Raven's Pen

Writing, Reading, and Ruminating

Month: December 2015

A Bit about Kwanzaa

How it is the second to last day of 2015 already?

It seems impossible that it is will be 2016 on friday…. that fact also means that this post is late; but not too late.

Happy Kwanzaa to everyone who is celebrating!

Because it is still Kwanzaa, I have decided to pull together a short description of what Kwanzaa is.

Kwanzaa is a cultural holiday that was created in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Karenga; his goal was to bring those with African heritage together. The celebration of Kwanzaa often includes traditional dances, feasts, readings of poetry and stories of all types. Kwanzaa lasts for seven days, and candles are usually lit at the end of each day.

Why does Kwanzaa last for seven days? Dr. Maulana Karenga created what is usually called The Seven Principles, they consist of seven things to strive for to become a better person in the African-American community. Or simply a better person in general.

  1. Umoja (Unity)
  2. Kujichagulia (Self-Determination)
  3. Ujima (Collective work and Responsibility)
  4. Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics)
  5. Nia (Purpose)
  6. Kuumba (Creativity)
  7. Imani (Faith)

Unlike most of the holidays in december, Kwanzaa is not religious. It was originally thought of as an alternative to Christmas by a few people, but that view quickly faded. The fact that Kwanzaa is a cultural rather than religious holiday is one of the wonderful aspects of it; anyone who celebrates can do so without disrupting whatever faith or traditions they believe in.

The last night of Kwanzaa takes place on January 1st; it is often called The Day of Meditation because it is a time to reflect on the past year and everything that has happened. It is also a time to think about the future and community.

I think that sounds like a pretty amazing holiday.

Funny Fact: The name ‘Kwanzaa’ comes from the Swahili phrase ‘matunda ya kwanza’ which means ‘the first fruits’.

 

*More information about Kwanzaa: The Official Kwanzaa WebsiteHistory.com History of Kwanzaa, Kwanzaa History, History of Kwanzaa, Kwanzaa: History

A Bit of Christmas History

Belated Merry Christmas!

I hope everyone is having a great holiday month! And as I said that I would write a post with a bit about the history of Christmas… here it is!

Christmas is one of the most celebrated holidays around the world; however, it actually does not have a very nice history. I know I know, Christmas is a winter synonym for gifts, a feast, decorating trees and waking up way too early.

The thing is, the history of Christmas says something very different.

Christmas is thought of as a celebration of the birth of Jesus, however, no one seems to know when Jesus was born. According to the bible, Christmas should technically be celebrated in the middle of summer, or at least in January. Therefore, why is Christmas celebrated in December?

Because of Solstice, Yule and Saturnalia… also, there was an abundance of fresh meat. Many people will say that Christmas was placed where it is on the calendar because certain Christian churches wanted to convert everyone celebrating the other holidays placed in the same week. Other people will say that people simply wanted to be Christmas to be at a convenient time when it was a change of the seasons and they had the ability to have abnormally large feasts. Because Christian churches have a history of trying to convert people; I will say the latter is most likely.

However, everyone is entitled to their opinions… as long as those opinions do not hurt others.

Which is, unfortunately, not always the case when it comes to the history of Christmas.

Funny Fact: There are still a few places in the world (mostly Europe) that celebrate Christmas on January 5th.

Of course, there are many arguments to be made about many different things regarding Christmas; and unfortunately, most of them involve bloody traditions. One aspect of those bloody traditions are most likely related to Saternalia’s role in the history of Christmas. Of the pre-Christmas holidays in december, Saternalia and Yule seemed to influence Christmas the most.

Christmas is one of those holiday that people could write a whole book about one argument regarding it and still have many, many things left to say.

Historically, Christmas has been a day of bigotry and reticule. Surprisingly, many of the bloody moments in the history of Christmas occurred in the 17 and 1800s. For instance, in 1836 the Jewish community in Rome sent a petition to Pope Gregory XVI to ask him to stop an annual tradition of forcing Jews to run through the streets naked. Unfortunately, that was not to first case; nor was it the last.

Now, back to a very short description of Christmas history, and avoiding most of the gore…

Exactly who decided on December 25th?

The information that I have found points towards Pope Julius I. The first documented celebration of Christmas was held by Emperor Constantine of Rome in approximately 336 CE, but Christmas was not an actual holiday until Pope Julius I declared it as such a few years later.

Another Funny Fact: At many points through history some churches have banned the celebration of Christmas because of its relation to Saternalia and Yule.

How did this controversial holiday become what it is today? 

Christmas was brought over to the New World just like many other things; but it was not the commercial holiday that it is now. A large part of Christmas (at least today) is Santa Claus… and Santa Claus is a large reason for the commercialization of Christmas.

