Monday, December 7, 2015

December 7th... Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day

Today's date is a date that was to live in Infamy for years, decades, etc., to come. Has it? Can you remember what today's date is? Without having to check your calendar?
The Arizona's Funnel ~ Pearl Harbor, HI

The Arizona's "tears," continually wept for
those who lost their lives in a cowardly attack
on a country not even involved, yet, in the war.
"I fear we have awakened a sleeping giant and
filled him with a terrible resolve."
attributed to Gen. Yamamoto (tho' in question)
 There was a terrible resolve made that day. A resolve to defend the defenseless, our people, and our country no matter the cost. Can we say the same, today? This country pulled together for years during WWI and WWII but, today, we seem to quickly forget our resolve to defend against an enemy that would see us dead, or worse. Who will weep for our dead in the future? Who still remembers this century's Day of Infamy as well as the previous Day of Infamy?


Tears are still wept, tho' the heart's made of steel,
For men nigh forgot tho' a Nation should feel.
They died in a war, tho' no battle fought they,
On what became known as an Infamous Day.

Tears from the Deep, tho' the heartbeat is cold,
For valorous men who will never grow old.
Entombed in the dark, by water enshrined,
Stood ready 'gainst all, by Freedom defined.

         Tho' many have come, so few shed a tear.
         They call to us, now, do the whisper you hear?
         They are the reason this Nation stood fast!
         The weeping, so soft, do you hear it at last?

Tears are still wept to help us recall,
Tho' few still remember they gave us their all;
From way down below, to the Oceans' safe keep,
Seeping up for reminders are Tears from the Deep.
© Copyright 2011 Pam Sears (condorsfan at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Essential Oil Craze

I'm a Certified Massage Therapist and, I'll be frank, this Essential Oil craze has me worried. Don't get me wrong, I love essential oils and I use them when I do massage or Reflexology. They really do help ease sore muscles, relieve swollen or inflamed tissue, and help with a myriad of health problems. However, in almost all cases, essential oils need to be used with the help of someone trained in their use.

As a Massage Therapist, I have a nominal amount of training so that I can use the oils that will assist the people I work on in relaxing and/or healing their muscles/tendons. But! If you want to use EOs for holistic health reasons you need to do one of two things; 1) go to a Nationally Certified Aromatherapist, or 2) research, research, research before using any oils in any amount in any way. Some oils can cause seizures if you happen to be prone to those. Children under a certain age should not have EOs used on them. You also need to let your physician know if you're using EOs (same as when you use over-the-counter supplements) because some oils might react badly with some medication. That's not to say don't take doctor prescribed medication, that's simply a caution. Doctors need this information the same as they need your medication information. Remember, medications can sometimes interact badly with each other, too.

I'm also leery of any site that promotes their oils as "Therapeutic Grade" because, if you have a good company selling as pure a product as there is, it's all "therapeutic grade", you can't get any better than "100% pure peppermint oil" (or whichever oil you're considering). And, please, be wary of those who make claims of being able to "cure" or "fix" whatever problems you have. Oils do NOT cure anything! They are a supplement or an aide to whatever is going on with you at that time. Sometimes, prescribed medication, alone, is not enough. Perhaps you need the assistance of an Acupuncturist. Please, tell me you wouldn't be insane enough to try this on yourself (unless you happen to be a trained Acupuncturist).  Holistic medicine, when it's done by certified, conscientious professionals, works hand-in-hand with your doctor(s).

Here are a few facts about Certified Aromatherapists:
1) Certified Aromatherapists are required to study chemistry, same as any doctor or nurse, so they know how certain oils will act and react together and to prescribed medications. If they're not sure, they will advise you to check with your doctor or get your permission to speak with him/her themselves. ANYone who tells you that you don't need to check with your doctor, or tell him/her about the oils you're using, is hiding something. Or, to put it another way, they're an Old Fashioned Snake Oil Salesman!

2) They want to work with your doctor (see above) because they want you healthy. They may even give you a simple recipe for spraying around the house during cold season to help combat those nasty cold germs! (you can find those recipes on-line, as well but, again, be aware of the oils and, if you have kids under a certain age - which will be noted - don't use them)

3) They never make claims that they can cure or fix something that your doctor cannot nor do they make claims that they can tell you have this or that health problem but, don't bother checking with your doctor on it because no medical tests will be able to detect it (it's in the pre-diagnostic stages!) and to attempt such a test might trigger the condition to explode into full blown (fill in your favorite disease here). Again, can you say Snake Oil Salesman?

4) Aromatherapists tailor their oil solutions to each individual. I'm not saying there aren't recipes for certain things (i.e., the oils I use for massage are usually 3 drops of this and 5 drops of that and 2 drops of the other thing in a carrier oil solution) but, holistically speaking, there's no one "off the rack" solution for every health dilemma. And, again, you don't want the oils you're using to react negatively with any prescribed medications. If you're working with an Aromatherapist for, say, depression, he/she is going to tailor their suggested blend to work with where you are, emotionally as well as medically, then monitor you to see if changes need to be made to the blend. What would work for me won't necessarily work for you.

5) NO reputable Aromatherapist is going to tell you to take oils internally for any reason. At least, not without closely monitoring you. I've used peppermint oil on my gums when I've had an ache in a tooth or my jaw, I've even used it - sparingly - under an Aromatherapist's advisement for stomach troubles, and I've used a few oils as a mouthwash (but I spit that out, not swallow it!), but I would NEVER even dream of swallowing EOs due to their natures. If you can't put it directly on your skin without diluting it in a carrier oil (and they will tell you they should ALL be diluted!) why would you put it in your stomach!?

