Friday, October 12, 2012

Episode 11

As Ember and Perhluna walked the odd “forgotten/limbo” place became an empty void. The area was dark and devoid of light and yet they could see or Ember felt like she could. She could sense when things were close by or moved around her even when she couldn't see anything. At first it had been disconcerting but she quickly became accustomed to it. In a way it was almost soothing, peaceful. There was no sound yet the air seemed to vibrate with an unknown life. Seeing nothing made her more aware of her other senses. She could feel Perhluna's pulse on her shoulder. She could hear a slight whistling sound as he breathed; it was almost musical. She became more aware of her own body and how it felt, the sounds it made.

She was getting lost deep in these thoughts when she began to register strong sweet scent and suddenly Perh began sneezing uncontrollably. “What is it, Perh?”

In between sneezes, he replied, “ I ...I...I'm a.....ller.....gic to the plants here.” Sneezing more, “must go. Find.....Tris.... k...r....,” and with a final sneeze, he disappeared.

“Perh!! I can't believe you are leaving me, again.” Ember turns around in the space hoping he will pop back in, but knowing he won't. She decides to continue forward toward the sweet smell and she begins to see tiny spores floating around her. As she walks, she begins to hear a slight flapping sound and before she knows it she is being surrounded by and swept up by millions of butterflies. She gasps as she becomes part of a giant kaleidescope of colors floating through the air and then like a wild roller coaster they all drop suddenly onto a giant plant. Ember blinks as the butterflies flutter around and bright sunlight streams down through their masses. She discovers she is sitting atop a light green sphere with ridges like a peeled orange, covered in what with long flexible spikes of the same color. It is some of these spikes that she leaves back on as she is mesmerized by the butterflies activity. A bee the size of a minivan buzzes by, knocking her off balance and she rolls off the orb, frantically grabbing for the spikes around her. She lands on a slender leaf and slides down it as if it were a stalk before falling to another and sliding and falling and sliding until finally she lands on the ground.

She stands, dusting the dirt and pollen from her pants and surveys the surroundings. All around her, she sees strange looking flowering bushes. Several have sphere like blooms that look like big green furry pillows, others look like silver golf balls, a few look like strange pods from another planet..... She is absentmindedly walking when she seems in the distance a plant she recognizes. It's dark beauty seems to be calling out to her, pulling at her to come closer and take a look inside.....

“You must feel a bit like Alice in Wonderland right now, “ a melodic voice says behind her. She turns to see a large beetle inches from her. She jumps back and then squints at the beetle, thinking it was the one who spoke. A warm laugh follows urging her to look up at the sound in time to see a lovely lady, with long flowing red hair much like her own, slide from the back of the beetle and encircle her in a warm embrace. “Welcome to my enchanted garden, Ember.”

“You know my name?”

“I know many things about you and your family. I am Triskele, this is my garden and you are here to learn a few things before you continue on your journey. Come. Sit with me,” Triskele says as she takes Ember's hand and leads her over to a cluster of mushrooms growing by a small stream.

“Triskele, you must be the one Perh was referring to,” Ember says to herself. “Wait, you know about me? And My Family? How do you know about us? What do you know? Can you help me contact them? Can you explain why I'm here? And where is here, I mean I know it's your garden, but where is...”

As Ember continued rambling out her questions, Triskele gave a light laugh and stopped her, “My, you do have an inquisitive mind.” When Ember blushed, she added, “that is never a bad thing, sweet Ember. One of the reasons you were chosen for this journey is the hunger for knowledge that drives you. Your parents named you well, for it is not your flaming hair that you were given the name Ember, it is for the element that burns so brightly within you.”

At the mention of her parents, Ember gasped, “my parents. I barely remember them. Did you know them?”

“I didn't know them well but I have communicated with them on occasion. They are closer than you think. There are many things you do not yet know about your heritage. Your lineage is very strong and you and your siblings are destined for great things. Your parent knew this, as does Elspeth. Your mother and father were needed in other realms. It is sad that you lost them at such a young age but know that they are never far from any one you. You carry their warmth in your heart, just as each of your siblings carries an element of them within themselves. You are the fire, the family protector and you are the one that will keep the passion burning.”

“But, I'm the quiet one. The one nobody ever notices. Wyndel is the social butterfly and Fossy is the one we all go to for guidance. No one pays attention to me. They all think I'm just a hermit.” Ember protests.

Triskele chuckles, “Yes, you have always been the quiet one, but the time is coming for the spark that's inside of you to ignite. That is why you are on this journey. You must find your inner strength and learn how to harness the power that has been lying dormant. Fossy will still be there to ground you, just as Wyndel will fan your flames and carry forth what must be known and Misty will be there to ease the emotions that may get singed along the way. It is time for you to stop smoldering and learn how to direct your energies. You are already starting to become more outspoken in the short time you have been on this path. Each stage of this journey you will learn new things. Things that may not seem important at the time but that will come back to you when it is time for them to play out. Being the quiet one all these years you learned to watch, absorb the things around you. You will discover that is one of your greatest gifts for you often see what other overlook.”

“I don't understand what makes my family so important. Why us? Why me?” Ember says, shaking her head, trying to absorb Triskele's words.

“All in good time, sweet Ember. You must be patient. The answers will come to you when you are truly reading for that particular knowledge. The Universe has a way of knowing when the time is right. Don't let the thirst for knowledge, all the questions bubbling up in your head frustrate you. You still have quite a journey ahead of you with many wonderful new things to discover. Enjoy it. Do not rush it along, or you may miss the messages that are most important.” Triskele pauses, “I feel your worry over your family and being gone. Worry not, for they are doing well. Elspeth, understands the path you are on. She has many gifts and although you can not communicate with her while you are on this journey, she has guides that keep her posted on how you are. She is quite crafty and will keep the others from worrying. You must focus on you while you are here. Are you ready for your next step?” As if Ember had answered, “yes,” Triskele stands and extends her hand to Ember.

Ember takes her hand and they begin walking through the garden. A small pouch appears in Triskele's free hand and she hands this to Ember, who takes it with a quiet, “Thank you.” Dying to know what's inside she anxiously looks from the pouch to Triskele.

Triskele laughs lightly, “It is empty, but we are going to fill it with some magickal flowers you may find useful on your journey.” She floats up to the brilliant yellow cluster of blooms, “ This is Yarrow, use this for protection in these realms.”

Ember gathered the flowers in the pouch she had been given and followed from the ground as Triskele went to the next plant, “ This is Nigella, use this if you find yourself in a desperate situation and you need to leave a place.”

Plucking an elongated pod, she said, “this will give you the gift of speech, to communicate with those who speak an unfamiliar language. It is an Agapanthus Pod.”

She continued to pluck blooms from the many plants and instruct Ember on their names and uses. “Must not forget the Dianthus Barbatus. This will give you invisibility when you need it.”

Ember stared at the green puff ball with skepticism. “I don't know how I am going to remember the names of all of these and do I eat them, throw them, how will I know.”

“Excellent question, which brings us to the final one. This is the Silver Brunia. It is known as the record keeper. As a fossil flower it remembers all. Eat a bite of it now and you will remember all that I have taught you as well as how to use these flowers. Save the rest, for should you need to come back here for any reason, eating the other half will bring you back. It will only allow one regression, so use it wisely.”

