Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Time of day and light makes all the difference. Both these were taken before midday, but one is early morning in the mist and on the other the sun beamed benignly. Equally evocative.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Tuesday's One Word (1)

Every Tuesday I'll pick a random word from a random page. Every word posted will be from
Tales of the Valla.


- possessing an extraordinary ability to attract, magnetic

Monday, September 28, 2009

In the family!

My talented daughter. View her work on her new blog Art and Beyond.
The painting of Saska to the right is also hers!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Saturday's One Line (1)

Humankind, the Valleur’s eventual nemesis, was not the only evolving species at the time of Valleur mastery.

Tweaking the format

Mondays - general posts, anything that takes my fancy

Tuesdays - one word

Wednesdays - image

Thursdays - excerpt

Fridays - Authonomy comments

Saturdays - one line

Sundays - hmmm?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Comments on Authonomy 1

'Although I am not an ardent fan of mystical (based) subjects, you had the power to force me into it. That shows how compelling your writing is. A unique setup, convincing characters & locations and flawless narration.'

'I have started reading your book and I'm absorbed into its content. I'm enjoying every minute, your style and your imagination is extraordinaire. I am sitting here at my computer enjoying each word in amazement as it is presented by Authonomy in gold letters with a black background. There is the heat of anticipation to continue this exciting journey. I would comfortably recommend this book to all my friends.'


Guilt can be a realm.
Guilt destroys.
Guilt is a monster.
Redeem yourself.

Drinic Parable

Monday, September 21, 2009


Kismet had commenced the process of discovery.

Samuel had to conjure as he had for Lucan, beginning with small items, gradually progressing to larger. Kismet supplied requirements that ruled out the likelihood of chance success. Asking for a stone was to conjure a stone, nothing else.

Samuel brought forth that stone, a pot, a bag of potatoes, a framed mirror, and was then asked to explain from where these objects heralded. He didn’t know. Kismet proceeded to enlighten him. Either objects were summoned from a known location, or they were transported out of the ether, and Samuel, in fact, achieved both. The lifeless objects, always abiotic, the stone, the pot, the mirror, were called from sites on Valaris. He asked Samuel to bring forth an item from his home, something unique to him, and Samuel sent for his diamond cutter, knowing it was engraved with his name, and it came, proving the theory of known, existing sites and objects.

That, apparently, was the easier mode of conjuring. He held the cutter in his hands, bemused. He was a jeweller by trade, and here he was dabbling in magic.

The potatoes, Kismet revealed, a biological object, were summoned from the ether, for nowhere on Valaris presently was such a mundane thing in existence. Potatoes had recently been ferried in by Beacon…by the barrel. He added that it didn’t necessarily follow abiotic was local and biotic from elsewhere; he merely employed the difference to prove the two locations. It was an unconscious force, he explained, unless you were specific in your creation, something the Enchanter had mastered a long time ago.

Samuel then had to banish what he brought forth and did so, asking whether the items returned to their original places. The stone, yes, Kismet agreed, it being part of natural magic, but the rest went to a place for banished things, a kind of realm for unwanted goods.

Samuel balked at that, saying it had to be impossible, and how? He mourned the loss of his cutter, then.

Kismet merely smiled, saying the realm was a treasure trove, if one knew how to access it. The pocket of potatoes, for instance, would never spoil.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Updated avatar

Off the cuff

The last few weeks have been filled with the details that negate time to write. Thus, in order to nudge myself into creativity again, this is an 'off the cuff' piece about nothing in particular. They do say writers should write everyday...even if only a string of words on a blog!

(Wonder who 'they' are?)

I have never found it hard to write. Words flow, the story builds, almost of its own will and impetus, but recently I admit to a lull. I think the lull is due to where I am at in my work. It isn't merely the detail of life and a lack of time- I am on the final volume. The Valla's tale is about to end and perhaps I am unwilling to allow that to come to pass...

Admitting that nudges me...and typing words has started a new flow. As I write this my mind is moving off into that final volume, seeing threads, sensing words.

('They' might have a point!)

It appears this was about something in particular. Writing. Me. You.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Conversation between Torrullin and the creature residing under Grinwallin:

I am not one creature.

Then be mystical.

I am air and water and sunlight and darkness. I am song and dirge and laughter and tears. I am here and there, tomorrow and yesterday. I am wet and dry and harsh and soft. I feel, I see, I taste, I hear, I touch, yet I have no form but every form. I am wind and doldrums, depth of an ocean, highest peak. I speak, I think, yet no one hears or knows. Like you, I am animated. Unlike you I know where I begin and end. I am not Elixir of Life, but I am linked to that kind of reality.

