Sunday, November 3, 2013


(Resurrection Reunion 2)
Note: This got away from me. sorrry.)

From the Journal of Ellowenni Chandler of  Rustlen Alley
A Memory of the 5th of SummerMoon, in the year 230.

I remember that day, after the Riots and ended, when we were left to pick up the pieces of window and the bodies.

She was dead, that little girl. A street rat, yes, but she was a sweet one. She helped with the washing when my own girl was busy elsewhere. I don’t know that I ever learned her given name, just what she was called. Sparrow. It suited her, she was a bright little thing, her hair streaked browns and honey colors, her eyes dark. And always she was singing some little song.
But she was killed, in the riot. Riots seem like the answer to a bad thing, but I pray to the Goddess and Her brothers that my neighbors will see sense the next time there’s trouble. What will rioting do? It didn’t bring back those the City Headman murdered. It didn’t stop his vile magic. All it did was get that little songbird killed, and broke some windows.

We all came to stand at the grave yard, we mothers of Rustlen Alley. We knew the little ones, them as were Sparrow’s sisters and brothers, we knew her. Keeping them all would have cost more than we had, but a pie goes out the window when there’s extra, and pennies get left in the washing they do. We lived together, a family of sorts, even with walls between us. Mother Lily, the baker, gave out pennyloafs to them this morning, and we all came together, at the edge of the forest where the folk with no money are buried.

It was a boy who spoke the prayers and kissed her forehead, a blood-brother of hers, from his speech. Thias, the one as what nearly got killed, who exposed the Headman. I guessed he blamed himself, for the riot and all. Maybe he should have, and maybe he shouldn’t, that’s for the Goddess’s judgment, not mine. But my heart ached for him, and for little Sparrow. My little girl, Lea, she sobbed into my skirts. She’d not seen death before, but she wanted to come. So I brung her. Lea went up, and said a few words of her heart, a memory of sharing a meat pasty one wintereve. Then others, street children, Mother Lily, Sarri’s man, all to bear witness of Sparrow’s heart and life.

And then- Goddess and Brothers, I’d never seen the like. I dare guess I won’t see it again until I pass from this world. There were whispers from the crowd, and a girl, pretty as the moonrise came out of that wood like she’s walking on air. White as milk, with hair all dark but for one strip that gleamed silver like the Moon, she knelt down and put her hand- tiny and frail- on little Sparrow’s pocked cheek, and hummed a little song, Sparrow’s tune. But she’d put words to it, words none of us heard at all. I know because I asked, after, Mother Lily, and Sarri’s man, and any of the street lads, and they all shook their heads.

Because whatever it was, it was magic, pure as moonlight. That strange girl with eyes like silver looked at us all, and kissed Sparrow on the forehead, just as her brother did. My grandchildren will call me a liar, but I know what I saw, and what Lea saw. What we all were Witness to. I swear it by the Goddess, what I write is Truth. That little girl was dead. And then, she wasn’t. She opened her eyes and out of her mouth came that tune, and then Thias and the girl were singing it, the three of them and we all started humming it because what else was there to do but stand and gape?
 She was dead, I helped bathe her body and set her broken arm and then she was in her brother’s arms and not a one of us could keep from sobbing. It was a Miracle, I’ve no doubt, like all them histories I’ve told my Lea, all; them stories they tell at Temple. That little girl breathed in and out and in again, and the silver girl slipped back into the woods. No one saw her leave.

 I’ve asked after her, but no one ever seemed to know what became of her. Mother Lily always said she was Lanree reborn, come out of the Silver Tree to do the will of the Goddess. But somehow, that story never did sit right in my heart.

No. She wasn’t an age old hero, she was her own self. What that self might be, I can only guess. Because after the fuss had calmed, I left my Lea hugging Sparrow tight, and looked at the spot where she’d stood. I remember clear as day what I saw, and it wasn’t bits of Silver Tree or Moonsilver. It was a trail, like a deer track I used to follow when I was a child myself, gathering berries. No footprints, only hoofprints... and caught on the brambles, a single hair, gleaming silver as the moon.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

always waiting

For Magpie 189

I'm always waiting.
the right time.
The right time to pick up a pen
and write a story that will bring smiles to faces and tears
to eyes
but that time never really seems to come
so I stare at a blank sheet of paper and write nothing
because I can't get it just right.
rather than write anyway, I wait.

