Monday, February 29, 2016

February Kinship Challenge: "Our Imaginary Friend".

Perchance we traveled late one eve, through a forest glen,
and spied a funny looking woman of the race of Men.

Her clothes were loose-fitting, like something you'd wear at night,
Yet she was in the middle of the forest with nary a house nor a bed in sight.

She sat aloft in the trees, watching as we drew near,
It was so unexpected to see her, I asked; "How'd you get here?".

Her hair was short and eyes so bright, I couldn't help but smile,
With a cheerful shrug she replied; "I've been here for awhile."

"I climbed this tree on spur of thought, imagining I was someone new;
Like an elf or a tree spirit." she said. I smiled, "Hey, I do that too!"

We talked for an hour or so, getting to know our funny friend,
Yet by and by the sun was set, and I knew our meeting must end.

I asked, "Have you anywhere to go where you will be alright?"
"I have," she said, "And it's not far, but this is where I'm spending the night."

This puzzled Taivian and I, as you might think for sure,
As fun as imagining is, reality must be considered; and a tree was no place for her.

"Why?" I asked, she smiled broadly with the funny charm of a clown,
Finally she admitted, "I don't know how to get down.".

P.S Taivian drew the picture, I just colored it.

February Kinship Challenge--"Friendship Across Distance"

This is Amdiriel, a dear friend of mine.  I tried to capture her likeness as best I could--it's been a few years or so since I saw her last.  You might be thinking to yourself that that's a name of Stoningland (or Gondor, as some folk call it), and you'd be right.  How did I meet a woman of Stoningland?  Well, it all started a few summers back...

I can still remember it quite clearly.  After all, it's not every day that you get a visitor from all the way in Stoningland.  After helping out around the farm in the morning, I'd gone over to visit Wigmund, my master.  As usual, we spent some time going over the songs and tales he'd taught me most recently, until I could rattle them off in my sleep.  Like he always says, a minstrel's mind is just as important as his voice or his instrument.  Or maybe even more so, for where would I be if I forgot a tale?  Then we really got down to business.  That day, he taught me songs of Brytta Léoffa, son of Fréalaf, and how he earned his name from helping those who needed it most.  

Ah, right, on to meeting Amdiriel.  Master Wigmund had just released me for the day, and so I met up with Léofstan and a couple of friends to head down to the tavern and relax a little.  Well, who should we bump into on the way but Eardwulf and his wife Elwen (she was from Stoningland, you know).  But there was someone else with them--a short dark-haired girl that Elwen introduced as her brother's daughter, who was going to visit with them for the summer in Cliving.  I'll admit, at first, I wasn't quite sure what to make of Amdiriel.  Oh, not that I thought her a bad sort--but she was rather quiet, is all.  Or so I thought at first.

As the days passed, Léofstan and I soon became friends with Amdiriel.  We showed her around Cliving and all the best places to visit.  We even introduced her to Swiftstride and Thunderhoof, which she liked very much. She soon began to show a keen interest in the Riddermark--especially its stories.  I was eager to tell her what I knew, for there's nothing quite so grand as someone hearing a real rip-roarer of a tale for the first time, and I have to admit that I was proud to share the stories that people of the Mark loved so well.  I sang of Eorl and how he became the first king, of Brego his son, and of Aldor the Old and his long reign.  I told stories of kings and shieldmaidens, of brave riders and even crofters and other simple folk.  I even snuck in a few tales of the adventures (or should I say mischief?) that Léofstan and I got up to.  And in return, she told me of Stoningland--of her home and her family.  And let me tell you, you wouldn't think her quiet when she found something she wanted to talk about!  She spoke of books, and how much she loved to read them.  She spoke of them like they were a precious treasure, finer than gold or silver.  Books, she said, could take you to wonderful places if you only let them.  She talked of certain tales, and how opening the pages of a book was like meeting with an old and dear friend, how the writing was like making a picture with words.

She talked of one day writing down the tales that danced in her mind--and the frustration of staring at a blank piece of parchment and trying to get the words out.  And she even taught me something of letters!  I'll admit, Master Wigmund wasn't quite sure what to make of that...  Reading and writing isn't very common among the Eorlingas, save for learned folk.   He said that the songs and tales would fall out of my head, that writing them down would make me forget.  But I'm not so sure that's right.  I love my craft, but I don't think there's anything wrong with books.  A minstrel's voice might fade, but ink and parchment will last for a long time, and so will the songs and stories that we love.

But all good things have to come to end, I suppose.  And in time, that long and happy summer ended, and my new friend left with it.  Back to Stoningland, back to the town and family that she loved so.  She promised to write to me--and that if I ever came to Stoningland, I was to come and visit, which I readily agreed to.  After all, does distance mean anything to friendship?  

