Star Child *

I have a friend (crazy, I know). Her name is Alex. Hi, Alex! *waves*. She has read my book, and she likes my book. This makes me happy, of course. Alex is a writer herself (a fantasy one, at that), and it is so lovely to have a friend who can share such things with you, who understands, and who actually knows what you’re talking about when you say ‘Sta’reghiime’, for example.

Do you know what that is? I highly doubt it.

It’s something in my book.

Which you would not know unless you have read it.

Funny how these things work…

A good while back, I was moaning to Alex about the languages I have created for my fantasy world. I wondered what possessed me to do three. Woeful. One language is simple enough, I suppose: that is Kurpian, the language of the Ilimoskus (my main language). The other two are… Well, one is the hardest thing in the world to pronounce/the biggest mouthful language going, and the other has the worst grammar. But who do I have to blame but myself? Why, Jenny? Whhyyyyyyyy? *falls upon knees and howls in despair*

But anyway. I was talking about my languages. Specifically Kurpian. Alex said that it would be cool to learn Kurpian (or something like that), to which I replied, “I’ll give you a lesson someday 😉

(An aside: The Kurpian language is traditionally a syllabic alphabet with limited logograms, which, in English, basically means there are symbols that represent syllables. There are always two symbols that make me smile, though, because “xu” looks like a smiley face with a massive nose, and “ly” looks like a man doing some funky dance. Behold: )

ohk

((An aside aside: Apparently one of the most ‘hated’ fantasy clichés is ‘Authors who go overboard in creating a ‘language’.‘ Oh, and also Anthropomorphism‘Non-human’ or sentient animal races that act, think, and socialise just like humans.’ Pffttt. Well, if that’s the case, AVOID my story at all costs. WARNING–WARNING–I tell you! RUN FOR YOUR LIVES LEST MY TERRIBLE, AMATEUR FANTASY STORY DEVOURS YOUR MIND INTO A STATE OF UTTER PARALYSIS FROM ITS SHEER ATROCITY TO THE FANTASY NAME. I love fantasy. Fantasy is my life. But I hate the fantasy ‘circle’ more than anything. It is the most critical, judgemental and contemptuous of all fandoms. Obviously, I’m not speaking for everyone here, but that’s the general vibe you get. Oh, and by the way, I actually have a very detailed explanation as to why my Ilimoskus are so humanoid, yet if I put such an explanation into my story I would be criticised for rabbiting on about information no one cares about, or for focusing too much on needless history as opposed to storyline. You can’t win, right? Which is why you should live your life true to yourself and write only from the heart. That’s my lesson for the day.))

So. There is a character in my book called Gnotsu Teeze (“NOTE-soo”, by the way – everyone pronounces it wrong). Gnotsu is the wise, wizened, wise man of the story. Obligatory in fantasy, no? A trope, not a cliché 😉 Though, if you ask me, he is more than just a wise elder: he is immensely powerful and mysterious – so much so that his kin do not even realise the extent of this. Gnotsu has dedicated the majority of his life guiding others in their greatest time of need – a carer and protector to all the sad hearts who come his way.

gnot-tt

This is a sketch I did of Gnotsu

Due to this, I often say, “Everyone needs a Gnotsu in their life.” We do. We really do. We all need a mentor to teach us the wonders of life, of nature, of the soul. Oft times I find myself pining for a Gnotsu conversation, to be before his exuding aura of perpetual wisdom *wistfully sighs*. But, it is precisely this teaching nature of Gnotsu’s that led me to write this post. Combining both things together (Alex and Kurpian), who better to consult than dear old Gnotsu?

And so, my friends, I share with you a fictional scenario between Alex and Gnotsu as she has a Kurpian lesson. Perhaps some context is required. Let’s just pretend that Alex woke up, drowsy and bewildered, thousands of miles away from home in an English wood which just so happened to be Kaxenff (that is, the home of Gnotsu). Gnotsu, being the compassionate soul he is, took Alex under his wing and taught her the ways of the Ilimoskus (and we shall ignore technicalities within the story itself, such as humans not being able to see Ilimoskus, but sshhhhhhhhh. Alex is special. She can see the Ilimoskus, ’cause I say so 😉 ).

(To people who do not know the story: There are going to be many strange words in this piece. I shall briefly explain them at the end. Strange words shall be underlined.)

Dear Alex, I know you could do with a Gnotsu conversation. I hope you enjoy this.

Love and light to you, x

***

Alex rushed through the holid, swerving past the kus coming her way as they gave her an array of curious looks. She was late.

She had not slept well, awaking before the dawn, and so she had decided to leave Gnotsu’s hohot and go for a quiet stroll through the woods. It was strange to be out in the Ilimoskus’ holid when it was so silent, so deserted, but she could not deny the sense of relief that filled her, for the lack of the foreign beings – kindly as they were – watching her every move meant she could dally and inspect to her heart’s content. She had absent-mindedly watched the sunlight burn the woodland in golden fire, beckoning the Flamikus to awaken, and, while sitting on a log near Idimis, observed kus undertaking their morning duties. She had not been here long, but she had already discerned just how diligent the Ilimoskus were. She had also discerned that they were seriously nosy, yet politely so, if that was at all possible; they forever peered inquisitively over her private doings, and she caught wind of gossip about her, such as, ‘She speaks very weirdly. Do you think she has something wrong with her?’ As gossip went, it was harmless enough, and she could hardly blame them – after all, she was as good as an alien to them, and she did speak very differently to them: her accent was Canadian, and theirs was a rather curious blend of English and… Kurpian? She supposed, were she with another human, she would be gossiping about them, too. It was only when some kus passed close by her, chattering away – and, of course, giving her a lengthy perusal – that she thought about their accent again. But then it suddenly hit her. She had agreed to have a Kurpian lesson with Gnotsu at first light. Dammit! She leapt up and darted away, giving all nearby eyes even more reason to look at her.

Once she had rushed back to his hohot, she saw that Gnotsu was waiting outside, his hands clasped together. Why did that make her feel so terrible? She continued to approach, now at a brisk walk, and Gnotsu spied her from a distance; he watched her every move with a placid expression, and when she was near he bestowed a warm smile.

“I-I’m sorry, Gnotsu!” Alex puffed, stopping before him. “I forgot!”

