The Rabyd Spirit – Once More into the Breach

This is the last week of class for the semester so my role on the spiritual side of things is going to turn heavy scholar.  This is simply a necessity because over the next ten days or so it is ‘once more into the breach’ to try to gain victory over another semester.

I want to remind everyone that until Friday I have placed a one post limit per day on myself. So until then you are going to get my three journal posts and two others which will be whatever I feel like writing on.  Need to focus.

Leader:

Thankfully things have calmed down a bit so I can kind of put everything here on a back burner. Mostly, the decisions I need to make here can wait.

Pastor:

It was nice to have church again.  A lot of people we have been praying for were back in church.  I even saw some new faces. It was a good Sunday.

Scholar:

Alright, this week is three tests and I need to finish a twelve page paper.  Thing about tests is that are going to come.  The question is are you prepared for them.  That means taking the time before them to prepare.

My four classes are: International Finance (INTB), Introduction to Statistics (STAT), Genetics (BIOL) and Government Budgeting (PLSC).  So here is the challenge. for the rest of the semester.

Monday: Study Day.  Mostly I will be doing preparation work for all my exams, finishing any last readings and coming up with a full outline for my PLSC paper.

Tuesday: BIOL Test #4 – 9:30 am. The rest of the day I have one class and a lot of time to prepare for INTB. Somewhere in there I need to do two pages of my PLSC paper.

Wednesday:  INTB Test #3 – this is also the final exam for this online class.  I can actually take the test all the way up to Thursday but  I have a Stats Test Thursday so I am going to take it Wednesday. My target is to take this at 9:30 am as well.  I  don’t have my Genetics Lab this week so I will have a lot of time that day and the next to prepare for Stats. Somewhere in there I need to do two pages of my PLSC paper.

Thursday: STAT Test #3 – 1:30 pm.  With the INTB test finished early Wednesday, I should have plenty of time to prepare for this one. Somewhere in there I need to do two pages of my PLSC paper.

Friday: 12-15 page paper for PLSC. due.  However I know the professor for this one and he doesn’t penalize for being a little late. That said this is my last actual Political Science class so I would like to turn it in on Friday to say I finished strong.  I have started this paper (and by Friday I should have more than half of it done) but I need to get a proper outline and then writing it (for a writer like myself) should pretty much simply be a matter of spending the time doing it.

Saturday/Sunday: I have three exams during exam week. So part of the weekend will be preparing for two of them but the PLSC is take home essay so I will probably be working on it during the weekend.  If he does what he has done in the past, it will be limited to two pages total so it won’t take very long. I will have it finished by Sunday so I can turn it in on Monday. April 30th.

Exam Week. I only have two traditional finals.  BIOL and STAT.

  1. The BIOL Exam is Monday at 10 am.  It cannot hurt me but it could help.  If I score higher on this one than any of the others I have already taken it will take their place. Basically, this class drops your lowest test score and then figures your grade. I would be an idiot not to study for it and then take it.
  2. STAT exam is Wednesday at 2 pm.  I may not have to take it.  The issue is attendance and  having an A already might count to the point the instructor says – congrats you have an A so have a nice day.  I any case you don’t know that until you get there so you still have to study and prepare for it.  I will have from the end of the BIOL test until then to do so.

And that will be a wrap for Spring 2018. In truth this will be the busiest week.  Once I get passed Wednesday and the INTB test, things are finalized and classes start dropping off my radar as finished. Exam week is actually pretty easy given all the time I have to prepare for both of them. It is the next four days that has me sweating.  Lot to do and not a lot of time to do it.  Once the PLSC paper is done, the pressure will lift considerably.  I plan on spending a lot of time at the school library this week.  I mean like staying well into the night.

Well – “Once more into the breach!”

Blessings and Cheers!!!

Advertisements

The Hedge Wizard of Redberg – Part 39 – Interrogation

I was looking down at two broken and mangled purple and silver wings covered in blood. They had belonged to Lunette but now technically they belonged to Elpis.  I still felt bad about what had happened but I also could not shake the fact that I had at least kept Lunette alive.  Traitor though she was, I don’t like to see people in pain  Bothers me to this day but I do what needs to be done regardless.  Lunette was definitely going to be in pain for a while but she had brought it on herself.

Elpis called me over and told me the next order of business was to interrogate the two captured mages. I wanted to check on Lunette but I realized going in too soon might be problematic anyway so I followed Elpis to where the two men were. Elpis spoke to me as we walked about how I felt.  I was tempted to lie but I decided to tell her I felt bad about the outcome.  She said it was understandable but she felt I had done well.  We entered the woods and in one hundred yards we found the two men.

