Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day

I was browing around on Facebook earlier today -- and how often do you find anything good on Facebook, right? One of my former teachers posted a cartoon. In the first frame, entitled "Question," was a family at a grill. A little boy was handing his dad some hot dogs while asking, "How much did all this cost?" The second frame, called "Answer," showed a row of tombstones with an American flag planted in front.

How true! We owe so much to the soldiers who gave up everything to defend the freedom of the greatest nation on earth. In closing is this very appropriate verse from "Chicken Fried" by the Zac Brown Band:
"I thank God for my life; for the Stars and Stripes
May Freedom forever fly; let it ring!
Salute the ones who died; the ones who gave their lives,
So we don't have to sacrifice all the things we love!"
Thank you, servicemen and women!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Pasadagavra Excerpt #4

Before I launch into this excerpt, know that I will take down the first excerpt on Sunday. Read up fast!

This next excerpt takes place in the tunnels that lead from Dombre to Pasadagavra, when they are about to climb the last stretch of the tunnels.

Pasadagavra Excerpt #4

Biddah lay, trembling, on the cold stone floor of the tunnel. She had not seen fire for what she guessed was nine days.
Yes, it must be nine days, she decided. They had reached the foot of a huge cliff, rough but fine for climbing. It went up until it was lost in darkness no eyes could penetrate. Syra had said that they would need nine days for climbing, which left nine days for traveling. There was more than enough food, but Biddah was still scared. The great cliff was dominating, and a horrible thought had entered her mind: where would they sleep?
Lady Raven hurried out of the darkness. She kept glancing nervously at the cliff, but she had mastered herself.
Biddah, Karrum, Marruh, Rainbow, Cinder, Maple, Raspberry, Shinar, Dejuday, Colobi,” she called out softly.
Biddah and Karrum stirred.
Yes, Lady Raven?” Karrum asked her.
Lady Raven shuddered, a rare sight. “We may as well hurry and get up that cliff part of the way. Syra says that there’s a large cleft where we could rest for a while, and that’s a ways up. Let’s hurry, and rest then. Queen Demeda should follow later.
Biddah nodded. Karrum wrapped her blanket about her, and then wrapped his blanket around her, too.
You go first,” he whispered to her. “I’ll go behind you to keep you from falling.”
Biddah took a deep, uneven breath. She vaguely heard Lady Raven giving quiet orders.
Rainbow, go find Plum, Hosta, and Dogwood. Maple, find Birch, Aspen, Rowan, and Mayberry. Ouch! Oh, shoot that rock. Raspberry, find Cedar, Apple, Snowgoose, and Foam. Bring them all here, we’re going. Marruh, are you ready? Right, don’t worry. Cherry! Since you’re awake, you may as well come with us. Everyone ready? Shinar, see if there are any others ready to come. Wait here. I’m going to check in with Queen Demeda. Wait for me before you climb.”
Lady Raven hurried off into the dark without a backward glance. By the time she had returned, the last of the summoned Rangers had hurried up, their gear buckled on, and Shinar had hastened out of the gloom with Crispisin, Orgorad, and Sibyna in tow.
Sibyna gaped at the tough of the cliff. Orgorad put a paw about her shoulders as Lady Raven came sprinting up out of the gloom.
Considering the speed she had, Lady Raven stopped surprisingly abruptly. “Well,” she commented, “this cliff isn’t going to get any shorter. Let’s go.”
Aspen, one of the Rangers, exchanged a nervous glance with Rainbow, his friend. The two Rangers walked over to the wall and gingerly felt it. Lady Raven was just above them, having walked straight to the wall from informing Queen Demeda of their departure. Cinder had found paw holds not too far away, and Snowgoose, one of Lady Raven’s captains, was just above him; Orgorad and Sibyna were having little difficulty as they climbed side by side.
Karrum and Biddah glanced at each other. Then, trembling, Biddah walked to the wall and Karrum followed. Tentatively, Biddah hoisted herself onto the cliff, and Karrum followed.
The climbing of the great cliff had begun.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A Great Weekend

I just had the first party weekend of my life. It was the Senior Class Trip, and we went to Seabrook, Washington, which is just a few miles north of Ocean Shores. My favorite part was when everybody was in the rented house for the girls and we watched a bunch of comedy shows. We also went swimming in a local pool, hung out at Ocean Shores for an afternoon, and built a bonfire on a beach. I will miss my Senior buddies so much, but I trust that God will keep us all safe as we embark on the next part of our life.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Pasadagavra Excerpt #3

This takes place in a tavern full of pirates.