“Indeed you did. But then you remembered. Do not fret, Nieeb, for the recollection of our minds often fails us when our hearts are preoccupied with deeper things.”

“But… What deeper things?”

“You are new here,” he kindly replied. “This is a strange place to you, and you are in the process of adapting. Do not be hard on yourself.” He turned, holding back the door for her. “Come now, let us begin.”

She pulled a small but grateful smile and stepped inside. She saw that there were two wooden chairs – or, rather, stools – positioned to one side by the unlit fire, and so she headed over and sat on one, feeling much like she was back at school and about to take an exam. Ugh. Thank the gods the Ilimoskus did not have exams as she knew it.

Gnotsu wasted no time in getting down to business, as often was his way, and as he shut the door he spoke in his gentle, yet husky, voice, “If I were to say to you, ‘Ihmoiyon’, what would I be saying?”

“Oh, umm…” Alex sat contemplating, though she felt slightly bewildered after her rush and tried to rally her thoughts into some order. Ihmoiyon. She knew that. Come on, brain. WORK. “Err…”

Gnotsu smiled at her patent forgetfulness. “Shall I help you, Alix?”

She looked to the floor, thinking it would be better if Gnotsu did not see her trying to restrain her own smile. Alix. It did amuse her, how the Ilimoskus pronounced her name. “Uhh… Yeah, that would be really helpful, Gnotsu, thank you.” She looked back at him, having banished her smile for good.

“We greet one another this way in the morning,” he simply said.

“Oh!” she cried. Duh. It was so obvious now. “‘Good morning!'”

He dipped his head ever so slightly as his indication that she was correct, then moved closer to her, but still made the point to stand. “Now, I am going to speak to you in Kurpian, and you are going to tell me what I said in Akklun.”

“You mean English,” she automatically corrected, but then felt a wave of horror wash over her. Did she just imply Gnotsu was wrong about something? Could she be any more moronic? She had only been here a short while, yes, but she knew well enough that Gnotsu was considered the wisest elder in the holid, and no one dared to question him. Though, thankfully, Gnotsu was the most serene and forgiving kus she had met, and his eyes delicately smiled as he clasped his hands together.

“Lopa,” said he.

“…Hello,” she replied somewhat warily, for ‘lopa’ was the only Kurpian word she definitely knew, and all else he said would undoubtedly send her mind reeling.

“Yestana’asko-a Gnotsu od Teeze hon,” Gnotsu continued.

In Alex’s mind, the beginning of that utterance sounded like a complete load of babble, yet it was a particular strain of babble she recognised. She remembered Gnotsu teaching it to her before, and how she had fumbled over the syllables as if it were a tongue-twister. It did not help that Kurpian was spoken quite quickly.

“Every letter ‘a’ in the Kurpian language is short, without exception,” Gnotsu had said. “Like the ‘a’ in the Akklun word ‘apple’.

Alex tried to speak it once more. “Yes-tan-ahhhhs-ko…?” 

Gnotsu grinned, and then broke the sounds down slowly for her. “Yeh-stah-nah-AHSS-ko-ah.”

Alex sighed. “It’s a bit of a mouthful just to say, ‘My name is’, isn’t it?”

“My name is Gnotsu Teeze,” Alex repeated in English, having relived the memory of trying to speak that darn word, or phrase, or whatever it was.

“Yeestona’as-a pleh?”

“What is your name?”

“Very good,” said Gnotsu with a warm smile. “Now, Alix, I would like you to repeat that Kurpian question.”

Her heart plunged into her stomach. Oh, gods. “Err…” she paused briefly, trying to allow Gnotsu’s pronunciation to echo in her mind. “Yee-stoh-nah-AHSS-ah leh.”

“Valeciivie, Alix!” Gnotsu brightly praised. “Much better! Now, I shall speak in Akklun, and you shall repeat in Kurpian.”

Oh, GODS. Why? Resigning herself to what was sure to be the inevitable butchering of the wonderful, exotic Kurpian language, spoken from her stupid tongue, she softly sighed and nodded, noticing that she was pressing her lips together unusually firmly. Perhaps this was as bad as an exam, in its own, unique way.

“How are you?” Gnotsu asked.

Damn. Damn, damn, DAMN. In world-record fashion, she had already failed. She could never remember how to say ‘How are you?’ in Kurpian. Never. It was yet another mouthful phrase, and she remembered Gnotsu saying that there are actually two ways of asking this question: a formal way, and an informal way. Not that such a recollection mattered, because she could not remember either of them. She slapped her hands to her cheeks and pulled down at them. Why was Kurpian so difficult?

Gnotsu, observing Alex’s blatant struggle, calmly offered some assistance. “Do you remember that we focused on how to say it formally? Since you are not an Ilimoskus, and to appease the unsure minds of my kin, they would appreciate hearing the formal phrase from you. It goes, ‘Aa…’.” He paused, and a hopeful light glinted in the depths of his eyes that this would be enough of a recollection for her.

Alex sat, blankly staring. She feared that his hopeful light was soon to fade, since, even with his help, she could not remember. Though, from his helpful pointer, she remembered that the formal phrase did indeed contain the Kurpian diphthong ‘aa’. Oh, how she hated that diphthong. She could not pronounce it at all – at least not properly. It was the sound of a broad ‘a’, like ‘father’, but combined with this accursed rolled ‘r’ sound. It was like, ‘aaaaaaaRRR’, and she could not roll her tongue, no matter how hard she tried. She always sounded like a growling dog, or, if she did manage to roll her tongue properly, it went totally overboard and she sounded like a speed boat engine.

Gnotsu peered at her closely. “I sincerely hope you are not becoming stressed, Alix,” he judiciously spoke.

She shifted slightly in her seat. How did Gnotsu always manage to make you feel guilty about any emotion or thought you had just by looking at you with his dark, gentle eyes? “I… can’t remember, Gnotsu,” she muttered.

“No,” he said as if he already knew. “It is, ‘Aa-vickarvee pleh?’ Repeat it.”

ARR,” she tried to pronounce with all her might, though she knew she sounded just like a swashbuckling pirate, “-vih-kar-vee leh.”

“You are still struggling with the pronunciation of ‘aa’, but do not fret about it, Child – it is one of the more difficult letters to pronounce, and Kurpian is not your native tongue,” said he. “Therefore, to differentiate between ‘aa’ and ‘ar’, I would suggest you continue to put a greater emphasis on the ‘aa’ sound while you are still learning to perfect it.”