Both of them were encircled with vines and being held completely still.  At the sight of me and Elpis they seemed a little terrified. I couldn’t blame them. I knew something big was coming and I knew the more information we could get before that happened would be helpful.  My concern was that Elpis probably wanted them dead and would lose her patience before that could happen.  I had personally seen her turn four men into human rubble.  I had no doubt that here in her own grove that could be duplicated.

There were two weakness that were obvious for dryads. Iron and magic particularly fire magic. She respected my abilities for the second reason, knowing in a fight where she and I were both aware it would be a battle of the ages.  I would probably lose in the end but it would be epic.   I was good with fire but I had avoided using it in the grove and in her presence.  She respected both my power and my self-control in using it.

I figured Elpis would be using this kind of truth serum effect she could invoke in her grove and she did.  She asked numerous questions and the two mages were very free with the answers.  I was thinking this was going to be hard but it turned out much easier than I thought.  In the end both of them admitted they didn’t know any more.

What we learned was this was indeed a small mage house feud.  But there was more to it in the case of House Mars. The current leader was hoping to enslave as many pixies and other of the faerie folk as he could.  He had long resented the peace agreement and wanted to tear it to shreds. He believed in male and mage dominance.

Problem was most of the council stood against him. So he had chosen rebellion.  Problem is that it was not going well.  Only House Pluto was with him and they were thinking they might want to pull their support.  So House Mars turned to bribery to keep House Pluto on their side.  They were giving House Pluto pixie female slaves as payment.  There group had been one of many observing groves and waiting for foolish pixies to cross their path.  Slavers and male chauvinists, I am sure Elpis was not going to let this end well for them.

“I need to send a message to this leader of their’s Edward.  I was thinking of sending them back to deliver it.”

“Not trying to be rude Elpis, but you don’t need two of them to deliver a message.”

She looked at me for a second and then smiled.

“Your right.  What should I do with the other one.”

“Well, he could serve as a warning.”

“Yes”

The vines around the one on the right began to squeeze.  I could see by his face he was a dead man.  The vines took his wreaked body into the earth.  I would see his head later as I exited the grove stuck on a pike.

Too cruel for you?  Uncivilized?  Hey I was living at time where two superpowers had the ability to cause the world to perish in atomic fire with the survivors living in a hellish aftermath.  Stable but hardly civilized if you ask me.  The magic world was dotted with small factions fighting to survive. Compassion can get you killed and often is not merited.  Those bastards would have killed me all the male pixies in the grove and would then have enslaved Elpis and the female pixies for sexual slavery.  Yeah, you want to pity them?  OK, whatever.  In then end from my perspective we are all barbarians, it is just that some of us try to justify our particular form of barbarism as civilized.

The other mage was of course completely freaking out. I approached him and looked him right in the eye.  I spoke to him calmly but firmly.

‘You know, it is your lucky day.  You are going to get to live.  For now.  Tell your boss that this grove will defend itself to the last faerie. Tell him that they also have a crazy hedge wizard who has made it his personal mission to see House Mars reduced to rubble.  Think you can remember that?”

The guy nodded.  I turned to Elpis and the vines began to move and in a few seconds he was out of sight.  I knew they would take him past the edge of the grove and drop him off.  He would run for the hills I imagined at that point.

“Edward – You are a different person since we first met.”

“Just accepted the reality of what I am and the situation better, I guess. This is real war.  House Mars sucks.  House Venus is not any better if ask me.  Were kind of stuck between them.  I really hope I can back up that threat I made.”

Elpis nodded.  She knew that between to feuding houses we were going to be hard pressed to survive.  She knew she needed all the friends we could get.

She hugged me and then I told her I needed to leave.

“After you visit Lunette I suppose?”

I nodded.

“You know that girl is poison don’t you?”

“Yeah, but I care about her.  Don’t ask me to explain it but I do care.”

“Despite the hard ass moody exterior, you are still a softy inside.  You just don’t let it interfere in what you think you need to do.  It’s going to get you killed I imagine.”

I laughed.

“Yeah, well I have said nymphs and pixies would be the death of me a couple times.  Prophecies like that are at least funny, even if they turn out to be true.”

She grinned, nodded and watched me walk away.  When I looked back she was gone.

I headed to Lunette’s home.

The Rabyd Writer’s Soul (Special Edition) – Semester End Update / Future Projects

This post is purely about the writing schedule for the next week and a half or so.  The semester is coming to an end and I need to focus on academics.  Mostly I have lots of tests including finals, a single but lengthy paper to finish and some reading.  My plans are to actually burn the night oil a little bit by staying late in the library to get things finished and to do some studying.

This is of course going to affect the writing schedule for the blog a bit for a bit.  Mostly I  will be imposing a one post a day as a limit for myself and there will be no specific schedule for those posts outside my journal posts.  Mostly it will be whatever I can write the easiest while at the same time I will be keeping my journal posts (The Rabyd Spirit, The Rabyd Writer’s Soul and The Body Rabyd).  The main issue here is time and focus.

