Wednesday, January 29, 2020

#QueerBlogWed: Paula's Prompts

On October 30, 2019, P.T. Wyant posted at a Wednesday Words prompt involving a broken key, an ember, and a fallen leaf.

This poem was the result...

The key was snapped in two
Lying under a fallen leaf
A stray ember crisping its back
Was it just an accident?
Or was the key deliberately broken? 
Keeping anyone from opening the hidden door again?
Not all of the treasures locked away were of value
Some could be deadly indeed
Kindling greed in those who saw them
Kindling ambition in those who fondled them
Kindling curiousity about what lies behind locked doors
That ember may be a spark
Forbidden passion kindling in someone
The leaf is a sign of the Autumn Court
Fae creatures lurking within the fall chill 
Or perhaps it simply is coincidence
The leaf fluttering down to mark the broken key
Hiding it behind scarlet beauty
A reminder of the natural wonders of the world
No need to look behind closed doors for treasure
Treasure is all around you if you open your eyes
It awaits in the tiny flames dancing in the air
Signalling destruction, the crackle of hope
Or just the warmth kindled in the cold
Coloring the trees with foilage of crimson
Nature’s last burst of beauty before it withers
The Autumn Queen’s colours are scarlet and gold
Or so the legends like to gossip
It’s also said she herself turned the key loose on the world
Wanting to see what mischief it would make
What humans would go scrabbling for the door?
Who would be seduced by its golden gleam
Who would cower away in fear from the mysterious gift?
Not trusting its alluring glitter, its promise of opened doors
For once you use the key to unlock its paired door, you cannot linger on the threshold
You must cross, no matter what the consequences
Secret treasures have steep prices, as do keys
Recipients of both never return with all of themselves
For crossing the threshold loosens a little of your soul
Leaving it on the other side of the door
To transform into part of the forbidden horde. 

Monday, January 27, 2020

Secondary Characters Speak Out: Dead Men Tell Too Many Tales

Quartz sits facing a corpse, wearing strand after stand gems around his neck, rings on his rotting fingers, for what’s left of him does appear to be a he. 

Quartz: So you were once Caerac, a mighty warrior who founded Caerac Keep. Surprised no one has stolen your gems off your corpse.

Caerac: Let me tell you a thing or two, little fellow. In my day, stability and wealth weren’t taken for granted. Once Serena Jasior, the Imperatrix died, the alliance she’d formed, the empire she’d conquered cracked. Kalanthia, her great rival once subdued, split off and splintered between its more misogynist and misandryist extremists. They formed the countries of Graeca and Aethyria. Rowenda, once my home and the heart of the Jasior Empire was overrun with marauding monsters from the icy north. Every person who wanted to survive learned to use a sword, a bow, or magic. Those who thrived took the fight to the monsters, like myself and my companions. The Age of Adventurers began, where the normal family unit was a group of wanderers willing to carve out their own fortune. Don’t be too obvious about it, though, because it paid to have a cleric in your party and you have to humour their moralizing nonsense. 

Quartz: Right. About clerics, they usually belong to one of the two religious orders in your world, right? Two orders that hate each other. 

Caerac: Right. There’s the old guard, the Order of the Dragon that worked with the Imperatrix. They were guardians of harmony in all things in theory. In practice, they often collared and enslaved the Serpent Born, when they weren’t enslaving non-humans and the undead. 

Quartz: These Serpent Born you speak of, what exactly are they? Descendants of Nevalyn, the Serpent in your land who possess magic? Or anyone golden-haired.

Caerac: Yes. The Dragons themselves got confused on what the Serpent Born were. Especially when the Imperatrix’s own brother and heir appeared to Serpent Born. It was a blatant contradiction, grabbing golden-haired children and chaining them up for the good of the empire while a golden-haired man walked free, challenging all suitors to magical combat in the arena, killing everyone he defeated. One might say the Order of the Unicorn rose in reaction to this sort of thing. 