Had Gnotsu just told her to sound like a pirate?

“So, Alix,” continued the old kus, “tell me how you are.”

“Oh, I’m okay,” she casually spoke.

He smiled. “In Kurpian, Alix.”

“Oh! Right. Err… Fo unsc?

He chuckled most delicately as he cast his eyes to the ground, but then he stood in silence, frozen in his stance. “Are you okay, Alix?” he asked with atypical sobriety.

She frowned at his sudden shift of temperament, as well as at the question itself. “Yes…” answered she.

He peered at her with his head angled down most discreetly.

His penetrative gaze cut straight through her and she glanced away uneasily. How did Gnotsu do it?

“What can be gained from lying to your heart?” he quietly questioned.

“I’m not…” she began to reply, but she knew that she had no sharp rejoinder with which to respond. Besides, even if she did, Gnotsu would undoubtedly know it was a lie.

With the softest of sighs, Gnotsu walked over to the empty stool and sat himself down beside her. “All hearts hold sadness from time to time, yet, for one reason or another, we believe it necessary to hold onto it continually by means of denial. This weighs down our hearts, my dear child, for the burden of denied sadness is a heavy one. There is no shame in admitting sadness in the heart, for in this weakness we discover our strength. Tell me, Alix: do you know what happens when we deny the sadness in our hearts?”

Alex was taken aback somewhat by his direct question, so intent was she on listening to his wisdom. “Um… No…”

“It tries to escape,” said he. “In its desperate plight for freedom, it seeks to flee only to discover that the heart resists and prevents it from doing so. Thus, an inner conflict rages, and our souls then intervene, calling out to the heart in an attempt to convince it to set this sadness free. But the noise of the conflict is too loud, and our quiet souls cannot be heard. And so it is our souls are weakened, and, as I am sure you will agree, nieebko, this is not good. We Ilimoskus have a word for such an eventuality: diitharedan – the conflict in the heart and of the soul.”

Alex looked at her lap, feeling overwhelmed; she felt the sadness stir within her heart, clawing at the walls in its bid to escape. She found the courage within herself to look Gnotsu in the eye, beholding his benevolent face radiating solace as brightly as the sun. “How… How do you set your sadness free, Gnotsu?” she weakly asked, blinking numerous times to ward off the watery sheen in her eyes.

He took a moment to reply as the faintest origins of a smile emerged. “Cry,” was he simple answer. He placed his hand on her knee, and Alex felt the fiery heat of his skin even through her trousers. “Tears are the silent expression of our sorrow and our grief, are they not? The sadness flows out from our hearts, and so the heart is empty, but only then, when the sadness is free, can understanding take its place.”

“…Understanding?”

“Indeed, Nieeb,” Gnotsu softly spoke, clasping his hands together once more. “For when our sadness is free, the heart hears the soul once more and this harmony opens many a door for understanding ourselves and the world – this, we Ilimoskus call etalaresan. There is much wisdom in sadness, dear one. Perhaps sadness comes merely to teach us, and, in turn, help us be at peace.”

Alex indistinctly nodded, feeling her sadness swell in her eyes. “It’s a comforting thought…” she quietly said, too busy reflecting on what Gnotsu had said to be attentive to the volume of her voice. “But… if sadness brings us peace, why is it so… un-peaceful?”

Gnotsu chuckled. “We can look at the night sky and lament at the darkness while we wait for the sunrise, or, we can admire the beauty and wonder of the stars.”

“So… it’s up to us?” said she. “It’s our decision whether the process is a peaceful one or not?”

Gnotsu dipped his head so minutely Alex questioned whether he had moved it at all. But Gnotsu did not answer. There was quiet for a while as Gnotsu allowed her the time she needed.

She sighed, releasing the tension within herself. She could be peaceful. She could let her sadness be free. For in this weakness we discover our strength. But then she found herself thinking of the stars. Were they strong to shine amongst the darkness? “Gnotsu…” she said. “What’s the Kurpian word for stars?”

Gnotsu smiled warmly at this. “Ilckiido.

“Ill-kee-doe…” she slowly repeated.

“Elu’amel, niee’ckiido-niia.”

Alex stared at him blankly. “What?”

“Be at peace, precious child of the stars.”

This stirred her sadness more than anything else thus far, to such an extent that she knew she could no longer hide it, deny it. And so, looking at her lap, her eyes welled from the pain in her heart, and a tear trickled down her cheek.

***

Thank you for reading, my friends, I appreciate the time you have taken to reach the end.

I can only hope that you may take something from this little story, from Gnotsu and from Alex.

We can reconnect with wisdom in the subtlest of ways, if only our minds our open to receive.

Peace be within you,

~ JKM


Brief explanation of strange, underlined words:

Holid -> The equivalent of a city, in its way

Kus (Ilimoskus) -> The Ilimoskus are a race of elemental beings, at one with nature. The word kus is an abbreviation, but it can also mean ‘folk’. 

Hohot -> The equivalent of a house, or building

Flamikus -> The folk of fire specifically

Idimis -> A place name, a location, the heart/centre of a holid (‘city’)

Nieeb – or nieebko -> Nieeb means ‘child’, but it is often used as an affectionate term of address to anyone younger. Nieebko means “my child”, and is again used as an affectionate term. The ‘b’ is not pronounced: “nee-koe”

If I’ve missed anything and you’re wondering, please feel free to ask me and I’ll add it to this list!

Stone Heart

Stone Heart

© Jennifer K. Marsh 2015

I feel your gentle touch as your hand caresses my cheek, and through your skin seeps only the deepest affection. I see your eyes of sparkling hazel, so glistening with kindness and consideration, and your smile is so warm, yet so roguish. What adventure do you have planned, my sweetheart? Whatever it is, I will follow you.

Prising my eyes open, I see no one. I see only the trees lining the river and its flow shimmering in the the dull sunlight. The water rushes by, but focusing on its movement and its trickling sound only makes my heart pitifully whine. It’s not the same here without you.

He bends down and picks up a flat pebble from the bank. Turning sideways on to the river, he draws back his arm before skimming the pebble across the water. I watch the pebble, amazed, as it bounces from us numerous times, farther and farther away, until finally it plops down beneath the surface. 

“How did you do that?” I ask in wonder.

