Mar 26, 2015

Earth - Chapter Sixty-six

This serial is presented in draft form and will be updated each Thursday. Your comments are always welcome!

Ch 1 ~ Ch 2 ~ Ch 3 ~ Ch 4 ~ Ch 5 ~ Ch 6 ~ Ch 7 ~ Ch 8 ~ Ch 9 ~ Ch 10 ~ Ch 11 ~ Ch 12 ~ Ch 13 ~
Ch 14 ~ Ch 15 ~ Ch 16 ~ Ch 17 ~ Ch 18 ~ Ch 19 ~ Ch 20 ~ Ch 21 ~ Ch 22 ~ Ch 23 ~ Ch 24 ~
Ch 25 ~ Ch 26 ~ Ch 27 ~ Ch 28 ~ Ch29 ~ Ch 30 ~ Ch 31 ~ Ch 32 ~ Ch 33 ~ Ch 34 ~ Ch 35 ~
Ch 36 ~ Ch 37 ~ Ch 38 ~ Ch 39 ~ Ch 40 ~ Ch 41 ~ Ch 42 ~ Ch 43 ~ Ch 44 ~ Ch 45 ~ Ch 46 ~
Ch 47 ~ Ch 48 ~ Ch 49 ~ Ch 50 ~ Ch 51 ~ Ch 52 ~ Ch 53 ~ Ch 54 ~ Ch 55 ~ Ch 56 ~ Ch 57 ~
Ch 58 ~ Ch 59 ~ Ch 60 ~ Ch 61 ~ Ch 62 ~ Ch 63 ~ Ch 64 ~ Ch 65 ~

Zephryn jerked away from Da'nat and went to kneel down beside Chloe. Unsure if he was safe to touch her, he looked up at Da'nat. But Da'nat was focused on Granny.

"What did you mean," Da'nat said to her. "Fire and water, earth and air?"

"It was our doing," she said in a wondering tone of voice. "All our doing. Had we not meddled in that which we should not, none of this would have come to pass."

"What's she talking about?" Zephryn asked.

Da'nat hesitated. "I believe events have led to the unbalancing of her mind. She but speaks nonsense. Do not fear, it is safe to touch her," he said with a gesture towards Chloe.

Zephryn gingerly gathered Chloe in his arms. When nothing untoward happened, he held her more closely and rose to her feet.

"We should leave this place," Da'nat said, laying a hand on Granny's shoulder. "You must come with us."

She stirred and looked at him, eyes glassy.

"I was not meant to survive."

"But you did. And now your people have need of your wisdom."

"My people." She gave a sharp laugh. "I do not even know who they are any more."

"Then you will learn," Da'nat said gently, leading her into the ship. Zephryn followed behind, hitting the hatch control as he passed it, sealing the ship.

Da'nat led an unresisting Granny to the lounge and seated her in one of the chairs. Zephryn followed in their wake, unsure what to do with Chloe.

Da'nat turned towards him. "Though it will be some time before she recovers, she is in no immediate danger. A bed should suffice for her recovery."

"But she will recover, right?" Zephryn was not ashamed that he needed the Illezie's reassurance.


He nodded and carried Chloe to his quarters, making her as comfortable as possible on his own bed. He lingered, brushing a hand over her hair before turning and heading to the bridge.

Da'nat was already there, in his customary seat. Before going through the instrument check, Zephryn turned on the scanners. It appeared that the danger was over - the seismic activity had all but stopped. The planet was stabilizing again.

"Do you think Martin was able to warn the other mines in time?" he asked.

"I do not know. I believe . . ."

Zephryn turned to look at him. It was unlike the Illezie to leave a though unfinished.

"Even if he did, there is no way of knowing whether they listened to him or not. If they did not, then the casualties will be high."

Zephryn turned back to the controls, running through the lift off protocols. Once they'd cleared the planet's atmosphere he had another question.

"Do you think the survivors will rebuild?"

"It is doubtful. This planet was close to being mined out."

"In that case, there's a cargo ship full of pantarium in orbit. I think we should contact Martin - I think he can be trusted to distribute the wealth fairly."

