Wednesday, December 02, 2009
Tuesday, October 06, 2009
Thursday, October 01, 2009
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Wednesday, September 02, 2009
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Friday, June 19, 2009
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Friend Linda Melville sent me this video and I just had to share it with you. So incredible to watch the work evolve, be changed, gone. So ephemeral, just like life. Just when you think it's one thing, it changes and you're off on a different road.
The artist is Ilana Yahav. On her site, you can see more videos.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
I can't seem to get too enthused about anything than work and health, both mine and others these days. But I found this cute little circle wrap skirt and have to share it with you. It comes from Burda Style online magazine who offer both free and low cost patterns.
I bought Burda pattern magazines for years during the 1970s -1990s. Their founder had the brilliant idea of including a huge pattern sheet with outlines for all the fashions featured, a direct influence from the Petersons and Godeys Ladies Books of the 1800s. She included patterns for women, children, men and the home much as the antique magazines offered women a variety of amusements, recipies, art, stories, music and fashion of the day.
I own a number of the antiques, bound and lovingly saved for me to buy them over 100 plus years later. I still have my old Burda pattern books. I hope you'll introduce yourself to Burda. Go explore how economically things were done!
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
I've been consumed with trying to determine how to draft a free pattern for you that did not require a degree in physics for this timeless garment, when...poof! What should appear in my email, but the EN-tire project WITH pattern, WITH detailed instructions, WITH a ton of pictures!! See. That's magic. All I have to do is think about something hard enough and it's going to manifest. ("Look at all this money!! What am I gonna DO with all of this money?!? Have you ever seen so much money in all of your life!??! However will I spend all of this money??!!")
The author of this miracle of appearing miracle skirt pattern is designer Andrea de Hart. For more of her incredible crafts and sewing tips, visit her site, Crafty Bitch!!
The only thing that I would add to these fabulous directions is where she shows the advanced version that has a piped edge slightly rounded is to say that a piped edge actually helps you turn and finish anything beautifully!!
So here goes! Download the pattern in PDF format HERE from Craftzine. See the entire layout HERE from Craft Magazine Volume 6.
My undying thanks to Ms. de Hart for doing all the gray work for me!
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
I have said that I wouldn't accept or pass on another award. And then, here comes my good friend Bernie with a Dardos Award. Okay. JUST this one more! Honest! She said:
"Hey Dina Belle ...
I've passed on my award to you! Who in the world deserves it more? The blog post is below.
How is your leg, dear one? I do hope you are healing. I suspect that nasty a fall will take some time. Oooh I checked outthe journal you posted for your pal. I hope she picks it up too. I know (from my friend Colleen) that there is great interest and muchactivity out there on the boards for people who are raising chickens and harvesting eggs, etc. They are an active and friendly bunch!
Well, I promised Roy that I would pass on, within a day or two, the very kind Dardos award he gave me. I had to think a bit longer about it than I had planned. If he hadn't given it to me, I would have given it to him! Roy, your photos & observations are incredible! To be honest, before beginning to write here, most of my online reading has been news-related ... CNN, BBC, The Nation, all manner of small publications, and not many personal sites. Since landing here, I've been privileged to read some wonderful thoughts, and see some incredible artwork and photography. It is humbling to realize how much talent and heart there is in the world, and it is a privilege that so many people are open enough and brave enough to share themselves with the wider world.
By way of reminder:
The Dardos award is given for recognition of cultural, ethical, literary, and personal values transmitted in the form of creative and original writing. These stamps were created with the intention of promoting fraternization between bloggers, a way of showing affection and gratitude for work that adds value to the Web.
1) Accept the award by posting it on your blog along with the name of the person that has granted the award and a link to his/her blog. [Note: Don't forget to copy and paste the award jpeg itself to include on your own blog!]
2) Pass the award to another five blogs that are worthy of this acknowledgment, remembering to contact each of them to let them know they have been selected for this award.
I've decided to send this to Chris Wolf for his site, Piano Posts. On the surface, Chris writes about his experiences with teaching music, and what he writes about his students is often both eye-opening and amusing. He has great passion for what he does, so his posts usually also include personal observations, wisdom to share, or worthy questions for readers to ponder. Always I come away from him site with a sense of inspiration and something worthy to consider.
