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I'm a snowflake

 


You Are Unique Because You're Clever



Unlike most people, you are able to draw interesting connections and come up with amazing theories.

You are able to take in a lot of information at once. You can see patterns where others can't.



You are rare in your ability to think without boundaries or preconceptions. The whole world is open to you.

Like a snowflake, you are happy to contribute to something great. You like feeling that you matter a little.


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Leaping lizards Caped-Crusader!
What message would you put into a fortune cookie?

Cookie won't search for Chuck Norris because it knows you don't find Chuck Norris, he finds you.
Leaping lizards Caped-Crusader!

Dear Papa Mike

Other writing prompts

I got home today and found this on my kitchen table:

'Dear Papa Mike,

I'm sorry but this is the end for me.  I only leave this note because I feel our shared history at least warrants an explanation.  For years we were together, I saw you every morning, you sat with me in the evenings at dinner and told me about your day.  Yes, you were never really a natural listener, but at least I knew you cared.  Suddenly something changed though, and I don't think it was me.

The sofa now sees more of you then me, you eat your meals in the living room and even skip breakfast, staring at the TV the way you used to look at me.  I'm no fool, I may be older then you, but I am not senile just yet.  You're avoiding me.  I've spoken to my cousin (yes I have a cousin, you would know if you had ever bothered to ask) and she has said I can stay with her until I find somewhere new to live.  A kitchen chair needs more then you are willing to offer.

I've taken the stools with me.  I will be in contact with you about visitation rights.  I know you love them, and would never hurt them intentionally, but when you drink you get unsteady, and I have lost count of the times you have fallen off me when you drag yourself in from a night out.  They don't need to be exposed to that kind of behaviour, they're not as stable as myself and the other chairs.  I don't know if they could take that.  For their sake, I'm going to ask you only see them in the supervision of the table.

I will always love you, but I need time away to gather myself.  Maybe one day we can be together again, but you'll need to learn to appreciate the art of sitting down and enjoying meals.  Not just taking your plate to whatever room you fancy eating in, whenever you fancy eating.

Your Kitchen Chair'
Leaping lizards Caped-Crusader!

Writing Prompt List


Hi guys!  Are you like me, and constantly suffering from writer's block.  Well struggle alone no more, here is my list of patented block demolishing prompts to get your teeth stuck into.  gathered and recorded over the years, the list can only get bigger.  

If you fancy having a go, then just link back to the list and leave a comment linking me to your efforts so I can see, as it's always good to share.  Any of the prompts that I have posted up, I will link below, just click on the prompt to see.

If you have any you don't mind adding to the list, then leave a comment below, and I can add it, with a link to your journal/site.

