THE SONNET OF SERENITY

I am living out here within the black.

On a ship that gives me life in the sky.

I’ve got a good crew that watches my back.

And I will have theirs until I should die.

 

Once was a sergeant – I served; no remorse.

I’m now a captain. I do what I choose.

Living a full life – Always stay the course.

I’m on the right side even if I will lose.

 

A gun in our hand is how we all live.

I’ll die on my feet – a look in my eye.

You take what you want, ‘coz I will not give.

My ship will take us back into the sky.

 

I named my ship after Serenity.

They will never take the black, sky from me.

Firefly Sonnet

Captain Reynolds leads his crew aboard Serenity.
Zoe is his first mate and a soldier from the war.
Wash is an expert pilot and he is married to Zoe.
Jayne is not a girl’s name, and he will show you what’s for.

Kaylee is the mechanic and keeps the ship ‘Shiny’.
Inara is the companion, but Mal just calls her a whore.
Shepherd is on a trip away from his dear abbey.
Seven folks with secret pasts but they took on two more.

Simon is a genius doctor for the Alliance.
Smuggling out his sister who brain the pried into.
River was a little girl who always loved to dance.
She is sick inside, can kill with her mind if she wanted to.
Because they are on the run, never the time for romance.
Nine lives bound together searching for the truth.

Week Eight: Affirmation

Welcome back my Brothers of Lore and Sisters of Myth to the Basic Composition Training course.

WEEK Eight: Affirmation. We are almost at the end of our goal of Storycraft.

Part One: For the Soldier.

Your inner soldier told you to wake up this morning, right? If you have been getting yourself into a routine and doing this every day for the past eight weeks, then you have gotten those writing muscles working nice and smooth now.  You should feel good after each day of writing being able to look back at your words and see what you have accomplished so far.

We have been building our inner strength and going forth and conquering in the name of writing, and that should make you feel some sort of accomplishment. This is where you will give yourself the validation to continue because you will be able to track your progress to the point of today and look back and add up the words. Our inner strength is growing stronger and we have almost made it to the end of the course.

Part Two: For the Scholar.

Have you learned anything new these past couple of months? Hopefully, you have. I hope that you have been reading while working on this goal and have been learning to read like a writer. That is a very important tool to have and one that cannot be taught. But, there will come a day when you start looking at the books that you read asking yourself questions about what the author did and why.

You will be able to find the points in the story when things take a turn for the worse. You can start to dissect what will happen, or could happen, by the events in the story leading up to the ending. These are things that once you realize what they are in your own writing you won’t be able to not see it in other books, and that is great because it means that you are growing as a writer.

Part Three: For the Scribe.

We are now at week eight so our words count is up to 800 words a day. By now, this increase should feel smaller than the times before even though we have been adding 100 words every week. Because in relation to what you have been writing, you are adding only a small percentage of your total count so the increases are not enough to make you sweat anymore.

The scribe is all about writing down your thoughts and words. Adding descriptions to your story ideas or even your story. This is an act that if you have been doing every week should be in the state of flow right now and should be easier than before when you sit down to write. Hopefully, the muse is forcing you beyond your numbers every day and you are writing beyond the requirements. You may have already been writing 800 words a couple of weeks ago and jumped to the 1,000 now, getting yourself ahead of the game.

This week’s Storycraft value is: Affirmation.
You can no longer say that you want to be a writer. You are a writer now. There is no ‘want to be’ because you are doing it. We are not published authors yet, and that takes time, but being a writer means that you do one thing each and every day. You write. That is all a writer is. It is someone that writes, so call yourself a writer and internalize it and believe in yourself. You will always be your first fan.

Others will ask how your projects are going and check in to see what is new in your world, and the only way to make progress is to continue writing. That is what writers do. And when you can tell someone about a new idea for a story or an event that happened when you wrote the other day, you are showing others in the world that yes, I am a writer! Say it loud and say it proud.

AAR / After Action Review:
If you have been keeping pace with the word counts and the increases, your words should have 14,000 words or higher. Look at the number and take that in. A couple of months ago you did not think that you could say that you wrote thousands of words, and yet here we are, accomplished and continuing to pursue the dream of writing and we have 14,000 words under our belt. Great job writers!

If you have written for nearly each day of this process from day one, you will be at 19,600 words or more. That is a huge and impressive word count. Even if the words are scattered and disconnected, you have written. You have created. You are a writer! This week is all about what you have done to use that as a base to push yourself to continue on down the path of writing. Thank you all who have stuck in there with me and continued along this path. We are near the end now.

Week Seven: Routine

Welcome back my Brothers of Lore and Sisters of Myth to the Basic Composition Training course.

WEEK Seven: Routine. We are getting close to the end now of our goal of Storycraft.

Part One: For the Soldier.

How are you holding up? You have accomplished so much already and I know that you are nowhere near ready to quit and that is excellent. The weeks get tougher but so do we. With each and every level we rise to face the challenges and you are doing this right now. You are actually doing this.

You are probably finding that sweet spot in your schedule too. You know the one that I mean. The time of day when your writing thrives the best. When the words flow easier. You are starting to find the writer inside of you and that writer is probably complaining about having the wrong pen or the wrong lighting or something is not quite right. That’s okay. Listen to what the writer wants and give in, as long as it is not harmful or self-destructive.

Part Two: For the Scholar.

Hopefully, you have also joined a writing group that feeds your creative mind.one of the best tools within a writing group is being able to brainstorm. I love brainstorming a story. There is something to be said about seeing an idea take shape and change direction based on a few simple words. Like words rolled into a bouncing ball flying towards one wall, bouncing, and then hitting another.

One of the best tools for you as a writer is to help brainstorm someone else’s idea. Do not go looking for everyone to give you the answers to your questions. Look to give someone else their’s. First, this will spark your own imagination which will help you grow as a writer. Second, this will help that writer with a new and different approach. And third, that is what you should be doing in a community anyway. Giving all that you can, and your rewards will be endless in the end.

Part Three: For the Scribe.

We are now stretching those writing muscles and you will now be the week where you will write 700 words a day. We are every close to our manageable goal of 1,000 a day. You could very well be writing full scenes now or sections of dialog for a yet unwritten tale. Collect all of your words. Never throw any of the away. You will want them later on in life, trust me on this. Bad ideas are only ideas that are not fully formed. Give them some time to grow and you will see that this is true.

These words every day can equate to almost 3 entire pages of story. That is no small thing, and don’t you think that it is either. Many writers never get as far as you are right now in your writing. Anyone can quit. Anyone can put the pen down and walk away. Don’t be just anyone. Be the best you that you can be today. Be a writer!

This week’s Storycraft value is: Routine.