Ember nibbles on bulbous bloom until she has consumed, “mmmmm, it taste like a warm wine.”

“That is the knowledge flowing through your system. Well, sweet Ember, our time is up and you must continue on your journey. Any message for Elspeth?” Triskele asks, as they stop at the mouth of a Black Calla Lilly laying on it's side. “You must walk into this bloom as it is the doorway to you next stop...”

“You can get a message to her? Um, just tell her, I love her and miss everyone,” Ember pauses looking into the dark leathery abyss of the flower's flute, “ It is awfully dark....”

Triskele takes Embers hand and turns her palm toward the sky, “ In this realm, things are never as they seem. In the darkest of places you will still be able to see as long as you venture forth with your eyes wide open. But since you are a child of fire, I will show you one of your powers.” holding Ember's hand in one hand and placing her other just below Ember's heart, she tells her, “concentrate on your core. Feel the warmth, the fire that inside you. Let it build....then visualize it traveling up to your shoulder and down through your arm into the palm of your hand...” both women jump as a huge flame leaps from Ember's palm and singes the edge of a nearby bloom. “Sorry!”
“Quite alright, these things take time to master and time is not something I have left to share with you. Try again, this time concentrate on controlling the flow... as it moves down your arm... slow it down.... only release a little of it...” Ember's palm turned bright red with a tiny black dot in the center. “Let a little more out.. but keep control.” Slowly the black spot turned into a tiny dancing flame. As Ember laughed with excitement the flame began to grow much larger. “Control, Ember. You must concentrate on your control. Your emotions can feed the flames, so you must keep them in check when you use your gifts. Eventually this little trick will be second nature to you and you will not have to concentrate so hard. But always remember, magick and it's power must be respected at all times. It can be used for both good and bad, so always remember the rule of three, which is whatever you send out returns to you three-fold. You will learn more of this later.”

“Yes, ma'am. I will use it respectfully, I promise. Thank you so much for all you have told and given me. I feel as though I should give you something in return.”

Triskele gathers Ember in a warm embrace and whispers in her ear, “fulfill your destiny and you will give us all a greater gift than you can imagine.” then holding her at arms length she adds, “now off with you. You have many more adventures to find.”

Ember hugs her again and then turns to the neck of the fluted Lilly and with her palm facing up in front of her, she makes a small flame and enters the bloom, looking back with a sheepish grin only once......

(This episode Ember found herself on Triskele Rose's Blog, Flower Magick. Be sure to stop by and learn about the many magickal plants, their tale and their uses. A special thanks to Triskele for inspiring such a wonderful landscape for this episode. Come back next week to see where she ends up next.....)

Friday, September 28, 2012

Episode 10


Ember restlessly snuggles deeper in the warm softness she was sleeping in....... Purrrrrrrrrrrr..........

Slowly, as she wakes, she realizes that she is cocooned in soft warm buzzing....FUR?!?! She keeps her eyes tightly shut as she feels around herself. "Hmmmmmm..." thinking to herself, "This is definitely sort of animal, but what? It must be huge! And what is this noise? It sorta sounds... like.... a ... really.....large.... CAT!!" She opens up one eye to peak at her surroundings and a few inches from her face is the enormous head of a tiger with huge sword long teeth jutting out from each side of its mouth. She gasps and jumps back but not before a long wet tongue licks her. "Oowwww!" she exclaims, as the sand-paper texture slides over her forehead. It starts to lick her again and she shouts, "NO,"  throwing up her arms to protect her face. The large cat simply blinks, nudges her with the bridge of its nose before focusing on a paw and beginning its bath, all the while purring softly. Ember sits up and runs her hands over the thick fur of the stomach she had nestled on and the purring grows louder. She lets out a sigh and laughs before saying, "well, you are just a big kitty cat, aren't you." The cat rolls onto his back and Ember slides down to find herself in a huge pile of socks.

"Socks?" She looks around and notices they are everywhere. Some are even continuing to fall from the blackness above her head. As she stands up to get her bearings, she notices all sorts of random items piled about and strange looking anim....PLUNK. Her thoughts are interrupted by a ring of keys hitting her shoulder. "What the..?"

"Where in the world have I ended up this time?"

"Technically, it's not really a world, per say....."

"Perhluna!!" She exclaims as she grabs her furry friend out of the air and squeezes him tightly.

"Hey! Hey! Hey! Not so tight!!"

"Sorry, I guess I'm just glad to see your bratty hide," she says with a grin. Perhluna poofs out of her arms and onto her shoulder. He puffs, "and my kind is considered strange, harrumph!"

"Perh, where are we? What is this place and what are those tree trunk looking things over there... coming straight at us?"

"What?" as Perh looks up to see huge legs supporting what appears to be a leathery boulder, passing over them. "Oh that. I think in your world they were called dinosaurs."

"A dinosaur? Be serious." She frowns at hims, but as the object continues on, she realizes they are all connected and in fact a dinosaur. "Oh my. Where are we?"

"Where are we? Where are we? Must you always ask that?"

"Why yes. I must. So?"

"Well..... this is.... hmmm...... how to explain...........this place........ well....... it's not..... really a place at's more of a.....'s...."


"Always with the impatience. Hrmph! This is where things from your world go. " he states finally.

"What do you mean, " she asks, frowning.

"When they are not there anymore, they are here."

"UGH! Can't you ever give a normal simple answer and not some sort of riddle?"

"You are always wanting answers, labels, definers. Sometimes it is not always easy to define. Here things exist/ They are here because they no longer belong where they were."

"Oh, like extinct animals, species. But what's up with the socks, keys, toys, etc?" She inhales sharply as something dawns on her, "Wait, does this mean I'm extinct? Am I dead?!?"

"Hmmmm, which should I answer first, " Perh muses.

"This is no time to mess with my head, Perh. Am I dead? I mean, in the real world?"

"Real World? Everything is real and yet as perceived, nothing is. That is what you do not understand. This place is as real as any other. Just because you label things doesn't make them absolutes. Are you dead. No, not in the sense that you are imagining. At the moment, you are just experiencing a different existence than you are normally used to. It is the same with these." Perh gestures towards the sleeping saber-tooth, a mammoth, odd looking insects and foliage. "They no longer belong in the world you come from. This is like a transition place, if you will. Eventually, they will move on to something else. Another place, another form."

"Oh my god, I am dead! Do they know? Do they think I just disappeared? Are they looking for me? Do they...., " Ember rambles.

"Stop that, you silly girl. You are not dead! To the people in your world, well, you are not there at the moment, but time as you label it, is relative. What is time? Ahhhhh, one more of your definitions, labels. There is no time here, there is no need. In your world, things function better with this 'time' thing defined."

"So how long have I been gone. I mean in... my... world? I would hate to know they are worrying about me," adding under her breath, "not that I'm not."

Perh pauses to contemplate the question, then disappears from her shoulder and reappears instantly floating in front of her. "I can not say what the time is in 'your world', but here you have been sleeping, just there," pointing to the tiger, "for about... what would seem... to you anyways... to be three years. But really..."

"Three years!! I've been sleeping for three years!!! How long have I been gone?"