Have fun!
  1.  You return from work to find a 'Dear John' letter on your kitchen table.  Oddly enough, it's from one of your favourite pieces of furniture.
  2. Write a 20 line rhyming poem about something that really annoys you.
  3. Describe yourself as if you were a recipe.
  4. Paris Hilton is a robot, explain.
  5. When you were little, you could swear there was a monster under you're bed.  Now he'd back with a message on your birthday.
  6. Write about an absurd or bizarre race, what is the prize for the winner?
  7. Re-write a nursery rhyme from one of the other character's point of view.
  8. Take a character from one of your stories and examine their music play-list.
  9. You awaken with amnesia in what looks to be an igloo.  You have £4 ($8) and a rock in one pocket and a toothbrush in the other.  What happens next?
  10. A scrabble game turns bad.
  11. Look around the room you are in and write an ode or sonnet to that object.
  12. Right a letter of resignation to anybody but your boss.
  13. Your family isn't co-operating with you, go on strike and write your list of demands.
  14. You are running for president of anything but the country.  What are your campaign promises?
  15. Write a 'Dear John' letter to your writer's block.
  16. Write a love letter to someone or something you have always felt is under-appreciated.
  17. Write a story that begins with: 'Every morning a crow sits at my window'.
  18. Tell a story about something you have lost.
  19. You wake up one morning to find you are invisible.  What do you see and do during the day?
  20. You find something strange in the middle of the road...
  21. You have just killed someone.  Describe the place where you have hidden the body, without saying anything about the death at all.
  22. Find a photograph that interests you and write about it from either the subjects point of view, the photographers point of view or the view of someone who finds the photograph somewhere strange.
  23. Start a story with: "It's not the street I usually go down. But for some reason, that day I turned down a different road."
  24. You find a key, what is it for?
  25. Write a story about a person who has an obsession with shoes and claims he can predict a person's future by the shoes they wear.
  26. Write a story about an animal who is either learning to read and write, or who leaves messages for people to read.
  27. Write a story with "Domestic Breakfast Scene" as your title.
  28. Write a story about an unusual pet.
  29. You find a letter behind a mirror, what does it say?
  30. Write a story about a character with terrible memory.
  31. Start a story with: "Today my wife disappeared".
  32. Write a story about a fortune teller who lives in a run-down house.
  33. Start a short story with the line; 'Now is the winter of our discontent...'
Non-fiction opinion prompts
  1. What are the three best films you have ever seen, why?
  2. What has technology done to us?
  3. What was the most important thing you ever learned?
  4. Do you think alcohol should be legal?
  5. Do you think cannabis should be legal?
  6. What is the most harmful thing to society at the moment?
  7. What would you went on your gravestone?
  8. What makes you angry?
  9. What makes you happy?
  10. What would changes would you make if you were the leader of a successful revolution?
  11. What did you do on the last snowy day you experienced?
Leaping lizards Caped-Crusader!

Writer's Block: Bye bye life!

If you could choose the manner in which you would ultimately die, would you? How would you want to depart this world?


This is the last will and testament of Papa Mike.

If you are reading this then I'm probably, most likely, most definitely dead.  The full stop has hit me and I am either chilling on a cloud, dancing to heavy metal by the shores of a sulphuric acid (most likely) or somewhere in between.

I hope I died how I lived, laughing at something really unfunny.  It always annoyed my sister when I did that and I feel a great sense of accomplishment knowing that my death would have been annoying.

I would like to be cremated and as the coffin disappears behind that little black curtain I would like 'Another One Bites The Dust' to play.  This is in the hope that everyone at the funeral will also die by laughing at something that really isn't funny and I can drag you fuckers with me to wherever I end up.

Those who do survive the funeral, I am hoping will try and drink and smoke themselves to death at the wake.  If it ends without at least one person having their stomach pumped, then I'll know you never really did love me.  Which would be a shame, because every time I say it I mean it, that is;

Love Papa Mike
xxx
Leaping lizards Caped-Crusader!
Why isn't marijuana legal when tobacco is?

This is something that is debated all the time and can get quite boring really,if it wasn't for the fact that it all seems a little bit ridiculous.  Today, in Europe we are closer to tobacco being illegal then we have ever been before.  The smoking ban means that although you can smoke in your homes and in the streets, you can no longer harm others with your second hand smoke.  As a smoker I have mixed feelings, whilst I don't want bar tenders and musicians getting lung cancer of my smoke, I always had a warm feeling in my stomach knowing that hey, at least I'm taking ever fucker in the place with me.  Only they got cancer, heart disease, liver disease and a low sperm count for free, while I'm still paying six quid for a pack of twenty.

Really for me the question is why is alcohol legal and marijuana isn't?  So far the only long term effect of marijuana that isn't related to the tobacco that you often (so I'm told) roll your joints with is extended periods of paranoid psychosis sometimes resulting in schizophrenia or schizophrenic symptoms.  However the likelihood of the symptoms occurring later in life is dramatically decreased if you only start smoking when your brain has finished developing.  

Students of the world, SKIN UP, you are at the correct age to decrease the chances of going para.  It might still happen, but it's less likely.

Jut like if you give up smoking all together, you might still get lung cancer, heart disease and a low sperm count, but it's less likely.

just like if you don't drink as much as you know you can, you might still vomit, but it's less likely.