"That is a noble gesture. I concur."

Zephryn sent out the call and in a short time made contact with Martin. The miners had not gone far, rendezvousing at a mutually agreed upon point. Martin was all but speechless when he was told of the pantarium. It was a blessing for the group, who had lost pretty much everything but the clothes on their backs.

"So now what," Zephryn asked, itching to go check on Chloe.

"Set the co-ordinates to zero-alpha-alpha-seven," Da'nat told him.

"And this will take us . . . where?" he asked, laying in the course.

"On the way to completing our mission," Da'nat told him.

Zephryn turned to look at him. "But . . . I thought . . ."

"At this point we need only to confirm the trajectory of the energy beam."

"But we already know its trajectory."

"Perhaps," Da'nat said enigmatically.

Zephryn sighed, knowing there was no point in trying to get any more information out of the Illezie.

"Course laid in," he said. He set the automatic controls and rose from his seat. "I'm going to check on Chloe." He turned at the door. "But when I come back, you and I are going to have a long over-due talk.

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

Zephryn smoothed a hand over Chloe's hair. There was no change in her condition. Despite Da'nat's assurances she'd be fine, he used a portable medical scanner on her. He was by no means an expert at interpreting the readings, but it appeared there was nothing seriously wrong with her. As Da'nat said, she just needed rest.

Covering her with a light blanket, left his quarters in search of the Illezie. He found him in the lounge with Granny, who was looking only slightly better than she had been.

"When was the last time you ate?" Granny asked him.

He blinked in confusion. "I . . . that would have been early this morning, with Chloe."

"Sit and eat, and I will answer your questions."

Zephryn hesitated for a long moment in the doorway before going to the food processor and programming a meal. When it finished cycling through its program, he carried the tray to the small table near the view port.

"How did you get the ship unburied without Chloe's help?"

Da'nat made as if to answer but she shook her head at him. "The boy's done well. He deserves the truth."

"I am not without power, you've sensed that. I merely used some to free the ship."

"You're an Earth Elemental? Like Chloe and her mother?" He frowned. "But why keep it a secret from them? You--"

"I am not an Ardraci, nor am I an Elemental. I am . . . something else."


"I do not know any more," she said sadly.

Mar 25, 2015

Wreck This Journal - Week Six

For anyone who's new, you can catch the previous weeks here: Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, Week 4
Week 5

Wrecking a journal can be fun, but it can also be time consuming. I was a little short on time this week, so I picked some easy ones.

First, I found this page:

I didn't want to just rip the page out, that would make it too easy. So I used a craft knife to carefully remove just the cup form, then, as instructed, used some tape to stick it together. You might need to click on the picture to enlarge it to see that I really did fill it with water. It wasn't the most water-tight of vessels, which is why it's sitting propped up in a glass.

This next one was even simpler:

Pretty straight forward, eh? In this next picture my lovely assistance Dante is showing how much fun paper balls can be:

And finally, we come to the last of the easy ones:

Had I thought of it at the time, instead of ripping the page out and making a paper airplane, I should have used different colours of paper and made a bunch of them, then glued them to the page. But I didn't, so I'm stuck with just the one plane. And once again Dante deigned to pose for me. Doesn't he look thrilled?

I don't know if it was the quality of the paper or the design, but this plane is one of the best I've ever flown. :-)

Why not give it a try yourself? Here's a LINK to a website with a bunch of different designs for paper airplanes.

Join me here next week to see how I continue to wreck my journal!

Mar 23, 2015

Maundy Monday

maundy ~ custom of sovereign washing feet of poor or giving alms

Woo hoo! It's Spring! Can you believe it? Or were you like me and thought spring would never get here?

I was writing a letter to my sister on the weekend, telling her about how the snow was receding a little more every day, and then Sunday morning I woke up to about two inches of snow coating everything. But despite the fact it was super cold yesterday, the new snow was pretty much gone by sunset.

It kind of makes you wonder what kind of drugs the weather is on though. The temperature has been above zero for a week, and then all of a sudden it plummets and we get snow. The long range forecast has the temperature going up and down like a Mexican jumping bean. It's only March, and I remember past snow storms in early April.