I'm always waiting
The right time.
The right time to finally start
keeping a journal of all the good things that happen
each day.
Like Doctor Williams told me to.
but I am always so tired, or can't think of what to say
Or I lose the journal in the black hole under the bed.
And rather than start again, I wait

I'm always waiting
the right time
to come out and say it.
as roommates or relatives talk badly about
with mental illness, or liberal leanings
because I'm itching to shout in their faces
That I am a Bipolar, asexual, liberal Mormon
so shut up already, talking as if I'm worth less than you
but rather than say anything, I wait.

and the clocks and calendars
 tick away, rip away
and I'm still stuck.
so many things

The right time never quite comes
count to three then strike.
no, count to five. twelve. one hundred
delay delay delay
but no more
no more waiting even though the time isn't right.
the right time has come and gone while I was busy

Friday, July 12, 2013

Mental Illness Protip

Mental Illness Protip
When I say I have bipolar
by all means, ask which kind.
Thank you for actually thinking and not
just dismissing me.
but protip:
When I answer “Type two"
do not say “Ok, that’s ok then."
because I’ll think-
what does that mean?
Ok because I’m not crazy?
Not full brown manic?
just type two?
Or ok because
it’s ‘easier’ to live with
as if the stigma’s not the same
the shame’s not the same
the inability to control 
my heart
is not the same?
It’s ok because I’m not suffering
not compared to
It’s ok because
"it’s not so bad"
not so bad that I rapid cycle
don’t know what dawn brings
not so bad.
It’s ok.
Protip: If that’s what you have to say
about the thing
that rules me
chains me down
sends me through
deep water
dark fire
that leaves me out of breath
that throws me from cliffs
into a phoenix flight
I’d rather
you not say anything at all.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Phoenix Flight

Phoenix Flight
The phoenix flight is
a dance with no end
ash to flame
flame to ash
so goes my heart.

I am trapped within 
a cyclone of feathers
made of match heads
then drowning on ashes
clogging my throat
I cannot help the dance
the flight.

But the ashes don’t last.
Just as from the minute
I take wing I know
I will fall,
when I am a broken bird
my fire doused
I know
I will burst into flame
and into the sky.

Flame nor ash will last
but my phoenix song
my phoenix flight
it will.

I am darker than a moonless night
grey-black and falling
and then reborn
brighter than the sun.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

My Reality

“Bipolar doesn't exist. 
Your therapist made it up for money
 Get a hold on your life and 
stop looking for excuses.”

It’s people like you
who make my life so hard to hold on to.
Do you understand the devastation
 in my heart
when I learned I’d never be in control?
That even with pills
I’d never own my emotions
grip them in hand
stay sane?

Just because you can’t see 
the chemical imbalance in my brain
 by looking at me
you discount my suffering
the light, the dark
the wanting to die
wanting to fly
pretend it’s not real.

It is not me being a moody teenager.
It is not me being weak.
It is not me not owning up
to my faults and flaws.
It is not an excuse,
it is reality,
my reality,
one I pray never touches your life.

This is the stigma I live with,
will always have hounding me.
It is as real as blood
as the chemicals I have off kilter in my body
as the knife
as the pen-
it is real.
Shut your mouth about things you know nothing about,
cannot understand
refuse to understand
and leave me and those
that suffer the same
my brothers and sisters
united by stigma and pain
and bipolarity-
leave us to gather what shards of sanity 
we have.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Dark Fire and Depression


Numbness spreads
and leaves me like a void of space.
Black behind my eyes
down my legs.
The world is icy wool
Static-y and cold
and I’m a thin veil of skin
disconnected from the darkness
outside of me.
Disconnected from the blackness
inside of me.
Floating through a half life
in half light-
It is beyond tears
and sorrow.
I am fallen past that line
empty and numb.
I am space,
cold and void
and the stars,
so tiny in comparison,
are the only feeling I have left to me

