I love my state
I love the great state of Wisconsin, which is why I got up this am and walked the two blocks to the polling place and voted.
Here's my suggestion for you: If you love your state, make sure you go and vote today. I don't know if you and I agree on politics, but I'm sure that we can agree that American is the best country on earth and we should do everything in our power to keep her safe. One way to do that is to vote.
If you're in Wisconsin, don't forget to vote no on the amendment -- removing the chance of civil rights from a group of people is unAmerican.
I am nearly positive that all of you all ready know just what Child's Play
is all about. But, for those who don't, here's what the website says:
"With the help of hospital staff, we’ve set up gift wish lists full of video games, toys, and movies. You can go to each hospital’s list and buy a toy, and that toy will be sent to the hospital. Some of these kids are in pretty bad shape. Imagine being stuck alone in a hospital over the holidays, getting something from a fellow gamer would really raise their spirits. Some of the stuff the hospital will give away for kids to keep, while other gifts (like consoles) will be kept by the hospital for patients to use throughout the year."
The gifts shouldn't be gift wrapped. Any other questions should be checked out here.
Not to toot my own horn, but I donated last year. I try to give to a lot of charities, especially at this time of the year, but this year -- due to the fact I'm broke -- I'm going to have to cut back on the money I give. BUT, Child's Play
is the one charity I'm keeping on my list. I'm sure there are others out there in the same financial spot as me, but try to give something. Even $15.00 can be used to buy a gift for a child. They raised over $600,000 for children last year. Let's help them make it to a cool million this year!
Also, I'll be placing a banner for Child's Play
and leaving it there (and on my other websites) until after Christmas.
Alevai - Chapter Ten
Aaron looked up at the sky. “It is starting to get dark. We would be best to stop for the night.”
“But what about our sister?” Elizabeth asked.
“And, Sky?” Maddie added.
Aaron stopped walking. He rubbed his chin and thought for a moment. “I can only presume that they are somewhere safe.”
“How can you say that when you don’t know?” Elizabeth asked.
“Because to believe otherwise would be unthinkable. In either case, we will not be able to help them in the dark.” Aaron eyed both girls and smiled at them. “Ladies, I promise you that we will find your sister and your pet. I never break my promises.”
Elizabeth and Maddie looked at each other. “What do you think?” Maddie asked.
“I don’t know.” Elizabeth looked at Aaron. “Where will we sleep?”
“Around the next bend is a house of a friend of mine. Perhaps she will put us up for the night.”
“It’s a she?” Maddie asked. “Is she your girlfriend?”
Aaron felt the heat rise to his face, as he thought about Varem. “We used to be quite close,” he said, hesitantly. “But, now we are less close. I would rather not discuss it.”
“We understand,” Elizabeth said.
“Yeah, our parents are divorced,” Maddie added.
“Divorced? What is divorced?” Aaron asked, as he began walking again.
“They aren’t married anymore,” Elizabeth said.
“Yeah, that’s why we moved. We don’t live with Dad anymore.”
“That must be very difficult for young ladies such as yourselves.”
“It was really hard at first, but we’re okay,” Elizabeth said.
“Yeah, we’re okay,” Maddie echoed.
All three of them were quiet until they rounded the bend. In front of them stood the largest, most beautiful house the girls had ever seen. Both girls stopped and stared.
“Welcome to Bariches,” Aaron said.
“Wow, this place is huge,” Maddie said. “Does your friend live here all by herself?”
“She does now,” Aaron said quietly. “Let’s go knock on the door.” He opened the front gate and held it for the girls to walk through. Then, he followed them in, closing the gate behind him.
The front door of the house opened and out came a maroon colored dragon, almost the same size as Aaron.
“I don’t know what you’re wantin’ now, Aaron Flisler, but ye can turn around and leave my property,” the dragon said, as she charged off the large porch, waving a dish towel in her paw. “I won’t have ye around here after the way ye broke my heart the last time.”
Aaron held his paws out in front of him. “Now, Varem, you know I wouldn’t come back unless it was important and necessary. We need a place to stay, just for the night.”
