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Monday, August 21, 2017

One Step Closer

Azereus startled at the name he hadn’t heard in years. Amerak had been Queen Viari’s most trusted adviser. Now it all made sense; how the castle had been breached. There had been a traitor standing right at the Queen’s side. He glanced over to where his cousin stood. He saw the same realization wash over her face at the name of someone he knew CeCe had felt was a part of the family. He had to hand it to Amerak though. The man had led a coup that no one had ever seen coming. The man had hidden the fact that he was a wizard all those years. He had just been waiting for the perfect time to strike.

Azereus shook the memories from his head and walked over to where CeCe stood. “I guess that means we just have to beat him to the Triad and make sure he never gets his claws on it. We need to break camp and get moving. The storm has abated enough to move on. That is unless someone…” here he glanced around at the strangers. “Has another portal stone available to use?”

He watched as the cream-colored tubby one’s head came up. His eyes wide. “even if we do have a portal stone without knowing where you are going, it is useless. We used a blood spell to find you here. All thanks to a debt owed by Max.” Azereus watched Max shift uncomfortably at the mention of his name.

“Ah, but we do know where we are going. And even have someone that has been there physically. So, if we had the ability to portal to the Triad’s location, then we will have beaten Amerak to the prize.” Azereus spoke this as he started gathering his pack together. “So, do you by chance have another portal stone or is this conversation for nothing?” He asked the intruders but kept his eyes on Bumbles.

At the mention of knowing where the Triad was located, Nilla’s attention riveted on the tall, heavily muscled warrior. As much as she wanted to stay honor her Queen and cease the hunt. She was owned by Amerak and she hated that she was torn between loyalty and debt. As if thinking about the wizard, she felt the summoning spell taking effect. Amerak was impatient and as she walked away from the others, she signaled her band.

“Speaking of the devil he is summoning me. I feel the spells pull, stay with our Queen. I will try to send Amerak on a false trail.” She took a moment and then asked, “Bumbles, throw me the bloodstone. I will use it to portal back to you as soon as I am able. Good fortune to you all.” With her words fading as a small portal opened and began to swallow her, she was gone within a blink of the eye.

A growl erupted from Bumbles as he held out his hand showing the bloodstone. “I didn’t have time throw it to her. Now she will not be able to find us. What if the master figures out what she plans and harms her. She will have no way to escape.” He worked the small gray stone marked with dark red streaks between his thumb and the palm of his hand. “Why didn’t I throw it sooner?” he said mournfully.

Zirede walked over and patted Bumbles on the back. “No worries, you’re talking about Nilla. You know she is the master of quick getaways if she but puts her mind to it. Besides if she can find a halfway decent magician…” here he jabbed Bumbles in the side and laughed. “She shares blood with one of us, remember. Now answer our new friend’s question about the portal stone. I think we need to be gone from here soon.”

Bumbles put the bloodstone back into the pouch attached to his belt. “I think I have a couple left let me check.” He removed the pack he had slung over his shoulder and knelt to rummage through the contents. He finally produced a leather pouch which he unrolled to show his assembled stones. The multicolored stones winked in the feeble light cast from the cave’s entrance.

“I was correct, I have two stones left. I really need to replenish my supply. Something tells me we are going to need all the help we can get.” He re-wrapped the stones and stood. “When everyone is ready I will open the portal. I will need the one who has been to the site to activate the stone.”

Bo gave CeCe’s shoulder a squeeze before leaving her and joining Bumbles. “That would be me. What do you need me to do?” he asked the portly Felis. “I must admit I have no experience with this type of portal. When we were young, my mother always had a wizard perform a relocation spell. I know that is a bit old-fashioned in comparison of the portal spells done now.” He studied the stone as the young magician manipulated it in his hands.

Bumbles shook his head in agreement, “Yes, I have used those spells before. Compared to the portal stone, they are a bit unstable...” he continued to move the stone between his hands as if warming it. “If you have one errant thought or miss a vital ingredient while working the spell, it will send you to only the Goddess knows where.” Bumbles stopped and glanced around the room, taking note of the progress of leaving. He grunted in satisfaction before continuing.

