Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Changed Prologue for Twins Who Are Not book :)

This is a glimpse into my book Twins Who Are Not :) I hope you enjoy it

Prologue: Dream Born Choice

Luelna was shaken awake by a dream whose visions burned deep into her heart’s memory. Sitting up in bed, she found the images still running in her mind’s eye demanding attention, refusing to fade or let her go. This wasn’t the first time she had dreamed of the future and knew this was how her mind always processed foretelling dreams.
Climbing out of her warm bed into the winter chill, Luelna grabbed the dressing gown her father had given her three weeks before on her eighteenth birthday. The gown was lined in silver venlyn fur with heavy blue and green silk covering the outside. This fact caused her to stop in shock realizing the colors which had dominated her dream lay now in her hands.
Shaking both from cold and foreboding and a strong sense of excitement too, she donned the colors which would soon dominate the rest of her life. It felt like a paradox. By choosing the choices she had in the dream, Luelna would be choosing the means of her own death. But more importantly she would be choosing her daughter’s birth and the hope healing would be born into the Princedom too.
Sliding her feet into matching slippers as she tied the gown’s sash, Luelna left her chamber and took the back stairs two floors down. Here she walked soundlessly down a dimly lit corridor until finally coming to the last doorway on her right. As she expected, there was light coming from beneath it, so she knocked quietly and waited.
Minutes passed before the aging Historian opened the door. Bowing slightly, the old man seemed unsurprised to find her at his door. “Lady Luelna, please come in.”
As she entered the well-lit chamber she asked, “Have you been waiting for me Giimor? Did you have your own foretelling tonight that prepared you to see me?”
“The gift runs deep in Lord Harld’s bloodline, so I am always listening for him or one or more of his children, who come with a foretelling or… other things needing recorded. How might I help you tonight?”
“I had a dream I need you to record for me,” Luelna stated. “I also need you to seal it and speak to no one of it until you hear of my death. On that day I need you to give it to my father. You must insist he read it no matter how grieved or angered he may be. Can you promise me that, Giimor?”
“I promise that I will do my utmost to fulfill your commands, Lady Luelna,” the old scribe said, concern showing in his gray eyes. “You must remember that I am an old man and may pass on before you, so sooner or later I must entrust that promise to my apprentice Maatu.”
Raising her left hand she cupped his wrinkled cheek gently before saying, “Believe me, old friend, you will outlive me by many years. My apologies though. I trust Maatu as deeply as I trust you, so swear him to the same promise. But keep the contents of it private, I ask of you, please. I do trust Maatu, but there is no reason for him to know its content.”
“As you wish of course, my Lady,” Giimor returned.
“Know that I may give hints to some about what it contains, but the written foretelling itself must remain secret and sealed until the proper time.”
He began to protest until he saw the strength of determination in the young woman standing before him. Just recently arrived at her legal adulthood, she reminded him a lot of her late mother, the Lady Norlana. All except for her emerald eyes which she shared with all of Lord Harld’s progeny, and all his ancestors as well, like a mark of destiny upon their bloodline.
Leaning in, Luelna touched her forehead to his, breaking his rambling thoughts by whispering, “Come, my friend. We have a dream to record and then I have a wedding journey to prepare for.”
“Wedding?” he asked, surprised.
“Yes,” she said, taking his arm and walking with him to his desk and the tools of his trade. “Let me begin with the fact a courier will arrive soon with a request from the High Prince for a bride of my blood. He and his Seer, Rajella, feel rightness in this request. I feel that rightness as well, as long as that bride is me, and I do accept eagerly.”
Bowing, he picked up his favorite pen, a wing feather a grandfather raven had gifted to his boyhood self. With the inside hollowed, the feather let out just the right amount of ink for his liking, as long as he remembered to fill it before it ran out.
With the proper paper in front of him, Giimor wrote in the top right corner, “Foretelling dreamed by Lady Luelna on the morning of the 12th day of the 12th month of the year 131,208 Since Landing. Recorded and witnessed by Master Scribe Giimor on this same date.” Looking across the desk at her, he said, “Begin when you will, my Lady.”
 “My dream began with a blizzard such as Orjglo Princedom hasn’t seen in centuries….”
Chapter 1: Blizzard Born

Ten months after arriving in Orjglo City, Lady Luelna felt her first labor spasms begin just as the rain heavy winds from the south struck the arctic cold front sitting above the city. The winds howled as they shook the walls trying to break her silence, but the young woman giving birth in her bathtub heard them as a song. Luelna felt her unborn child’s heart beat in tune with the winds battering the palace walls and so tuned her own heart to them as well. That wind froze the rain into ice and snow so thick it was impossible to see anything beyond the window frames. Into this wild night her daughter had decided to be born as if the storm itself was empowering her to push free of her mother’s body.