Like Time. You are the link. Chaos and Time. You bind them, separate them, mix them up, stir them together. You are the stirrer. The Alchemist. You are Time’s Alchemist.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Divergent Path

There is an obstacle in the mind
Known as denial.
It is able to
Prevent knowledge entering,
But it can also force the mind to
Move sideways onto a
Divergent path.
Beware the divergent path.
The Ancient Oracles

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

A saying

People who live amid rocks love to eat.

Lintusillem saying

Dreamer, dream large

Nature and dreams

Some places in our world aid the ability to dream. In fact, the more dynamic, vibrant and vivid a place is, the likelier dreams are. Nature determines the depth of nocturnal wandering. This observation is borne out when a dreamer discovers a peculiar lack in a place where nature is generally unchanging. Think thunderstorms, titanic winds, burning sun and furious rain versus a constant climate. In the former lies change and challenge and thus dreams are large; in the latter lies an insulated life and thus dreams are small.

There is an exception, for nothing is that absolute. A constant climate can be described as generally overcast with regular drizzling rain...or daily sunshine. The former tends to oppress creativity, but where the sun shines hot and water is scarce, life is by nature challenged. Constant sunlight leads to dreams. Sunlight is energetic...dynamic and vibrant.

History and dreams

Some places are layered with historical events. We move away from nature here into civilisation, as relative as that is. People and History and time. Basic shelter gives way to wooden structures, to rough stone dwellings, to incredible and marvellous buildings that can withstand the rigours of time far longer than sticks and thatch. And as the buildings progress so does the community. People live and die in roughly the same region over centuries, millennia, always adding a layer to what is already in place.

Other places are newer, recently discovered, recently inhabited. The layering will come only later.

In the former one senses history; in the latter one creates it. Theoretically, a dreamer would have a wealth of images to draw upon in a place layered in time’s events, and this is indeed true. However, the dreamer in a place where time still has to layer dreams larger, because nature is the true challenger.

Circumstance and dreams

A layered space can be stifled by too much suffering, too much persecution and fear. If a community is under the yoke of tyranny for centuries and the spark of revolution is bred from the psyche- acceptance of tyranny in order to survive- it eventually leads to a stasis extremely difficult to remove...even when the tyrants have moved on to greener pastures. This is often the case with heavy-handed religions as well, tyrants in flowing robes and words of peace. Free will is absent. Thus, despite a wealth of time and events, dreamers are sightless during nocturnal wanderings. There are few who dream at all.

Imagine a pioneer lifestyle. This can be a new farm carved from scrub or the challenge of a new land. There are may be layers in place, but there is no predisposition. The pioneer does not sense the yoke of tyranny even if it once was. Despite exhaustion, life is large even in sleep.


We are all of us, however, greater than nature, History and circumstance. Generalisations are not absolutes. How and when we dream is entirely at our behest. We may choose not to, we may not remember upon waking, but we are in control of our minds. This, I believe, is a generalisation that can be regarded as an absolute.

Dreamer, dream large.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Philosophical rambling...

A line is drawn in the sand. Do you step over or onto it? Do you contemplate it or don't you see it all? Does it intrigue or does nothing resonate inside you long enough for it to impact?

A stone balances precariously on a larger one. Do you wonder how it came to be there or do you simply accept its place? Do you wonder when it will fall and how, or does nothing resonate within you long enough for it to impact?

An unusual sound disturbs the quiet. Do you listen or not? Do you hope to hear it again or is the disturbance of no matter? Do you unravel its mystery or does nothing resonate within you long enough for it have impact?

Who drew the line in the sand? To what end? Who placed the stone on another? To what end? Who disturbed the quiet? To what end?

Who did what doesn't matter. What matters is that you see, think and listen. Only then do you speak. Only then will your words count- they will resonate inside and they will impact.

Gathering of Rain - Chapter One

Gathering of Rain – Tales of the Valla Volume I


In a time now passed beyond memory, a man whispered over a golden disc as he set it into a vice. He lifted an engraving tool to mark the first glyph. He murmured the words of an ancient enchantment, a repeated rhythm, until it was perfect, and then whispered some more as he polished. It took time, many months, and he rushed nothing. Spoke of it to no one. Only when the time was right would he reveal his handiwork.
He possessed the tools and skills to achieve his goal, as well as the voice that was impetus and creation. To infuse inanimate gold, to gift atoms sensitivity, to compel unassailable eternity, required tone, repetition and emotion. Imperative was emotion, for it determined the ultimate nature of the infused device. If fashioned in anger, the consequence was an instrument capable of confusion; indifference led to instability, hate to darkness, mockery to deception, egotism to arrogance, and love to illumination and enlightenment. He intended only love.
The Supreme Wisdom- the Maghdim Medaillon- of the Valleur was made tangible and it was beautiful. On the day he laid it in a protective casket, he thought: I am done now. The future is secure.
He was wrong.