I absolutely must give this award to Dina for her Deepwater Journal. Dina is so many things, not the least of which is a true kindred spirit/soul sister. She has a fine mind, a wicked sense of humour, and she's an artist in too many mediums for me to keep track of - she sews (including amazing costumes), makes jewelry (her tiaras are to die for), and more more more. You can see a teeny portion of her work also on her Etsy site, and I recommend you go there too. At her journal, I suggest you scroll back a bit and read some of her musings about life & politics. She's a gem!
Then there's Annie's journal, The Daily Photoshop. Her photos are such great fun, as are her observations of people and nature. Currently, she's taking us along as she bounces through Manila and Hong Kong. Annie's interest and curiosity are captured by her lens, and I think her site is delightful.
Like Roy, I don't really have 5 to give out at the moment, but I hope these wonderful folks will pass this appreciation on to many more. BRAVO all!
Okay. For you Bella!! Thank you, my Little Beauty!
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Sunday, March 01, 2009
A racket started around the corner coming from the direction of South Gate. “Ah, that sounds hopeful”! Talis said as metal on metal, screams and shouts punctuated the air. She was up on Stranger's back, sword in one hand, rabbit in the other as Littlfoot glided up behind her using Stranger's tail as a ladder. They pelted down the small street and swung onto the main road towards the gate.
From her vantage point, she could see a large carriage, doors ajar, driver slumped over with an arrow protruding from his neck. The melee was located just outside the gate.
The two guards she'd passed earlier on her way in were now muscling through several Puntar foot soldiers while several other mounted Punts pelted away from the gate on their stocky horses followed by a hail of arrows from atop the wall.
“Stop, fools! You'll kill him”, came a loud and anguished male voice from somewhere in the center of the fight, but not before one of the fleeing raiders fell from his horse, his back pierced through by an archer's arrow shaft. His horse stopped abruptly and began to circle around his dead rider aimlessly, reins loose, one black boot still in the stirrup.
Screams broke out closer to the carriage and Talis advanced on a tug-of-war between two horsed Punts and a well-dressed woman. The object they were fighting over was wrapped in a swaddling blanket. Talis urged Stranger through the confused crowd parting them like so many leaves with his broad chest.
She pulled up to the two Puntar horsemen as she stuffed the frightened rabbit under her cloak and used her sword to cut the blanket corner from the Puntar hand closest to her. The slack tension caused the gowned woman to stumble back against the coach and loosen her grip. Talis drew the blanket to her in an iron fisted grip as her second swipe left the remaining Punt with a handful of ragged wool.
The Punts spun on her, befuddled, swords raised above their heads. She was about to retaliate when three more Punts pelted around the edge of the gate to their aid. Not liking the odds, Talis spun Stranger, knocking over a covered cart of vegetables backing the big stallion away from the fight to a better vantage. A flash of iridescent green, a blurr of black, a slim hand holding a glistening silver tooth flew across the upturned cart, the slight figure of the rider slashing about with deftness and skill.
One of the Punts lay dead, a scrap of woolen bunting still clutched in his hand. The other had bright scarlet oozing from a double hatch of wounds on the top of his head. The rider turned to Talis, flashed her a grim smile, a lock of pale coral hair fell over one gray green eye.
“I'll distract these three. You ride from those!” A young woman with silvery skin and the unmistakably melodic voice bordering on the sonorous of the ahlvenni faced her. “Tirashar, daughter of Raensalim, at your service, mistress” she said.
Talis held her sword in a vertical salute at her left shoulder, the sign of a warrior honoring another, spoke to Stranger and was off pelting away from those – five more Punt horsemen were trying to negotiate their way through baskets of overturned turnips and potatoes. She would have to ponder the appearance of an ahlvenni rusa this far south of the Charred Mountains when she had more time.
Talis reined Stranger hard left in the street opposite from Vilene's and looked down at the now squawking bundle. She pulled back the edge to discover a highly angered and frightened human infant, red faced, mouth agape and gathering wind for another bawl. Talis heard the hooves of the Puntar ponies behind her. She rolled the squalling child out of the blanket and under her cloak.