Dark Fire

Even as my body shuts down
so long without sleep,
my thoughts are racing,
clinging to each other,
fingers twitching
ink and paint spattered.
I can’t keep my eyes open,
embraced by overheated sheets,
but I must.
Creativity flares in my mind
burning bright as eyesight dims.
I’m falling through dark fire,
a half sleep punctuated
by jolts awake and pacing
wash my face,
write a poem,
fret away minutes, minutes,
until I pass out again.
The flame guttering in my head
then rising stronger than ever-

Friday, May 31, 2013

I write for silver Ink stars

I write.
I write to bleed off the poison
of mania and sorrow
that creeps into my thoughts
and soul.
I write to cast off the shame
of who I am.
full of light and shadow.
I write to show what holds my heart
because tomorrow it will change
twist and sway
and I want to have a record
to look back at
hold on to.

I write to find myself
and lose myself again
in a new world
an older world
of ink blotches and stained fingers
where things are different.
I write to put myself in the shoes
of another girl
with other problems and-
I write to understand
that what I know of worlds
is limited
but through silver ink and straining-

I write to tell myself a story
that my spirit knows
but my mind does not.
To put into words the yearnings, pleadings, 
all the thoughts I have
running pure wild
though empty space.
I write to sing myself a song
that soothes me into slumber
or else wakes me from fever’s hold
and sends my heart racing- 
to, away, even I can’t tell.
I write to take my breath away
and pull it back into my body
catch my thoughts tumbling 
from tongue and teeth.

I write for the solitude
of pencil scratching on paper
ink bleeding across my forearm
keys click, click, clicking.
I write for the conversation between 
two halves of the same mind.
I write-
I write and write and write-
to hold myself in my hands
like a globe of suspended

Thursday, May 30, 2013


Halo of white fire
around a darkness
the heart of stones
rim of light around the moon
and caught in an ocean
of cloud and sky
blue tinged space
and the gold blushed
face of the world

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Drip Dance

For Magpie 170

Ink, black and vivid
drips into the glass
one liquid into another
and then- dance
tendrils of not smoke
but pigment
wisps of ink
swirl and sway
blossom like blood on cloth
like light on water
the ink expands
trails, dancing,
 sinking and floating all at once-
the droplet twists
extending slowly
a pattern of shadow on light
suspended but not still
never still

Monday, May 20, 2013

Two Halves

Two Halves:

And I saw a darkness
beyond my own open eyes
black and looming
too dim.
And with it silence,
emptiness like open space
draining me.
Crushing me.
Too much darkness
too much dimness.
I cannot move
so I sit and wait
and die alone
let it take from me
my sanity.

And I saw a light
within my own closed eyes
white and gleaming
too bright.
And with it music,
thoughts like rapid water
drowning me.
Flooding me.
Too much light
too much bright.
I cannot stop
so I dive and run
and fly alone
let it take me from
my sanity.

Sunday, May 19, 2013


For Magpie 169

the wind plucks at petals
sways the grass
and dandelion seeds
green and gold and light as air.
The world is summer sunlight
but fading,
like alpine glow
not tinged red or fire
just gold.

The house gleams
so tall above the golden green grasses
just a house to some,
but to me,
a sun bright haven
soft and warm as a mother's heart
reaching so far above my hopes
a butter gold
a sparking gold
a lantern's flicker waver gold
but steadier
as sweet as honey-gold
for it is golden- oh how bright!
It is my home

Monday, May 6, 2013


Write this a few weeks ago. Forgot to post it.

I am full of
I want to
go for a run around campus
make turkey gravy and truffles
listen to the same song over and over and over
and sing along
but it’s two am
and I have class at 8.
I cannot leave my bed 
without waking roommates
cannot leave the apartment
without trouble.
So I sit and write
a short story about a dragon and a mage
a poem
then another
words spilling out of me like air
from swimmer’s lungs.
I want to swim
take a cold shower
sit in a bubble bath.
I am trembling with longing to do, do, do
Fingers twitch.
I cannot turn on the light,
and the screen is too dim 
to knit by
but I want to create something
tangle my fingers in yarn,
or prick them with embroidery needles.
No light.
I write, sweating from a racing heart
but no reason why
except the mania
that has overtaken me despite the meds
and holds me tight, won’t let go.
I am full of everything
bursting at the skin
straining at my seams.

