Category Archives: Darkness

The Sword, the Bow and the Staff – Part I, The Calling: Chapter 19


Finally, I think I’m caught up on the blogging scene. I’ve read how to write better; how to improve my health; what to do in case of Armageddon; how to win a cricket match; that Russia isn’t to blame for anything; that we’re in deeper s**t than I even thought possible; how to make free electricity; how to awaken; that Sandy Hook mass shooting never happened (again) and that I’ve got to give peace a chance. That said, let’s get on with this story before it becomes “The Perils of Pauline” and Phil manifests himself on the blog waving a massive eraser and I lose all my subordinate clauses and loose conjunctions…

Chapter 19: Meeting the priest; all is set for the wedding

To Lo and Nal, it wasn’t much of a ‘town’ but to the others it was impressive as towns go. Not only the large church that sat imposingly in the centre of the main town but the shops, so many shops, and people everywhere. There were people on horseback and horse-drawn carts clattered on cobble-stone sections of the main street hauling various merchandise. At an open air butcher shop women were haggling with a portly butcher over the cut meat and the hanging geese and chicken. After each left with a purchase, she was replaced by another just as eager to haggle over the prices.

Children ran wildly through the filthy streets, yelled at by the adults whom they splattered when their bare feet slapped into puddles of stagnant, stinking water.

As Ian and his group walked deeper into the town, most people stopped doing whatever they were doing and stared. The men were particularly attracted to the three young women, the two tall imposing light-haired ones and the short, small dark one. But the main question on their faces was, who are these armed people and what do they want here?

Then some recognized MacGruder and greetings were exchanged. Women came forth to greet lady Jen MacGruder and their daughter whom they had not recognized so grown up she was. They were introduced to Lo whom they openly admired, and the two other young women, Genti and Deanna. Ian ventured the news that they intended to have a wedding here in Glowmere between the two travellers who were trading friends of the MacGruders, from the south. He announced that Nal and Lo, whom he singled out, were to be united in holy matrimony at the kirk if the priest was in agreement.

The news was greeted with a loud cheer that spread up and down the main street and brought the curious street urchins forth. Soon items went missing here and there from the shops and stalls as the cries of “Thief, stop him!” or “That miserable scoundrel, stop her!” followed by some useless chase that only left a shop or stall open to more pilfering.

“An where does one find the priest?” Ian asked politely and diplomatically for he realized such a location would be in proximity to the church. An urchin offered to lead them to the priest, for a price. Contrary to his usual parsimonious nature, Ian good-naturally accepted and paid the rascal. They intercepted the priest as he was stepping out of the kirk and getting ready to bar, bolt and lock the door.

“Wouldn’t want yer God er his saints t’ run off come night eh Father? Keep ‘em locked up, that’s the sure way.” said Ian with a large smile.

The priest, a tall, stringy sort of creature in a fading black cassock failed to acknowledge the joke. He eyed MacGruder with a frown and asked, “An what do ye be wantin’ fro’ me, mon?”

“Well Father, ‘tis not what I want, ‘tis what these young un’s here be needin’ – an’ that’d be a proper weddin’ t’would be, if ye be amenable to it?”

The priest cast a haughty look over the group trying to figure out which of them were to be the victims. Unable to decide, he turned to MacGruder and said, “They be proper Church people then? Baptized and knowing their catechism?”

“Aye of that I’m sure Father. Might not hurt ‘em just the same to have a confession afore the ceremony?”

“That is mandatory mon, and may I know whom I be addressin’ and whom the intended’s be?”

“I be Ian MacGruder, perhaps ye’ve heard of us from up t’ cottage? An’ here are the two ‘intendeds’ as ye put it: Lo ‘n Nal. Don’t know if there be any family names attached to ‘em, I reckon not.”

“Well, I’ll need such particulars for the book ye understand. We keep decent records here, not like the old pagan days thankfully gone from here, praise God.”

“We’ll get ye the names Father.” MacGruder’s voice had grown somewhat harsher and definitely colder as he prepared to haggle prices with the priest.

Having heard their names mentioned, Nal and Lo came forward and introduced themselves to the priest. Again he gave his haughty look, equally met and brought down forcefully by both Nal and Lo who would not tolerate such from a pawn of the Church. For a moment the priest sensed something that scared him and was of a mind to refuse the ceremony, then thought of the money and held his tongue. On top of the incentive of good gold, there were those deadly looking swords, bows and staffs to reckon with. It might not do to upset these and seemed more prudent to let the moment have its way.

‘I can deal with any sorcery and paganism afterwards and I certainly will.’

