Category Archives: Virtues

From the case files of Inspector Khazarian Rovas

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walkinginthedark

Darkness suited ex-Inspector Khazarian Rovas. He liked the quiet it normally brought, a certain breeze that drifted through most nights except for the height of the summer months. Then he was usually drenched, having trouble breathing during the ofttimes stiffing still air. Early spring, now, and the insufferable weather was still to come. Tonight, he could enjoy sitting by his open window, lights off, breathing the coolness in, and allowing his out breath fog up the lowest corner of the window pane. Waiting.

But for the wishes of his wife, Berrak, Rovas would still be on the job. He never thought he would retire, that one way or the other the job would be where he would part this life. Berrak thought differently, and although she never demanded, he saw the clarity of her spoken thoughts. He loved her, she him, and it was that love that carried him to hand in his resignation. Forty-four years, the ups and downs of any job, acknowledgments and failures, all reduced to farewell handshakes, some drinks, rehashing of spectacular cases-solved or unsolved-and the drive home, with the few personal items from his desk in the boot.

It was the rehashing of cases that brought Rovas to his study, to his window, at 4:10 in the morning. Eight days had passed, but those memories of cases that were not, to him, satisfactorily closed, haunted his waking hours. He thought of the cases, twenty six in all, that still niggled at the back of his mind. He owed Berrak time that she was excluded from during his career, and he vowed to himself he would do his best to give her what she needed from him.

But those cases…those cases…

Outside his window Khazarian Rovas noticed a silhouette of a man briskly walking, back to Rovas, down the street, hands in his pockets, head cast down, fading down the street horizon. Ruminating, Rovas had not noticed the man until now. He had no idea where he came from, just observing this figure in darkness fading smaller and further away, until only a haze of an outline was visible. In a blink, the walking man was gone.

Rovas got up from his chair, turning it around to face his desk. Turning on the table lamb, he stared down at the pile of folders on the right side of his desk. Twenty six folders.

Sitting, he took the top file, placed it in front of him, opened it, and began to review this troublesome case file.

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Hi everyone. I’m sure you’ve noticed I have been away for quite awhile on any regular basis. Things happened in my life that took me out of the mood. I’m trying to see what I can do to mend that break within me.

I just rejoined the Blogging from A to Z challenge. Lots of positive things changed for me with the first one I was part of in 2011. Sadly, that did not last the lifetime I had hoped it would be. In either case, I am back.

“The case files of Khazarian Rovas” is my theme for this year. Twenty six case files for the good inspector to delve into, trying to make sense &/or solve from this list of cold cases. My plan is to use a variety of genres within this overarching theme to allow me to play and, of course, challenge myself. Some cases might bleed into another case. Most will be stand alone. We’ll see, won’t we?

As to the Blogging from A to Z challenge, I’ll let the words of Arlee Bird (founder of said challenge) tell you what this is all about:

The brainchild of Arlee Bird, at Tossing it Out, the A to Z Challenge is posting every day in April except Sundays (we get those off for good behavior.) And since there are 26 days, that matches the 26 letters of the alphabet. On April 1, blog about something that begins with the letter “A.” April 2 is “B,” April 4 is “C,” and so on. You can use a theme for the month or go random – just as long as it matches the letter of the alphabet for the day.

The A to Z Challenge is a great way to get into the blogging habit and make new friends.

 So, join me (and the over 1600 other blogs involved) starting on April 1, 2016. Comments and such are always welcome. I hope you enjoy what I’ve got planned.

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Papers of Pain

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Amidst the debris of clutter, among the years of things piled upon, chaotic shoving in of spaces, of things of little to no importance due to the distance of time, papers of pain were uncovered. A history unfolded in short passages, messages, of people passed on, most forgotten or unknown to the one riffling through the quagmire of emotions that the refuse brings.

Losing one’s parents is hard enough; uncovering aspects of them that you only thought you knew becomes the harder part to take in.