Monday, April 29, 2013

long exposure , two poems

Night sky and Lake:

As above,
so below
two washes of color
indigo tinged with 
sunset's golden gleam
one rippled
as though a stone were tossed
into the heart of still water
but the lake is the still
serene as my heart
it is the sky
rippled infinity
streaked with stars
ring around ring 
of endless light
that reaches to the edge of my sight
and continues on.


streaks of light like arrows
raining down
on dim rocks
and gleaming eyes
they last forever in mind's eye
remaining burned into retinas
a flash of silver-gold
on a dome of diamond dusted velvet

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Skipping Stones

Skipping Stones 
She skipped stones
across the sun-stared river
and each stone was a prayer
for the stream and the sun
and the sand,
warm under bare feet.
She sent out stones like
letters in a bottle
to some unseen being
in whom she puts all her trust
and love.

She grew, and clouds came
sticks and jagged rocks clogged the stream.
Her tears made ripples on the surface
Murky water.

She returns, or perhaps
never left
but all the same she picks up a stone
feeling its weight
the cold against her palm
and tosses it 
half heartedly 
into the water

Splash. Another and another
until her stones are shouts, begging
answer, please, I can’t-
I’m no small child skipping stars
I need more than a dead stream
and sinking stones
I need, I need- You. Please.

This stones sinks
quiet as her whispered prayer
slips out to the sea, slips into the sky.

Her fingers, red and white
blotchy with cold
scrabble in the sand
find another stone, the last
and desperately she sinks to her knees
flicks her wrist. Skip
And then the stone
warm, sitting in her palm
blazing with a word.

Sunday, April 7, 2013


Note: these are real quotes from people when I tell them I'm Bipolar.

I still like you anyway.
I never would have known.
Really, but you don’t seem-
These are things that ring in my ears
comforts you offer unthinkingly
as if who I am
what I’m telling you like I tell anyone
is something to be ashamed of-
I still like you anyway
and unspoken,
I like you even though you’re broken,
a freak just like the play yard bullies said.
because I’m supposed to hide and deny the light-dark inside me
that rules me day and night
which will it be, hope or despair?
I never would have known
or cared to know,
not really.
All those tears and fits of running, begging to be alone
not normal
no, you did and still
try to fix with words  
what cannot be fixed by anything
but miracles of modern medicine
really? but you don’t seem-
Seem like what, the thing that media says I am
violent, flick a switch to peace
and then in a heartbeat, craving the blade
then sunshine?
you think you know so much, from the word you use
to describe erratic weather
that is not who I am
I am bipolar
a constant struggle that lasts with winners for days 
and then an upset
I’m the flag stolen by the other team
a no kill battle between mania and sorrow
and I don’t know who I want to win
because in the light I crave shadow
get away from blinding bright
and in the night I need
a star,
just one,
light my way
but no
denied that by biology
and by society deny the whole of it
pretend that it’s not pills that keep me 
from imploding and exploding
in a shower of dark fire
I still like you anyway
is what you said when I told you the whys of my life
I never would have known
because you seem so normal
so sane,
not like the killers on late night television
or in bad novels
the change your mood with a remote control 
they aren’t reality.
I am.
see me as I am, the dark light inside me
both the condition and the soul.
really, but you seem
I seem like me
the hyper happy drowning in despair girl I’ve always been
now you know there’s just a name to it
not just too much sugar
or a bad day
I am Bipolar
keep your pity in your own heart
I don’t need it.
This is not something I am ashamed 
to call a part of me
not something to hide 
I don’t need you to keep me from
 the stigma you see my diagnosis as.
Why should putting a name to my condition
change your heart about me
or my heart
about itself?

