I want to thank each and every one of you, blog readers and commenters, for coming with me thus far on my writing journey and reading my li’l ol’ scribbles on this here blog, as The Road of a Writer turns 2 years old today.
Thank you so much.
I love you guys to Starrellia and back.
Here’s a bit of a (longish…) scribble in celebration. Enjoy! 🙂
The sun rises slowly and shines its warm pleasant golden beams past the trees circling a green forest glade. It is empty. All is still save for a quiet twitter of birdsong and the rustle of the leafy branches swaying gently in a soft breeze.
A black raven flies into the glade, and alights soundlessly on a large grey rock near the center. It ruffles its wings into place, cocking its head this way and that to survey the area as it settles on the rock. Then there is a blur and it morphs into a black-haired woman with a black cloak and a dress with a pattern of roses, sitting on the rock.
She is still looking about as she was when she was a raven, and a moment later she nods and stands up with a little smile.
“Yes. I think this will do nicely.”
Immediately, an ageless looking man with gold-tinged light hair that curls about his ears, and a gold harp in one arm, appears in the glade. He does not appear surprised, merely curious, as his golden eyes survey the dark-haired woman. Then he smiles very slightly and sits down on a nearby stump. He begins to softly pick out a melody on his harp, the golden notes filling the glade.
At that moment, there is a sudden bump and two more figures appear.
“. . . I just don’t see why on earth you should be acting like — Oh!” The eighteen year old girl in jeans and an assortment of either fashionable or extremely slipshod shirts and layers, with brown eyes and dark brown hair, breaks off in the middle of her sentence from talking to her companion, to look around the glade in a startled manner.
Her companion, however, a young man of twenty-something with sandy-ish fair hair, a pencil behind one ear and a pen in one hand, with a rather large notebook in the other hand, does not seem to have noticed either the girl’s talking or the glade he is suddenly in. He just goes on scribbling where he sits on the grass.
“Teague!” the girl half shrieks, half whispers, prodding him in the ribs with the toe of her red converse sneaker. “Pay attention! What on earth just happened?”
“Mm…?” Teague says distractedly, and finally looks up. His uncertainly-colored eyes rove about. “Oh.” He pauses a moment, looking absentminded. “I thought we were in my house,” he adds mildly, going back to his scribbling.
“Hmm. We seem to be somewhere else now. How did we get here, exactly?”
“How should I know? But I suggest you figure it out pretty quick. Your dinner’s going to burn,” she adds, folding her arms.
“Don’t get so excited, Meridian,” Teague says mildly. “My dinner usually burns.”
“Not when I’m there to look after it.”
“Well, you’re not.”
“That’s entirely the point!” Meridian howls in exasperation. “Look, stop scribbling and do something about it!”
His pen continues scratching. “I don’t get any pleases around here, do I?” he says resignedly.
“We don’t even know where ‘here’ is,” Meridian says pointedly. “But okay. Please.”
Teague sighs and stops writing. He looks around again. Then he gets unconcernedly to his feet, looking absentminded again, like he’s forgotten the entire conversation already. He wanders toward the bard, a trail of yellow sticky-notes detaching themselves from his notebook pages to flutter quietly toward the ground behind him. Meridian grimaces, but begins picking them up from the grass as she trails in his wake.
“You there: harper,” Teague calls.
The golden-eyed bard looks up, his fingers still moving on the strings.
“Any idea how we got here? Or . . . where here is, for that matter. That would be extremely helpful,” Teague says.
The bard nods toward the black-haired lady by the rock. “You might ask her. She was here at the start.”
“Mm.” Teague wanders toward her. Meridian sends a quick “Thank you, by the way,” that Teague had forgotten, in the bard’s general direction; he smiles.
“Good morning,” the black haired lady says pleasantly.
“Is it,” Teague says vaguely. “Incidentally, I don’t suppose you’d care to tell us why we’re here, would you? I’m not particularly caring about it myself, but Meridian will carry on and keep me from writing until I find out for her,” he adds with a certain stare over his shoulder at his follower.
