Saturday, May 16, 2015

Grotesque No. 1

Words would see the darkness.
Yet anything screams.
Anything of him but years.
As they enter they choose below thought,
Appearing against resounding, weaving feet.

The demon alone, it knew his back.
Always coming!
Dropped brow and shrill roar..
White, its bones.
Thin, the limbs.
A fanged beast, bones in its back.

Both hands sobbing.
Begging eyes,
Ivory, them.
She dropped the head in the whispered sun.
It’s the tiny jiggle it started,
Somewhere in the recesses of her brain.

Arms to staircase,
Command continuing and serene,
She delicately proceeded.
Her silverback familiar, slightly gray-blue,
Mysterious, even to himself.
Eyes found him pleasantly.

Walking, she answered a thought;
 “I thought I’d save you.”
To much in her, she wondered,
“Have I walked time enough?”
And the empty streets of her quiet eventually accept this:
Your little ways.

At one with dark as she was with It,
The best threat, 
Its carrying need.
She had demons off combating her weaknesses.
Exorcists quietly gave her study,
Their fates yet decided.

Poetry "Grotesque No. 1" Copyright ©  T.A. Miles

Original Artwork "Old Man's Gloom", used under license by CC,
Derivation "Grotesque No. 1" by T. A. Miles

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Z is for Zealousness

Alere unsheathed Aerkiren and watched the etchings upon the blade begin to glow.  “This has been in my family for generations.  Ironic that it should draw the enemies it was intended to quell.  That is why they attacked my home.”
“And killed your father,” Bastien added needlessly, and not without some trace of sympathy.
Alere rejected it with his response.  “They murdered nearly my entire family.  Now I understand why I was drawn to the mystic’s quest and why I would seek to complete it after his passing.  Here is the source of blame I was after, the target of my revenge.”  As he spoke the bloodlust was rising, the eagerness to drive Aerkiren into the heart of the enemy he’d never known before this moment, but whom he’d been hunting for years.  Nothing would sate his sudden appetite for slaying except the blood of this stranger. 
“Malek Vorhaven dies tonight,” Alere decided, and he stalked further into the shadows of the house, determined to kill anyone or anything that tried to interfere.

From Six Celestial Swords
Available from Raventide Books

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Y is for Yearning

Once on land, the caravan continued west.  They were not headed due west, at some point on the sea they had veered north.  On land they moved at a slight northern angle away from the harsh shores of Callipry.  The immediate area was a district known as Stormbright and the seaside hamlet behind the caravan, a few days’ travel from Nelayne, was called Barten’s Palace—which Xu Liang found of peculiar interest as there was no palace anywhere in sight.  When his party camped at night he made detailed accounts of all that he had seen and heard.  Though he had not come to this place for the first time he knew better than to think that one look or even a thousand would ever reveal all that there was to be learned.  He drew several maps during his travels and found himself constantly adding to them.
In the morning he painted the landscape.  The last time he had come to this land it was the autumn season, and the trees were barren and thin, skeletal and yet still beautiful.  The sky was often gray; a textured, but unbroken canopy of clouds that felt cold to look at.  It was spring now and the trees were full, a blanket of jade silk spilling down the craggy terrain that skirted the road Xu Liang’s company followed.  The sky seemed to glow overhead, even on a day when dark clouds encroached, and now Xu Liang understood the name Stormbright.
          He wished he had more time.  He wished that he could explore more of this realm, more of every realm in what his people simply referred to as the World and what those outside Sheng Fan had come to call Dryth. 