This reminds me of parts of Orjglo City's protective mountains which encircle the city and bay :) this is deep in the roots of the black granite  mountains :)  I must note that I do not own this beautiful pic... and if the owner requests it I will of course pull it down with an apology <3 hugs

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

How's this for a Prologue? for the Twins Who Are Not book :)

I've been trying to read through a first draft book I wrote over 30 years ago, but found my mind flinching away from it still. I know the reason, which may be truth but it's not really an excuse for not writing. That first draft was written on an old IBM which was new at the time and I fell in love with computers as I found it so easy to add and take away from my script. Back then it had no spell or grammar check, which I am thoroughly grateful for now, but the bad writing isn't why I flinch away from it. It is an interesting story and I'm curious to see what else I've forgotten I wrote. I was at my eldest sister's house at the time, and just as I was finished with the first draft her youngest son went to speak to his parents away from me. He told them he believe that I had put poison in the dinner as I made it that night. Of cours it was untrue and never would or could I do such a thing even to my "antagonists", but schitzophrenia was quickly claiming his mind and the "voices" were warning him against me. Grief struck us all as the doctors worked to find the right meds to help him see through the turmoil, but that wasn't possible with me still in that household, so I went home to my Mother's house, my home. ~~~~~~~~~~~ sigh ~~~~~~~~~ That is what causes me to flinch over that story, but only flinch :) I'm fighting my way through a page or two at a time and am nearing halfway in reading it... which brings me to why I am here posting :) There's another story that I've worked on for a couple years that might be ready to flow, but I needed a Prologue without having to force people to read the "pre story" so here's what I wrote tonight...