Quartz: Right and how is the Order of the Unicorn different than the Order of the Dragon?

Caerac: The Unicorns’ goal is to stomp out the evil, the impure, the corruption at the heart of things. Or so they say. Personally I don’t see much difference between a Unicorn cleric and a Dragon cleric. Take Corwyth. He was obviously Serpent Born, a dedicated Dragon cleric, and equally dedicated to defeating the darkness preying upon all living things. Claimed the undead were magical manifestations of this darkness and those caught within this manifestation were victims? What does he go and do to stop this darkness? Becomes a vampire himself!

Quartz: You think he chose to become a vampire?

Caerac: Well, no. Not exactly. To be honest, I’m not sure what happened. I never quite understood Corwyth. He was a beautiful boy, a sheer delight to look up, but he was odd. Always reading and going on about matters too deep for me. Me, I’m a simple man, or I was a simple man. I liked stability. I liked walls and a roof over my head. I liked good food and things that sparkled. 

Quartz: Aye, I like those things, too. Only you said you liked them in the past tense. Don’t you still?

Caerac: I’m dead. What point is there in liking anything? You ought to know that.

Quartz: I’m not dead!

Caerac: Oh, so you’re one of those, eh? Take my advice. Get over yourself. There’s no point in clinging to what’s rotten.

Quartz: Like you ought to talk!

Caeac: (gesturing to his own rotting body) This was not my idea! All I wanted was as good a life as I could make for myself with monsters running amuck in my homeland, forcing anyone who might be persuaded to build a castle, a tavern, or a wall to hide. Some adventurers took to guarding others so they could build while others took the fight to the monsters. We used our weapons to create a little stability, my companions and I. 

Quartz: What companions were these? 

Caerac: Well, Corwyth was one. Gwyneth was another. Plus, there was Aglae, our grumpy Aggie and sweet Willie. I couldn’t have fought all those monsters by myself, so I traveled with a party. All of us were capable of something. I fought with a sword and taught Aggie to do so. It was the Age of Adventuring, as I said, only my companions and I, we were particularly good at it. Gwyneth, Corwyth, and I all ended up ruling a Keep named after us. 

Quartz: Only Corwyth Keep is a walled city filled with the dead or the undead, right?

Caerac: No one is sure what lies beyond the walls of Corwyth Keep. Its gates are sealed to those who don’t possess the blood, whatever that means. 

Quartz: Sounds like the sort of restriction a vampire would like.

Caerac: Restriction, pah! As if younglings today had any respect for restrictions! I wouldn’t be a walking corpse if they did. I’m telling you, little fellow, you shouldn’t go around raising the dead. Dead men tell too many tales. The dead should be allowed to rest.

Quartz: Is that what you want? To just crawl back in your coffin and forget everything and everyone you ever loved?

Caerac: One, I’m lying in a sarcophagus in a chapel, which should have blessed by Unicorn rites, too. Two, why should I care about any of these things? I’m dead.

Quartz: I guess you truly are, you moldy old cramp.

Caerac: Who are you calling cramp? At least I have the good manners not to kick the coffin while I’m in it!

Quartz: I thought you were lying in a sarcophagus, not a coffin, you pretentious zombie. 

Caerac: I am, you mouthy stub. 

Quartz: What did you call me?

Caerac: You heard me. 

Quartz: Why, you…better to be short and intact than tall and flesh-rotted!

Caerac: I’m dead, my flesh is supposed to rot. I’m not a freak like you.

Quartz: Oh, and how is being the walking dead not freakish?

Caerac: You tell me.

Quartz: I’m not dead!

Caerac: Aye, keep telling youself that, you delusional dwarf. 

Quartz: Moldy crab. 

Caerac: Stubby rabble-rouser!

Quartz: Smelly stuffed shirt!

Caerac: Delusional diva!

(They continue to quarrel, voices raised as the curtain falls down around them.)