Part I
The Game

‘A dark-eyed child will be born among you. She will be the Changeling who will return the Medaillon to the last Vallorin and release him from his tomb. He, in turn, will bring you freedom.’

‘There is a darkness coming, but I cannot yet see in what form…’
Vannis, last Vallorin

Chapter One

Three nights to New Moon

Rain was exhausted when he finally reached Farinwood. It had been four long days from Galilan, the latter two on foot after his horse lost a shoe, and he had chosen the Corridor to gain time; it was a treacherous pass, even now in high summer.
Farinwood nestled in a fold where the soil was fertile and moist all year, the town facing roughly west towards the Corridor Mountains. Farinwood was a bustling community, the town surrounded with productive farmland. It was the last centre before the might and influence of the Great Dividing Forest began.
The lower hills were shrouded in dense mist and the valleys appeared oppressed in murky shadow. It wasn’t natural. It was also the reason he had come. The town itself was gloomy with vapour trailing tendrils much like spooky fingers from a hell world. The quaint, old buildings were shuttered, blind; the cobbled streets slick, misshapen moss growing in cracks.
The first evidence of the dara-witch Infinity’s malevolence was a group of armed, surly men. Knives, cudgels, even a rusty saw. They were not looking at him, but past him, around him, unseeing after initial scrutiny, eyes skittish. Someone else was on their minds. When Rain hoarsely enquired after the nearest inn, they pointed him onward willingly enough, but their eyes darted all over. One man stared intently at him as if to say something, but his companion dug an elbow into his ribs and he quickly looked away.
He left the men behind. Avendeath would know what was going on.
Rounding the corner into a broader street, he came across other groups. There were no women and no children. It wasn’t a good sign; it meant women and children were confined. And as he passed he heard snatches of sinister mutterings.
‘…not normal this fog…’
‘...Farinwood is a portal to the netherworld...’
‘…darkness in their hearts…’
‘…Feon saw the dara-witch…’
‘…Infinity on Hogshill…’
‘…our poor children…’
‘…an ancient curse I tell…’
‘...the same war of three thousand years ago...’
The words were a continuing round of endless repetitions of fact and rumour and were spoken almost as mantra to relieve stress.
When he did see a group of children around a further corner he was relieved to think he had misjudged; if children were out, the situation in Farinwood was redeemable.
Across the intersection they stared at each other.
He began then to understand the men and their homemade weapons, their words and depression, their terrible wariness and the withdrawal from outsiders. He began to understand what Infinity had achieved. It was about the children.
He stepped back hastily, abruptly realizing he was in real danger. There was appalling knowledge in the children’s dead eyes and they were not afraid to attack and kill like rabid dogs, and, thus, as with rabid dogs, it was wise to retreat. Innocent children were now dark beings- incomplete at this juncture- but approaching the point where nothing would save them from an abominable fate.
He could do little to help them. He could do nothing and that meant Valaris was in real trouble.
He hurriedly turned another corner, the back of his neck prickling, and ahead saw a sign that proclaimed the Foaming Ale Inn.