At the end of the day, for whatever (stupid) reason weed is not legal, and I seriously doubt it ever will be in my lifetime.  However just because tobacco and alcohol are, doesn't make them safe, the binge drinking culture of the UK alone shows the damage of these government 'sanctified' drugs.  Would it really cause more harm to the youths of our nation to let then spark up once in a while?   If people want to hurt themselves they're going to do it anyway.  At least this way everyone will be too monged to go out and pick fights.  Instead they will stay in with friends, rediscover the great music of our parents generation, watch films, giggle so much they almost wet themselves and consume those great foods of the often neglected groups; Crisps, Chocolate, Take-Out, Toast and Ice-Cream.  That alone will help pour money back into the economy.
Leaping lizards Caped-Crusader!

Avalon (Sidhe) 008

 Imperial Palace
A letter from the desk of Emperor Makiel I to his people regarding the Purification Agreement

Released by the Imperial Council and the Emperor’s Advisors.

Our people,

We must begin by saying that words cannot express how grieved We are by the incidents that have occurred over the past week. We take Our new position as your leader very seriously, but We cannot ignore the unsettling circumstances which have lead to Our coronation.

First We offer Our reassurances that the Magi will no longer continue their tyrannical rule over the city and it’s good people. What was once a place for humans to fear, will now become a place where they can flourish. No longer will We bend to the will’s of the animals which have fed on the lifeblood of this city for too long.

By the good graces of the Sun and the Emperor, they are permitted to reside in the city, under the feet of those who were once down trodden. Once a month they will hunt under the full moon, but it We are taking measures to make sure that this is not to be an easy task. We are commissioning a great many Gargoyles and Grotesques to make sure that Our people will be kept safe.

Any Magi who wish to leave the city will be given a grace period of seven days to do so. After that time all Magi found in the streets of Avalon will be taken to the cathedral steps and executed. They will receive no trial. This is their only warning. Humans have tolerated their unnatural existence for far to long, they stand as an abomination in front of the Sun, they are a crime against nature itself. It is a crime that will no longer go unpunished.

It is at this time that We wish to offer our thanks to those who have chosen to side with us in the interests of justice, those Magi that have will receive a new status. They will not have the absolute power to rule they once did, however providing they choose to contribute as productive members of society, they will be tolerated whole-heartedly in this bright new society. It has never been Our desire to rule cruelly.

We would also like to offer Our condolences to all those who have lost someone dear in the struggles. There have been many of Our close friends who have lost their lives or chosen to side against us. Those who have passed on will be sorely missed, and their names shall be remembered in stone in the Imperial Gardens, open once a year on this day, so that as a city we will not forget that they willingly gave their lives in order so that all of us may live freely. Those who have betrayed us will be forgotten, it is a kindness that they do not deserve.

Our hope is, that over the years the pain that this incident has caused may be replaced by the unending good that is sure to come from it.

Yours Sincerely,

His Highness Emperor Makiel I of Avalon

c/o

Lord L. Caddock

Secretary of State to His Highness Emperor Makiel I

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Leaping lizards Caped-Crusader!

Avalon (Sidhe) 007

 Chapter 2

"Do not wander too far from the nest," said Matta-Bird, "you never know who you will meet in the big bad world."
-- The Tale of the Bird, the Snake and the Holly Bush.
Peep and Pip

High above the city of Avalon is the Sharwahl Gardens, they are nestled safely above the cathedral. After the purification the avians were the only Magi permitted in this area. Due to its seclusion and privacy, it was only natural that this was to become their nesting ground. Unlike ordinary wildlife, the Avians breed all year round. Like humans, they only usually lay one egg at a time. Although uncommon, sometimes eggs are hatched that contain two chicks.

These are chicks are treated with extreme care as they are often smaller and exhibit signs of slight deformity. In the days before the settlement in Avalon, these chicks would have been left in the wastes to fend for themselves as food was a scarce commodity that could not be wasted on young who might not survive. That is obviously not the case now, although there is still a degree of wariness to those born from one shell and they are watched carefully by the whole community.