“Please forgive me…” began way too many letters, or messages in holiday/birthday cards, found among the leavings. Reading what he did was painful enough, so Bill only skimmed along, tossing, tossing, tossing…keeping a short pile that he knew he would confront at another time. Not now, not so soon, and maybe…maybe never.  Private thoughts that now are laid bare, never for his eyes in the first place. He thought: Do I have the right/need to know any of this?

Short words of “Love,…,” saying so little, punctuated by messages that left messages of hope and caring, of hurt, pain, and an end to suffering. Is that how they lived for so long, Bill thought, even as he knew the answer. He hoped to escape the yelling, the push and pull games, the neediness from such a young age, and he ran out as fast as he could when he was younger. He knew, though, he could not just abandon, for their world crashed down upon them, and with that crashing he became one of the broken pieces, held together with glue and tape, shattered enough, strong enough. At times.

And then…then, buried snatches of the other. There were the messages of love he now found. They were concealed among the many non-meaning platitudes. They were not long, snippets only, words of caring, of hope, of praise, of cleansing. Bill read these, everyone of them, in full, sometimes again and again. He weighed these few against the pile of pain, and while his own heart was heavy, his chest tight, his stomach roiling…he weighed the messages of love against those of suffering.

Shaking his head to clear the conflict inside, Bill put them all together in one bag, sealing it for now. They could lay still and silent, or battle amongst themselves in the bag.  He held his parents in his hands, their words, their wounds,  and their care and concern for each other. It was one weight, one mass, and he felt it was equal, balanced enough, as he carried it away with him.

The Misfortune of Sea Monsters (part two)

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Part One: The Misfortune of Sea Monsters

NOTE: if you have not read part one (link above), this  will make little to no sense. I am trying my hand at a serialized story, and you really do need to read it, part by part. Thank you.

Part Two: The Hafgufa and The Harpoon

Captain Magnus tried to stop Young Ned from leaping to a certain lost cause, but he was too late. The Return swayed, but no man was more made more steady on his feet than a captain whose ship was an extension of himself.  The large ripples the beast made, as it bore Meigs down, tried their best to topple him. He heard some of his men falter and gasp, but he would have none of that.

You’re a fool, Young Ned. A brave one, but a fool all the same.” The captain stayed at the side of his ship, speaking to an uncaring sea, waiting for any sign.

The foolish Young Ned was far below, swimming downward. His labor was fierce, as the creature tunneled the water as it  should, and Young Ned was handicapped by the harpoon he knew he must have. Meigs was a rag doll in the monster of the deep’s tentacles, and his mate, his friend,  felt it was already too late, but this feeling only propelled him to swim faster.

The “Vanishing Island” (for so the Hafgufa  has been called) belched a stream of, what Young Ned thought would be if one could smell underwater, noxious fumes.  Stopping it’s descent, it turned towards Young Ned, its eyes locking onto him. A tentacle was thrust towards him, then another and another.  Each time the attack was thwarted by a true blow of the exquisite sharpness of the harpoon that Young Ned wielded. Both he and the monster scored points, but none were as deep or as ruinous as what came from the well placed harpoon.

He was fast losing the last of his air reserves when a well placed jab freed the sea undulating body of SM Meigs. Young Ned grabbed his comrade and began his ascent. The creature, leaking foul fluids from the many contact hits delivered,  sent out a spasm of its own pain and struck Young Ned across his back,  sending the harpoon spiraling out of Young Ned’s  hand and knocking him unconscious.

***

The deck of The Return was hard and wet under Young Ned’s back,  as he coughed up the bracken sea water. Retching was a rude awakening, but any revival from what seemed like certain death was a good one. Captain Magnus gave his one good hand to Young Ned and helped him stand. Young Ned politely shook him off, bent at the knees, and expelled the last of the wretched substance.

Standing up, Young Ned looked around him. There, amidships, by the mizzenmast, lay the body of SM Meigs. Nothing was said: he knew Meigs was dead as sure as he knew the Hafgufa would pay, and pay dearly. Young Ned also noticed one other thing: the harpoon he carried into battle lay at his feet.