THE PROLOGUE to Twins Who Are Not ~~~~~~~
The sun shone brightly through the eastern windows bathing the dining hall in a brilliance born of crystals and glass, of brass and silver and gold, but Luelna did not hesitate as she crossed the threshold. Her raven black hair was woven into many long braids which were themselves braided to echo her station in life. Light emerald eyes latched onto Lord Harld, of Harvest Grove Valley, and his Lady Niviya as they sat together at the long table. That table was also populated by ten of the Lord’s children ranging in age from five to twenty-five.
Standing at Lord Harld’s side was a royal courier, still out of breath from his swift journey, and wearing the blue and green colors of the city and Princedom of Orjglo.
Her eyes were distracted as Larad, the Head Butler, threw a warm fur cloak around the courier to help ease the winter chill. Recognizing the scroll being passed into her father’s hand, Luelna felt herself shocked into remembrance of dreams that had shaken her awake and then faded. Now those visions and the knowing which had accompanied them stopped her in her tracks and she gasped in a tone which drew every eye in the room to her.
“My apologies,” she said, quickly curtseying, “but I had a dream of a scroll coming to us from a throne of sorrow. I did not mean to interrupt.”
Nodding, the courier turned violet colored eyes down towards the well-polished crystal tiles, but all that passed across his lips was a long heart felt sigh.
“If you had a dream of this then you can tell me what it states before I open it,” her father stated. At the shrugging of her shoulders he tilted his head and waited for her to speak.
“I can’t tell you the words that are written,” she said, managing to obtain a jam covered piece of bread to nibble on. “What I know is the intent of what is written and the consequences if we refuse.”
“Which is?” Lord Harld asked.
“It’s Harvest Grove’s turn to give him a bride,” Luelna said, stopping where she was as a brittle silence settled upon them.
It was shattered when the courier nodded sadly.
“Has something happened to Lady Betaia?” Lady Niviya asked, concern flowing across her face.
“Lady Betaia has retired herself and asked to be relieved of wifely duties and the responsibilities of the Prince’s Consort,” the courier stated clearly looking out across his audience. “In truth the Healers are concerned about a nagging pain she reports, but that is as much as I am able and allowed to state. Please, the scroll will tell you what our Prince has decreed.”
Breaking the image of a breeching whale and ship impressed into the blue wax, which only the Prince of Orjglo was allowed to use, Lord Harld unrolled it swiftly revealing it to be a short missive. But short or long, if the Prince of Orjglo Princedom wrote a command then they had little choice beyond obeying or fleeing to another Princedom. Reading silently through the inked message as his Lady read over his shoulder, Lord Harld allowed it to sink in so he could act rather than react to the fear which had risen from the depths of his soul.
“Father,” Luelna said, having covered the distance between them without him being aware. “Father, this task is mine to do. Do not fear to accept Prince Nedglo’s command. I do this willingly.” Glancing around the table at her sisters, three of whom were also of marriageable age, she said, “The dream was a fore-knowing preparing me for this event and what is to come. My sisters are needed elsewhere, but if I don’t go then something very bad will occur. I know it far beyond any doubt or fear that I must do this.”
Looking clearly into her eyes, Lord Harld stated, “You’ve heard what happens when Prince Nedglo’s wives and concubines birth daughters.”
Luelna nodded but it was her step-mother who spoke in response.
“Luelna is well trained in the healing arts,” Lady Niviya said, flicking the kerchief in her right hand. “She knows how to tell if it’s male or female as soon as the egg accepts a swimmer and before it can penetrate the egg’s wall. She…,” Lady Niviya began before realizing she had spoken this in front of one of the Prince’s men. Blushing, she quickly apologized but the courier halted her with a gesture.
“My Lady Niviya, I heard nothing,” the man stated before asking the Lord of the manor, “My Lord, perhaps you could allow me and my steed a few hours of sleep and food and in the morning you may give me your official decision. I’ve been on the road for three days and must tell you how thankful I am of your people. Even in the high passes they’ve kept the roads passable the whole way. Theirs is an amazing feat this deep into winter, so my deep gratitude to them, for their efforts.”
“I will insure they know of your gratitude, and thank you for the praise, we do try since trade benefits all of us,” Lord Harld said quickly. Motioning for a servant who bowed and led the courier away, the Lord turned back to his eighteen year old daughter. He then motioned for room to be made at the table near him and waited until she was seated before stating, “You will tell us all about this dream and your knowing. Explain to me why any of my daughters should go to that dreary city and dark castle built upon whale bones.”
“Because in one year I will give birth to a daughter who will find a way to bring healing to that sorrow filled place, if it can be done,” she stated without hesitation. “In the dream I saw two girls who could be twins born from one egg but I knew they came into this world through different mothers. One of those daughters was of my blood and body and yet….” Shaking her head, Luelna whispered, “Babes born of royal blood but protected by a whore’s heritage. They belong to that city and to the land beyond those encircling mountains, all of the Harbak Peninsula.
“They need each other to balance and focus the healing energies,” Luelna stated calmly, watching her father closely. “Without my daughter the other child would not survive, and without that other your own granddaughter would die the first night of her life. But you must not look for the daughter of my loins. She belongs there, in Orjglo City.”
“What will happen if your daughter isn’t born?” Lilalla, her eldest sister asked, her twenty-two year old brow wrinkled in concern for the child growing in her own womb.
 “Did I tell you that I can hear the sorrow filled angry songs of the whales? Both living and beyond remember the slaughter, and their song grows louder with each generation,” Luelna stated as she looked down at her trembling hands, unable to say more.

How's that for a Prologue?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Shapeshifter VS Shapechanger

I understand that most people view these as being the same thing, but I have put a lot of thought into the differences between the two. In point of fact, I have wanted to change shape since I was in my early teens and my eldest sister handed me a syfy/fantasy book with a shapechanger in it. Being that I am now two years away from my sixtieth year that is a fairly long time to consider the subject even with large gaps where I thought about many other this.