“We?” Varem said, stopping her charge. “What do you mean we? Ye dare bring another gal to my home, did ya, Aaron Flisler?”
“Actually, Varem,” Aaron said sheepishly, “I’ve brought two girls. Human girls.” He pointed toward Elizabeth and Maddie, who, at the sight of the angry female dragon, had moved off to the side.
Varem whirled around to look at the two frighten girls. She saw the fear in their eyes and her heart melted. “Why, Aaron, wherever did you find these young ladies?”
“They found me,” Aaron said.
Varem looked at the two girls, who were huddled against Aaron’s backside. “Is this true?” Both Elizabeth and Maddie nodded. “Well, come on in. I’ve just finished a batch of haggis for dinner. There’s plenty enough for all of ye.”
Haggis turned out to be a dish that was chili like in consistency and tasted great.
Aaron and Elizabeth told Varem the whole story, as the girls sat perched on books in order to reach the top of Varem’s dinning room table.
“We have to save that girl, the one who was meant to be queen,” Maddie finally said, interrupting Aaron in mid-sentence.
“Maddie, we can’t save her. We have to find Becca and find our own way back home.”
“Elizabeth is correct, Maddie. You girls must find your sister and your way home. You cannot risk your lives.”
“But, what if Becca is to be the next queen, how can we take her home?”
Elizabeth stared at her sister. “What are you talking about? Becca’s only five. How can she be queen?”
“It’s been twenty years since the last girl came through, right?”
“Yes, it has been twenty years,” Aaron answered.
“And Becca was the next girl to come through the portal?”
“So?” Elizabeth asked.
“So, maybe, Becca’s supposed to be the next queen.”
“Well, Becca couldn’t be queen of anything,” Elizabeth said.
“The girl is quite right. You sister is probably fated to be the next queen, which places her in grave danger,” Varem said. “You’ll be needin’ to rescue dear Caitlin, if you wish to reach home with your young Becca.”
Alevai - Chapter Nine
Becca and Sky did not stir during the trip to Biscoe’s home. When Biscoe and Narisch laid them in the grass next to Biscoe’s home, Sky awoke with a start. He saw the two men staring down at him. He stood and growled at them.
Biscoe began to laugh. “Look, Narisch. This little dog thinks he can harm us.”
Narisch wasn’t amused. He took a step back. “Biscoe, he is protecting the girl. I wouldn’t assume that he could not bring harm to you.”
Biscoe was not impressed. He reached his hand to pet him. Sky lunged and bit him. Biscoe yelped and pulled his hand back.
“Do not come any closer,” Sky said. “I’ll bite you again.”
Narisch’s mouth dropped open. “Biscoe, the dog talks.”
“I can hear that the creature talks,” Biscoe snapped, still discontented about being bit. “He bites hard as well and he has drawn blood.” He held his hand up for Narisch to see before taking a handkerchief from his pocket and wrapping it around his hand.
“I will hurt you even more, if you come any closer,” Sky said. He glanced down at Becca and quickly turned his attention back to the two men. “What have you done to her?”
“Nothing,” Biscoe said. “We found the two of your sleeping. We brought you to my home.” He took a step back and knelt on the ground. “We mean you no harm.”
Sky thought about this, but he did not relax his stance. “How do I know I can trust you?”
Biscoe nodded. “You can’t, I suppose. If I were you, I would unquestionably feel the same. I pledge on my life that I mean you and the girl no harm.” Biscoe stuck out his hand. “I am Biscoe. Perhaps, we could be friends.”
Sky looked at Biscoe’s outstretched hand. He felt that he could trust this man. He looked up at Narisch, him he was not so sure. “What about him?”
“Narisch, tell the pup you mean him no harm.”
“I mean you no harm,” Narisch said.
“You are lying,” Sky said. He was unsure as to how he knew this, but he knew in his heart that Narisch was lying.
“When we found you, I wanted your pelt, but Biscoe stopped me,” Narisch admitted. “But, now, I mean you no harm. I pledge it so.”
