Monday, September 12, 2016


  Dear Mother,

It's been a while since I've last written to you. As it stands, I am currently in the majestic Elven home of Rivendell, preparing to journey with a handful of Skalithors best men into the Misty Mountains. There is time yet, however,  before we embark, which naturally has lent me more hours than I might ever be comfortable with, to reflect on the thoughts in the distant reaches of my mind.

Lo and behold, when you traverse those dark seas of your soul, you get caught in it's waves. The darkness, the power of them seeming so overwhelming, so consuming... You may gain a certain pleasure even, in feeling the torrent beat away your being, that it becomes like an abusive love affair. In time, you only wish you would be swept under and drowned to be rid of it all. If only it were so easy - then perhaps a coward such as myself could succumb to the abyss that no feeling can ever touch.

There's an anchor, however. It's almost agitating, the way that it tethers you to it; pulling you back up from the darkest reaches of despair. Fight as you might, there is no ocean so vast and so violent that this anchor can't pull you from it's grasp. You are never so lost in it's depths that it can't find you. Even if you are forced to the bottom, it's heavier still, and it will meet you and drag you up time and time again. Whether or not we see it, or feel it, it exists constantly.

This anchor is friendship. The steel it's forged with is something greater; charity, love, commitment, humility, hope, faith - everything that the darkness fears. The rope that binds it to the ship is a bond that cannot be broken, frayed, or cut by any evil. Once we've established that bond, it is eternal. The ship itself is something far greater than we will ever be able to fully comprehend, and has traversed more seas than we will ever know. Across the hull of this ship, you will find Truth written.

I've learned recently that no man at all times is happy. We are perceiving creatures; we must let ourselves feel the ebb and the flow of the tide. If we fight those adverse currents, we will be taken by them. We can however, in those moments of harshness, learn and let ourselves be shaped in the way that stone does not argue against the tides that bring it's character about with time. We will, with patience, know empathy, and understanding, and gain wisdom. We will grow stronger, as the weakest parts of us are gnawed away as limestone, until all that's left is a pillar of marble.

Therefore, let yourself feel the pains of life and not be consumed, but rather, when Truth comes, let it take you back to the surface and breath. We are here still.

           -Tarvhos Bartholomaus

New Kinship Challenge!

Thank you all for your participation 
in June's Kinship challenge! 
This screenshot, taken by our very own Dez was voted to best represent the theme "Unity" and will serve as the reference for the rest of our collaboration challenge! 

We hope you all are well rested, because here is where the challenge gets challenging! 
The next step of this collaboration is (get ready for it -)


So here are the instructions for this month's challenge; 
Select one aspect of the above screenshot, interpret its meaning, then give it life through creative description. 
Artistic interpretation is one of the most fundamental stages of the creative process. In this month's challenge, each member is to choose one thing that can be seen in the above screenshot, discover its hidden meaning, and describe why he/she thinks the object is important to the overall theme of the scene. Get with other kinship members to make sure every participant has chosen a unique object to describe, and enhance the meaning of the scene through creative discussion. The descriptions you come up with will become the project outline for the next stage of this collaboration.

Remember! The collaboration theme is "Unity"

So put on your thinking caps, get inspired, and good luck!

Friday, September 9, 2016

Imaginary fears & a True Story

Dear me, it has been quite some time since I last wrote anything... To tell you the absolute truth, I've been running away from my troubles. Yes, a person can get quite fond of doing that, "hiding under the covers to keep out imaginary fears" as they might have said when we were children. Well, I have quite a few imaginary fears in my head right now, and I don't think you'll mind if I told them to you... you are, after all, only pages.

You see, a long time ago, there was a friend of my sister's who had some troubles. She was a good sort of person, and my sister was very fond of her. But she was only a girl, and when you are a girl and you're hurting, you get it into your head to do some very bitter things, and you don't really pause to consider what might happen to other people if you do those things ... Well, I suppose we all do that from time to time, but anyway. 