Meridian wrinkles her nose at him and says, “Teague.”
“I wouldn’t mind at all,” the black haired lady says, smiling widely. “In fact, I’ve called you two and the others here –”
“Others?” Teague says, raising a quizzical eyebrow.
“They don’t seem to have all shown up yet. How annoying.” The black haired lady looks questingly around the glade. “Ah. Here they are.”
The forest glade is suddenly full of several other people, scattered randomly about in small groups, save for the nearest person, who is alone. He wears a long black leather jacket, has black hair, and glances sharply around with narrowed eyes, looking tense and ready to fight off anyone who so much as steps in his direction.
“Tare, would you mind awfully — ?” a voice is saying, but breaks off and turns into a yelp.
“Yes, I would,” the young man in the leather jacket growls at the teen boy, in jeans and blue t-shirt with tousled brown hair, who had yelped.
He changes his tactic and his plan. “Where are we?”
Tare’s black eyebrows draw together, his dark blue eyes scanning everyone in the glade. “I’m working on figuring that out. Quiet.”
“You don’t look like you’re working very hard,” the other remarks, tucking his hands in his jeans pockets.
“I said quiet,” Tare repeats, his glance making its way warily over the nearby observing faces of Teague and Meridian and the black-haired lady.
“Alright, alright, I’ll be quiet. I can be quiet. Bazzes are very good at being quiet when they need to be, especially this Baz –”
The freezing dark blue eyes turn to look him in the face. “I said — ”
“Right.” Baz clams up very quickly.
A short way off, a very tall young man in his twenties, with a shaggy mane of rusty-brown hair, clad in a sleeveless brown leather jerkin and brown pants, wields a long double-ended crystal spear in his hands, looking warily about like a trapped beast. If the leather jacket fellow looked ready to fight off anyone who steps toward him, this one looks ready to instantly kill anyone who so much as breathes in his direction. His jewel-green eyes dart quickly all around the glade. A harassed-looking boy in a cloak and a once-fine travel-stained blue embroidered tunic looks nervously around, standing just behind the spear-holder, and beside them is a dark-haired princely-looking fellow, who looks like he’s resenting something. Or possibly everything.
A young man with shockingly purple hair runs languidly by, clearly neither knowing, nor caring in the least, what is going on around him. He is apparently in pursuit of two very small men in dusky brown jackets (one in an Irish-looking cap) who seem to be carrying paintbrushes far too large for them. The little men are much too quick for the purple-haired fellow.
Two small, scruffy baby griffins prance awkwardly by at dangerous speeds, flailing feather-down-kitten-fluff tails and wings. They make chaos and get underfoot everywhere, snapping and biting at ankles merrily, and frolicking about with a small fluffy white puppy who is yapping with apparent ecstatic joy and panting with a little puppy grin, his pink tongue hanging out.
“What are we supposed to DO?” wails a flustered-looking lad of seventeen, with ordinary brown hair, looking for help from a younger lad with silver hair and sharp grey eyes and a blank expression, who is leaning unconcernedly against a tree, absently fingering a gold ring.
“Calm down, Faron,” a deep voice rumbles, as an enormous black bear saunters by, pats the brown-haired boy briefly on the shoulder — in a comforting gesture that nearly knocks him over — and commences efficiently and effortlessly taking charge of the small fluffy mischievous things.
“How can I be calm when –” Faron splutters, apparently lacking further words to continue.
Several other people mill about around the edges of the glade, and between yapping, screeching purrs, harp music, and miscellaneous chatter and wailing, the place has become quite lively in the space of a short time.
“Oh. Those others,” Teague says, unconcernedly.
Meridian sighs and hands him his dropped sticky notes, neatly stacked, which he takes with mild surprise and tucks into the notebook under his arm.
“May I have everyone’s attention?” the black-haired woman calls loudly.