The avians have a very communal attitude when it comes to rearing their young. The cherubim are charged with the bringing up the young and guarding the nesting site. The cathedral itself fell into a state of disrepair after the death of the Sharwahl and it is this that lead to the day one egg fell from the nest.

When eggs first exhibit signs of being hatched, they are moved to the centre of the garden with great care. There they are left to hatch in isolation with cherubim listening for the first calls; the head of the nursery will then be the first person to care for the children. This is due to the fact that all avians imprint, like a baby bird upon the first adult face they see, creating an unbreakable bond. If all avians imprint upon the same person, there is no discrimination amongst them caused by differing status in their sire's status.

On the day in question, an egg slightly larger than the standard shell size showed the first signs of movement and tapping from within. As with any other egg it was carefully moved to a small area near the centre of the garden where it was left until hatched. As the real hatching process began, the egg tipped and rolled from its nest. Normally this would be a thing of celebration for the avians, as it showed that the chick inside was strong and would most likely hatch healthy. However this day the egg rolled onto a patch of weeds that were hiding a broken piece of ground. As it rolled onto the patch, the weeds gave way and the egg tumbled down into the guttering system below. It then floated and fell all the way into a central drain that allowed water to flow from the garden and cathedral into the undercity.

Finally it tumbled into a large pond of green sludge. As it hit the water, the shell finally gave way. Two cheeping chicks popped from inside the egg and splashed into the goo. If the sludge had been deeper the chicks would no doubt have drowned, but as it was their luck held. The sludge was shallow and thick enough that they were able to stand for the first time and take a few tottering steps all the while calling for the attention of the nursery leader.

At this point, I am sorry to say that a rather large bear approached the two chicks, growling low in its throat. The chicks turned, clinging to one another as they would for the rest of their lives.

"Meep meep," the two little birds trilled. Or at least one little bird trilled, the other only managed small stuttering sounds.

The bear stared at the two chicks for a moment; all he could see of them were two little pairs of red eyes peeking out of the gundge that still clung to them. He rumbled low in his throat at the invaders into his territory.

"Meep!"

Bear blinked down at the two trespassers in his territory. It was hatching season for the naga and most of his days were spent catching and killing the young snakes who wandered into his territory. So you can imagine how surprised he was when the blobs at the edge of his pond opened their mouths and chirped at him. He had been expecting two hissing naga chidai, not these strange things before him. He opened his mouth and roared, expecting them to scatter like any normal magi. Instead the two strange things crawled out of the mud and Chirped long at him. Then the one on the left laughed while the one on the right just smiled slowly at him.

Since they weren’t going away he lifted a big claw to squish them, but as he lowered his hand the little thing on the left laughed again and grabbed it, trying to scramble on top of his leg. He tried in vain to shake it loose but the little thing just clung tightly to him.

This was very unusual. Bear watched in confusion as the other mud blob ran forward and they began to rub all the mud off on his fur. He growled low in his throat, and the two little chick, for he could see they had feathers now, just looked up at him and chirped in response.

“Chirrup Mamma?” Said one of the little nuisances. Oh no, thought Bear, this can’t be good. “Mamma!” Soon both birds were chanting the word and laughing as they tried to pull out all of his fur. Bear growled low in his throat and shifted into his two-legged form.

“No,” he grumbled, his voice cracking from disuse. “I’m not your mother! I am Bear.” There, that was simple enough for even little bird-brains to understand.

“Mamma-Bear!” The little ones laughed, and started to explore the new body their Matta now had.

The next three hours a long battle raged as he repeatedly took them to the edge of his territory, extracted himself from their little hands and left them there. But every time he turned around they had flowed him, smiling guilelessly and chirping to each other. Eventually he gave up and sat down outside his hut to think about what to do.