Finally, folks, I can only say once more - research, research, research! Just because something is suddenly popular doesn't mean those promoting it know what they're talking about. My best suggestion is to find an Aromatherapist who would be willing to answer your questions (they all would, by the way) but, if you're not sure where to start, go to the web site for the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (here) or the Aromatherapy Registration Council (here). They'll be glad to either answer your questions or put you in touch with a Certified Aromatherapist. Please, the best defense to your health is YOUR continued education.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Busy, Busier, Busiest

I have actually gotten into the Craft Room to play with creating earrings. I love earrings, I believe that's a well established fact by now. So, preferences aside, here are some pics of what's been happening lately. (as you can see, I was having some serious fun ~snork!~) (I believe it's also been established I love Halloween!?)


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

In A Serious Vein

Most of you who follow me on Face Book know I broke my ankle right before Memorial Day and was laid up for a couple of months, what with the broken-in-three-places-bone and surgery it required. (there are pics, if anyone wants to see them... before CAT's, during surgery, and my last post op - almost healed so you can't hardly tell). I'm doing pretty darn good at the healing (thanks for those particular genes, Dad!) and the physical therapist I'm seeing ("Dr. Dale") says I'm actually ahead of the healing curve for Range of Motion in my ankle ligaments. The only thing holding me back right now is continued swelling which is normal, it's only been since May, if annoying. However, those ligaments rest for about 7 - 8 hours a night and can get "stove up" on me. Same from sitting at my desk all day. I've got some 1/2 bolsters to rock my feet and keep my ankle moving, but there's still a hitch in my git-along most of the time. Especially if I'm tired, like at the end of the day.  A few days ago I stopped at the local market for a few items and, when I came out, a teenager burst into laughter after seeing me limp toward her. The following is a letter, not so much to her since I doubt she'll ever see it, but to the rest of us to remind us that we don't always know the circumstances behind what we think we see. Compassion and kindness are always a good answer. Humor can come later, if the person chooses to share with us.

An Open Letter to the teenager in front of Fresh & Easy who was laughing at the way I walked;

You think I didn’t know you were laughing at me, but I did. I’m not as stupid as you’d like to believe and you’re not as smart – or subtle – as you’d like to think. Not that you thought, although your friend did. She tried to hush you and stop you. Her body language showed shame with your behavior. She even tried to give me an embarrassed little wave as if to disassociate herself from you. To my own embarrassment, I allowed my irritation with your behavior to keep me from acknowledging her. I hope I see her again so I can apologize.

But, for you, I feel sorry. Yes, I was irritated, but it was because you were laughing at a perceived disability. You had no idea why I was limping. No idea what made “but that girl” walk the way she did. It could have been a birth defect. It could have been an accident. It could even have been caused by severe abuse trauma. You didn’t stop to think or sympathize you just burst into laughter, made quiet comments to your friends, and laughed some more at your own so-called wit. If you’d have listened to your friend you’d have seen that none of the rest of your group was laughing. They mostly seemed embarrassed.

I feel sorry for you because I’ve learned in 47 years of living that those who make fun of another person – for anything – do so for one of two reason: they think it makes them look cool, or it’s to make themselves feel better about their own insecurities. I don’t know which it was for you but your friends didn’t appear to think you looked cool.

What if I’d told you my limp was because a strong, good looking guy caused me to break my ankle? Would you still be laughing? How about if I said I was in a vehicle accident because of that guy and I broke it in three places which caused me to have to undergo surgery and now I have a plate and six screws holding my bones in place. Would you still have made snide comments?

I’ll let you off the hook, somewhat,  because I believe you were trying to make yourself feel better (personal opinion) at the expense of someone you think you’ll never see again. The story is on the humorous side and my sister and I made jokes the whole evening that it happened and have done so since.  The vehicle was my bike and the “guy” was my dog. He went down one side of a fire hydrant and I went on the other. His leash got caught and I and my bike got flipped over. It bent my bike and broke my ankle. Yes, in three places and, yes, I have that plate and those pins. And, yes, I laughed at the Urgent Care and have since. But, you didn’t know that. You laughed at a perceived disability.

I feel sorry for you. If you don’t change, the good friends will stop hanging around you and the bad-influence “friends” will drag you down. Learn to be kind and sympathetic to others. You’ll feel better about yourself in ways laughing at them can’t make you feel and you’ll draw the good sort of friends to you. The Bible teaches that to have friends, you must be a friend. Not a self-centered twerp.
p.s., not so serious post coming a little later, I've been going a bit nuts with the earring making ;) 

Monday, August 3, 2015

ZNet Shows and On-Line 'Zine

I was able to be creative recently and it's something I haven't been able to do in a long time. First because I had no ideas, no desire, no Muse speaking to me. Second, when I finally felt I was going to hear from my long-absent Muse, I went and broke my ankle (in three places, no less) and had to have surgery on it. I wasn't confident/controlled enough on my crutches to get down into my craft room (even if it was only one step) because, the one time I tried, I lost my balance and fell again (without the same consequences as before, thank God!) so I wasn't about to try until recently.

That said, I was one of the group of designers for asked to participate in designing some jewelry for their upcoming on-line 'zine and received a bunch of lovely beads to work with. Me being me, I made earrings. I love earrings. I think I've mentioned before how much I love earrings because they are so feminine and swing-y. Here's what I managed to create using ZNet's recycled sea-glass beads (and some of my own). Enjoy! )Also, here's the link to the On-Line E'Zine and a link to the sea-glass page on ZNet's web site)
Clockwise from top: Dolphins, teal sea-glass
tubes and sea-foam pearls, light blue starfish
 and baby blue tulip-style beads all of
recycled sea-glass and a few of my own beads.

Top right; black recycled sea glass, multicolored
findings, orange sea glass.
Bottom left; teal sea glass tubes, orange sea glass,
garnet pearls on copper wire.

Top right;  pearls in black, gray, & white with
red sea glass and red crystal accents.
Bottom left; red and blue sea glass, white
pearls, & green crystals.