Santa Claus is actually linked to stories of a Turkish monk named Saint Nicholas. Saint Nicholas was known for being kind and generous; and many stories were based off of him. He was most likely born around 280 CE somewhere close to Patara. After his death, people would hold a feast on December 6 to honor him.

However, he did not become linked to Christmas in the USA until the late 1700s. In 1809 Washington Irving published a book titled Knickerbocker’s History of New York that mentioned an elf-like Santa Claus. And in 1810 John Pintard hosted a holiday party and commissioned Alexander Anderson to draw a portrait of Saint Nicholas. And then, in 1822, Clement Moore wrote A Visit from St. Nicholas (or An account of a Visit from Saint Nicholas). Eventually, Saint Nicholas became Santa Claus.

Yet another Funny Fact: Santa Claus is not the only magical being who brings gifts on Christmas; there are also Swiss, German, Scandinavian, Russian, Italian and French versions.

Well… that is a very short, and very broken up, version of the history of Christmas. I hope you had fun reading it… or I hope that it was interesting. Fun might not be quite right.

Regarding writing: I will have something up soon!

I hope everyone is having a wonderful week!

 

*If you want to read more about the history of Christmas, here are some of the articles and sites I found:

History of ChristmasChristmas Customs, Origin of Christmas, Christmas History, Santa Claus, Saturnalia and the Roots of Christmas, St. Nicholas origin of Santa and A Pictorial History of Santa Claus.

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays everyone!

Well… I am still not quite back to the normal blog schedule. I am working on it through!

Did you know that yesterday was the 21st of December? Of course you did… But do you know what the 21st and 22nd of December is? Besides being after Hanukkah, and before Christmas and Kwanzaa that is.

Last night was the longest night of the year. That means it is time to enter the wonderful world of research.

Alright… I missed posting last week… But I am still giving into my temptation to learn about a few of the holidays in December. I am planning on writing posts about the history of Christmas and Kwanzaa as well, but last night was Winter Solstice. And that calls for a special post of its own.

I know I know, this is supposed to be a blog about writing… well… I will post something writing related later. Do not worry. But I am still not going to tell you want it is: that is a secret.

Alright, back to the 21st of December.

Solstice is one of the oldest holidays; yes, it is far older than Christmas.

Winter Solstice means that today is officially winter, but do not despair! It also means that the nights will start to become shorter again.

There are numerous things to think about regarding Solstice and just as many different ways that it has been celebrated. Just like all things regarding history, there are multiple different versions; I have tried to put together a brief history but I am sure that a few things are missing.

Funny Fact: Solstice is one of the reasons why Christmas is held in December and not spring. But I will explain more about that in my post about Christmas…

Solstice is one variation off of many… Yule is German; Saternalia is Roman; the Dongzhi Festival is Chinese, but there are also Japanese, Korean and Taiwanese versions; the Mayans, Incas, and many Native tribes have also had their own versions of Solstice.

Also, do you remember that thing called Stonehenge? Yes? Stonehenge is also linked to Solstice.

Why are there so many versions of Solstice? If you live somewhere on earth, it is quite possible that someone who used to live where you do now has celebrated Solstice.

Come, please step inside the stone circle… We have somewhere to go.

Solstice means: ‘the sun stands still’. Why does the sun stand still? On the 21st of December, the Earth is  at a tilt with the North Pole pointing to the star Polaris; this means that the sun will rise farther south than any other day of the year and create the longest night of the year.

Now… I cannot sneak into an ancient peoples’ minds, but I will try ponder what those who first saw solstice might have thought…

Imagine that you are tending your house and the days are becoming shorter and shorter; someone has said that day might cease to exist entirely… what can you possibly do? Just as with many things, those who believe in gods or goddesses (whether they are elements are something else) pray and plead for the sun to be brought back.

Solstice was the original Armageddon. Well… once people realized that the world was not going to end each December, the longest night of the year became a celebration. At least, that seems right; who knows… History is a mystery. It is hard to be exact.

But it is time to go back to what is known about the 21st of December…

To begin: It seems that no one knows when Solstice was first celebrated; but it most certainly has been celebrated for centuries. Because there are so many different versions, here is a bit of history about a few of them:

Saternalia was an ancient Roman festival to honor Saturn. It consisted of seven days of feasting and a complete turn-over of the social hierarchy; slaves would be served by their masters, people would gamble, and crime was often permitted.

It sounds like quite a large amount of chaos; and it seems as though it was. Saternalia usually began on the 17th of December and ended on the 23rd… over the course of that time: people would gather in the Temple of Saturn, privately give gifts, and eat far more than usual. Food always seems to be included in celebrations.