Pasadagavra Excerpt 3

At her name, all activity in the room ceased. Even the musician stopped mid-note and turned her eyes to Zuryzel, curiosity brimming in them.
May I ask what brings you down here?” queried the old fox, with no real surprise that it was Zuryzel who should bear the message.
Tell them,” hissed Ailur. “The whole story.”
But—a fox? Tell him our situation?” Zuryzel asked quietly. The old fox snorted, looking a little offended, and Ailur nodded vigorously. Zuryzel decided to start from the beginning and raised her voice to address the tavern. “Have you heard that Oracle Scythe of the Darkwoods foxes has died?” All the creatures nodded. “Almost immediately after Scythe died, the Darkwoods foxes set out to conquer the world. They’ve already overrun the squirrel Bow Tribe camp and have captured the Wraith Mice fortresses of Mirquis and Dombre.” This last was obviously news to some of the creatures, as Zuryzel heard several gasps. The old fox looked grim. “The squirrel tribes and the Wraith Mice have already lost many soldiers to battle, but the majority of our creatures are making their way to Pasadagavra.”
She paused and looked around. “You all know of Pasadagavra, the inland fortress of the squirrel Stone Tribe?” When heads nodded all around, she continued. “It will be attacked next because it blocks the passage through the mountains. The Darkwoods foxes intend to conquer the world, every thing and every place. I come to seek help to stop them before they can control the mountain passage—before they defeat Pasadagavra.”
But the foxes won’t be able to defeat Pasadagavra—it’s too powerful!”
Zuryzel couldn’t see who made the comment, but it came from her right. “Until recently, this was just a conquest by the foxes of Darkwoods. And if that is all it was, I think you are right—the Ranger Mice have been helping us, too, and I think Pasadagavra could withstand the foxes alone. But about a month ago, many crews of corsairs arrived to aid the foxes, led by Demmons.”
Cries erupted from the corsairs, some of comprehension, some of anger and indignation. Zuryzel held up her paw, hoping that it would silence them. Surprisingly enough, it did.
King Hokadra has sent me with a message to all I could find: We need help defeating the foxes and corsairs. We will offer, to every captain and crew who helps us, a reasonable”—she cast a look at Ailur—“amount of loot from either the Wraith Mice fortresses, the Darkwoods fortress, or from Pasadagavra. And of course there would be whatever Demmons and his allies have.”
There was silence for a long moment at the end of her speech. Then a ferret spoke up—apparently, he was a captain.
Ye say that there be other crews aside from Demmons. Which other crews?”
I do not know all of them,” began Zuryzel. “I only know that Epoi, Riorat, Snillouf, and Redseg are there.”
Probably Uddio too,” mused the captain. “We ain’t seen ’im in cycles.”
Horeb also,” piped up the musician. “We ain’t seen ’im in ages!”
A ferret leaped up from where he had been sitting. “On me soul, Princess, I’m comin’ wid yeh after Horeb! Aye, wid my crew, too!” he declared.
Same goes fer me ’n’ my crew!” added another voice.
As every single captain and crewmember in the tavern yelled his or her agreement, Zuryzel distinctly heard Grayik mutter, “Ach, shovin’ back off, an’ I only got ’ere yesterday!” But Zuryzel sensed he was smiling.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Pasadagavra Excerpt 2

As you may recall, Princess Zuryzel's mission to the coast was to enlist the help of mercenary/pirate Ailur, an old friend of her mother's.

Pasadagavra Excerpt #2

The pine marten shook her head impatiently. She had absolutely black eyes, without so much as a twinkle in them. “No one’s in here except my crew, your crew, and the other crews who’re in on this. Spill it, Ailur!”
Ailur sighed. “The foxes have finally burst out of Darkwoods in the east. They’ve pushed the armies there back all the way t’ Pasadagavra.”
The pine marten nodded. “Good. Almost time, then?”
Almost,” Ailur replied forebodingly. “I’ve got one o’ my crew waiting halfway twixt ’ere an’ Pasadagavra. Hopefully, he’ll run into the messenger from Queen Demeda. Yer turn. What’s happenin’ at Arashna?”
The pine marten spread her paws. “More o’ the same stuff that’s been happenin’ fer ages. The foxes keep tryin’ t’ throw themselves against it, hopin’ t’ break in, and the defenders keep makin’ fish food o’ them.”
Ailur nodded. “I ’ad ’oped t’ have more t’ say t’ Queen Demeda.”
Her scheme is working, ain’t it?” the pine marten asked. “’Cause if it ain’t, count me out.”
Ailur snorted.
The pine marten rose very slowly. “You really don’t think that I’ll take my crew out of this if the battle’s lost?”
No, I don’t,” Ailur replied. “Y’er braver than that, Shartalla.”
Now Shartalla snorted. “Y’er an idealist, Ailur. No wonder y’ gets on so well with Queen Demeda an’ Lady Raven.”
Ailur inclined her head. “Bein’ an idealist don’t make me wrong. When I ’ear more from Queen Demeda, I’ll let y’ know.”
Thank you,” Shartalla replied. Then she nodded to Ailur and swept off into the crowd of half-drunk pirates.
Actually, watching the crowd, Ailur could tell Shartalla’s crew from the others. Shartalla allowed for drink but forbade drunkenness. She and her crew had far too many enemies to afford carelessness.
I ’ope I did the right thing in trustin’ her,” Ailur murmured.

There's a lot more about Shartalla and why her crew has so many enemies in Pasadagavra!