From Six Celestial Swords
Available from Raventide Books

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

X is for Xenophobia

“You’ll find no place that raises more sheep and sustains more pastures than Treska, the land of the ignorant, aggressive, self-deluded, common man.”
Xu Liang overlooked the dwarf’s less than generous appraisal of Treska’s inhabitants and said, “That’s far from here.”
Tarfan nodded and lifted his finger.  “Through the elven lands.  The Shillan elves aren’t so bad, but the Zaldaine are a sure pain in the backside.  Elitists the lot of them, and warlike.  Worse than your people, if you’ll forgive my saying so.”
“Of course,” Xu Liang replied absently, his concentration on the large nation of Treska and the various routes to it.  Not only were there the lands of the elves to consider, there was also a great river that nearly split the Western Continent down the middle.  It drew out of the Andarian mountains, seeming to almost intentionally divide the elves and humans before splitting the southern nation of Caleddon and branching off into various parts of the Sea of Orlan.
Tarfan saw what Xu Liang studied.  “They call it The Strand, ironically.  It’s the biggest river in all Dryth.  At least, the biggest I’ve ever come across.  Big enough to serve as an effective natural border between lands better off separated.  There’d be a river of blood if not water.”
Xu Liang looked up, startled by this information.
“Elves and humans have despised one another since their creation,” Tarfan said.  “The humans of the western land can never seem to have enough power, following the will of one god, whom they believe is the wisest and most just and who must therefore cancel all others.  The elves look down on men as a lot of hideous, blasphemous brutes who defile everything they touch.  There may be some truth in that, considering some men I’ve met, but unfortunately, ordinary men breed much faster than elves.  And they have a strange knack for accomplishment.  They’ll have this land, someday, then maybe they’ll look to Sheng Fan, where—judging by its size and what I’ve learned of your people—they’ll be soundly thrashed.”
Not if Sheng Fan destroys itself from within, Xu Liang thought miserably.

From Six Celestial Swords

Monday, April 27, 2015

W is for Wrathfulness

The undulation of the wind through the flowers gave the field living motion not unlike the sea.  There was a vastness there, in the deep draws taken by the earth.  There was life in the exhalation, and the golden aroma of the sun.  It passed across his skin and through his hair, and the light dove into his eyes and made the surfaces shine.  The world lay illuminated before him, clear and restless…young yet, and eager.  He would take it gently by the hand, and it would embrace him with a passion that would make it difficult to breathe, but he would prevail through patience and encouragement.  They would become as lovers, Amantius and this earthly destiny, though he did not feel love for it.  He had bridled contempt and disdain, and he would govern the course of both, so gradually that they would encroach with the stealth of winter’s descent from the mountains.  The snow will have lain itself thick upon the path behind him, his tracks made invisible, his wake yet intact, sheathed between the frozen earth and the icy air.  There could be no love for this world now.

From Amantius
Coming Soon from Raventide Books

Saturday, April 25, 2015

V is for Vehemence

“You saw a flock of birds flutter from one perch to the next,” Grisch summarized, not quite accurately.  “What makes that fair warning of anything?”
Lars was about to respectfully explain, but Korsten stopped him with a light touch at the elbow and offered his own explanation.  “The trees around here are quite tall, high enough up to where nothing minor is going to upset the creatures residing near the top of the canopy.  It was no hunting party or gaggle of noisy children that stirred them, captain.  Something large enough to create a disturbance that traveled from the roots to the tips of the uppermost branches annoyed those birds.  Either you have giants in your forest, or a sizable group of armed men marching through it.”
Grisch turned around to glare at Korsten.  The fire in his blue eyes was unmistakably of hatred.
“He’s right, sir,” Lars said before Grisch could comment on Korsten’s words and before Korsten could wonder at the captain’s animosity.  “Animals are upset by strange circumstances.  There’s nothing right or good about an army moving in on their territory.”
Stubbornly, Grisch said, “What if it’s something else?”
“What if it isn’t?” Korsten pressed.
“Perhaps you’d like to play scout and go see?” Grisch asked caustically.
“It’s not my field of expertise, but if you’ve no one else to investigate...”
“Shut up,” the captain growled, looking daggers at Korsten.  “I’ve had my fill of the sound of your voice.”  To Lars, he said, “Send a scout to investigate and report on a possible situation in the northwestern woods.”
“Yes, sir,” Lars replied and promptly took his leave.
That left Korsten and Grisch alone and glaring at one another.  The captain’s animosity was unwarranted, but it was fast becoming mutual.
“What is it you want from me?” Korsten finally asked outright.  “You’re not happy with me doing the work I’ve been assigned to by my superiors, and you’re also dissatisfied when I abandon it to devote myself to the task you’ve seen fit to deliver me yourself.  Perhaps I should spend my time here sitting upon one of the walls as an ornament.”
“By all means,” Grisch replied, gesturing out the window, toward the view of the keep’s west wall behind him.  “I’m sure you’ll make a fine target for an enemy’s arrow, if they are in fact coming.”
“They are coming,” Korsten told him, ignoring the insult.  “And you’re not ready for it, are you?”
Grisch’s cold glare turned to fire once again.  “How dare you question my ability to command?”
“There are more than five hundred lives at the mercy of your command, captain.  My own and Merran’s included.  I have every right to question-”
“You have no right!” Grisch shouted vehemently.  “Not the right to be here, not even the right to live!”  Korsten could only stare in confusion while the captain proceeded.  “You filthy, demon-loving bastard, do you think I have no idea who you are?  Do you think I don’t know where you came from?”