Recently there have been many movies and books with Werewolves being the main characters. Some stick to the belief that Werewolves must be bitten by another Were in order to shift into wolf form (or partial wolf form) on nights of the full moon. Another, very popular series shows the shifting as being inherited and can be done at will. Either way the shift only allows for the human form and one other, whether that be in the form of a wolf or bear or whatever the virus allows. The Native Americans called this Skinwalking, and incorporate into that belief the fact skinwalkers aquire the ability either by being bitten or through dark shamanism. Again, either way there is only the one shape besides human. To me, that is Shapeshifting.

There are also stories and movies lately with Shapechangers in them, but not nearly as many. Shapechangers are not limited to just one form beyond human, but can change into any creature (large or small) they wish, although inanimate objects are harder to achieve, this can also be done with practice. This is done, not through a virus, but through the DNA. It is an ability people are born with, although not everyone can activate that change. Many of the dragons of old were shapechangers and came among Mankind as teachers and friends, unlike their Creature born cousins the fire breathing dragons, both of which had to either hide or flee the Earth when Mankind turned against them. Yes, I know I write that as if it were true, and who knows, maybe it is and perhaps you, yourself, have a bit of shapechanger dragon blood within you.

In my book Annie's Trail there are shapechangers, more and more each generation upon the planet Vardes due to the mutations occurring in the DNA of the humans who colonized the world. On that world some are born instinctively knowing how to change their shapes, while others find the ability when they are faced with intense emotions. Either way, they are changers, not shifters, because the virus which caused the Weres of our legends (?) never migrated with them to this new and very much aware planet.

Anyway... those are my thoughts about the differences between "shifting" and "changing". I'd love to hear other opinions on the subject if you choose to give me some :) hugs and thanks for taking the time to read this :)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A Silent Mind

When people tell me they don't hear spirit, nor Angels, nor even their own thoughts within their mind I have a hard time understanding because I have ALWAYS had a mind so full of thoughts I never knew what a silent mind was until 1993 when I nearly 39 years old.

That occurred after my first hypnotherapy session. When the therapist was counting me down, starting at 10, she never got past 5 because a nasty snarl was issuing out of my mouth. I had asked to remember what happened before we began so when that snarl built up, at first silently, I was sitting on the right side of my brain listening and knew for a certainty that I was not the one snarling. Before the lady could say 4 I forced myself near enough to the surface to give warning but she already knew what was going on.

She called upon Saint Michael and all his legions as she wrapped them in nets of white light and began pulling and twisting in her attempt to remove the growler and others which were clinging to me. This took nearly two hours of work, but finally she sent the growler into a bottomless pit "to remain for eternity". I was told that I levitated, flipping from one end of the couch to the other and at one point with my head laying on her lap staring up at her with rage; well, the growler did anyway. She also told me my eyes had dilated to their fullest extent and all she saw were the whites of my eyes and the deep dark of their interiors.

I was black and blue and sore from head to foot when I left her office, but I felt lighter and brighter than I could ever remember feeling before, even in childhood. Over the next several hours I had not a thought in my head. Silence. Beautiful silence abounded, but slowly what had been suppressed by the growler and its companions began to surface and so those too needed dealt with.

And so we come to the end of another blog entry :) how am I doing? any comments or questions? Hugs and bye for now

Monday, June 11, 2012

Reasons for Blogging?

I’m having a hard time learning how to blog.  I should say that I'm having a hard time learning how to write something I hope others might find interesting enough take the time to read. I’m trying to wrap my head around the fact blogs are very important in introducing someone to the world. But that is only if they write anything worth reading or viewing.

There is also the fact hundreds of thousands of blogs are written every day, many of them amazing and so well known.... Hmm, this is interesting as I write and edit my words. There is a lot of negativity in what I have already written, such as "I could never compete with them considering whatever I might toss out into the world." That seems to be shooting myself in the foot (or mouth) before I even begin.

I understand part of that comes from the fact I have lived near the Great Lakes in the USA all of my life but for three short trips in my life (not counting my childhood trips to Kentucky which were to see family. "What might I know, or at least ramble on about, which might grab readers?" See, that also came from my first draft, completely ignoring the fact I love the book I have written (Annie's Trail) and believe it is worth pushing beyond my comfort zone. "I’m not sure there is anything I might say worth reading, but I need to try." As a writer, I need to show people I’m a decent enough writer to read. I hope to show them they can trust me with the time it takes to read a book. That is a large investment in time, and again with much competition.