That said, I want to talk about the schedule and future projects for a moment.

Firstly there will definitely be restoring of the schedule once I get done with school.  Part of this will be to get back to the daily rotation and then get back to getting the other parts of the floating schedule back on again.  So far all I have been able to do consistently with the floating schedule is the Hedge Wizard of Redberg which has been for me a great series.  I will admit though there is a problem in the fact I feel rushed a little with it.  It is not that I am not inspired, that is definitely not true. What it is seems to be my internal editor going off saying I could do a little better with making it more polished.

There is also the matter of the fact this is a theology blog which means other things need to be talked about and written on most notably theology. Naked and Unashamed and Re-Thinking God (Again) do need to be finished because I feel they are important.  I just haven’t had the time to work on them properly.  My journal posts this week will probably have more to say on this but my floating rotation needs to be restored and I feel needs to be expanded.

Most of my fiction has been urban fantasy on this blog so far and that is not the only type of fiction I write.  In the past if have hit almost every genre of fiction writing t one point or another.  I have not always published them on a blog as some genres are not suitable for that as a minister. There I go with the masks again.  However, I think a couple more fictional elements might round out the floating rotation of posts.  Here are some ideas:

  1. I have an old science fiction novel project sitting on the shelf. I took a stab at writing this novel many years ago called The Prophet of Mars.  It’s why I have actual books on Mars, martian colonization and other things related to Mars because I was doing research for it. The more I look at the notes, I think it might be better done as a series of posts.
  2. On The Beagle and The Courtesan I started a fantasy work involving four friends called Fantasy Dungeon Tales who after each having a solo adventure decide to join forces for bigger adventures.  I only got to the second friend and have always felt bad about that because I felt it was a good idea at the time but other things got in the way.  I also now have an advantage in fleshing out the characters in that I now have a copy of the fifth edition of Dungeons & Dragons to use to flesh out the characters better.
  3. I have also in the past used the MegaTraveller game system to do a Space Opera called The Adventures of Ayn Jones. I am thinking I might do something like that again.  It was an interesting project that only bogged down when I had to actually start moving away from the background system of MegaTraveller to actually guiding her through the universe.
  4. I have also used video games as the basis for some fan fiction I have written.  The Blacksmith’s Daughter and The Wayfarer series on The Beagle and the Courtesan were both based on the game Skyrim.
  5. One last thing, I have poked at writing regular fiction with no magic or science fiction elements at all. There are a lot of subjects here but I have always found this to be challenging.  Real life to me is frightful dull most of the time but it does have those moments of sheer terror that can be written about. It might make for some good short story material.

I would like to know your thoughts in the comments either here or on Facebook.  What would you like to see this summer or what suggestions would you give me?

Blessings and Cheers!!!

The Hedge Wizard of Redberg – Part 38 – Lunette’s Trial

The walk back to the grove was silent.  Elpis walked slightly ahead of me and I wasn’t going to break the silence.  We hit the edge of the grove.  Elpis went into that catatonic state that indicated she was recovering from being outside the grove. Because she had only been out for about a day, it only took about a half hour where I and the remaining pixies basically chatted.  Lunette’s father however sat alone away from us. The one female pixie that was left flirted with me pretty hard.  She was young and definite sexy so the flirting was welcome because it kept me from thinking deeper thoughts.

Elpis eventually came out of it.  He birch bark skin was completely restored.  She also looked to be less angry.  As we walked the remaining distance to the tree, she told me the first order of business was Lunette’s trial.  I tried to inject that it could wait, hoping she would be more calm but she stopped me with her hand.  I knew then and there Lunette was in trouble.  Whatever she had done, Elpis was angry and vengeful about it.  There would be ‘justice.’

We arrived at the tree but went passed it.  We were headed to the Hollow Tree. The Hollow Tree was just as it sounded an old tree that was still alive.  The hollow place in it was used as a jail of sorts for the pixies.  Lunette was already inside at her full size.  She was asleep for such was the power of the tree.  It kept a person imprisoned and sleeping until they were tried.  Next to the Hollow Tree was the Oak Throne.  An oak tree so ancient I would even begin to guess how old.  Part of roots formed a throne of sorts.  Elpis approached and then sat in it.

“I Elpis, Dryad of the Red Tree, call Lunette to trial.”

Lunette woke up and the Hollow Tree allowed her to exit.  She stood with her feet close together and he head down.  Her wings drooped a little.  She was wearing the outfit Elpis had given her.  She looked as pathetic as a pixie can look.

“Who will stand for the accused?”

Lunette’s father strode forward.

“I will stand for her.”