Top to bottom; two green sea glass squares,
teal sea glass tubes; green sea glass square,
yellow Czech glass squares; green sea glass,
white pearls on copper wire. 
Hope you enjoyed seeing them as much as I enjoyed making them.

(addendum) I wrote this right after I made these and I've since made several more earrings from ZNet's sea glass. I'll post them later.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Out of The Myths

I have been reading a sci-fantasy series that has recently inspired me in the jewelry making arena.  The author suggests that all our lore and legends are based in some reality and the gods, goddesses and demi-gods of old myth are actual living beings. Some from here and some from other "realms," or what we would call dimensions. It's an interesting thought. So I have a goal to create a line of pendants and/or earrings to represent the gods and goddesses of myth and legend; Out Of The Myths.

With all the ideas bouncing around in my head for this, I was actually able to get into my craft room last night and play. It was my first time making a pendant and I learned a few things. Such as, you need to make the tab a little longer if you're going to create your own bail. Also, it helps to have a good set of bail making pliers on hand (I have a pair of small-bail Wubbers on hold in Amazon...) but I really like my first attempt, even if it's not perfect. It's called The Heart Of Hades.

Have a look:

This is when I realized I needed to take pics! Duh! I'd added on
three layers of Iced Enamels faux enamel in Ruby & Pewter, then
cut a small bit of Sterling, lead-free solder, flattened it, and filed it
to form a heart. I was able to attach it using the same heat gun I'd
used to melt the faux enamel. It's on there quite firm.

This is after I'd attempted to fold/roll over the tab. As I said, it
wasn't quite long enough. Next time, though. I was still able
to string it on a chain and am wearing it today, regardless.

I decided I didn't want the back to be plain ol' metal so I painted
red & black acrylic paints in to mimic the front. I chose the black
as the flame-like portion - after all, we're dealing with Hades,
ruler of Tartarus and lord of the Dark... well, in our mythology.
In the series I'm reading, he's the world's top necromancer and
he and Persephone are perfectly in love and her mother, Demeter,
is a selfish, egomaniacal, narcissistic human who is jealous of
anyone who can command magic.
So, after everything was how I wanted I sealed both sides (one at a time) with Resin spray. It gives it a glossy look not fully captured by my smart phone, but,  hey, it's still got good color.

So, what's inspired you, lately?

Monday, April 6, 2015


Woo Hoo! My muse came out of hiding for awhile, today, and my 109 lb "fur-baby" let me do some work. I played with Relique Ice Resins today. I made some sample tabs to see what they would do & look like, then I made a pair of earrings. (squeeeeee! I made some jewelry!!)
Anyway, here's some pics. Enjoy!
Top left; Chartreuse, German Silver, Turquoise. Top right; Raspberry, Ivory, Gold. Bottom; Amethyst, Pewter, Ruby.
Used Chartreuse as companion in all but one mix set. Top; C & Raspberry, C. & Turquoise, C. & Amethyst. Right; C. & Pewter, C. & German Silver. Bottom; clockwise from top of pic, Carnelian, C. & Carnelian, C. & Ruby, Carnelian-Turquoise-Ruby.
Earrings; Turquoise, Carnelian, Ruby (hard to see the difference in the red & orange in this pic). Set my colors & ran a toothpick thru them while still in a melted state. I call them "Molten" because I feel compelled to name my stuff. What can I say, I'm weird. :)

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The Maker's Wars ~ Chapter Three and Chapter Four

Yes! I'm giving y'all a two-fer for March.  Chapters three and four were ready(-ish) so I went ahead and posted both. Of course, now I need to work on polishing following chapters.... I think I need to get 'hold of Professor Aether, he has something I think his 'Alternate Universe' self will have need of in the fifth one and I need specifics.... (heeee)

the Seeing)

Both Aether and Theller winced at the high pitched squeal that nearly shattered their ears from half way across the small Commons in the middle of the Sight Maker’s College. A moment later, brown cotton skirts flying high enough to allow a peek of the white lace petticoats and semi-sensible brown leather half boots, their blond haired youngest sister threw herself first at Theller and then at Aether all while bouncing in an excess of excitement.
“You’rehereyou’rehereyou’rehereIwasrightyou’rehere!” She gabbled almost too fast to understand.

“Fourth Level?” Aether raised a humorous eyebrow at Theller. “Are you sure about that?”
Putting on his best Disapproving Master look, Theller shook his head. “Not at the moment, no.”

Pulling back and screwing up her pert little nose, Merither stuck her tongue out at them. “Phooey!” She snorted. “I was right and now I’ve passed my mid-levels.” She informed them with all the haughtiness of a sixteen year old little sister as she straightened her under-bust Turkish vest and fluffed the lace at the throat of her short sleeved burgundy pinstriped cream blouse.
Theller finally released a fond smile, proud of his youngest sister. “Got it right, eh?” He gave her a hug. Merither was normally very aware of her family heritage when in public but she was, as the youngest, spoiled by all her siblings.

“Did you also get the whys and wherefores of it?” Theller added.
With a sigh, her face fell and her shoulders slumped slightly. “No. I Saw…” she paused and shuddered and the two men glanced at each other.

“What did you See, Merither?” Theller asked gently.
She seemed to focus inward, her hazel eyes darkening to a moss green and a haunted look entered them before she shook her head. “Doesn’t matter.” Her gaze cleared and she forced a smile. “I got most of my Sight Making right, so I Passed.” Then her smile turned mischievous. “I also get bonus points for Seeing you’d ask about my Sight. And the timing.”

Chuckling, Aether tugged one of her glossy, sun-colored ringlets. “Fine, fine. We’re proud to know you’ve passed your mid-levels.” He then gestured toward a bench under a pair of coastal Sequoia’s and they moved that way.
The siblings seated themselves, Merither in between her brothers, and she and Theller turned to Aether who worked to keep from grinning at the expectation on their faces.