This is my challenge as a blogger, to put myself out there into the world, to expand my horizons beyond home. I need to show myself worthy of people’s time and interest. So what is interesting about me? Well, I am one of the many people in this world who hears voices. Are they a product of my imagination or real? The Government says they aren't real. But many who have received spiritual readings and/or cleansings from me believe it is real and they too have felt or seen the Angels and spirits who help me in that cleansing work or they recognize a relative or friend in my descriptions of spirits I see near them.

This is also the source of much of my writing. Some of the stories come from dreams or from... perhaps they come from the Akashic Record, the River of Time. They might also come from other sources such as the Collective Unconscious of the Human Race. I believe there are many books in this world written from all those sources. And about the voices... it's like I told the psychiatrist who diagnosed me for the Gov't (and I was honest) when he asked about the voices, "I got rid of the bad voices years ago, cleansing them, but the good voices don't do a damn thing for me when it came to a job." Well, that was the truth then and even though (like most people) sometimes the negativity creeps in, and I can trip and fall, I always get back up.

The voices also helped me write the first draft of Annie's Trail in less than a month (May 2010) so I must take the time to say "Thank you," to all who helped. I am truly grateful.

Okay... I think that's enough for today's blog. I hope it was worth your time and too, I hope you  spend a bit of time to give me feedback. Who would like to hear more about the voices in my head and what I've experienced with them? If so, or if no, please let me know below. Thanks.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Paperback of Annie's Trail

The paperback version of Annie's Trail is now available on Amazon's createSpace. you can either use this link or else you can go to the USA/Canada's Amazon and type in "Annie's Trail in createSpace" and it will appear. I hope that Annie's Trail paperbacks are also available in the other countries, but I haven't found it if it is :( I wish Annie's Trail could be cheaper, but Amazon says $18.63 American is the cheapest they will allow due to the large print (14 point) which makes it over 500 pages and heavy <3 Jennifer Don has written an amazing review of Annie which you can find on the Amazon page for it <3 thanks Jen :)

A Lilac’s Tale

My Mom had a green thumb, and I have no doubt she still has one on the other side of life. I say this because she had two large lilac clusters, a white one to the East of the house and just beyond the driveway. The other was to the West, a double cluster of purples which gave the color lilac its name. My Mom could see the purples from her bedroom windows and the whites from the front porch and dining room. In the springtime they filled the air with their sweet scent and most people filled their lungs with it in appreciation for the little joys God gives us. A few years after Mom passed back into spirit, I found a young lilac sprouting in a flowerbed in the front yard. It was a single stem and barely five inches high when I found it. It was so young there was no telling if it had come from the white or the purple adults. But I did know it was where I normally mowed so I dug it up and put it in a pot for its safety. I nurtured it through summer and winter to make sure it was doing well, but I knew it wasn’t for me. One of my sisters needed this touch from Mom and so I asked if she wanted it and at her delighted “yes” I asked where. She told me the perfect place for when it got older. I planted it outside her bathroom window so she could see and smell it in the spring, once the lilac grew old enough to bloom. That was in 1997 if I remember right, which I might not be since I’m truly terrible remembering numbers but for the intense dates. Anyway, the point I was coming around to is the beautiful lilac cluster that it is today. As for the color, well, all the flowers were lilac purple except for one cluster, which was white as snow.
Nice, Mom, very nice, and beautiful too. oh... I forgot to say my sister has since had several strokes and a heart attack. She is wheelchair bound and can't stand without help, while it takes her time to say what she wants to say with a blur to her words. There are also times when her mind is claimed by the past rather than the now, but that's all right. She is still herself, and when she is helped to stand in her bathroom, either for the tub or other, she can see that growing lilac tree out her window. In the spring she can smell the flowers and see them with her own eyes, even if she can't walk out to them. Love you, Sis, always.