Of course any time I get discouraged about the amount of snow left over, I just have to remind myself that it could be worse, I could be living in the Maritimes, like my sister. They celebrated the first day of spring with another blizzard. Check it out HERE.

In case you missed it, I posted a flash story to celebrate St. Patrick's Day on my other blog. It's a flash piece I wrote a couple of years ago, but I thought it would be fun to drag it out of the mothballs.

I spent most of last week working on the second draft of Lucky Dog and although I got off to a slow start, I've got 18 chapters under my belt. I don't know how many words I deleted, but I've added about 1500 to the document, which was already too long. I'm crossing my fingers I'll find some words to trim later on.

Eighteen chapters down, only thirty-seven to go. :-D

You can check for a more detailed report on my writing progress in a couple of days on My Writing Journal. My goal is to post there at least once a week. Twice would be even better, but let's not get too crazy.

You know, I always think I should come up with something pithy and really interesting for these Monday posts, but when I sit down to actually write them, my mind kind of goes blank. Don't you hate when that happens? Or maybe it's just me.

These posts kind of read like I'm writing a letter - in fact I've been known to refer to my Monday posts when writing a letter or email, mostly because my memory is so bad and I can never remember what's been going on.

Surely I've got to have something more interesting to talk about than the weather and what I've been baking this week. Or maybe not.

Maybe I just need to get out more. ;-)

Mar 19, 2015

Earth - Chapter Sixty-five

This serial is presented in draft form and will be updated each Thursday. Your comments are always welcome!

Ch 1 ~ Ch 2 ~ Ch 3 ~ Ch 4 ~ Ch 5 ~ Ch 6 ~ Ch 7 ~ Ch 8 ~ Ch 9 ~ Ch 10 ~ Ch 11 ~ Ch 12 ~ Ch 13 ~
Ch 14 ~ Ch 15 ~ Ch 16 ~ Ch 17 ~ Ch 18 ~ Ch 19 ~ Ch 20 ~ Ch 21 ~ Ch 22 ~ Ch 23 ~ Ch 24 ~
Ch 25 ~ Ch 26 ~ Ch 27 ~ Ch 28 ~ Ch29 ~ Ch 30 ~ Ch 31 ~ Ch 32 ~ Ch 33 ~ Ch 34 ~ Ch 35 ~
Ch 36 ~ Ch 37 ~ Ch 38 ~ Ch 39 ~ Ch 40 ~ Ch 41 ~ Ch 42 ~ Ch 43 ~ Ch 44 ~ Ch 45 ~ Ch 46 ~
Ch 47 ~ Ch 48 ~ Ch 49 ~ Ch 50 ~ Ch 51 ~ Ch 52 ~ Ch 53 ~ Ch 54 ~ Ch 55 ~ Ch 56 ~ Ch 57 ~
Ch 58 ~ Ch 59 ~ Ch 60 ~ Ch 61 ~ Ch 62 ~ Ch 63 ~ Ch 64 ~

Zephryn helped Chloe to her feet and folded her in his arms for a quick hug.

"We need to get to the ship. We--"

She shook her head. "Even were we to reach it in time it wouldn't matter. The shockwave . . . there's no escape, we'd never get far enough away."

Zephryn's mind raced. It couldn't end like this. He didn't find Chloe just to lose her again, there had to be something they could do.

"What's causing fissures?" he asked.


"What's making the fault lines expand, the fissures and cracks to widen?"

Chloe started to pull away from him. "Zephryn! We are about to die and you want a geology lesson?"

"Remember the volcano I spoke to you of? What saved us was a Fire Elemental. He drew the elemental energy from the lava, quenching the fire."

"Yes, I understand what you're saying." She cast her awareness along the widening fault lines. When an earthquake occurred, a certain amount of energy was released when the tectonic plates moved against each other. It was that energy that ripped the earth apart. It followed that if that energy was of the earth, she should be able to tap into it.

"I don't know . . ." There was so much power, more even than was put out by the pantarium. Chloe thought about all the people who would die if something wasn't done. Even those who made it to the ships in time would be in danger. She straightened her spine in determination. "I can try."