It sounds pretty fun right? Well, mostly. Saternalia often ended in a human sacrifice; most of the time, this person was either a criminal or a slave who would be treated as a ‘king’ over the course of the festival; before being sacrificed at the very end. It is hard to know if this tradition of sacrifice began when Saternalia was modified from its original form in 217 BCE, or earlier. But I will leave that up to you to learn about if you wish.

Now, what was the reason for Saternalia? While Saternalia was related to Solstice and the return of the sun, it was also a festival that prayed for a good harvest in the coming year. Thankfully (or unfortunately) Saternalia is not celebrated anymore, but it has influenced Christmas… Which is something that I will say more about in the post about Christmas.

Alright… Let us move onto ancient Germany and the Norse gods:

Yule is an ancient German midwinter celebration, it is also called Yuletide and occasionally Juul. Unlike Saternalia, Yule is still celebrated by many factions of Paganism and Neo-Paganism. It is also festival that has been modified by those celebrating it in the past and present; because of this, there are many different ways that it has been celebrated.

In most old versions: Yule usually included a toast to Odin, a feast with ale, the burning of a Yule log, and caroling that was called wassailing.

What was the Yule log? Nowadays, a yule log is usually associated with Christmas, but it was originally a Yule tradition! It was believed that the Yule log should burn without ceasing until it is ash. But there is conflicting information: It is also said that people would keep a small piece of the Yule log with them during the course of the next year for luck.

Of all of the Solstice related traditions, Yule has probably influenced Christmas the most… And it is one of those that has been brought back in one of largest ways.

Modern Yule traditions often mimic those that are centuries old; while occasionally adding gifts to the list of celebratory actions.

Yule could easily have its own post; but let us move on…

The Donzhi Festival is a traditional Winter Solstice Festival that has also been celebrated in Japan, Korea and Taiwan. Unlike Saternalia and Yule, the Dongzhi festival is directly related to Ying and Yang beliefs; the longer days are symbolistic of good energy and light flowing faster.

The Dongzhi festival is centered around family spending time together; Tangyuan (glutinous rice balls in a syrup or broth) are usually made to symbolize the connections between people. And dumplings are almost always included, especially in Northern China. In some places, the Dongzhi festival is treated as the new year; everyone who is involved is remind that they must behave better after the festival because they are one year older since the last Dongzhi festival.

The literal translation of Dongzhi in Mandarin means ‘winter arrival’. And winter is most certainly arriving.

Now, I am going to skip over the rest of the Dongzhi festival and jump to something much older…

Wait, what about Native traditions regarding Solstice?

Well, that is exactly where this post is going next…

Because Solstice is a astrological phenomenon, it is probably not something to forget if your life centers around the land around you. And it most certainly was not. Which is where Stonehenge, Newgrange, Woodhenge and the Serpant Mound become relevant.

There are hundreds are places around the world where people have marked the winter and summer Solstices and the paths of the sun. Winter was often a time to slaughter animals for fresh meat (hence the many traditions of feasts), and to pay even more attention than usual to the world around you.

Because there are so many places and so much history attached to each place, I am not going to try and smash all of it into this post. I will leave the research that you wish to do up to you.

However, I will say that it is possible that Solstice has been celebrated since the Neolithic age; and that is amazing.

Since I have tried to explain a bit about the history of Solstice, I think an important question comes up: how is Solstice relevant today?

We live in a world where food is imported and placed on shelves in a store; water is brought into houses by pipes; and many people spend most of their time inside. In a world where the planting seasons and the movement of the sun is not as much of a concern as it used to be, where does Solstice fit in?

One obvious answer is that it is a tradition for the people who celebrate it; another answer is that is it often thought of as an ‘alternative Christmas’ because it is not nearly as commercialized… but that still leaves a lot of unanswered questions.

In my personal opinion: I believe that Solstice will always be important, even if is it simply remembered because of its astoundingly long history and unusually long night. The question why could continue on forever.. because this post is already so long, I will leave everything else for later.

Please feel free to leave a comment with information about any of the holidays in December, or wherever you are inclined to share, if you so wish (you can click on the title of this post and scroll down to the bottom of the page). I am always open to learning new things, especially when it involves history!

I hope you have a wonderful Solstice day! And a happy first day of winter as well!

Beautiful Cracks: Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Thirteen

The sun rises in the sky with a pale light. She crosses her arms and cringes as she changes into her normal form. It does not take long before she hears something scrambling along the rocks and Keone turns the corner of her boulders with a scowl.

