Leoshine Princess Oracle:Chapter 1 Capture

This is the latest version of my opening chapter.  I was advised to put more world building in between the action.  Please tell me your opinion…..

 

“Mine own!”“Mine own!”

Mother’s wail rippled through Leoshine.  Tears glued greasy hair to her face. Mother’s hands pulled and stroked and patted wherever she could reach. Giffshine and Hillashine’s bodies, tight against her own,  convulsed with sobs as they suffocated together on the matronly bosom.

For two nights they had staggered through the forest, first in the main body of evacuees from the town, later as a forlorn huddle of four with no food, and only mouthfuls of cursed water from the wild creeks.  Today, at dawn, a knot of stinking, filthy barbarians had surprised them, and dragged them into this dark hole in the side of a low bank.

Giffshine, the eldest sister, moved to disengage from the embrace Leoshine heard straw rustle beneath them.  Leoshine wriggled higher on Mother’s breast, under her fleshy chin. Her hand clenched on Mother’s neckline, drawing the coarse weave to her lips.

Voices outside warned them a moment before the hingeless lid of the cave ripped open. Light rushed up the rough rock walls carrying grotesque shapes like an advancing army.  Hillashine, the middle sister, screamed and Mother began hurling curses as she tucked her children closer in.

Outlyers, the savages of the forest that surrounded Leoshine’s town home, slunk toward them.  Their malodorous sweat and breath filled the cave. Their grunts and leering laughs mingled with the women’s screams and sent chills up Leoshine’s spine.  She shrank deeper into Mother’s folds and Giffshine disappeared into the shadows.

The first man to reach them fastened his sausage-like fingers around Hillashine’s wrists.  She screamed louder and Mother swung her fist.  Another man grabbed Hillashine’s waist and swung her toward the door. Mother rose and rushed at them but yet another man shoved her and she fell backward.

Leoshine scrambled clear, but felt the crushing weight on her leg and hip.  Mother sprang up but too late.  The door thudded over the hole and even Mother’s bulk hurled against it availed nothing. Giffshine joined Mother at the door, pounding with her fists and screaming insults and things Leoshine could not understand.  Giffshine knew the grating, stone tongued language of the Outlyers better than any of her sisters. She had taught Hillashine in their secret meetings after they thought their little sister slept, and Leoshine had gleaned from the shadows.

Leoshine shrank deeper into the straw and listened to Hillashine’s screams.  She knew what they did to her.  She had listened to enough tales of what Outlyers did to Town women.  Her flesh crept on her arms and legs.

Mother’s breathing came nearer and Leoshine heard her rustling in the straw.  She felt Mother’s arms gather her onto her ripe, clammy bosom again. Her clothes clung to her back and armpits.

Once upon a a time, Leoshine forced back the weeping, only just three days ago there was a bath house at home in the town.  Leoshine tasted a tear on her lip and remembered the steam rising from the warm pool, and how the water tickled the hairs on her half submerged chin. The bath stood away from the main house amid bushes that had grown into privacy screens.

Mother and Giffshine and Hillashine had shunned it as they did everything Father ‘brought back’ from his mysterious disappearance.  Her thought cast further back to when she was very little and Father disappeared. He had set out to inspect the great engines that powered their Dome atmosphere, and not come back until she had replaced all her front teeth.

Her brothers, Georg and Wol had battled to maintain the family position and Father rewarded them when he returned. “I was learning from the Trickixim.” He had explained his absence by invoking the long dead myth of the priests and priestesses who created the Dome.

In her memory she heard Giffshine’s voice on the other side of the bath house wall. “Where is that vagrant?”

“She’s in that water tub again,” Wol had answered.

“Bent on destruction.” Giffshine had sneered. “Mother wants her.  She has a new pattern she wants to try. ”

“I’ll tell you what I’ll do,” Wol raised his voice. “I’ll go to the cellar for a bucket of worms….”

Giffshine had laughed, and Leoshine saw in her mind her sister’s open mouth thrust up to the light of the Dome and her hands on her hips.