“When everyone is ready to go, I need you to picture the place you are going in your mind. I need you to be as realistic as possible. Your best bet is to picture the place that you have the strongest memory of while you were there. That is where you will find yourself. When you have found your picture, I will hand you the stone and perform the spell.” He said to the others, “once the portal has opened I need you to enter quickly, preferably one at a time.” He gave Bo his attention once more. “I will then send you through the portal thus ending the spell.”

Bo nodded his head in understanding, the picture in his mind that of the clearing where he and his mother had waited for his father’s return. He carried that picture always in his mind. The snow falling as he watched his father walk away from his small family, never to be seen alive again. A sense of foreboding sent a shiver racing down his back. Would this be where he breathed his final breath too?

Nilla fell as the summoning spell dropped her into Amerak’s workroom. As usual, he had the mouth-watering sandwiches laid out for her. Once she felt she was steady enough to walk without stumbling she headed for the tray. Amerak waited with a slight smile on his face as she stopped long enough to pour a cup of the refreshingly icy water that sat in a decanter next to the sandwiches. “As usual you run for the food. You are so predictable, little thief. What news have you about the guardians? Have you discovered their whereabouts or their destination?” He paused to allow Nilla to take a bite of her sandwich.

As she took a bite Nilla was thinking about the fact that she had disappeared before Bumbles could throw her the stone. How was she going to get to them now? She couldn’t help herself from chuckling when she realized she didn’t even know where they were going to portal into. She was good and truly on her own. “What’s so funny little thief? Did I say something that amused you? Pray tell, do enlighten me.” Amerak said as he moved into her personal space.

Nilla couldn’t help thinking “crap!” when she realized he had heard her chuckle. “No, no, it was just something Diewen said as I was summoned. He was telling a joke he heard in the marketplace, and I just got it.” She quickly took another bite to keep from rambling. Amerak quirked up his eyebrow but let the matter drop for the moment. He had more important matters on his mind.

“Tell me you and your band of miscreants have located either the guardians or my prize. Both would be preferable. The Guardian's death would make me exceedingly happy. It might even make me release you from my service.” He went across the room and dropped into his high-backed chair. “So, go on regale me with your tale. Make me a happy Felis.”

Nilla knew she could only lie so much to the evil wizard, he always seemed to know if she withheld anything from him. She decided the best bet was to tell him as much truth as she dared to not endanger her friends or her Queen. She grabbed another sandwich and refilled her glass before finding an overstuffed chair not far from her master. She plopped down and after finding a comfortable position she gave her report.

The cave was bustling with activity as everyone worked to get all their belongings packed and ready to portal. Zirede, Azereus, and Bo were gathered in one corner debating the next move. “I think we should portal in as a group. Once there we can split up.” Bo stated.

“But if we split up now, it will be better if Amerak breaks Nilla and she tells what has happened. We do not wish to lead Amerak straight to you and the Triad. We must protect it as well as our Queen.” Zirede explained and looked toward where CeCe and Rauwyn sat their heads close together involved in their own conversation.

Azereus just shook his, “no, if we split now you will not have the coordinates to find us. If Amerak does find us we will need all-hands-on-deck. Besides we have some tricks up our sleeves when it comes to battling the old wizard.” He winked at Bo. “We are not going down without a fight. I agree with Bo, we portal together and then split into separate parties. That way we cover more ground and will be better ready to defend the Triad.”

Diewen had come up to the group as Azereus was speaking and interjected, “sounds like a good plan to me. Then once there I will take one of your group and scout the area. Find the best place to stand against any attacks.” By this time Neko and the twins had also joined the men.

“Well, it sounds like we have a plan. Are you ready to get this party started?” Dom said as he clapped Diewen on the back. “I’ll join you in scouting the area, I have unique skills that will be very useful in Checking things out.” He winked at Bo. “We all bring a little extra something to this party. Let’s bust a move. I’m getting antsy.”