It crosses its arms as well and drops its bag next to its feet, “You put a combustible rock in my bag!” She uncrosses her arms and moves towards it, “Of course I did, I wanted to make sure that you knew I was serious.” Keone tightens its crossed arms, “Well, I won’t have to tell anyone about you because Marie, or whoever it is, saw you on the scanner and knows that there is still a Hirpoun around here. They’re hunting for you just as you know. And there’s no where that you’ll be able to hide.”

She smiles with satisfaction, “Of course they’re looking for me. But you forgot one thing Keone, that’s exactly what I want.” Keone opens its mouth to respond; but it stops as she changes back into her Hirpoun form to tower above it, “Why else would I let you know what I am?” Keone scuffs its feet along the ground, “Well, it seems as though you’re already dead and you know it. The townspeople won’t allow you to live for much longer. You’ll be lucky if you have until tonight.” Her smile turns into a grin that makes her feel as though she is floating, “I’ll just have to move up my plan then.” “You have…a… plan?” Keone’s voice is a squeak, but it quickly drops back to normal, “If you have a plan, then why are you telling me that you have one? Because I might as well tell everyone and make sure that you can’t get anyway with anything. Everyone will know that you’re coming. If you’re playing a gamble, then you’re playing a very bad one.”

Keone turns around to leave, but she latches her hand onto its shoulder, “Oh, you’re not going to tell anyone. You see Keone, you’re part of my plan and you’re going to stay that way for as long as I want you to.” She mentally crosses her fingers and hopes that she is right, “I know that your ship’s people wouldn’t care about one life that’s lost, but many lives will be something different. And everyone knows that your life isn’t simply one life. You’re the thing that everyone asks when they want to know something. And you see that the universe is falling in the same way that I do.”

The words come out of her mouth on their own before she can stop them. Keone blinks and shakes its head, “No, you don’t know anything and I don’t know anything. Besides, what are you going to do with me? You can’t take me wherever you’re going to run to because it would be too easy to catch you. You can’t kill me because everyone will know and you’ll be in much more trouble. And you can’t use me because I’ll tell everyone about you.”

She smiles at his false words, “Of course you won’t tell anyone about me. You see things the same way that I do. And I could kill you without getting in trouble because I’m already in trouble; and I already have more power than you ever will.” She bites her lip briefly, “I’m going to let you go Keone; the same way that I did last time. But I’ll destroy you and everyone else if you tell anyone about me. Until then, let your ship’s beings know that they should have a good hunt.”

She grins again, and then she turns and leaps onto the boulders with her heart beating in her chest. She does not need to pretend that she does not exist anymore, and her new information will change her plan again. Keone is no longer the being that she thought it was. And now she has an actual asset for her cause.

She climbs into Sa’s cave and walks up to the Silosc, “My meetin’s over. Now we hav’ some things t’ do before th’ end of th’ day. Tell some of your beings t’ get an armful of those explodin’ rocks and bring them back here. We need at least an armful of th’ good ones. An’ tell your men t’ be mindful of where they step.”

The Silosc scowls at her, but he turns to his gang and divides her orders among them without complaining. She turns back to the entrance of the cave and tries not to look smug. Her heart roughly beats in her chest as she stares towards the town. She should have known that Keone was different, and she should as known that it would refuse to admit it. But she has been too busy planning to focus on anything else. She can only hope that Keone will come back and admit that it is like her.

But she doubts that it will. Even if they are similar, she is still an enemy and she will stay that way. She does not intend on trying to prove that she is any different than the demons and devils that her race is associated with.

Her plan will start a war if it goes the way that she hopes. Perhaps it will even do more than that and create something that will not be cast away easily. Keone would never forgive her for something such as that; but she does not care what Keone thinks. She is something that no one will be able to touch, and her abilities are far more complex than even she thought. No, she is not something to laugh at. And her plan’s name is destruction.

Something moves among the rocks, and she cannot hide her satisfaction as she sees Keone standing in between two boulders and waving its arms towards Sa’s cave. She smiles as she jumps out of the mouth of the cave and across the boulders in the path. Keone scowls at her as she lands next to it and grins, “So you came back did you? I knew that you would. You know just as well as I do that our differences are irrelevant.”

Keone’s scowl deepens as it crosses its arms, “I don’t agree with you and I don’t think that you have any right to do anything that you might be planning. I don’t even know if you’re telling the truth about us being similar, but I think that I might have something that you need. And I think that you’ll pay to get it. Whatever the cost is going to be.”

Her grin falters, “And what would that be? What could possibly be so important that I would risk something, anything, for it? What do you think you know that no one else could? You couldn’t possibly be that brilliant or that special.” Keone lifts its chin, “I see things, and the things that I see concern you and whatever sort of rebellion you’re trying to plan. Which is not going to go very well by the way.”