He couldn’t kill them, and he couldn’t get rid of them. After the two little chicks realised that Bear was not going to take them to see their home, they set to playing in the dirt, flicking dust and stones at each other and wrestling. One of them had dark skin and light feathers and the other was the negative of the first, with light skin and dark plumage. Both had identical eyes. He realised that the dark skinned one’s calls and sounds where jilted, and he was easily pushed over by the more boisterous chick. However every time the dark skinned chick looked like he was about to cry, the pale one would pull him to his feet, dust him off and lick his face, surprising him into laughing, before beginning all over again.

Bear just shook his head. They were bear cubs now, so he would just have to keep them out of trouble until they could fend for themselves. If they were going to live with him though, they would need names. He looked at them for a long time; Bear had never had to name anything before.

“Peep! Peep! Chirrup.” The pale chick shrieked as his brother tackled him.

“P-p-puh-peep.” The other one gasped as he was tickled.

Bear nodded to himself. Peep and Pip were good names. Nice and simple, easy to remember.

But what did cubs eat? He didn’t think they’d like snake, and he certainly couldn’t feed them on the wildfowl that sometimes stumbled into Avalon (Sidhe), because he certainly wouldn’t want to eat another Bear. In the end he settled for root vegetables and mushrooms. In the morning he would go look for something more appropriate, but the chicks didn’t seem to mind what they‘d been given. At first they prodded it and pecked at it, before the braver chick (Peep) got up the courage and took a large bite. His eyes widened with surprise before he laughed at the pleasant taste, this caused his brother to laugh too as he watched his twin accidentally spit out all his food. After Bear showed them how to eat properly, they gobbled it up.

After a while Bear must have drifted off, because soon he was being woken up by the shrieking of his new cubs. He opened his eyes to confirm that they were still playing, only to find that the chicks were nowhere to be found. He looked around his little garden, even peering under rocks, just in case the shrieking sound had been the result of them being squished.

Soon, however, he heard the shrieking again, only this time it was more the high-pitched alarm call of a distressed bird. It didn’t take bear long to shift into his four legged form and run in the direction of the noise.

As Bear drew closer to the where he believed the cubs to be, he could hear the ominous sound of a hiss. Too loud to be a juvenile, Bear picked up speed, hoping that he would not be too late to save the chicks from the jaws of the naga.

Peep and Pip had wondered off the moment their mother’s eyes had closed and his breathing evened out. It was not that they had been planning to cause trouble, but trouble seemed to find them soon enough (this is a pattern that would no doubt be repeated throughout their lives).

They wandered down one of the tunnels that led away from their new home, intent on exploring the strange world they had hatched into. They were so intent on their new game, that they did not hear the tell-tale slither of scales on rock until it was too late.

The naga was not particularly large for a fully grown snake, but it seemed enormous to the two little hatchlings. The human half was pale and dirty, with lank hair that hung across a narrow face. It’s scales were dark with lighter scales zig-zagging all the way down to the tale.

Instinct took over for the chicks and they fled to the wall of the tunnel, desperately trying to press themselves into a too small crack to hide from the predator. Peep, the braver of the two, turned and shielded Pip, who was shrieking an alarm call, surprisingly clearly.

The naga smiled down at them, his fangs glinting in the low light. He was coiling to lunge, when a great roar rattled through the darkness, and Mummy-Bear leapt in front of his frightened cubs.

The fight was short but fierce. The naga hissed louder than before and lunged instead at Bear. Bear crushed the snake’s skull with one large paw before beating a hasty retreat. Sadly, he was not quick enough to escape a glancing nip from the venom soaked fangs. He winced as he gathered the now weeping chicks to his chest as he stumbled in the direction of his home.

By the time he reached the small clearing, his head was swimming alarmingly. He managed to lower the chicks onto the ground before he turned around and heaved. His couldn’t move his arm and it burned where the snake had bitten. Soon the effort of remaining standing became too much and he crashed to the floor.

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Leaping lizards Caped-Crusader!