“I dunno,” he says with a shrug. “Just do it.”

“I want to try.”

He bursts into a grin. “Pick a flat stone.”

I inspect the bank and find a reasonably flat pebble. Attempting to mirror his previous actions, I stand sideways on to the river and throw to skim the top of the water.

PLOP!

My pebble miserably sinks.

He laughs, relishing from my visible disappointment. “Try again,” he says, picking another stone for me. He places it in my hand, but, instead of letting go, he keeps hold of my hand and positions himself behind me, moving me for himself. “You’ve got to throw it at an angle, and flick your wrist. Ready?”

I nod, though even with his physical guidance I do not feel overly hopeful.

He pulls my hand back and attempts to manoeuvre it correctly as I release the pebble.  

PLOP!

“Wow,” he says, sounding genuinely impressed at my inadequacy. “You’re terrible.”

I playfully push him away. “Oh, shut up!”

Laughing further, he seizes his arms around me and rest his head on my shoulder, nuzzling his nose into my neck. And he does not let go.

Bringing my hands up to hold onto his arms, we stay in this position and watch the river afore us. We could stay this way forever.

I gaze at the river, my expression as empty as my insides feel. I pick up a pebble settled beside me, analysing it for a time; its mottled brown stone taunts me alongside all its awkward angles and rough exterior. I cannot help but wonder if this resembles my heart. I forcefully toss the pebble down to the water, watching as its splash creates ripples as it hollowly plops, sinking, down. Gone.

Like you.

Like my heart.


I know, I know. I’ve actually posted something. *falls off chair in shock* It has been a while, hasn’t it? I apologise about that. I don’t even have much of an excuse, either. Or any excuse, as the case may be. I just needed to be away, I think. Alas, I have had a lot going on in my stupid head – emotional rubbish that ruins everything. I lost my muse for blogging. I think it is still lost, to be honest, but I forced myself to write something. This piece was inspired by a dream I had last night. Inspired by life, would be more accurate, however.

But, although I lost my blogging muse, I am pleased to say that my muse for the Ilimoskus story – which had been absent for the entirety of 2015 – has finally returned with brutal force. And it is glorious. Oh, the endless joy! I cannot tell you. The progress I have made on Book 2 over the last couple of weeks has been greater than the entire year up to that point. I am encouraged and hopeful. With Grace, I will finish the first draft by the end of the year – so long as I keep this pace and enthusiasm up. How I missed this love for my story.

In fact, so potent is this love again, and so involved I am in the Ilimoskus world, that I find myself accidentally pronouncing English words wrong. This has happened before. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry in such instances. You see, for those of you who are unaware, the Ilimoskus have their own language, and I occasionally mispronounce English words as the Ilimoskus would pronounce them. Tragic, I know. Deary me.

For example, only yesterday I was scrolling through my Twitter feed when I read this one tweet. I can’t remember it exactly, but I remember saying this word in my head and going, ‘Huh? What? DAR-ing? What’s DAR-ing?’

Daring. Daring, people. It was ‘daring’.

I don’t exactly help myself though, since sometimes, when reading a book, I stop and say the words as the Ilimoskus would, were they reading it as if in their language. *sigh* Why oh why do I do that? This, for instance:

‘Upon hearing this, she lifted her head and stood tall, splaying out her beautifully dramatic wings.’ – English sentence, from my WIP.

“oo-pon ee-ah-ring THiss, shee LIFF-ed err hee-add and stood tahl, sply-ing oot err bee-or-tiff-oo-lee drah-mah-tiss wingz.” – Ilimoskus pronunciation.

Practise – that’s it. Dedication to my fantasy world. I’m not mad or anything… *shifty eyes*

Alas, such sacrifices we fantasy writers must make: forsaking sanity in the name of fantastical progress and development! Woopwoop.

*

Anyway. I’ll try to post more regularly, though don’t hold your breath. I have a book to write, after all 😉

Take care, my friends.

Blessings to you.

May your heart ever be light and bright.

Visions Deep

For the past month or so, I’ve had a strange phenomenon occur within my life.

I am someone who very frequently has visions deep – by which I just mean very deep dreams (I use the term ‘visions deep’ in my poetry all the time, so if you ever see me use it, I’m talking about dreams 😉 ) – and I remember many of them well, often to my misfortune, for my visions deep are usually incredibly dark things… I normally have ‘nightmares’ so frequently that I don’t even regard them as nightmares anymore – they’re merely “bad dreams.” For example, one of my more recent bad dreams was about this man who murdered his girlfriend, and I saw him tie her to a chair and scrape the skin off her arm with a meat cleaver before hacking her arm off at the elbow. The screams still haunt me.

I would probably severely disturb most people if I told them about some of the other bad dreams I’ve had, and indeed, I shudder upon recalling them myself. That one I just mentioned is by far not the worst one I’ve ever had. Sometimes, the worst ones are not the ones with the most harrowing screams, but rather the ones that leave me feeling as though, in the waking world, there are still haunting eyes upon me. Somewhere.

Which is why, whenever I have a nice dream, it is such a special thing because they are so rare for me, and I end up remembering them in far greater detail than my vivid bad dreams. They are indeed like stumbling across a diamond after so many bitter-black coals, and I store each diamond beneath my pillow so I may remember that, every now and then, a precious jewel will reveal itself to me.

So, this strange phenomenon is that I have been having nice dreams. I don’t want to jinx myself, but I can’t specifically remember the last time I had a nasty one… But I just want you to understand how rare nice dreams are for me: the last time I had a nice dream was in 2012. 2012. Jeez. Someone gave me a white lily flower. That’s it. But it was just so… It made such an unbelievable impact on me.

Last night, my vision deep was so gorgeous, yet still I am convinced that no other dream will ever make a greater impact on me than my lily dream. Even so, last night’s dream was so beautiful that I simply had to write it down and share it. Which is what I am doing in this post.

