Needle Ash – Chapter 12, “Shards of Reality” part 2

Back to Contents Mondal took a slow, deep breath and said, “Come, then, mortals, let us leave this place before it, too, fades.” “What do you mean?” Michael said. “This place is a creation of Porthil’s heart and mind more than mind. Without his spirit here, it’s details will become lost. So, I fear, shall we. Come, please.” Mondal motioned as he walked toward the strange house. Cautiously, Michael followed, Sharona at his side. “This place is not yours, as well?” Sharona said. “My heart dwells beyond the realm of Shadathal the Deep,” Morthal said. “And beyond it shall be…

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Needle Ash – Chapter 12 “Shards of Reality” Part 1

back to contents Chapter 12: Shards of Reality   Shadathal led them through the mists, a shining bauble of silvery glass in his upraised hand providing light to the path below them, dirty and drifting. The trees above were not aglow, even faintly, like the rest of the realm, but were dark and contained many brown leaves that would not abandon their purchase. The black limbs writhed around and into each other, like many finger of uncountable hands. Pinholes of star and moonlight drifted through here and there, lighting motes of white dust like tiny rods of white light. The…

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Needle Ash – Chapter 11: The Schism, part 2

Back to Contents Turns passed, the endless cycle of the strange realm healing Michael beyond what he thought possible. He felt stronger than before, and took to practicing with his sword. He wished to go riding, to break in and train the horse he had acquired from Batoli, but Shadathal cautioned him not to go afield, afraid he would lose his way back. “The paths do not run always straight here. You may return along the same path and end up somewhere else, since you are not from here,” Shadathal said one day, as Michael rode the horse around a…

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Needle Ash – Chapter 11 “The Schism” part 1

Back to Contents Chapter 11: The Schism   Michael saw a light approaching, not from the softly luminescent trees, or a lamp, but from many sets of eyes and glowing baubles of glass, hanging from tall elven figures or fitted on staves like magic torches. The approached slowly. The men were clothed in robes or in trousers and simple shirts, the women in long dresses of many colors. Their hair was a variety of colors, Michael saw now, of dark brown and red and umber, and their eyes too were of odd shades. “I never got your name,” one of…

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Needle Ash – Chapter 8 “In Search of Twilight’s Memory” part 2

Back to Contents Michael followed Angelico up over the hill, and at its crest they could see what was assuredly the tree the little girl had spoken of. It stood out among all the others in the hills, for it was larger in every sense, and of an odd shape that was not quite a hardwood, like the live oaks that dotted the plain, and not like a cedar, which grew in groves to their north. Beside it ran a clear, gentle stream with green rushes along its banks. As they got nearer, having to ford the stream, Michael saw…

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Needle Ash – Chapter 7, “Knives of Darkness” part 2

Back to Contents “What now?” Michael said as they walked back, raising his voice to carry over the sound of shouts and claps, spears on shields, and the sounding of war horns. They entered a vast stretch between the first formations, waving. General Butler stood waiting for them in his full armor, and his visor up. He wore a smile that wrinkled his old face further. “We drink and be merry,” Edward said. “We’ll leave three companies on guard at all times, still, for their could still be betrayal or, more likely misbehavior in the ranks.” “A little tolerance will…

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Needle Ash – Chapter 6: The Queen and the King, part 1

Back to Contents Chapter 6: The Queen and the King Michael stood beside his horse, putting on his gloves. He wore a colorful doublet of blue and green, a fine set of satin trousers and his riding boots which, as he had neglected to bring formal shoes, were shined with cooking oil as per Guissali’s suggestion. He watched the pavilion tent in front of the gates having its final stakes hammered in. It was as neutral a location as could be managed; just beyond reasonable firing range from the city walls and equally far from the fortifications of the Artilland…

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Needle Ash – Chapter 5: Ferralla, part 2

Back to Contents “It was necessary,” Michael said. “I didn’t say anything,” Sharona said. The were riding out past the Ferrallese army encampment, their troops having left it abandoned save for a few cowardly men who refused to bar the way forward. “The look on your face said that you didn’t care for our dispatchment of the captain.” “I don’t believe it was the only solution, ‘tis true,” Sharona said. “I broke his leg so we would not have to kill him. Otherwise I would have done something to simply kill him quickly.” “If we didn’t kill him, the army…

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Needle Ash – Chapter 3: Strange Company, part 1

Chapter 3: Strange Company   A day and a half after leaving the army, Michael had come upon a little village, nestled in a sparse wood with good vineyards and fields all around. There was no inn as such there, but homely landowner had put him up for a night, recognizing him as the prince. The next day he came upon another town, called Gabora Minor; apparently if there was a Gabora Major it was long lost in the hearty oak woods of the country upland from the village. There he rested in a raucous inn called the Mottled Wyrm,…

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Needle Ash – Chapter 1, part 1

Chapter 1: On the Battlefield   The sweets of life are enjoyed seldom and by few; But the bitterness of death is tasted by all, and There you find bitterness is another relative thing Among many other relative, mutable things That make a mundane world you call immutable But for the honorable, there is no death; Only a return to the dream.   For dreams to a living man are like gazing through a clouded mirror, whereas the dreams of death are like crystal water Only beyond the hazy veil of the mundane, the old dreams, shall we meet face…

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