“Meri, our brother Selinger has asked me to find a certain Brass Maker. Theller tells me she changed Colleges and came here to complete her education. I need to know about her, but I also need to go find her. Can you tell me if I have the time to stop with the Sight Grand Master or do I need to move on?”
Meri looked at Aether a long moment, then her eyes focused somewhere in the middle distance and began to change color from hazel to a light sea green to milky white as she Called a Seeing. The two men sat relaxed and quiet so as not to interrupt her concentration.

“There comes from within an enemy that will strike at the very heart of our world.” She began, her normally sweet voice vibrating in an odd way so as to sound like her words echoed at the same moment they were spoken.
“The heart will be torn asunder and our world be destroyed except you find the one, a Brass Maker, who opens portals and binds the Others to do the will of those she binds them to.

“They See not as we, but their fearsome Sight must be learned if our World is to survive. Find the one you need in the Deep Murk Forest so she can bring Sight beyond our Sight.”
As her words ended, Meri’s brothers waited with quiet intensity to see what else might occur or what she might need. After a moment, Meri’s eyes cleared back to her normal hazel and she blinked furiously for several heartbeats before she drew in a deep, steadying breath as she cleared the last of the Calling from her mind.

“I think, brother,” she turned her worried eyes to Aether. “You’d better seek her out now. I got the sense of time being shorter than you believe.”
“What else, Meri?” Aether prodded. “You said the enemy comes from within. Are our people betrayed by one of our own?”

“I…” she hesitated, her brow wrinkled in worry. “I’m only a Fourth Level Sight Maker, ‘Ther. I can’t be sure I’m Seeing what I think I am. I can get echoes of the Past mixed in with the Present and Future.”
“Meri, you’ve always had an extraordinary gift at… knowing. You learned from Meirnath before you ever came to the Sight Maker’s College. Even she says you have an impressive Gift. I’ll trust what you think you’ve Seen before I’ll listen to a full-Sighted Tenth Level Maker.” Aether declared, gently rubbing her hand as he spoke.

Meri smiled faintly. “Don’t ever let the Grand Sight Master hear you. We’ll never get another Sight Maker for the Royal Family and Selinger or Daddy will kill you.”
Aether only grinned roguishly as he waited for his little sister to decide what to do. With a sigh, she shrugged. “Someone – and I don’t know who – someone from a trusted position appears to betray our family, our people, and our World. I can’t See who or from where, I’ve tried…”

“You’ve Seen this before!?” Theller cut in sharply. “How often?”
Meri gave the two men a guilty look. “Several times over the past few weeks.” She admitted in a near whisper.

“Meri!” Theller gripped her arm but Aether gave a sharp shake of his head to stop him.
“Have you told anyone else, Meri?” Aether asked gently.

Tears filled her eyes and spilled over, lips trembling as she shook her head.

“I w-wasn’t sure w-what I was Seeing. I felt it imperative to keep it to myself until you came.”

Aether nodded and handed her his handkerchief. “Dry your eyes, love. It’s okay. Even Meirnath can’t pinpoint the person or time of betrayal.”
“It’s someone close to us, ‘Ther.” Meri whispered.

“Yes, Meirnath said it’s someone trusted.” He nodded.

“You don’t understand.” She spoke more urgently. “It’s someone close to us!” she gestured from herself to her brothers. “To our family. It’s someone we know and… love.” She ended in a whisper.

Aether felt the blood drain from his face and he glanced at Theller to see he looked as ashen as he felt. Someone they knew would be the source of betrayal? May the Maker of All protect them.
“We need to let Selinger know.” Aether told Theller. “Can you get the message to him? I have a feeling I better go home, get my things, and get a move on.”

“Will you be taking an airship?” Theller frowned at Aether in concern.

“Only as far as The Chimney Rock Plateau. I doubt there’s a landing space close to where the Brass Maker lives in the Deep Murk. Let’s get a move on, brother. We don’t have time to stop longer.

He took a steadying breath.

“Time is ending and betrayal is near. We must hurry to save what we can.”

(King’s Buccaneer)

Aether shoved open the door leading onto the airship’s Observing Balcony. A stiff wind blew past but the clear glass wind shield welded into place protected those observing. As the weight of the door slammed it shut behind him the man peering through the Far Sighter that was fastened to the railing straightened and turned with a scowl on his face. When he saw Aether his features relaxed and one corner of his mouth even quirked slightly.

“Your Highness.” He bowed his head at Aether.

With a snort, Aether gave him a mock glare. “Since when, Bertold.”

“The smile hinted at earlier broke free. “Since His Majesty sent word to aid you in any way in my power.”

“Well, knock it off!” Aether growled, kidding gone. “And fill me in on what’s going on that has you so absorbed out here.”

Bertold turned back to the Far Sighter but only pointed in the direction he’d been looking. “There’s a squall brewing Nor‘east of us. Just keeping an eye on it in case it heads toward us.”

Aether glanced up at the great, gas-filled sail cloth above them. It was what held the ship in the air as the steam-powered engines in the bowels of the flight cabin propelled it. There was no untoward strain in evidence so he relaxed. When he lowered his gaze to the Captain that man had his eye back to the Far Sighter. One hand held it to adjust direction if necessary, the other hand rested on the rail and the fingers of it drummed an agitated tattoo.

"What are you really watching, Bertold?” Aether asked, leaning casually against the cabin wall.

He saw Bertold’s shoulders tighten and his hand still before he relaxed and glanced back at Aether again,

“Never could steam around you, sir.” He half grinned.

“Then stop trying and answer.” Aether kept his face neutral with effort. He knew what could go wrong with an airship and rarely flew in them if he could avoid it. The nerves made his skull itch on the inside.

After examining Aether for a long moment, Bertold shrugged his surrender.

“Air pirates. They love storms because they’ve gotten crazy enough to hide in the clouds.”

Aether’s shoulders jerked. “IN the clouds?! The explosion if a bolt hits the gas sail!”