Sky knew that this was the truth as well. He put his paw in Biscoe’s hand. “I am Sky,” he said as the two shook.
Narisch knelt and shook Sky’s paw. “I am Narisch,” he said.
“Why did you bring us here?” Sky asked.
“We could not very well leave you in the sleeping grass,” Biscoe said. “We could tell that you are not from our land and it is dangerous for strangers here.”
“That is the truth,” Narisch said. “Heavens knows what might have happened had one of the Queen’s men found you.”
Biscoe nodded in agreement. “Where are you from?”
“Wisconsin, what a bizarre sounding name,” Biscoe said. “How did you get here?”
Sky told the men the tale of the moving into the new house and the mirror. While they were speaking, Becca awoke. She sat up and rubbed her eyes. Sky made the introductions. Becca felt unsure about where they were, but Sky convinced her that the men were okay.
Soon Biscoe’s family appeared. Sky and Becca found themselves repeating the tale of how they came to be in Alevai.
“We would like to find our way back home,” Sky finally said.
“Well, you will be unable to do anything more today. The sun will be setting soon. You will stay here with my family. In the morning, I will escort you to the Schein.”
“I hope that you like fish,” one of Biscoe’s sons said. “I caught some for dinner.”
Alevai - Chapter Eight
Aaron began to make his way to the Schein with both girls following closely.
“Mr. Flisler, may I ask you a question?” Maddie asked.
“Please, Maddie, call me Aaron. What would you like to know?”
“Well, I thought dragons liked to eat children.”
“Heaven forbid! I should eat a child!” Aaron exclaimed. “I do not eat any meat.”
“Then you’re a vegetarian?” Elizabeth asked.
“A Vegetarian. Someone who only eats vegetables.”
“Oh, yes, yes, I suppose I am what you call a vegetarian. I don’t like to hunt animals. Little creatures should be my friends, not my food, I always say.”
“Are all dragons vegetarians?”
“No, but most dragons do not eat people. Most of us are quite civilized. Speaking of eating, are you girls hungry?” Both of them nodded. “Well, I see a maranz tree up ahead. This is the perfect season for maranzes. Do you girls like maranzes?”
“I’ve never had any maranzes,” Maddie said.
“Well, I think you girls will like them.” Aaron approached the tree and inspected the fruit. He pulled down three maranzes and handed one to each girl and kept one for himself.
The maranz was the size of a grapefruit, yellow in color and had a skin very similar to a banana. Aaron showed the girls how to open the skin. Inside, the fruit was neon pink.
Maddie looked over at Elizabeth. “I don’t think I can eat this,” she said.
Elizabeth nodded in agreement, but then she felt her stomach rumble. “Well, we should at least try it.” She pulled out a piece of the fruit. Fruit juice ran down her arm, as she popped it into her mouth. Once she had chewed and swallowed, she smiled at Maddie. “This is awesome. Try it, Maddie.”
While the girls ate their maranzes, Aaron told them of the history of Alevai.
“You see, every twenty years, a young girl from your world is crowned our new queen.”
“From our world?” Elizabeth asked. “How can that be?”
“A portal opens and the young girl just appears, very similar to what happened to you. Then, the girl is crowned our new queen, except, twenty years ago when the young girl came through the portal; Queen Elva Zores had her imprisoned. She refused to give up the crown.”
“Then what happened?”
“Well, the wizards joined together and tried to defeat Queen Elva Zores and her army, but they lost. Those that survived were either imprisoned in the dungeon or they fled to the Schein. That is where we are headed now.”
Alevai -- Chapter Seven…
Becca grew tired of walking. She sat down in the cool grass. “Let’s stop, Sky,” she said.
Sky stopped walking and sat down beside her. “No matter how far we walk that castle never seems to get any closer,” he said.
“I’m scared, Sky. What if we can’t find a way home?”
Sky thought a moment. The thought had crossed his mind that they might be stuck in this strange, new world, but he didn’t want to worry Becca by voicing this opinion. “We’ll find our way home,” he said. “I promise.”