When you begin your routine, it will be difficult. This is a new thing that your mind and body must get used to. And it has to get used to it every day. Make it change. Make your body listen to you and tell it that this is what you want to do. Yes, you wake up an extra hour early and you are tired thinking, ‘Why am I up this early?’ the answer is simple. We are following our dream. We are chasing our desire. We are creating our happiness.

That is why you should be going through this. If you are writing to be able to say that you wrote a novel, then that is a goal and I say, do it! If you are writing because like me you want to tell stories and you have more things inside of your head clawing their way out every day, then that is excellent too. Get into good writing habits now, and you will wake up one day and not complain about writing, but be excited about what we are doing here.

AAR / After Action Review:

So where are we, now that we are upping our word count goals and pushing ourselves every day?  If you wrote your words on every day for each weekday, then you should have 10,500 words or higher. We are just now catching up to where the weekday and weekend writers were last week. Now you will be able to start seeing a major difference between a 5-day-a-week writer and a 7-day-a-week writer. And here is the thing about that, they are both commendable, so write what you can afford to write.

If you wrote seven days a week since the beginning, you will be at 14,700 words or more. That is no small feat. Pat yourself on the back, because that is an impressive amount of words that you have created here and you are well on your way to writing your novel very soon.

Thank you all for being here today and I hope that you return next week for the next lesson from the Soldier, Scholar, Scribe.

Red Wolf – V

Alvig fell to his knees next to the dead body on his floor. His breathing was heavy as he began to calm his nerves again. He hated killing unless there was no other choice, and this man had left him with no other options but to end his life.
So much death today. Over what? Food? Money? They could have taken anything, Alvig would not have stopped them. There is no material thing in the world more precious than life, and that was all that this man seemed to want in the end. Such an evil way to live.
Alvig wanted to cry, but he still had so much to do. He could be mournful later. For now, he had to do something about these final two men. He grabbed his Ki-Da from the floor beside Bomer and walked towards the two men. The fear in their eyes told Alvig that they thought he was going to kill them. Not today. Not if he could help it.
“You are no longer welcome here.”
He swung the blade down and cut the ropes on the post with one swing. The blade sliced through effortlessly and the two thieves sat on the floor, unmoving.
“You will leave this place and you will never return.”
Ithi was slow to stand, but Krel was on his feet ready to run out of the house and away from this man.
“Yee!”
Alvig stopped the man in his escape. He turned slowly to look at Alvig, wondering if the man had changed his mind.
Ithi was on his feet now, back against the pole, afraid to move too fast. Alvig pointed to the dead body of Bomer on the floor and stared at the two thieves. Krel walked over and tried to lift the body. Bomer was a thick and heavy man, and between Ithi and Krel they struggled to get him out of the house, but they did it without complaint.
Alvig looked around his broken home. Everything that he had lived for, gone. Not the furniture or food and not even the mess. He only had that one purpose in his life, and that purpose lay dead. Were the Murai really at an end now? He failed in his task.
Alvig went out to the back of the house where he had Orin’s wrapped body. After he had tied up the thieves he had done this much, but he knew that he did not have time for a proper burial. He stooped over to pick up the boy and stood with him lying over his shoulder. He grabbed a shovel with his free hand and he walked up the hill.
The trek was a struggle, but Alvig stayed resolute as he carried the boy, his son, his student, towards his final resting place. He hit the ground with the shovel to make it stick and then gently set the boy down on the forest floor. Alvig began to dig.
As he dug, he became aware of eyes watching him. He looked up and saw the red wolf standing only a few paces away and watching him.
“Go away!” Alvig yelled at the beast. The bad omen. “Chikah!” Alvig yelled and started to get out of the hole. The animal backed away but did not run.
Alvig knew that he needed to dig and bury his son. He had no time for this darune and its messages. As he dug, the animal would come closer to the body and sniff. “Chikah. Chikah!” Alvig would not have this animal eating his son.
The wolf looked at Alvig with its head tilted to the side and it ran off. Finished dealing with the animal, Alvig went back to task.
When Alvig finished his grave, he placed the boy gently inside and then went back to the house. He returned with the broken sword pieces and placed them in his hands as was the tradition. Orin should be buried with his real blade, but that day had been one day too late.
Realizing that he would have a guest soon, Alvig grabbed the shovel and went back to the house.

***
Alvig made a pot for tea and by the time that the water was boiling he heard the steps of someone approaching his home. He looked with his one eye and saw Ardo, the sword-maker walking towards him through the woods. The man was smiling and whistling until he drew closer and saw the state of Alvig and the house. He ran the final steps onto the porch where Alvig sat calmly.
“What happened, Jappa?”
Jappa was the name that everyone called Alvig in town. He had to hide as a Murai and it would not do if anyone was wise to what he was doing in the woods. Ardo knew that he was making a blade but not for a Muras, just for a man and his son.
“Everything is over now.” Alvig took a drink of his tea. He knew that he looked like he had been through war, but there was nothing that anyone could do now. Those who were dead would remain as such.
“But, what-?”
“Sit down, Ardo.” Alvig motioned to the bench beside him. “Would you like some tea after your journey?”
Ardo sat but did not pick up the tea. Instead, he took off the leather bag he had slung over his shoulder and handed it to Alvig.
“I have finished the sword.” Ardo looked around the wreckage of the house. “Where is Jenk? I would like to see his face when he opens this.”
Alvig closed his eye and sighed.
“Jenk is speaking with the dragon now.” He took the sword from Ardo and carried it into the house. He [placed it on the rack just below his own sword. He walked back outside and sat next to Ardo again.
“I think that I will go down into the village in a few days.” Alvig was looking out into the forest, towards the direction of the village of Keni. “I will need some items to repair my home.”
Ardo nodded and was looking at Alvig with concern. The man had his head wrapped, blood on his clothes and bandage, his house was torn through, and there was a stillness in the air that unnerved Ardo.
“I can get what you need, Jappa.” Ardo spoke as a true friend. “It would be no trouble.”
“No, but thank you.” Alvig shook his head. He felt the weariness of the day setting in on him. “I will go myself. I have need of some things that I will not know that I need until I see them.” Alvig forced a smile as he looked to Ardo. “But I thank you very much for your work. It is a fine looking blade.”
Ardo, uncomfortable without knowing what else to say, and wanting to return home before it got dark, stood and bowed to Alvig.
“It was a pleasure to make such a weapon.”
Ardo started down the steps and Alvig drank again. Ardo stopped at the bottom of the steps, and turned towards Alvig.
“I think that I saw a red wolf down by your river.”

Week Six: Community

Welcome back my Brothers of Lore and Sisters of Myth to the Basic Composition Training course.

WEEK Six: Community. We are halfway through our journey towards the goal of Storycraft.

Part One: For the Soldier.