"Tsk Tsk, no need to yell. As I said time is relative. I can not say how long you have been gone. One does not know in your world. For your body, in terms you might understand, physiologically speaking, three years has aged."

"Grrr, " Ember puffs, then pauses and sighs, "so really to them, I could have been missing years or not at all?"

"Exactly! time is relative!!" Perh smiles and claps his paws joyfully.

Ember paces a bit, kicking at the piles of socks. ", never mind." A few seconds later, she pauses, "but....," then continues to pace. "I...." she starts and then closes her mouth and begins shaking her head.

Quietly to himself, Perhluna says, "and they say I am the strange creature." Ember shoots him a disapproving look, obviously overhearing him.

"I should just stop asking questions, shouldn't I?" she asks, finally.

"Ember, questions are always good. Remember you have a mission, that is why you are here. Never stop asking for then you stop learning........ but maybe not ask so many all at once, " he adds with a lopsided grin.

"But it's so frustrating. And your answers can be annoying. Like they are not answers at all! Or there is some deeper meaning I'm supposed to get. But I don't and then I get agitated trying and..."

"Do not get annoyed with me. This is just how I am and part of the process I am here to guide you on, one we all must undertake in some way. And as your kind would say, 'it's part of my charm'. With this last statement, he squeals with laughter and spins until he falls down into the socks, then reappears on her shoulder with a grin. Ember can't help to laugh in spite of her frustration.  "Ok, so tell me, " thumping him on the nose lightly, "what is up with these socks?"

"They are lost things, just like those, " he shrugs, pointing to some toys, "and those," pointing to what appears to be paragraphs of letters or emails scrolling in the air, "and you. Come let's look around and see what we'll find."

Ember takes a moment to look around, then shakes her head and heads down what appears to be a path in between some sock draped foliage........

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Episode 9

In her sleep, Ember absently swatted at the bushy tale that swished back and forth across her nose. Groggily, she moaned, “Perhluna, stop that.”

“When did you rename --- or should I ask what’s this Perhluna you’re dreaming about sleepy head?” a deep voice behind her chuckled.

Ember’s eyes flew open and she almost toppled from her chair, sending Nym, Nuet and her keyboard flying. “Wyndel!” she exclaimed launching herself into his surprised arms.

“Is it really you? I thought I’d never see you again! Especially after the Water Tart had you…and then there was the cheese and the dragon and the”

“Whoa there, little sis. Slow down. Wow, that must have been some dream.”

“Are you going to sleep all day?” Misty calls from the hall. Ember lets go of Wyndel long enough to grab Misty and pull her into the hug. “Alrighty then, nice to see you, too, sis.”

“Well, what am I chopped liver? Where’s my hug?” Fossylia teases as she enters the room. 

“I’m back! You’re all here! Oh, where’s Elspeth? You’re never going to believe where I’ve been. I thought I’d be stuck… and gosh, I missed you all, but it was exciting, sorta scary at times, but…wait what day is it? How long…”

“Em, breathe. You were just dreaming. Aunt Ellie said you’ve been up here on the computer since dinner yesterday. You must have fallen asleep. You really need to stop these all night computer sessions and get outside more. You’re lucky to have a job that lets you work from here, but there is a whole world out there you are missing. We worry about you always being cooped up in here with your computer.” Fossylia admonishes.

“Yeah, you need to hit the town with us tonight. My firm is in charge of the opening of a new gallery in Epirotes Falls and I want to show off my beautiful sisters. Well, we’ll have to comb that hair of yours and see if Aunt Elspeth can do some real magic and make Fossy presentable, but….owww!” All three women playfully punch, Wyndel before he can continue. “I’m just saying. But first, I think I smell some of Ellie’s fine cooking downstairs. Race you…” The four take off for the staircase, playfully dodging and pushing each other; looking more like children than the adults they are. 

“You sound like a pack of wild animals, “ Elspeth chides, shaking her head and chuckling. She removes a pie from the oven and sets it on the counter to cool, only to be grabbed from behind by Ember.

“Oh, Aunt Ellie, how I’ve missed you!” Ember gushes, as she presses herself against the woman who raised her. “And I didn’t realize how hungry I was until I smelled your roasted chicken… squash casserole and… is that your soda bread?”

“Well everybody sit down and let’s eat while it’s still hot, “ Elspeth says as she extracts herself from Ember’s embrace. “Ember, why don’t you tell us all about that adventure story you’ve been working on, “ she adds with a wink.

Ember’s jaw drops, but Elspeth just pushes her chin up to close her mouth, then pats her shoulder and gives her a knowing look.

“Is that what you were babbling about upstairs?” “Story? What story?” Fossy and Wyndel say at the same time.

Clearing her throat first, Ember begins to tell them of the adventure her “character” is experiencing. They all begin passing dishes, filling their plates and eating as they listen to her story, occasionally interrupting with comments and questions. As the meal wore on, Ember took a moment to really see her family, while they enjoyed a new animated side of their shy sister, Ember was about to tell them about the Druid Derrick, when suddenly she was jolted awake by Perhluna’s chattering.

“NO!!” she cried, “No, no, no! I can’t have been dreaming!”

Perhluna disappears from his perch on the windowsill and reappears in Ember’s lap. “Dream? Is that what you human’s call that motor sound you were making when you sleep?”

“I do not snore! And no… dreaming is…. Oh, Perhluna, I was home. I was with my family. We were eating dinner and I was telling them about you and this place. It was so real! I can still smell the peach pie…. No, no, no! It’s not fair…”

“Well, this world must not be through with you yet.” Perhluna said with a shrug as he popped back to the window, then added, “Derrick is up to something strange in those woods.There are strange sounds and lights coming from them when he goes in… look he’s about to enter them again. Come see!”

Perhluna continued chattering as Ember crossed to the window, just in time to see Derrick turn and look behind himself before he disappeared in the trees.

“We should follow him…” Perhluna encouraged.

“I don’t know. You saw how upset he got when I was wondering around before.”

“Hmm. What do you call it…hmm… oh yes… CHICKEN!”

“What!?! Fine, but if he gets mad, I’m telling him it was yooouuuuur iiiidddeeeaaa!” As Ember opens the bedroom door everything goes black and she has the sensation of falling….

Back in Tennessee, just outside Epirotes Falls city limits, Ember’s family is gathering around the breakfast table. 

Yawning, Misty says, “man, I had the strangest dream about Ember…”

“ I had a dream about Ember. We were all eating dinner…” Fossy adds before Wyndel finishes her thought, “and she was telling us a story about a woman who gets drawn into the internet world.”

Fossy and Misty simultaneously exclaim, “Yes!”

Aunt Elspeth chuckles, “Well it seems we all had the same dream. Maybe Ember is trying to speak to us from where ever she has gone….”