She grins again, “No, it won’t because everyone will be dead soon enough anyway.” Keone works its mouth open and closed a few times before turning its scowl into a demanding glower, “And what would you possibly know about that? You don’t have a prophesier in that group with you. That would be impossible because all of the prophesiers around the universe have been accounted for. At least, almost all of them have been, and I would know if there was someone else.”

She steps closer and looks down at Keone, “You would know if there was a prophesier, but you wouldn’t know if I’m around. You think that you know everything Keone, but the things that you see are just the beginning. I see everything else.” She mentally crosses her fingers that it will not see through her jest.

Keone moves backwards slightly, “Right, what does that mean? Are you saying that you are some sort of special being that can see the future? Or are you saying that I don’t know what I’m seeing? Because I can assure you that I do and whatever you happen to be seeing is wrong. I know what’s going to happen and I’m being nice enough to come and warn you that it’s not going to be good.”

She closes the distance in between them with a single step, “You’re wrong Keone, I know things that you never could. And the things that I’m seeing are things that you’ll never be able to imagine. You can take your deal and your offer to a different place, because I won’t be taking it from you. And I’ll most certainly not be paying. I know what I want and what is want is something that you’re going to give me whether I ask or not. I already have everything that I need, and the only thing that you need to decide is where you stand. Goodbye Keone, next time we see each other, I’ll either use you or kill you. The choice is your own, but you should think carefully because I won’t bother to give you enough time to decide.”

She turns and leaps behind the nearest boulder with her heart racing in her chest. She was right, after all of this time, she was right. She is not the only one who is seeing things, and she is also not the only one who can tell that things are not going to go according to plan no matter how firm her plan is.

She climbs back towards Sa’s cave. She has something that no one else does, and that is proof that things can be changed no matter how unlikely it is. No, she is stronger than she was an hour before and now she has everything that she needs. She only wishes that Sa would show her something.

She stumbles as her mind seems to melt and she wipes drool away from the corner of her mouth. It seems as though Sa is being nice and her wish is granted. She stumbles again and falls onto her back to stare at the sky. The sky changes into a dark galaxy, and then she is staring at Sa’s strange face.

Sa watches her, and then she is falling and falling without moving at all. Sa catches her hand and pulls her onto a planet with red dust. She looks across the flat ground and then she falls again; she lands in a haze covered town where everything is burning with a strange yellow light. The light tears through sheets that are hanging on a line and burns through the side of a wooden house with white slats. She runs without knowing why, and then she is standing in Sa’s cave with her feet blistering underneath her and the lines across her legs bulging. She tries to hide from a gust of wind that sends a flood of sand into the cave, but she ends up back in the endless galaxy with her hand clutched around Sa’s.

She wants to open her mouth and ask what she is seeing. But her mouth does not open when she wishes and Sa shakes a strange head. She falls back and back; until she is laying on sand covered rocks and her plan is running through her head. She has things to do. Too many things to do.

Copyright © 2015 ravenspen.com

All rights reserved.

The Beginning of the Editing Swamp

Another week has passed… I think that I am still in a post-NaNoWriMo and post-traveling time warp. Oh well!

The twelfth chapter of Beautiful Cracks has been posted now though. Going on trips seems to add spaghetti to calendars. Maybe the calendars are made out of spaghetti. Or maybe time is a large bowl of spaghetti.

Well Time, the blame is not entirely your own. (I am still looking for that secret postoffice though.)

I have very exciting news: I finished the rough draft of Subliminal!

The mad scientist always creates more problems than solutions… but this is a book and not a kindhearted monster named Frankenstein; and I am not a mad scientist. Right? I truly hope so.

Back to the news: This means that I might actually be able to publish Subliminal next year… It also means that I have a lot of editing to do.

Editing can be extremely troublesome. Actually, I think that might be an understatement. Editing is a train that is trying its hardest to stay on a wobbly track.

I am new to editing; I have started editing a few of my novels, but I have finished editing any of them. At the moment, Subliminal is a mess; just like so many other first drafts.

Countless people have said that first drafts are usually a mess, it is always something to remember, because staring down an unedited manuscript can be extremely daunting. It is hard not to think about the many pages that you have ahead of you and all of the errors that you will have to fix.

Because of that, mind games are important… so is trying to imagine what it will look like when it is done. I think that it is also important to let a graft it before editing it; even if it is only for a short amount of time.

It is easier to edit without too much judgment if you distance yourself from what you have just written first.

Let your draft sit in a drawer or on your desk. Maybe look at it every once in a while  to admire it, or maybe forget about it entirely. Either way, I do not recommend reading through more than a few paragraphs right after your finish, it is often a downhill slope to ‘what kind of horrible thing have I just written’.

Try not to go there, it is extremely dangerous. You have been warned.