You are halfway through this training. If you have been following the guide, how have you been doing? How do you feel? Look at everything that you have accomplished and everything that you will accomplish. The simple fact is that we started small and we are growing, together, into a stronger writer. By now, you should not be struggling to write, but you should be looking for more time to write.

And, hopefully, you are feeling brave, because this week, you are going to take another step towards being a writer. You are going to join a community. Find a writers group. It may be one that meets in a coffee shop or the library or even online. The best way to grow as a writer is to be in a discussion about the craft. Try to find like-minded people to share ideas with. You will find that when you give someone a creative push, that you hold onto a piece of that inspiration for yourself, and it becomes infectious.

Part Two: For the Scholar.

Being in a community gives you a chance to grow your ideas and get the help of some people who have the same dream as you do. Join one and give it a try. If you do not like it, don’t get discouraged but find a new one. There is a group out there for your world and your stories. 7 billion people in a world of technology, there has to be 5 or 10 out there who like the same thing that you do.

And, if you have the inner strength and courage, you could always create your own online group. Create a blog to share your ideas. Create a podcast. In some way, shape, or form you need to interact as a writer with a part of the world. And, here is the thing, you can do it anonymously if you want to. Create a separate email and Facebook for your pen name and enter the world through anonymity. Anything that you can do to interact with others bravely.

Part Three: For the Scribe.

Now that we are at the halfway point, we are going to up our word count to 600 words a day. By increasing the word count week to week, we are getting into the habit of creating. We are building. By now, you should be beyond writing senseless words to make your word count and writing ideas for stories or poems and songs, or anything other than empty words. Even if your words mean nothing to you now, they will so keep pushing.

Hopefully, you have a notebook or a note capturing tool that you are using. If you dictate, then speaking those words count towards your word count goal. Download an app on your phone or set up a microphone on your computer. Get a digital handheld device and soak in the bathtub and dictate your life story so far. Interview yourself in your future mind of what you did to start your career. Imagine that you are living twenty years from today. Think about how much you want to accomplish, and tell yourself what you wrote and why you wrote it.

Writers need solitude sometimes for their creations but they also need interactions. Find your balance between the two activities, and go forward into the fray!

This week’s Storycraft value is: Community.

Find that group that writes and creates in the same genre as you do. Start off as a listener or watcher, reading the threads and listening to the podcasts. If you find yourself with something to add, then say it, even if only to yourself. Getting the right side of your brain to create is key to our survival as writers.

You will eventually find that you can trust some of these people enough with your ideas, and you may be surprised at the reactions. You will find people think that your idea is great and where is that novel? I haven’t written it yet. Well, when you do, let me Beta read for you to help. Community is about helping one another. And with help, we grow into better people and better writers.

AAR / After Action Review:

Here is where we are now if we have been writing every day as we committed to ourselves that we would. If you wrote your words on every day for each weekday, then you should have 7500 total words or higher. My, how we have grown. That is a decent amount of words. You have just written enough words to have your own Edgar Allen Poe-sized story in your hands. Way to go.

If you wrote every day during the past four weeks, then you will be at 10,500 words or more. Ten. Thousand. Words. That is a huge chunk of writing and ten percent of a fantasy novel. You are doing so great. Keep up the pace.

Red Wolf – IV

“No!”
Alvig watched as Orin slowly slide off Bomer’s sword and slumped to the floor. Alvig could not see the boy’s face, but he knew that at least now the pain was over. He only hoped that the dragon would come and take him, even though he was not a full Muras.
Bomer dropped the sword onto Orin’s body and grinned at Alvig. His teeth were caked in the blackroot and his eyes were bloodshot. Bomer’s left hand was trembling but he did not seem to notice.
“Now,” Bomer ran his hands through his black hair. It had become disheveled from the fight and he used his hands to pull it all back into a slick atop his head. “I have business to attend to.”
Bomer went into one of the bedrooms; Orin’s; and came out with the sheet from the bed. He lay it out on the floor next to Leku.
“Ithi, Krel, lift the boy,” Bomer ordered his two men. They ran over and lifted Leku so that Bomer could place the bed sheet beneath him and then they lay him down again.
“Ithi, watch the old man.” He began to fold the sheet carefully, making a make-shift shroud for his son. “I don’t expect him to go anywhere, but if he is a Muras then don’t take your eyes from him. Yvas?”
Ithi nodded his head, but Bomer was not looking at him he was focused on his work. Bomer looked up at Ithi with an irritated look on his face.
“Yvoy,” Ithi replied, afraid to anger his already distraught boss.
“Krel, you keep a look outside and make sure that no one else decides to visit today.” Bomer was finishing his wrapping on his son.
“Yvoy.” Krel was quick to reply. Like Ithi, they had seen this man kill and angry and they wanted to be on then far end of that side of this man.
Krel went outside and sat by the fire pit. He threw on another piece of wood and rubbed his hands together to warm them up. Alvig watched him through the broken paper door but said nothing. In five, out four.
Ithi sat near the indoor fire to keep himself warm. He sat on the floor, away from the blood as if he were afraid that it would touch him and he would be attacked by it.
Bomer stood and lifted his wrapped son over his shoulder. With barely a struggle, the man placed the boy onto his shoulder and walked out through the already broken door. He kicked at the frame, damaging it even more. He turned to face Alvig, still bound to the post.
“When I come back,” Bomer coughed. “I will start with you.”
Bomer trudged off of the porch and into the woods. Alvig could here Bomer’s boot on the dry leaves and branches crackling as he left. When he no longer heard the man walking, he turned his attention to the two men that remained.
Ithi was picking at his fingernails with a dagger, trying to free something loose. More likely than not, he was trying not to look at the blood on the floor.
Krel sat by the fire and closed his eyes. He did not expect anyone to arrive. Why would they? That was one of the reason’s that Bomer had picked a place so far away from everyone and everything else.
Alvig continued to breathe as he felt the ropes get looser. His Dragon’s Breath was stretching the ropes little by little. Five in, four out. As he kept himself calm, he tried not to think about the boy. Either boy. Leku, born to a thief and forced to live that life. Sure, he had wanted to fight Orin, but he was never shown the way. Never given a chance to walk the path.
‘Don’t think about him.’ Alvig told himself. Five in, four out.
And Orin. Son. Not his son by birth, but his son by the Order of the Muras. Alvig did not know who the boy’s parents had been, just as he did not know who his parents had been. It is the way. The Muras take away your name and your past and give you the title of ‘Son’, hand you off to one who is now a ‘Father’ and the training begins.
‘Not the past, fool. Look ahead.’ The thought echoed in his head. It was his own voice scolding him, but it had a tinge of something else. A memory. An almost forgotten yet painful memory. One of his Father telling him when he was a Son.
Alvig was loosening up his wrists now, watching Ithi with close eyes, trying not to make big movements. Five in, four out.
The Murai were all but gone. With the new emperor, he did not feel the need for the warriors any longer, so he dissolved the Order. The remaining Murai took it upon themselves to continue to train so as not to lose the Dance of the Dragon and to be ready when the day would come that the Murai would be called upon again.
Living in this small home in the mountains, away from people, was a way to train and to teach as well as to hide from the eyes of the emperor. If a Muras is found, they are captured and taken to the emperor. Alvig did not know what happened to them when they were caught, but they were never seen again.
‘There are too few of us now.’ Alvig thought as he worked a hand loose in the bindings. He was close to being free.
“Ithi,” Krel was whispering harshly through the broken door.
“What?” Ithi asked loudly. He was annoyed because he had gotten himself comfortable and was looking for some much-needed sleep.
“Sh,” Krel hushed his companion. He placed a finger over his lips and with his other hand, he motioned for Ithi to come outside.
“Bomer said …”
“You are going to want to see this,” Krel whispered again.
Curious now, Ithi got to his feet and stood by Alvig.
“What about him?”
“He’s not going anywhere,” Krel replied and looked out into the woods. “Come here, but move quietly.”
Ithi did. He walked softly on the wooden floor, careful not to let his boots hit hard, and he looked like a poor imitation of an actor playing a thief in a play. Ithi’s movements were over exaggerated and not required, but Ithi thought that he was doing a good job of being stealthy.
“Is it the boss?” Ithi asked in his own harsh whisper.
Ithi stepped outside and saw what his friend was looking at. A red wolf was out in the tree-line near the house. It seemed to be watching the two men. Ithi knelt down by Krel so that they could speak quietly without turning their heads to face one another.
“It’s a wolf,” Ithi said, not understanding why Krel had called him outside.
“It’s a red wolf,” Krel said the words like that was the answer to life itself.
“So, what. A wolf with red fur.” Ithi could not stop looking. He felt mesmerized by the animal and stared all the same.
“Don’t you know anything about anything other than money and women.” Krel hissed at Ithi and then looked at the man. “Well, money anyway.”
“Hey, how was I to know that there were men that dressed that way?” Ithi’s integrity had taken a verbal blow and he was getting angry.
“Simmer it, I was only playing.” Krel calmed his companion down. “But, this is a red wolf.”
Ithi shrugged. He really did not know why that was such a big deal. Krel shook his head and chuckled.
“Up north, in the drylands, you may see wolves this red all of the time, but down here in the southern mountains, you won’t.”
As he explained, Krel drew a map in the air with his fingerless gloved hands. His fingers were so brown with dirt and grime that one could almost not tell where the gloves ended and the fingers began.
“Okay, so why did you call me out here to look at a dumb animal?”
“Because, oof!”
Ithi turned to his thieving friend, “What is ‘oof’?” he asked and saw the sky turn black as he was hit on the side of the head.

