C. S. Lewis



"It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad."

-C.S.Lewis

Monday, August 31, 2015

3-The Glass Tree


3-The Glass Tree


3-The Glass Tree

I found Olena and Balleck waiting by the gap; Balleck saw me first and waved.
“Zare, over here!” His broad smile warmed my cheeks, his broad shoulders were nice, too, and I started to jog so I could blame their color on exertion. Remko and Ayglos were there, also. They were cloaked, now, and Remko had found a long eared cap to cover his shaved head. I frowned at Remko, he frowned back, unmoved by my unvoiced objection. Always our protector, he tried to keep us royal children reasonably out of trouble, which is why he’d apparently attached himself to this little outing.
Olena hooked her arm through mine. Her tight athletic build was swallowed in a thick, loose sweater to ward off the cool autumn night. She and Balleck both had blonde hair that caught the torchlight and gleamed red. Fitting, I thought, for fire spinners. She and Balleck had started teaching Ayglos and me how to work with fire, and there were sparks aplenty. “Are we ready to go?”
“I think so,” Ayglos handed me a brimmed hat and a cloak.
I slipped into the cloak—happy enough for its warmth in the growing night, and settled the hat onto my head. Hardly the height of fashion, but it would do. I tweaked the brim as we started to move with the crowd. Olena kept hold of me and steered me through the stream of wobbling people. Balleck and Ayglos fell in right behind us, and I knew Remko was bringing up the rear. The circus was just a bowshot from Gillenwater’s walls, and soon we were pressing through the open gates with revelers singing something about flowers, trees, and fruit.
Olena was talking, “If we hurry, we might be able to get to the square and see the glass tree before the crowds make it impossible,” she talked in my ear to be heard over all the people, “It’s filled with oil from the olive trees in Gillenwater’s orchards. It’s really a giant lamp, there are wicks along the glass branches, and on the last night of the festival they light them all—it’s really quite a sight.” She tugged me along faster. “We performed here last year, and Balleck and I saw it then. We went with the acrobats and had to climb the church to see because we got there too late to fit in the square.” She laughed like an imp. There was no keeping an acrobat out of a place they wanted to be.
I had never seen the glass tree. But I knew that it had been given to Queen Quindalee of Gillenwater by King Drennan of Sands when he was trying to woo both her hand and her trade. He only succeeded in the latter, their cities hardly being close enough for the rulers to easily rule both without being tempted to claim all the land in between. The other cities looked askance at even the idea of that union, and the Queen wisely chose to marry one of her own nobles. Though, certain historians swear that her firstborn was, in fact, a dead ringer for King Drennan. I said none of this to Olena, I held her hand and tried not to get swept away as she ducked and wove her way through the crowd like a professional.
I caught glimpses of street hawkers, bakeries, wine sellers, and sheaves of wheat standing like sentries on every corner. It was a show of plenty that belied the yoke of the Nether Queen’s regime. We even crossed an arching bridge over the Tryber River. The Tryber ran from the mountains through the city, and eventually down into the Bay.
Then, abruptly we were in the square. It was already half full, and dancing was taking up a good portion of the free space. In the center of the square, on a dais surrounded by torches, was the glass tree. It was green, which surprised me, and even unlit it was resplendent. Eight branches, presumably for the eight Bay Area Cities, spread and reached for the sky. I grimaced. There were only seven cities now—or six and a half, if you factored in the amount of destruction visited on Galhara. Olena led the way right to the foot of the dais and we gazed up at it open mouthed.
“Despite your best efforts, Olena, we’ve caught up with you,” Balleck’s voice came at our elbows and we both started.
We spun around to face the circus’s other fire spinner. “Don’t be silly, Balleck, if we’d been trying to lose you, we would have,” Olena put her hands on her hips in mock anger.
“I think you underestimated us,” countered Ayglos, stepping close and matching her pose. “It’s all talk,” he winked, “and you’re really disappointed we kept up.”
I was certain I saw her blush.
“We should dance!” she exclaimed, changing the topic nimbly. She caught Ayglos by the hand and spun him into the dancing Gillenfolk.
I watched them go with a smile. It was good to see Ayglos enjoying himself again. Balleck cleared his throat. I looked at him: He reminded me of the royal guards in my grandfather’s court—smallish in build, but tight with muscle. Though, he smiled a lot more.
The fire-spinner bowed and offered me his hand. “Care to dance?” His eyes twinkled, he was well aware of my cheeks.
I curtsied dramatically and accepted his hand. “Delighted.”
Balleck whipped me into the dance so fast I gasped, and then I laughed. We swirled in with the revelers; spinning, weaving and stomping our way through the square to the vital music of the harvest. We clasped hands and linked arms with stranger after stranger, and then his arms would pull me close for a breathless twirl. I realized I was smiling so big I thought my face might split—and for a moment I was astonished that I could feel so well.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Turquoise beaded bracelet

