Sunday, May 30, 2010

Coffee...

How many times hadn't he studied the situation? He was now at the point that none of it made any sense. How many times did one have to look at something to and understand? Before it became less than sum of its parts? It was soul-destroying doing it over and over again.
Torrullin sighed as he turned from the view of the ocean. So. There was a Timekeeper. How did that really affect him? Or Elianas? When all they had was time? They were the real timekeepers for pity’s sake. As he wandered into the stone dwelling he knew Elianas would agree with him. How not? The man had more secrets that any other- he would certainly see the need to step away from this.
He found the dark man in the kitchen where he thought to, brewing coffee. Elianas, for all his faults, had one major vice- the dark and bitter brew. And he wasn’t alone in that.
Torrullin smiled as he entered.
‘That’s a new blend.’
‘Fenu,’ Elianas muttered.
A raised brow. ‘how in hell did you manage that?’
A quick smile. ‘I have my ways.’

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Tanos

Tanos has always been reserved and guards his privacy. As the tale progresses we realise this is due to grief and hurt over a woman he believes abandoned him in his past. Once back on Valaris, he can no longer hide. We discover he was born on Valaris and attained Immortality there, after the woman leaves. When he discovers she was pregnant, his pain is magnified. It is hard for him to accept Rain is his son, and when he does, he knows forgiveness may escape him.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Void

They fell through Eternity, and at first it was dark.
And then there was colour.
Parallel rings of colour flashed and dimmed as accompaniment as they hurtled through. They went far too fast to hold onto specifics, yet enough burned into retinas to prove those rings were snatches of parallel dimensions, alternate worlds, times and universes…and realms. There was life, marvellous and terrible life, to each.
And in the depths of the corridor through the rings worlds floated, worlds swallowed or failed or forgotten, worlds yet to be born. Bright stars curved in patterns and red giants and blue dwarfs. The fabric of cosmic mastery. So much, and yet in the vastness it was empty.
In such vastness they were minute, a skip in memory, and memory wouldn’t light an atom in this eternity. All that they were and would be was stripped from them until only pure soul remained. All that was physical was immaterial and although they made contact in the flashing dark, they felt nothing of each other…and felt everything.
They passed through the anti-matter pull of black holes, were tossed beyond the reaches of imploding stars and swirled in vacuum, crushed in gravity, and felt nothing. A wormhole flicked an errant tail, asteroids and comets played to silent music and heat blasted while cold froze.
And then, for a moment, but a moment, all slowed…and stopped. A crossroad in eternity. They were blind and at the mercy of something so great, no understanding would ever be.
And then they were forcibly pushed, breath-sucking death, into white light.
All consciousness fled, and sentience became another’s memory.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Lifegiver

‘What do you know?’ he whispered wretchedly. ‘What am I?’
She bent closer to cup his face, which he did not feel, but the others saw his skin glow translucent gold. She didn’t speak, yet he heard her, but it wasn’t mindspeak; hers was a whisper of song his own talents translated into comprehensible sounds like to words, yet couldn’t be.
You will find him, Lifegiver.
He didn’t ask with words either. The man with dark eyes?
Him, yes, but the time is far away, far, far away from today. This is a chapter apart from that time.
Who is he?
Your soul, Lifegiver. Be patient. You are not ready this time.
This time? Lifegiver?
A beatific smile shone over him as she withdrew. You are strong, Rain. The time approaches to awake.
Destiny?
More than destiny. Completion. Oneness. The knowing and ultimate sharing with another. Heart’s Desire. The road there, however, is hard and filled with loss and pain, but know all is brought together to create you true soul. Be patient, Lifegiver.
She withdrew her whispering song from him and turned deliberately away to find Tanos. The communication, which rocked his established beliefs, was over. He took a step backward, still staring at her, then another, and halted like that, gripping the gem with white fingers.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