Variations in Stories

Like the flowers of a Catalpa Tree, the stories that enter our minds can either set down seed or else rot away and never come to fruition. Some stories, like Annie's Trail, burst out into the world as the birth of a child, and then is shaped and nurtured by the parent/author until finally it graduates into book form. Other stories, like the For Love of Zilki story I'm working on, must be chewed and spit out and chewed again until they feel right and true. That's the fun thing about writing. You can plan and prepare but there are some stories that must be captured rather than plotted.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Monday, March 26, 2012

Annie's Trail... Blending in :)

“After Magda dresses you then you can go to the public bath house on the east side of the camp,” Mother Hella said. “I’d rather no one saw you in townsy clothes, not with the priests looking for you. Our own people know we’re protecting you, but there are lots of people who will be watching us until we leave. Some have never gotten over their prejudice about us, believing us to be thieves and whores. Never the less, such public bathing houses are set up all along our trading routes and maintained by the Five Families.” Studying me a minute, she said, “I’ll have Magda do your hair and makeup too. I emptied out one of the cupboards behind you so you can put your things in there. The key is in the lock.”

“That was thoughtful of you,” I said, looking behind me. “When did you do that?”

“Not long after you fell asleep,” she said. “It was bothering my mind until I did it, since we don’t want your non traveler belongings laying around for others to find. Now, get up and put your blanket and sleep pads back where you got them, and I’ll be outside seeing to breakfast.”

The whole time she had been talking she was dressing herself, now she slipped past me and out of the caravan while I got up and did as she had instructed. Magda arrived a few minutes later, raven haired and blue eyed and dressed in flamboyant colors. She had me stripped quickly and re dressed before I could form a protest over such vibrant colors, and then I was following her through the lightening darkness to the public bath house where I washed up and sat patiently as she painted my face. When she was finished I barely recognized myself in the mirror.

“Beautiful,” Magda said, beaming as she stood beside me in the reflection. “Now no one but one of us would be able to tell you weren’t born of us. Come, let’s get back so we can eat and pack. We’ll be moving by the time the sun begins to rise.” She paused though, and studied me, not my reflection. “I know what you are, healer. Please be good to my people.”
“I would never knowingly do anything to harm them or allow them to be harmed,” I stated honestly.

“I hope you are right, healer, or else I may have to curse you with something very bad.”

Shrugging, I said, “Curses are easy to dismantle and clear away, Magda. It would be better for you to threaten turning me over to the priests if you want to punish me. That is something I can’t clean.”

Laughing suddenly, she said, “Mother Hella warned me you wouldn’t be afraid of curses, but I had to try, just so you know how serious I am.”

Smiling back, I said, “I understand, and believe me, I will do my very best to honor your people and your ways.”

“Good, now come, we don’t have much time,” she said, gathering her things and I followed behind her. “Watch how I walk and talk, healer, so you don’t give yourself away with your talking.”

“You need to start calling me Annie,” I pointed out, “or you’ll give me away by what you call me.”

“True,” she said, smiling. “Annie. It’s a good name. Now come. There’s a lot to do before we move out.”

We hadn’t gone very far when I saw three men holding the halter ropes of a young horse that was rearing and fighting against their directions. All I could see of it was his white face and chest and four white legs but the rest of him blended into the darkness until he turned. I gasped, stopping to stare at the flowing white of mane and tail and the thick feathering on his lower legs.

“Oh, Magda, he’s beautiful,” I whispered.

“He’s a demon child,” she stated, frowning. “Vanner horses aren’t supposed to be that wild and excitable. I’m afraid they may have to geld him to keep those genes from being passed on, which is a shame since Dabber’s Old Man doesn’t throw off many stud colts.”

“I see nothing wrong with him,” I said. “He looks magnificent and perfect in every way.”

“We can’t afford to keep horses, especially stallions, which aren’t easily handled,” Magda pointed out. “They can harm people as well as wreck the caravans. If he doesn’t settle down soon, then Mother Hella will order the men to geld him and maybe even sell him.”

“He’s in pain,” I said, tilting my head as I tried to focus on what the young stallion was feeling. “His right fore hoof is sending sharp pain up his leg when it touches the ground. Magda, could you ask them to check it out before someone hurts the other?”

“I’ll tell them to look,” she answered, frowning, “but this isn’t the first time he’s acted like that.”

Magda called out to them, telling them what I had told her, and all three men reached out and pulled the young horse down, which caused him to raise that right hoof. Then one of the men grabbed that leg and pulled it up so he could check it. We all saw him draw a knife from his belt before he bent over the hoof. As soon as he dropped the leg the young stallion calmed down and nickered before he reached out and nuzzled his rescuer on the arm.