**I found this post in my drafts. It's years old and I still have the bracelet. If I knew who posted the original tutorial I would go thank them!**

I've been seeing cute little wrap around bracelets on the internet lately and resolved to make one.
I found this tutorial on pinterest and it pretty much hits the nail on the head:





Monday, August 24, 2015

2-The Circus

2-The Circus

I had faced men sent to kill me and I had killed in return. Unusual for a girl of my age. But life was different now: Performing riding stunts for an easy-to-please crowd was not the same thing as facing an army.
It was much, much worse.
Before battle, I remembered deadly calm, before every single performance, my guts would wring into knots and put me in danger of falling off the horses.
I closed my eyes and tried to focus on breathing. Ten months. You’d think it would be easier by now.
The horses under my feet stamped eagerly; they were listening to the musicians who sat just to the right of the gate—and they could tell our cue was getting close. My gut shuddered again. It wasn’t even a long act. We were just buying time for the acrobats to change costumes for the finale.
There was a crescendo in the music and then the suck of expectant silence. I felt the horses sink back on their haunches for a beat, and then with the percussion of the drum solo they charged into the circus ring, bringing me with them. I opened my eyes and waved to the crowd in the shadowy reaches behind the torches lighting the arena. The crowd gasped and cheered as we circled the ring at breakneck speed—two dappled horses with a wild-haired girl dressed in leaves and leather standing one foot on each.
After three trips around the ring a second drum joined the first and two big tribesmen dashed into the arena and lifted a huge flaming ring on standards between them. My mounts passed underneath the ring and I leapt through—making much of my safe landing—the crowd clapped. We circled back around and I jumped through the fire again, praying none of my leaves would catch. They had once, three months ago at a performance near Tasielyn. Half-nymph cooked at circus: The town gossips would be delighted if they knew. I pushed the thought aside and jumped through a third time.
I sniffed. Safe. I waved to the crowd, they rewarded me with applause.
The horses thundered on and the tribesmen ran in a tight circle with their ring of fire—the dizzying spin hid that they were making the ring bigger as they ran. They stopped and lowered the burning ring to just two feet off the ground. I looked at the fire and covered my face in mock dismay. My audience got silent—I could almost hear them measuring the height with their eyes as the tribesmen began to raise the ring slowly. By the time the horses and I reached it, the flames licked at four feet—leaving just a narrow gap for us—my grays leapt while I ducked and the three of us cleared the burning loop to cheers.
Our time was up; I waved farewell to the crowd as my eager little showmen galloped out as fast as they could. We slid to a stop in the cramped space between the musicians and the next act and I jumped off.
The horses snorted and shook their manes, clearly proud of themselves. I patted their necks. “Natural show offs.”
“That makes three of you,” my older brother, Ayglos, slid halters onto the horses and smiled at me.
I scoffed and punched his arm. His hair was lighter than mine, but his eyes were darker and he was annoyingly taller. He’d already changed from his scanty, shimmering spear-dancer outfit. Can’t say that I blamed him. He was freshly nineteen, my senior by two years, and I was fairly certain every girl in the circus loved him—as had every girl in the royal court not too long ago. He, of course, had no idea.
“Nice, Zare,” the acrobats clapped me on the back as they hurried past to start the finale.
I grinned. If the lead in was worse, the afterglow of performance was worlds better than the effects of battle.
I helped Ayglos lead the horses out of the tent and away to the little corral set up a short distance from the big tent. The circus was a small town on wheels, dragging its own corrals and tents everywhere it went. Most of the cities surrounding Daisen Bay had tournament or festival grounds outside the city limits; we usually took up the entire grounds and sometimes overflowed into surrounding farms or forest. Gillenwater had one of the few festival grounds with a fence enclosing the property. The fence was wood, painted red, and had no gate, just a giant gap which the road passed through.
Remko, bare muscles glistening, was waiting for us at the corral. “Let me see to the horses.”
Ayglos shook his head. “No need for that anymore, Remko. We’re all the same now.”
Remko growled softly. He’d been the captain of our guard. Now he destroyed things with swords before handing the weapons off to be swallowed by the sword swallower. While most of us didn’t routinely go around armed anymore, Remko still carried a pair of curving daggers hidden in the small of his back. Even when he was performing. I loved this about him.
We led the horses past and Remko contented himself managing the gate.
“Machlah says to tell you that the Circus Master wants to move west tomorrow,” Remko leaned on the fence and watched us rub down the horses. “He plans to go to Magadar—I think he hopes for better crowds there.”
“We had a crowd tonight,” I said.
Ayglos grimaced. “A ragged crowd—The Circus Master must’ve lowered the prices quite a bit to get so many. Times are hard.”
I said nothing and finished grooming my gray. We turned the horses loose and Remko let us out through the gate. Rather than dwell on the probability of actually leaving Daisen Bay, I turned to Ayglos: “Olena, Balleck, and I are going to see the end of the festival in town tonight. You should come with us, Ayglos.”
Ayglos hesitated and I saw Remko’s shoulders stiffen.
I hadn’t told Remko about this plan, before now, and I already knew his objections. I preempted: “Gillenwater is not so close to either Galhara or Hirhel that we need to worry overmuch about being recognized.”
“There is a large garrison in Gillenwater,” replied Remko, “And the Nether Queen’s forges.”
“Then we shall wear disguises.” Problem solved.
Remko looked unconvinced but Ayglos was satisfied. I smirked to myself—doubtless the promise of Olena’s presence made him easier to persuade. “I need to change,” I held up my leafy skirt, “We’re meeting by the entrance.”
“I guess I’ll find us disguises,” Ayglos tipped his head.
I saw Remko frown at him as I turned and headed to our family’s little tent to lose my wild-tree-girl attire and restrain my wild dark hair. Our tent was empty—I lit a lamp and changed clothes hurriedly. Everyone else would be working still—Remko, Ayglos and I were performers, now; our work was done for the night. My parents and my other siblings, Nadine and Namal, would have at least another hour of work after the show finished. I tugged a homespun tunic over my slim trousers and wrapped a leather belt around my waist. I fussed with the sleeves and wrinkled my nose at the shapeless attire. Truthfully, I didn’t mind the circus part of our new life, but I wasn’t hugely fond of the clothes.

