Wednesday, 4 November 2015

NaNoWriMo 2015

It's that time of year again. NaNoWriMo is upon us! 
When the clock ticked over to November the 1st, people from all over the world embarked upon the exciting (and at times arduous) quest of writing 50,000 words in 30 days.

This is my 4th time participating in the event.  I find NaNoWriMo to be the perfect motivation to get new novels started or existing ones finished. My full drafts usually end up being between 80- 120, 000 words, and at least 50,000 of those words are written during NaNoWriMo.
If you would like to know more about this fan-dangled-fun-dangily NaNoWriMo thing and what it stands for, then check out
Even better (in a fit of spastic spontaneity) why don’t you sign up? Join us! 
 Joooin Usssss!
Now here’s some Lemons (unrelated)…

So if you have always wanted to give writing a go and enjoy challenges that have the potential to eat your soul? And yeah those plot bunnies can be mighty fierce sometimes. Ye-ouch!

I’m not selling this very well am I? Nope...

Hey I gotta be honest it’s hard reaching to that 50K, sometimes you have to frigging bleed those words from your raw finger-stubs... and yeah, some of those words will definitely suck (I’m talking from personal experience).
That being said, all you need to do is write 1666 words a day for 30 days. That doesn’t sound too bad does it? All you need is some general idea for a story and the rest should come.

Nothing coming to you? Hey if you don’t know what to write about or how to start there are plenty of story prompt generators out there.
Here’s a few links that might be fun/ or useful.
Need a Plot? How about adopting one from here!

If you're stuck and need an item, a motto, a planet, or a fancy drink check out... It's oh so fun— If you are looking for something really wacky, this is definitely the place to go. The plot generator here gave me some interesting results and the good thing about it is that you can re-roll certain elements until you find something that works.

Most importantly don't worry about getting it perfect first time (that just doesn't happen). NaNo is designed so you get that story, or at least part of the story out of your head and onto paper. The revision and editing comes later (or as my case much later). This first draft  (in the words of the wonderful Terry Pratchett) is basically just you telling yourself the story.

And that’s my little NaNo chat for 2015. Have a great November, and if you are partaking in the NaNo madness may many-a-word be with you.

Join usssss...
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Tuesday, 13 October 2015

At 5am When The Universe Talks.

I surfaced from an odd, bag of weary bones sleep this morning, my eyes fluttered open to darkness and silence. I lay there and wondered why I had woken so early, my wondering only broken by the occasional fitful turn. I think it was probably due to a pesky sinus-clogging cold which has left my teeth feeling loose and achy.
So I lay there for a time, one part of me adamantly wanting to go back to sleep, and the other part grumbling "not gonna happen", ache, groan, piss, moan. Then my mind became less webby and I started thinking about the day ahead.

Then some words appeared, drifting up from a dark dreamlike place. Strangely, this was the thing that got me up. Not the list of things I had to do before hustling the kids off to school, no those words which formed a rhythmic beat in my mind, the deepening pulse of a creative vein.

I wrote them down and saw that they were peculiar. They'd lost some of their rhythm once they solidified on the page. And I don't know exactly what they mean. Like a dream, the act of writing tends to boil things up from the subconscious. These words need to be worked over like some precious metal, the dross burned away and their meaning refined before they can be shared.

This little 5am epiphany got me to thinking about how much of my writing actually happens inside my head and interestingly how much of it still stays in there even after writing the first draft. It is a bit jumble up there in the old grey-matter. I have multiple worlds populated by multiple characters, many with very distinct voices, mannerisms, backstories. Isn't it any wonder that it takes so much time to sift through and refine the page-story to reflect the mind-story. Sometimes it feels like I'm chasing a ghost of a thing that doesn't really exist yet. And it sorta doesn't, but it does at the same time.  Does that make sense? I'm not sure that it does, but then again not everything about the creative process makes sense. *Mumbles* "it's all rather mysterious really."
Particularly those 5am wake-ups leading to the odd existential ramblings of a fictional but sentient universe.

So that was my morning.
How was yours?