Becca, relieved by the small dog’s promise, felt a little better. She laid back in the cool grass. “I’m so tired,” she said. Her little eyes fluttered shut.
Sky laid his head on her stomach. “Me, too,” he said in agreement. “Me, too.” He closed his eyes. Soon he was fast asleep.
Biscoe and Narisch were returning to their village with the days hunt swung over their shoulders. They had been catching game in order to save the meat for their families and to sell the soft animal pelts. The days hunting had not gone well and they were both left with only four animals between them.
“What a lousy day,” Narisch said, bitterly. “Eight hours and I only have two musrits to show for it.”
“I feel the same way, Narisch,” Biscoe answered him. “But, if we get an early start in the morn, perhaps we can do better then today’s catch.”
“You are always so bloody jolly. You cannot be of strong mind where you are so bloody jolly.”
“Narisch, you are the epitome of despair. I should say that one who is so constantly in gloom should not be of strong mind, either.”
“I should wonder why I continue to follow you in the hunts. We do so poorly.”
“And, I wonder the same of me, Narisch.”
“Perhaps you are implying that it is a fault of mine that we have had a bit of bad luck.”
“Certainly not, Narisch, certainly not. Nature is as nature does. We are merely traveling through a cycle of bad hunts. We shall come out victorious soon enough. I shall not blame you for our troubles, only for your appalling manner.”
“My appalling manner?” Narisch started to go on, but he tripped on something and nearly fell to the ground. He looked down and found that he was standing beside a sleeping child and pup. “Biscoe, have you ever seen such a sight?”
“Narisch, I’ve seen lots of sleeping children.” Biscoe sighed. “I am the father of twelve.”
“No, silly, a dog as white as this.” Narisch leaned down and softly patted Sky’s side. “His pelt is nice and soft. We could get a pretty penny for a pelt such as this.”
Biscoe scowled at Narisch. “Can you not see that he is that child’s pet? We cannot harm her pet.”
“Pet, scmet. Who cares? We could use the coins.”
“Narisch, I will not harm this child’s pet, no matter how many coins we would receive.” He studied Becca. “She does not look like she is from here. I should think that a child from here would know not to stop moving once they were in the sleep grass.” He bent and lightly tapped her shoulder. “She is far under the blanket of sleep.” He stood.
Narisch backed away from Sky and Becca. “Oh, no. Biscoe, she is one of those people. We must leave them.”
“One of what people? And, why should we leave them? For what?” Biscoe still stood looking down at Becca.
“We will be harmed. Don’t you know the legend?”
“The legend?” Biscoe thought a moment. “Oh,” he said. “You do not mean THE LEGEND?”
“Yes, yes I do. If she is to stay here, she will surely threaten the queen.”
“Narisch, our queen is a nasty old hag. Surely, this sleeping child could not be a threat to her.”
“Biscoe, how can you say such things? Our queen is right and just. She is gracious and kind.” Narisch looked around to see if anyone was listening to their conversation.
“Narisch, we are far away from the castle. You do not have to lie about your feelings. The queen is evil incarnate. She has destroyed almost all that is dear to yours and mine. Our children are forced to labor for her needs.” Biscoe took a breath. “And, if the legend is true, she has entrapped a young girl for her own evil means.”
“I don’t know why you say such things. The queen has kept us safe from all who dare oppose us.”
“Oppose us? Who opposes us? She talks of these mystical beings that wish us harm, but I have never seen proof of this. Our country has been preparing for war for as long as I can remember, yet, I am not at all sure if anyone remembers why or against whom we are preparing.” Biscoe spat on the ground. “If this girl could bring ruin to our queen, then I shall assist her.”
Narisch glanced around again. He knew in his heart that Biscoe was right. But, Narisch rather enjoyed his and Biscoe’s supply shop and he did not wish to anger her. He had seen how people suffered when she showed her displeasure.
“I’m going to take her and her dog home with me,” Biscoe said. “I all ready have so many children no one will notice one more.”
