Blink and You'll Miss It - Also, Trees

Kallizar and Mahliz work together when their king is threatened - who knew?  

In other news, I got my Christmas tree up yesterday! We were a bit concerned because our dog is 7 months old and is utterly convinced that everything must go into his mouth, but the tree put up a good fight and survived while we were gone to church. It's an artificial tree because of my husband's allergies, and holy whoa is that thing sturdy. I'm pretty sure I could fall into it without knocking it over (not that I'm going to try, because I would probably crash it into the fish tank, and that would suck. Especially for our downstairs neighbors. And the fish.)

I still haven't worked up the courage to put any ornaments on the tree, but I did get the lights up - nice multi-colored LEDs that look like little fireflies when you shut them off. So cool! :) We actually bought some el-cheapo ornaments for this year so that none of our fragile, important ornaments get destroyed during the dog's first Christmas experience (or when the cats inevitably decide the tree is the new sweetest place ever for hiding from said dog). I fully expect to be getting ready for work one morning and see two pairs of cat eyes poking out at me from between the branches...

Still haven't figured out a good (safe) place to hang our stockings, but I'm determined to figure something out. That was one of my favorite things as a kid and I have gone two Christmases now without that ritual. Time to bring it back, even if I have to pin them to the wall or hide them in the library or something. I am not above drastic measures.

Random holiday fun fact: Cathedral Windows are possibly one of the best food inventions ever - nuts optional (but no coconut, thanks... *shudder*). Way better than fruitcake. Check them out, make them, and melt in their tasty deliciousness. :)


PS. My mind was just blown doing a Google search for the Cathedral Windows recipe - apparently it's really popular to make these with different colored jell-o? Weird. But I imagine also tasty.

Mmmm, food... :)

Kallizar: Glimpse of the Future

No spoilers here, other than Kallizar is the main character for all three books (which you likely already knew). Since this piece is actually significantly longer and more in depth, when I decided to post it I edited out all the spoiler-y parts from Book 2 for you. :)  

Kallizar has grown drastically throughout her nearly two centuries of life. She has reached the point where it takes a lot to make her frightened, and she has a will that is not easily broken. Instead, she is willing to do whatever it takes to survive, and to protect those who have put their trust and their lives in her hands. More than ever, Kallizar lives for the moment, since the past is filled with bitter memories and the future is frightening because she will outlive her friends. However, the past still leaves scars that Kallizar cannot ignore, and she has had to face the consequences of them on more than one occasion.

Overall, Kallizar is an aggressive person. She takes things into her own hands whenever possible and doesn’t back down from a fight. She is hot-tempered and rash but can quickly calculate the best plan of attack based on her long life’s experiences. She has no talent for swords whatsoever but is quite capable with her staff… not to mention the vast array of spells at her command. She is extremely smart and witty, and loves to tease people. She is also very opinionated but will sometimes admit when she is wrong.

In its natural state, Kallizar’s magic presents as red lightning and she has used it for a huge variety of spells, ranging from simple summoning to complex warping of space and time to travel great distances in seconds. Some things she cannot do, however, include teleportation and healing (her magic is a foreign thing to other bodies and thus they fight against it). Any spell she casts uses up some of her strength, so she cannot use many powerful spells at one time or she will become unconscious (or die, if the spell’s pressure is great enough).

Kallizar’s favorite color is red, and she loves storms and dark forests and the sea. She is very empathetic towards slaves and the mistreated because of her own past. She hates commands and manipulation, and is irritated by foolishness and weakness (especially her own).

Kallizar does not hold to religion. Although she will readily acknowledge the existence of the Moon Gods, she does not attend service, nor does she hold any kind of faith in the gods themselves – although she does admit the power of the Prophets, especially when it comes to healing.

Kallizar speaks Fyanish and Vaerish, and her motto would be, “Knowledge is not power but rather fuels power, and those with both knowledge and power will rule their world.”

Envisioned, Part 3

Check out Part 1 and Part 2 if you missed them originally.  

The instant my skin touched the glass, pain reared up behind my eyes. Pressure made them feel that they were about to burst out of my skull, and I squinched my eyelids closed, just to be safe. Somewhere else in my head I was sure there were knives being stabbed into me, but I couldn’t tell where. My focus dimmed and I wondered vaguely if this really was the one that was going to kill me.

Think of something else. Nothing came, the pain was too intense. There were pyres in my skull, their towering flames rearing up to devour me. Molten heat dripped inside my brain, covering my head in its sadistic torture and making me break out in a sweat. I half-expected the flower to melt beneath my hand, but the heat was all within me. I shuddered as another flash of agony ripped through me, threatening to tear my body apart from the inside. With what little focus I lad left, I concentrated on keeping my hand on the rose.

A tiny, distant sliver of myself marveled at my strength. Look at what I could go through. But then again, I had done this before. I knew what to expect, more or less. Yet it did nothing to lessen the pain.

Only a second later, the vision began. I welcomed the distraction from the pain, choosing to ignore the part where it would get worse as it went on. Random images flared in my sight: molten glass, a woman’s hand tracing the petals with a short finger, money passing over it as it rested on a wooden counter. My hopes began to die as the flashes continued without any information about my quest.