***

Ithi and Krel slowly awoke to find themselves in a familiar situation. The one that they had placed the old man into. They were tied to the wooden pole in the house near the fire. Their circumstances were slightly different. They had cloth in their mouths to prevent them from speaking or even yelling for help.
As the pair struggled, they looked around for the old man. They could not see him. The body of the boy, Orin, was also gone. Alvig returned and saw the pair awake. He stood near the fire and looked down at the pair of thieves.
“I welcomed you into my home and you have broken my trust.”
As Alvig stood, he leaned against the fire pit. Being bound had taken some of his leg energy away from his and his blood flow was returning.
“Now, I have lost my son and my path is no longer clear. But what is clear to me, is that you will be given to the warden’s in the village at the bottom of the mountain.”
The two men shook their heads and tried to speak through the clothes in their mouths.
“Now, we will wait for your leader to return so that I may discuss with him the conditions of his surrender.”
Alvig stood up and adjusted the sword on his side. His robe was dirty and had blood on it, some dry and some fresh. His hair had been retied behind his head and he wore a bandage over his wounded eye. Blood was soaking through, but the man gave no indication that he was in any pain.
Boots stomped up onto the porch outside.
“I thought that I told you two …” he stopped when he saw Alvig standing with Ithi and Krel tied to the post.
“So, you really are a Muras,” Bomer said with his blackroot grin. He placed a hand on the sword at his side, Alvig’s sword, and entered through the broken door. “I have your sword here, Muras. So what is that tied to your waist? The boy’s sword?”
Alvig nodded and spread his feet. He took a fighter’s stance but did not draw out the blade.
“That’s not that wooden toy now is it?” Bomer asked, tilting his head to the side. As he walked in, he was taking in the surroundings, trying to find if he could have an advantage in one area over another.
Alvig drew the wooden sword from the scabbard. He held it in front of him in one of his stances. Dragon’s blood.
Bomer laughed. It started as a chuckle and grew into all out laughter.
“That did not do your boy any good?” Bomer said through his laughing. He noticed that the body was gone. “Moved him already have you? And I had such fun plans for his corpse. Maybe later I will find it, eh?” Bomer drew the metal blade from his scabbard and stood ready to fight.
Alvig did not move. He kept his body facing Bomer and waited for the man to strike him first. Bomer was an impatient man, Alvig could tell. All that he had to do was to wait him out.
Seconds stretched into minutes and Alvig did not move. He was breathing his Dragon’s Breath only in a different rhythm now for the fight. Four in, hold one, three out, hold one. And he repeated. His heart would be beating at a normal pace while the thief would be working himself up into a frenzy.
Bomer moved closer to Alvig, sliding to his left to get onto Alvig’s right side with his wounded eye. Alvig had expected that. It was why he chose the area of the home that he did. That part of the house was filled with furniture that would make it difficult for Bomer to maneuver.
“Last chance to give up, Muras.” Bomer twirled the sword in his hand. Fighters did that to look like they were master of the blade. Warriors knew better. “I may even kill you without the torture.”
Bomer smiled. The hair was falling over his eyes, but Alvig could see that the pupils were dilated and that Bomer was not in his complete mind.
“Who am I kidding?” Bomer laughed. “Of course there will be torture.”
Bomer swung the sword, and Alvig deflected with ease. Bomer weighed the defense in his mind before attacking again. Alvig deflected and added his own attack, striking the hand that held the sword.
Bomer growled a bit as he shook his hand from the pain.
“You may be better than me, but I have metal against your wood.”
Bomer slashed at Alvig, who brought the wooden sword up and around to deflect Bomer away with ease and to slap Bomer’s knee with the wood.
Bomer growled again and put both hands on the handle. Alvig changed his stance and readied himself. Bomer attacked.
The two men exchanged strikes and parries during the fight. The metal never touched Alvig but the wood hit Bomer more than once, but the thief kept attacking. Each strike that Alvig dealt was harder than the one before, but still, the man kept attacking.
Bomer continued to try to take advantage of Alvig’s right eye being injured, but Bomer was not left-handed so that was his weaker side to attack. Bomer resolved to himself to make Alvig’s left eye bleed then, and attacked with the sword coming down over his head.
Alvig stopped the blade with the wooden sword, and the two stood locked as the metal pushed down on the wood.
Bomer was visibly angry mixed with confused as he could not understand how his great strength would not cut this wooden toy in half with the blow. He drew back his blade only to drive it down again and again. Alvig was deflecting, but the force of the sword was forcing him to place the blade above his head, and he went to his knees to hold the wood with both hands.
The thief was powerfully strong with the blackroot fueling his anger. Alvig was struggling to keep the metal away from him. Bomer began to hack with the sword, bringing it down fast and hard until finally the wood split.
As it broke, Alvig pulled his body back to avoid the blade from cutting into him. He held two pieces of broken wood in his hands and Bomer smiled. He raised the sword to strike and Alvig attacked, first one wooden piece, and then the other into the stomach of the looming Bomer.
Bomer’s eyes widen and he looked down. This little man was trying to hurt him?
Bomer lifted again to attack and Alvig removed both pieces and moved back out of the way as Bomer brought the sword down. Alvig spun and stabbed Bomer in the back with one and then the other wooden piece.
Bomer tried to grab the wood out, but he couldn’t reach it. He stood, moving slower now, and pointed the sword at Alvig.
“You will not kill me, little man,” Bomer threatened.
“You are already dead,” Alvig replied and stood weaponless before him. Bomer moved towards Alvig and stumbled to his knee. He tried to stand again, but his other knee hit the ground. He looked up at Alvig with surprise in his eyes.
“The Murai are not all gone?” he asked with disbelief in his dying eyes.
Alvig said nothing as the large thief fell forward onto his face dead, the sword clattering to his side.