Friday, 4 September 2015

Christchurch Earthquake, September 2010

It was 4:35am on the 4th of September 2010. A sudden bang woke us and then the shuddering started--its irregularity saturated with wrong, with violence. Our earth had reared up and begun to rage.
My husband yelled something-- I can't remember what--his words were torn away by the chaos. Everything was thrown up and down--there was so much sound. I ran down the hall, the shaking caused me to bounce from wall to wall, but desperation drove me on. I had to reach to my daughter's room. My thoughts were something along the lines of , She's alone! She can't be alone, not during this--not while our world is being torn apart.

Meanwhile my husband had picked up our 3 month old son from the crib in our room, moments before the television and tall boy crashed down beside the crib, right where he had been standing. Just moments... 

It was only a minute or so long but it seemed to go on forever. Time seemed to slow to a crawl as the whole house rocked, groaned, lurched and shuddered, like a ship tortured by a stormy sea. There was a cacophony of sounds, smashing, thumping and straining timber--and the roar, I'll never forget that roar.

It felt like our home was going to fall apart around us. It didn't.
I thought briefly that we were going to die, but we didn't.

The lights dimmed to black several times, plunging us into darkness. I remember screaming and praying as I clutched my still-slumbering daughter tight, huddled down beneath the strong kauri doorway in the hall. My back pressed hard against the framing, hugging it as it moved. Eventually the house started to sway more softly, a rolling motion like a calming sea and the shaking eased. It was a soothing lullaby after the world's screams. I was still trembling.

My husband passed my son to me and went to get dressed. There were more shakes, smaller, as if the earth was twitching in pain. Our power had come back on so we turned on the lounge television--it had miraculously survived the shaking. On it there was nothing but trite, regular programming. Nothing for us. We needed to know... we were looking for answers. Had this truly happened? How bad was it? What would it mean? So we tried the portable radio and found a local station. For the next hour we listened to talk-back radio. We heard the voices of other terrified people just like us, occasionally broken by emergency broadcasts and it all became real.It hadn't all been just a bad dream. Afterwards we experienced a strange, giddy and hysterical lightness as blessed relief surged over fear.

 Our world changed after that night. The aftershocks kept that first terrifying 7.1 quake fresh in our minds, but worse was to come. Our city/ region experienced something terrible and there were no quick fixes. It would/will take years. We had more quakes, people died, homes were lost...people left, things broke...people broke. What can you do when you can no longer trust the ground beneath your feet?
I prayed.

Yet amid the strange reverberating chaos of that first quake-ridden morning there was a special moment. My 2 1/2 year old daughter was watching the sun rise. The warm orange glow bathed her golden curls, lit her wide smile and those excited, sparkling eyes.  A fragile hope and confidence broke through the shock. I knew then that we were going to be all right.
Thank God we were all right.

Join my fellow Guild members as they share their thoughts and memories of that night, September 4th 2010.
Judy L. Mohr
Angela Oliver
J.L. O’Rourke

For more photos, see my post Transition, which was inspired by Christchurch's Festival of Transitional Architecture, FESTA.

Photos by Shireen Helps, and Jessica Colvin.

My Grandfather's home (Banks Peninsula)

The Christchurch Cathedral

Re:Start Mall -allowing people to shop in the central city once again.

Some other interesting Christchurch quake links:
Urban Explorers-
September 4th 2010, Associated Press raw footage-  
September GNS Scientists Fly over of fault trace
CCTV Footage of Feb 22nd quake-
Drone footage of the Christchurch suburb, Avonside

Saturday, 29 August 2015

Visions II: Moons of Saturn

I'm thrilled to announce the release of Visions II: Moons of Saturn. This is the second book of the Visions Series, this anthology features: Tom Tinney, W.A. Fix, Thaddeus Howze, Ami Hart, Bonnie Milani, Jeremy Lichtman, S.M. Kraftchak, Timothy Paul, Tom Olbert, Amos Parker, R. E. Jones, and Duane Brewster.