Moving a few steps away from Zephryn she stood with her head bowed, hands pointed towards the earth. "What did he do with the energy of the fire?" she asked, even as she reached for the energy of the earth.

Zephryn frowned. "He drew it into himself. But--"

Chloe was no longer listening. Her entire focus was on what was going on beneath their feet. The earth was shifting and although she could not stop it, she could draw on the energy the movement released to keep the damage at the minimum.

First she concentrated on the area surrounding the pantarium, keeping the deposits stable. If even one of them was set off they were doomed. Then she went beyond it, deeper towards the planet's heart to keep the crust around the molten core intact. This was key to keeping the planet from breaking apart. Once she started to draw the energy into herself she found it easy, far too easy.

Cracks and fissures still radiated outwards, but the catastrophic damage they should have caused was minimized. There was still damage, far too much damage. The earth still heaved and sank along the fault lines. Mines collapsed and towns were swallowed whole, but the planet itself began to stabilize.

The energy was like a living thing inside her. She fought to stay in control, to retain her "self". Zephryn was forced to take a step back as the energy began to manifest physically.

"I can't hold it," she said, her voice frightened. "It burns!"

Zephryn stared at her helplessly. Da'nat! Help us!

We come.

Part of him hoped they'd be bringing the ship with them so they could escape this place, but another part of him hoped Da'nat used whatever transport device that was used on him earlier. Time was running out for them.

Green and brown, and every colour in between, lines of energy began licking over Chloe's form. Zephryn summoned a cooling wind and spun it around her, trying desperately to keep her from burning up.

The ground beneath them quieted, but still the energy within Chloe built. She was unable to talk, only feel. The earth's energy was consuming her from within. She didn't know how much longer she was going to be able to hold it before it exploded outward.

Zephryn's scout ship landed in almost the same place the cargo ship had been. Both Granny and Da'nat joined Zephryn where he stood.

"I'm sorry, this is my fault," he told them. "I told her about how Pyre was able to draw the Elemental Fire into himself to stop the volcano. Now she's done the same with the energy from the earth."

"Chloe, can you hear me child?" Granny asked, taking a step towards her.

"What's . . . happening to me?"

"You have done what Pyrphoros did - you have taken your element's energy into yourself. Now you must do as he did and release it."

"I don't . . ." she sobbed and fell to her knees. "I can't!"

Da'nat held Zephryn back when he would have gone to her. "You cannot help her."

"You can do this!" Granny said fiercely. "Release it, now!"

Chloe threw back her head and screamed as she was enveloped in a swirling column of green and brown energy. It shot straight upwards into space. It seemed to go on forever, but was gone in an instant. Her eyes rolled back in her head as she slid bonelessly to the ground.

"Fire and water," Granny whispered. "Earth and air."

Mar 18, 2015

Wreck This Journal - Week Five

For anyone who's new, you can catch the previous weeks here: Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, Week 4

As I continue my wrecking journey with my journal, I can't help but notice some of these pages have instructions that are a little hard to document. This one, for instance:

There are all kinds of ways I could pick up my journal without using my hands - use my forearms only, put it on the floor and use my feet, nudge it to the edge of the table and use my mouth - but they don't exactly leave a mark.

And this one:

Off the top of my head I can think of a couple of ways to wear my journal - using it as a hat is the most obvious, or put it on a string and wear it like a necklace or as part of a belt. But again, it's not like it's going to leave any evidence, unless I wear it like a hat and get my hair stuck in it. ;-)

And then there's this:

Okay, while I could probably talk someone to take pity on me and buy my journal page, once they've bought it, it's gone.

Obviously these pages are going to require a little more consideration. And I'm open to suggestions - leave me a comment if you can think of anything, please!

All righty then. Next I did a couple of easy pages. The first one I was instructed to glue a random page from a newspaper on it. So I randomly chose a page from the comics.

And another easy one was a page where I was to include my grocery lists. I've been pretty good at throwing them out once I'm done with them lately, so I could only find three of them:

And finally, I came to a page that I was supposed to cover in tape. As you can see, I have some pretty tape available to me, but much to my chagrin it was really, really hard to cut into shapes. Especially the duct tape. It kept sticking to the scissors and leaving a residue behind. So while the picture is sort of like I wanted, the execution left a lot to be desired.