Tuesday, April 2, 2013


Nearer My God, to Thee, nearer to Thee!
E’en though it be a cross that raiseth me.
Not a cross but a mountain
Melissa Corey Peak.
This is what I climb
What brings me nearer.
Nearer to Thee
Still all my song shall be, 
nearer my God to Thee!
Up we walked, pulling all our worldly
for the weekend, anyway
behind us in creaking wood
rutted wheels
Though like the wanderer;
the sun gone down.
Only not, the sun beats at us
not black and blue but pink
sticking white gold shirts to our backs
caked with trail dust.
Darkness be over me,
 my rest a stone.
I am stone, only
stone wouldn’t hurt so much
aching fingers as I pull
Yet in my dreams I’d be 
Nearer my God, to thee.
No waking dreams, no distractions.
Beside me, a girl lets go of the cart
moaning about hurting hands.
Throat dry, I try to tell a story
but the words run out of my head
like water from my empty bottle.
There let the way appear
steps unto Heaven.
Steeper than before, dust so thick
my feet have no purchase
we slide back two steps for every three.
All that Thou sendest me, 
in mercy given.
Peppermint candy from one hand-made pouch
sets my mouth on fire
I need the sweet, something to rinse
the dust from my mouth.
Angels to beckon me
nearer my God, to Thee.
We are separated, Pa leaves
And the brothers.
So sisters lean forward on the bar
on the backboard
with all their loosing strength
Women’s pull.
I am weaker than I have ever been
Weaker than flu or fever ever left me
Or if on joyful wing
Cleaving the sky;
I am so stooped that hemline
and bonnet strings both reach 
the dust.
I am breathing it, part of me
but still the sky seems to near.
If I could reach one hand  away
from my burden
I could feel its silk.
Sun, moon, and stars forgot
upwards I fly.
Around me, we ache
each leg and arm straining
so weak
but never in my life have I felt
I am made of thin bones and strands of muscle
small and low
but my feet keep skidding forward
through dust and stone.
Still all my song shall be
nearer my God, to Thee.
It is not a song, really
but a cough, choking words
with some faint tune
We are not a choir of angels
but dust covered girls
weak and strong
breathing out and in-
Nearer my God, To thee-
nearer, to Thee!

Friday, March 1, 2013


For Last Poet Standing
Week seven: Book Swap: Warm Bodies

Warm Body
like red silk streamed
stained my hands
and tears
sting the cut on my face
but not his
he doesn’t wince
never again
despite the angry wound
left shoulder
a mess of muscle
ripped through
by lead
in the fire fight
that left the undead still
and our people breathing
but his breath was ragged
as harsh as whispers in the night
or broken glass
and our people said to me
them as what were our friends
because the hole in him 
left him wounded
a liability
and I said,
hands streaked with warmth,
so they left
because the hole in me
left me wounded
a liability
and the two of us
were lost and alone
without aid
without meds
without faith
or hope of sunrise
and for a short while
we cry-laughed
we always thought our end would come
by two ways
from the eaters
them as what thrive on human flesh
or by our own weakness, 
longing desire to find the paradise beyond
because whatever hell might be waiting
was worth the risk
to leave this one
we never thought it’d be numbers
but his body was hot under my hand
though we had no shelter but cardboard wreckage
and grew hotter still
102, 104,
and he said, go,
as I cleaned him
blood soaking through my shirt hem
all I had left to give
and I would have given more if I could
would have given everything
but in this world of temporary trust
and running
always running
I had nothing else to give
but prayers to heaven unheard
was the last thing he said to anyone
except my name
whispered through fever’s hold
and each one made wider my wound
and I held him
him as what owned my heart
still warm
his blood stopped
and had no more tears to give
nothing but numbness
and a realization of the truth
that he was gone
and I’d soon follow
because my gun was empty 
walkers a mile away proof of that
still as the death that held them twice now
and I
streaked with brown and red
couldn’t leave his still warm body
the fever’s trick
My body is icy, and wants nothing more than
I’d welcome it, away from my cold, his warmth
Somehow, though
I will fight on
as long as my name, his voice, echoes on my heart
As long as I can, but no longer
Find a place for him
find a place for me
safety, if such a thing
still has definition
but someday I’ll
join the paradise he’s inherited
where it’s rain that streaks my clothes
not grime 
not blood
where the only things that soar
are birds and song
not temperatures
not bullets
Where bodies are warm
with life and living
not illness
not waking death
but now, I’m lost and alone
without aid
without meds
without faith
or hope of sunrise
the sun does rise
and me with it.
but not him
his body cooling on pavement.
I’ll go, still streaked
with his heart blood
like red silk
stained my hands
and tears
stinging the cut on my face
I’ll go into the dawn
and find him again
when this is all over.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Htebazileizzardabethica: superhero of fauna