Alright… now, how does someone edit?

The same way you write: sit down and stare at your paper, and eventually you will be able to get somewhere.

The magical recipe for editing seems to be about the same as it is for NaNoWriMo and creative work in general:

  • Persistence.
  • Determination.
  • If you wish: A partner in crime (imaginary or not)… whoever this is should also have the ability to deal with episodes of frustration and multiple page long rants.
  • A dash of craziness.
  • Oh, and much more determination.

Just like every other recipe, it is important to stir well. The type of pot or cauldron you use is entirely up to you. I recommend keeping the ingredients around at all times. Just in case.

Beautiful Cracks: Chapter Twelve

Chapter Twelve

She tries to hide her smile as the Silosc approaches her with the rest of his gang close behind. “What kind of thing do ya’ hav’ planned?” She smiles at the Silosc again, “First, I want t’ make sure tha’ everyone knows where they stand. I’m as much in charge here as ya’ ar’ if we’re going t’ do this. Ya’ can give tha’ orders, but I’m tha’ boss too.” The Silosc scowls and spreads his hands, “Fine, but ya’ better hav’ somethin’ t’ offer.”

She smiles again with her legs steadying underneath her, “I hav’ somethin’ better than tha’, I hav’ someone. An’ someone tha’ I can use. In fact, I hav’ already set the beginnings of a plan up, an’ the only thing t’ do now is make a deal. Do we hav’ one?” “We might, if ya’ hav’ somethin’ t’ offer tha’ ain’t just a promise. I don’t deal in promises girlie. I only deal in things that I know can be useful.”

She smiles again with her stomach tightening, “Very well, than why don’t ya’ follow me back t’ th’ cave where ya’ met me tha’ first time. I hav’ somethin’ t’ show ya’ if ya’ want proof.” The Silosc waves to his gang for them to move in closer, “How do I know tha’ what your wantin’ t’ show us agin’t a trap?” She smiles again, “Because I hav’ many way t’ trap ya’, an’ I asked ya’ t’ come here instead of dragging ya’ here. Do ya’ doubt what I can do? Because that’s just another reason for ya’ t’ follow me. I think ya’ might be pleased when ya’ see what I hav’ already.”

The Silosc purses his lips and regards her for a moment, before waving her forwards, “Fine, but ya’ goin’ first an’ ya’ leadin’ th’ way as well.” She grins, “I wouldn’t expect it t’ be any other way.” Her feet slip slightly on the rocks as she crouches. And she crosses her fingers that her plan will work as she leads the gang back to Sa’s cave. She stops as she reaches the entrance and smiles back at the Silosc before stepping inside, “Ya’ hav’ nothin’ t’ fear in here. Th’ ones who hav’ t’ fear are the ones in town.”

The Silosc frowns as she motions towards the entrance of the cave and looks towards the town with her heart beating in her chest. It should not take much longer. “What do ya’ hav’ t’ show us? I ain’t plannin’ on playing games here girlie, an’ I hav’ th’ mind t’ kill ya’ before we leave this place.” She looks over her shoulder with a grin as she sits down towards the mouth of the cave and pats the ground next to her, “I don’t think tha’ ya’ will want t’ kill me. Th’ thing I want t’ show ya’ ain’t here, but this th’ best place t’ watch. Come on, join me and wait for a few moments, I’m sure tha’ it won’t take much longer.”

The Silosc frowns in disbelief, but he joins her at a safe distance and stands with his arms crossed, “I don’t see anythin’ that’s makin’ me want t’ change my mind about your existence.” She leans back on her hands and crosses her fingers tightly. If she was wrong, than she will die sooner than she thought she would. But at least she will not end up dying by the council’s settlers hands.

She can still hope that she was right; and she can hope that the settlers will turn the fence on soon. The fence sparks, and then it flares to life with a snap that turns into the ringing of electricity. The Silosc turns towards her, “I don’t see anythin’ girlie.” She smiles thinly and watches the town with her heart racing in her chest, “Wait for a moment Silosc, this ain’t th’ right time yet.”

The Silosc opens his mouth to answer, but he is cut off as an explosion sounds through the air. A ring of fire leaps into the sky from the center of the town and dissipates in the dark sky. She turns towards the Silosc with a smile as he watches the ensuing fire leap onto a ring of buildings, “What do ya’ think about a partnership now? Does it interest ya’ any more than it did? I can still go my own way, but yer the first group t’ get my offer.”

The Silosc turns towards her with the flames from her fire reflecting in his eyes, “Very well, I think we might hav’ th’ beginnings of a deal. But tha’ still doesn’t prove th’ ya’ have more of a plan.” She stands up with a grin, “Why would I do somethin’ like th’ if I didn’t hav’ more of a plan? No, I hav’ more of a plan, and I hav’ many more plans after that.”