Most eyes turn to her (the painter, leprechauns, griffins and puppy don’t seem to notice), and there is a slight quieting down so that only a few murmurs and the soft trill of the harp continue.
“Now, perhaps you’re wondering why I’ve gathered you here on this auspicious day –”
“Then be quick about it and tell us so that we can be on our way,” the spear-holder growls.
“Shut your mouth, outlaw,” says the dark-haired resentful-looking princely young man behind him. “Let the lady speak.”
“Don’t you tell me what to do — ” the outlaw spits through his teeth.
“Calm down, both of you,” the harassed boy says hastily.
“Just because you’re princes doesn’t mean you can — ” the outlaw begins.
A loud thrum of harp music pauses everyone’s voices. “Quiet for the lady.” The golden-eyed bard speaks seemingly quietly, but the strength of his voice carries through the glade with authority.
“Thank you,” she says. “Now. I have called you all here today because it is a special day and I thought we should consult together for an appropriately celebratory . . . well . . . celebration.”
“Which is?” Meridian prompts.
“It has been two years since the author began a certain endeavor . . .”
“Is this about the blogoversary and throwing a surprise party for her?” Baz speaks up, suddenly.
There is a pause, all eyes turned on him.
“Which . . . I know nothing about, of course,” he adds quickly.
“Yes, I believe the ‘blogoversary’ is what it was called,” the black-haired lady says. “Two years is a long time . . . for some” — here she smiles distantly with what might be mischief in her eye — “and I thought it would be considerate of us to congratulate the author in some way.”
“The author . . .” Tare says, fixing her with a hard stare. “She’s not even writing you yet.”
“Yet. I have my ways.” She smiles.
Tare snorts. He folds his arms and eyes her warily. “Who exactly are you, anyway, and why do you think you’re in charge here?”
“I’m Ev, of course; I’m a fairy and — oh, I forgot my own,” she adds suddenly, and that instant beside her, standing by the rock, appears a young man in a royal purple tunic with a golden coronet, and a young woman with a silver circlet in her dark hair. They appear to be kissing, and break off just then, looking around in confusion.
“What — ?” the prince begins, looking around at the assembled gathering and gently pushing his lady behind him in a protective gesture, a hand going to rest lightly but unapologetically against his sword-hilt as he turns a calculating eye on everyone.
“Prince Derrick, Princess Brier-Rose . . .” The raven fairy Ev quickly fills them in on why they are gathered. “So,” she finishes, “I am only asking what you all think we should do to surprise the author in celebration for this day that she finds so special. Suggestions?”
Princess Brier-Rose smiles. “I think it’s a lovely idea.” She pulls a long-stemmed scarlet thorny rose from behind her back and holds it up. “We could give her roses,” she adds softly.
Prince Derrick deftly takes the rose from her. “Don’t touch that, Brie,” he says, kissing her forehead. “You’ll hurt yourself.”
She frowns. “I like roses, and I don’t see why they’re forbidde –”
“Cake!” Baz exclaims. He gets another round of stares. “Cake,” he explains firmly, grinning widely and obviously enjoying the attention, “is absolutely the only way to celebrate any celebratory celebrations whatsoever. Which would include blogoversaries.”
The bard is seen to smile in the background.
“Well, not that I know anything,” Faron speaks up from the edge of the crowd, still looking flustered — it looks as though he had been continually prodded by the silver-haired boy, who looks innocent of all such doings as if he has merely been quietly observing the bark on the branch above him. “But I should think that a proper royal feast would fit the occasion.”
“How about we leave her alone,” the outlaw growls.
“Nonsense, all of you,” says an imperial voice from somewhere above everyone’s heads. Several people look up. A great airship is hovering above the glade, and standing on the bottom rung of a long slightly-swinging rope-ladder, unconcernedly holding the side with one hand, is a young woman with truly impressive fiery red hair in gorgeous but haphazard curls about her pretty face. “A ride in my skyship should do. Scurry off, everyone. Unless you’d all like to be invited along too, which… could perhaps be arranged. I think you’d fit. As long as everyone behaves in a shipshape fashion, of course.”
