served him the papers. And that ended that! She had set up her little business at the realty office in exchange for helping Sarah and Esther wring a few more dollars out of each sale for "Potential Improvement Consultations".

"What an eventful life you have led, Senorita." The Senor uttered.

A horrified Nila hadn't realized that she had been speaking aloud.

"Shall we have coffee, now, and dessert?"

Their plates had long been cleared and the waiter hovered impatiently.

"Light, no sugar, and carrot cake please".

Mr. Arcelay ordered the same as Nila. Once refills had been waved away, the waiter brought the check. She gasped as he put it on his Platinum AMEX. It was over $100 for the both of them!

"Do they charge by the hour?" Nila queried, once inside the car. He laughed.

"I'll drive you home now. We have an early day tomorrow."

Hope you enjoyed these glimpses into the story of Nila and Santiago.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

My Reading...

Somehow or another I had in my possession a set of cards and a book. The title is Angelic Messenger cards by Meredith L. Young-Sowers. It was printed way back in 93...I was looking for something else at the time and was like "Where'd these come from?" Not that I remember much from back then, having had a baby and all that entails...But I don't remember buying them or being given them by my SIL...I had done a blog about Angels and I thought about whether I had any angel cards and these came to mind...

The cards aren't like a Tarot deck as there's only 42 and 6 wild cards. And they relate to 6 different aspects of spiritual energy: Reflection, Partnership, Integration, Alignment, Rejuvenation and Nourishment.

"All of these aspects are the basis for a balanced life and are the essential elements of our inner life."

She goes on to say that Angels can speak to us through flowers because they are the "faces of our Angelic teachers and can be manifested in any way that brings beauty and inspiration."

All of the images on the cards are of close ups of various types of flowers, done by Carol Duke. They're gorgeous truth be told...I take crappy pictures, so I know GOOD ones...

As for the reading, I've been going through the book and looking at the cards. On Beltaine, I put them under my pillow because that charges your cards with your energy. And I did the reading last night...

The first reading suggested was to shuffle each of the 6 sets of cards separately, then draw one card from each stack. That would give you a baseline for other readings.

It is called the "Opening to the Energy of Love" spread.

The first card is for Reflection: Becoming Aware of your Divine Self. I drew #4 Awareness. The Present Challenge for this card is Gaining Spiritual Insight as you release past emotional pain. You have drawn this card to further awaken your spirit and to help you feel safe as you break through past limitations. The Spiritual Opportunity is that you are entering a powerful time of spiritual insight because of your desire to learn from past negative experiences. You are emerging through past pain, loss, fear, rejection or abuse to assume a more dramatic and visible means of working to heal other living things.

The second card is for Partnership: Growing Spiritually within Relationships. I drew #14 Inner Authority. The Present Challenge for this card is Gaining Confidence in using your inner wisdom to sustain relationships. The Spiritual Opportunity is to take a long hard look at the future you hope to create and realize that your life will never be totally clear of obstructions or factors that need resolution. You can step up to today's opportunities because you have the seeds of spiritual love and awareness already in your life.

The third card is for Intergration: Establishing an Inner Harmony between Body, Mind and Spirit. I drew #21 Emergence The Present Challenge for this card is Surrendering to your own Inner Power and overcoming the need to control the Outcome of the events in your life. The Spiritual Opportunity for this card is that the emergence of love in your heart is already underway. You are in the right place for Spiritual Emergence even if you have problems remaining unsolved and questions remaining unanswered. Accept that you are part of a larger plan and that each day you will discover more of the part you play in it.

The fourth card is for Alignment: Performing Meaningful Work that grows from your Divinely Inspired Life Purpose. I drew #22 Purpose. The Present Challenge is Discovering your Means of Service and living it unconditionally. The Spiritual Opportunity is to help you realize that you are well served to focus on your inner nature. What you do willingly and effortlessly opens your heart to love and leads to the enhancement of your own goodness and self-worth, thus manifesting into the tangible means of service you seek or desire to deepen.

The fifth card is for Rejuvenation: Participating with Nature in the cycles of Life for your Personal Reward. I drew #35 Change. The Present Challenge is Accepting that your larger Life Goal is to grow in Grace and find Union with all living things. The Spiritual Opportunity is to take heart and believe in the significane of the changes still taking place in your life. Your inner mind urges you to give, share, cooperate, love and honour other living things because these are the qualities offered by a loving heart and an awakened spirit. When you are afraid that accepting the present changes will bring more pain or fear, consider that the opposite is more likely true.