A bundle of rags

A bundle of rags, that was their first impression of the obstacle in their path. As they had to step over it to continue on their way, they came to a halt before doing so, a moment’s curiosity that sought appeasement.
Lowen, a hand covering her nose to mitigate the stench emanating from the bundle, squatted and poked experimentally at it using a stick near to hand.
Her gasp of horror caused Torrullin to lean down, grip her and drag her aside. She instantly struggled free.
‘Stop it, I’m not a child!’
‘We swore to keep you safe,’ Torrullin said.
Meanwhile Elianas had knelt. He looked up as Lowen jabbed Torrullin in the stomach. For once he didn’t find the ongoing battle between Torrullin and Lowen amusing.
‘A woman,’ he murmured. ‘A few days dead.’
Sending Lowen a warning look, Torrullin crouched down. Together he and Elianas turned the bundle of rags over, both men gagging.
They stared down at a thin face. Any trace of beauty was lost in the ugliness of death.
‘Hunger,’ Elianas said. ‘Probably collapsed here never to rise.’ He surged up, swearing. ‘We are days from the city; how bad will it get? How long before we are numb?’
‘The real question is: how do we make it right?’ Lowen said.
Torrullin said it. In a voice filled with understanding, he murmured: ‘Lowen, this cannot be reversed.’

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Heavenly Music

Ephnor - Heavenly Music

The Ephnor are almost-sentient birds found on the islands of dreaming known as the Three Gates on Valaris, little creatures that make music with their feet as they walk...

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Inspiration from humankind


Another example of life and art combining to lend inspiration. This was taken in Ireland and reminds me of the city of Grinwallin...

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Chaos

Chaos was a kind word. Chaos was an impenetrable smog, cloying, dense doom, persistently on the move, coming, going, reeling, spinning, agitating as if it were alive and greedy, hungry, cannibalistic, needy, with half-seen inhuman, un-humanoid shapes that flitted and taunted, reached out, tried to touch…if it touched you died you knew this felt this did not like this…unremitting sickly glow lightning sparked and did nothing to dispel the thickening gloom, instead it terrified as if the lightning were a living entity in symbiosis with the life in the smog and the life that was the smog. Vapid chameleon eyes, sickly yellow eyes, cold snake eyes danced and challenged one after the other, coming closer, too close. Reptilian scales unlike any known reptile flashed unmade in the lightning, much the worse for only seeing part of the whole. Fangs as long as a man’s arm, dripping saliva the colour of pewter, as thick as mercury…and as dangerous- death would be very slow. Snatches of sight, too little to make sense of…chaos. Chaos that could destroy worlds.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Visitor in the night

‘Gods, I must be dreaming,’ Tanos muttered. ‘A nightmare.’

No reaction from the insubstantial form. Tanos studied it carefully. A nigromant was an apparition, an ethereal messenger from the mind of a tangible being, and able to traverse great distances in an instant. A nifty trick if the source needed to share something from afar...or needed to do so without risk. Which was it? Was the source afar or was it afraid of direct confrontation?

‘What do you want?’ Tanos demanded.

‘You are to accompany me.’

‘And where are we going?’

‘The Rift.’

‘Infinity sent you?’ Tanos almost laughed. The dara-witch was slippery, but he didn’t think her clever enough for this kind of ruse.

'I am commanded by the Arcana.’

He lost the power of speech then, and the ability to think coherently. What roiled in his mind was the meeting with Infinity on Mir 4 two weeks ago. He went because she threatened to poison Mir’s water sources. She spoke of the Arcana and a rift and he laughed in her face. As he left, she swore she would prove their existence...and here this creature was.

Power of speech returned. ‘I don't believe you.’

‘I am able to force compliance, Guardian. I suggest you choose the easier path.’

Loss of breath. Unable to think about why, he believed this apparition was exactly what it claimed to be. He felt it in icy shivers over clammy skin. He swallowed dryly.

‘Are you going to kill me?’

A hiss of a laugh. ‘You would be dead now. No, I am your means to proof.’

‘What proof?’

‘The Arcana are real. The dara-witch Infinity found us and we have agreed to be the leverage she requires. If you desire to save Valaris from annihilation, come with me. You will be returned to your bed after, I swear.’

Heat wave: cold skin. The night was not what it was when he set the air to circulate faster. Tanos rose and dressed, retrieved his sword from the floor, strapped it on. If he was returned to his bed, he would not be sleeping in it too soon.