Red Wolf – III

“You little whelp!”
Bomer stood and back-handed Orin sending the boy flying across the room and landing hard on his back by the door. Orin was in shock from killing the other boy accidentally that he was not ready for the strike, though if he had been ready, he felt that he would have flown just as far. Orin lay for a moment, feeling the hit against his face throb with each beat of his heart.
No one else moved for a moment. Everyone was looking at Bomer who was looking down at his dead son. He knelt beside the boy again, and brushed his hand down the boy’s face as a gesture of love but also to close the boy’s eyes.
When Bomer stood, he walked over towards Alvig.
“The boy did not mean to kill him. He was only doing his training.” Alvig was trying to plead with the man who lost rationality behind his eyes.
Alvig was still being held by the other two men, and he watched Bomer as he stood angrily before him. Bomer was breathing hard and his eyes were red and tear-filled. Bomer’s hands were shaking a bit and he had to ball them into fists to stop them from shaking so bad. He looked at his hands and then at Alvig.
Bomer spat at the old man’s face, and Alvig instinctively closed his eyes. Just as he opened them, Bomer’s fist was coming down towards his face. Alvig was knocked unconscious.

***

When Alvig awoke, he was sitting on the floor with his back against a pole. He tried to reach up to his head, but his hands were bound behind him as was his body. As he started to take in his surroundings, he saw Orin lying on the floor in front of him not moving. Alvig’s right eye was swollen so he could not open it and the entire right side of his face was in pain.
“Looks like our gracious host has awoken from his nap,” Bomer said from Alvig’s right. Alvig turned his head and winced in pain but looked anyway. Bomer sat with his dirty feet propped on the table by the fire. The table was where Alvig and Orin would eat, and Bomer had muddy snow dripping from his boots onto the beige wood.
Bomer smiled as he leaned back o his make-shift chair of a pair of boxes and a sack of rice. Alvig did not use chairs in his home, and the table was low for floor sitting. Bomer was chewing on a bit of apple that he was cutting with a knife. Krel and the other man stood closer to Orin and kept a watch on Alvig.
“You know,” Bomer leaned forward and pointed his knife at Alvig as he spoke. “I looked everywhere, but I could not find anything else in this house besides this weak green-leaf tea of yours.” He grinned manically at Alvig and leaned back onto the bag of rice again. “I had to spruce things up a bit myself.
Bomer reached into his vest and withdraw a long dried black piece of something that appeared to be leather. He took a bite off and began to chew. Bomer closed his eyes and chewed with great enjoyment. He dropped the rest of it into his tea and let it simmer.
‘Blackroot.’ Alvig thought to himself.
Blackroot was used mostly for pain relief but only for short terms because of the addictive quality to it. It was also only used in small doses. The size of a chunk that Bomer bit off would sedate a regular man that was not used to it.
Bomer had obviously built a dependency on the stuff. He finished chewing and grinned at Alvig. Bomer’s teeth were a dingy gray with lines of black separating one tooth from another.
He took a sip of his tea and set the cup down forcefully. The cup shattered as it hit the table and the rest of the tea splattered onto the table and dripped onto the floor. Bomer smiled and Krel and his friend chuckled. Alvig watched all helplessly. He looked back to Orin who had not yet moved.
Bomer stood up and walked over to Alvig.
“He isn’t dead,” he paused and knelt down by Alvig. “Yet.”
“What the boy did was an accident,” Alvig was trying to stand but without being able to move any part of his body. They had tied the ropes tight. Alvig settled in again and got his breathing under control. Dragon’s Breath he thought and began to control his breathing.
“What this little crammer did was kill my boy.” Bomer was walking towards Orin and back to Alvig. He was getting antsy from the blackroot and his body was likely to be numb from head to toe. “And where we come from, that means I got to kill your boy.”
“No, you do not,” Alvig was speaking with his eyes closed. In for five and out for four he thought.
“Listen to me, old man.” Bomer was squatting next to Alvig again. “This may be your home but I now make the rules here. By the time the sun sets tonight, we will be gone and you will be dead.”
Bomer got up again and kicked his knee into Alvig’s head. Alvig did not move, and became incoherent for a moment, but tried to stay in the present. His life and Orin’s was depending on him now.
Bomer went to Orin, grabbed the boy by the hair and dragged his limp body over by the fire.
“Let’s say we wake this little crammer up,” Bomer said with a chuckle. Krel and the other man laughed and watched as Bomer took his knife from his belt and laid the blade into the fire. He held Orin’s head, and the boy was still not moving, but Alvig could see his chest rise and fall. Orin was still alive. For now.
Bomer removed the blade from the fire. The blade was red with heat and Alvig could hear the sizzle of the heated metal as Bomer slowly drove it into Orin’s leg. As the blade entered the boy’s body, he awoke with a scream to pierce the surrounding mile.
He grabbed at the blade handle, but Bomer held it fast and in place. With his free hand, he slapped away Orin’s hands from his and Orin finally submitted to the pain and threw his hands behind him to try to pull himself away from Bomer.
Bomer withdrew the blade and smiled. The leg did not bleed because the blade heated the leg enough to seal the wound that Bomer made. That did not make the pain any less.
“You killed my son,” Bomer said, pulling on Orin’s hair again. Orin had tears streaming down his face from the pain and he tried to turn his face away from Bomer.
“Leave him alone,” Alvig said, trying to maintain his breathing. In five, out four.
Bomer looked over at the bound man and spat on the floor. He placed the knife into the fire again, and Orin started to crawl away. He was not able to use his left leg very well, and he could not stand. Bomer grabbed Orin’s left leg at the wound and jammed his thumb into the wound. Orin howled in pain and grabbed at his leg with both hands.
Bomer stood and took the knife out of the fire again. He walked over to Alvig and held the heated blade near Alvig’s face. The heat was intense, even without opening his eyes, he could tell where the blade was. By his injured eye.