“And I stand myself to bring charges. I charge Lunette with conspiracy against the grove and treason against her queen.”

A low murmur went through the crowd.

Now, the justice of the faerie folk is expedited by the fact these things are such sacred moments in their history lying is rare.  The grove itself also acts as a truth serum if the dryad wishes it and Elpis definitely wished it. Thus no one plead guilty or innocent.  Not necessary. What was determined in a faerie trial is the facts of the case and a stating of what should be a just punishment.

The first part of the trial was Elpis restating her story.  Lunette had been upset about seeing me with another girl.  She had come to Elpis to vent.  Elpis for her part tried vainly to comfort her and then Lunette streaked off with tears in her eyes.  Elpis for her part felt bad and followed her. She hoped to bring her back and get her to calm down. She was simply concerned as a queen about one of her subjects.

While she had head the reports of the men watching the grove; as the powerful demigod she was, she thought little of them.  She found Lunette on a rock crying.  She once again tried to comfort her.  That’s when the men approached and surrounded them.  Elpis felt this would be a short fight but as she readied her magic she was struck from behind by Lunette.

The unexpected attack caused her to lose consciousness for only a second or two but it was enough for the mages to hit her with some spell that froze her in place.  Elpis was in the process of breaking the spell when she was thrown in the iron cage. At first she was anxious and angry, but when she realized she needed to protect herself.  She activated her power and kept it on. She saw Lunette talking with the men.  She was telling them about the grove and something about how she had kept her part of the deal before her meditative state blocked out her senses until she felt the iron door fall off the cage.

“Thus is my part of the tale.  The accused may, as is custom, tell her side.”

Lunette’s story was that she had been captured herself the day before Elpis had been. She was frightened when she heard what they wanted to do with her so to get free she had offered to get the men access to the grove in some way.  Something in exchange for her freedom  They really had no leverage over her so they made her swear the oath of pixies. An oath on the tree he served. She knew it was stupid but she made the oath because she was scared and they let her go expecting either access to the grove or other pixies in her place.  The pixies listening murmured again because such an oath was binding but her oath to Elpis was equally binding and in conflict with such an oath.

Lunette then confessed she had other ulterior motives.  Namely she had been jealous of Elpis and her close friendship with me.  She saw opportunity to solve several problems for herself. Elpis would be exchanged for herself.  A new queen could be chosen and then she would be in a better position to be more aggressive in her pursuit of me.  She resented that Elpis had restricted her in this regard.  Then she saw my holding hands with Miss R and she decided to expedite her plans. She didn’t have to pretend her heartbreak about seeing me with another and she used it to manipulate Elpis.

The story Elpis told was confirmed from that point on.  The one thing that was added was the men betrayed her.  They captured her again.  She had been talking to them and one of them sneaked up behind her and put the glass dome over her. She spent the next day listening to their plans for her and Elpis.  She ended her testimony with an apology citing she had been so scared when first captured.

“I will hear recommendation for justice,” Elpis stated.

Lunette’s father stated that past betrayals had been treated harshly but always within the concepts of pixie justice.  Not a single person of the grove had actually died so it would not be justice for Lunette to die.  His recommendation was imprisonment for a time after she reached her majority. that she be stripped of title and position.  You could see the love he had for her as a father as he spoke.  Lunette for her part would not look her father in the eye.

This is where it got complicated at Elpis stated she could not give recommendation for the prosecution and be the judge in the case.  That was not allowed by the law. She wanted to give the recommendation but let another pass final judgement.  I wondered who she could get for that one and then.

“I call Edward, Hedge Wizard of Redberg.  I call you to be the judge in this case.”

Oh shit.  I was not happy because I knew I couldn’t refuse.  Elpis then got up out of the Oak Throne and motioned me to sit in it.

“I justify this decision. Edward is a good soul and he will be fair.  He will temper justice with mercy.  Is there an objection from the accused?”

I looked at Lunette and she at me.  She looked away but didn’t say anything.  I moved toward the Oak Throne and sat down in it.  It was the most uncomfortable chair I have ever sat in. Seriously, ever sleep on a root when camping.  That plus the situation made this intolerable.

Elpis then made her recommendation. She would be to stripped of title, name and position.  She would be whipped for her transgressions 40 stripes minus one.  One punishment would be inflicted by the Queen herself that could leave permanent consequences to her and her family. She would be imprisoned for period of twenty years and then executed.

Well, talk about Arab trading where one side bids high and the other low.  Crap I had to find a middle ground.  I called Lunette’s mother over. I asked her how long I had to make this decision.  Pixie justice demanded that I pass judgement within an hour. I asked how I could get that. Lunette’s mother said I had only to ask for it. So I did.  I got off the throne and headed into the woods.  I told them to have someone get me in an hour.