And I'm happy to say that we still send each other letters as often as we can.  She's a scribe now in Stoningland, responsible for writing down facts and figures--and she tells me that she's writing a book of stories, as well.  Stories of the Mark!  And not just tales of the kings, either, but the sort of tales that I told her.  Can you believe it?  A whole book of the folk-tales I'd heard as a boy...  There will even be pictures--and she said that she's adding my name to the book, so that all who read it will know of her friend Gladwine son of Léofwine. 

February Kinship Challenge: "The Mother I Never Knew"

On the back of a tattered parchment is a faded painting of a woman. At the bottom of the painting, in childish scrib, is written this inscription:


This is my mother. When I'm all alone at night, and it's too cold to sleep, I dream about her. I imagine what she must be like, my mother who I never knew.

There is something special about her eyes. I can never get them right. That bothers me. There's something to them that only my heart sees, I guess, I can see how much she loves me. But when I try to draw them, it's not there. And that spoils the whole thing. So I've stopped trying to draw them.

I focused on her hair instead. It's thick and dark, like mine. I got my hair from her. She likes to brush mine and tell me that. She's a nurturer. I don't think she would ever hurt anybody on purpose. And I'm the most special person in the world to her, so she is extra careful not to hurt me.

The orcs were fighting today. Someone got killed. The bosses made a big deal shouting about it. My mother would never fight or shout. She has a soft, gentle voice that soothes those around her. She's a peacemaker, always tries to avoid fighting... to a fault. She's a bit too timid. If the orcs shouted at her, she would probably put on a brave face for a while, but when she was alone, she would cry. And I would have to go and crack them all a good one for it. Nobody shouts at my mother.

Sometimes I cry too. But I never let anyone see it. No one but her. And she understands. She wipes away my tears and tells me to be strong. She reminds me of all the yesterdays I've gotten through. "You'll just have to get through tomorrow, too," she'll tell me. She's stubborn like that. My mother never gives up. I shouldn't either.

I think she's like an Elf. She loves to grow plants and take care of animals. But if I ever told her she's like an Elf, she'd blush and say she wasn't. She'd tell me how clumsy and plain she is. But I wouldn't see it. She's the most beautiful person I know. She'd tell me about all the mistakes she's made. But I would only half-listen. None of those things would matter to me. Because, to me, she is perfect.

Erauniel, age 10

February Kinship Challenge: "Lost Memory of a Childhood Fantasy"

-I lay back beneath Old Roots, resting my eyes on his strong branches. They seemed to separate the light beams streaming down from the sun to kiss my face. A warm summer breeze begins it's delicate dance through my hair like playful sprites through a hollow. Taking in the comforts of the shire about me, I close my eyes..  But wait.. That sound. I have heard it before. There it is again!.. The ringing laugh, two children playing.. Why so familiar?

-At once I stand within a glade of the Golden Wood. Is it morning? Several sunbeams have escaped the barricade of the trees, finding their way across golden leaves littering the ground before me, as though I stood on sparkling treasure.

-Where are you?  

-The air is peaceful and warm all about me, I know I am safe here.. Yet, my soul is wrought with anguish. There is pain, and fear.. I cannot reach out, others flee my silence. What has happened? It has stopped my utterance. I desperately search for a hand to hold, someone to tell me "I care," Someone who can understand my wordless speech, just a listening ear..

-Then, like soft wild cherry blossoms, I feel a hand has softly been placed upon my shoulder, a tender love expressed through touch.. Words are not needed here.

-I turn. Who are you, woman?
Why does your aqua blue eyes bring me such comfort? Your genuine laugh fills my heart with such childhood glee, I wish to run and leap across the golden trees.

-You have felt what now I feel, the loss, the panic, and need for someone to just be there. You understand, Yet I have not breathed a word..

For a moment, I pull my eyes from the woman clothed in blue. I recognize the tall old one, rich in golden leaf, and perch stretching forth for the tired wing. I often retreated here, below his ever steady watch. It offered understanding.. For it too stood silent, owning no voice.

This was my favorite spot, though at first hard to recall. It was here that I- .. I discovered you.. Returning my thoughts to the woman, I see a smile steadily grow over her face.    

-We visited kingdoms, flown with the fae-folk, sung with Ents, and danced beneath waters with River-maidens. Once I hid my eyes from you. My back turned, you ran from me and I could not find you. I searched till alas, the sun fell, and when I could not find you.. so did my heart. But you had chased behind me all the way, ne'er letting yourself be caught! When you saw my heart sink you came immediately with an embrace, letting me know it was alright.