For last poet Standing
week 6: create a superhero

Htebazileizzardabethica: Superhero of fauna

She liked to talk to Tobe
and that would have been fine
‘cept that Tobe was a squirrel
She was the oddest superhero, really
and barely that.
Everyone knew it,
all the greats
Captain Awesome and Fly-by-night
Moonsinger who could move the tides
and Clyde
who could read minds
they all knew and 
giggled behind gauntleted hands
because she called herself
the superhero of fauna
healed broken bird’s wings
and found homes for puppies
and fought off the bullies who’d cornered
not a girl, but a kitten
but she ran when the villains came to play
and let the greats take care of it
and afterwards they’d chant
Tebazil, can’t do nil
you call yourself a hero
who do you save?

And so she’d cry to Tobe
and he’d chatter, in his way, reminding her
of the robin who’d flown into a window
and lay dying in her palms
how she’d saved him
when the greats would have looked away
or the time that a badger had been swept down stream
and she’d saved him too.
that soothed  her
whose name didn’t roll of the tongue
like Flybynight or Awesome
or Clyde
who could also lift cars overhead.

Oh, she wished she was one of the greats, or at least
that they’d see her as such
they stopped crimes
but didn’t she use her powers with
the great responsibility the movies had taught her?
didn’t she help, all that she could?
Tebazil, can’t do nil
you call yourself a hero
who do you save?

But they’d come to her now, saying,
call your birdies
the city’s in peril
we have to act now,
every hero, even you
come, animal girl, come
so she’d pulled on her hoodie
it wasn’t a cape
but animals didn’t care what you looked like
not when they looked at you
with bead bright eyes and said
softer than any human whisper,

She followed Clyde
who could also teleport
into the dark city
run rampant with explosions as
villain after villain swarmed
taking revenge on heroes and their home.

 looked with eagle eyes and saw
closing in like a raptor on prey
and Tobe
on his telephone pole chattered
in his way
"Too dangerous, they come
and they will rip this city to the ground
too many of them. Run"

People cried out for the greats, pleading, thanking, then-
It’s a bird, it’s a pla- no, it’s a bird
one of her birds,
but what’s she doing here
the superhero of fauna
not of people
she thinks she can help?

she was back to back to back to back to back
with Awesome and the Moon
and Clyde
who was running out of breath
and she ran
Tebazil, can’t do nil
you call yourself a hero
but you run away

Up the stairs and into the first building still standing

And the wave of dark pressed on
and the greats cursed and called for backup
from Gotham

Leading the charge, Darkness itself cheered
in the form of one defeated every day after school
"And now we win! And now we win!"
And the birdies took to the sky lamenting
blood and tears fell from the faces of the greats
as they readied themselves to fight
but it was a lost war.

was having none of that
CHARGE! she yelled
as she rode out of the museum
on a mammoth.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


For Last Poet Standing
Week five: Picture from The Mysteries of Harris Burdick

Truth is a funny thing.
They say , truth is what is real
And real is what is fact
And fact isn’t fantasy.
Music is real.
Harps are real, and rivers
that flow, spoiled by rocks
but not ruined;
for a rock does not stop the river
but shapes it
causes tilts in the river’s music
as it spills into itself
like a finger plucks a harp string
and it resounds,
filling the air,
filling me
with some kind of wonder.
It’s true.
Just as true as the trees
as true as the sky is blue
as true as the loyal one beside me
who never leaves.
what I saw is true.
But they say, truth is what is real
And real is what is fact
And fact isn’t fantasy.
And what I saw, that day in the green gold woods
is fantasy
can’t be fact
can’t be real
can’t be true-
they say.
the music was on its own
no hand pulled at the harpsstrings
pulled at my heartstrings
making something so beautiful all I could do
was stand
and wait for silence
that didn’t come for how long I don’t know
the sun gleamed gold through the trees
gleamed gold on the harp
that sat on the stone,
sleek with moss and sang,
The harp
is the bridge between heaven and earth
and in that moment I knew
that that is true
as true as anything ever was
The music- the harp that sang of its own accord
not hindered or helped by human hand
was like nothing I’d ever heard
in halls
or homes
or hearts
it was a glistening
of lost and open sky
a cool hand
a warm breeze
a rose, laced with frost
but not withered
so alive
and the trees swayed with it
the river sang with it
I stayed with it
full of what is real
what is fact
what is fantasy
It’s true, the music, the magic
it’s really true.