 (Originally posted 7/22/10 on

Episode 8

Illustratia brought them to a windy landing in a small clearing just in time to see this classic, tall-dark-and-handsome kinda guy doing something that looked like kung fu.  Best of all he wasn’t wearing a shirt and his nut-brown skin was shiny with sweat.  The thick black cord of a braid caressed his spine to well below his belt, barely moving as he worked his way meticulously through each movement.  Ember firmly wished he wasn’t Jerome; he had become increasingly disturbing with each incarnation, or whatever it was, he went through.
Their landing didn’t go unnoticed though - it really couldn’t after all.  Illustratia was really quite large.  The man watched them land and as soon as Illustratia had come to rest, he bowed his head.  “I am honored, Eldest.  What can I do for you?”
Illustratia melted down into a human female, causing Ember to step to the side in surprise, but Illustratia paid the move no mind.  Standing over six feet, Illustratia’s features were very angular, very exotic, and her hair was, of all things, blue.  It was cut straight around just short of her shoulders, and her bangs were cut straight across her forehead at her eyebrows.  She smiled.  “Oh Derrick; you are always so formal.”  She wrapped an arm around Ember.  “I brought you a friend.  Everyone knows you’ve been very lonely lately.”
Ember stepped forward, extending her hand.  “Hello, I’m Ember.  I take it you’re Derrick.”
He accepted her hand.  His gaze was very intense, as if she occupied all of his attention at that moment, though there was no change in his expression.  It was impossible to tell if he was happy to see her or if he hated her.
I am.”  He glanced at the grinning Illustratia.  “How is it you met up with one of the . . . with a dragon?”
Oh good, you’re getting to know each other,” said Illustratia.  “I knew you would like her, Derrick.”
Derrick looked at her in confusion.
So you didn’t send for me?” said Ember.  Now she too was looking at the blue-haired ex-dragon.
How could I send for you?  I don’t know you.”
Illustratia just grinned, and with a very dragon-like chuckle, she turned back in to a dragon and flew off, buffeting them both with the wind from her wings.
Now what do I do?” said Ember, feeling quite stranded.
I have no idea,” said Derrick, then he smiled.  He had a very nice smile.  It softened his brown eyes.  “You could come into my house, if you like.  You can tell me how you met up with a dragon.  They keep themselves in hiding most of the time.”
With a gentle hand in the center of her back, Derrick started them toward the house.  It was a log house, and part of it was two stories.  He snagged up a flannel shirt from a small table in passing.
Ember paused at the little table.  “This is beautiful.  Do you make furniture?”  She caressed the smooth surface; every inch of it was sanded to a fine finish, leaving no edge or corner untouched - none she could see anyway.
Uhm . . . I do, sometimes.  Would you like to sit here?  I could bring out a little something to snack on, or perhaps something to drink.”
Forgetting all about any manners, Ember said, “Food?  I’m starved.  I can’t remember the last time I’ve had a decent meal.”  When as she heard her own words, she cringed.  What would Aunt Elspeth say?  “Oh - well, if it’s not an imposition.”
With a warm chuckle, he said, “No imposition at all.”  He then disappeared into the house.
While she waited for him to return, Ember looked around the clearing.  It looked very wild and yet cared for.  No dead trees were visible and several flowers could be seen, having grown in wild abandon along with everything else in sight.  The wild grass wasn’t mowed, but it did look grazed somewhat.
She saw something move in the trees and decided to investigate.  If it was a deer, she would have stayed put, but it looked like a person or perhaps a child.  Did he have kids?  Would he produce a wife when he came out of the house?
Hello?  Honey?” she called out quietly so as not to frighten the kid.  “It’s alright.  I just want to talk.”
A few minutes later, she found a tiny clearing with a picturesque pond in the middle.  Just a bit to the right was a large block of stone.  It was partially buried in the soil, but it still looked like it might have been shaped, though why someone would go to the trouble of shaping a rock into a square, she couldn’t fathom.
She went on to the pond.  It was a tiny thing.  A trickle of fresh water fed it from one side and another trickle led off down hill.  Not quite half way between the two and only a step from the edge was a small flat stone, perfect for sitting if it wasn’t surrounded by water.
This place is so peaceful,’ thought Ember with a sigh.  She was just turning, intending to go back to that big block of stone and sit for a little while, when she saw Derrick.  If his expression was stone when he first saw him, it was thunder now.
What are you doing here?”  Without waiting for her to answer, he grabbed her arm and propelled her from the clearing.  Though his grip didn’t hurt, and though the pace he insisted on wasn’t enough to make her stumble, there was no resisting and no escaping his hold.
At the table again, he spun her around and plopped her into her chair.  “You are a guest here so long as you . . . .”  He clamped his jaws closed on whatever he was going to say.  Pointing back to where they had just come from.  “Do not go there again.”
Why?” asked Ember.
I will not be so nice next time.”
She studied his face.  Gone was the warm smile.  The furious thundercloud was mostly gone now too, leaving the stone.  But the contents of the table smelled so good and her stomach didn’t care what his expression was.
On the table was a wooden tray holding two steaming bowls, also made of wood, full of what looked like oatmeal only it also had chunks of meat stirred in and a couple boiled eggs on top.  Also on the tray was a round loaf of bread, two wooden cups and a wooden pitcher of water.
Eat.  I didn’t know if you wanted breakfast or lunch but this pretty much covers both.  It’s simple.”  He took his bowl and strode off to come to a halt several paces away.
I’m sorry,” Ember called after him.  She was more than sorry; she was devastated.  Whatever caused her to go nosing around this kind stranger’s property?  Maybe she was just tired.  She ate numbly, but she’d only eaten a few bites when her host returned to sit at the table.
You never did tell me how you met up with a dragon,” he said as he set his bowl down and sank into the other chair.
I’m really sorry.  I won’t go there again.”
He lifted his bowl again and leaned back in his chair, waiting for her tale while he ate.
Oh it’s really crazy.”  She sighed.  “I think I’m having this horrible nightmare.  You see, until now, the last normal thing I remember was falling asleep at my computer.  Suddenly I was in some side remnant of the movie Gattaca and Jude Law and Uma Thurman, only they insisted they were Jerome and Irene, were running away from security.”  She stopped.  Why was she pouring out a dream to this stranger?
He was looking at her and there was a small quirk to one corner of his mouth.  “Please continue.”
Oh it’s so stupid, and it gets worse.”
Is the dragon in your nightmare somewhere?”
Well, yeah.  She saved me from becoming lost in cyberspace.”
In what?”  His words came out with a chuckle and the quirk was more pronounced.
Now he was going to laugh at her.  She hoped he didn’t laugh at her.  She washed her meal down with a mouthful of water and then broke off a chunk of the bread - there was no knife.  “Well, that’s what she told me it was.  Anyway we were supposed to go to the Kormosny village where we could hide, and from there we were supposed to go to the Mystic Falls.  Well, I thought that, if I had fallen asleep at my computer, I could wake up if I thought of myself hitting the right keys and exiting the program.”
I thought this was a dream.”
Oh it’s such a bad dream.  Anyway, it didn’t work and I got lost.  I went from King Arthur’s castle in the winter to being baked into a watery tart.  And then I woke up in a river and Jack Sparrow was helping me out, only he wasn’t Jack Sparrow or even King Arthur, he was Jerome again.  I don’t know what happened to Irene.”  She tore into the bread, certain she was blushing furiously.  “He took me to the Empress.  Um . . . there were others there . . . um . . . they were all naked or mostly so.  The Empress made me give up my brother’s email so I could leave.”  She dropped the bread to her bowl and felt a tear slide down her cheek.  She knew he was in no danger, but it sounded so selfish now that she was explaining it to someone else.
Why do you cry?” asked Derrick.  “Is your brother now dead?”
He had leaned forward to look at her lowered face.
No, he’s not dead, but he’s her love slave now, until she tires of him.”  She sniffed and he was holding a hanky for her to take.  She blew her nose and wiped her tears away.  With an exaggerated sigh, she continued.  “I got away alright but the next place made no sense at all. And I don't know what part is a dream and what part is real.  Next I knew I was falling through this black whirl, lit only by twisted letters and numbers.  That’s where Illustratia found me.  She took me to the Misty World, telling me to look for Arial Hollyberry.  I rescued this girl from a falling . . . something.  It looked like a giant bat - sort of.  I don’t know what it was, but it would have crushed her if it had hit her.
It was dark and she was afraid of wandering around in the dark so we sat there and talked.  She told me her name was Tami and that her best friend was Princess Arial, daughter of Queen Orlaith, the High Queen of the Frost Faeries and ruler of the Winter Realm.”
Did you say Orlaith?” asked Derrick, leaning forward again.
Yes.  Do you know that name?”
Maybe.  Keep going; this is interesting.”
I almost fell asleep only Perhluna starts throwing berries at me.”
Who’s Perhluna?”
Oh he’s supposed to be my guide; he’s not a very good guide.  He’s a Kormosny - from the first.”
A Kormosny?  Oh - the village where you were supposed to hide.  I remember.  Go on.”
We ate the berries and thank goodness, cause then we could hear each other’s thoughts, and the trees too.  Then the trees snatched us up off the ground.  They said they were saving us from the Shahinian.  They had come looking for Tami.  We had to be very quiet.”
Shahinian - what did they look like?”
Do you know them too?”
They’re really ugly.  They look like they just crawled out of a mucky swamp, and not the kind with a lot of water either, all covered with sticky mud and dead leaves and things, and they had really big eyes.”
Derrick groaned.  “Where is this Misty World?”
I don’t know.  You’ll have to ask Illustratia.  I certainly don’t want to go back there.  Anyway, we were just reuniting with the faeries when she came and got me again.  She said it was real urgent that I come here, that you had asked for me.  And here I am.”  She started to cry again.
Now what?” asked Derrick as he reached over and brushed away a new tear with a gentle thumb.
I just realized - I can’t tell if this is still the nightmare or not.  I don’t know if I’m sleeping or awake.”
Well, I do know that you are very tired.  I can see it.  Why don’t you go upstairs and sleep in my bed for a while.  I have a few things I need to do.  When I get back, we can discuss how to get you home.”
Really?  You will do that?”
I can make no promises.  This place is a long ways from most anywhere.  I like it that way.  Go on upstairs and take a nap.  I’ll be back in a few hours.”
Ember rose, and Derrick followed suite, showing her to the door and opening it for her.
The stairs are on through there.”  He pointed as if there might have been some kind of choice.
She took a few steps and then turned to tell him thank you, only he already had the door closed.  But then she was this gorgeous bow hanging above the door, and beside the door, on one of the three pegs there, was a quiver full of arrows.  She pulled one out and looked at it.  It was two, many three times as heavy as any arrow she had ever seen.  It was nearly as thick as her thumb, and had a tiny chip of black flint for a tip, and the feathers - as she was fingering the grayish brown feathers, she realized that the arrow had to be hand-made.  Standing on tip-toes, she lifted down the bow.  It too was quite heavy.  It was also quite exotic.  She couldn’t even tell what it was made out of since it didn’t look like wood, but it didn’t look like metal either.  She gave a tip an experimental flex and instantly knew that, if it was strung, she likely wouldn’t have been able to move the string, let alone launch one of the heavy arrows from it.  As she stretched to replace it, she wondered what mountain of a man had used it.  Though Derrick was well built, he didn’t look strong enough to draw that heavy bow.
Turning back to the rest of the room, she saw a fireplace and could tell that it was open into the next room.  Despite the heat, a tiny fire burned on the hearth, fed by a tiny pile of woodchips.
Curious, she ventured on through.  As promised, there was the stairs but the novelty of this room took some time to figure out.  There was a wide assortment of pots and pans and utensils, and yet she saw no stove for cooking.  As soon as that realization settled in, she realized that there was no refrigerator or even a sink.
She looked at the tiny fire again.  Hanging there to the side of the fireplace, was an iron pot, but when she looked in it, it was spotless.  He had only been in here for a few minutes, and he had produced a hot meal.  When had he cleaned up?  There was no obvious answer so she turned for the stairs.
As soon as her head cleared the upper floor, she spotted something she never expected to see.  Standing in the corner of the room was a suit of armor complete with a sword.  It wasn’t the standard knight’s armor either.  On a six-foot T was a chain mail shirt, and over that a green enameled breastplate was buckled.  On a small shelf under that were other pieces of green enameled metal.  Next to that was the bed; it looked totally inviting.
Looking around as she ascended - there was no short wall around the stairwell - the first thing she saw was another fireplace, also with a tiny fire.  But the most welcome sight of all was the small table sitting in the next corner.  On it - of all things - was a satellite phone.  She couldn’t get up the stairs fast enough.  Rushing the rest of the way up the stairs, she slid to her knees in front of the small table.  She snatched it up and found the power button.  The sound of the dial tone caused her heart to swell choking her ability to speak but just as she was going to start punching numbers, she realized that she didn’t know anyone’s phone number.  She never called anyone on the phone, though she took calls all the time.  Sobbing, she turned the phone off again and stumbled to the bed.  The thought that she just might be tired didn’t help much, but it didn’t stop her from falling asleep.  She really was so tired....