“Hang onto this, Littlefoot”!
“Is it food?” his querulous voice brought a fierce laugh from her.
“No, but it may lead to a trade for it! Just see it doesn't fall off”. The infant's squeals stopped as this new, soft and warm thing with small furry hands sat on her. She stuck pudgy fingers into his belly, grabbed at his ears, and cooed delightedly while Littlefoot stoically refrained from tasting the goods.
Talis clipped hard right on Stranger's flank with her knee spinning him around heading back the way she came. She plowed through the Punt gang in the narrow alleyway with Stranger scattering the smaller horses like lawn pins. One of the horses slid down on the slick cobbles with its rider half out of the saddle, half standing. He struggled to right himself and the horse as the others knocked against each other in their haste to turn and give chase.
Talis flew down the alley and skidded Stranger to a dancing stop. “Vi, here! Take this and hide it! I'll be back for it as soon as I can!” she said as she handed off the baby much to the relief of a sorely tried and tested Littlefoot.
She grabbed the rabbit from under her cloak, wrapped it in the infant's swaddling and then galloped off further down the lane. The Punts had regained their footing and were closing in on Vi's little shop. Talis spun in time to see them slow. She mentally threw a glamor incantation at them and held her blanketed booty aloft wagging it in their direction. Any thought of stopping to investigate was waylaid when she taunted them with the swaddled bundle. The horsemen took off after her.
Talis left the small alleyway, made her way among the lanes towards South Gate going just slowly enough to let the cursing Puntars keep sight of her. She whizzed past the gate gaurdsas they desperately tried to restore order to the milling crowd and mashed produce and galloped straight for the Brown River. Once out of the gate, she let Stranger have his head. Littlefoot clambered up to her shoulder with his short tail wrapped around her neck for balance giving her a report of their pursuers every move.
“Oh! Ouch! The fat one hits his chest in the pommel when he jumps the logs! Black one waves his bow, but he's bouncing too hard to knock an arrow! The bald one calls your ancestors questionable names! Is that true?” he asked, repeating the phrase and peering over the top of her head, his face upside down, front paws hanging on to the silver beads in her side locks for dear life. His voice was so serious that she couldn't help but laugh out loud.
“It probably is not knowing about my bloodline!” she answered.
They were nearing the Big Wood. Talis slalomed trees with Stranger, the horse delighting in just clearing overhanging branches and briars that grew on either side of their path. She could hear the infuriated curses as legs found thorns and heads found low hanging sticks and switches.
The noise following them grew louder. Talis turned to see the fleeing raiders that had left with something valuable from the carriage before her intervention had come from a stand in the Big Wood to join the five behind her. This was getting to be more than a lark, she thought, not liking these odds, either.
Ahead through the trees, a meadow opened out and grew almost to the edge of Brown Water River. Talis kneed Stranger and he sailed through the air over the rocky ledge and was down in the cold water of the river swimming with strong kicks against the deep current. Two of the braver Punts followed suit and soon foundered their small ponies on the rocks in the swift current of the shallows. The others knocked arrows to bows and were soon snicking the water very close to them.
Talis made it to the other side, urged Stranger up the steep bank and stopped to face her pursuit. She held the bundle aloft and gave them the universal finger of insult, which was met by angered shouts and lots of fist shaking. Another flurry of arrows impotently hit the water twenty feet from her. She kept her own bow sheathed.
The bald one, whom she assumed was their captain, ordered them to stop wasting the arrows. They wheeled their horses around and rode off clapping each other on the back as if they'd won some huge victory.
“Food now?” asked Littlefoot.
Talis looked down at the spreading red stain from the shaft of a Puntar arrow in the blanket she'd wrapped the rabbit changeling with. She sighed.
“Yes. Food now”.
(I'm publishing this first and then will come back to give credits for the illustrations because I keep losing the post!)
Sunday, February 22, 2009
The next dawn broke with a light drizzle that slowly faded into a dull, gray morning. Wisps of cold fog blew in off the Brown River, settled around the trees and wet the grass with icy cold dew. Not wanting to run into any of Scar Man's Friends or anyone who could remember her from the Inn at the West Gate of New Town, they skirted the walls to the Southern Gate.