And that's it for this week. Join me next week as I continue to wreck my journal.

Mar 16, 2015

Madescent Monday

madescent ~ growing damp

Did everyone survive Friday the 13th all right? Normally I don't mind Friday the 13th, they're usually lucky for me. But the one we had last month was most definitely not. This one was kind of a mixed bag of good and bad. Dare I hope the last one of the year will be better? Guess we'll have to wait until November to find out. :-)

Remember that picture of my back yard I posted a couple of weeks ago? You can refresh your memory HERE.

Here's what it looks like after a week of slightly above zero temperatures and a weekend of light rain:

Although the snow on the deck is greatly reduced, the snow on the yard is taking its time. That's probably a good thing since a slow melt reduces the chance of our basement flooding, but it's still hard not to be impatient. I'm so done with winter!

It took staying up until 2:30 a.m. Friday night, and a marathon word sprint of almost 2500 words for the day, but I am finished the first draft of Guardian of the Sea (which started out as my NaNo novel this year). Now the real work of polishing it can begin. You know, right after I finish with Lucky Dog and An Elemental Earth. ;-)

So Saturday I was feeling a bit of the empty nest syndrome (kind of). I'd gotten so used to having Guardian hanging over my head that it was downright weird to not have to add new words to it. I wasn't sure what to do with myself.

So I sat in my office and stared out at the rain . . . Then I updated my Goodreads for the year, which wasn't too bad because I haven't been reading much lately, so I only had 9 books to update.

Then I took a look at my writing journal blog and was appalled at how long it's been since I made an entry there. So I updated the status bars and did a new post. If you're getting this blog post in an email you probably don't have access to the tabs at the top of the page, but you can check out the blog HERE.

Last weekend I bought myself a book that I was saving to reward myself with when I finished Guardian. However, it's such a great carrot that now I think I'm going to keep saving it until I get one of my three drafts polished. I'm afraid it might trigger a reading binge, and we can't have that now, can we? ;-)

I seem to be transitioning well to returning to my office to write, and hopefully I can keep up the good work this week. I confess it's much easier when the sun is shining, and this week looks like it's going to be a mix of sun and cloud. But there's no snow in the forecast, so I can take heart at that.

Maybe Spring is here after all! ;-)

Mar 12, 2015

Earth - Chapter Sixty-four

This serial is presented in draft form and will be updated each Thursday. Your comments are always welcome!

Ch 1 ~ Ch 2 ~ Ch 3 ~ Ch 4 ~ Ch 5 ~ Ch 6 ~ Ch 7 ~ Ch 8 ~ Ch 9 ~ Ch 10 ~ Ch 11 ~ Ch 12 ~ Ch 13 ~
Ch 14 ~ Ch 15 ~ Ch 16 ~ Ch 17 ~ Ch 18 ~ Ch 19 ~ Ch 20 ~ Ch 21 ~ Ch 22 ~ Ch 23 ~ Ch 24 ~
Ch 25 ~ Ch 26 ~ Ch 27 ~ Ch 28 ~ Ch29 ~ Ch 30 ~ Ch 31 ~ Ch 32 ~ Ch 33 ~ Ch 34 ~ Ch 35 ~
Ch 36 ~ Ch 37 ~ Ch 38 ~ Ch 39 ~ Ch 40 ~ Ch 41 ~ Ch 42 ~ Ch 43 ~ Ch 44 ~ Ch 45 ~ Ch 46 ~
Ch 47 ~ Ch 48 ~ Ch 49 ~ Ch 50 ~ Ch 51 ~ Ch 52 ~ Ch 53 ~ Ch 54 ~ Ch 55 ~ Ch 56 ~ Ch 57 ~
Ch 58 ~ Ch 59 ~ Ch 60 ~ Ch 61 ~ Ch 62 ~ Ch 63 ~

Chloe's face went ashen. "The pantarium," she whispered.

Zephryn got to his feet and went to her. "What about the pantarium?"