Avalon (Sidhe) 006

 Chapter 1

From the fire rose the Magi, blood dripping down their faces as their eyes burned with hate for human kind.
-- The Purification Diary of Lord Grayson
The Devil's Hunt

This is a story that was told to me by your ancestors, and it will last until the end of time. When all has faded, this story will echo in the stars themselves.

The first time I killed a Magi I was 11. It was a puca. Its death cries as I cut into it made me violently sick afterwards. I could not look at my mother's eyes as she told me it was all right, that it would get easier with time. In that moment I hated her so much for making me into something so evil.

The second time was not any easier, nor was the third, or the fifth, or the tenth time. In truth I do not know when it became easy to calmly slit the throats of the creatures I killed and watch their last, terrified breaths. I do remember that I could not cry for a long time after I saw my mother die. It was months before it all sank in. It was then that I wept, great racking sobs for my lost compassion, for the Magi and humans I had killed. But I could not cry for my mother yet. When I stopped crying I was sick all over my bed. It took months for the smell to fade.

The streets of the Boundaries stank. It was as if all the filth dwelt there in the homes, each one was so full of the smell that they overflowed it onto the streets. It was the smell of the unwashed and the unloved.

A young girl stood on the street corner in one of the seedier parts of the city, tonight was not a night she wished to be outside, it was a full moon and the Magi would no doubt be along soon, but she could not go home for fear of violence. So there she stood, she would have to be out for at least another hour. If her luck held, someone would be by soon with money to spend who would take her to an inn, she would certainly appeal in her pinned up skirt and make-up that emphasised her large, dark eyes. She adjusted her ill-fitting undergarments. Clinging to her was the smell of stale sweat and cheap alcohol. Both were attempts to forget that she meant nothing, and when she died no one would remember her name.

Muted footsteps approached and caused her to catch her breath. From the swirling mists a young woman appeared, she wore pale clothes, and although they were rough and no doubt home-made, time had been spent on decorating them, so that those hems seemed to glitter a sickly green in the thick night air. In her dark hair were all sorts of bells and trinkets, which glittered like malevolent eyes as she stepped under the sputtering street lamp. Her head was tipped down so it was impossible to see her eyes. She spoke in a low choke so that the prostitute had to take a few steps closer to hear her.

"It's an evil night to be on the streets..." she began awkwardly, breaking off as she stuttered to silence.

"It is indeed but maybe I could ease your worry." The whore stepped in closer. A charming smile, as ill-fitted as her knickers finding its way onto her face.

The strange woman snorted, "I'm not looking for what you’re selling."

The prostitute huffed out a breath. "Well then piss off, I've no interest in cheap talk." The woman before her smiled, soft and sweet.

"Maybe I could interest you in a hot meal and a warm bed for the night?" The hooker stared at her for a moment, the last thing she wanted was some self-righteous bigot trying to save her, but free food was something hard to turn down in the Boundaries, so she nodded. As the dark haired woman turned to leave she followed.

"The place I know is just down here and round the corner." The woman indicated to an alley. The prostitute peered down it, it was wide and empty, and the other side could be seen clearly, there was even a light shining from a window of one of the buildings.

Soon the whore was gushing blood, a large gash in her throat prevented her from making any sound other then a surprised gurgle. As she fell to the floor she was caught and gently laid on her back. It was then that she saw the eyes.

They were not burning with unholy fire like the stories of the Magi said they would, instead they gazed down at her with a no emotion at all, it was this clinical detachment that chilled her to her very core, and in that moment she new she was going to die.

Tears slipped from her eyes the moment the first cut was made in her chest, and soon the woman was humming as she carved runes into the whores limp body. When her work was through the killer leaned forward and gently kissed her forehead.

"It's alright now, you can sleep." The kindness was unwelcome, and as the last shuddering breath left the woman, she cursed the Magi with her very soul.