Stranger picked their way between peddler's carts and tented stalls, flocks of geese and pens with new lambs in them as they headed towards the Gate sentries. The two armored guards had the bored look of long time, nothing to do on them, but they did glance over her scarlet red hair, fair skin and full bosom with a spark of interest as she rode past. They also eyed Stranger's tall, muscular frame and straightened up a bit as if some bone memory reminded them that they were in the presence of one of the old war horses that could plow through an unmounted foot division and send the soldiers rolling like child's toys.
Littlefoot chattered from under her cloak.
"The thinkers don't bother me. It's the doers like we had visit us last night that get my blood up", she laughed at his opinion about the guards thoughts as she stared them down with a raised brow and sea-green eyes. It was a good thing that Littlefoot and Stranger were casual when it came to her tussles with Rowan. Those lascivious thoughts could really cause some problems if they had not accepted him!
Rowan's face with his liquid brown eyes and mane of black curls came to her with a jolt. She went all soft thinking about his powerful shoulders and strong legs.
"I miss my friends, too! I can't wait to see Firewynd and Rolf and Pudge"! Littlefoot chattered. Stranger nickered his deep horse laugh as visions of the mares of Small Wood Village ran by her mind from his inner eye.
"Gods, we're all a randy bunch! Better make for home sometime soon", Talis thought as she urged Stranger down a small and familiar back alley.
Vilene was standing just outside her doorway in the stone building that housed her shop and home. Her gray hair and wizened face lit up on seeing Talis and she opened up a toothless smile to welcome them. Bright blue eyes still sparkled from mountains and valleys of wrinkles.
A blond haired and well built young man appeared from inside just as Talis dismounted and went to one knee to show her respect for an Elder. Vilene touched Talis' head and Talis leaped up to engulf her in a bear hug.
"How's Vi been, Bret"? Talis signed behind Vi's back still hugging the old woman.
Bret signed back a short comment. With a soundless laugh, he put thumb and forefinger on either side of his nose, then together for an "okay" signal, chin jutted out rakishly exposing the thin silvery scar on his throat ear to ear. Talis released Vilene, laughed and grabbed Bret in his turn.
"What's he say about me behind my back, Talis? He's always being fresh with me, you know", Vi said with a curled lip.
"He said, 'You fart big and snore loudly' "! Talis answered.
Vilene pretended to be angry and embarrassed thwacking Bret on the head and shoulder with a bunch of dried herbs, which scattered into the air leaving behind a sweet and pungent odor. Bret fended her off with outstretched arms and a soundless laugh, planting a cheeky kiss on her old forehead in reply.
"For one with no voice, you certainly manage to be mouthy! Go see to those teas we're to deliver to the Old Lord's kitchen for his gout this afternoon or I'll disown you"!
Bret turned to go inside as Littlefoot leaped from Stranger's back to his. Bret swung the ferret around and buried his face in Littlefoot's musky belly leaving his grandmother and Talis to parley.
Vilene gratefully took the big packet of meteless Talis pulled from her saddlebag. "This root is getting harder to come by each year", Vi said appreciatively as she sniffed the dank and sandy purple roots and fingered the tiny hairs on their sides. The roots squirmed a bit from the tickling and satisfied of their freshness, Vi gently tucked them into a muslin bag that appeared from the folds of her voluminous blue apron.
"I've asked you two to move back to Small Wood where there's plenty of fresh herbs! You know that you have Her permission to search even as far as the Cairn for your needs! I'm sure She'd let Bret help you! This place grows more intolerant and dangerous every day! Your old house has been kept up since you've been here. Just give the word and I'll send Click and Rowan to pack for you, root and knob".
"I'm not ready to go back to the woods just yet, young missy! There's still plenty of business and money for and old herb woman, even if I do get Punts passing by and preaching at me. For all their talk of heresy, they're more than happy to pilfer my unguents and medicines in Shon-ar's name. Especially the virility root". Vi took the packets of greens and teas from Bret as he returned outside, Littlefoot draped around his neck like a fur scarf.