Once, on a spring day, that little girl heard my mother talking about moving to a place faraway in the Shire, and the little girl was afraid she would lose her friend, my sister... 
Now, being a friend, and one we all considered to be a close one and trusted, we ne'er kept many secrets from her, why - she knew our faults pretty well, and she had heard us laughing and teasing one another from time to time to do some stupid things which we never actually did. But when she had this thought, that she would lose her friend, she got angry... 

I think I'll make a little bit of the story up now, because these sorts of stories make more sense when you don't think of monsters as people, for of course, that's what they really are - all of them - people. Trolls, goblins, ogres, and other terrible sorts, they're all people in their own way, with legs and arms and minds and hearts ... and reasons...

The little girl I mentioned before, we'll call her Tilly, she ran into the woods in anger and frustration. I don't know if she cried any, but she must have told her father at least a little about her distress. Tilly's father had been a friend of my parents, but when my uncle and aunt came to live with us for a little while... well, you see, they offended him, and he had been very angry ever since. So when he heard about Tilly's frustration, he nodded his head and started off across the Shire, and went over the bridge into Bree land, and climbed the hills to a very secret place. 
There was a cave in the tops of the hills many people knew about, and which everyone feared. No one would go near it, and with good reason, for those that went in never came out quite as whole as they were prior. Here, Tilly's father came and looked in, for he knew what was inside and had been here before.

"Hoy in there," he called into the cave, "You must be hungry. Well, I have just the sort to satisfy, and it won't take you long - go to the Shire, there's a hole you can find, you'll know it by - " and here, Tilly had helped, for she had told her father secrets only she would know, and he stirred them to make them more lie than truth, and told the old cave-dweller exactly what it needed to know to find our home. 

"Don't worry," said the cave-dweller, "If what you say is true it'll be a snap! I'll find it in a blink and carry all them hobbits off to come live with me here, and those that offended you - tut tut - they'll see all their children gone and they'll be sorry. Why yes, they'll be sorry!" 

So off the creature went, patting Tilly's father on the head like a good son, for Tilly's father himself had been carried off by this same monster years ago before Tilly was born and he had been raised here, in its dark cave.

Into the Shire the creature went, looking as it may, and when on a brisk September afternoon it found us, well .. it didn't delay. Up to the door it came, but we were wise and kept the door closed, for we knew mother and father were away. 

.... It was a close shave, I'll give you that. Mother and father fought with the beast when they found it at the door and it fled far over the hills! But we needn't been told how close we'd come to losing them or each other forever that day. We were scared, and we were hurt. Mother and father closed the door shut, and they forbid us ever roam the hills lest the beast return... We knew not who had sent the monster our way, and we thought perchance - at least all we children did - that we had brought it here, for so often had mother and father said, "Put up your toys and make your beds, lest the monster that lives in a cave far away smell your things and come creeping out to find you!"  

It was some time later when we found out the truth, for Tilly's mother was my mother's friend also, and she apologized in a way without telling. She had known nothing of the trick her husband played, until of course she knew, but then she could not tell my mother lest my mother and father rouse the neighbors to hunt the beast and run-out her husband also... yet she was sorry. We all were... nonetheless once it was done, it was done, and the harm could not be undone for many years to come. We hid our secrets from our friends and closed our mouths tight, little did a smile ever reach our eyes, and never did we roam the hills.

 So you see, that was a long time ago. So very long that steadily my siblings and I learned to roam the hills again. None need wonder for me, if they know me well, for I love adventure - the hills and the wild lands have so much to offer! Such blessings that can be found nowhere else in the world!
... But I can't help, every once in awhile, looking over the hills and wondering if that monster may be somewhere out of sight, waiting to find me and snatch my family away.

Now, although I have made up parts in this tale, its based on a true story, and for those who might have asked and I said nothing, this story tells you about my imaginary fears. I can't trust as easy as I once did. I am cautious of friends now, and it has only been because of some very special friends I've met recently that I've been able to learn how precious a friend really can be. Still, try as I might, I can't leave my doors open. I'll close them at night and jam them shut, and I'll pull the curtains tight to hide myself inside.

~Maeflower Tooke