 NASA’s Cassini mission has captured stunning images of Saturn with its mesmerizing rings of ice and rock, its 53 officially named moons and in doing so captured the imaginations of science fiction writers around the world – ripe with the promises of colonization and mining opportunities the Saturn System presents endless visions for mankind’s future. These twelve authors have presented their visions, as rich and diverse as the reality of Saturn and its moons themselves.

My own offering to the anthology is a story called Refuge. Fira, one of the survivors of the Raq-Ni Melt spends his days exploring the ventilation system on the Titan Flotilla. He finds comfort and safety in those small spaces. One day he discovers something. This discovery puts in motion a series of events that could ultimately influence humanities destiny. 

 Refuge is mainly a character focused piece. I found myself enthralled as Fira's story unfolded beneath my fingertips. This story feels very true to myself and I simply adore my character Fira. I really hope you enjoy reading Refuge as much as I enjoyed writing it. 

Check it out here:
Link:Visions II: Moons of Saturn

Friday, 10 July 2015

The Future is Short, Volume 2

The future is Short and by that I mean SHORT STORIES! I love writing them. Squeezing a story into such a shortened form is a monumental challenge, but it's a challenge that is more than met by the authors of this latest collection.  
I'm happy to announce that the 2nd volume of The Future is Short: Science Fiction in a Flash is available! *Confetti blizzard*

 Here's the press release, prepared by our fantastic TFIS crew member/ editor/ writer Carol Shetler.

ISBN: 9 781514 151518 (trade paperback) Published June 3, 2015
E-book published June 11, 2015
Thirty-six authors took a leap of faith in January 2015 to contribute their stories to The Future Is Short: Science Fiction in a Flash, Volume 2. Twenty-two of them, published in the inaugural volume in June 2014, returned to present new ideas, tales and imaginative spins on specific topics in this latest edition; over a dozen of Volume 2’s contributors are new writers, many being published for the first time in this anthology. The Future Is Short: Science Fiction in a Flash, Volume 2 includes seventy-six glimpses at what the future might hold, arranged under 14 themes: among these are Apocalypse, It’s a Wonderful Life, Distance, First Contact, Unwanted Gift, Adolescence and Espionage.
The Distance theme, with ten terrific stories, examines distance in light-years or time: the authors also had to include a ship (of any kind), and a decision. Tom Tinney’s “Just Do It” lets us into the mind of a generation-ship traveler who has awakened months too soon; “Birthday” by D C Mills shows us the dilemma of the sole survivor on a far-flung outpost, when a spaceship full of other people comes calling; and Clement Chow’s “Mirrored Front-to-Back” tells of the new skill chosen by a cryogenic sleeper, awakening 150 years into his future.
For December 2014, the final section of The Future Is Short, Volume 2, the theme selected was Life Is Wonderful. Among the six stories here are J. F. Williams’ “Clarence 1.0″ which captures the theme’s essence while turning cyberbullying on its head. “Where Hides the Star of the Sea?” by Heather MacGillivray examines closer communication between humans and our animal co-habitants on this world; and Dean Hardage presents a profound solution to crime and poverty in “Buddha’s Legacy.”
Compiler and project manager Jot Russell is the author of SF thriller, Terra Forma. He also directed production of last year’s The Future Is Short: Science Fiction in a Flash, Volume 1. Editor Carol Shetler has worked on SF manuscripts for several writers, and is a lifelong SF reader and amateur astronomer. Cover artist Jessica Colvin also writes, under her pen name Ami Hart. All of them have stories in this anthology. The contributors come from all over the USA, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
Jason Klassi, author of The Everyday Space Traveler, wrote a compelling foreword that highlights the book’s key themes. “When you reach the final words of each journey, you suddenly find yourself in a new place… dramatically transported into an eye-opening future.” (From the Foreword, quoted on the back cover.)
The LinkedIn monthly SF Microstory contest is the root of The Future Is Short anthologies. Volume 1’s stories were submitted during 2013; Volume 2’s from the end of 2013 through 2014. All of the authors vote to choose their one favorite story each month, and the winner’s story heads up each theme section. The monthly contest winner presents the theme for the next month’s tales.
Featuring works by: J.J. Alleson, Philo Ant, Neill Burnham, Clement Chow, Scott Michael Decker, Kalifer Deil, Rejoice Denhere, Carrol Fix, W. A. Fix, Paula Friedman, Kelly Graseck, Andrew Gurcak, Gary Hanson, Dean Hardage, Ami Hart, Thaddeus Howze, Thomas Nevin Huber, R. E. Jones, S. M. Kraftchak, Helmuth Kump, Andy Lake, EJ Lamprey, Richard S. Levine, Jeremy Lichtman, Heather MacGillivray, Andy McKell, Jeremy McLain, D C Mills, JD Mitchell, Timothy Paul, Marianne G. Petrino, Jon Ricson, Jot Russell, Carol Shetler, Tom Tinney and J. F. Williams.
Print copies of The Future Is Short: Science Fiction in a Flash, Volume 2 are available through CreateSpace, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble at a list price of $12.99 US. Smashwords has the e-book version at $3.99 US.
Amazon Link (Paperback)
Smashwords Link (Ebook)
Barnes and Noble (Paperback)