“Do you think that is wise? What if the queen finds out?”
“She will not find out, Narisch. I will pay the proper tax for having thirteen children. She shall not care.” Biscoe said. “Take the pup, while I pick up the child. Hurry, Narisch, once she is out of the sleep grass, we shall not have much time. I do not want her stirring too soon.”
The men stooped and picked up their charges. They looked around to be sure no one saw them before moving quietly back into the tall grass.
Alevai -- Chapter Six
Caitlen paced her small cell. She usually spent much of her day pacing, as there was really nothing else to do. She heard running footsteps in the hall outside her cell. She went to the door and peered out. She could hear two of the guards speaking just outside her cell.
“Similitude, why do you run so?” asked Epik, the guard who normally protected this hallway.
“I have news,” Similitude answered.
“So, tell me this news that brings you so far from your post.”
“The queen has sent for Foyln,” Similitude replied.
“Foyln? Why? Has something happened?”
“The portal has been opened.”
‘Opened!’ Caitlen thought. ‘Perhaps this will mean I can go home.’ Even though it had been years since she had been home, she could still smell her grandmother’s cooking and she could see the fields of corn. Every night, she would dream that she was back on her grandparents’ farm, running through the corn fields or hiding in the hay loft. Every morning, she awoke in the dungeon and her heart would sink, as she realized this cell was her home.
“I wonder what this means.” Epik said.
“I do not know, but there is talk that a child and a dog came through the portal. They were seen by Poshet.”
“A child and a dog? What an unlikely pairing. Perhaps,” Epik lowered his voice to a whisper and Caitlen had to strain her ears to hear. “Perhaps, the queen will be overthrown.”
“Epik, do not talk that way! We could be overheard. It is not safe to speak of such things while we are in the castle.”
“Similitude, do not be so fearful. Everyone knows that Queen Elva is evil and she is ruling on a throne that does not truly belong to her.”
“Maybe so, but she is the queen and we must honor her. We must remain faithful, even when we disagree.”
“Similitude, you go on and remain faithful. I will choose to speak my mind.” He paused. “I do not believe that this one show be kept locked up. She should be allowed to go free. Maybe, her people have finally come to claim her.”
“Maybe so, Epik, maybe so, but if that is the case then we must be on guard even more to protect our queen.”
“You may protect the queen, Similitude; I will join in the fight to put the rightful queen on the throne. I am weary of living in fear and hiding my head. I have no children and no wife. There is no reason for me to continue to serve a queen in whom I do not believe.”
“Epik, you should save your judgment until we know more of what is to happen. Perhaps, I would join the rightful side. For now, keep an extra watch on the prisoner.”
The two men saluted and Similitude walked away. Epik watched Similitude turn the corner at the end of the dark hall way. Then, he peered into Caitlen’s cell.
“Did you hear that, mi lady?”
“Yes, Epik, I did. What do you think this means?”
“I think it means that a new queen is to be chosen. Otherwise, how would the portal open?” Epik glanced around to be sure he would not be overheard. “Stay alert, mi lady, for I will try to free you soon.”
“Thank you, Epik. I long to be free of this dungeon.”
“After my watch is over, I will see what I might learn of this girl and her dog.”
“Be careful, Epik. You are the only companion I have.”
“I will remain vigilant and careful, mi lady. I will not fail you again.”
Caitlen caught her breath. Epik always spoke like this to her and yet, she knew that he had been a boy himself when she had been captured. He had just begun his apprenticeship to the castle guards at the young age of 13. Still, he felt guilty for not being able to stop her capture.
Epik would have joined with the wizards and soldiers who had risen up against Queen Elva, except he worried what would become of Caitlen. Instead he stayed on the castle guard and worked his way into being the one guard who was able to spend the most time with Caitlen. His devotion to the young girl moved from brotherly interest to an innocent love as the years went by. Now, Epik was a man of thirty three and, yet, he did not allow himself to marry, so that he may remain free for Caitlen. His only hope was that Caitlen would be able to return the affection that he felt.