Puzzled, he bent and picked it up. “Captain, how…” he began.

“I know, lad, I know. You should have been as dead as poor Meigs.  Too much time had passed, and the lads and, sadly, I, had given up all hope. The sea waters were thrashing for all to see, then they went still. I had said my prayers and sent you Godspeed to Davey Jones embrace, when…well…”

“What? Please Captain. I don’t understand why I am still alive, here on deck. I felt a blow across my back, a shattering pain lanced through, and I felt the sea enter me as I quickly lost all awareness.”

Captain Magnus stared hard at Young Ned. He turned his head and spat over the rail. Turning back, it was the first time the captain would not make eye contact.

“You know me for an honest man, as honest as the sea will allow one to  be. The crew saw this too, or I wouldn’t have believed it myself. We had given up all hope, but…the mysteries of the seas are deep. The still water broke apart, Young Ned, and you, Meigs and that harpoon were on the back of a narwhal. This one was male, a lovely helical tusk, as woven as a twisted knot of hair. It floated long enough for us to retrieve you and poor Meigs. We thought you were gone too, but, well, you coughed up the sea as it coughed up yourself.”

“The narwhal?” Young Ned inquired.

“Slid away and gone. Come…no use scratching our heads about this. You are alive, Young Ned, and I am glad that I can keep my promise to your sister that you stay that way. Well, at least for today.” Captain Magnus smiled, slapped Young Ned on the back, and turned, barking orders to set course for land and home.

Walking over to the body of his friend, Young Ned knelt and said some prayers. He also vowed, in these moments of silence, to seek vengeance, so dreadful and sincere. Lost in his moments of grief, it was only the collision of the boatswain, Mr. Diggs, that brought him around to a deck that was beginning to tilt and the noses of men in a panic.

“Diggs…what is it, man?”

The boatswain, face ashen, said “Look starboard; look what you’ve brought upon us!”

Pushing the man away, harpoon still in hand, Ned rushed starboard an pulled himself up and looking over the rail:

The Hafgufa’s tentacles were climbing the sides of The Return, tilting the ship. One passed by his head and twisted onto the mizzenmast behind him. One solid jerk, and the Hafgufa and Young Ned were staring at one another, connected by sea, wood, and bone.

The Return cried a mournful sound upon the waters.

to be continued…

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The Rule of Three Blogfest for 2011 is done; voting will soon be open, and our long list of finalists can be found at our brand new Welcome to Renaissance blog page!!!  Eleven great writers/stories out of about 60 participants. It was not easy. Please read the stories in order (links will be on the above link). ENJOY!!!!

Rule of Three Writing Blog Challenge: First Prompts & Amendment

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Grab this code for the badge created by the wonderful Portia Burton, Concept by the equally wonderful Lisa Vooght

Amendment to the Posting Guidelines

Due to popular demand, we have opened the posting window to a 48 hour slot:

Wednesday to Thursday. Please  post on those days only. Thank you.

The Prompts:

You have 34 days from now (9/1/2011)  to dream up the first part of the story which should be based on one or more of the following prompts:

  • There is an argument
  • There is fear of an impending misfortune
  • There is a humorous circumstance
  • Someone might fall in love

The Challenge

Each week’s installment would be based on a prompt we give the week before.

Each week you will post a story focusing on one of your three main characters through: their Point of View; their story as seen by another or told by another;  however you see fit. How they interact is up to you, the writer.

The fourth week will be the culminating story.  What will be the outcome of their actions…or inaction?

Word count 500600. Please do not exceed the limit.