"Besides. You know that there's other work here to do", she shot Talis a sidelong glance. Talis pursed her lips, sighed and nodded her acquiescence.
The second packet Talis removed held a huge black wool shawl with an intricate woven border for Vilene and a small sheathed knife for Bret. Click had made the leaf-shaped blade for him and Talis had stitched together the leather sheaf, molding it in hot water to snugly fit the outline of the knife. Knife in hand and an enthusiastic kiss for Talis, Bret went around back with Little foot to practice his knife throwing.
"Remember to balance the haft in your hand before you throw. Think of your target, see the blade go there and throw! Smoothly" ! Talis' voice followed him. She turned to Vilene and followed her inside the shop.
"I've a list of needs from you, now. Let's have some of that warming salve, a large packet of smoke-herb, rust leaf, and the medicines on this list to start. Some dried apples and pears would be welcome for us and just a few raisins for Littlefoot if you have them.
' And if you happen to have a suitable rabbit as friend for Colt..." Talis trailed off. Vilene would know that Colt would never be capable of the familiar bond almost all of her kind were capable of. That didn't stop the youngster from wanting to have a 'pet' at his side like the other young ones in the Village.
Looking around at hanging bunches of herbs, pots and jars of liquids and potions, books and bones and parchments, the smell in the shop was a blend of astringent and floral with something else just below the surface - not unpleasant, but not to be messed with by the uninitiated. Talis fingered one of her silver traced amulets clamped tight to her hair just above her temple.
"I have just the one", Vi said as she disappeared into a back room returning a moment later with a black and white rabbit. She handed the soft creature to Talis to hold as the old woman set about filling the rest of Talis' order.
"Friend", Talis answered, amused at his obvious disappointment. "For Colt".
(Note: The Misty Morning is by Cdemo on Flicker. Littlefoot above is from the National Park Services site. The herbs are from one of my beautiful herb books. The gorgeous leaf shaped blade was channeled up by and can be bought for a pittance of it's worth from the forges of Valhalla Arms.)
Monday, February 16, 2009
Talis couldn't tell if the two big commoners at the end of the table were interested or simply angered that she'd chosen to sit at their table. Despite all the empty seats at this board, the rest of the place was overflowing with stools and chairs pulled around tables scattered pellmell around the common room of the New Town Inn.
Frankly, she didn't give a damn. This table was closest to the fire. It was the only empty seat to be had. They had ridden long hours today and she was tired, hungry and in a pissy mood. Even though the two occupants extended large booted feet to impede, and the larger pockmarked one with bad teeth made rude comments as she passed him, she moved towards the seat. A well placed kick with the hard toe of her long leather boot mid stride and he pulled back a bruised limb in surprise.
At her signal the barmaid brought her a mug of mulled wine and with it a bowl of whatever was stewed that day. There was also a rough loaf of bread with a reasonable aroma and a good crust. The slight girl also added an extra large paddle of churned yellow butter from the sideboard and smiled at Talis. Talis' glance caught the gleam of a steel source bead that escaped from the girl's rough shirt.
For the girl's generosity, Talis slipped one small copper coin into her thin hand with a sideways glance at the fat keep eying her from the bar.
“When you tire of this, make your way to the old herbalist on Shanty Street.” The girl's eyes opened wide at this, but she quickly hid her astonishment and feigned a reasonably blank look.
Talis made a show of paying for her meal sensing that the serving girl would be more likely to own the penny if the keep thought that the brass coin she held up now to the girl was all that was tendered. She was repaid with a grateful, fleeting smile.
The two hooligans couldn't hide their interest in the deerskin pouch at her waist after the farce. It couldn't be helped. From the looks of it, the girl needed every penny to buy shoes and a decent stole to replace the threadbare one wrapped around her scrawny shoulders.
She slurped noisily as she tested the soup and decided to sip her wine instead. Let the chill in the air that even the big fire crackling in the hearth failed to fully subdue make it easier to gulp down. She was in a hurry to be out of New Town and everything annoyed her at this point.
One of the sluggards at the end of her table made a stab at flirting with a horribly crude remark directed at her chest. Talis leaned forward and stared stonily at the fire in reply.