Bertold grimaced. “Rumor has it they’ve found a way to turn the lighting aside, somehow.”

“That’s not…” Aether began, shaking his head, but got a calculating look in his eyes as he once again examined the gas sail.

At the same moment he cut off, Bertold cut in to finish. “Possible. I know. But that’s the rumor. And I know one of the captains whose ship was attacked well enough to believe his accounting of the event.”

“Tell me about it.” Aether said, still studying the sail bag and all its supports.

“They appear from the midst of a storm cloud. They just sail right at you like the clouds part and close behind them.”

Aether jerked his gaze to Bertold. “Like the clouds part and close behind them.” He repeated thoughtfully. After a moment, his eyes drifted back upwards.

“You’re working an idea.” Bertold accused humorously.

“I am.” Aether agreed absently, then shook himself. “There’s no way to turn aside lighting. It’s too random in its pattern to know where it will hit and the gases used to fly our ships too volatile to allow a super-heated charge even close to the sail bag. Ergo, there’s another answer.”

“Do you know it?” Bertold sounded hopeful.

“I’m… not sure. I have an idea, but…” He trailed off, his mind working rapidly.

“Any ideas would be helpful, Aether.” Bertold said dryly.

“Well, it’s always possible a Weather Maker has been discovered but I doubt it.” Aether returned with equal dryness. “You need to let me work it a bit, Bertold. Get someone up here to relieve you on the Far Sighter for a while, rest your eyes. Tell them to watch for a sparkle, like light reflecting off something. If they see anything, even the smallest suspicion, let me know immediately. I don’t care if they doubt what they saw, I still want to know. Got it?”

Bertold nodded slowly. “What are you thinking?”



A half an hour later a steward rapped smartly on Aether’s cabin door. The only thing he heard was some muttering sounds. Having been warned by the captain that this might be the case, and coached in what to do, he rapped sharply once more, three staccato raps against the wood, then opened it, staying carefully in the hallway.

“Sir? Professor Pendragon? The Captain’s complements and could you join him on the Observing Balcony immediately.”

The steward heard a strangled oath, scrambling sounds, and the Professor burst through the door. With barely time to thank the steward, Aether made a mad dash down the hall. Grinning at how accurate the Captain’s instructions had been the steward gave in to curiosity and leaned forward just enough to peek inside the room

Seeing the papers tacked to the walls, strewn across the desk, and crumpled on the floor, he gave a wide-eyed shake of his head. If the level of mess was indicative of the level of intelligence, then Professor Pendragon must be a genius of the highest order.

Carefully closing the door, the steward left to continue his duties. He only followed orders and took care of any passengers. Anything else was the concern of the Captain and his officers.


Aether hit the door to the Observing Balcony hard enough he was through before it could slam back against him.

“What did you see?!” He barked.

Bertold turned to the Fourth Steersman who stood at the Far Sighter looking both nervous and embarrassed.

“Tell the Professor, son.” Bertold encouraged. “It’s why you were on watch.”

“Yes, sir.” The young man swallowed almost audibly, Adam’s apple bobbing. “I was keeping a watch on that storm cloud, watching for any – er – unusual light flashes.” He began hesitantly, then paused.

“Yes?” Aether managed to contain his impatience and sound merely interested. “You believe you saw something?”

“Ahm, well…” the Fourth Steersman hemmed.

“Son, I’m not expecting a lightning bolt or a flash message. Just… something.” Aether tried to reassure the young man.

The Fourth Steersman relaxed slightly and nodded. “Yes, sir. It was definitely ‘something’ but it was so fast I don’t know what to call it. Not even sure it was an actual flash of light.”

“Where?” Aether prodded.

“Dead center of the storm mass, sir.”

A spark entered Aether’s eyes and he turned to Bertold. “How close do ships get before they attack?”

Bertold eyed the storm clouds, calculating from what he’d been told and present distance of the clouds. “Depending on the strength of the winds driving the clouds, another 30 minutes to an hour from now we’ll be attacked. If that ‘something’ was them.”

Aether gestured at the Far Sighter. “May I?”

Nodding his compliance even as he stepped aside, Bertold motioned the Fourth Steersman away. Aether stepped up and pulled a band with several lenses attached from his belt pouch. Fitting the leather band around his head and adjusting it so the lenses sat at an angle about his left eye he bent and peered through the Far Sighter.

“Is this still fixed where you saw the – ahh – anomaly?” He asked.

“Yes, sir!” The young man responded.

Pulling back just slightly from the end of the Sighter Aether lowered one of the lenses in front of his eye, then another. Some of the lenses were colored – red, blue, and green – but the ones he manipulated first were clear.

“Ah, Aether? What – ?” Bertold began.

“Clear ones are magnifiers. They add to the strength of the Far Sighter. Colored ones remove certain bands of color from the light spectrum, show things that are hard to see.” He answered Bertold’s question before it was completely asked.

Flicking another magnifier between his eye and the Sighter he paused, then lowered the red lens. After a moment of concentrated frowning he flicked down the blue lens. Bertold saw Aether’s shoulders tense and he tensed with him. When Aether straightened and turned, a wolf’s grin lit his face.

“We have thirty minutes but I believe we can surprise them. I hope you have what I need to manufacture the advantage we now undoubtedly have.”

“Aether, if we can catch or kill these pirates, I’m all for it.” Bertold returned that vulpine grin as he clapped his friend on the shoulder. “Let’s go root out what you need.”

Twenty minutes later the forward windows in the Pilot’s Cabin, the Steersman’s Bridge, and the Forecastle Cannon had a deep violet wash to them. Aether had blended some red and blue inks with a special concoction of his own that created a dark violet color which, when applied to the windows, cut out the violet band of the light spectrum. It increased contrast between darks and made similarly colored or pattered things easier to see.

“So, if it’s colored like the clouds, why can we now see it?” Bertold frowned out the Steersman’s Bridge window at the still difficult to see pirate ship riding the winds in front of the storm clouds.