The sixth card is for Nourishment: Choosing Thoughts, Foods, and Emotional responses that give you Spiritual Fulfillment. I drew # 42 Sustenance. The Present Challenge is merging your Guidance from your Angelic Teachers to help you love Yourself. The Spiritual Opporutnity is, as you grow through challenges to your physical health and the continued well-being and growth in your relationships, your spirit is sustaining and strengthening you and encouraging your acceptance of lasting well-being. Unconditional love for self and others, fairness, compassion, understanding, lack of judgement-all are qualities that emerge when individuals are sustained by their spirit and they know it.

The truth be told, I have never,ever done a reading for myself or someone else where I felt such a connection to what the cards were saying...In the first place, I've always been aware that I NEEDto be outside or working with animals. It's good for my soul and for the people around me. Especially them LOL The reading made me cry and made the hair on my arms raise up because it was so spot on...Usually, it's like blah blah whatever, but Holy Sheepdip Batman...this one was friggin scary!!! As I was reading what the book said, I felt like a close friend was telling me these things...

The first card did it for me. It was so truthful. I had a crappy childhood. You can do this that or the next Astral project or simple easy spells...noone can do that. you're lying...etc. I KNEW I could...I was bewildered that noone else could, supposedly. Being punished for being able to do what others couldn't wasnt't fair...and that hurt badly.

The second card sort of went along with that...noone believes you, but you believe in yourself. And you keep telling yourself that you've done nothing wrong, THEY'RE wrong, and backwards and close minded, and they won't let themselves be any different.

Number three was like being a butterfly coming out of a chrysalis. It was like being a phoenix rising from the flames. I went through hell and back, but came through with my soul and heart more or less intact.

Number four, well, that's my job(s). I work at a Chain petshop. In this one, I take care of the small and furry things...My previous one, I was the Jill of All Trades. I transferred because my previous boss was an idiot and clueless about good animal husbandry...I love animals...I have some that are favourites and some that I could care less about, but I care for all of them equally. I make sure that they have food and water, go to the vet if they're sick. Get Luvvins if they want. Even a kind word to a mouse or a piece of cabbage for a hamster, a raspberry from my garden for Sir Nicholas the turtle, or a minnow for the garter snakes, a prayer for a dead bird and a millet spray in the body bag, or rescuing earthworms from puddles for 1 Good Karma Point a piece...By showing by example that all creatures need compassion and love from the lowliest worm to the majestic hawk, that is my purpose.

Five, look to the seasons...the world is always have to change with it...Way back in the 60's and 70's the hippies were singing and chanting about the Age of that we are actually THERE, look at all the wonderful openness that witches and pagans can now almost universally enjoy. I KNOW there's pockets that will never ever see eye to eye, but there's more similarities than differences between Christians and polytheists.

Six, The Cosmic Dope Slap with a large Pleco that I received from this reading was amazing!!!The hopefulness will hopefully sustain me for a long time...It's not food for the body it's food for the soul...Having a satisfied and full soul will cause ripple effects to others around you. It can be like the Dadga's cauldron which will never empty. Or your heart will overflow with joy and you'll sing and dance in your yard while the neighbours call the guys with the nets and the coat who's sleeves tie in the back...but dammit I will be the happiest person in the Asylum because I will have learned all these lessons...

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Beltaine!!! Happy May Day!!!

Yesterday was my 21st Wedding Anniversary...can't believe it's been that long and I'm not in jail or insane. LOL

And YES, we did be married on a Witches' Holiday...I always knew that I wanted to be married on one of our special days and there was no way that my Grandmother would let me get hitched on Halloween...that woulda been WAAAYYYY to weird.

We have a mixed marriage: I'm an Eclectic Pagan and he's Greek Orthodox...he had learned not to ask if I'm standing outside with candles burning...even though he DID ask about the walking stick in the snow at Imbolc...

I was looking on line for nice and easy solitary rituals...I can't exactly stand out in my suburban neighbourhood skyclad and howl at the matter HOW MUCH I would love to...
DH wouldn't respond well to the neighbours with their pitchforks and flaming torches...

I found this one first( decided that the ingredients would be good for my Beltaine altar...My garden is lousy this year. I have all of TWO tulips and maybe a dozen crocuses have come and gone and the neighbours cut the lilac tree to a stick...grrr...

So after I work I went to make the craft store get fake flowers. I have the proverbial Black Thumb...I've even killed air plants...