Friday, 2 January 2015

The Tall Pines

Here's a free read for Friday! I hope you enjoy it. It's another offering from my packed to bursting, short story files. This is one of several stories which are set on my fantasy world Tjalis Major. It's world of rival gods, outlawed magic and a pending magical apocalypse. One of my Novels (WIP)The Rise of a Dead God, explores this topsy-turvy place in greater detail.

By Ami Hart

Photo: ©Ami Hart 2014, Banks Peninsula, NZ

The morning light cast stripes on the pine-needle strewn ground. Rumi jumped from one golden soaked patch of earth to the next, never lingering in the shadows too long. Her little game of light versus dark took on a life of its own. Shadows equaled death, light gave life. She jumped, always landing upon her sturdy right leg first as her left was still weak from injury. That jittery excitement— which can only come from doing forbidden things— drove her on and she dared to dance deeper in the pine forest, where the light was slowly overcome by gloom.

If he knew I was here, Papa would beat me.
There were worse things than beatings, but Rumi didn’t fear anything, lest of all a few stripes upon her backside.

She’d come to the forest because she’d dreamed of this place, over and over in recent weeks. Ever since she had lost Berick…and her carefree mobility. At first they had been nightmares, but now the dreams had softened. Then, this morning she’d awoken with a sense of purpose. The image of the tall pines fixed firmly in her mind. It was as if something within these depths had called to her from the deep world of her slumber.


Rumi had accidentally mentioned the mysterious forest to her father yesterday.
They had been walking home after the first harvest celebration. She'd felt itchy from sitting on the hay bales and absently scratched her arm as she peered out into the failing light. Her gaze was immediately drawn to the pines, which seemed to crawl from the valley and up a small hill. It was that time of evening when their furred tips were back-lit by the final glow of their largest sun, Halcyon. The effect made the trees look even blacker. She was entranced and stood still and silent beneath an oil lamp —one of the many that lined the village’s main road. The soft light cast from within the lamp's glass, licked the dirt road with a feeble flickering. Her attention, so seized by that indefinable place caused her tongue to become ensnared too. A strange thought came to her as she stood there and she unwisely voiced it. “Sometimes when I look at those pines it almost seems like they look back. Do those trees have eyes Papa?”
Rumi’s question had caused such an expression of shock on his face, that she'd been momentarily shamed to silence. She said sorry, but somehow that word had seemed inadequate and she wasn’t quite sure why?


If you were really sorry, you wouldn’t be here, her conscience prickled at her.