“No matter how close in color two things are to the naked eye, even to the point we can’t distinguish it, it will never be an exact match. Removing certain bands of color in the light spectrum helps us to see those differences.”

 “So, why do most of the ship’s parts still seem to be invisible?”

“There’s only one way to get a perfect match.” Aether shook his head in admiration. “Someone figured out how to create a mirrored surface that doesn’t require the whole ship to be covered in heavy glass. That surface is reflecting the clouds to ‘cloak’ the ship from view. We need to capture that ship rather than destroy it, Bertold.”

“It’ll be tough, ‘Ther.” Bertold stared out at the clouds before turning back. “They won’t want to be captured.”

“True. But, we have two huge advantages. They don’t know we can see them and anticipate what is no longer a surprise attack.” Aether pointed out.

“And the second advantage?” Bertold hitched an eyebrow, half-anticipating the reply.

“We have a couple of ‘retired’ pirates on our side who are more than capable of out-thinking these young sky pups.” That wolfish grin returned.

Bertold stared at Aether a long, tense moment before an answering grin worked across his face and a laugh worked its way up from his belly. After a few moments of much needed merriment, Bertold clapped Aether on the shoulder for the second time that day.

“We’ll catch them, ‘Ther. And we have more help than you know.”
“Don’t bet on it, Bertold.” Aether murmured as they laid their final plans.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Maker's War ~ The Saga Continues

Aaaaaand, it's time for Chapter Two in "The Maker's War" Steampunk Serial ~ we follow Professor Aether as he attempts to learn more about this Brass Maker, even though time isn't necessarily on his side. We find him waiting for an appointment with the Brass Master at the Metal Makers College:

(The Calling)

Standing in the side court of the Metal Maker’s College Aether watched a Gold Master show his First Year students how to locate and Call forth gold.  The students’ faces were screwed up as they attempted to imitate their teacher and call the gold. The teacher happened to catch Aether’s eyes and grinned. The First Years’ were always unintentionally humorous in attempting their first Calling.
Aether grinned back even as he heard soft footsteps approaching. He turned, consciously keeping the arm muscles of his right arm relaxed. He was safe in the Makers Colleges, it wouldn’t be good to accidentally set off the Armtraption strapped under his coat sleeve. He relaxed further as he recognized the Sixth Year who was approaching as the intern for the Brass Master.

“Professor Aether?” the student intern confirmed he’d found who he was looking for. “The Brass Master will gladly see you. He is in his garden and asks you to join him there.”
Nodding, Aether smiled. “Thank you.” And he followed the young man as he led him past various courts that had classrooms facing out onto them. Some had their windows open so the teachers lecture floated out on the still air. Some were sealed tight so no elements leaked free as students experimented with their various Makers’ Gifts.

After a walk of several minutes the intern paused at an iron gated shaped into beautiful scrolls and flutes, accented with every metal known to Makers. Opening it, the intern gestured Aether through with a slight bow.  He closed the gate gently as Aether stepped forward.
“Aether?” Boomed a rich, resonate voice. “I’m with the mint and rosemary. C’mon back.” The speaker’s tones rolled out, full and round, from further in the garden.

With a slight smile, Aether walked through the lush greenery toward the voice. 
“I hear you’re looking for a former student of mine.” The voice continued. “Has she done something to land her in trouble?”

“No, Brass Master. No trouble.” Aether responded formally.
He rounded a Bleeding Heart bush just as the Brass Master snorted loudly and forcefully enough to blow flower heads off the lavender plant he was tending. He turned and eyed Aether, then seemed to look inward for a moment before focusing on his guest again.

“There’s no one around. You can drop the formality, brother.” He eyed Aether tolerantly.
“Have to be sure you receive the respect due your rank, Theller. Never let it be said a simple Inventor failed in all the civilities due one of your rank and position.” He responded solemnly, fighting a laugh.

Theller rolled his eyes. “You’re never going to let that go, are you.” He stated. “He’s a pompous twit and doesn’t know we’re brothers.”
“He’s your assistant.” Aether pointed out.

“He’s excellent at his job. He’s still a pompous twit.” Theller waved a hand. “You do that to me every time. You’d think I’d learn by now.”
Aether let loose the laugh. “I hope not. I love hearing you admit Toller is a pompous twit.”

Another snort and Theller turned a gaze of a similar shade of blue as Aether’s his way, once more solemn. “So, why are you seeking one of my former students? What’s going on, ‘Ther?”
With a sigh, Aether brought him up to date on all the King and his Messenger had told him.  By the time he was done, Theller was twisting a corner of his beard as he frowned at the bed of rosemary in front of him.

“And they’re sure of this?” he clarified.
“As sure as they can be.” Aether nodded. “Something blocks the full vision of the Chief Sight Maker. She claims this Brass Maker can open a Portal to another… place …and those beings who reside there can see what our Sight Makers cannot.”

Theller sighed. “Yes, but there’s a tale to this Brass Maker.”
“There always is.” Aether’s reply was wry. “Will you help me? Will you tell me what I need to know in order to gain her cooperation?”

“Yes, I think I will.” He stood and wiped his hands on his mud-streaked garden apron. “Let’s go in, I’ll clean up and we’ll have tea while I tell you what you need to know.” And he turned and led the way into his home.

Ten minutes later, Aether wandered through his brother’s library as he awaited his return. Nearing the door, he heard voices and moved closer to try to hear better, unashamedly eavesdropping.

“…since we were kids, Toller. Long before anyone received rank of any sort. He is allowed to continue that friendship.” Came Theller’s exasperated tones.
Aether grinned, realizing Toller had complained about Aether’s being left, untended, in Theller’s Inner Sanctum.