The second link was good too:They have for all the big holidays.
Invocation to the God Pan for Beltane
The Bale fires burn ever so high on this Eve
The ruddy glow of flesh
Flashing in and out of the Darkness
A night blessed by the rod and cup
A glimpse of tanned skin
Sweat matted hair
A curve
A horn

Hail Pan, Dance amongst us
Our souls are moved by Your pipes
Our bodies ache for Your touch
Warm, Healing, Invigorating

Burn us with Your lusty touch
That our concentration will shine as embers

Consume us with Your eternal music
Moving us freely to explore the world around us

Cleanse us of our inhibitions with Your wildness
So we can more fully celebrate our existence

Inspire us with Your passion
To engulf ourselves in this work

Be pleased to be with us in our circle
For Your very being is our being
Feeding each other throughout time and space
Blessing All who seek Your Caress

Blessed Be

Thanking the God Pan at Beltane
Hail Pan

We thank You for Being here this Eve
And we are truly thankful and blessed
By burning us with Your lusty touch
By consuming us with Your eternal music
By cleansing us with Your wildness
By inspiring us with Your passion
We are reminded daily of our connection to You
Be blessed and honored as we bid farewell

Blessed Be

So when I finally(sigh) do the ritual, sometime this weekend, I'll use my vase of fake tulips, my honey/oat candle, my mini cauldron with birdseed, my Psyduck glass or my chalice with grape juice, and Hershey's Dark Chocolate Truffle Kisses.

I'll put on one of my flute music CD's and see what happens...

I've always been sympathetic to Pan...he's got a major bum deal...

Pan (Greek Πάν, genitive Πανός), in Greek religion and mythology, is the companion of the nymphs,[1] god of shepherds and flocks, of mountain wilds, hunting and rustic music. His name originates within the Greek language, from the word paein, meaning "to pasture".[2] He has the hindquarters, legs, and horns of a goat, in the same manner as a faun or satyr. With his homeland in rustic Arcadia, he is recognized as the god of fields, groves, and wooded glens; because of this, Pan is connected to fertility and the season of spring.

In Roman mythology, Pan's counterpart was Faunus, a nature spirit who was the father of Bona Dea (Fauna). In the 18th and 19th centuries, Pan became a significant figure in the romanticist movement of western Europe, and also in the 20th century Neopagan movement.[3]

Wiki has such great links:

This is what drives me over the edge: Pan is the Devil...gimme a break!
"It was Margaret Murray who said that the gods of the old religion become the devils of the new. Jesus ended his life on earth in the southern part of Judea in Jerusalem. The death of Christ heralded the birth of a new religion which would bear his name. As this new religion grew and spread, all, or almost all, it came into contact with became its enemy. The common people, content in their style of worship were suddenly heathens, sinners and enemies of the one true God. The pair of opposites was now Paganism and Christianity. As Christ represents Christianity, Pan represents Paganism. Pan was soon to become the Christian Devil, Satan incarnate. But before this Christian conception took hold, Pan was a god.

What was there about this frolicking god of the glen that made him so odious to the new Christians? Wherein was he Satanic? Perhaps in his sexual exploits. He is known to have seduced several nymphs. He also boasted that he had coupled with all Dionysus' drunken maenads.The episode related above wherein Pan seduces the Moon points to the Christian belief that Satan is able to disguise himself and seduce chaste women. The similarity between the Church Father Origen's description of Satan and the features of Pan is very obvious.

Pan represented freedom of spirit, natural instincts, sinless love. In some parts of the world, prior to the advent of Christianity, women were free, untrammeled by rigid rules of moral conduct, and therefore, when the new religion made its debut, women were called sinful.

Now we draw closer to the reason Pan might have been viewed as Satan, why the figure of Satan as handed down to us consists of goat's feet, horns and black hair. (The statue of the god Min, the Egyptian Pan, was daubed black.) Pan came to represent the freedom of spirit and love of Nature which could be viewed only as works of the Devil. Pan and women were allies, friends, lovers. All were guiltless, without shame. As some scholars have it, guilt is the cornerstone of the early Christian faith. Woman was guilty by virtue of being woman. Saint Clement announced that "Every woman should be overwhelmed with shame at the very thought that she is woman." Here we have it in a nutshell: pagans had no guilt, no shame, no sense of sin. Thus Pan became the paragon of guilt, the embodiment of sin, and the patron of that horrendous human weakness - sex. Obviously, like gods and goddesses, and rites and ceremonies before him, Pan had to be either syncretized, suppressed or subordinated. True to form, the Christian Fathers incorporated Pan into their pantheon - as Satan. Pan could not be annihilated for too many people loved, adored and worshipped him. He could not be extirpated from the hearts and minds of men and women. So he was simply 'evilized'. This Christian act was felt everywhere; the repercussions were wide ranging. The Christian God was said to have killed Pan."

Buncha Horse Pucky if ya ask me!
The Great God Pan still lives in all of us. When we see the deer run by, listen to the babbling brook, hear the wind in the trees and feel the wildness in our souls, you have to KNOW that he is still around...