From Blood Lilies
Available from Raventide Books

Friday, April 24, 2015

U is for Umbrage

“You will look at me when I am speaking to you,” Delisandra reminded in a tone one could not have ignored if his very life had hinged upon doing so.  It was calm and commanding; a fierce whisper; a stinging chime.
Elarien opened his eyes and turned his face.  Her stern silence adjured the words that followed.  “I apologize, grandmother.”
She nodded demurely and allowed her eyes to walk the room before addressing him again.  “Tell me why you came here, grandson.  Were you with someone?”
“I feel caged.  I come here to be alone.”
A chill lanced through his body as Delisandra’s gaze returned to him.  “No longer, if it pleases you.  This is not your home nor is it your property.”
“I appreciate its solitude.  Perhaps I aim to become a perspective buyer, if ever my uncle will grant me an audience.” 
“It is absurd for a man in your health to even consider making such a purchase.”  She said it with neither salve nor sting, but plainly as a matter of fact.  Elarien exerted maximum will against the forming tears.  Delisandra took advantage of his silence.  “As well you know the stairs weaken you.”
“I have to take them, grandmother, if I’m ever to leave the house.”
“You needn’t leave the house,” she informed.  “Everything you require is there or can be brought there.”
“Not everything,” Elarien dared to contradict.
“A bed was beneath you before you left it.  Food is carried to you by the servants when you deign yourself to eat it.  Medicine is brought to you by the physicians.  Fresh air is in the garden, should you risk it.”  Delisandra took two slowly sweeping steps toward the table and pointed dramatically at the decanter of wine and the tray of food beside it.  “And what is this, child?  Has any of this been approved by myself or any one of the doctors?”
“A craving, grandmother.  Besides, food does not seem to affect me one way or…”
“Where’s your sense, child?  You are ill and, last I knew, not schooled in medicine.  You are not to answer to any further cravings.  I will not have you collapsed to your grave prematurely through whimsy.  Do I make myself clear?”
“You are overcautious,” Elarien dared and perhaps Delisandra’s eyes would not have shot quite so wide if he had not been so eloquently calm in his defiance.  “Besides, there is nothing to be done for every risk I must take in—”
One painted eyebrow lifted.  “Must take?”
“—ensuring that I am not simply waiting for death.  I am still alive, grandmother, as of this moment.  And I must live.”
“And that is precisely what your uncle and I are trying to arrange.  With little success, I might add, while you ungratefully combat our efforts at every turn.”
“I am grateful, grandmother.  For everything that you’ve done for me.”  Elarien stood, pain throbbing to life within his chest.  He heard the affliction in his voice, despite his efforts to ignore it.  “That extends, of course, to the freedom you have respected me and will continue to respect me.”
The icy eyes narrowed severely.  In the next instant, words escaped her or were dismissed and a sudden smile failed to soften her features.  “My dear child, you have given yourself to fits.  Come, let us return you to the comfort of your room before they worsen.”
“I…”  Elarien swallowed the tremor in his voice, feeling stabs of pressure at his temples. 
Delisandra’s fingers touched his elbow, pinpricks of cold fire.  “Come along, grandson.  You must take rest now.  I will arrange to have your affairs put off for the next few days, until you have recovered the strength you so carelessly spent today.”

From Raventide
Available from Raventide Books