“Looks like you have some swelling there.” Bomer took the blade tip and sliced down the right side of Alvig’s face above his eyebrow. The searing hot blade burned into his skin and he could smell the cooked flesh as the knife slowly carved from his eyebrow to his injured eye.
His brain flashed red and pain and the knife cut through his already injured eyeball. Alvig felt blood trickle down his face as Bomer slowly made the cut finish on Alvig’s cheek.
Alvig lost his breathing control and struggled to get it back. The pain was excruciating and his face cried for mercy on the silent lips of Alvig.
“Stop,” Orin tried to speak but he was starting to black out from the pain.
“Don’t you fall asleep now boy,” Bomer said as he stood and walked back over to Orin. “I got plans for you.” Bomer twirled his knife and threw it into the fire to heat the blade again.
“Training,” Orin said, gasping to try to breathe and hold himself together from the pain. “Accident.”
“What’s that boy?” Bomer squatted next to Orin. “Peak up, pup.” Bomer kicked Orin’s injured leg, not too hard from his seated position, but hard enough on an injured leg.
“I did not mean to kill him,” Orin said through his clenched teeth. He was sweating from the pain of his leg as well as being so close to the fire. His brown skin was flushed with red and his face appeared to be bruised. “My training made me fight that way.”
“Your training?” Bomer repeated. Then he laughed and looked at the boy again. “What are you, some sort of training killer or something?” Bomer looked at his two partners and they were laughing and slapping one another at the joke.
“Yes,” Orin replied.
Bomer stopped laughing. He adjusted his squatted position and moved closer to Orin. “Can you say that again? I think that I must have heard you wrong.”
“Yee,” Alvig said in a very calm voice. In five, out four.
Bomer looked at Alvig and then back at Orin. He sat in thought for a while, the blackroot doing most of the work for him. Somewhere, in some dark recess of his mind, he found what he thought was the answer. If ti was not the answer, it surely was an answer.
“Saldin?” Bomer asked in the old tongue.
Orin chuckled. Even in pain, he could still find a way to laugh.
“No,” Orin said. He opened his eyes and focused on Bomer. He wanted to make sure that the man heard him and knew that he was telling the truth. “Muras.”
Bomer stopped smiling and looked at Orin. Bomer blinked a few times and wiped some sweat from his brown, the fire was heating him as well.
Bomer stood and walked a few paces backward from the boy looking from him to the old man still tied to the post. “The Murai are all gone.” Bomer looked at Krel and the other man. Ithi. Why did he remember it now?
“What is a Moo-Rye?” Krel asked. He looked at Ithi who was still smiling but shrugging his shoulders.
“Not what you son of a crammer,” Bomer yelled at him. His hands were twitching again. The root could not be wearing off yet. He had heard of the Murai and Bomer was afraid. “The Murai  are a who, and they are all gone.”
Bomer stormed over to Alvig and squatted next to the old man again. “The emperor got rid of all the Murai. You don’t exist anymore old man.”
Alvig did not respond. He only kept his eyes closed and breathed. Five in, four out.
“You do not exist,” Bomer said again as he got to his feet. He walked over to Orin who looked to no longer be in pain, The boy smiled at Bomer, bloody mouth and all. Bomer paced the floor and found himself by the fire again.
Bomer reached into the flames and drew out his blade again. The handle was hot because he left it in longer than he had meant to, but Bomer showed no sign of pain. He threw the blade into Orin’s leg and the boy howled again, but not as much as before.
He grabbed the knife with his hand, flesh burning beneath the heated metal and slowly drew the knife out again. He moved to try to stand pointing the blade at Bomer, but the big thief stomped down on Orin’s right wrist, making the boy drop the knife and snapping bone.
Bomer kicked the knife away from Orin and stared down at his boy. Orin looked up at Bomer with Defiance in his eyes. Bomer smiled and placed his hands on his hips.
“You had me for a moment boy,” Bomer laughed. Ithi and Krel joined him, visibly relaxing again.
“Don’t believe me?” Orin started to try to stand again, and Bomer kicked. This time, Orin caught Bomer’s foot and stopped the kick from landing. “Dragon’s Heart.” He said as he pushed back on the foot and Bomer stood in silence, the smile gone from his face.
Bomer reached into his pocket and drew out another piece of blackroot and began to suck on the end of it. As he sucked he looked back and forth from Orin to Alvig and back. Then he smiled and spat out his root.
“Boys,” Bomer looked at Krel and Ithi. “I get a chance to kill me a Muras today.”
Bomer walked over to where Alvig kept his sword on the table by the wood-carved dragon and drew the blade. He swung the blade in a few slashes to test the weight. Satisfied, he walked to the open center of the room.
“Get him his sword,” Bomer told the two men who were watching Bomer without really knowing what was going on.
“His what?” Krel asked. He just knew that Bomer could not mean what he said.
“Get this boy his sword.” Bomer smiled and looked Orin in the eye. “You know, that piece of wood that he used to kill my son.”
Orin rose to his feet and Alvig was still unmoving. “Yee.” Was all that he would say, but Orin was too far into this now. Limping and putting most of his weight onto his uninjured leg,  he stood to face Bomer. Ithi brought the sword in but seemed unsure if he should get near Orin.
“Yee,” Alvig repeated.
Orin reached his hand out and Ithi slowly handed him the wooden sword. As soon as the handle was close enough for him to wrap his fingers around, Orin grabbed the wood and held it out in front of him, pointing at Bomer.
“Yee.” Alvig groaned, straining against the ropes. They were almost loose enough. Five in, four out.
Bomer held the blade out and attacked. Orin swept his wooden blade and deflected the first blow. Bomer was surprised, but not overly. He had expected the fight to be a good one, though he had all of the advantages.
Bomer attacked, and Orin deflected, but Bomer moved in a circle to Orin’s weak side. Orin fought and turned, trying to compensate. Bomer faked a move to his right and Orin turned too much.
Bomer shifted left and drove his blade forward. Bomer placed his empty left hand onto Orin’s shoulder to stop him from falling backward as he held the boy standing with a blade through the boy’s stomach.
The wooden sword fell onto the wood floor and Orin looked over at the bound man.
“Alvig,” Orin said a blood began to flow from his mouth. “Ifalda.”
I’m Sorry.