“They won’t. I don’t like their looks. Don’t let them up,” calls a voice from above.
“You’re one to talk,” the redhead says, tossing her hair out of her face as an errant breeze tries to blind her with it.
“And who are you, exactly?” Ev calls up. “I’m not certain we have met before.”
The girl on the rope-ladder smiles with cheerful charm, mixed with royal elegance, and touches her brow in a sort of salute. “Princess Tasmania Peckham-Archley, Captain of the HRSS Star-Dreamer, at your service.”
“That won’t do. I believe the author is afraid of heights,” calls a random sandy-haired youth in a cloak with a sword, who is standing among a collection of others.
“Not at all — it’s only you that is,” retorts one of his companions, a sea-blown looking young fellow with a young lady at either shoulder.
A new rush of voices begins as almost everyone begins to give suggestions or argue about them.
Tare shakes his head, muttering. “This is ridiculous. I’m out of here.” He strides toward the edge of the glade, ignoring everyone, but when he reaches the border, he finds himself suddenly back where he had been standing near Teague and Meridian and Ev and the rock. “Hey –”
Ev finds herself the recipient of the icy dark-blue stare, but instead of doing anything about it, only climbs up onto the rock so she can see everyone better.
The outlaw looks as though he had been going to try to leave as Tare had, but seeing the results of it, he makes a surly face, sticks one end of his double-ended spear in the ground, and leans against a tree, apparently waiting it out.
At this point, there is a rather interesting disturbance at one side of the glade. A whole cluster of young ladies come through the trees and into the clearing, talking animatedly among themselves. There are twelve of them, they appear from their circlets to be princesses, and they are each wearing a different colored dress: grey, black, purple, blue, green, blue-green, red, reddish-brown, white, yellow, pink, and light orange. The grey one is leading the way, looking about alertly while engaged in some sort of argument with the one in blue-green. The green one seems to be complaining about a horse, or perhaps the lack of it, while the blue one is soothing her and simultaneously trying to keep track of the pink and the orange. The red and the brown, who have the same face and appear to be twins, are laughing, and the yellow one is somehow reading a book while walking. The one in black and the one in white are at the back, silent; the black, a withdrawn silent; the white, a shy one.
“Good afternoon,” the princess in silvery-grey says to Ev as they approach. “We seem to have lost our way; or at least to have found a very curious gathering.”
“Indeed,” the golden-eyed bard speaks up pleasantly, still playing a quiet melody that weaves through the sunbeams.
“And I have certainly not met the rest of you, either,” Ev says curiously. “Who might you be?”
“We are the daughters of King Fergal,” the blue princess says. “Or . . . most of us are,” she adds with a glance at the silver princess.
“And it’s quite obviously not doing us a bit of good, because we’re bloody lost,” the green princess says, folding her arms.
“I don’t care,” the peach princess says carelessly, her eyes sparkling. “It’s far more interesting to be lost.”
“And the author is definitely not writing them yet,” Tare mutters. “Not till November. She promised.”
“Jealous, much?” Baz says comfortably from behind him.
“Actually . . . no, I’m not. And you said you were going to be quiet.”
Meridian is frowning, staring around with her hands on her hips. “Well, one thing’s for certain,” she says. “There are far too many princesses around.”
The outlaw glowers. “More like far too many princes.” His resentful prince looks ready to go at his throat, but the harassed one makes peace by stepping between them (a dangerous move, but he seems to live despite it). Prince Derrick stands by politely and does not appear offended.
“I think,” Teague says mildly, “that there are far too many people of any kind around.”