“My lord, please, he is beneath you in both rank and personage. A mere Inventor claiming friendship with the Grand Brass Master!” Toller’s voice, contrary to his personality, was a pleasant baritone. If he weren’t so concerned with currying the favor of those of rank, he would be a tolerable fellow. But he judged a person on perceived rank, never bothering to look past that to the person beneath. Rank was all that mattered, not the person and what they might contribute to Society, great or small. It was one of the reasons Aether enjoyed baiting Toler. The pompous prig!
“Toller, I’m going to tell you something that, as my Personal Assistant, you’re required to keep in confidence.”

“My lord, have I ever failed in any of my duties, least of all the keeping of any confidentialities required?” Toller managed to both whine and sniff in offense.
Aether winced and silently begged Theller to not reveal their relationship.

“As young men, Professor Aether Pendragon saved my life. The circumstances are unimportant and you don’t need to know them. Suffice it to say, that deed gives Aether the right to anything within my power to give him. He wants my friendship, nothing more. Treating him as kin is no difficulty and I will continue to do so until he no longer wants to be friends which your behavior and attitude, I might add, may bring about sooner rather than later.”
“My lord!” Toller gasped.

“If that’s not enough, let me point out one small matter to your rank-mad little mind.” Theller continued relentlessly. “He is a Diploma’d Professor at the Inventor’s Guild College, and a Master Inventor. In rank, he is far above a mere personal assistant, even the Grand Master Maker’s assistant who, may I say, treats him with much greater deference than you. You should take lessons.”
There was silence but, by this point, Aether was laughing so hard –and trying his best to hold it in – he was shaking from head to toe and could barely hear Toller’s reply when he finally spoke.

“Well, with all respect to the Grand Master Maker, his assistant is not known for her discernment of a person’s character.” He spoke in a slightly conciliatory tone but Aether still had to slap a hand over his mouth to muffle the guffaws. “However,” Toller continued, oblivious to Theller’s gargled non-response. “Due to this… Inventors sagacity in knowing how valuable your life is, and saving it, I will make every attempt to be more… tolerant, my lord.”
Finally, Theller’s voice came. “Please, Aether. Please let me say it.” He begged.

“What –“ Toller began  but, still laughing, Aether threw open the library door, startling Toller.
“You! What… were you listening!?” he demanded.

“Of course. I was practicing the time honored art of eavesdropping. One learns so much that way. Oh, don’t frown, Toller. I’ve caught you at it often enough.”
“I… why, you… I nev-… how dare you, you Inventor!” Toller drew himself up to his full, thin-shanked height.

Suddenly weary of the sniping at what had always been considered an honorable profession, Aether locked gazes with Theller and nodded.
With a smile of combined relief at getting to tell the truth and malice for the shock his pompous assistant was about to receive, Theller called him to order sharply.

“Toller!” he barked. To his credit, Toller snapped his mouth shut and turned to Theller.
“Toller, you know who I am, correct?”

“Sir, you are the Grand Brass Master of the Makers’ College.” He replied.
“What else?”

With a slightly smug glance at Aether, Toller replied. “You are the younger brother to His Majesty, Selinger Pendragon.”
Theller stepped closer to Aether. With a smug smile of his own he made his announcement. “This man, too, is His Majesty’s younger brother.”

It took a moment for the information to filter through Toller’s inflexible brain, then his jaw fell, his pupils dilated, and his face paled.
“And my elder brother.” Theller added, causing Toller’s jaw to snap shut so hard Aether was certain he heard his teeth crack.

“I’ll hear no more about rank, Guilds, or who is a better judge of men from you ever again, Toller.” Theller was somber, now. “You never know who is what or where they’re from. Most of a discreet character tend to keep things quiet.
“As well, if others learn of Aether’s real relation to me, I will know it comes from you and you will be fired without a reference. Are we clear?”

“I…I… yes, my lord. My lords.” He corrected himself.
“Professor Aether will do, Toller, without the snide tone or remarks.” Theller corrected. “I’m very serious about your dismissal if, by your word or actions, Aether’s identity is revealed.”

“Of course, my lord. I will go make sure the tea is ready.”  He turned to go, and then paused. “My lord, does the Grand Master’s assistant know?”
“The Lady von Greyson does not judge worth on rank but on character.” Toller stated. As a look of superiority entered Toller’s eyes, he finished. “However, she has been a friend of the royal family for years. We were all children together.”

Toller’s face fell and he nodded, and then left. Theller expelled a breath and turned to his brother. “Let’s sit and wait until our tea is served before we continue our conversation.”
As they headed for the chairs by the fireplace he cocked an eye at Aether. “Have you really caught him eavesdropping?”

“Trying to. Your doors are too thick unless both parties are standing right next to it.” Aether shrugged.
Theller was scowling as he seated himself in the comfortable brown leather chair he preferred. “I may need to have a further discussion with him. Eavesdropping!” he finished in exasperation.

“Oh, let it go, Thel. It’s how an excellent personal assistant anticipates his masters’ needs.” He sighed and stretched out his legs toward the empty fire place as he adjusted the dark brown, serge kilt he wore.  “I think we’ve got more to worry about if Meirnath is right.”
Just then Toller returned with a footman carrying the tea tray. Clearing the small table between the two men, Toller motioned the footman to set the tray down carefully and dismissed him.

“Anything else, my lord?” He paused and then added in just the right tone of reluctant deference. “Professor?”
Both men smiled brief approval as Theller answered for both. “No, Toller. That will be all. I’ll ring if we need anything. Otherwise, please see no one disturbs us.”

“My lord.” He bowed and left.
Aether gave Theller a grin. “He does learn fast, I’ll give him that.”

Chuckling as he poured tea for both of them, Theller handed a cup to Aether and sat back. Aether sipped from his cup as he settled back and waited for Theller to gather his thoughts.
“Several years ago,” Theller finally began. “A young woman came to the Maker’s College. She was vibrant, excited, and enthusiastic. She had a little ability in many areas of Makering but had a special affinity for brass. It took her no time to learn to Call brass, to form and shape it to her Call and will. She could do things with it, and her Maker’s Fire, none of us had seen before. Eventually, she could Call other metals, though brass remained her greatest skill.