***

I was stood upon a hill, gazing out across the endless moorland while the cool wind refreshed my soul. It was dusk, and I looked up into the sky to see its gorgeous colours of deep blues and pinks. And then I looked to the setting sun, a glorious red, falling beyond the horizon. But then I noticed that beside the sunset was the moonrise, the tip of a luminous silver crown ascending over the edge of the world. I felt my heart burst with a joy I am yet to know in my waking life, for I knew what was about to transpire: a rare glimpse of a dreamland transition between the day and the night. The red sun continued to set while the silver moon continued to rise, and I watched, anticipated, with bated breath, waiting for the moment. So it came when the sun and the moon aligned on horizon’s edge, and the brightest eruption of white light was cast across the sky and the hills, and then I looked back to the sky, and I gazed, wonderbound, as the dusky sky gradually unrolled, so delicately, to reveal the black silk of the night sky laced with a thousand gleaming crystal stars. And there I stood, basking in the moonlight which painted the moors in metallic precision, and the starlight stunned me, for so many stars there were in the sky it was as though I was falling through the centre of a galaxy.

***

You see, I am so in love with nature that it even comes to me in my visions deep. ^^

I find myself wondering why, at the moment, I seem to be having such inoffensive, and often pleasant, dreams, and I wonder how much longer they will last. But then, maybe I shouldn’t wonder; maybe I should just accept the nightly happenings and make the most of this stash of diamonds I have been handed on a golden tray. If there are enough diamonds on this tray to last for months on end, then great! If not, that’s okay too, for as I said: I store all my diamonds beneath my pillow, and I remember them with such fondness that no number of bitter-black coals could ever crush their memory.

The Dragon of Dreams

This is a rather long post, but it’s so worth the read. Honestly 😉

If you would rather skip down to the story, feel free to do so.

dragons-loyalty-award

About a century ago (slight exaggeration), Kayla at Concering Writing nominated me for the Dragon’s Loyalty Award, for which I thank her greatly. I have honestly never been so thrilled to get an award, for reasons you shall soon come to know. But upon receiving this award, my creativity flared and soared quite magnificently. This post is the creative one I mentioned a few posts back, and the one I have had planned for what feels like an age. Finally, it has been brought to life.

1) Display the award on your blog

2) Announce your “win” with a post

3) Present the award to 15 deserving bloggers

4) Drop them a comment to let them know

5) Post seven interesting things about yourself

So, as always, 90% of the people I want to nominate for an award already have the award I am nominating them for, or they don’t ‘do’ awards at all, but, even so, I’ll nominate you all the same. The following bloggers are those who I believe to have the essence of a dragon residing in their souls. Now, understand that by this I do not mean they are like some raging, fire-breathing fiend, but rather they radiate the qualities most people seem to forget that dragons can possess: loyalty, strength, courage, a fighter through adversity, noble in spirit and intentions (apart from Smaug didn’t get the memo on that one), a chaser of dreams, and a flier on the wings of hope. Or, I dunno, maybe some of them have daringly sharp, white teeth, too. So, in no particular order, here they are:

The Eye-Dancers

A View from My Summerhouse

S (moodsaplenty)

The PewPew Diaries

Valourborn

Like Star Filled Skies

James Radcliffe

Emanating Joy (Jesus, Light of the World)

B is for Blessed

Sparkly Arthur

That is only ten nominations, but shh.

And now, in accordance to the rules, I am to share seven things about myself… I will make them relate to dragons or dreams or fantasy in some way. We’ve got to stay in theme with this post, right? 😉

1) (This isn’t actually about myself, but my brother(s)… Still related to the Marsh family, though, so it’s close enough) When my brother was a kid, my mother gave him a little, dullish red dragon ornament with green wings. He kept it under his pillow, for my mother told him that it would guard him from bad dreams and protect him through the night.

2) When we were babies/toddlers, my mum used to play ‘Puff the Magic Dragon’ for us. To this day, I still catch myself humming it out of the blue. Such a moving, sad song it is. But so lovely.

3) I have a slight massive obsession with dragon ornaments… Yet, even so, I only have a few in my possession. If I see any when I’m out, though, you pretty much have to drag me away, otherwise I will stare at them all day. How I’ve restrained myself from buying ten thousand, I’ll never know.

4) When I was a child, I used to pretend I was a dragon quite a lot of the time. I used to run around in the school playground flapping my ‘wings’, or pretend the condensation of my breath (which was there a fair bit of the time ’cause, y’know, British weather) was smoke billowing from my burning chest, while I was ‘sleeping’ or otherwise… Do not disturb the dragon 😉

5) When I was in first school, the Reception teacher liked to secretly paint murals around the school building, and one of these paintings was done on the large white wall we had in the “first playground”, so we called it. It was of a cartoon mother dragon with her numerous dragon babies, and it was the largest mural she ever did. I loved looking at it. It was fabulous. There was only one baby girl dragon, and we all knew she was a girl because she had pretty long eyelashes.

6) As a child, I spent some of my time writing (and spent the rest of that time alone, wandering in the garden and staring at grassblades… You think I’m joking). I once planned and started a story about a girl named Edna who lived to the east of The Big City in a village known as “The Outland”. Their world was once bright and beautiful, with The Open Plain (the land before The Big City) being full of flowers and grass, yet in current days it is known as an area of wasteland death due to the surge of the Unwanted ransacking the lands. The Unwanted are undead beings – though not zombies, nor ghosts, but something in between – called as such because they are corrupt souls and unwanted in the peaceful afterlife, and so they are trapped in the land of the living. In amidst the wars of the land, Edna discovers a dragon in the Outland Mountains, and you follow her on her journey as she befriends the dragon (who I never actually got around to naming) and convinces it to lend his powers to defeat Foulspawn, the leader of the Unwanted.

Or so that was the plan. I never finished it, and I only have the first chapter in my possession these days. But I was… ten(ish)? when I wrote this. Bless. Not the greatest story in the world, but we’ve all got to start somewhere! 😉

Edna was a blumin’ spirited young lass, though. Quite the hero, now I think about it. And she loved her horse. I quote, from chpt. 1:

‘ “The village is under attack! This is no place for a young girl and her horse to be!”

“Then where shall I go?” I looked at him.

“To the shelter! But the horse will have to be tied up outside,” he said.

“Then I won’t go.”

“Are you mad? It’s most certain death out here, Miss!”

I turned my head away and said, “So be it.” ‘

The bond between a horse and its rider really can be quite something. It is friendship in its rawest, purest form.

Anyone who has owned (or worked with) horses will understand.