“I’m coming!” Leoshine had called over the sudden cascade off her lithe body as she stood and reached for the towel.  She remembered the water music lapping at the tub walls. The ripples interlaced and grew quiet as she had dried and dressed her long hair.  A simple rough tunic covered her from neck to ankle. Bath houses were only the start of good things, Father had winked at her.

Leoshine shifted beneath Mother’s bulk. Where is Father? She wondered. They wouldn’t dare touch the Town Mayor’s women if he was here.  He had climbed to the highest rank of authority under the Myxolidian Dome on the backs of dead Outlyers.  He will wreak revenge, Leoshine told herself.  Will it be too late?

Hillashine’s screams faded to whimpers. The door wrenched open.  Mother hastily shoved and tucked Leoshine against the rock wall behind her, stuffing straw over her  booted foot.

Hillashine’s body landed in Mother’s lap. The top of her dress hung down over her belt, and her skirt was torn up the front.  Mother, sinking back, wailed and cradled her child, patting her cheeks, pulling her arms back into her sleeves, and calling her name through her tears.

The gang of leering monsters seeped toward them. Gasping for air, Leoshine watched Giffshine step forward from the shadows, and heard her say, “Take me.”

Leoshine’s shaking body ground into the rock, her teeth chattered.  All her hair stood on end.  She wriggled to relieve the pressure on her lungs and gasped as Mother’s elbow collided with her ribs, tucking her more firmly behind.   The light vanished as the door lid closed.   A thin wail rose from Hillashine’s lips, copied immediately by Mother.

“My sweet, my pudding,” Mother soothed.  “We won’t tell Angkon.”

Leoshine rubbed the cloth of Mother’s neckline under her lower lip, and smelled home, the washing of wool, the lyming of flax and the lint of a lifetime of weft,and heard the rhythm of Mother’s looms.

“Leoshie!”  Mother had exhaled in a gust as Leoshine had arrived in the weaving room from the bath house.  In one gesture she had swept her daughter onto a stool and threw an avalanche of cloth over her head.  “Stand still.”

Leoshine had poked her head out the neck hole and stood on the stool, gazing out over the vegetable garden. The girl picking peas had plucked a weed by the roots and flung it at the girl picking beans.  A chicken had pecked at the new dirt. In the orchard, planted in the shadow of the town wall, Leoshine had imagined men harvesting apples and her mouth had watered. Her gaze had fallen on the bank of five looms, with five servants shuttling and cocking 5 new webs of Mother’s famous fabric.

Leoshine’s shoulders had sagged with the weigh of the new garment. Her head had tilted back until she gazed at the boards in the ceiling, rough hewn like the walls where Mother hung tapestries to block the draft. Blood pooled in her lax fingertips.  Mother muttered below, buried and indistinct in the folds. Footsteps hammered down the hall.

“Leoshine!  Where’s my bib?”  Hillashine arrived in a snit. Mother had fought her way free of the hem, and Leoshine had turned toward the doorway.  “I said, where is it?  I gave it to you to wash.”

“Why didn’t you give it to Reanour?”  Mother had cocked a questioning eye at Leoshine.

“On the window sill.  Drying in the kitchen.”  Leoshine had frowned. Mother chose too often to ignore Hillashine’s petty rivalry with the servant responsible for the washing. “

You slow batraworsk hog!  You only just did it, didn’t you?  You lazy….”

“What did you want with the bib?”  Mother turned back to her measuring.

“What does anyone want with a bib?”  Hillashine tossed over her shoulder.  A gust of air swirled out behind her.

That was just before her initiation, when Angkon, her suitor, had tried to impregnate her. If Hillashine birthed a live child, the two would be joined. Father and Mother didn’t even know if Angkon had started anything. At least, thought Leoshine, they haven’t talked about it. What will this outrage mean to their hope? Leoshine wondered, and held her breath, listening to the silence outside.

The urge to pull her knees into her chest, and her tongue cleaving to the roof of her mouth drove her near to madness. Leoshine remembered standing in the weaving room, her fingertips curling and her shoulders gathering up to her ears. Mother had sighed amid her work in the folds.  “

She didn’t need to talk that way,”  Leoshine remembered complaining.

“You could have done it sooner.”