All three, Nal, Deanna and Lo, had been mind-focusing on the priest and heard his thoughts. Here was another dangerous enemy, certainly for Genti and the MacGruders. This priest would have to be dealt with after they settled with the Betrayers and before they carried on to further adventures, such certain to come about as a result of Nal’s vows and Deanna’s need to return to Torglynn.

As there was overt thoughts of violence and murder in the priest’s heart, Lo felt no qualm about disposing of the creature come the right time. This work might well fall to wolf and his mate he reckoned. Both Nal and Deanna agreed though Nal who had some personal scores to settle with the Church insisted she’d be involved in the priest’s demise. They left it at the stage where the priest would be killed but not who would have the honours.

Meanwhile, they agreed to let the hypocrisy of the moment reign supreme.

“Any o’ these others gettin’ married also, Ian?” Asked the priest, trying hard to sound innocent, caring, and friendly but inwardly licking his greedy lips thinking of the gold a double or triple wedding would bring, winter being financially remarkable only from the increase in burials.

“Hasn’t been mentioned Father. Must be waitin’ for spring, t’other ones eh? So then to business, time and cost? Ye’d be needin’ gold yea?”

“Gold, yea. Six ounces, weighed on the scale at the kirk. As to time, does next Saturday suit ye, Ian?”

Ian called his group together and after consulting with Jen asked them, “Does next Saturday suit ye all for the weddin’ t’ take place or ye havin’ second thoughts now? Last chance ‘fore I put down the money.”

Nal and Lo smiled broadly at one another then burst out laughing while a spark of hope flashed through young Giles’ heart only to be extinguished in the same moment when Nal said, “Saturday is perfect for us ‘n the sooner t’ better to get it done. Can’t wait! An’ Father if ye be wantin’ our clan names, I be a McBanish, n’ m’intended here, he be a MacDunit.”

“Interestin’ names. Can’t say I ever heard o’ those clans, interestin’ indeed. Saturday then, ten o’ the mornin’?”

“Aye that’ll suit us fine, that will, Father,” quickly answered Ian.

They left the skeletal priest standing there like a patiently expectant vulture on his favourite dead tree perch and Ian declared they all deserved a drink at the Wild Horse Inn, a good, friendly place, he added.

Once out of the priest’s hearing they all burst out laughing until the tears were running down their faces. Ian had to lean on a hitching post to keep himself upright.

Only Deanna failed to join, finally asking what the sudden hilarity was all about.

“Dinae hear girl? McBanish, MacDunit? Who ever heard o’ such nonsense? That was good that, truly magnificent, gal, and he slapped Nal on the back, making her jump.

Ian didn’t give his charges too much time to develop introspective moroseness that would demand another round and declared it was getting late and they had a fair walk ahead of ‘em yet.

As they were crossing the small drawbridge, Lo stayed behind to speak to the guard detail. He gave them each enough coin for a couple of rounds at the inn and was rewarded with some slaps on the back and cheers. Then in a vibrant voice he wished them a wonderful end of the day and a safe, healthy, prosperous and long life. They received his words as if they had been gifts, realizing that there was more than words in the blessing. They waved sheepishly then, thinking this was no ordinary man. They all sensed that their entire lives ahead of them had been magically blessed and the words would prove true.

Entering his speed lope he soon caught up to the group and immediately noticed that Deanna was gone and Nal was carrying her clothes.

“So she’s gone back to her wolf then? How did she manage to take off her clothes without upsetting the group?”

“We slipped into the ‘by woods to do that. She’ll inner nudge me when she needs ‘em again.”

“Let me strap those to my pack then, Nal, so you keep your hands free. It may seem silly here but remember that ultimately we are always alone, working singly, and must always think thus. Never rely on anyone else to take the point, or protect. Let them if they want to but don’t ask it nor expect it and I repeat, never rely on it.

“Keep your hands, arms and legs free at all times and your weapons handy.”

“Truly sorry, I temporarily forgot. Too much on m’mind an’ don’t push me, MacDunit.”

“Indeed I’ll endeavour not to, Miss McBanish.”

They laughed, hugged fiercely and kissed again.

Don’t look at me like that and I heard that snort. Look, I’m just writing it the way I see it. And remember, they’ve been apart for thousands of years, how do you think you would act if you suddenly found yourself back in the arms and love of a lover you knew was dead and you hadn’t seen for, say, twenty thousand years? Would you say,

“What? You again?” or

“I really wasn’t expecting you back this soon.” or

“I hadn’t planned on this; I have a life now.” or

“Things getting too boring for you, decided to come back?”