Jim Henson

With Jim Henson’s gift
The world became new to me
The Writer I am

Jen from Dark Crystal
Jareth from the Labyrinth
Yoda from Empire

Kermit and Piggy
and the Electric Mayhem
Beaker and Fozzy

His mind knew no end
He showed me how to dream big
Show the World your Dreams

Red Wolf – II

The three watched one another for a few moments, no one daring to move. The wolf sniffed the air and then ran off towards the river.
Orin was captivated by the animal, having never seen a wolf so close before. Alvig was worried. But, it was only a superstition, right?
Orin sat down on his stump by the fire and began to warm his hands. Alvig returned to his tea, lost in thought. He did not hear anyone approach until they were at the edge of his porch.
“Ho there, at the cabin!”
Alvig turned to look at the voice. Though it startled him, Alvig did not show it and looked calmly upon the new arrivals.
“Ho there,” Alvig said courteously. “Are you lost?”
The man that had spoke scratched at his bushy, black beard and looked down at his feet.
“I’m not quite sure. You see, we don’t know where we are to know if we are lost or not.” The man replied and behind him came three more people. Three men and one was younger close to Orin’s age.
The man waved his group closer and then spoke again to Alvig.
“If we could have some warmth, a bit of food, and some directions, I would be greatly thankful.”
Orin looked at Alvig to see his response. People did not happen upon their home often, in fact never. These people were good and surely lost then.
“You are welcome, strangers,” Alvig said, and the bowed his head at the newcomer. The bearded man bowed his head slightly and walked up towards the stairs to the porch.
Orin got up from his seat and made room for the men. Alvig did the same and stood by Orin.
“Please sit,” Alvig motioned to the chairs by the fire. Each of the men sat and said nothing. None wore a smile either. Only the man who spoke originally seemed to be cordial.
“Thank you, Alsai,” The man said as he sat. He whipped the tail of his long fur coat behind him as he sat down and placed his hands by the fire.
“Orin, get some cups for our guests and I will make the tea.”
“Yes, Alvig,” he replied and ran into the house to do as he was told.
“He calls you Father?” said the stranger, scratching at his beard as he spoke. “And you call him Son?”
Alvig nodded. It was true that their names were in the old language for Father and Son. It was the way of their order. Alvig had no true name, nor did the boy. They did not need names in service of the Emperor.
“You know your elder tongue,” Alvig said. He was putting more of the tea leaves into his kettle when Orin returned with the mugs. He set them down on the ledge of the fire pit, which Orin and Alvig used as their meal table, and went to get more water for the pot. Alvig nodded and smiled at the boy as he went upon his duties.
“And what are your names, good sirs?” Alvig asked in such a way that it seemed conversational rather than informational.
The stranger did not reply. Instead, he said, “We were traveling to the Yadmar, and seemed to have gotten ourselves here instead.
“The Yadmar?” Alvig seemed to think. “This is an odd time of the season for travelers to seek the Yadmar.”
The smile left the stranger’s face. “I meant, that we were returning from the Yadmar.”
Alvig nodded and feigned to understand the error, but his suspicions grew about these men. Orin returned with the water.
“Just you and the boy then?” The stranger asked.
Alvig did not reply.
The stranger let out a heavy sigh and stood. The other three men were watching him closely and seemed to be ready to jump at a moments notice. “Listen Alvig,” Old Man. It was usually a sign of respect, but the way that this man spoke it, it was not. “I am going to make this simple. We need food and whatever you have of value.” He looked over at Orin holding the pot of water in his hands. “There is no need for you to get hurt.”
Orin laughed and Alvig shot him a look. The stranger caught the exchange and eyed Alvig with curiosity. He spoke to the boy while keeping his eyes on the old man.
“Why is that so funny, son?” the stranger held his hands behind his back, underneath his long coat. He tried to hold an impression wealth though dressed of being poor.
“There is nothing funny, sir,” Orin replied.
The stranger walked over towards Orin and looked to ensure that Alvig was paying attention to him.
“Orin, son, I lie for a living.” The stranger spoke in a grave tone. Orin looked up and could see that underneath his unshaven face, his neck was scarred. The stranger noticed the boy looking and tilted his head higher. “See that? That is from when they tried to hang me before. But I am still alive.”
“Bomer, come on. It’s cold out here.” One of the men said.
Bomer turned and faced the man who spoke.
“You’re Krel, right?” Bomer asked. He eyed Krel with a look from the side of his face that the man needed to learn when to be quiet. He pointed at Krel and the other man at the same time. “I can never tell you two apart.” He sighed and turned back towards Alvig. “Now that we are using our names, this turns into an entirely another thing, now doesn’t it?”
He turned to face Orin with a wicked grin. Orin punched at Bomer across the jaw, rolled backward towards the house, landed on his feet and grabbed his Qi-da. Orin planted his feet, sword in the scabbard and in his grip and he stood resolutely.
“Orin! Jatso!” Alvig sternly said.
Bomer was rubbing his face where he was struck and grinning at the boy. There was a small trickle of blood from his lip. Bomer licked it and turned to face Orin head on.
“We have a fighter in this boy.” Bomer did not seem to be upset at all. He seemed to be enjoying himself. “This will be more fun than I had hoped for.”
Alvig stepped forward as Bomer began to approach Orin. “Take what you want! Alvig replied. “Take anything that you find here, but leave now. There is no need for blood today.”
Bomer laughed and looked beyond the old man at his companions. They had been moving behind Alvig, and the one that was not Fix took the pot and bashed Alvig over the head. The older man went down but was already trying to get back to his feet. Fix and the other held Alvig down as the younger man walked over to Bomer.
“Can I do it?” he asked. His voice was small and soft. He was not yet a man, though almost as tall as Bomer.
Bomer laughed and placed his hands on his hips. “Now isn’t this a strange situation we find ourselves in?” Bomer put his arm around the boy. “Father and Son are being robbed by a father and son.”
He laughed again. Orin looked over at Alvig who seemed to be unable to break free from his hold. The two men held him firm, so Orin focused on Bomer.
Bomer reached behind his coat and drew down a metal blade that had been strapped to his back underneath the long fur coat. He twirled the blade at Orin, and the handed it, handle first, to his son.
“Take your time,” Bomer released the sword as his son took it in hand. “This is your first one, so make it last in your memory.”
Orin planted his bare feet on the cold, wooden floor. His blood was pumping and the cold did not effect him at this moment.
“No … Blood …” Alvig said. He was struggling to stand, but the men still held him down.
“No blood,” Orin replied.
Bomer looked from Alvig to Orin and back. He did not think that they meant the same thing that it sounded like.
Orin drew the sword from its scabbard. The blade was a dark polished wood, used for practice bouts only. Bomer looked and laughed again.
“That is a boy’s toy sword.”
Bomer’s son laughed as well, though he still seemed unsure of why his father was laughing.
“You want to use that blade, Orin?” Bomer was stepping aside to give the fighters room. “Then I will be sure that your body is found with it still in your grasp.”
Orin had a fearless look in his eyes as he looked at the approaching boy.
“Kill him, Leku,” Bomer said, and the boy, Stance attacked.
The metal blade came down, and Orin deflected it with ease. Leku attacked again with a broad swipe, but Orin knocked the metal blade away from hitting him. Leku got angry and began to swing with fast, hard strokes. Orin had no problem knocking each away. Orin then struck the boy in the knee with the Qi-da. Leku yelped and leapt back away from the fray.
Leku looked at his father who frowned in disappointment. Leku looked at Orin who smiled. Leku yelled and charged Orin with the sword pointed forward like a lance.
Orin knocked the blade to his right, spun, and then struck Leku on the back of his neck. Leku was still moving forward and the strike made him lose his balance. He fell forward through the paper door and into the house. He sword left his hands and clanged onto the floor inside as he fell. Once he landed, he did not move.
“Get up boy!” Bomer yelled. The boy did not move. Bomer stomped over to the house and through the ripped door. He turned his son over to see his eyes open and staring at nothing.
Leku was dead.