The Storyline: The Town of Renaissance

Renaissance is an outpost town in the middle of nowhere, but many routes pass through or beside it. The desert is encroaching on one side (to the West), a once-lush forest lies to the East and South. A large river runs through the forest, but it is not close to the town. Mountains are to the North, far, far away, and when you look towards them you don’t know if they are an illusion or real. Closer by are the smaller hill chains that fed the mining, creating caverns and passages underground.
The town has had a number of identities throughout its history: A trading post; a mining town; a ghost town until it was rediscovered; a thriving community; the scene of a number of great battles; the scene of one great tragedy (that led to its Ghost Town standing); a town of great joys and celebrations, and so much more.
At this point in time, there is a general population of 333. A mixture of a community. It boasts families that have lived there for generations upon generations, but they are in the minority, and are not in positions of power. There are traders who have come back here, at the end of their many travails, to settle in. The new families and power-players have taken this as a last refuge for themselves, hoping to rebuild lives torn apart on the way here.
Everyone has a secret.
Welcome to Renaissance. Enjoy your stay.

For the full rules, click here

Help spread the word by tweeting this blogfest at #REN3 on twitter, or share on Facebook or Google + with your writer friends.

Your Co-Hosts for the Rule of Three Writing Challenge:

Three absolutely wonderful writers. Please check out their blogs by clicking on their names:

Damyanti Biswas

Lisa Vooght

JC Martin

The Interview Series

JC Martin,      Lisa Vooght,      Damyanti Biswas
Interview with our illustrator, Portia Burton

In Case You Missed It-Our Teaser Trailer:

Sonnet: Shut The F**K Up

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What do you do when you just talk, talk, talk

All In the end you  have nothing to say!

You spout such nonsense; Just so you can squawk

Don’t you know your mouth just gets in the way?

There is no dialogue; You’re right-I’m wrong.

Your superiority complex reeks

You come off weak instead of being strong

It is not true discourse that you so seek!

But, imagine if your voice spoke so true

And your hearing was equal to the task

Disagreement is not how to argue

For new Points of View, you just have to ask.

Talking just to prove you’re right is so wrong

Done this way, we will never get along.

Birdsongs: The Virtuous War

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Birdsongs: The Virtuous War

When I wrote the first part of Birdsongs: The Walkabout Man, I found I had a lot of stories that I wanted to tell in this world.  I left paths in the story for me to travel on another time: Why is Serenite away with others from the Mukel, and why is Otium so concerned?; What was the Honey Bee Dreaming?; What is the music of language?; Why should we Never Avert Our Eyes?; and Why is The Walkabout Man coming?

One of the things that puzzled me was “where did the Walkabout Man get the layers and layer of virtues”? Virtues play a role in these tales. I pretty much know where I’m taking this, utilizing the abstracts of virtues.

Birdsongs: The Virtuous War, answers part of the question I posed to myself. The reason it’s not here? I entered a contest on Figment: to write a fable, keeping it under 1,200 words, where the setting of the story is in an imaginary land on the day before a final battle. Oh…and Paulo Coelho, modern fablist author of “The Alchemist,” would be reading the top ten finalists and choosing the winner of the bunch.   I would like that chance, to be read and hopefully critiqued by an author I admire. There is a top prize of money, but in all honesty: I would love the chance to get professional feedback more right now.

So, here is what I’m asking you to do: click on the link to Birdsongs: The Virtuous War. Read it, and ONLY IF you like it, please “heart” it (and leave a comment if you’d be so kind). Now, the only snag: you have to join Figment (no cost). I have had others join to read, writers have created new pages, and a few others logged on, voted, and then deleted their joining. I WILL be writing and posting more on that site ( I entered a lyrics contest for the fun of it), so…if you join, and you like my work, just let it sit. You’ll also find a wide range of reading on the site. I’ve enjoyed a number of tales already.

REMEMBER: if you read it and like it, great. If you do not like it, or decide not to read it: PLEASE DO NOT HEART IT. I am serious. I want to get this on merit, not trolling for votes. The only way I’m stomaching my asking you this: I’d like you to read my work. Plain and simple. I want honest feedback. I want to be a better writer.

Thank you one and all. More Birdsongs will be on their way.