7) When we were young’uns (i.e. kids/teens), my brothers and I were quite taken with the ‘Heroes of Might and Magic’ games. And when I say ‘quite taken’, I really mean ‘absolutely-and-unbelievably-obsessed-verging-on-having-a-serious-issue’. Unquestionably, Heroes I, II, and III were my favourite games growing up. EVER. Especially Heroes III. I mean, just look at this epic game intro (at the time, in 1999, we thought these graphics were the bee’s knees):

My brothers and I used to squabble over the computer all the time so we could play this game, but my mother, being the ever fair lady she is, made us a computer timetable we had to stick to, or made us play the Multiplayer HotSpot mode so we all played together. Whenever I played Heroes III, my favourite ‘Heroes’ were the Rangers/Druids who had the Ramparts (can we say we’re surprised… honestly? Always been one for nature 😉 ) The video below shows what the Ramparts were like inside, and you can hear the wonderful Rampart music.

The Rampart was home to many creatures – such as unicorns and pegasi and elves and dendroids (basically ents) – but it was also home to dragons. The Green Dragons, and the Gold Dragons. I loved the Gold Dragons the most, though. What majestic creatures they were. Give it all a little imagination 😉 I mean, the Dungeons had Red and Black Dragons, but they were ‘evil’, and the Necropolis had Bone and Ghost Dragons, of which I used to be very curious in my imagination. A Ghost Dragon… How cool, no? But the Gold Dragons captured my heart and mind the most, for I could see their golden scales shimmer in the sunlight, and they carried themselves proud and true.

(The music in Heroes III takes me back to days of fantasy and childhood. If you need to listen to some background music while writing/working, give the soundtrack a go 😉 And the main picture of the game was an Archangel fighting a devil. If that does not conjure up some form of, quite literally, divine inspiration, I’m not sure what will)

***

So, in case you hadn’t noticed, I love dragons. LoveI’m not sure from where this love originated, but I guess that’s not important. I even have a little red dragon who sits on my desk, overseeing all the writings I do there; I’ve had it for so many years I’ve actually lost track, yet, even so, it is still nameless. Any suggestions? Does it even need a name?

Because I love dragons so, it upsets me to forever see them portrayed as ‘baddies’ in films and stories, and even games (I’m looking at you, Skyrim, and Dragon Age II, and goodness knows how many more). I don’t believe dragons are evil. Some may be, but not all. There are many legends and tales of old that talk of evil dragons capturing fair maidens, or stealing to horde treasures, or destroying villages and eating men just because, yet there are also many legends of benign dragons, don’t you know, such as in Arthurian legend where the Red and White Dragon fought amongst themselves (not killing people), the Red Dragon winning, thus signalling the rise of King Arthur, or Arthur Pendragon, which means ‘Chief Dragon’. And, don’t you know, for centuries after, Kings of the British Isles adorned their banners with dragons, for in heraldry, the dragon means power, protection and wisdom. Now, where there does it seem like dragons are ruthlessly evil, hmm? The word ‘dragon’ itself originates from the Ancient Greek ‘drakonta’, which means “to watch”.

There are many legends about dragons guarding things (such as in Greek mythology the dragon Ladon guards the golden apple tree in the Garden of Hesperides) and only fight and ‘kill’ men because the men try to take whatever it is the dragon is guarding. Well… it serves them right, quite frankly, though it is unfair for dragons to get the bad reputation for mankind’s idiotic and greedy behaviour. But is “to watch” not implicit of a guardian-esque and protective nature? Guardians are noble in spirit, no?

Which is why I stand by my decision that dragons are noble, true beings, and that is why my imagination and creativity with them takes me to beautiful places.

And so, with all this said, let me get to the ‘creativeness’ of this post. Let me tell a story…


The Dragon of Dreams

© Jennifer K. Marsh 2014

Auresa2

(In case anyone’s wondering: I drew this)

 Do you see the dragon? I would like to introduce you to her. 

Meet

A U R E S A

“The Mother of Dreams”

Auresa is mighty and true, and she dedicates her life to a most worthy cause: she guards the dreams of all the children in the world, ensuring they sleep soundly while away from reality. Do you wonder what she’s looking at, with eyes smiling so freely? Maybe she is in awe of the beautiful sky. Maybe she is watching a dream soar high. Maybe a child of the sky is waving down to her. But from where does Auresa come? How does a child find her in their dreamland adventures? Or is it, rather, that Auresa finds them? 

When the dusk beckons, often I sit on a cloud edge and think of my brethren elsewhere, gazing down at the world below. They will never know the wonders of the night up here, from the sky itself – that is something only we ‘cloud-dwellers’, as they like to call us, will ever know. It is as though we are trapped in an ethereal perspective within in a reflection, for when we gaze both upwards and downwards, we see light. Do you know how beautiful it is up here? No… of course you don’t. Let me try to tell you. Truly, we are on top of the world, and the sunset descends upon us as softly as a silk petal brushing against our skin, and its colour which blooms as every flower bleeds out and harmoniously blends into the ever deepening sky. The golden sphere, so warm, so bright, rolls away beyond the horizon of the clouds and continues to drag the night-time cloak behind it whilst we peer down. How many can say they look down upon the sun? How many can say they seem so close to the emerging moon that they could reach out and touch it? Only us. And when the moon is out in all its mystic splendour, it graces the world in silver light, and the stars twinkle so delicately, but so brightly, as if they are trying to out-shine the moon. But everybody knows that the moon and the stars have the greatest friendship, and so rather, they shine together as one. Sometimes, if there are few clouds in the sky, you can gaze into the sea and see the moon and stars shining back at you, though distorted by the waves. It is the most beautiful of sights, the most beautiful of all reflections.

My love and I always used to spend many times gazing down over the sea at nightfall, and we still do; we so adore the moon’s reflection on the waves: this is why, when came the birth of our son, we named him Tarno, which is derived from the word ‘reflection’ in our tongue. And right now, at this moment, I am sitting on the cloud edge with my young son nestled beside me.

I look down to him, smiling softly. “It’s getting late, Tarno,” I tell him. “It’s time for you to sleep.”

He drags his eye line away from the world below to instead look at me. “Oh, okay, Tritta(1),” he mumbles.

“Come on,” I say, standing up and encouraging him to do so. Once he is stood, I gently guide him in the direction of our home, when he then rushes away with a spring in his step and pushes through the door with that never-ceasing energy of a child’s. By the time I enter our home for myself, I see that Tarno is already lying in his bed, though I can see in his face that something is not right. “What’s the matter, vela(2)?” I ask him, kneeling down by the bed.