She was cold, so cold she thought she would never be warm again. "It's about to ignite."

He frowned. "But it's rock, isn't it? How is it possible to ignite it?"

"It's a very volatile rock, it's used to create fuel for ships." She clutched his arms as the ground heaved under their feet.

"Then we need to get out of here." He grabbed her by the hand and started leading her towards the cargo ship. Or tried to at least. Chloe dug her heels in to stop him.

"You don't understand. There's a huge deposit below us --"

"All the more reason to get out of here," he said, trying to tug her forward again.

"There's a series of deposits leading to the big one. It would only take one to start a chain reaction. If they should reach the big one . . ." she shuddered and swallowed hard.

"Granny was going to contact Martin to warn the other mines. With any luck they'll have already started to evacuate."

"It will blow this planet apart with such force . . . there will be no escape for anyone, even if they have enough warning to lift off."

"What can we do?"

"I don't know, I don't know. I can try and contain the smaller deposits, stabilize them, but I don't know if that'll be enough."

Zephryn felt an iciness filling his chest. Was this the great test Da'nat had talked about? If it was, it wasn't a fair one. Not by a long shot. "You have to try," he said. "I'll be right here with you."

She was already shaking her head. "No, if I fail--"

"If you fail then it won't matter where I am." He was still holding her hand and raised it to kiss her knuckles. "And if we are all to die then I would die with you."

Tears pricked at her eyes. "In saving the planet I might be taken over by the pantarium again and hurt you."

"It's a chance I'm willing to take."

She could see that he would not be swayed and it did something to her in the region of her heart. Unfortunately there was no time to argue. Chloe wanted to wrap herself around him, to sink herself into one of his fabulous kisses, but there was no time for that either.

"That ship is loaded with pantarium," she said, with a nod towards the cargo ship. "If you want to help, you need to get it out of here. If the pantarium inside it ignites then the explosion will trigger something I definitely won't be able to handle."

She lifted up for a quick kiss pressed to his lips, then resolutely turned away. Once more she knelt on the ground, this time sinking her hands into the soil for a better connection.

Zephryn made a move as if to follow, but let her go. Instead he raced over to the open cargo ship and ducked inside. Once in the cockpit he perched on the edge of the pilot's seat and used one hand to begin a systems check and the other to seek the controls for closing the cargo bay doors.

If he had not spent a lifetime studying ships, he would have been forced to lock everything down and use the manual controls to lift off. But the ship contained a sophisticated automated pilot system. He keyed in the co-ordinates to take the ship on the most direct route out of the solar system he could find, and then set the automatic controls with a 20 second delay for lift off. That done, he headed back the way he'd come, sealing the hatch behind him.

There was nothing more he could do, it was all up to Chloe now.

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

As soon as she sensed the first of the ore start to become unstable, she surrounded it with earth, increasing the density to contain it. But the vibration set off the next one, and before it could be fully contained there was a whole chain of potential conflagrations. The ground undulated in reaction to it, fissures widening, new ones appearing. Setting off the main deposit of pantarium might not be the only problem they were facing here.

"There's a shelf," she said, sensing Zephryn's presence nearby. "Between the chain I'm keeping contained and the larger deposit."

"Can it be used to block it?"

"I don't know. I found it earlier and decided it was too dangerous so I went around it. This is my fault. I created a path. Had I not, the danger would have stopped at the shelf."

"You can't think like that. Could you close the path again?"

"I . . . I don't know. I can try."

Had the rock beneath them been porous, she doubted there was anything she could have done. But she was able to coax the loose soil and gravel, the rock that would only have been discarded, to fill the gaps she had left behind. It left gaps elsewhere, but far enough away from the pantarium deposits that it shouldn't matter.

The ground heaved beneath them. Zephryn fought to keep his footing, but Chloe was thrown to the side and lost her connection to the earth. She looked up at him.

"I was able to cut the smaller ones off from the main deposit, but there was a minor fault line . . . it's expanding and creating more cracks and fissures."

"What are you saying?"

"I'm saying that the planet's going to tear itself apart, and I am not strong enough to stop it."