“That’s the first sensible thing I’ve heard all morning,” Tare says with an annoyed sigh. “Nothing’s going to get done, and we’re never going to get out of here.” He looks toward Ev with a left-over glare. “Can’t you — ”
But at this point a rather severe, tragic looking young man — or fairy? (He does seem to have the semblance of silver wings growing out of his black cloak.) — with long black hair and silver eyes, arrives and severely addresses the twelve princesses. “There you are. I told you not to stray off the path. Come.” And, with several severe glances at some of the others, particularly Tare and the outlaw, he escorts the twelve princesses to the edge of the clearing . . . and out of it.
Which means that they at least could get away.
Tare looks put upon, and the outlaw looks angry.
Princess Tasmania, still swinging idly on the end of her rope ladder above everyone’s heads, is looking vaguely bored.
But most everyone else is still talking at the same time and there is a general buzz of noise, mostly arguments, that makes it quite impossible for anyone to really accomplish anything.
“For the love of Faerie, be quiet at once before I decide to put you all to sleep just to save a headache!”
This startling announcement is made at the top of her lungs by Ev the raven fairy, who is standing on top of the rock at the glade’s center. There is a sudden silence. Everyone looks at her. Until now she had been the picture of amiability, but now there is definitely some anger to her, and her black hair seems to have been fading into a shade of red.
“Now then. Can we possibly stop quibbling and come to an agreed-upon mode of celebration?” Ev glares around, hands on hips, the red color crawling further up her hair. “Everyone, make one suggestion each, and then we’ll vote.”
She unfortunately had not specified who was to give suggestions first, for everyone begins talking at the same time again. But before Ev or the bard or anyone else can restore order, there is a sudden voice from another direction altogether.
“Guys! What . . . in the world . . . is going on here?!”
There is a sudden, deathly stillness. Then everyone turns to look.
A girl with long brown hair, in a green t-shirt and brown skirt, with a notebook embellished with clock-faces in one hand, and a black pen held limply in the other, is standing at the side of the glade and staring in utter confuzzlement at everyone.
The bard ceases his playing and comes smoothly to his feet, his golden harp in the crook of one arm. He makes a minor bow in the direction of the newcomer, a smile playing in his golden eyes. “Author. We did not expect you so soon. The Lady Ev here has been . . . Well . . . She had plans.”
“What are you doing all together — what happened — is everyone all right?” the author asks, darting frantic looks at everyone. “Has anybody killed anyone? You do not mix well! Tare, get away from Bithoa — now.”
“I wasn’t doing anything,” Tare says with a frown of perplexity, not moving. The outlaw narrows his jewel-green eyes but otherwise makes no move. They are several feet away from each other, but this does not seem to do anything to soothe the author’s worries.
Ev slides down the rock and smiles. “We’re fine. I only thought it would be nice to call everyone together. We were going to . . . surprise you.” Her face falls. “Unfortunately, we seem not to have come up with a surprise yet.”
“For what?” The author looks very confused.
Tare sighs and folds his arms. “Your blogoversary. Obviously.”
“Yes, we were going to give you a surprise celebration,” Baz cuts in. “I suggested cake, but nobody’s listening.”
Others begin to put in what they had thought of, particularly Princess Tasmania.
The author begins to laugh and stops everyone. “Well, you needn’t think any further,” she says. “I’m glad everyone’s okay — I was worried there for a second. There’s a reason you’re not all in the same story, you know. And a reason you don’t ever gather together, besides. But if you were looking for a special way for me to celebrate my blogoversary . . . you’ve already done it. Thank you, guys.” She smiles happily.
Several of them smile back — though some, like Tare, the outlaw, the silver-haired boy, and the still-oblivious purple-haired young man, do not seem to do smiling much in these or any circumstances.
“Well, I’m off,” Princess Tasmania is saying from above everyone’s heads. “You’re sure you don’t want a ride, author?”
“Sometime, thanks,” the author calls back. “I’m just busy for now, with . . . other things.”