Wait, there – one second, not even a whole second, but I had seen something. Her hand on the rose. And a note beside it, clutched in her other hand, one word written on it: Duke.

More images flooded me, blurring together so quickly I had no chance to decipher them. The pain in my head throbbed. My limbs shook; my system was telling me it had had enough. One leg gave out and I tipped sideways, nearly smashing the rose.

I had to concentrate. Get my hand off this thing, before it killed me. How did my hand work? Uncurl the fingers. There we go.

It took only ten seconds to get my hand free, but it felt much, much longer than that to my tortured body. Finally, I let my hand drop, empty, down to my side.

The pain subsided. The pictures ceased. I was left in the blessed dim light, myself again. Each breath I took shuddered through me, and I sank shakily to my knees to keep from falling over. I kept my eyes closed, but the images of the rose would not dim.

25 Years Together

True story.

This post is especially for my mom and dad, but it's a good reminder for us all.

Today (July 17) is my parents' 25th wedding anniversary. Twenty-five years ago, God brought the two of them together in love and today they are still holding strong to their vows to each other.

I have always admired my parents and have many times thought that a life even only half as loving and kind as theirs would be amazing. As a kid, I looked up to them for help, answers, protection, and love. When I got married, I looked to my parents for advice and direction as my husband and I began our way down our own road. They were there for me growing up, preparing me for my adult life, and they are here for me now - and today, they celebrate all the love and memories that they've shared while being there for each other.

You've always been the cool parents, Mom and Dad. Partially because you're funny, partially because you're smart and witty (sometimes almost too clever :) ), partially because you're tech-savvy and you can still kick my butt with "today's trends" trivia. But mostly it's because everyone who sees you knows that you're a great couple. You fell in love and you stayed in love and you keep working at it, growing, making your lives stronger and better together. God has blessed you in so many ways and has made you incredible.

Here's to 25 years together, and another lifetime ahead. Stay strong in your faith and know that God is always with you and that each day together is a gift from Him.

With much love and respect,


Envisioned, Part 2

Missed the beginning? Check out Part 1!  

“Trista, focus! You will never get this right if you don’t pay attention!” I dropped my hands, letting the blue flames I had conjured die out.

My student sighed and narrowed her brown eyes at me. “I know, Vulcarus, and I’m sorry, but I can’t help it!” She chewed her lip, and I knew she wanted to say something else.

I walked over to the stone bench that was at the edge of the small courtyard where I was trying – and, at the moment, failing – to teach the girl magic. “Come, take a rest,” I said, tapping the bench.

She strode nervously over, her youthful face turned down to the tops of her bare feet.

“I know you want to ask me something, Trista,” I prompted her. “You’ve got that look again.” I smiled at her, trying to calm her down. After so many years, we had become close. She was more of a sister than a student, and I was sure she regarded me as more than a teacher. After all, I was the only person left in her world, since her mother had died.

Trista looked up, then quickly down again. Sitting, her feet did not reach the ground and she swung her legs anxiously. “You said you would tell me about your hands,” she said finally. “About why you always wear those gloves.”

My fingers twined together as I glanced down. Black silk covered my hands, gleaming softly in the afternoon sun. Beneath the cloth, I knew, my skin would be white – as white as the dead.

I wished they were dead. Then I would not have to live in terror of what they might show me.

“Before you came to me, when I was still a student myself,” I told her, “I had a teacher who wanted to challenge me. He told me if I could make a spell that let him overhear what the other teachers were teaching their students behind closed doors I would be able to get my Master’s title that year. I would be the youngest student ever to successfully pass the tests for Mastery.

“I tried. I failed.

“The spell shattered. It didn’t just break, or die, it turned on my with a vengeance. I almost died.

“It took me a while to figure out what had happened. At first, all I knew was that I had painful, wrenching visions – images of whatever I touched – whenever I touched something. I got so terrified that I refused to touch anything. Finally, desperate, I enchanted a pair of gloves with the most powerful silencing charm I could make. I cannot tell you how relieved I was when I pulled these on and did not find myself on my knees, clutching my head and screaming from the images flaring in my eyes.”

Trista cautiously rand her fingers along a seam on my left hand. “What do you see?” Her voice was quiet.

“History.” I wasn’t sure how to explain it. “For every thing I touch, I see pieces of its history, its past, where it’s been, where it came from. I can’t control it.”

“And does it hurt?”

I shuddered. It hurt enough to make me wish I had cut off my hands. Or cut out my eyes. Or both.

I took a deep breath and tried to smile. “You shouldn’t worry. As long as you practice your lessons with me, you will be fine.” I winked. “Like what we’re supposed to be doing right now.”

Trista jumped to her feet. “Maybe, if I practice hard, I’ll get my Mastery title soon?” she asked.

“Don’t hold your breath,” I told her. “You’re only twelve, you know.”

Trista stuck out her tongue and opened her hand. There, burning softly in her open palm, was blue fire.