(Originally Posted 3/12/10 on )

Episode 7

In a moment of panic, Ember struggled against the vines until one of the leaves whispered into her ear, “Be calm or the Shahinian will hear you.”

“Ember, What are we doing hanging by our feet up in the tree tops!? Oh, I think I'm getting a headache!” Ember glanced over at Tami and realized that she had heard the voice in her head, because Tami’s mouth was covered as well.

At first she tried to speak aloud and then realized her own mouth was still covered. “I think the… trees are trying to help us from something called the Shahinian” she thought to Tami. She heard Tami gasp in her mind as she heard scuffling below them.

“Those are the shifters the Queen and Arial warned me about. They are below us.”

“Why are these tree thingies hiding us from them and how can we hear each other’s thoughts and where is Perhluna?”

“Whoa, slow down. One questions at a time,” Tami thought to her. “Perhluna vanished into thin air right after he woke me by shoving a berry in my mouth. Did you eat the berries? I think that is why we can hear each other’s thoughts. You have to be careful what you eat in faerie realm. I’m not really sure what the Shahinian are exactly. Arial referred to them as shape-shifters and said they are dangerous to our kind.”

“That sounds like Perh. First sign of trouble and he does his disappearing act. I did eat the berries. They were delicious and I think it’s a good thing we ate them since we can’t speak out loud. What do we do now we can’t stay like this forever.”

Below them on the forest floor the dark shuffling forms were beginning to take shape. They seemed to grow right out of the ground and underbrush. They had a humanoid form that was stooped. Their mucky brownish skin appeared to be covered with a mixture of hair, leaves, mud and debris. Almost like a walking bird’s nest with a face. The faces were very flat and dark making their eyes seem enormous. Looking at them made Ember blink and that is when she realized they didn’t seem to have eyelids but above their eyes where eyebrows should have been they had what looked like small trees growing out of their foreheads. Their ears reminded her of a bat and seemed to move in direction of sound. Because of the darkness on the forest floor it was hard to tell how many were below them. Ember had a hard time seeing them as dangerous because they looked so sad.