‘I am ready,’ he whispered, and silently prayed to all the gods in the universe to watch over him.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Dreamscape tunnel

The tunnel elongated, the kind of action featured in dreams where nothing was as it seemed. The trunk walls curved strangely, first bulging out and then curled inward to form an impenetrable ceiling. All light extinguished...and returned in spotlights. Every sense of comfort vanished.

Elianas laughed in disbelief. So many ages he’d had, and the taunts came in the form of a dreamscape? He had expected more. He’d expected challenge.

He stalked forward, every step revealing his disdain for this mundanity.

Whispers dogged him, inane sounds that contained little meaning and merely served to underscore ordinariness. If someone desired to frighten him and throw him off the scent, this certainly wasn’t the manner in which to achieve it. Where was imagination? This tunnel lived in the nightmares of children only.

He walked on with a smile, expecting dreadful creatures with fangs and vicious intent, perhaps even an otherworldly screech or two to round the whole off.

It was the rain that changed perception.

It began with a drip, drip, drip on the very edge of hearing.

A smell of earth.

Elianas came to a stop. A storm would be more fitting in this type of dreamscape- rain, slow drips finding chinks in the armour of the tunnel ceiling, signified...reality.

What did it mean?

Speak in others' tongues...

Creating a world and civilisation is quite a challenge...and a lot of fun! Besides the calendar for Valaris, I have also delved into another language. Not quite A-Z, but a word here and there to show difference.

I'll post one from time to time:

Trebac - kinfire

'the blue sparks that signify a meeting of kin, particular to the House of Valla'

Thursday, May 13, 2010

VALARIS CALENDAR

Valaris follows the moon in marking time and seasons. The calendar is therefore lunar:

Fourteen phases – fourteen months
Ten days dark of moon and twenty-two days light – thirty-four days/month
476 days/year

Months:

Snostirl
Istelgor
Festwun
Grensceot
Skileiken
Solsuite
Hatubrath
Fainscan
Cludcast
Redlef
Haerfell
Redbouer
Dormire
Blizzird

Equinoxes fall on the Full Moon and Solstices at Dark Moon. Valaris has a 19 hour day

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Stone gorilla

Inspiration and art in real life. This 'gorilla' gets me every time!

Saska

Saska is a Mer initially withdrawn in the Dome of the Guardians. On Valaris, however, she discovers her fiery nature, and this is largely due to the influence of Rain. His presence alone begins to change her, but her attraction for him takes her forward in leaps and bounds.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Art in the Dome

The ceiling of the Dome was similarly segmented into fourteen, creating the illusion that the vaulted arches met overhead without the support of buttress and pedentive. Being of magic, any support was illusion. Each segment was the genius of a master artist: the mosaics overhead were of incredible variety and hue, and depicted stylised scenes exceptionally beautiful and horribly grotesque. There were winged creatures soaring over mountain peaks of emerald, violet, tangerine and sapphire. There were water scenes with sleek, silvery mer-beings half leaping, half diving. Battle scenes with humanoids sitting astride amazing four-legged, winged creatures. And darker images: things black, mud, scarlet, and plutonium green; things animalistic, fanged and wading through rivers of bleached bones. By far the most frightening were hand combat scenes, the combatants of both sides committing terrible atrocity. It was art, it was honest and it was truth.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Deities