The Silosc scowls in disapproval. But he turns towards the center of Sa’s cave and finds a place on a large fallen rock that looks like a stepstool. The rest of his gang watches him as they stand around the cave with their weapons in their hands. She tries not to fiddle with her fingers as she waits for him to say something. And she cannot hold back her sigh when he points towards her, “I think we hav’ some things t’ discuss. This doesn’t mean tha’ I’m in, but this does mean tha’ ya’ get t’ hav’ a change t’ prove ya’ know what your doin’.

“Th’ beginnings of a deal still stand, but I’m th’ only one who gives orders t’ my boys. Ya’ get to come up with some of th’ plans, but that’s it. I get total control an’ that’s goin’ t’ be final.” She nods and stalks towards him, “Perhaps, but I get t’ call things if anythin’ goes in a different direction than expected. I get t’ make th’ decisions if somethin’ goes wrong. An’ tha’ is final as well. Ya’ might hav’ control, but I’m still th’ ones who’s makin’ th’ plans.”

The Silosc scowls and looks across the faces of his followers, “Fine. But everything goes through me first. Tha’ is th’ way tha’ it’s goin’ t’ be, an’ it’s goin’ t’ stay tha’ way.” “Very well,” She finds a place on another rock across from him, “Than we might as well begin with somethin’ t’ do tomorrow. I hav’ a plan tha’ will work well for tomorrow, but there’s someone tha’ I hav’ t’ meet to make sure it will stay.

“There’s a being from the town tha’ came on th’ ship an’ I think it’s goin’ t’ come lookin’ for me again. Ya’ will stay out of sight an’ I’m goin’ t’ hav’ a conversation.” The Silosc scowls, “Why don’t we just take it and use it like everyone else? Ya’ forget tha’ I’m in charge.” She stands up and looks down at him with the gangs weapons clicking towards her again, “An’ ya’ forget tha’ I’m th’ one who’s goin’ t’ come up with th’ plans. An’ this being happens t’ be part of a plan tha’ I don’t intend on lettin’ ya’ mess up. I’m in change for now, ya’ can leave if ya’ can’t handle tha’. But ya’ know tha’ this is a war that’s goin’ t’ happen at one point or another whether ya’ like it or not. An’ I happen t’ have a way t’ get ahead of it without ruining our chances. Right?”

The Silosc scowls, but he does not object. She turns her attention to the gang surrounding them, “As I was sayin’, I’m goin’ t’ hav’ a conversation with this being. An’ your goin’ t’ stay out of th’ way. I’ll tell all of ya’ th’ next part of my plan when I’m done.”

The Silosc’s scowl deepens, “Tha’ ain’t th’ deal. Ya’ just don’t want any of us t’ be able t’ follow your plan without ya’.” She smiles thinly, “Perhaps not, but I also told ya’ tha’ I need t’ hav’ this conversation before I know which version of th’ plan I’m goin’ t’ use now. Your goin’ t’ follow along with my conditions because ya; know ya’ hav’ t’, an’ I’m right despite what ya’ might say t’ yourself.”

The Silosc glowers at her, but he relents and turns away after a moment to speak to his gang. She tries to hide her sigh of relief as she glances towards the town; she is in a lot of trouble if Marie truly in in charge. It will not take long for Marie to realize what she is. And Marie already knows that she has a Sight.

At least, now she is not alone. And she will quickly have an advantage if she is right about the ship’s beings. Until then, she can only hope that Sa will show her something before she is forced to move onto the next part of her plan. She stands up and moves to the front of the cave to cross her arms.

Now she is living with her enemies, but it is one of the safest places that she could be. She is sure that Keone will come looking for her again, and she will be waiting when it does. Keone will either try to destroy her or ignore her, and she will happily take either. She can still use it again if she needs to. And she will need to.

She needs to find out what Keone’s abilities are so that she can turn it into her own weapon. She was right about the rocks, and now she will need something even better. She has an entire group of beings to command now. They may not follow her orders without the Silosc telling them what to do and they will not die for her, but the possibility of a mutiny only makes her job more interesting.

She will use the tricks that are played on her against her enemies and she will make sure that she always has a backup plan. No one will catch her when she does not want to be caught if she can help it. And Marie… Marie is a variable that she does not like. But Marie is not her friend anymore; she became an enemy the instant that the ship landed.

If there is one thing that she can accredit to the settlers, it is that they always know who has their loyalty. Her loyalty is to herself, and that is the way it will stay.