People didn’t speak of the forest, and no-one ever went here?
Except for those people who had moved along it's raggedy black edge two nights past. The ones dressed like shadows.
She wished she had brought her own cape. She could have made it a game, pretending to be one of those mysterious specters.
Yes, she’d peeked out the window— her curious eyes seeking out the source of the strange murmurings that had pulled her to wakefulness. The sound reminiscent of the sound of the sea, when it loses part of its voice to the winding depths of a seashell. The shadow people had walked through the field adjacent her window, their indistinct black forms soaking up the moonlight. Almost as if they were clothed in the rays of the great black sun —the Stygian One—which slid high and ominous in the Tjalis Major sky during harvest season.
The other villagers regarded the Stygian One with fear, just as they did, these pines.
Rumi thought it silly, but then again she was numb when it came to fear.
Black suns, trees and shadow people didn’t scare her.

Maybe the shadow people lived here, because it was the only place where the sun couldn’t get them.

She liked the dark too, people can’t ridicule what they can’t see. One day she caught a conversation between her father and another in town. “That Rumi, always getting in trouble an’ getting hurt. She doesn’t seem to have the good sense that Halcyon gives most people,” he had complained.
The replying whisper had chilled her. “You know what they say about those who are born under the apex of the Stygian One, it’s a bad star, the babes are forever ruled by chaos, or worse, the …Dead God.”
The light became mere slivers through the dense fur canopy. With the swelling darkness Rumi’s mind drifted back to that whispered name, which seemed to speak of things of equal darkness.

The Dead God? Rumi puzzled. Who was this god?
For some reason the name birthed an inexplicable excitement within her.

She heard the distant belch of a toad and paused, looking toward the sound. Rumi briefly wondered if the forest toads were as ugly as those that crept and slithered in the reeds around the village’s duck pond.
Curious, she followed the sound, stepping upon the remains of a fallen tree. The log's surface sagged underfoot. The surface mouldered beneath a carpet of invasive moss, eating at its woody flesh. Dead things bothered Rumi. Things ate other things, death and life were a cycle— yet that cycle seemed spiritually wasteful. Death not only put one’s life to an end but it also numbed all other life around it.
She hated it, probably even before Berick— the emotion born not from experience and observation, but from some indefinable instinct buried deep inside, which had lain mostly dormant until now. When Berick had been torn from her—slashed open by hungry Zebrat teeth, it had left her ripped apart too, not in physical sense, but in a way she didn’t fully understand.

She imagined magic might stop death, but people didn’t talk about such things here. The Empire of the 5 Suns frequently condemned people to death for the vile magic called necromancy. Rumi didn’t know much about it and had never witnessed it practiced. Only the specially trained Clerics in Empire City were given permission to use the arcane arts.

But she had a secret. Sometimes she felt a strange sensation and she imagined it might be magic. It coiled in through her toes from the earth and rushed to her fingertips, making them hot and uncomfortable. Eventually the feeling ebbed away, and she wondered if she had lost something vital. She looked at her hands as they flooded with that familiar warmth and the humming tension corded through her body.

The toad’s ugly, gurgling call ceased and Rumi found herself standing on the bank of a murky pond. Leathery fern fronds bowed down, touching the water. Upon the pond’s surface were scattered colonies of bright green slime, bubbling away, creating a creeping foam. This place smelt like…nature had skewed somewhere unfamiliar. Wrongness saturated the air. Rumi’s stomach tensed and she retreated until a tree pressed solidly against her back. Shadows dominated the ponds edge. Only a few small spots of light cut down through the tall bushy firs, they struck the water, unable to pierce the murky depths. Rumi breathed, a stillness had fallen, the silence was so complete that it seemed to foretell the death of everything. Strangely Rumi felt more alive than she had in weeks.

A sudden heat flooded through her burning away any residue of apprehension. She touched her breast-less chest, sucking in a deep breath as if the damp, cool air could put out the flames that smouldered inside.