Red Wolf – I

“I get my sword today!”
Orin leapt out of his bed and was out of his bedroom within three strides. Any other morning it would take him a few minutes to even open his eyes. Not today. This was the day when his sword would arrive. This was the day that Orin became a man.
“I get my sword today!” Orin was running through the house, his bare feet slapping against the wooden floor. Even for as cold as it was, he had not taken the time to put on proper clothing. No one would see him out in the woods except for Alvig anyway.
Alvig was kneeling in from of the carving of the dragon, meditating. He was wearing his usual white robe with the stitched dragontree on the back. Orin stopped at the entrance of the room and waited patiently. He knew better than to interrupt the man when he was speaking with the dragon.
As Orin stood silently watching, he became more aware of the cold coming in through the paper doors. Now he wished that he had put on his robe before running out here to Alvig.
“Your teeth chatter like a squirrel.”
Orin realized that his teeth were chattering, and clenched to stop them from making noise. The older man made the sign of the ‘y’ on his face and he stood, turned, and faced the young boy. No, that isn’t correct. The young man. His sword would arrive today and they could begin the next phase of training.
“I see that you have decided that you do not require your robe today,” Alvig said. His eyes were only half open, which was usual for the man. It made it difficult for Orin to see them most times. Orin was still unsure if they were gray or not.
“I get my sword today,” Orin said for the third time this morning. He bowed his head in respect and waited for Alvig to address him.
“Yes, that is true.”
Orin looked at up Alvig, beaming with his barely contained excitement.
“However,” Alvig said and the smile faltered on Orin’s face. “You are not yet that young man.” He placed his hands into the sleeves of the opposite arms. “Steps.”
“But, Alvig.”
“Steps!” his voice was firm and final.
Orin turned to go to his room to get his robe.
“Yee!” Alvig stopped Orin in his second step. “You are going the wrong way. The posts are outside.”
“I am going to get my robe, Alvig.”
Alvig shook his head and kept his eyes on Orin the entire time. At least, Orin thought he did.
“Steps.”
Orin hung his head as he went outside. He slid the door open and walked out into the colder morning air. The Frost season was coming and would be here within a few weeks. This was why they had the sword arriving today before the snows fell and trapped the cabin where Orin and Alvig lived apart from the rest of the lower village.
Orin stepped onto the first stone and withdrew his foot quickly. It was even colder than the wooden floor of the porch.
“Steps.”
Alvig was standing just behind Orin. The older man was fully dressed and only his breath indicated how cold it was outside. Orin’s bare arms and legs were covered in goose pimples and he shivered as he tries to step onto the stone again. Cold as he was, he knew that this was a part of his lessons, and he began to go through his steps.
This was the third day of the week, which meant that he was to do the Dragon’s Claw portion of the Dance. Orin went through his moves slowly yet with purpose. He started out cold, but as he went through each phase, he locked into place as he was taught, and then moved into the next pose. He went through all nine of the poses and then repeated the cycle again.
Alvig was cleaning out the stone fire pit and adding fresh firewood. He drew water from within the house and return with a kettle to place on the now shimmering fire. Orin could smell the burning wood and he felt some of the heat from the flames, though he was a good twenty paces away. He did not let it distract him as he continued the dance.
When he had finished his last Dance, he turned on the first stone and bowed to the engraved dragon that stood by the wall to their house. He was about to step down on the ground when Alvig stopped him.
“Was that eight, or nine?” He asked, not looking up from his tea preparation.
“Nine?” Orin replied. He did not really know the answer.
“Was it nine, or was it eight?”
Uncertain Orin turned around to do another Dance. Though, in truth, he knew that he would have to do all nine again as was the way.
“Stop,” Alvig called to Orin and the young man stopped before he made the first pose. “It was nine.”
Confused, Orin looked at Alvig but did not step down. “Then why did you ask me?”
“To see if you would answer truthfully. You did, but you also answered without confidence.”
Orin smiled and was about to step off the stone towards Alvig.
“Yee!”
Orin stopped, turned to face the Dragon again, bowed, and then stepped off properly.
Orin walked over to the stone pit to sit down with Alvig and get warm when he noticed something moving in the woods. He looked and pointed it out to Alvig.
“Alvig, look.”
Orin spoke in low tones as to not scare the animal. He was also holding his breath and only realized when he started to get light-headed. He breathed normal but did not move.
Alvig looked over and saw it. It was a wolf. In this part of the world, there were plenty of wolves, so that was nothing special. And this close to frost, he would expect to see many gray and white wolves. This one, however, was red. This was a Darune. In Alvig’s mind, he heard his father’s voice from long ago.
“Red Wolf means change. It means death.”

The Dark Crystal

Jen is a Gelfling
Raised by the Wise old Mystics
to heal the Crystal

He must find the shard
Augrah the Astronomer
Hidden Orrery

With help from Kira
Before the three suns align
and power is gained

The Landstriders run
Towards the Crystal Castle
the Two become one