She turns away from the town with a frown; it is time to become the devil and demon that she is called. It is time to become the seer and the prophecy. She is sure that someone must have delivered a prophecy to the council of beings at some point. They would not have tried to ‘reform’ her planet without it.

Regardless of what the prophecy might say, she will create her own version and bring it down on their heads. Perhaps she is starting a war simply because she does not have anything better to do. But it feels right; her plan feels right. And that seems to be something that only Sa could give her.

She turns around and faces the Silosc again, “I’ll leave for th’ night, ya’ stay here an’ I’ll check in th’ mornin’ before I hav’ my meetin’.” The Silosc scowls and opens his mouth to object, but she steps off of the cave’s ledge before he can say anything.

Her legs catch her as she lands in between two large boulders towards the bottom of the mountain. She might not be invisible, but the sensors can only move so quickly. She can assume that she is safe for the moment. She jumps from boulder to boulder to find the spot where Keone found her.

She wedges herself in between the two large boulders and watches the sky as she waits. She has not slept since she turned to her Hirpoun form, but she is not tired. Her natural form seems to have even more advantages than she thought it did. And now she will have to use all of them.

She listens to the wind that rushes in between the rocks as she leans against the boulders. What if she is wrong about Keone? But she will not be, she knows what to expect. She can guess for her entire life, but now she is the master of a plan and she needs to know instead of thinking.

She will create the things that she needs and she will learn the abilities of each of the beings in the Silosc’s gang. She will use them as she will use everything else around her; and perhaps they will be lucky enough to live for the next few days. The Silosc was right, this is not a war that anyone will be able to win; but she is going to try. Even if it is only to prove that she can.

She chews her nails, she might be her parent’s daughter, but she is different in too many ways. She has always been living inside a dream world with Sa watching over her, and now it is time for her to be a Hirpoun. This is who she is supposed to be- this is what she is supposed to be. And Sa will have to tell her when it is time to stop. The family that watched a city sink is here, and she is watching them. The time is coming for things that are impossible.

Copyright © 2015 ravenspen.com

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December is Here and an Early Announcement

I apologize for my absence lately!

Things have been extremely busy around here; NaNoWriMo is now over (I finished with 135k, which is more then I have ever written in November); my parents and I spent Thanksgiving in Minnesota with my mom’s side of the family (a lot of family gatherings, my cousin’s bat mitzvah, and several people under the age of ten); and I am trying to decide upon a schedule for the rest of the year.

I started writing multiple posts, but none of them ended up being finished… hopefully I can use them for another time.

And now it is December.

Wait, how is it december already?

It should be November again, or maybe even October. Unfortunately, I still have not found a way to request an extra week. Or an extra month. Maybe there is a secret postoffice for  letters to Time that I have yet to find.

I am entirely unused to the idea of this being the last month of the year.

Because this is the first of December, this post needs a quote:

“I’m writing a first draft and reminding myself that I’m simply shoveling sand into a box so that later I can build castles.” ~ Shannon Hale

A first draft is always important indeed.

This last month, I have spent a lot of time working on two horrible first drafts. Thankfully, I have not read them over yet and decided to delete them; it helps that I still have not finished either of the stories. I am going to let them sit in a drawer for a while before editing once they are done.

It is protection against frustration. Although, small amounts of frustration are most likely unavoidable.

Alright, enough of that… Now I am going to bring up another sideways topic:

How many of you write new years’ resolutions? My family and I always do. Well, almost always. It is close enough to always that I will ignore the minor inaccuracies.

I am already thinking about my new years’ resolutions for this coming year. There, I have said it. I am bringing this up because there is something pretty important included: I am planning on publishing.

What will I be publishing, prey tell? Do you remember the synopses that I posted at the end of October for my NaNoWriMo novels? Well, one of them is Subliminal; and Subliminal might end up being my first published book if things go well.

At the moment, my first draft is still not finished; but it is getting closer, and I intend on having a complete first draft before January.

I am pretty excited. Extremely excited.

Things are not set into stone… but publishing Subliminal in 2016 is a viable possibility, and so I am going to hope for the best. I have other announcements regarding that particular book, but I am going to set most of them aside for now; although, I will mention that Subliminal is the beginning of a larger set of stories.

Why is Subliminal on the top of my “I wish to publish list” right now?

  • It is shorter than most of the things that I have written, and therefore, editing does not seem nearly as daunting.
  • It is about halfway done at the moment.
  • It has actual chapter breaks; unlike many of the other things that I am working on.
  • I really like the story; although, it is very different then what I usually write.
  • I already have a temporary cover.

It is also a story with many possibilities. I like possibilities.

Alright, that is the news for now. I hope to put up the next chapter of Beautiful Cracks soon, until then: Welcome Dear December. I hope everyone is having a great week so far.

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