Suddenly the leaves got denser and blocked the creatures from view. Tami & Ember looked at each other but before they could say anything the leaves around them began chattering. If they weren’t in the midst of all the leaves it might have sounded like wind rustling them, but this close, they could make out distinct faint voices. One of the leaves close to them began to speak to them directly.

“You must remain silent, the Shahinian must not know you are here. It will be very bad if they catch you.”

“What are they? What do they want with us?” Ember asked.

“ The Shahinian are cursed. They have lost souls and are unable to feel. They live in the swamps of the dark forest and only venture out to steal the souls of other so they can experience what it is like to feel again. You are human, therefore the most prized to them. Your life force is like a beacon that draws them out. If they catch you they will steal your souls and you will become one of them and be trapped here forever. Only the Dryad races are immune to them, which is why we are hiding you.”

Another leaf face added, “but you will not be safe here for long. We must get you out of the out of the forest.”

“How can we get out of the forest?” Tami and Ember said in unison.

“Shhhhhh. You humans are so loud. You must trust us we will move you through the tops of our limbs until you are safely away. But you must not make any sounds.” With that Ember and Tami found themselves being lifted higher and passed from vine to vine, limb to limb over the top of the forest. As they went, they would occasionally catch bits of conversations among the Dryads. Ember kept her eyes closed, never liking heights and tried not to think about being whisked through the air so quickly.

After what seemed like only a few minutes, Ember felt a change in their direction and her eyes flew open as she instinctively braced herself for the fall she sensed. She realized they were at the edge of a clearing. Stretched out before her was a kaleidoscope field of flowers. As her feet touched the ground she saw Tami running ahead of her towards a swirling cloud in the center of the field.

“Tami, wait!” Fearing for her new friend she ran after her, but as they got closer she realized what had looked like a cloud were hundreds of faeries.

“That’s Arial and the fae.” Perhluna said in her ear as he appeared on her shoulder when she came to a stop.

“Perhluna! Where did you go?”

“I was around. You know here and there.”

Ember walked slowly up to Tami and the faeries flitting around her. “Ember, come meet Arial and my friends.”

“Welcome Fiery One. We are indebted to you for saving the Kind One and bringing her safely here,” Arial said as she hovered in front of Ember’s face.

Ember giggled at being called the Fiery One. “It was the Dryads that saved us really.”

Before anyone else could say anything the wind seemed to pick up tossing the faeries about and a dark shadow crossed over them.

As she landed next to them, Illustratia called, “Ember, it’s time to go. The Druid Derrick sent me to bring you to him. Hurry, we must not make him wait!”


“Hurry, we must go. Say your goodbyes.” Illustratia puffed at her.

Ember turned to Tami, “I guess this means goodbye…”

“For now. We will see each other again, friend. I am sure of it. Any message I can pass on back in our world? Tami said as she embraced her. “And thanks for saving my life back there.”

Fighting back tears, “we will. If you happen to run into Aunt Elspeth, tell her I’m okay and I miss her. She speaks to faeries too.”

Through a swirling pool at the edge of a lake in another realm, a darkly cloaked figure watched Illustratia take flight with Ember & Perhluna on her back…..

Seth also watched the trio fly off from his computer screen. Having watched this latest adventure unfold, Illustratia’s creator had an idea and began typing code to see if he could send Ember a message… 

(Originally Posted  3/8/10 on CC-Chronicles.blogspot)

Episode 6



Ember had never been so happy to see another normal person. Okay maybe not entirely normal, she did believe in faeries, she thought, then chuckled, well why shouldn’t believing in faeries be normal, Aunt Elspeth does too and would love this lady. The thought of Elspeth made her wistful yet sad. She missed her family and furries.

Tami watched the emotions playing across Ember’s face and wondered what she was thinking. Ember reminded her of a dragonfly - body of strength yet whose delicate wings hint at frailty.

“Penny for your thoughts.”

Ember smiled, “A penny? Well, for all the thoughts spinning through my head right now, that would be a bargain.” They both laughed softly. Ember began to tell her new friend of her adventures so far.

Her new friend had introduced herself as Tami, and now she explained that in the faerie realm, the fae don’t use the names of the mundane world.

“So what do they call you here? And what’s the mundane world?” Ember asked

“Here, I am known as ‘The Kind One’” laughing, she continued, “sometimes the fae refer to humans as mundanes, because we tend to get ourselves in a rut and don’t always experience life to its fullest like they do. We forget to have fun and appreciate the little things, the magick.” She then told Ember all about Arial, the faerie realm, its courts and how she came to be part of it. When she was done, Ember said, ‘So, you are the one I was told was lost.”

“Who told you I was lost? Was it Arial?”

“It said it was from Arial.”

At Tami/The Kind One’s confused look, Ember pulled a beautiful purple rose from her pocket. As the petals began to open, a soft lilting voice said, “"Hi Ember! Arial here...please, you must come help! The Kind One ran off into the forest to save her family when she found out that the portal in the ivy hedge had been breached. The whole of the faerie realm is trying to find her. Orlaith is afraid that the shape shifters will find her first... oh the humanities!"

“If I wasn’t hopelessly lost in this dark forest, I would take you through the ivy hedge and you could get home to your family, too. When Arial finds me, I’m sure she will help.”

What neither of them knew, was that the mysterious force that had pulled Ember into Wrilogonzia also kept the Kind One hidden from Arial, the Emerald Guard and the fae that were trying to rescue her. They were on their own as long as Ember stayed with her new found friend.

As their conversation abated and the night seemed to drag on endlessly, Ember felt her eyelids growing heavier. She was afraid if she fell asleep she would wake up somewhere new, and she wasn’t ready to leave her new companion just yet. Just when she thought she couldn’t resist sleeps temptation any longer, a small berry splat on her nose. Jumping, she glanced up in time to have another berry bounce off her forehead and she saw Perhluna hanging upside down from a limb above her head.

Looking over at her friend, and seeing her asleep against the tree trunk, she looked up to address Perhluna, right before he threw another berry at her. “Perrrhhhh! Stop, before I pull you out of that tree and we wake up Tami.”

“Must not fall asleep. Things are lurking and waiting for you to do just that.” Perhluna chided, wagging his finger at her.

“Well, I’m definitely awake now. Hey are those berries edible? I’m suddenly really hungry.”

Perhluna plopped down in her lap and produced a handful of berries out of his pouch. She plucked about half of the berries, “Thank you, these are yummy. Save the rest for Tami, when she wakes up. ” After she had eaten the berries, she began to notice an odd sensation. She felt like she was being watched and could hear what sounded like rustling little voices. She looked over at her new friend, who was still asleep. She slowly stood and looked around, trying to locate the sound. The rustling voices seemed to be all around her and when she squinted she thought she saw faces on the leaves and the trunk of the tree. The whispering increased as she got closer.

“Oh my, Perhluna, where did you get those berries? I’m seeing faces where there shouldn’t be any and …..” as she had moved closer studying the leaves, she failed to noticed the branches snaking around her and her companions, until leaves clamped over her mouth and the branches lifted all three high above the forest floor……..