-We shared secrets, our deepest desires.. Yours was of a wish for eternal love that lasts for far more then a century. We shared love for the beauty of our worlds, the seasons and flowers.. I shared with you my song of the trees, for you alone could hear my voice.. You captured the world on a canvas of color, but searched for more to make it choice.

-You own many a fault, Errors, you have known not a few. Yet you do not allow yourself to give in to the heartache there. Your frustrations have manifested long through the night, watering a pillow and from thus taking flight. However, something is there, amid the dark moments of your journey. A light, not your own, glows within your eyes. Your heart burns with something, reaching far above ocean and skies.    

- How could I have forgotten the days we spent in the Golden Glade? You were my comfort amid those lonely days. I never had to be more to you, you loved the way I stayed. You wished me to be happy, free from the dark past that surrounded me. Though you could not fix what had taken away my song, you offered companionship and play where there was none.

-I won't forget again, my friend. Those days we were together. You taught me there was healing near, one just needed to look past what dies. Though one disappears from our view, their not gone forever..  They wait where truth dwells. Each will see their own again, but a duty must be fulfilled. Which is why I stay upon the sand, and do not cross over to the sea. There is something keeping me..

-My role to fill has not ended, yet our time in splendor hath.  Though life continues on for me, I shall not forget that secret place, the time we were together. You will forever be my treasured memory that I won't ever again to bury..

-Never, will I forget...

~Assyle of Lothlorien      

Monday, February 1, 2016

The Captain's Paradox


The Race of Man is a young one ... but it is aging quickly, I should think . There are a great many lessons to be learned, and we are not so privileged as the race of your kin to boast of a lengthy existence to learn these in . Even the Halflings time in this world, by comparison, is longer . Mankind is apt to failure, imperfections, and discontent . We chase shadows and danger in pursuit of happiness , but at the end of the day limp back to where we started, wondering why we ever left ...

Everything must have its opposite . How could we ever know how to truly appreciate the sweet if bitter had never passed through our lips? Would we really know happiness, if we had never experienced the suffering by which to contrast it? The nature of Man, with which you are well acquainted, dictates that we would not . We take for granted the happiness until we have experienced misery--happiness is simply the way things are, or were, until it is not, and we would become bored were it the only thing we ever knew and forever unmarred by a thing less pleasant .

We, all of us, long to be truly understood--yet by whom?

I am reminded of the theatre, The masterful player entraps his audience with his performance ; I watch wide-eyed as his story unfolds before me upon the stage--but not a thing of wood and paint alone, for now, as I watch, it becomes his world . I live there with him, and not so, for I am a spectator only . I have a space that only his heart shares, knowing the things about him that only he knows . He expresses by a word, a movement, the expression upon his face those innermost thoughts to me, to his audience . For the story to be a story, we must be able to relate to him in that way, to understand and know those hidden things . His fellow players, in their act, do not know these things . Not until they are revealed to them .

So it is on the stage of our lives . The hidden things are known to the heart, yet not always to those with whom we share the stage . 

But this is not news to you, and such musings are meaningless, at the end of the day. For all the reason I try to put to it, this heart of mine cannot be satisfied . I desire an impossible validation . The madness is that I know such validation is outside my reach--if ever it existed to begin with--and yet I claw hopelessly after it, regardless .

Like the player on the stage, in the next act I too will remove the costume, peel back the mask . There shall be another under it, and, when it suits me, I shall exchange it for another . My name is Captain Evonfall . That is one of my many names . It is the one I favour best, at present . You know me better by another name, another guise--a guise that places itself before all others, which shuns responsibility and commitment . It makes itself giddy on stirring up trouble and drowns its misery at the tavern . I do not blame you in the least for questioning my motives .

You have the advantage, though . You have my trust where few others do . Perhaps soon you will be able to piece together each of my facades, for each one is truly a part of me . I would not have been able to keep them so long were it otherwise . I fear that Wavern has accounted all of it to just another layer of the mask, just another lie, and I have lost her trust .

I thank you, my friend, for remaining at my side . I cannot express to you how precious your company is to me . Hold on, I beg you, just a little longer . Let us see where this road goes . Two bloodlines course through my veins, as conflicting as the darkness is from the light . At the first I rejected the black destiny I was born for, and for years I have contented myself in the muddied place between the darkness and the light--ashamed of the dark, unworthy of the light . The time has come for me to truly explore the light--though I can no more fully embrace it than I can rid my blood of the blackness that taints it . Your support to me in this venture means more to me than you can ever know . Wherever this road leads, I must know its end .