“One day, she attempted to merge and meld several metals in one Calling. It was beautiful to watch as each piece melded seamlessly into the other, following her will as she formed them in her Fire.  But…” he paused, then shook his head. “I’m still not sure what, but something else happened.  No one else has figured out what, exactly, she did that day, either.
“While she was still forming all the bits together a… a blackness formed in the midst of the piece. The blackness seemed to grow and gather into itself and every gear in every mechanism in every building on campus began to run, even if they’d never run a day since their creation.

“While we were still confused by all the commotion going on she screamed – like one in the throes of a fiend-filled nightmare. It silenced every person for three classrooms in all directions and we looked at her. She was staring at that blackness and, in the center of it all, we saw an eye.”
“An eye?” Aether interrupted.

“A devilish eye.” Theller confirmed. “A sickly green at the outer edge of the iris shading to a bright gold at the pupil. The lids and surrounding skin we could see were a dark, frightening, scaled red.”
“What was it?” Aether asked, leaning forward intently.

Theller paused, struggling for words, then sighed. “It was alive.”

A smile tugged briefly at Theller’s lips. “You sound like a parrot, ‘Ther. Yes, alive. That’s all I can say about it with certainty. It blinked its lids and looked around at all of us before focusing on my young student. None of us heard anything but it was apparent it spoke to her. Her face paled and her lips moved though no sound emerged. The next moment the entire creation imploded, knocking everyone in the room unconscious from the change in pressure.  When we came to, my student still lay on the floor, alive, eyes open but no spark of consciousness there.

“It took two days with the doctors and nurses fussing over her for her to awake and then it was to immediate and prolonged screaming. They had to sedate her to stop the screams, though she still groaned and thrashed in her sleep as if in continued terror.  Not even the school’s Sight Maker could reach her.
“We finally called the Guild Master of the Sight Maker’s College.  She closed herself in the room with her for a half a day. When she emerged she was pale and a residual terror lingered in her eyes. She told me my student was better and that she had a touch of the Sight Maker gift in her blood. That, during her Calling of the metals, she had managed to make another Calling to another…. call it a dimension.

“Dimension?”  Aether interrupted once more. The fingers twisting his eyebrow stilled and he straightened. “A world existing beside ours as the Thealodes suggest is possible?”
Theller shrugged. “I am a Brass Maker, no more. I leave such theories to Sight Makers and Thealodes. I’m only telling you what the Guild Master said.

“Anyway, I was told my student had Called into another dimension and… something… responded. We don’t know what.” He forestalled Aether’s next question. “The Guild Master told us the… Being touched my students mind, asked why he was Called. Frightened, not knowing such a Calling was even possible, she had frozen. The… Being then told her the time would come when she would Call others of his kind to battle an enemy from within. They would be allies, but they could only show the evil that might befall us, not how to defeat it or who would win. We would need to learn the ways of War and how to turn defeat to victory.

“Then the Guild Master said the skills my student would need to learn for this were not here, but the Sight Maker’s College and she would be transferred there.”
“You let her go? Without a fight, not even an argument?” Aether raised an eyebrow in surprise. “That’s not like you, Thel.”

Theller shrugged. “It’s difficult to argue with the Sight Maker Guild Master.” He replied with a twisted smile. “When she wants something, one obeys. Politely.”
“Scarier than Meirnath?” Aether prodded at an obvious sore spot with his brother.

“Yes!” Theller snapped, then chuckled. “And you’d do well to remember that, should you chance to meet her. Back to the story?”
“Y’know, you’ve never mentioned your students name. Just referred to her time and again as ‘my student’. I’m assuming she does have one?”

“Yes, yes.” Theller waved a hand airily. “I’m just…”
“Possessive of her?” Aether suggested.  “Sounds like you’re in love with her. At least a little.” He added hastily at Theller’s sharp look.

Slumping a bit further down in his chair Theller nodded just slightly. “We all were, to some degree. She had the kind of open, honest, pure, sweet personality that draws people to her. Makes them love her even if it’s just a little bit.
“As to her name, well,” he paused with a reminiscent smile. “We called her ‘Steamy’ for a short time because her last name is Steamington, but it didn’t stick. Her affinity for brass soon had the other students calling her Brassy, or Dr. Brassy when her skills grew, and Brassy Steamington she became. She reveled in it, actually, and refused to answer to her original name, only Brassy.”

“Hm.” Aether gave his brother a humorously skeptical look but forbore any further teasing. “So, it appears I need to go to the Sight Maker’s College, next. Anyone I ought to speak to regarding this Brassy Steamington?”
“Well, our youngest sister, Merither, is there, as you know, and is now a Fourth Level Sight Maker.” He smiled with quiet pride. “She can probably tell you better than I who can help you learn more about Brassy. But, why ask more questions, ‘Ther? You’ve learned the basics, you know where she is, why not just go?”

Once more slouched in his chair, fingers busily twisting his eyebrow, Aether frowned slightly. “I can’t really give you a good answer to that, Thel. It seems like the right thing to do.” He abruptly slapped his thighs and stood. “You’ve got a point, though. I’ll speak to our sister and see what she says. Fourth Level, now? She’s doing well.” He smiled.
Theller grinned. “Yes. Father’s near impossible with pride.” He chuckled. “Let’s eat dinner, get a good night’s sleep, and we’ll tackle our little sister tomorrow.” He rose, stretching to relieve cramped muscles.

“We?” Aether looked at his brother in question.
Nodding, Theller reached out, pulled him from the comfort of the chair, and shoved him toward the door. “We!” He repeated firmly. “You don’t think you get to have all the fun, do you?”

The brothers argued amicably all the way to dinner over who would be going where.