A lobby sported a hat and coat rack and beside it a mirror in an old-fashioned frame. The floor was rough slate. As lobbies went it wasn’t pretty. The rack was empty; either he was early or the only customer or fear kept patrons away. The tension on the streets spoke of the latter. He hadn’t tended his appearance in days and was shocked when he looked into the mirror. Fair hair hung in long, damp strings and grey eyes were bloodshot, his face colourless. Nothing a bath and a good night’s sleep wouldn’t cure, although only Tanos knew when real rest was likely again.
He turned for the common room.
Without warning the inn door slammed inward and the new arrival barged in, glanced warily over his shoulder, shoved the door closed again, and then looked him over intently. A big man with flaming red hair and beard a shade darker, shoulders the size of an ox and a voice to match when he spoke. Rain’s eyes narrowed in suspicion and he automatically altered his stance.
‘Rain of the Mantle?’ the man boomed. ‘Name’s McSee. Relax, my lord, you have nothing to fear from me. You are Rain of the Mantle?’ He thrust his hand out.
Too flabbergasted to do much else, Rain nodded and took the proffered hand, wincing at the pressure the big man unconsciously exerted. Long after he’d wonder what would have happened had he said no to the query this day; would McSee have turned away not to be seen again, or were their fates already decided before that first handshake?
‘Been on your tail a few days. Just missed you in Galilan. You move fast…thirsty work. Let us see if this dive lives up to its name!’ McSee launched into the common room, not giving Rain a chance to get a word in. ‘An ale, barkeep! And one for my friend!’ He rolled like a runaway boulder across the empty room to a table at the hearth.
A fire blazed warmth and comfort. Rain followed the big man in bemused suspicion. He had no choice, for he was lumped in with him by the casual claim of friends sharing a drink; to appear stubborn would only alert the barkeeper.
Rain sat, nodding greeting to the barman. McSee watched the small, rotund man busy behind the bar counter, and the little man winked and then returned Rain’s greeting with a nod of his own. He had a friendly face and as he poured he asked: ‘Need rooms? No problem. We’re empty presently, the unseasonable weather putting the fear of who-knows-what into superstitious folk. Granted, I’ve never known weather like this in all my years here, not in summer. Still, superstitious nonsense!’ He came over with two foaming mugs.
Changeling children, and the man called it superstition. Rain frowned into his as he lifted it to his mouth to swirl the dust of travel away.
McSee paid. ‘Yes, rooms and hot water. I don’t know about my friend here, but I could sorely use a good soak.’
The little man pulled a face. ‘It’s all I can do to keep this fire going, my staff having left me in the lurch- I told them it’s fairytales and legends, but no one listens. We’re in for a spell of poorly weather, seeing as we always have it so good…you know, nature’s way of letting us know who’s in charge. Mist from a netherworld, ha! Superstitious nonsense,’ he added for good measure. ‘Name’s Julian.’ He looked pointedly at McSee, and then glanced at Rain, dark eyes inquisitive, and one couldn’t blame him; he was in the business of people and visitors were decidedly scarce.
McSee handled the introductions. ‘McSee,’ he said, thrusting his hand out again. Rain winced, having recently shaken that hand. ‘Just out from Gasmoor.’
Gasmoor was the second largest centre on Valaris, a university city two days ride from Galilan.
‘And this here,’ McSee continued, ‘is Rain of…’ Rain imperceptibly shook his head. ‘…ah, Rain of Galilan,’ the big man amended.
Julian extended his hand to enfold Rain’s in a firm grip. ‘He’s rather quiet, your friend Rain, isn’t he?’
‘Tired, Julian, more tired than I have been in a long while,’ Rain answered, ignoring McSee’s curious gaze.
‘Oh, apologies, sirs, apologies! Let’s see what can be done about hot water…yes, and something to eat, must feed my guests…excuse me…’ and, managing to curb his curiosity, Julian left.
‘Did you see them? The young ones?’ McSee murmured. ‘Is he blind?’ He gestured after the round man.
‘He is afraid. Denial is a form of defence.’ Rain settled back and took a deep pull of ale. The brew definitely lived up to the name above the door. He glanced at the big man. ‘McSee. From Gasmoor. Well, that’s a start. So, McSee, you seem to know a little more about me than I know of you. How is that?’ Flinty grey eyes dared the brown ones to lie to him.
McSee did not drop his gaze. ‘I mean you no harm, my lord.’
‘That remains to be seen. At this point answer my question.’
McSee sighed, set his mug down and, settling his big arms on the polished wood, twisted his fingers together. ‘I was chosen to find you, for we have noticed the same distressing signs the Mantle has…’
‘We?’ Rain barked.
‘A society, my lord…’
‘Do not call me that, for Aaru’s sake; I do not want unnecessary attention. Rain will do fine.’
‘Of course, I’m sorry, my…Rain.’ McSee briefly scratched self-consciously at his head.
‘A society,’ Rain prompted impatiently.
Brown eyes were sombre and expecting trouble. ‘Yes, a society of folk who think there’s great danger a-foot. We also believe what we see is a fraction of what’s coming. Allow me to offer my help. If nothing else, I find my size in odd situations is an advantage.’ There was a trace of embarrassed diffidence in McSee’s voice, but as his claim wasn’t a lie, he didn’t back down from it either.
Rain’s lips twitched. ‘You are not answering my question, friend. How is it you know of me? Perhaps twenty outsiders know of the existence of the Mantle.’