Tarno looks at me. “What if I have a nightmare?” he apprehensively says. “I don’t want to have a nightmare.”

I smile, rubbing the back of his head. “You won’t have a nightmare, vela.”

“How do you know?”

“Because I know a certain someone who will look out for you.”

He sits up straighter. “Who?”

I bring a finger to my lips, whispering. “Will you keep it secret?”

He nods, eager to find out.

“She comes to you in your dreams, and protects you while you sleep. She keeps you safe. She is Auresa: the Dragon of Dreams.”

“The Dragon of Dreams?” he says, wonderstruck by the prospect. “Will she come to me, Tritta? How will she know where I am?”

“Of course she will come to you; she will always find every child, so long as they always have a dream. You will always dream, won’t you, Tarno?”

“Always!” he proudly exclaims.

“Then you have nothing to fear,” I reassure with the greatest warmth. I stand, and Tarno lies back, resting his head. “Now rest those eyes, my son, and when you see Auresa, remember to smile! She so loves to see a smile,” I tell him, tucking him in.

“I will!” He is quiet for a moment. “Will she like me?”

“You’re a dreamer.”

He hesitates. “…Does that mean yes?”

I smile, leaning down to kiss his forehead. “Yes.”

He beams a happy light from his eyes, and I wish that I could capture this light and shed it over the stars and the moon so the whole world may know the love I do. “Tritta, will you sing to me?”

“Close your eyes,” I gently say. When he closes them, I softly sing the lullaby my own mother used to sing to me when I was a child:

 “O, I can do no more

than sing my boy to sleep

with a lullaby so pure.

And when he’s dreaming deep,

go to him, I beseech,

Auresa:

let the dreamland magic soar!

 

O fly, Auresa, to his side –

take him away this night.

Be with him throughout fantasy’s flight,

until the morning light.

 

O, when the night-time falls,

I give my boy to you,

and he hears your mighty call.

And when he’s dreaming true

beyond horizon’s view,

Auresa:

you will guard him till the dawn!”

Tarno’s breathing has deepened, and I quietly back away from him. I find myself thinking back to the days of my own youth, when the thought of seeing Auresa in my dreams rapt me to no end: I can still see her majestic wings blotting out the sun as she flew through the sky, her scales glistening in the light with that peculiar sheen of both purple and gold to them, and her eyes, so friendly and bright, shone like the blue of sky crystals. She is a very beautiful dragon. Perhaps it seems unfair that she does not find you once you grow older, but in childhood days, she touches your heart with such joy and magic that it is impossible to forget, and so really, she is with you for evermore.

THE END

***

** This story was told in the Ilimoskus world, from the perspective of an Aeriikus
(1) Tritta is one of the Ilimoskus ways of saying “Mother”
(2) Vela means “Sweetheart”
With the lullaby/song in this story, I was actually going to record it on piano and sing it, but I decided against it because, in the end, I just couldn’t be bothered. Sorry 😉

If you have enjoyed this short story, you may enjoy my fantasy novel Ilimoskus: Times of Old, available worldwide (online) as both paperback and eBook on sites such as Amazon UK (Amazon US / Amazon CAN etc) and various others.

Find Times of Old on Goodreads here.

***

A love for fantasy is not something you develop over time, but rather it is something you are born with. It beats alongside your heart, and if either one ever stopped beating, you would fade away back to the ashes.

***

Thank you very much for reading, I know it’s been a long one.

And a hugemegathankyou and squeeze of a hug to all those who support and encourage me.

Writing Ilimoskus has been the most difficult journey in the world for me, and it’s not over yet, but I have developed a new-found love and determination for it – and, to some degree, a new-found understanding. The best times are to come – of this I am certain. Though, at this current moment, things are still hard going. But, everyone experiences the dawn at some point, and I know mine is on the way.

May you feel the wonder of dreams in your own hearts, always!

Secrets from the Wondersong, and Dreamings of a Tree

Secrets from the Wondersong, and Dreamings of a Tree

© Jennifer K. Marsh 2014

sepiatreeeees

A little bird perched on a low branch hanging from a tree within a woodland, but this little bird sang no song and made no tweet; instead, she puffed a sigh, and so her wings drooped by her side.

The tree upon which this bird was perched opened his eyes, awoken by this sound. “My, my!” exclaimed the tree, “was that a sigh I heard? That is not the noise the world wishes to hear from a little bird.” He yawned away his drowsiness, shaking his leaves here and there, and gazed kindly at her. “Whatever is the matter, dear little one? If you so wish to tell, I shall listen to your every word till all your woe is gone.”

The bird forced a smile, as strong as she may, touched by the trees tender ways. “I didn’t mean to wake you, Mister Tree – you seemed to be dreaming merrily. I wonder, if you would, could you share your dream with me?” She bobbed her tail feathers, giddy at the mere thought.

“Hmm,” the tree pondered. “And wonder why a little bird may wish to know my dream.”

“Trees are ever so wise,” replied she. “Surely, through your dreams, you have a thing or two to teach me.”

The tree smiled. “Why, dear little one, that depends: what is it you yearn to learn?”

The bird sat in thought for a moment before sighing once more.

“Again with the sigh!” said the tree, concerned for the bird. “Dear little one, I am half expecting you to cry. No such tears do I want to see!”

“My heart is heavy, Mister Tree,” she told him, “and it bears me down in flight. How am I to soar free when such misery dampens my wings? Can you teach me how to fly again?”*

The tree absorbed the bird’s words, mulling them over with great consideration. Finally, he chuckled, yet the bird was perplexed by this: how was this an amusing situation? “Dear little one, you fret so needlessly – I cannot teach you how to fly, for you already know! But do not let a heavy heart hinder where your spirit goes. Although it may be hard to carry woe upon your wings, you can still fly high and reach for brighter things.”

The bird hung her head, weighed down by it all. “But I am small, and I am weak: I cannot carry this heavy load, for I’m too weary in defeat!”