Avendeath looked from one man to the other. McSee already had a schoolboy crush on his gentle, shy Averroes, and that was trouble, him being so big and, well, crude in a way. Rain had a hidden agenda, the shadows in his eyes spoke of it, and that was greater trouble. He glanced at Averroes and sighed sadly. She was looking at Rain with an enigmatic and mature expression. Rain and Averroes, who should have sat side-by-side. He cursed in silence.
‘I’ll start packing,’ he said and rose from his armchair. As he left the room he waved his right hand and snuffed the candles, plunging the three within into darkness. He walked out unapologetically, and Rain snorted a laugh.
‘And that?’ McSee asked in the dark.
Averroes lit a lantern. ‘He thinks we’re ganging up on him. He’ll be fine.’
‘Yes, well, now nothing stops those kids,’ McSee muttered. ‘I’m going to check…’ He followed Avendeath into the house and they heard him call out, his footsteps receding swiftly.
‘You said nothing of the Oracles,’ Averroes said into the silence that came after those footsteps silenced somewhere.
‘That comes later,’ Rain returned. He put the chairs back into their corners and pulled the drapes behind Avendeath’s armchair for light. It was gloomy non-light as if thunder threatened.
Averroes snuffed the lantern and watched him stare into the courtyard at the back of the house. It was paved, had shrubs in pots, an empty wash line and a gate on the far side. ‘I don’t recall where I was born,’ she said abruptly.
He turned. ‘Neither do I.’
She nodded as if it confirmed something she suspected. Recalling, for them, went beyond the age when a toddler could hold onto memories. Then: ‘You believe there is more to the gathering at the Well than north and south and the bringing together of the Oracles and Medaillon.’
She saw too much, and had a greater maturity than Avendeath believed. ‘North and south were both ultimately responsible for Drasso’s death.’
‘You’re saying Infinity is behind this.’
‘Yes.’
‘And there is a plan in place that requires four northerners…and us.’
‘And others,’ Rain added.
‘The Deities.’
‘Yes.’
‘Why not tell Avendeath?’
‘He worries too much for you already.’
‘I am not that weak,’ Averroes frowned.
Rain turned away. ‘No, you are stronger than anyone yet realises, and that is a good thing.’ Or very disturbing. He left the chamber after a moment, leaving her to tidy away the wine and tea.

Granite slab

Seven children sat on a granite slab, cross-legged, hands relaxed on knees...and entirely unmoving and expressionless. As if formed from waxen rock. All wore red, silken tunics that shivered and folded in the breeze, the only movement.

It was eerie.

Torrullin crouched before them, scrutinising each in turn. All were blond and blue-eyed, all boys. Flawless skins. Angelic perfection.

Uncanny.

‘You must activate them.’

Torrullin glanced up as the birdman stepped in beside him. They, like the living statues, threw no shadows. A sun glared from on high...but he couldn’t now deal with that strangeness as well. He faced the children again.

‘Activate them. Are you saying they are manufactured?’

‘Manifestations.’

Torrullin rose and stretched. ‘I hesitate to ask.’

Quilla smiled. ‘And yet we shall not leave without solving this mystery.’

‘Fine, my feathered friend. Manifestations of what or who...and how is this perfection even possible?’ Torrullin waved in the general direction of the statues. ‘I have never seen a real child this unflawed.’

‘It is unnatural, isn’t it?’

‘Quilla.’

A shrug from the birdman. ‘I do not understand the how, but as to what? For it is what.’ Quilla sighed and looked up at Torrullin, squinting in the bright light. ‘These are voices trapped in form, unheard voices...more correctly, unheard messages.’

‘That implies thought, people...’

‘People long passed on. Leaving behind messages so important they have manifested in the guise of youthful angels. And before you ask, because even a man dead to every feeling would pause before this perfection.’

Torrullin nodded and stepped closer to the children. Reaching out tentatively, he touched the hand of the central boy, and then rested his fingers there, closing his eyes.

‘Faint resonance,’ he murmured moments later, and removed his hand and opened his eyes.
‘Not alive, but not dead either. How do I activate them?’

‘I assume Elixir needs to listen.’

A baleful stare. ‘I hate it when you do that.’

‘I know,’ Quilla laughed.

‘Listen,’ Torrullin muttered, ‘and hear.’ He abruptly glared at the birdman. ‘Important messages? Damn it, Quilla, you know how paths change when something untold is made tangible.’

‘Yes. And yet here we are.’

‘And we shall not leave without solving the mystery. Curiosity gets us into trouble every time, and still we grab the cat by the tail.’ Torrullin swore under his breath and folded down to sit in a cross-legged manner that mirrored the boys’. He didn’t say more and Quilla didn’t interrupt the process either.

Absolute silence descended, broken only by breath and sweat tracking lazily over cheeks.