Bumbles had been making the rune markings where he planned to open the portal. “Hey, if you’re all done with your meeting maybe you can get ready to leave. I need you.” He pointed at Bo. “It’s time to start, the rest of you, line-up, and be quiet.” Bo had come to stand next to him. “If you have any prayers to say do it now because here we go.” Everyone watched as he began to weave the spell in the air with his hands. They moved in a silent dance, his fingers making intricate designs. As the power grew his hands began to glow. “Get ready”, he whispered to Bo.

Bo stepped closer to the rotund magician, he watched as Bumbles brought out the stone and handed it to him. “Hold this in the palm of your hand, think of the place where we are going. Remember to be specific as possible in your thoughts. When you have it pictured perfectly, nod your head to show me you are ready. I will then direct the spell into the stone. It might feel funny but do not drop it.” Bo held out his hand, not sure if he was ready or not. The picture in his mind became clearer as he held the stone. He could almost feel the sun on his face as the wind picked up. He nodded his head as the clearing became real. His hand began to tingle as the magic wrapped him in the spell.

Friday, August 11, 2017

The Naming Game & Writer's Block

You might have noticed that the blog came to a screeching halt. Well, it's a fun story about what happened. I went to update my computer with the latest Windows 10 update and guess what? My computer didn’t care for it and in response shut down and wouldn’t boot back up. I guess I had been working it too hard and it took that moment to declare it was on vacation. I took it to the computer store and asked the guru to help my little old computer to remember that I really need it and to come back from its vacation. He said he would take a look and let me know what he found.

As anyone who spends a lot of time on their computer doing work and pleasure, it was very hard to turn around and walk out the door knowing that there would be an empty spot on my desk for a few weeks. You’re probably wondering why it would take so long to get my computer back and that is an easy question to answer. I get paid once a month and my computer decided to take its mini vacation in the middle of the month when I have little to no money. So it would have to wait until my payday before it could come home. Inconsiderate computer.

I was able to rescue it a few days before my payday because my super fantastic brother went and paid to get it out on early release. You just have to love brothers who adore their only sister. By the way, if I didn’t say thank you, dude. Here I am saying it. Thank you bunches, Ken. You're one of the best brother’s in the whole world. I love you bunches.

I had my computer back and I sat down at my desk and suffer what all writer’s fear. Yes, writer’s block. My muse decided since my computer got to have a vacation maybe it should too. I sat staring at the blank screen and nothing flowed. I tried to force it and only ended up hitting the back space key again and again. I decided to try work on another project that I had dreamed up a few months before. Still, no creative juices stirring. I sat back in my chair, thinking of what I could write about but my brain kept coming up against blank walls, that no amount of thinking made them light up with the colors of great ideas. I knew then that I shouldn’t fight it, but to step away from my computer and my desk and instead work on an entirely new project. Rejuvenating some furniture and building new storage space to hold all of my notebooks, files and such.

So here I sit today finally writing while I wait for paint to dry. I am hoping the second coat is enough because if it is I can start the process of putting everything back together. Sometimes you just need to step away from one type of project and do something totally different. I am at this moment sitting here typing with a black blob of paint on my left shoulder, another on the top of my foot, and a check in the mirror informs me that I have a black streak across my forehead. Talk about getting into your work. I found that by using my mind to create something new out of the old, that my muse’s curiosity got the better of them and I started working on my book while painting. Now I just need to sit down and write what I’ve come up with.

I will have a new installment for The Tales of The Cat’s Eye Gang next Friday. Oh, by the way, you might have noticed the name change of the blog and the book. As I am getting close to completing the first draft I thought to Google my title. Guess what I found? My title had already used. Another series has the title of The Cat’s Eye Chronicles, and so that left me trying to find a new name. I thought up a few and asked my readers on each of my social media platforms which they liked best. At the same time, I googled each to see if they had been taken. The votes matched what I found. My readers liked The Tales of The Cat’s Eye Gang and nothing came back in my search of that title. So that is the story behind the name change.

Well, I need to go check the paint and see if it’s dry. I hope to see you back next Friday to see what has happened in the world of The Cat’s Eye Gang. Until then love fully and laugh often.