I never ever want to be put in such a situation again.  That said I had to admire Elpis’ decision.  If she passed judgement then it would be considered too harsh no matter what it was.  Anyone else besides me and it would be considered too light.  Elpis knew she was too heated to be a good judge so that left me.  The guy who was always telling people to relax.  Maybe I should develop anxiety so people stop doing this crap to me.  Reality was I liked both Elpis and Lunette for different reasons and this was a conflict between the two of them.  Lunette was definitely in the wrong but death?  Nope.  What did that leave?

The hour passed quickly and eventually a pixie guardsman found me and told me I had five minutes.  I headed back found my way to the Oak Throne and sat down.  Elpis and Lunette’s father were in their places. Lunette was in the middle.  She came forward and knelt before me.  The posture for her to receive her sentence.

“I have come to a decision.  The accused shall face the following consequences for her actions.  She shall be stripped of title, position and citizenship in the grove.  She shall remain in the grove until the year of her majority when at such time she will be exiled from the grove forever.  I grant Queen Elpis the right to initiate a single consequence of her choice under the following conditions.  It cannot cause permanent physical harm to Lunette or her family.  It cannot last for more than a year.  It cannot cause her death.  Elpis may also remove all property that she has given to Lunette.  No consequence of position to title shall happen to Lunette’s family.  Only the accused shall suffer punishment for her actions.  So I have judged, let it stand.”

I looked at Lunette who actually seemed to be relieved.  Elpis also seemed pleased.  Lunette’s parents seemed relieved.  I got up from the throne and Elpis re-seated herself. She spoke.

“Thank you Edward.  I accept your judgement. Does the accused accept the judgement?”

This was a formality as the accused really couldn’t stop it.  They could however log an objection for the sake of future generations and cases.  Lunette nodded.

“Very well, I choose to imitate the consequences. I strip you of title, position and citizenship.  You are now a non-citizen. I also take back what is mine.”

Lunette’s outfit unraveled and the pieces flew off into the forest leaving her standing there naked.  While she was still reacting to that vines came out of the ground and grabbed her wrists and ankles holding her spread eagle about a foot of the ground.

“I now initiate the single consequence I have been granted.  Within the limitations stipulated – I take your wings!”

Two other vines came out of the ground and grabbed Lunette’s wings by the roots near her shoulder blades..  Then they pulled.  Lunette’s wings were ripped off with a sickening sound.  Lunette screamed and I felt tears fall down my face.  What had I done? I moved to object.  Elpis put up her hand

‘Her wings will grow back in less than a year, she will not die and it will not be permanent. I have met your conditions.”

The vines let Lunette go and she fell to the ground sobbing.  Her parents rushed to her side crying as well. Elpis spoke.

“Let this be lesson for all.  I will not tolerate treachery or treason. Let this story be retold as an example. Let it be remembered.”

If it hadn’t been for the fact there was major crisis I would have left right then but there were bigger things going on and like it or not I was going to need everyone’s help. I just didn’t know how I was going to face everyone now. After this, how could I get us all to be ready for what danger was next?

The Hedge Wizard of Redberg – Part 37 – Hope Restored

I had Nevermore land on my wrist.  I cast my shocking grasp on him and then muffle on both of us.  Muffle was only slightly better than my invisibility spell but at least it would keep the noise down.  I crept close to the mage on patrol near me.  I let Nevermore loose and he flew right through him.  The charge zapped him and I hit him again myself and He went down.  I sent Nevermore skyward and I could see through his eyes that the pixies had also stealthily taken down their guy.

Stage two – attacking the rest of them, but then I thought of something. I looked at Elpis in a her cage and Lunette in her glass bell and then I realized I could get them in the fight. I concentrated my Lightning bolt spell in each hand and fired but not at the mages.  I hit the hinges and lock on Elpis’ cage.  It fell outward, Elpis was free.  I then fired another lightning bolt at the stand holding up Lunette’s glass prison.  It fell over and the glass shattered, Lunette was free as well.

I turned my attention back to the mages.  They were under assault by the pixies.  It should be noted that these were armed pixies which means in addition to the burn/force damage that they were delivering they also with spears and swords were actually inflicting more damage. I mean it literally could be the death of 1000 cuts. Pixies of course also coat their weapons with all kinds of things to make them more effective. Poison, drugs, etc.  Their alchemy skill is pretty high.  The mages for their part were keeping their shields up so it was mostly a stand-off.

The mages were all facing the opposite direction from me. I was figuring there was a good fight ahead because the shields were everywhere for the mages.  I was about to do my part when the whole scene began to change.  I looked back to Elpis and it was a frightening sight.