Both spooked when the seven angelic manifestations abruptly slapped palms against chests. Their hands froze in that lifted position.

‘Oh, my,’ Quilla breathed out. He cleared his throat. ‘They are activated.’

Torrullin stared at the central figure. ‘I haven’t done anything yet.’

Quilla closed in. ‘Perhaps it’s proximity.’

Snapshots?

What are snapshots? Here, for me and for you, a snapshot is a piece written out of context from the main Tales. It may or may not be incorporated into the story somewhere, but meanwhile it serves as a prod into creativity...or is simply a fun exercise!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Another few words...

I'm sure you've noticed the gap in posts.

The reasons are varied:

1. Recently moved from the northern to the southern hemisphere
2. Did some major editing!
3. Made some big decisions on the format of my work (see post below this!)

Of course I'm still writing daily and thus have to structure my time for blogging, Authonomy (and others!), but here's to more frequent excerpts and updates from the universe of the Valla!

A few words on my creative journey

Gathering of Rain is the first Tale from the Path of Shades and is about RAIN being gathered to become something greater than he initially suspects. His journey starts as an unwilling sorcerer forced into action by the manipulations of an ancient enemy. By the end of the first Tale every reader will know there is great potential in Rain...and great danger. We could label this heroic fantasy, for there is heroism, but as Rain possesses dark spaces, it places him firmly on the Path of Shades.

How did Rain’s journey come to light? A few years ago I paged through a book on Alchemy, a dictionary of terms. I wish I could now recall to mind the author, to thank her for the proverbial light bulb moment that sparked this creative process. I do, however, recall the 14 steps to alchemical perfection she listed that started it all.

Those 14 steps, tweaked of course to fit an epic tale, caused me to grab pen and paper...and they also form the basis of the quest for Rain in Gathering of Rain:

1. Find the sacred rhythms of Pyllanthos.
2. Enter the Square Pyramid. .
3. Solve the riddle of the Obelisk. .
4. Play chess in the Queen’s chessboard courtyard.
5. Open the Three Gates.
6. Pray in the Round Temple.
7. Activate the Seven-sided Fountain.
8. Survive the Graveyard of the Ancients.
9. Surmount the rivers to the Lifesource
10. Travel the Tunnels
11. Solve the Maze.
12. Solve the mystery of the Circular Mystic Island.
13. Pick from the sacred rose-garden of Moshesh.
14. Climb the Tower of Stairs.

To further add impetus to creativity, I had a dream a while before said light bulb moment. Content isn't important, but what is, is the fact I was convinced, upon waking, I possessed 10 books I had penned while on a dream mission...I simply had to find them...or write them. The Ancient Oracles we learn of in Gathering of Rain parallel this- 10 sacred volumes of history and sorcery, and, yes, I have subsequently ‘penned’ 10 Tales:

1. Gathering of Rain
2. Ancient Fire
3. Glittering Darkness
4. Walker of realms
5. Animated Spirit
6. Sacred Space
7. Shadowland
8. Time’s Timekeeper
9. Alhazen’s Bridge
10. Siren Stone

Most of the above forms part of my query letter and I would appreciate feedback.

There is more to this journey: At first there was the encompassing term ‘Tales of the Valla’ and five volumes. Those five volumes seemed too large re the word count etiquette given out by agents and publishers, and thus 5 volumes became 10. Subsequent work I labelled as something else...but, in reality, all is part of one giant tale. Much soul-searching and time later, I decided to follow my instincts and returned to ‘larger’ volumes and chose the Path of Shades as the umbrella.

Only the last three volumes are still works-in-progress and I’ll create pages for each as soon as I am happy with how they begin. Meanwhile, browse the other book pages for the Prologue and Chapter One of completed Tales.

Have fun!

Elaina

An encompassing phenomenon

Dear Reader

Nobody is perfect. Neither perfectly good nor perfectly bad, to use a rather clich├ęd set of opposites. Each of us slots in somewhere along the line that stretches from idealism to wickedness...as do the characters you are will meet.

That line is life’s journey and I call it the Path of Shades.