The clack of the looms had droned on.  The servants had finished their harvesting and left the garden to Mother’s bees.  Soon, Leoshine had imagined, I’ll be free to run all the way to the top of Father’s palace, the highest watch tower in the town.

Hillashine’s teeth clattered as forceful shaking seized her.

Leoshine felt the convulsions through Mother’s shoulder.  The last she had seen of Father, he had been standing surrounded by his fellow councilors, near the gate in the pole fence he had built around the town.  His eyes beamed. His teeth flashed in his beard as a towering stranger in Outlyer clothes had pushed through the guard at the gate and addressed him in unaccented town Myxolidian.

Leoshine remembered tucking behind his arm, inhaling his scent in his sleeve, as she now sat squashed behind Mother.  The giant Outlyer had not bowed, or shown any sign of respect to Father, who had answered with strange sounds.  As the stranger disappeared back through the gate, Father had leaned down to whisper in her ear, “These are friends, Leoshie!”

Mother’s bulk shifted and Leoshine squirmed into a hollow in the rock wall.   Suddenly the cave flooded with light and Giffshine’s willowy figure staggered forward.  Mother flung Hillashine off her lap and lurched up to catch Giffshine.

Fingers curled around Leoshine’s ankle. She screamed as her seat skidded across the straw, her skirt rising and her underleggings tearing.

Leaning forward, she pried her fingers into the grip on her boot.  She sank her teeth into the flesh near her face, curling her lips away from the disgusting taste of the skin. From behind they lifted her under her arms.

Mother screamed and Leoshine felt her captor cringe under Mother’s blows.

“She’s not initiated!” Mother screeched. “A curse is a curse on Townsman or Outlyer for taking a girl not initiated!”

Leoshine twisted her torso, and her arms and legs in all directions against the binding hands. Her teeth momentarily found leverage before her legs were yanked up and her head scraped along the floor. Her dress fell over her face. She was lifted clear and suddenly she was free.

She rolled to stand, brushing her skirt from her eyes, and tumbled as the floor moved. The light filtered through a course weave.

A sack! She thought. Her hands filled with the cloth. I’m inside a sack! She pull one side of her prison up, and tumbled as the other side wrenched from under her feet.

In the next instant her arms flailed, and her body collided with bone and muscle.  She imagined herself lifted and flung over a broad, fur clad back.

Mother and Hillashine’s screams grew fainter.  Leoshine swayed and thudded rhythmically amid sounds of feet shuffling through dead leaves.  The last she heard was a mournful howl, “Mine Own!” She fought to straighten, to get her feet under her.  Once, twice she bounded up and down while pummeling the back of her carrier.

A fist sailed out of nowhere, landing on her captor’s back, but enough on her head that she lay still in her murky darkness.

A colourful, blueful hill

Poetry happens.  I have no conscious part in the event, though I am a receiver.

This little snippet happened to me on my walk today:

A colourful dash

A blueful sash

On a merriful, blueful hill

A flash of yellow

to cheer a fellow

and feast the fillful fill.

 

I’m looking for ideas. Can you complete the poem?  Do poems happen to you? What happens when you read a poem that isn’t right, or isn’t finished?

 

June 10

The rest of the poem happened (in the same place on my walk.  Must be a portal…..)

The pink did stink

Like octopus ink

That the hummingbird used to kill

The toxic sludge

failing to budge

The cornflower’s blueful spill.

 

Pain

The Blessing of a Skinned Knee: Using Jewish Teachings to Raise Self-Reliant Children by Wendy Mogel basically says, a little pain goes a long way.

The saving the world philosophy has gone a long way to improve childhood in some parts of the world.  And then, like medicine doing for us what we ought not do for ourselves, it gets carried away. Once the world is saved, the philosophy doesn’t know how to turn itself off.

Or it goes around and around saving what is already saved, and ignores the wider scope of humanity.

Where is the happy balance?  How much pain is useful? How much is too much?  Who is qualified to answer these questions? Is there a societal answer? What if we just leave it up to each individual? That wouldn’t be saving the world, would it?