Right, I didn’t think so. More likely there would be sparks, maybe a flame, and hugging and kissing would just be the breeze that sets everything on fire. So put up with the hugging and kissing and let me go on with the story, which by the way is turning out pretty good, in my opinion, if I’m allowed to have one.



That Feeling, it will not Leave

Where do you hail from,
you shattering feeling
flying on wings of doom,
harbinger of sapping horror?

It all seems so perfect right now,
the sky is pure, clear and blue
and high noonday sun sparkles,
distant snow-capped hills.

Spring arrives,  a bit unsure,
Winter birds actively seek
elusive bugs and sluggish worms
among pink buds and greenings.

Surely senses don’t lie so,
all must be well with the world
bathed, exploding, in delight
of so much beauty and peace.

But that feeling, it is not leaving.
There’s pain in my heart,
my food tastes of sawdust;
childhood nightmares are back.

Thoughts on Change

[thoughts from ~burning woman~ by Sha’Tara]

“We cannot fight change because we are a part of it.”

Doesn’t that read like a great thought? It reads as if change will happen without fighting for it, just because.

But what if the change spoken of is retrograde, what then?

If we cannot fight such change precisely because we are a part of it, then does it not behoove us, as intelligent, sentient, self-aware beings, spiritually and mentally aware, to separate ourselves from such retrograde change?

Must we ever remain victims of forces we believe are beyond our control?

The price we must be willing to pay if we would renounce our collusion with destructive, if not murderous beliefs, forces and powers, is to become self-empowered.

Did I just conclude that last sentence with a swear word?

Every religious; every political, every financial; every belief system, by nature of being a system, has stood viciously opposed to Earthians ever daring to become self empowered. Every teaching; every public education system has one refrain: study the accepted, recognized authority figures. You, as an individual, have no voice.

Self-empowerment equals the end of every controlling system on earth. No system can exist without our willingness to offer ourselves, in chains, upon the slave auction block. We’ve done this since we became what we proudly think of as homo sapiens sapiens. So long have we dutifully followed this path from conception to death that we’ve come to believe it is a sign of superiority, of power and great intelligence.

We love to be enslaved. We want to be led, no matter where, just as long as we don’t have to make that decision.

The opening quote comes from the movie, “Belle” based on a true story. It addresses the problem and horror of the slave trade in England circa 1750. A bit of a slow start – I almost turned it off – but it finally picks up to a mighty grand finale.

An intelligent movie. A great story.


Send in the Clowns


In the midst of the other stuff, like writing rants, poems and a novel (thoroughly enjoying that part) I’ve also been reading many, many blogs and gaining more insight along the way.

This write is, first of all, a thank you to those of you who post that great stuff on your blogs and often also take the time to comment here.

While I’m at it, a sincere thank you for the many “Likes” and the re-blogs. There’s a feel good about getting those, kind of like a hug, or a kiss!

Now then, to some of those blogs I read. There are still quite a few that express, rightfully so, some great and deep concerns about Donald Trump as the president of the United States.

Very briefly, using that insight I mentioned, here’s how I currently see Mr. Trump.

For those of you old enough to have seen a real circus, some of those acts involved a trainer working with lions or other dangerous man-eating predators. It has happened that these predators, for whatever reason, revert to their natural proclivity to eat a human, and turn upon their trainer.

In the wings are clowns, trained to jump into the caged arena, to distract, disrupt, confuse the attacking lion, or lions. That’s where the expression, “Send in the clowns” comes from, not from “Barbra” Streisand’s song.

I see “The Donald” as the clown. He wasn’t actually supposed to get to centre stage, that spot had been earmarked for Hillary Clinton but somehow she blew it and the Clown was sent in.

The problem is that he was never meant to be anything else but a clown. He wasn’t trainer material. He didn’t have the body moves; he didn’t have the language; he didn’t even know the difference between a whip and a tweet. He wasn’t actually good at anything at all except being annoying and brutish. But he liked the idea of being centre stage and instead of blushing all over, apologizing and quickly making an exit stage left, he decided to go on with the show.

Sad, really.

Here are a couple of links to YouTube videos that go a long way to explain what’s currently going on, not just in Washington, but in Canada and in the world; describing in some clear details why things are as they are.

The first, 50 minutes long, is our own Paul Hellyer, once Canadian minister of defence.

The second, a bit long at 2 hours, is Dr. Steven Greer.

If you can take the time, these two “speeches” are worth their weight of wisdom to listen to. Conveniently for those hard of hearing both have reasonably good closed captions.