“Unfriendly wench, aye” the smaller one of the two with the scar of a big gash across his cheek pushed back his stool and loomed towards her, meaty paws splayed out on the table. With a snick of metal singing against leather and lightning fast reflexes, she had unsheathed two short knives from above her boot with her right hand, sent them spinning in the air to land with a hissing thunk between the second and third fingers of his left hand.
The third knife she unleashed from her bodice with her left hand carved off a neat slice of the bread loaf. Talis stuck the chunk of bread between her teeth and chewed. She growled, stood up and retrieved the two blades from the now seated and red-faced scar man and went back to entertaining her meal. Things settled down. She threw her cloak over her shoulders and went back to entertaining her meal ignoring the two muttering dolts who left soon after.
Stranger nickered softly when he saw her and danced a bit, his breath fogging in the night chill settling in. She put her forehead on the massive neck, rubbed his shoulders and flipped the stirrup onto the saddle to check the girth cinch.
“Littlefoot, where are you”? She kept her voice low. New Town may be a center of commerce, but folks here were still a suspicious and zealous bunch. They were antsy around her kind. A lump under her saddle roll began to stretch and search. A small, silver gray furry head with two shining eyes black as coals greeted her from beneath blanket folds, Tiny, sharp white teeth chattered in a heartfelt scold.
“I've been cold out here! And hungry! And I sensed danger for you and couldn't be there to help”! Littlefoot gave her a ferret's rendition of a petulant cold shoulder. She grinned in his direction.
“This should mollify you, bottomless gut”, Talis tossed him a chunk of meat fished out of her stew and some bread with gobs of butter attached to it. His pouting suddenly shifted to keen interest. With a quick thought for him to hide, she turned her attention to Stranger who sent her pictures of grain and water. She palmed a wrinkled little apple that she'd purloined from a table she passed on the way out with the occupants none the wiser.
“You're next. Let's get around to the stables to see what fare and accommodations they can offer you”, she said as she stepped in the stirrup and threw her leg over the busily moving lump with Littlefoot contentedly consuming his dinner at the center of it.
The stable boy gawked at Stranger. It wasn't often that New Town got riders on horses of the old line the size of the stallion – or red haired women with big swords riding them. The horse was such a dark brown he appeared almost black even in bright sun, and this late afternoon saw not much in the way of light. Long feathered fringes covered his lower legs over the hooves and his mane and tail were thick and waved.
The boy, used to the stubby ponies of the Punts and Newlanders, brought around a skimpy wooden bucket of grain. He sidled up to Talis as if fearful to get too near the big horse or her. Talis looked in the bucket and sighed.
“Where's the grain bin, boy”? She followed his wavering finger and filled the bucket more to Stranger's size and liking.
“And find me some black syrup for sweetening”. The boy lumbered off slack jawed and scuffing feet to do as she bid. Stranger rolled back his lips to grin his approval at her and she tussled his forelock.
“If we don't find work soon, you two will eat me out of house and home”.
Where would they find work? There hadn't been a skirmish or a clash among The Families and The Highborn in the five villages for moons. And no fanatical Punts had run off with a butter maid or her cow for 'tithes', either. The skinny wages she made as bodyguard for some snotty Highborn lords and their ladies attending a harvest fair last moon were dwindling fast in her pouch. Even if they sold the fancy gold earrings Littlefoot pinched from a particularly spiteful wealth bred daughter in another party wouldn't keep them all in the larder for much more than another half moon.
With thoughts of feeding her traveling household wearing on her, Talis wrapped up in her cloak and blanket in the stall Stranger was housed in. She'd thrown a second blanket over Stranger's back and seen to it that the boy had fresh straw strewn on the floor of the paddock after he made a halfhearted attempt at mucking and laid a flake of hay for Stranger' browsing in the feed trough. She awarded him half a big copper for hay, grain and a night's service after he filled Stranger's bucket with clear water.
She knew the inn master would cheat the boy out of most of it as sure as she knew that his maid never saw a dime of her tupps. But she was feeling peevish enough at his slowness not to hand him two small half brasses so he could get his portion.