What kinds of pain are there?  Physical, Emotional, Relational, Spiritual. Can you think of others?  Which one troubles you most?  What soothes your pain best?  How do you tell how much it is bothering you?  Do you feel you or others have failed to save the world because you are in pain?

Are you ok with a partial saving of the world?  What would that look like?  Save your part, but not others?  Save another’s and give up part of yours? Does saving the world involve sacrifice?

 

Opioid Crisis

We are made for a world without pain, and we know it.  We are made for frolicking and cavorting,  joyful abandon, dancing through tulips and kissing butterflies forever. That’s where all the saving the world stuff comes from.  We’d do anything to be free from evil.

Pain means something is wrong. Evil is present. Physically, Psychologically, Spiritually. Pain is a cry for action against evil.

Karl Marx wrote: “Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people”.  Most people go straight for the opium, and where does that leave them?

High and deluded. The brain is convinced that the user just saved the world and the feeling is ultimate pleasure, fulfillment, satisfaction.

Low. Really low and more desperate for relief than before.

Overdosed and at death’s door.

Dead.

THIS IS NO ONE’S FAULT.. In our litigious society we are trained to find fault. Let’s lay that down. We are not each other’s judge.

IT IS EVIL MASQUERADING AS GOOD. Evil understands our urge to save the world. Evil is profoundly clever at using a good thing to do evil.  Therefore, “I’ll take away all your pain” leads to neglect, dysfunction, starvation, loss of potential, untimely death.

Medicine has made steady advances against pain.  My life improved to no end when a surgeon removed an entire organ of my body.  Surgery also erased cancer from me, and I stand before you free of that painful evil disease.  Yay medicine. Until the knowledge gets ahead of us and starts to do for us what we should not try to do for ourselves.

 

 

Save the Dworl

We all have a strong sense that, if the world goes, we go.  If only from an instinct of self preservation, we want to save the ground we walk on, the air we breathe, the souls we commune with.  We want good to triumph because that stops us starving, wards off the bruises, and evokes that bubbly feeling in our hearts that we call joy (so necessary to our survival).

When we read stories, research has demonstrated that our brains light up in the same areas as if we were actually experiencing the event we read about.  Most of us can tell the difference, but the emotions, and the brain changes that result can do us great good (or great harm, but that is not our focus today).

If we read about saving the world, we can reap the benefits. We can satisfy the urge to kill monsters and lift children above the flood waters, and run into blazing buildings to bring Fluffy out only slightly singed. We can speak the words that bring a lover back, that build a child into a cancer killer, that make a fellow traveler laugh and carry on. We can placate the guilt that cries, ‘coulda, shoulda, woulda’.

Arthur, in Leoshine, Princess Oracle, is in Myxolidia to save the civilization.  To save the environment.  His ideas are global. His training is thorough. His ego is a match for the herculean task. He has brains, brawn, charisma, community, and skill.

You can trust him to satisfy your longings for world saving.

Save the Wrold

It’s still no wonder you didn’t save the world.  Sickness, cruelty, neglect, want.  You want to obliterate these evils from the known sphere of existence.

You want to feed every child, dry every tear, strike every bruise or wound from the insulted skin of every victim.

You want the hearts to feel only joy and satisfaction, the minds to be filled only with good, wholesome encouragement. You even thought you could set the parameters of what good is, what wholesome looks like.

Try as you might, your wealth, beauty, intelligence and charisma is not enough.  There is only one characteristic that will bring about the healing perfection you dream about.

You have to be above the fray.  Innocent to the point that you can’t imagine a way to starve a nation, removed so far from the act of causing the wounds that you can make an existence that doesn’t include them, like they never happened.  Not that you can’t imagine them happening, but that they are wiped out so clean that they NEVER ACTUALLY HAPPENED.

Another word for this is holiness.  You need to be something other than, outside of, separated from what needs saving.  Not a single one of us is this. Not a single one of us can rub our two sticks together to get this.  And, to add to the pain, any attempt on our part, all our rubbing of our two sticks, helps the other side.

The bad guy loves to see us huffing and puffing at the house of holiness.  He encourages us to be removed and distant. He wins when we believe we can save the world.