Paul Hellyer speaks on 9/11, the banking cartel, global warming and Roswell – 50 minutes

Dr. Steven Greer speaks on the Deep Deep State and explains why our democracies are in a shambles today.  – 2 hours. 


[thoughts from ~burning woman~ by Sha’Tara]

Something that puzzles me this morning. There are so many things that actually do puzzle me but this one, this one, takes the cake.

Balance. There is even an old Chinese symbol for it: the yin-yang.

 Yin-yang symb2
 As a general rule, at least for people who take a couple of minutes a day to actually think about something, balance is thought of as a good thing. Necessary.

Imagine a world not in balance we say, or a universe. We naturally assume we live within some kind of great see-saw which guarantees that we won’t get thrown off.

We assume that when ‘this’ happens over here, ‘that’ (being its opposite) happens over there and all’s well with the world.

Where did we ever get that idea from? Well, it has to do with belief systems and of course, brainwashing, a method of indoctrination that simply has no equal. Once brainwashed: addicted for life. Exceptions noted: they prove the rule.

Do we live in a balanced universe? Oh, never mind the universe, what do we know about that apart from nothing. What about this world? Is this an example of a balanced world?

Apart from the fact that through some freak of biology there is approximately the same ratio of males to females among the Earthian species, and if we don’t look too closely on how that little miracle is accomplished, what about the rest?

Balance in nature is achieved through a madness called predation. We call it that, what it calls itself is another story. Another approach dear to the heart is survival of the fittest. Through ripping apart, destroying, killing, murdering, we, or our world and us, achieve, so we are forced to believe, the wonderful state of balance.

Is there as much “good” as there is “evil” on this world, fact-wise? Could it be proven either way? No. So we look at whatever evidence is thrown our way and we see depending on the evidence we have access to and how we’re trained to believe.

While we’re focused on this see-saw, we do not see because we never saw. That’s the problem.

We don’t realize that we don’t have to believe in the see-saw.

Rather, using our own brains, or mind if we really are the daring sort, we can say, to hell with the see-saw. Balance is a joke, a lie. How can there be balance in any finite environment? Balance is an absolute, like love. You can’t have it, or do it, incrementally.

You can’t begin in unbalanced chaos, reach a state of balance, then lose it again in terminal chaos. That’s a fairy tale of gargantuan proportions. It’s a lie.

When we reach that elementary stage of reasoning we see it all crashing down, the yin-yang symbol becomes push-pull and tears apart, blood, guts and gore gushing everywhere.

We were lied to about balance? Oh surely no more than we were lied to about God, about politics, about economics. No more than we’re being lied to right now about everything.

Do we need balance? Should we be seeking balance? What are the benefits of balance, or who benefits from balance? I’m not going to dignify those questions with an answer because if you can’t see it, my answer would only cause anger. To a brainwashed person nothing is more insulting or threatening than a fact, or a truth, that exposes cherished beliefs as being carefully fabricated lies.

Imagine you’ve spent all of your born-again life dutifully paying for your favourite televangelist’s private jets and turning on the TV one Sunday morning he comes on and says, “Thanks a lot folks, but I’ve made enough money now and I regret to say I’m quitting: God is dead.” How could you possibly accept the fact that for once in his life your preacher was telling the truth?

The problem with balance is this: if I do good in the world, balance will demand… a balancing. The more good some people do, the more evil other people ‘must’ do. The conclusion is, do no good at all and no one else will have to do any evil at all. No good=no evil. That’s your perfect state of balance. That’s your wonderful *Brave New World.

I like to wake up in the morning with a great thought, a powerfully motivating thought, more important even than breakfast. This morning I had this thought. Knowing what I know now, if I were starting a family again, had my two sweet little daughters again, this is what I would tell them, each and every morning before they went to school:

“I want you to be nothing but kind, gentle, caring, accepting, loving, generous in praise and in offering help to all this day. Nothing else you do, or are told to do, is as important as this.”

When they came home and we had our time in the evening, I would ask them about their day, and how it all went. I’m sure they would have much to say about their experiences trying to live an alternative lifestyle! They might have even been subjected to mocking or to other indignities – all of which would prove my point about Earthians and their chuildren, but would go a long way to educate my own two children in the things that really matter.

But it does not end there. I would say to them, I have to be your example of the things I ask you to do, and to be. So when you see me failing, don’t let me get away with it. Call me up on it. Point it out. I am asking you to live the most dangerous life so you can be my teachers.

Forget balance, it’s a chimera.