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

#QueerBlogWed: Paula's Prompts

On October 23, 2019, P.T. Wyant posted at a Wednesday Words prompt involving a costume ball, an enemy, and candy.

This extremely long poem was the result...

Everyone wears a mask, concealing themselves within a costume
While their greedy hands reach out for candy
He observes it behind the veil
Falling over his features, hiding his expression
Never letting on that he’s watching you
Seeing your hungry, mocking gleam in your eyes
A glint of the truth you conceal behind your own mask
No one else has ever noticed this sinister light
You remain the urbane gentleman, Lord Fox
Carved whiskers and sly features from an old fable
Laughing at the obvious joke, which is no joke
You’re the perfect host, so generous with the sweets you pass around
None of your guests have noticed you’re fattening them up
Yet you enjoy the party and the party-goers company
Studying the plump forms squeezed within their costumes
The meaning in the guises they’ve chosen to don
Prince, queen, fool, or beast
Each desperate attempt to transform themselves into something interesting
You conceal your smirk until your attention is caught by him
Quiet, not mingling, yet watching you
How could you not have noticed his presence?
How different he is from everyone else
Capturing the reflection of your true self within his changeling eyes
Eyes which are the result of neither contact lenses nor costume
If anything he’s hiding behind that plain white veil
Trying so hard not to be noticed
As if anyone could hide from you at your parties
Once you catch their scent
His is spicy sweet with fear and madness
Is he enemy, victim, or could he be something more precious?
You find yourself putting on a show for him
Twirling your whiskers with a little more elegance
As you dance with those who pretend to be ladies, pressing them against your broad chest
As you flirt with those who pretend to be gentlemen, teasing them to the point of forgetting their manners
Charming everyone else, pretending to be something, humouring their sense of importance
All the while you feel his intense gaze, watching you play your games
Why does he stop the party?
Scream a warning about what you truly are?
You are every bit the fox you pretend to be
Every guest is your duck, hen, or rabbit
Why doesn’t he cry out to your hapless victims?
Perhaps he senses no one would listen
Every duck loves being flattered by a fox
Every rabbit feels special caught in a predator’s gaze
It’s too much like the eye of an attentive lover
Sending intense shivers down the spine
Horror mingles with disgust, yet that’s not all
He shouldn’t enjoy watching you play with your food
Only he’s seen too much of your guests without their costumes
Endured the brunt of their banality and petty cruelty
He sees them use their costumes to flaunt of a false sense of importance
Well, you’ve made each and every one of them feel important
He’s never mocked them himself, although he’s often wished to
Now you’re here, granting his heart’s desire
It’s difficult to hate you, in all your menacing charm
Even though he might well be next
The next rabbit, the next duck to be crushed between your jaws
Yes, he looks tender and crushable, but his insight intrigues you
You’re not quite ready to eat him, no, not yet
So you put on a lovely, cruel show
Slipping away into the shadows with a few of the guests
They don’t return, but you return with a platter
A casual smile and a joke about the meat being fresh
You’re not sure if he’s guessed the entirety of what you’re up to
Yet still he remains at your party amidst the rest of the prey
Stepping from shadow to shadow, watching flirt and lure

Always staying a little out of reach. 

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

#QueerBlogWed: Paula's Prompts

On October 16, 2019, P.T. Wyant posted at a Wednesday Words post involving a trade, a giveaway, and a sale.

This poem, which could be about the Navel came to me as a result...

Do you have memories to trade?
We’re having a sale on dreams
Ideals are being given away quite cheap
Nothing is what it seems
Oh, you can exchange your past for something else
A life you’ve never lived
Raise your standards in let’s pretend
The latter is just a gift

You found our shop because you have something to trade
Or maybe there’s something you’d like give away
Recreate yourself, become the person you’ve made
Whatever you don’t want can stay

Just don’t ever return wanting your memories back
Once you give them up, they’re lost
Don’t toss away your ideal because it has a crack
And your heart is consumed from within by frost

Consider the value of what you’re giving up
Before you give it away
Once you accept our bargain, once you drink from that cup
That piece is here to stay

Come, come, bring in your bad memories to trade
We’re still having a sale on dreams
Ideals are being given away for free

And nothing is what it seems. 