All of them, including Magda turned to stare at me as I let out a deep sigh, but I just smiled and continued back towards Mother Hella’s caravan.
As we wove our way in that direction, I found myself fascinated with all the beautiful horses. One thing I noticed was they came in three different sizes, some small enough they fit nicely in the harness of children’s carts, while others were large and solid enough to pull the heaviest caravans without strain. Between these two were those bred for riding, but all three sizes shared the same shape and many had the same colors, although there were a few nearly all white and others a golden red to break up the masses of black and white mares and stallions.

They were all magnificent as far as I could tell, although I sincerely hoped I wouldn’t be asked to ride any of them, since I had never been up on a horse’s back before.

Magda left me back at the caravan, heading off to do her own work, while I headed over to the cooking fire where Mother Hella was just beginning to dish up the food for everyone.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

From Annie's Trail... the Flash Flood

Late the next day we came to a ravine. There was easy access cut into both sides of the ravine for traffic to cross, but as we approached it, we were all uneasy since there was clearly a storm off in the mountains to our left. Approaching the edge of the ravine, the gypsy caravan pulled off to the side and then gathered to discuss the situation, but the merchants would have continued on their way but for the sudden appearance of a mercat atop a large boulder near the crossing.

At the appearance of the large spotted cat so close, there were yells and a rush for weapons, but I ran forward to put myself between the cat and the people. “That’s not an aggressive growl,” I said, raising my arms to the people, before turning to the cat, “What is it you’re trying to tell us?”

Images flashing through my mind and a rumble sounded in my ears.

Looking back at Mother Hella and Bardon, I said, “He says heavy water, dark water is coming and will be here soon. We need to wait to cross or we won’t make it.”

“Bah,” snorted the leader of the merchant’s caravan. “I don’t know what you’re thinking, listening to this crazy woman, but I have deadlines to meet.” With that, he slapped the reins and his team started out, the second and third wagons following behind.

“Mother Hella,” I said, concern sounding in my voice, “I don’t think they have time to make it. Please, can’t you do something?”

“It’s not possible to control other people’s fates, Annie,” she stated, frowning as she watched the teams head down into the ravine.

“But they’ll drown.”

“Such is the path they chose.”

“He might have chosen that, but the other two didn’t,” I protested.

“Hush, Annie,” she said, trying to sooth me. “They chose to follow him. Their fate is not yours to decide, nor can you accept any blame for it. You warned us, and he chose not to listen.”

“Where’d the mercat go?” Magda asked, looking around.

“He gave his warning,” Mother Hella said. “His job was done.”

“We’ve never had a wild animal give us warning before,” Bardon stated. “Why now?”

“We never had Annie with us before,” Mother Hella stated.

Just then we could all hear the rumbling, grumbling sound of approaching water rushing towards us. The merchant wagons were down on the flat headed towards the opposite side but showed no signs of hearing the oncoming water. Some of the gypsies tried shouting out to them, warning them of their danger, but they either didn’t hear or didn’t choose to respond until the rushing water raced around a bend and headed straight towards them. We all watched helplessly as the water struck them, pushing the horses off their feet and sweeping wagons and their riders away. They vanished quickly beneath the water and if they surfaced, it was far around the next bend, where we didn’t see.

I said a quick prayer to the creator and beings of light to gather in their souls and watch over them, then turned to find everyone staring at me.

“How did you know that cat had a message for us?” Bardon asked.

“I could hear in its growl that it was trying to give warning, not threatening us.”

“Have you ever spoken to animals before?” Mother Hella asked.

Shaking my head, I said, “My sister’s dog always obeyed me, even when he was young, but I never thought I was talking to him.”

“Well,” Mother Hella said, looking out over the churning water, “we won’t be moving on for awhile. Even when the water’s gone, we’ll have to repair the roadbed before moving over it. I suppose we’re having an early camp and not moving until morning. Let everyone know,” she added, looking at Bardon, “and send someone to retrieve the bodies if they can be found. It would be nice to tell their loved ones where to find them.”

“At once,” Bardon said before turning away.