Elpis was beyond angry.  She was enraged.  Her eyes glowed red, her hair swirled as if directed by angry static electricity.  He whole body glowed green with power.  She waved her hand at the mages and the ground erupted with vines that entangled them.  In a matter of a couple of seconds the battle was over.  All four of them were entangled and being held tightly by vines.  Elpis caused the vines to squeeze.  I literally saw all four of them be crushed to death with their heads popping right off and eyes bugging out their heads. Elpis released them and the wreckage of their bodies fell to the ground.

Elpis looked at her fist and I saw something wiggling in it.  Then I realized Lunette was in Elpis hand.  She was literally holding her keeping her arms pinned to her sides.  Elpis seemed extremely angry at Lunette as her eyes burned with fury. I was wondering what the hell had happened.  Lunette’s father appeared next to me in his grown form.  He seemed very concerned.  I decided to act and ran to Elpis.

“Elpis, what’s going on?”

Elpis looked at me and her anger did not seem abated.

“Treachery.  This little bitch nearly got me… well….”

Then Elpis screamed such a primal scream the earth literally shook. The pixies and I stopped our ears.  Oh boy, if Lunette had played a game here; she was going to find herself on the business end of Elpis’ vengeance.  Treachery was not going to be a light thing in this grove given its history. Elpis stopped screaming.

Lunette’s father fell to his knee in front of Elpis.

“My Queen, please.  Mercy, she is my daughter.  My only daughter. I ask for trial.”

Elpis seemed to for the first time seemed to have her anger drop slightly.  She regarded Lunette’s father for a few moments. Her voice finally came and it sounded more hurt than angry this time.

“Trial? Yes, she shall get a trial. Guards”

Two of pixies came forward.

“Take this traitor and put her in the hollow tree to await judgment.”

The two pixies nodded. They flanked Lunette and all three of them flew off. Lunette looked at me, her eyes filled with pain. Lunette’s father remained on his knee looking at the ground.  I was perplexed but I was glad to see no people on our side were going to die today.  For the moment at least.

We rounded up the other two mages.  The one the pixies had taken out was drugged and so he was incoherently babbling.  The guy I had taken out was still unconscious.  I looked over my shoulder and saw Elpis’ eyes were still enraged. I could see she had the same fate in store for them as the others, but I put up a hand in her direction.

“Elpis, we need to know what is going on.  These men were part of something larger. We need to interrogate them.”

At the word ‘interrogate’ Elpis smiled a very vengeful smile. Her eyes still glowed along with her body with anger.

“Of course, Mage. You are right.  It will be my pleasure.”

Elpis waved he had again and vines grew up around the mages restraining them.  It was a weird sight as those vines then moved toward the grove carrying them.  I watched as they disappeared over the hill.  I wasn’t sure I would see them again.

In the meantime, the rest of us began to search the camp for anything that would tell us what was going on.  Lunette’s father stayed in his position kneeling before Elpis.  Elpis stayed in place but she was glancing around anxiously. She was breathing deeply and quickly like someone hyperventilating.  I concluded she was trying to calm herself down which I was pretty sure was not to far from the truth.  She had held her rage in for so long to protect herself and now it had come out. I imagine hearing for an entire day how all your captors wanted to rape you and take your power was a flashback moment for her.  It was way too close to her experience with the Evil Alchemist.  Yeah, she was pissed.

Our investigation turned up a few things.  The mages were of the House of Mars.  An all male house of the Mage world.  Being a Hedge Wizard, I had never gotten involved in the houses but I liked studying them as they were interesting.  All the mage houses were named after Roman gods and there are many of them, but the Council is made up of the seven strongest. At that time, as all of you on the Council know, the house of Mars occupied a seat on the Council along with their rival the House of Venus.  The other five Houses at the time were Jupiter, Juno, Minerva, Neptune and Vulcan. Feuds were common.

Ultimately this is what we discovered, there was a feud between the house Mars and Venus.  Mars is made up entirely of men and Venus made up entirely of women.  The other five houses seemed indifferent to the feud at the time, but these feuds were often chances for the other houses to rise to power.  Mars was being backed by House Pluto and Venus had found support in House Vesta.  Not odd really as these houses often took on the character of their respective deities.  I mean no one worshiped the Roman gods in the mage word; but at one time, they did.  Those houses still bore the character of the god in question, had their Latin slogans (Mages love Latin) and often their views on magic that were colored by them.  Always admired the house system but never got to be a part of one.

Then we discovered a map that showed the grove was kind of close to the front line of this feud.  Mars controlled this area but Venus was very close.  Now some might be wondering, given Elpis was female and she did have reason to hate House Mars, why she didn’t just form alliances with Venus and Vesta?  The problem is Venus was as anti-male as Mars was anti-female.  For her male pixies under her care, that wouldn’t go well.  She also had a fondness for a certain male hedge wizard.  The House of Venus would probably turn me over to the Council in a heartbeat.  While it was very understandable for Elpis to go to war with house Mars; it was also equally understandable why she would never ally herself with house Venus.