Sunday, February 17, 2013


For Magpie 156

Kallin’s face was white in the pre-dawn, and dark circles under his eyes told Arriani that he hadn’t gotten more than an hour or two’s sleep in the last two days.

“You need to rest,” the teenager told him, as sternly as she could. Kallin was her leader, and she took orders from him, not the other way ‘round.
The big man shook his head. 
“No. I’m fine, Mageling. Is the spell still working?”

“I’m the healer, Master Warrior. You’re no good to her if you’re dead on your feet.”
“Arri, I’m-”
“No, you’re not.” Sir Kilona laid a large hand on her friends shoulder. “Kallie, anyone can see, healer or no, that you need rest. Please. Just for an hour, there’s a place where we can shelter close by, I know this land.”
It was truly a sign of how weary and preoccupied Kallin the warrior was that he didn’t snap at the Lady Knight for her use of the nickname.

“But Zara-”
“We’ll find her. Arriani’s got the tracking spell going, she’s stopped moving, which means that they’ve stopped, probably for the night. It’s nearly dawn. The horses are exhausted, even with Arri’s magic. We have to rest, just for-”
“But she could be hurt!” And Kallin’s shoulders began to shake.
Arriani had never seen him cry.

The horses slowed to a walk, then stopped, and no one urged them on.

Arriani shook her head, tugging on cord, from which hung a small crystal with a lock of hair in it. “This would have told me if she was, like I told you five minutes ago. “

Rasime, a dark shadow on darkness, pulled up, returning from scouting. 
“Youngling, how far off did you say they were?”
Arriani called on her magic, touching the crystal at her throat. Her eyes snapped open.
“Close. A few miles. I can’t say more than that. I’m strong, but they must have a mage with them.”

Rasime grinned. “Then we’ve found them. There’s a run down mansion three miles up. I saw light in one window.”

“Then what are we waiting for?” Kallin asked, urging his mare forward. His betrothed, his Zara- for two days they’d chased her kidnappers, and finally- finally-

It was an old white, two story building, with pillars just like the Vernaluna bank. Trees, black in the misty light, stood around it, leafless, and the wall was crumbling. Arriani touched her Sight pendant. 
“Wait. There are wards.” She began to prod with her magic at the yellow light that surrounded the grounds. Kilona swore.
“I know this place. It belongs to Lord Tristan- of fief Lairclen. Goddess. Oh, Goddess.”

“What?” Kallin looked at the blond woman.

“This isn’t on Lairclen ground, but near to it, that’s where they’ll be headed. I think- Curse it. Curse them. Oh, Tristan.” She shook her head. “If I ever see that man again, it will not be pretty.”

“Lona, what is it?” Kallin had to fight to keep his voice down.

“They meant to take me. Lord Tristan, according to Da, last time we spoke, wants to marry me. Moon alone knows why, I’m no catch.” Rasime made a small noise at that. “I’m sure this is what it’s about. Zara was wearing my cloak when they took her.”

Arriani spoke up. “The wards are down. What say we teach this Lordling’s men a thing or two about messing with our band?”
She took a small bottle from her saddlebag, and handed it to Kallin, then removed more for the others. “It’s a restorative. I’ve been saving it.” she took a small drink, grimacing at the strong taste of lavender, sage, and bay. The others followed suit, then Kallin raised his sword.


For more of Arriani and Kallin's band, check out Celebration