Friday, August 21, 2015

chiffon and baby blue

ravenslanding-1

A gift, a handmedown, a clearance belt and a tag sale bangle...All rolled together into a comfortable outfit that just made me feel classy and ready to take on the day. That's what style is for.


Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Vicarious

This is the Ham.

aug-2738

The Ham rides Midas.

ravenslanding-3

With me earthbound, and the Ham an aspiring actor, we've taken this summer to really up the anti for his riding. No one learns more than a teacher, and the Ham has been my good natured guinea pig for teaching more complicated concepts of riding.

It's my first time teaching them, and I feel my articulation is bumbling and sometimes seems contradictory. I mean, pushing the horse forward to the halt, wut? Squeezing your legs and hands and last closing the outside rein to bring about a square halt?

And don't get me started on two-point.

Half the time it's a concept I thought I understood completely, but then I go to teach it and discover there is a lot I didn't know--so we put that thought on hold and I do some reading.

I've learned to not be afraid to say I don't know, I'll get back to you. Or say that I don't fully understand something. It's the only way to learn, and I don't want to have to say, "Remember that thing I told you last week? Yeah....with great conviction? I was wrong." Though I will, if it comes to that. I'd rather have the Ham, and Midas, doing the right thing than not.

I'm also starting to learn that the more you know, the more the rules are bendy. There are a few things that are always true, but how you move your hands and legs moves different parts of the horse and gets different responses. Once you know how to get different responses, you can put your hands wherever you need to in order to correct an issue. Course, some issues are more common than others...but this is making my brain hurt as I try to grasp it in a quantifiable way rather than instinctive.
ravenslanding-4


But, this summer is getting exciting. We've introduced jumping again--and its going much more smoothly than last year. Midas gets super stoked and forgets ALL HIS MANNERS under saddle--including "don't buck" when he gets really into it. My goal is to make it a low key (if happifying) event which he gets to do regularly.

We're actively working toward that with a nice little cross rail in the grass. We'll mix trips over the cross rail with figures and direction changes on the blue stone.

And this week we cantered. Like, on purpose. And Midas didn't lose his mind. I'm excited that he hasn't forgotten the work I put on him way back in April about canter.

When we were done Midas looked totally wiped, but extremely happy.

Monday, August 17, 2015

1-Fools Rush In



 

1-Fools Rush In


 

I really hadn’t expected to be here again, hiding in the water watching another life burn to the ground. Three lives in less than a year. Fire swallowed the night in orange haze. It danced on the water and licked up the buildings nearest the burning palace, drowning even the last sounds of swords and death.

It consumed everything.

It looked like blood eddying before my eyes and filling my world with emptiness. Too numb to cry, I started to paddle away, towing Quill’s body and keeping his head above water. We had been fools. It was time to leave.
*

Friday, August 14, 2015

Customized Jurassic Park Tee

It's not really much of a refashion--though, I guess I did find this tee in the men's section at Wal Mart.  I love the men's section--their geeky t-shirts are way better, plus they don't shrink like women's shirts. Why is that?

This particular tee is one of those super soft worn jersey fabrics that are so comfortable.

The hemming was a pain, but it's worthwhile because it extends the life of the tee.

I basically cut off the sleeves and added claw slashes to the back. It makes me stupidly happy.


August






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