Armed with this basic information, Elpis ordered us to destroy the iron cage, burn the tents and leave nothing behind.  Those deeds were done with the final one being me using my lightning to destroy the welds on the cage of iron to break ti apart.  Iron – the bane of the faerie folk.  It has to be cast iron.  The moment you mix carbon to make steel into it; the faerie folk have some power against it. Raw iron they have no power over at all and to top it off Raw iron creates a field around it that blocks faerie magic.  Elpis could protect herself inside the cage, but her power was never going outside it as long as it was closed.  The real question I still had was: what happened to get her inside it in the first place?

I had these questions buzzing in my head as we headed back to the grove.

Theology Pub – Dossier – Morta

Name: Morta

Sex: Female

Code name: Death’s Daughter.

Nicknames: Mortality

Year of Birth: Moment of the Fall when Eve bit the fruit.

Citizenship: Unknown.

Languages: All of them.

Martial Status: Widow – has been married several times but her husbands have all died leaving her behind. She has no children.

Organization: Connected to The Faded Hourglass curiosity shoppe as the shopkeeper.

Listed as: Ally and Resource to the Silver Shields – sort of.

Hair Color: Silver Grey                                

Eye Color: Hazel.  Although others might see them as blue or brown.  In truth they change color depending on who is looking at them and her surroundings

Height:  5′ 7″

Weight: 115 lbs.

Distinguishing Marks: None, In fact the most distinguishing feature is her grey hair on someone who looks very young. She has no scars or tattoos.  According to past records, Morta has been wounded in such a way as to leave a scar but she never develops one.  Tattoos fade on her very quickly and actually will disappear completely given enough time.  She has lived long enough to no longer have the desire to tattoo herself.

Background: Born at the moment of the Fall when Eve became her spiritual mother and Death her spiritual father. She has lived ever since in temporary immortality until her own father and the sin of her mother is finally defeated. She has seen the rise and fall of many mortal civilizations and cultures. She unfortunately not allowed to be player in that drama, only an observer.  Currently she is the proprietor of The Faded Hourglass.

Danger: Minimal.  She simply is and it has never been noted that she will take anything more than a passive role.  At best her commitment to the grey truth will give general advice which can be good or bad depending on how it is interpreted.

Allegorical Representation: Mortality – more specifically the birth, rise, growth, fall decline and death of humanity over time.  Her connection to time is noted as time and her father Death end all things. She is a duality of ignorance/ knowledge, rise /decline and others that involve time.

Powers: None noted. If anything she might be said to be immune to direct interrogation.  She can only give what she calls the ‘grey truth’ which is part truth and part mystery.

Skills and Interests: Knowledge – there is no human interest she has not studied.  No historical situation she has not looked at or observed.  Every person her father Death has touched, she can remember their life completely.  People who are living however she knows very little.  She is interested in antiques, old books and anything else from the past.

The Hedge Wizard of Redberg – Part 36 – Hope Lost

I had not seen Elpis or Lunette’s parents in months. I had not been in the right frame of mind for it but now I felt a little more confident and whole.  I wasn’t sure how Lunette’s parents had taken our breakup but seeing she had broken up with me, I wasn’t the instigator.  I also was banking on her parents being pretty used to other people and breakups considering the nature of pixies.  I was right on.

Lunette’s father greeted me at the edge of the grove warmly.  He was glad to see me.  What he said was he was glad to see me in these dark times. I thought he was referring to me and my dreams and depression.  I was feeling a little awkward because I was wondering what was known about what I was doing and going through to the grove.  Elpis most certainly must have known.  I was thinking this was going to be an awkward conversation.

I still didn’t realize what was up when I reached the tree either.  I could see Lunette’s mother but not Elpis.  Not alarming really as she often traveled through the trees.  She might be elsewhere.  She would know I was here the moment I crossed the threshold of the grove. I also didn’t see Lunette but I was figuring that because I had a new girlfriend that she was elsewhere being angry. Then I got closer and saw Lunette’s mother’s face and saw great concern on it.  I realized something was up.

“What’s going on?  Where are Elpis and Lunette?”

Lunette’s mother teared up and then she threw her arms around me and cried.  Have you ever tried, being a teenage boy, to comfort a topless woman who is genuinely hurting?  I mean where do you place your arms and hands? I pulled it off by keeping it light, firm and around her waist.  I must have been feeling better because I was noticing women for the physical qualities I admired, something I really hadn’t done in a while.

“Elpis went after Lunette.  Lunette was pretty upset after seeing you with that other girl and she ran off.”

“Where did they go?”