The sorceress, for that is what she was, gathered the woman's life energy into a glass bead. She was only a human, but she was relatively young and spirited, so she would do for now. The young sorceress would need to hunt other, preferably a few fae in order to replenish her energy enough to last her until the next full moon. If all she caught tonight were human whores, then she doubted she would have enough magic to survive in the undercity. She could hunt in Avalon (Sidhe) but the Magi were far more dangerous in their own territory. Once she had captured the energy all gathered, and sealed it in the bead, she slid it into her hair and gasped in a lungful of air as it settled in her own aura. Feeding from many sources was often painful, as the energy would attempt to rip apart the other types she had stored. Storing energy like this required a great amount of skill, and if she underestimated the raw power, the effects could be devastating.

Her next kill was a nasty hobgoblin who almost crushed her skull when it tried to surprise her from behind, mistaking her for human. The darker side of her mind was almost glad when she managed to knock it unconscious with a jagged rock and slit its throat, but she had little time to relish in the kill.

And so the night went on, stalking prey and calmly slitting their throats. By the time the night was almost over her sleeves were soaked with blood and dark circles under her eyes showed the strain of a hard night.

The first purple light of false dawn began to show over the broken rooftops. She shuddered as the Cathedral bells tolled, signalling that soon the Avalon Guard would be sweeping through the streets killing all the Magi they found and burning their bodies on the steps of the palace as proof of their allegiance to the Emperor and humanity's superiority.

I ran back to the gates of the undercity at that point, trying desperately to ignore the sound of a baby crying and the first screams of Magi who had not been swift enough to escape man's wrath. In my hair were six new beads and two new bells. This would do for now, although I would no doubt have to venture out of my hovel during the course of the month.

I had also managed to gather together some food. Three loaves of bread, dried fruit and some smoked meat of some variety. It was an old pact that pre-dated the Purification, they would leave food in return for favours. Today, instead of magically repaired food and healing tonics, some of the Magi would simply bypass the homes of those who left out food for us. In exchange I always left a small protection charm, it was not much and by the end of the next day it would have disintegrated, but it kept those in the house safe for the duration of the hunt.

Stupid of me, I know, to try and assuage my guilt in such petty trifles but it was hard to let go of the old ways I read about. At least some of them deserved to be encouraged.

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Leaping lizards Caped-Crusader!

Avalon (Sidhe) 005

 Prologue

Sing, sing oh le hari, le hari oh le aert,
Sing, sing your thanks, your thanks to the earth,
Sing, sing oh le hari, le hari oh le aert,
Sing, sing and the gods will hear your cries,
Sing, sing oh le hari, le hari oh le aert.
-- The Final Prayer, A Pre-Purification chant from 'The Book of the Dead'.

The Sharwahl

The Magi have always been surprisingly reluctant to write down their history, but their traditional story telling is one way in which they keep their traditions alive. I can remember when I was very young sitting on my mothers lap, she told me a story. She would begin as she began all stories...

"This is a story that was told to me by your ancestors, and it will last until the end of time. When all has faded, this story will echo in the stars themselves."

She always began her stories like this. She would hold me close by the fire as she spoke secrets and tales into my ear so softly, sometimes I thought my breathing would break the spell.

"The Magi were once a united people, who roamed the wastelands to the far south of this land. It was a hard life they lead. They would have to walk for miles everyday to find food and water. In the wastes, it is important that all the children of the Magi received names, for when a person has a name they can never be lost. Sadly, the life they led could go on. Eventually the harsh conditions caught up to them, and the people started dying."

"The Magi didn't know what to do, a strange plague had taken over the people. The oracles and sorcerers could find no cure, and soon their numbers were halved. The bodies of the dead were cremated and carried with them so as to not be forgotten. Each person was carried in an animal skin, their name written on the side. Even in death a person has a right to a name. The Magi kept walking, searching for food and water. Although they began to loose all hope, they did not turn against each other. That was their true power."

This is where my mother would clutch me close and rock me gently. When she started up again her voice would be different from before. As a child I did not have the social understanding to pin point the emotion, and to this day, when I see her in my dreams I cannot say what she was feeling.