‘We at the Society know as well,’ McSee murmured, toning his voice down on hearing Julian scuffling in an adjoining chamber. The way he accented Society revealed it was more than a generic term for a gathering. ‘We know the Mantle is an organization studying signs and portents. You are the protectors, right?’
In a manner of speaking, Rain thought, but did not answer directly. ‘And what exactly does this Society of yours do?’
For the first time the big man was uncomfortable and wary. ‘They said this will be the hardest part, and now I see why…but, please, don’t get steamed until I have a chance to explain…’ He lapsed into tongue-tied silence.
Rain took a deep breath and released it on a long sigh. ‘Something like the Mantle?’
McSee nodded. ‘Our goals are similar, but we are more than mere academics…’
And so is the Mantle. ‘I get that,’ Rain said.
Something in Rain’s tone alerted the big man, for he sighed wearily. ‘I am instructed to tell the real truth, so here it is: The Society is a select group of…well, of sorcerers…no, no, wait,’ McSee interjected as Rain abruptly straightened in his chair, ‘…it’s really not what you think!’
‘How can you know what I think?’
‘We don’t do darak magic, I swear; we don’t practice magic at all, only theory.’
Rain lifted a disbelieving eyebrow, and thought that meant they were only academics.
‘It’s true,’ McSee continued. ‘We train generation to generation in an attempt to keep the old knowledge alive. Long ago someone understood we might need the theoretical arts one day. Folk forgot about the Society as time passed, especially after the Drasso catastrophe, but we were there during that time and saw what real danger is. We weren’t formal like now, maybe not so hidden, and probably not quite as unpractised as today, but that was then and I don’t know much about the past and only about the future we seek to protect. The way things add up, we need countering that can reach beyond traditional weapons. We are not a danger to the Mantle or Valaris, quite the contrary, and if you need to keep me nearby just to prove that, then so be it; I shall earn your trust soon enough.’
McSee leaned in. ‘You are of the Mantle, my lord…’ and he used Rain’s title deliberately, ‘… so you must know Valaris can’t hope to survive the coming darkness without trained sorcerers. Who will help us if we don’t help ourselves? I can sniff out danger and I can fight it also.’ McSee paused, concerned at the other man’s silence, by his expressionless gaze. ‘Rain, I would be honoured to stand at your side.’
Rain was a power in an underworld of powerful men. Did McSee aim to aid him with the different power of the Society? What, exactly, could the man do? And how much did he know of the Mantle?
In the ensuing silence they heard Julian throwing water. The innkeeper would return soon.
When Rain finally spoke his voice remained low. The men with weapons outside needed just a spark, a whiff of a whisper of a sorcerer inside, and all Julian had to do was shout.
‘You’re telling me there’s a group the Mantle doesn’t know of and you say this group has been in existence a long time. There are trained sorcerers running amok on this world…by Tanos, man, how do you expect me to react?’
McSee put up a hand. ‘Three thousand years ago Valaris was the battlefield for Infinity and Drasso and their darak fallen, and the Deities descended to aid us in that war. Today we don’t know how much is fact or fairytale, but we do know there was a war and our world was almost destroyed. A handful survived, the north was forever annihilated, and it took Valaris almost a thousand years to recover. We still have a forest separating us from the poison of the north! Someone like Drasso could be happening right now again.’
Rain gave a wry smile. The big man was on target. Infinity had returned, no doubt to exact revenge for the death of her son Drasso.
‘Will the Deities come to our aid? Dare we wait for that to happen? Do we allow it to get so bad that it takes another thousand years to recover?’ McSee leaned earnestly forward. ‘Better if we join forces…’ He broke off as Julian re-entered the common room.
‘Good news, gentlemen. Two tubs in the steam room out back. Fresh towels just inside the door…’ Julian’s bright eyes darted from one to the other, sensing the strained atmosphere.
Rain pushed his chair back. ‘We shall resume this later, McSee. Lead on, Julian.’
McSee followed, as yet without an inkling how mercurial Rain could be…or how dangerous.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Chapter One First Lines

Gathering of Rain:

Rain was exhausted when he finally reached Farinwood.

House of Valla:

Despite high summer elsewhere, it was bitterly cold in the far north.

Rock of Ancients:

Torrullin walked over the light-bridge.

Winter's Fire:

No sign. No trace.

Glittering Darkness:

Years ago Valaris was the battlefield between Infinity, the dara-witch, and Tanos, Lord of the Immortal Guardians.

Path of Shades:

Vannis discovered the stowaways three weeks into the journey.

Walker of Realms:

Close on six months had passed since the stolen ship left Valaris airspace on a mission to deal with Neolone, the Valleur Dragon, and the Dragon Taliesman.

Sword of the Sleeper:

Buthos stood at the raised white dais ignoring the flashing lights upon it.

Animated Spirit:

Nobody could now claim ignorance.

Elixir's Mirror:

Margus was dead, and ferried to his final resting place beyond the Rift.

Again, pretty enlightening. I find it astounding how we can look at our work and not see where we are going wrong. A writer is definitely too close to what he/she has written. Pulling the first lines out has given me an insight into what needs a fresh beginning.