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Paula's Prompts: Wednesday Words

On October 9, 2019, P.T. Wyant posted a Wednesday Words prompt involving a dead tree, a rope, and a trumpet.

This poem was the result...

The rope broke
Hanging from the dead tree
The trumpet has long since summoned her home
Perhaps it was God’s will
To drag her kicking to this place
Only to watch her feet dangle
She was no beauty
Not that you ever noticed
Only I noticed her
Squinting during your sermons
Reading meaning in your words
No one was ever meant to notice
She was nobody
Still she spotted you
The lies in your rants
Repeated until they sounded like truths
They rang false in her ears
The clamour never ending
Until she couldn’t take it any more
Couldn’t live quietly
She had to scream it out
Pointing her finger at you
As you’ve pointed yours at so many
So you sent her to the tree and the rope
Only to have the rope snap
Freeing her, though she was already dead
Her body disappeared before it hit the ground
Everyone could hear the trumpet
Calling her home from here
How you rant and rave about her now
Your fear screaming through your rage
Everyone is starting to see the lies
Listen with her ears
How long before you yourself go to the tree?
I doubt your rope will snap
No trumpet will sound for you
I’ll be waiting though
Waiting to collect your rank soul
As it slips from your body
Beyond heaven’s salvation

Into my patient grasp. 

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

#QueerBlogWed: Paula's Prompts

On October 2, 2019, P.T. Wyant posted a Wednesday Words prompt involving a barrier, singing, and the moon.

Looks like this freebie story of teeth, claws, and needing to howl is the first of the new year...:)=

She joined in song with her distant sisters, far across the land, deep in the woods bordering frightened, human civilization. Trapped behind one of their barriers, created of ash and wolf’s bane, it kept her bound, circling the fence, unable to move beyond its boundaries. 

She couldn’t run. She couldn’t hunt, much as she yearned to maul and maim tender flesh, feeling skin tear beneath her teeth. Such pleasures weren’t for her, not here, not in this place. The herds of shivering humans and their livestock were safe from her moon-born teeth and claws. No wild women would threaten their peaceful community, oh, no. 

They might be safe for now, but she could still howl. 

She threw back her head and bayed, pouring all her fury into her song. It swam through the air, seeping into her sisters’ coats, even as they roamed on four paws beneath the trees, stalking their prey. 

They tossed back their fur-lined heads, adding their song of fury and violence to hers. How beautiful her sisters were, charging through the underbrush, circling a woman who dared to wander away from civilization under the moonlight. Perhaps they would turn her. Perhaps they would eat her.

No. She sent her command to their impulses. Taste her. Don’t eat her. Give her a taste. Afterwards send her back to her former home. 

Delight in the hunt entered paw and claw, as they sent their silent assent. Their pursuit became playful, cornering the harried woman, coming at her from all sides. After all, she would soon become one of them. 

One of them leaped at the woman, taking her down. She was followed by others, nipping, biting. 

The woman screamed, a last cry of a dying, helpless humanity. 

Soon it would be all of them. The prisoner grinned, tasting the blood shared by her pack. Oh, she was hungry, but soon she would feed. 

Their new sister would come home out of the cold. The men wouldn’t want to let her in, but the girl would have a mother, a sister, or a friend. She wouldn’t be able to ignore the girl’s pleas to let her inside. 

Once she was in, the shivering human herd would not be safe. Not once this girl sank her teeth into them. One by one, they’d take the guardians of hearth and home, introducing them to the beast they’d always kept at bay in their hearts and bodies. They’d make that beast a reality, which would tear humans’ hearts out when they entered their cottages and lay down their weapons. 

There would be no more safe places. Only wild ones.

The prisoner allowed her grin to widen.