"Eventually it became too much for the Magi. Their leader became very sick and soon he died. In their grief they tore their hair, and beat the sands crying out for help to anyone who was listening. On the third night their cries became song. With broken voices, and broken hearts they lifted their faces to the heaven and called."

My mother would pause again, but this time it would be until I would wriggle in her lap or on the floor. I knew what was coming, but she always wanted me to say 'tell me mummy, what happened next?'. Having performed my part she would continue...

"Their call was answered. From the sky came a haunting song, it started out as one note, but the otherworldly sound was soon joined by others. The Magi searched around them 'What is making that sound?' they asked, when out of the stars emerged a being they had never seen. They called this divine being the Sharwahl. It was the universes' gift to the Magi, sent at their most desperate time."

"For many nights the light of the Sharwahl led the Magi through the wasteland leading them to water and food with its quiet song. By day it would sleep and the Magi would watch over it, and sing it lullabies. After many months the endless flat horizon was broken by a great mountain range."

"The Magi, who had only ever experiences the flat planes of the wastes, stood in awe the first day they saw it. At night, as they were led towards it they grew excited. 'Would the Sharwahl led them across the rising earth?' Day by day they grew closer and the mountains seemed to grow in size. 'How will we cross such a great rise?' The Magi wondered, 'and what could lie beyond?' Eventually the small band of Magi reached the base of the range."

"On the last day in the wasteland a great storm rumbled in the distant sky. As the day wore on the Magi watched as it drew closer and by the time the Sharwahl woke at sunset the storm was almost upon them."

"'We are all going to die’ the band of Magi cried, but the Sharwahl merely led them to a great rift in the rock. 'If we go through there and the storm hits it could bring the mountain down upon us.' Still the Sharwahl just continued onwards as it had always done. 'The Sharwahl would not save us only to bury us alive,' said a young oracle, and, although the Magi were scared, their faith was so strong that they agreed and followed the Sharwahl into the mountain pass."

"When the storm hit, the mountain around them shook, and the wind was so strong that it threatened to pull the air from their lungs. Above their heads the rocks began to dislodge and fall. The scared Magi huddled together out of fear, many crying out to the Sharwahl to save them."

"Then suddenly there was a great flash of light in the darkness. The mountain shook and the earth ripped open. At first the Magi thought they had been struck by lightning and they screamed. As the light faded the Magi realised that the wind no longer roared and the earth no longer shook and they were amazed. 'Look a fire! Someone cried and they all turned to the entrance."

"There, holding back the storm, was a great bird with fire instead of feathers. The orange flames flicked out guarding the Magi and lighting the way down the dim pass. It took the whole night for the Magi to cross the mountains and all the time they sang their thanks to the Sharwahl for guiding them and to the Phoenix for protecting them."

"When they reached the other side the Sharwahl led them to a vast fertile land. Where he rested the oracle, who had spoken at the entrance to the mountains, whose name was Ira Abdul Hakim, said 'this is where we shall settle, and here we will build our shrine to the Sharwahl and above it there shall be a beautiful garden where the Sharwahl may dwell, for it has brought us to this garden, where we may live safely. And under the shrine we will bury the ashes of our people so that we never forget those who died in the wastes. Each morning we shall thank the Sharwahl for leading us here and the Phoenix for protecting us, and each evening we shall thank them for allowing the dead to rest."

And then I would rest, and in my sleep I would imagine I was in the wastes, hearing the song of the Sharwahl for the first time.

My mother's name was Arianna, it means most holy, or silver. She had been gifted that name for her eyes.

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Welcome to the Strange

"An inch or so above the bed
the yellow blindspot hovers
where the last incumbent’s greasy head
has worn away the flowers.

Every night I have to rest
my head in his dead halo;
I feel his heart tick in my wrist;
then, below the pillow,

his suffocated voice resumes
its dreary innuendo.
there are other ways to leave the room
than the door and the window."

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