"Welcome child."
A voice. Rumi looked around but there was no terrestrial source for it, unless she was to blame the countless shadows cast by breeze-caught boughs. The shadows closed in with soft seeking fingers.
“Heyo” She called, her voice sounded small and insignificant the face of such loud silence.
“Welcome,” it echoed again. “Rumi, what is it you seek?”
She frowned, unable to comprehend the answer, because she had never asked the question of herself.
“Rumi?” Out of the corner of her eye she saw something move. She turned toward it, her breath catching in her throat.
“We know, we know about Berick. We know about your loss, it is ours too,” they hissed. The voice did not belong to any one person, it came from everywhere, as if the trees themselves were speaking.
Rumi stood at the mention of her brother’s name. For the first time since it happened, she trembled, a cold feeling trampled up her back. It was fear, creeping, confining, and suffocating.
“I need to go.”
“Go?” they echoed back, “your soul was called here, Rumi. You belong here.”
She turned quickly and skirted around the tree, returning the way she had come with brisk steps. Suddenly a robed figure barred her way and a very human looking hand reached toward her. “You can feel it, you have always felt it. You were birthed into power, Rumi.”

Rumi looked down at the outstretched hand. The fingers were slender, like that of a woman, perhaps a mother. The bearer’s inky cape seemed to crawl around her wrist and the fabric moved as if had a mind of its own. “We can bring Berick back” The voice promised.

Her mind struggled against the claim. She clenched her hands into fists at her side, “I don’t believe you,” She screamed. The robed figure retreated and so did the silence. Birds squawked, creatures scuttled in the undergrowth and the wind moaned in the trees above. For all the power of her words, they were nothing, because as she uttered them she knew she didn’t believe them, not really.
Yes, magic could bring him back.

She ran and didn’t stop until she reached the light airy grain fields outside the village. There she stopped and stood for a moment, the grain swept gently across her twitching fingertips as if trying to soothe her. The kindness remained ignored, for her mind was now ensnared by the stranger's claim.


Father slopped the stew in the wooden bowl, bits of green vegetable speckled the gravy’s surface and momentarily Rumi was taken back to the pond.
“You’ve been quiet today,” Father gruffed.
“Just thinking,” Rumi replied softly.
He stirred his own bowl of stew then scooped up a lumpy spoonful of meat and vegetable. “About what?”
“If you could bring someone back, would you?”
The spoon stopped its ascent. Rumi saw her father’s beard move as his jaw clenched. Then he dumped his spoon back into the bowl. It landed with a splash and a clatter.
“No, let the dead remain dead”
“Even Berick…”
“Yea, let him dwell with Halcyon above, cos if he were brought back he would shine no more…Your mother might’ve said otherwise if she were here, but that sort of thinking gets you killed…” Her Father’s voice trailed off. He didn’t like talking about mother, or about how she died…Rumi didn’t remember her. She was only a baby when it happened. He always got a scared look in his eyes when he spoke of her. He had that look now.
She drew a deep breath, feeling strong and resolute. I will return to the forest tonight, then she finished her stew.


Rumi watched the dance of the suns from her open bedroom window with increasing impatience. Her face felt chilled by the approaching night. When Halcyon descended to its blessed rest, it left the small red sun in its wake; Little Cerise, the one who watched the close of day wearily from the horizon. The sky turned from orange/gold to blood red.
It was time.
She craned her neck and looked straight up and far above spun the Stygian one, black and vitriolic, left alone to dominate the evening sky.

She slung a cape about her shoulders, took a lantern then scrambled out the window and into the night. The pollen that still clung to her scratchy woolen cape from today’s harvest made Rumi’s nose tickle.
She ran and her feet slid in her unlaced boots— in her haste she’d neglected to tie them. She continued regardless, her loud clomping steps beating noise into the night.


Rumi paused at the threshold, the trees before her with the village at her back. Above her the first stars had begun to light the night. She looked up at them and imagined they were dozens of pair of eyes, waiting, watching, and judging. She butted her lip at them and looked back to the tall pines, lifting her lantern. For a moment her light seemed to chase the shadows away, but no, they were just hiding, waiting for her to make the first move.

She clambered over the decrepit wooden fence and took three solid steps until she passed the treeline.
“You’re back.” The voices whispered. “We can give you what you want.” Then  began a song of sorts, uttered in a language which was foreign to Rumi’s ears. The words weren’t definable and the sound was too strange to come from mere human’s lips. Rumi followed the chorus, until it sounded as if she were walking alongside those who sung it.