Littlefoot appeared from her saddle pack, belly bulging where he'd managed to stay hidden during the interchange with the stable lad. He tunneled under her coverings and arranged himself across her waist to take full advantage of her body heat. Lulled by Stranger's contented chewing and Littlefoot's musky smell and fleeting images of weasel dreams, she drifted off to sleep.
Some little night noise startled her. Stranger chuffed and Littlefoot stood up on her belly full length, eyes intense and ears pricked forward. He was still draped in her blanket and she would have laughed at the comical sight of one side of his head swathed in cloth, but her sixth sense told her that there was danger close by. She heard a cough and a curse as a heavily booted foot smacked into a feeding trough.
Rolling in a smooth motion to one knee and dislodging Littlefoot with the effort, she retrieved her sword from the saddle as quietly as she could, freed the top of the faring ties for her boot knives and crouched, allowing her eyes to accustom to the difference in the shadows around her and straining her ears to catch any sound.
Stranger instinctively tried to wedge his way in front of her dislodging his blanket with Littlefoot now clinging to his mane and forelock on a new perch, fangs ready and high pitched growl warning as he jumped back and forth in his fury dance.
“Move your big ass over so I don't nick you, Stranger”, she whispered urgently. Stranger flicked back an ear, chuckered low, and shifted his massive weight over in the tight quarters of the stall.
The crunch of boot heels on dry hay chaff and horse shit alerted them to the whereabouts of intruders just outside the door of the stall. In the ambient light from the stable door they left open, Talis outlined two men – two very big men with an air of something familiar about them. She recognized the voice of the scar man from earlier in the pub.
“High and mighty Missy don't want to consort with the likes o' us, eh? Let's make sure she remembers us tonight. I'm first! And mind them knives o' hers”.
“You shure she's a'sleeping yet?” queried Bad Teeth.
“I paid thet id'git boy a full copper to let us know when she settled in” said Scar Face.
Talis sprang up from her crouch to land briefly on the gatepost. “Well! Less' be sure ya gets yer moneys wurt, “ she mocked in a fair imitation of their backwater slang.
With that, several things happened in quick succession. Scar Man lunged in her general direction only to receive a matching scar on his other cheek from her short knife and a vicious cut to his upper right arm from her sword as she leapt down from her perch. He screamed in pain and surprise, then swung his heavier broadsword at her. Talis easily leaped the crude swipe and laughed as the weight of his own blade slung him around in almost complete circle.
“How were you going to peg me in the dark with that tiny sausage lurking in your trousers when you can't even guide that big sword in the right direction”? He grew livid with her taunt, swung back around from the force of his misdirected thrust and lunged again.
Stranger had felled the door in two swift kicks and was angling the other lout towards the wall of the stable, teeth bared, massive neck extended, ears back and screaming all the way. Littlefoot launched all two feet of himself over Stranger's head and was busily entertaining Bad Teeth's ears and cheek with his razor sharp teeth. He worried the man's back with his hind feet like he was burrow building. Bad Teeth struck wildly around him with a mallet type affair that doubled as his weapon, blows landing ineffectually in the air, and once on his own leg. He let out a howl that brought a big grin to Talis' face.
The big horse reared once, front hooves churning the air and screaming for Littlefoot to move away. Stranger cleanly landed two sharp blows to the man's face. The ruffian slumped against the wall, slithered down the length of it leaving a swath of blood and brain matter in his wake. The ferret continued to bite the man's neck after he was down. Littlefoot was deep in blood lust.
Talis landed her deathblow almost matter-of-factly after toying with Scar Man a moment more. The stable boy would have a mess to clean up tomorrow for sure. She snickered at the cuffing he was liable to get for it. He had, after all, been the lookout for this ill-fated attack and she had no doubt that the inn keep had some hand in it large or small for profit.
She cleaned her blade with a scrap of rag, made the sign and wished the two dead men swift passage to Summerland. She scooped up Littlefoot where he still gnawed away at Bad Teeth's throat. She wiped the ferret's muzzle on the man's tunic. To calm him, she had to forcefully stare into his eyes to reach him down in the black abyss while holding his wriggling body.