(*Reference is to Aldous Huxley’s dystopian novel)



Throwing away the Key

[thoughts from ~burning woman~ by Sha’Tara

There are days, as today for example, when I would like to get dressed warm enough for the weather, carefully slip my purse over my shoulders, look around to make sure everything is in its proper place, walk out the front door of my house, lock it, and without looking back, walk away. Walk until the road crosses that little bridge under which flows the small river that was my companion, lo these many years, and throw in the key.

Then just walk on.

The direction now is no longer important. Walking will get me the farthest because it will cost less. I could take the bus but they confuse me so much. A taxi I cannot afford. Walking then. As I walk I can notice my world as I have never seen it with so much intensity.

I can imagine already seeing snowdrops popping up in someone’s front yard under a Japanese maple with its lovely orange branches.

I can see robins flitting about under the influence of a Spring that is just around February’s corner. As I continue, farther from town and into the farm lands, horses and cattle are already roaming the fields. It’s Saturday so children too have come out of their homes to play in greening yards or on paved driveways. There is less and less traffic here.

The road that chose me takes me along another small river, more of a drainage system than a river, really. Here and there where in the wider sections ducks actively seek for food. There are the small divers such as buffleheads, hooded mergansers and golden eyes. There are the dabblers, mallards and widgeons, who plunge their heads into the murky depths then pop up again like battery-operated toys. Black willows and cottonwoods lean over the ponds, some of their branches and trunks broken in a Winter ice storm angling down into the dark waters revealing oily reflections.

Overhead flock after flock of Glaucous-winged gulls fly. They too are on their way to feed. By there direction it’s easy to tell they’re going to the landfill for their daily feast.

You may wonder why I haven’t mentioned the many sounds emanating from such a scene. To tell the truth, it’s my hearing. It isn’t as good as it used to be. There was a time I remember when I could pin-point the location of a tiny golden-crowned kinglet in a tall cottonwood by its weak call, ‘tsit-tsit-tsit’ repeated. Still I can hear louder calls, Canada geese coming in for a landing on one of those ponds formed of brackish waters and in a backyard, a chainsaw; someone busy cutting up firewood.

I hear a baby crying as a mother is putting it in the backseat of the family’s SUV. I think, what a world, that a baby has to ride out of sight of its mother and turned so it cannot see anything. There is evil at work at every level of this man’s world and it’s called ‘security’ and ‘safety’ yet the more of that there is, the less there actually is.

That brings me back to the beginning of my thought-wanderings. There is something calling me that this life which I’ve taken to observe more the less I desire to participate in, is preventing me from responding to. That troubles me because how do I know, how can I know, if the calling is not more important than the staying? How can I know the calling will wait for me, for my ambivalence resulting from my decision not to walk out on the ephemeral comfort of a house and throw away the key today?

I know about callings. I’ve had quite a few in this one life alone. If they are not responded to, they go on to someone else and later I read about them, some famous, some both, famous and martyred.  I cannot know if they changed the world but they expressed a courage I chose not to.

If I did leave my house today and threw away the key, would I find such courage? Is it too late and should I just wait?

It’s been raining, it seems, forever and looking out the window I can tell the sun is going to, once again valiantly try to break through the endless clouds and once again, fail.

I’m going to make a fresh pot of coffee and answer some emails, then we’ll see about throwing away the key.


A Lesson from the Woods

a night poem,  by Sha’Tara

The woods were empty
as only woods can be
in deep winter – surely
everyone knows of the shadows
lurking in the deep snows.

(There came a sigh
as from tired lips gone white,
a sound of night wind or ghost
and the whisper of owl wings)

The woods were dark
as only woods can be
in any season of any year
for when night comes without its moon
it makes no exceptions.

(There came another sigh
then a voice from cold lips)

Your feeble lantern’s light
is more useful for casting shadows
than discovering the path you seek.

You’re but a child, child
oh, never mind protesting
with ‘I’m of age’ platitudes
no one ever is here
in the deep woods
that are neither empty nor dark.

This is my domain, see?
I decide emptiness,
I decide darkness
for these are of souls,
not of things that grow
nor things that see or hear.

There is a hawk, do you see
up there so high, so proud
on top of my highest tree​?
She’s a peregrine that one,
fast and deadly on the wing.
Does she know sitting there
that even the fastest
and the deadliest
cannot fly faster than death?
Nor can they capture it,
nor can they kill it?

Death, child
is the final arbiter
for all that is born to exist.
Death then you see
is the most powerful force
that rules throughout this universe
and it is my woods
that keep its soul.