(Originally Posted  2/25/10 on CC-Chronicles.blogspot)

Episode 5

The Kind One realizing she was lost in the dark forest at night, cried out for Arial. A spectral ghostly faerie appeared in the mist. The faerie whispered, and promised to take The Kind One to safety. It was just a ruse to give the being a chance to lull her with mind-numbing spells. The Kind One was drifting into unconsciousness and breathing with great difficulty. She was dying.
At the very last moment before she totally succumbed, golden lights like fireflies drifted through the mist and landed on her outstretched hand. Then they gathered and formed a large orb of golden light which catapulted straight at the misty faerie. She shrieked, as her true self was revealed. This was no faerie at all, but some evil creature with black eyes and leathery wings.
I hit the mossy ground hard. The beast, now devoid of all life was spiraling out of control and heading,  face first straight toward the spot where I had landed. I could hear its wings whistling through the sky as it plummeted earthward. I knew I would be crushed if I didn’t move fast but my brain wasn’t sending the message to my legs so I just sat there, watching the large, bulky body growing ever larger. Blocking out more and more of the sparkling orbs as it fell.
I was jerked, unceremoniously, behind a towering oak tree at the last minute. The lifeless body of the enormous creature hit the ground hard, making a huge crater in the soft earth. The impact shook the surrounding forest like a bomb, sending dirt and debris flying in every direction.
“Whoa!” I shook my head and rotated my shoulder. The feeling was beginning to return causing it to ache and throb. “I could have been totally smashed!” A young woman with long fiery red hair stepped out from behind the tree and stood by my side. “Yeah, you really could have. Good thing I dropped by.”
I jumped back at the sound of another human voice. Keeping a small bush between us (I don’t really know what protection a small bush would afford but it was all I had) I stared at the stranger in shock and amazement. “Who are you!? And where did you come from?” I was having a hard time keeping the stress of my recent brush with death out of my voice. I shook a half closed fist at her. “Don’t come any closer or I’ll, or I’ll…”
“Or you’ll what? She brushed her hair back away from her face and smiled. “Is that any way to say thank you? I just saved your life.”
I pulled up my tattered gown and sat down on a soft patch of moss and indicated for her to sit beside me. “I’m so sorry, I have had a really bad night. Seeing someone else in this forest, alone, gave me a quite a fright. You can’t really trust things to be what they look like in the fairy realm.”
“Oh, I understand, I have had so many adventures that nothing surprises me any more.  But I’m not alone.” She leaned back and reached behind a small tree. “You can come out now.” I watched as a small fury creature with large owl eyes and hands that look like they were borrowed from a spider money crawled from under a bush and onto the girls shoulders, wrapping its thick, bushy, tail around her neck. “Let me introduce myself. I am Ember Innocenzi and this is Perhluna, my traveling companion.” Perhluna waggled hello with flat tipped fingers. “As for where we came from…that’s complicated. But I can tell you that we were dropped here by a very accommodating dragon by the name of Illustratia.”
“I’m afraid that you haven’t had a very warm welcome. The faerie realm is a lovely place and the gardens around the queens palace are very peaceful. But the dark wood can be dangerous at night. I think we had better stay put until first light. Maybe Arial will have found us by then.”
I leaned my head against the oak tree and closed my eyes, aware of Ember’s curious stare. Without opening my eyes, I asked the question. “Yes?”
Perhluna disentangled the furry tail and went off in search of something to eat and Ember laid down on her side, propping her head in her hand. “Who is Arial?”
I pictured Arial in my mind and smiled. “Arial is my traveling companion, and so much more.” I wiped a single tear from my cheek. “Formally she is known as Princess Arial, Daughter of Queen Orlaith, the High Queen of the Frost Faeries and ruler of the winter realm.” I opened one eye and glanced over at Ember, who had scrunched her mouth to one side in quizzical disbelief. “Yeah, I know. You have to spend some time in the faerie realm to get the full impact”
We both laughed out loud then clapped our hands over our mouths out of fear that we might attract some deadly attention. Nudging each other back and forth with our shoulders and sniggering softly, we waited for dawn.  I knew I had found a new friend.
© Tami Ruesch, The Misty World of Arial Hollyberry, 2009-2010

Episode 4


“Wha---?” Ember ducks at Perhluna’s warning, barely be missed by a stream of glowing letters, symbols and numbers flying past her head. She spins around watching other similar streams zip around them.

“Perhluna, what is this place? Where are we? Why is it so dark? What are those?” she asks, pointing to the glowing strands of digits that offer the only source of light.

Unwrapping himself from around Ember’s neck, Perhluna settles on her shoulder with his long tail encircling her neck like a fur scarf. “I would think that is obvious.”

“Obvious? Perh, I am not in the mood for your riddles. Just tell me.” Perhluna grins at her mischievously, but says nothing. “Fine, we are in some sort of black hole, dodging …. whatever those, those strands are. I feel like I’m in the twilight zone version of Sesame Street and any minute Bert, Ernie and the count are going to pop up. Seriously, what is this place?”

Perhluna sighs, “well, you can certainly stand in for Oscar, the Grouch.” Ember crosses her arms and begins tapping her foot in annoyance, which elicits a chuckle from Perhluna. “Alright, I’ll tell you where we are. Although why you can’t figure it out yourself is beyond me. Must be a human thing.” Ember glares at him, but in the dimness, it makes her look like she is squinting and fails to intimidate. “We are in cyberspace, more specifically, this is where all the HTML code is written. Call it the brain of the internet.”

“Oh” was all Ember managed as she looked around her, quickly ducking under another stream of code and then moving Perhluna’s hands away from her eyes, as he struggled to hang on. “How did we end up here?”

“That’s easy, we aren’t published.”

“We aren’t published?..... oh, you mean on someone’s site.”

“Exactly. This is where all the random things on the internet stay until someone sends or publishes.”

“So there is just a bunch of code swimming around in he….what is that?” Ember points to a multicolored glowing spot that seems to be coming towards them and growing in size.

“ I believe that would be a dragon and you might want to start running because she is headed straight for us. RUNNNNNN!”

Gasping as the dragon begins to come into focus in the darkened space, Ember begins running. Looking over her shoulder, she sees the dragon gaining on them. It’s huge wings sending ripples of air against her back. Suddenly she realizes the ground below her has given way and they are falling through the blackness; the dragon in pursuit and quickly gaining on them. Ember screams as she feels the dragon’s claws close around her arms.

“Please dear, stop that ghastly noise. You act as if I’m going to eat you.” The dragon’s voice is soft and lyrical with a slight accent Ember can’t quite place. The gentleness of it’s tone and it’s melodic chuckle, makes her go instantly silent as she gazes up at the neck and chin of this mystical creature. “This can not be happening,” Ember thinks as she is mesmerized by the iridescent scales that seem to swirl with all the colors of the rainbow under a silvery shell.

“Of course it can! Anything can happen in Wrilogonzia. The only limits are the limits of ones imagination. Oh my goodness, where are my manners? My name is Illustratia. Where can I drop you off?”