“I'm alright, Littlefoot. Stranger is well, Littlefoot. Come back, Little Thief”! She focused, sought him out and stayed him where he wandered in Red Land.
The ferret suddenly went limp in her arms, and she gathered him to her chest. After a moment, he wriggled free of her, and gathered himself up to leap over to the gatepost where he began grooming the blood from his coat.
Talis checked Stranger with her hands as best she could in the dim light despite his protests and the blood scent that was flaring his nostrils. She saddled him and packed them up to go.
“We'll spend the rest of the night in Deep Woods. I'll wager we'll go unmolested there”, she said as she ducked the low door of the stable from atop Stranger's back.
(NOTE: Sword above is from Dragon's Edge. Stranger's doppelganger is available from Artexpression.com. Littlefoot is from the National Park Service.)
Saturday, February 14, 2009
We don't FALL out of love. It's a slow, steady decent off a steep cliff that happens after being punked out in public with a seedy comment or joke at your expense, when you see him dancing with the blond with the gold tooth from Boise while you mix drinks at the bar New Year's Eve and she gets the first kiss, when you put on that luscious nighty, light candles, pour your best champagne in your best Waterford and he's late, very very late from 'work' smelling of perfume and that other thing.
It's a slow, steady decent that happens after finding names and numbers in his pockets as you wash his jeans and clean up after him; How he stares blankly at you when you ask a question and he looks lilke he's out in the ozone experiencing Cosmic Thrust; When you catch him in a lie that he's been too slick about and notice he's buying new underwear. Or worse, when you catch him with your ex old best friend Rae who tells you she really does love you as her BFF and wouldn't do anything to hurt you and hopes that you'll understand that she had to do this for her own happiness. Hope Floats. At least you didn't find out about it on Jerry Springer.
Red Hot Love. This is love as hot as a firecracker with three wine colored roses. Mr. Wonderful beams out at you with stars in his eyes and a warning. Oh baby, Oh Baby!
Poor Baby Love. This is love as innocent as a babe. First love. Young love that's seduced by an older, more experienced player. Daddy Warbucks. Big Player Dude. The jerk who reads Playboy and Maxim like the Bible. Mr. Wonderful beams out at you with eyes that feeling left long ago. They're looking for the score and you, YOU, my dear are his prey.
Pink roses and three fragile glass hearts in danger of shattering on black lace show the fleeting time that we're allowed to dream about the fairytale before we see "Into The Woods" and learn what really happens after “happily ever after”.
Fidelity Rose Love. This is for the love that told you it wasn't like all the others, the one that made you a promise of no games. It did seem different those first bright days when you were wooed with vigor, a single rose left on the windshield of your old car when you came out from the worst day at work ever. And then you see him there when you get home. He rubs your feet and mixes you a drink and listens compassionately as you recount the wrongs du jour done to you.
As my Auntie once told me after the desperate demise of one of these hooligan love affairs, “Honey, you flew clean around the roses to lite on the turds”. Words of wisdom. ALWAYS check to see what's behind the flowers.
Last One Standing Love. This is for the time when you finally realize that you are whole and complete on your own without anyone else to fill in the blanks of you. This is also for the one love that left you before it could hurt or harm or disappoint. This is for the one you truly wear black for, the love of your life that won't be coming back, from that last phone call, that last fight, that drive home, that war.
"I'll treat you like a fine china plate, Babe". (This is likely a virgin college boy who's read too many trench coat mysteries.)
"What's a sweet young thang doin' in a place like this"? (This from the mental giant with those black metal thingies hanging from under the back bumper of his Ford pickup truck.)
"Can I buy you a drink"? (Correct answer, “Yes. And then leave”)
"I need my space" (Then take him to the Grand Canyon and p u s h. He'll have all the space he needs before the bottom arrives. )
Or leave it on the mourning ribbons you won at the Love Olympics to wear as a cameo against your chest to cover the hole where your heart used to be.I only had the heart to make four. I'll send one of these darlings to you in a fancy gift bag if you buy one at $21.50 plus $3.50 S&H. Oh. And, unlike love, you'll get a refund from me on any excessive shipping and handling.
Sketches for original project for the challenge:
Brass, crystal, glass and garnet gemstone wire corset