“As you please,” Princess Tasmania says cheerfully, shimmying up the rope ladder in a twinkling. “I’ll give the rest of the crew your greetings.” She waves a hand back down. The author waves back with a wistful look.
“If that’s all cleared up,” Teague says, “I suppose you can go back to writing. And so can I,” he adds with a pointed look at Meridian, who picks up another dropped sticky-note and sticks it firmly on the notebook he is holding, giving him a raised-eyebrow-look.
The author laughs. “Fine. And . . . Ev. I loved seeing you all together for a minute, and there weren’t any casualties, but don’t go making a mess like this again.”
Ev laughs too. Her hair is quite black again. “I was only trying –”
“I know, I know,” the author says. “But please don’t. Now, everyone back to where you belong. Before somebody kills anyone,” she adds under her breath.
“I shouldn’t worry about that,” Ev says, tilting her head curiously to one side.
The crowd breaks up and people (and griffins, dog, bear, leprechauns, etc.) begin to disappear or wander out of the glade, which they now seem able to leave.
“Where did Baz go?” the author asks suddenly.
Tare had been striding off to leave, but pauses and looks sharply around.
“You may want to look up,” the golden-eyed bard remarks casually as he strides by, harp under one arm, on his way out of the glade.
The author and Tare both turn their gazes skyward. Baz is just disappearing inside the skyship, waving cheekily down at them. “I’m going to explore the clouds and be fabulous!” he crows when he catches their eyes.
“I’m gonna kill him,” Tare says through his teeth, making a lunge and catching the bottom of the rope ladder. Baz yelps and disappears inside as Tare quickly climbs upward.
The author sighs, about to go after them and prevent violence, but first gives Ev a pointed look. “You see?”
Ev’s laugh turns into a sound of ruffling feathers as she is once more a sleek black raven. She spreads her wings and flies off in the other direction from the skyship (with the dangling rope-ladder and its climbers), leaving below an empty forest glade full of golden sunbeams and no sound save the quiet twitter of birdsong and the rustle of the leafy branches swaying gently in a soft breeze.
Starring, As Themselves (In Order of Appearance):
Ev (The Rose and the Raven)
Bard Reldin (Heartseeker)
Meridian Brownley (The Other Half of Everything)
Teague Aurelius (The Other Half of Everything)
Tarragon “Tare” (Kedran’s Wood Series)
Basil “Baz” (Kedran’s Wood Series)
Kevin Johnson (Underground Rainbow)
Donal and Liam (Underground Rainbow)
Troggsie and Scottle (Underground Rainbow)
Small Occasion (Kedran’s Wood Series)
Faron (Starrellian Saga)
Ryan (Starrellian Saga)
Darksky (Starrellian Saga)
Bithoa (Starrellian Saga)
Prince David (Starrellian Saga)
Prince Donavin (Starrellian Saga)
Prince Derrick (The Rose and the Raven)
Princess Brier-Rose “Brie” (The Rose and the Raven)
Princess Tasmania Peckham-Archley (The Siren and the Skyship)
Andrew (Starrellian Saga)
Liam (Starrellian Saga)
Laura (Starrellian Saga)
Marigold (Starrellian Saga)
Princess Silver (The Silver Forest)
Princess Ebony (The Silver Forest)
Princess Amethyst (The Silver Forest)
Princess Sapphire (The Silver Forest)
Princess Turquoise (The Silver Forest)
Princess Emerald (The Silver Forest)
Princess Auburn (The Silver Forest)
Princess Ruby (The Silver Forest)
Princess Ivory (The Silver Forest)
Princess Goldie (The Silver Forest)
Princess Rosie (The Silver Forest)
Princess Peach (The Silver Forest)
Prince Taghdach (The Silver Forest)
With Special Guest Star:
Deborah O’Carroll as ‘The Author’
Written on location at the forest glade.
No characters were harmed in the writing of this crossover.
(Baz came close, though.)
(And Tare and Bithoa within seeing distance of each other were murders waiting to happen.)