“Lunette left the grove, Elpis put on her human clothes and followed her.  They were captured by a group of men.  We don’t know who they are but they have been watching the grove for a couple of months.  My husband was keeping an eye on them but yesterday they didn’t seem to be around.  They appeared when they saw Lunette and Elpis.  That was yesterday.  We tried to track them but there is magic involved.”

The entire time Lunette’s mother was in my arms crying. I gently pushed her off.  I looked her in the eye.

“Well, I guess I will have to find them and save them.  Where were they last spotted.”

Lunette’s mother kissed me.  Not on the cheek but full on right on the lips.

“For luck.  My husband will show you where he lost them.”

Lunette’s father and I headed out.  I was grumbling under my breath about how pixie women and nymphs were going to be the death of me.  Lunette’s father must have heard me because he started to laugh.

“Been saying that all my life son.  Get used to it.”

Lunette’s father took me to the spot which was about a mile out of the grove.

“This is where I lost them.”

I pulled Nevermore out of his pocket dimension.  I sent him out to scout but I also began to think there was a spell I had learned that would help.  It was a tracking spell but it required a connection to the person you are trying to find, an emotional connection.  So, Lunette or Elpis?  Lunette and I’s emotional connection was going to be spotty at best.  Elpis and I had respect for each other. Elpis it was.

I cast the spell and concentrated on the link between Elpis and myself.  I found the path, it was shaky but it was there. Before I began to follow it, I realized the need for backup.  I told Lunette’s father to call what soldiers could be spared from the guard and bring them to this spot.  I would send Nevermore back when I found the women.  He nodded, shrank down and streaked off.

I followed the link to Elpis.  I must have went at least another mile. Then I found them.

The situation was not good. Lunette was shrunk down and the men had placed her in a glass jar like Tinkerbell but I knew that the glass must also be coated against magic because Lunette would have gone pinball and shattered it by now.  She was sitting in a ball with her knees in her chest and her head down.  I think she was trying to sleep.

Elpis for her part was in a cage. She was still dressed in her overcoat but her hat was nowhere to be seen. It must have been magically treated cage as well because she would have ripped it apart.  I mean dryads are demigods and with that goes some pretty impressive strength. Elpis was basically standing in the center of her cage and keeping her captors at bay with her power. I could see that her face and some of her fingers and toes had lost the birch bark that normally coated them.

I realized that they had been taken yesterday, so they were now in survival mode. They were doing what they could to prevent these men from raping them probably.  I mean Lunette was shrunk down and Elpis was putting out juice.

The men’s camp smelled of magic.  I didn’t need to cast my detect magic spell to know it.  I felt it.  I felt there was magic involved in concealing the camp.  They hadn’t counted on another mage being there was my guess so they had only befuddled pixies.  I telepathically told Nevermore to go to the spot and direct Lunette’s father and his men to me.

I decided to move a little closer.

There were six of these mages.  I could tell they were all mages because they gave off the feeling of power.  Four were sitting around the campfire and two others were patrolling.  I cast my masking spell followed by my invisibility spell and stayed put in earshot of the them.

“So, when do you think we will get to f–k the pixie?’

“I don’t know, but she will break.  She’s an adolescent pixie, so she is hornier than most. Our auras are a bloody aphrodisiac to her, so eventually she will not be able to take it anymore.  Like that one blue winged one we have back at our base up north. She was the same way. Eventually though she started to f–k us all of her own accord. Couldn’t help herself.  This one will be the same.”

“And the dryad?”

“Lucky break there.  She will eventual lose her immortality.  Don’t know what the boss will say about her, that’s why we sent a message to him.  He might want us to negotiate with her grove to get more pixies in exchange for her.”

“I don’t know, like to do her first. Might gain some power.”

“Doesn’t work, all you will succeed in doing is getting your dick electrocuted.  Well at least until she completely loses her power. Then it would be like raping any other woman.”

At this point, I was fairly certain I didn’t like these guys at all.

I slowly crept back to a place where we would be out of sight. My invisibility flickered a couple of times but these guys were looking for pixies not mages.  Lunette’s father brought five guys with him.  Well I should say five soldiers because it was three males and two females. I told them the situation and what the men had said.  All of them looked grimly back at me.  The two lady pixies looked mad as hell.

My plan was simple.  If we could take the two patrolling guards out first without the other four knowing then we would have better odds.  I wanted the pixies to circle around and take out the guard on the far side.  They could move far quicker than I, so it made sense.  I would take out the guy closest to us.  Then I would attack with lightning while they came in from the other side.

Our main mission was rescue of Lunette and Elpis. Secondary mission to take a prisoner or two if possible.  We needed to know what was going on. The pixies circled around the camp while I waited.  I used Nevermore in the sky above to note where the pixies were and where I was in relationship to them.  Finally we were all in position.

I took a deep breath.