Feeling a bit overwhelmed by the surrealism of the situation, Ember decides her best bet is to introduce herself and see if Illustratia knows how to get her back to her own computer. “I’m Ember and I have somehow gotten trapped inside this…place…and I really need to get back to my own computer so I can go home. Can you take me there?”

“Dear me, I would love to be able to do that, only I don’t know where your computer is. You see, cyberspace is full of these portals and worm holes, you just have to know the right path. Can you give me directions? “

“That’s just it, I don’t know how I got to this place so I don’t know which path will take me back. And how can you find anything in this blackness. “

“Well, you have gotten yourself in a jam, but I see you have a guide. Although his type IS notorious for being a trickster.”

“Hey, I haven’t tricked her, yet.” Perhluna grumbles.

“Well Perh, you haven’t helped that much either. Illustratia, how did you get in this place?”

“I was born in the mind of an adventurous young man with a talent for drawing. One day he must have gotten tired of me flitting about his head, so he drew me. Then he scanned me into his computer. Oh my curiosity got the better of me and I flew off to explore. Now, humans are forever trying to trap me on their blogs, websites and screens, but I am too quick to be caught. Wrilogonzia is a fascinating place and I love exploring and meeting all the interesting creatures, like yourself.” Unbeknownst to this odd party the artistic programmer is watching them with growing fascination for the girl with the hair of fire.

Ember laughs, “I’ve never been referred to as a creature before. Don’t you ever want to go home to your creator?”

Sighing, “Of course, but I have forgotten the way. I know one day he will find me and show me the way home. He is quite bright, that one. Since you don’t know your way home either, where would you like to go?”

“Wow, I have no idea. Are there any normal places?”

“Hahahaha, who wants normal when you can experience anything you’ve ever dreamed of? You need a little adventure! I know just the place to set you down.” With that, Illustratia, dives through a worm hole of code, dropping Ember and Perhluna in a hedge of lush ivy, just outside a giant tree with a small door at it’s base, before flying off. 
“But wait……. where are you going…..where are we?” Ember calls after her. She hears Illustratia call back, “ you’re in the Misty World, look for Arial Hollyberry. She will show you around. I will be back later……”

Suddenly, Ember is blinded by millions of lights raining down on them………….

(Originally Published 2/15/10 on CC-Chronicles.blogspot)

Monday, September 17, 2012

Episode 3

Imagine her shock and dismay when things come back into focus... and finds herself standing on a grassy plain.  This can’t be Komosnia, and it certainly couldn’t be Mystik Falls; there didn’t appear to be anything magical about it.  It was suddenly cold enough that she could see her breath but there wasn’t any snow on the ground.  She looked around - I mean really - where had winter come from?  And then she looked around again; where were the others?  Even the Komosny that had been riding on her shoulder and talking her ear off was nowhere to be seen. The only thing her ever-increasing frozenness saw was a town but it looked like it was a stage set for a King Arthur movie or something.  There was this squalid little village all huddled up next to this wall that looked like it was built to keep out the local wildlife rather than a really determined knight in shining armor even though it was made of stone.  In the middle was this plain little castle or really big house - I mean really - since when does King Author’s castle not have towers?
It did look warm though.  Maybe someone in the castle had a computer.  It was obvious that thinking about pushing the keys on her own computer hadn’t worked, at least, not the way she had hoped.  Before she took that first fateful step, she looked back - just to be sure, she hadn’t stumbled through some door that was a lot closer and a lot warmer than the alternative.  Nada - with a sigh, she started her frozen carcass moving.
The village market was everything you could have hoped for from King Arthur in short-pants - nothing.  Not much anyway.  This had to be the poorest village in all of her imaginings.  There were a couple things though.  An old woman was selling what looked like pieces of dried meat rolled in sugar.  ‘Probably salt though,’ she thought to herself as she nonetheless searched her pockets for some money.  With nothing but lint to show for her search.  She was left to wonder if it really was salt, though her mouth watered for a little sugar just now.  Now if she passed someone hawking chocolate she’d very strongly consider mugging the person.
Suddenly the ground under her feet began to tremble and everyone around her was looking for the source.  ‘Great, just before I get there, the castle is going to be shaken to the ground by an earthquake.  What is it; can’t I have any luck today?’  She headed on anyway.
She hadn’t taken more than a dozen steps before she realized that the earthquake wasn’t ending.  There was nothing for it but to keep walking, at least she could almost feel her feet again.
The quake finally ended just as she reached the open gate to look in on a courtyard all abuzz over apparently nothing - nothing she could see anyway.  Unchallenged, she wondered on in hoping to find someone who would answer some of her questions and provide her with a little heat in the process.  To her surprise and pleasure, a plump woman found her.
“Here deary, you look half frozen.  Come inside by the cook-stove.  I’ll fix you a hot cup of tea.”
“Yes, thanks you,” said Ember, as she allowed the woman to guide her across the courtyard to a side door.
The woman continued to fuss.  “You shouldn’t be out here without a cloak, despite what the master’s doing.”
“I left my coat at home in the closet.  What did he do?” asked Ember.
“Well you shouldn’t have.  It’ll be snowing any day now, I expect.”  She waved away the question with a shake of her head.  “He’s such a fine lad but I just don’t understand what he’s done.  What’s your name, deary?”
It’s Ember, Ember Innocenzi.”
“Oh my word.  Such an exotic name.  I like it though, and I’ll have no trouble remembering it too, what with all the fire in your hair.  Don’t think I’ve ever seen the like before.  everyone calls me Della around here, unless they’re calling me mom.  I have three boys and two girls here, though you can’t tell by looking.  All of them are taller than me.  They get it from their father, their height.”
The door opened to a blast of heat.  It made Ember wonder if they weren’t entering an oven, though she certainly didn’t hesitate at the door.  The smell of fresh bread and some kind of roast simmering somewhere drew her inside like a magnet.
“You sit down right here,” said Della.  She sat Ember down at a massive plank table that was loaded with the coming meal in progress.  Della took one look at where Ember’s eyes were directed and began ladening down a plate with a sampling of everything that didn’t still need to be cooked.  After she set down the huge mug of steaming tea, Ember scarcely noticed the woman disappear.  She was starving and she was warming nicely.
Just as she was determinedly going to find room for the last grape on her plate, the little bug-eyed creature, Perhluna, sauntered across the table bold as can be and took the grape from her fingers.  “Just who do you think you are?” she asked, and then,”Where did you go?” blurted out right after - the question quite beyond her control.
“He, he, he, he, you are full anyway,” said Perhluna.  “You?  You appear to be lost.  How you managed to miss Mistic Falls, I have no idea, but this sure isn’t it.  You were lucky I found you.”
Just then, Della came back.  “Here you go, deary.  This’ll keep you nice and warm.”  She produced a heavy cloak lined with soft gray fur and draped it around her shoulders.  Ember looked over at her words and then quickly back - Perhluna was gone as if he - she - it had never been.
As if the kitchen wasn’t warm enough, and now she had a very full belly.  The mystery of where she was quickly drowned in mint tea sweetened with honey.
Ember sat there watching Della baste a roast in a massive oven and sipped at her tea.  It wasn’t long before her cheek found a fur-covered arm and her eyes were closing.  Just as the warm kitchen disappeared behind closed eyelids, she remembered she was going to ask after a computer.  She sighed, maybe a little nap first.