The tree gazed upon her with eyes of earnest care, and so tender was the look that it helped to ward away most of the bird’s despair. “My little feathered friend, let me tell you of my dream: I dreamed a dream of future woe that fluttered down lamenting so, and how funny it should be that this woe was, in fact, a little bird! She came to me telling of the heavy heart she bore inside, and ever so concerned was she that she’d forgotten how to fly. And so I told this little one a secret known by all the trees, passed down by the sun from ancient days of wondersong**: ‘Heavy hearts are full of love! Did you not know? That is why they weigh so much, but aren’t they such a burden-load! Love for all that they see near, and love for those away from here; love for themselves, though warped through doubt, and love they did not even know about! ‘Tis a blessing high to feel such deep emotion, yet I know it can often feel like a curse in full devotion. How do I know? I see your eyes ask! Do you not wonder why the trees never move? The heaviest hearts of all are found in the woods, for trees’ hearts are laden leaden with the love from the core of the world, and our roots burrow down to it so we may hug it close! But little birds do not have roots, and thus, are not confined; may you never forget that you are free throughout the journey of your life!’ And so this little bird then pondered all I said and wondered whether all her doubt came solely from her head, for if the trees so mighty wise can smile with such heavy hearts, there was no reason why she couldn’t, too, as her heart wasn’t destined for gloom – it merely needed a lighter mind to help it shine on true. And so the bird chirped a song and thanked me for my time, and flew away so merrily and perfectly benign.” Wearing a grin with an attentive eye, he leant closer to her and whispered, “I wonder, dear little one, whether you may learn from the wondersong!”

The bird ruffled her feathers, a-flustered by all the tree had said, but deeply considered everything she thought that he had meant. “Is it true?” she finally asked. “The trees never move because their roots are bound to all the love of the world?” She paused for a moment, and the tree remained silent, so as to let her mind explore her thoughts. Suddenly, she splayed out her wings, bursting with verve. “Why, it must be true!” she affirmed to herself, “for how else could the trees care and give so much for all who live? How you give your lives and freedom for all others! Why, it makes me smile just at the thought!”

The tree chuckled. “And so you should smile, my little friend, for you are blessed with so many joys! Such a beautiful little creature you are! Why sigh when you can sing? Why look down when you can fly high into the sky? For you will feel such joy again if, to the world, some joy you bring! How the world so loves to hear the sound of the birdly serenade, and how the world so loves to see the sight of their flightful escapades!”

“You are right, Mister Tree, of course you are!” said the bird, with a glistening in her eyes that told of new-found hope. “If troubles I so have, why not sing them away? If fears drag me down, why not fly above them?” She gave a tweet so blissful. “Thank you, Mister tree, thank you! You have helped me see the sun again.”

“Dear little one,” the tree started in a tone so kindly, “that is what I am here for. Just remember: the sun is always there, beaming down his merry ways to lend you a smile on your darkest days. Now go: be free, my feathered friend, and make the most of your day!”

With a fond chirp farewell, the bird fluttered from the tree’s branch and up above him, and the tree waved his branches in the wind on her departure.

The tree watched her fly away until she had left his view, and then, with a small smile planted on his face, he released a long, contented exhale and snuggled himself back into his slumber, falling into dreamings while in wait for the time he was to wake again.

GNOWLLIS

(that’s Kurpian for THE END, just so you know)


A little while back, I finally ventured out the house on a dear old walk through the woodland for over an hour and a half. It was hardly a gentle slope back into walking, though (quite literally), for my local woodland walks are actually through the most ridiculously steep hills you can imagine, whereby your leg muscles gradually go on strike and your lungs are like, “GIVE ME A MINUTE, GOOD HEAVENS.”  It was wonderful, though, of course it was, and after all the toil I was treated to the most glorious view up at ‘The Beacon’, I believe it’s called, where the light broke through the grey clouds onto the distant shoreline below (to see this, refer to my Instagram which you can find by clicking over at the side of this blog somewhere –>>)

The photo used at the beginning of this post is one I took while walking down one of the flatter trails. It is slightly blurred, yes, because my phone’s camera is the most temperamental pile of [insert profanity] ever. We fall out on a regular basis.

This is only the second short story I’ve ever done for my blog, would you believe? I’ve been hating on Ilimoskus’ Book 2 for a couple of weeks now and cannot work on it (story of my life), so I wasted my time writing this instead. Find the message within, dear people, for what is writing without a message, hmm? I think there’s a little bird within us all. Don’t you?

I have used ‘dear’ far too much in this post, I feel. WORD OF THE WEEK.

(It took me about five thousand years to name this piece of writing. I hate titles sometimes. And what I finally came up with was a long load of nonsense. Wondersong? Dreamings? <- Why is dreamings not a word? This is a serious question. It sounds far more enchanting than ‘dreams’. And wondersong, by the way, is an age – a period of time – in my mind [imagination] that flows through many pieces of my writing and musics etc – almost like the beginning of the world, when all aspects of nature obtained the secrets, knowledge and teachings that make them so special.)

*…Can you teach me how to fly again?” – I was so listening to this when I was writing this short piece. (Side note: I approve of the man being out in the woodland in this video. Not that my approval means anything. Still. I approve.)

**wondersong, dreamings, burden-load, birdly, flightful – In case you hadn’t noticed, with Ilimoskus, my poetry and other writing larks, I like making up/playing with words. Because why not.

Until we meet again,

I fare thee well.

And if you wake a tree,

may you listen carefully…

– Jenny

Beyond a Dream

Music ‘Beyond’ by Marc Jungermann <- check out his other work

Beyond a Dream

Beyond a dream you came to me, lifting me above the world into celestial stars. On the edge of the sky we walked, between the black and blue, peering down at evergreen valleys and ancient hills, at flowing streams, distant moors and coloured meadows, all while the wind sang us an everlasting song. What a beautiful land home to my hope, flying free, beyond me dreams!

If I awaken to reality, would you reach me there? Would I see your reflection on the icy sea where the cliffs forever stand proud? Would you ascend above the horizon in gold and silver light, in warmth to bless all of life? Would I hear the song of the wind upon the breeze, or would its sound be lost to me?

Beyond a dream you beckon me, calling me back home. Beyond a dream you wait for me, and I will be there with you soon.

I will come forth and wander across lands afar and ponder amongst the trees who stand in watch over me, and lost in thought I shall fly into the sky and fade away with the light that has stayed true for all of time. Is the glory golden beyond the sea, beyond a dream? One day I will come to see.

Will I find you when I fall asleep, beyond a dream?

writing © Jennifer K. Marsh 2014