I am here, she thought, feeling energy charge the air as she passed the pond.
Just beyond the pond was a tree, it was blacker that the rest, as if it had been burnt. There were no leaves, just bare branches. Scattered about the tree upon the pine needle suffused soil sat piles of white dust. She approached then crouched and took a pinch of the substance, rubbing the dust between her fingers. It was coarse and left her hand feeling unnaturally cold. As if she had just touched death. She buried her hands back in her cloak, moving her fingers against the course material, partly to remove the strange substance, and also to warm her chilled fingertips. When she looked up from the ground she realized she was surrounded, their cloaked forms seemed to swallow the feeble light of her lamp.
“You are so like her.”
“Your mother, our sister.”
Shock swelled inside and Rumi took several steps back.
“Don’t fear Rumi, there is no need to fear death once you are one of us. When he comes, we will be taken beyond death’s reaches.”
“The Dead God. It will not be long now, he will walk this world again, and once he does, the empire of the 5 suns will fall and with it the oppression which has been upon our kind for 500 years.”
“Are you,” she gulped, “necromancers?”
The closest of the shadows reached up and the hood fell back, revealing a woman’s face, yet there was something inhuman about the light in her eyes.
“We are more than that, we are Lich. The true servants of the Dead God, not like those wayward fools that hide in mountains seeking to pervert the art with their mediocre magic and feeble understanding. You were born to be one of us. Your family line bears the blood of the Dead God himself. Your mother’s blood was shed by of the Empire, but you…were worth the sacrifice. You could be powerful, so powerful you’ll never have reason to be afraid again.”

Rumi straightened, the words seizing her, heart and soul, “And Berick?”
“We can bring him back, but not as he was. He will be undead.”
“But undead are terrible monsters, aren’t they?”
“When the Dead God rises, we will be transformed in the twinkling of an eye- it is written, we will all be undead, forever and ever. This land will be cleansed. Will we be monsters when all of us are the same, am I a monster? I am a Lich, yet here I am offering you help?”

Rumi’s mind swam. Her thoughts caught between the fear filled fables of her childhood and a burgeoning desire to smash them as fallacy and see Berick risen. The darkness around her pulsed with possibility. Then the woman raised a hand and upon it spiraled a ball of mist. Within it she saw a picture, it was of Halcyon blazing his glory. Yet the sun unwound, shedding its brilliant mantle, and it quickly took the shape of a snake. The newly-formed serpent’s eyes blazed and her mind was seized by the image, the snake’s gaze blinded her momentarily. “Do you see?” The Lich said.

The revelation made her blink, “We are blinded from the truth.” The words came out if they already pre-existed in her mind. “Halcyon is the home of the serpent, our enemy. He blinds everyone, with his seasons, life to death and His endless cycle of destruction. He makes man believe that they can’t live without his beauteous gaze, yet this is a lie. He holds us back, stops us from realizing the truth. The truth that we don’t need to be part of the cycle, instead we can move beyond it.”
Rumi felt full, for the first time in her life understanding flowed over the confusion and doubt. All she could do was nod.

Underneath the steady gaze of The Stygian One— The Dead God, the pond at the center of the cursed forest gave birth, returning what the vermin had taken. Rumi stood on the edge to welcome her brother. His cold, wet hand took her own cold grasp as he stepped from the mire, eyes dark and filled with something unknowable. They made her speak the words which bound him to her will, for until the Dead God returned, Berick needed a master to guide him. She took him to the edge of the tall pines just before night broke to day and showed him their former home, the village. Her rough, itchy harvest cape now replaced with the soft smooth mantle of her new coven, their new home.
“There was our home, Berick. But it can’t be anymore.”
He let out a deep groan, his words tangled to normal ears, but she heard him well enough in her mind. “I will miss them too, but we won’t have to wait long, The Dead God will come, then everyone will be changed, there will be no such thing as monsters anymore.”


© Copyright 2014 Ami L Hart