A Dedication to Those of Us Who Served: The First Years

My plane had just landed at Clark Air Force Base, Phillippines on a late September day.  Nothing is left of the base since the Pinatubo eruption, but looking back to those days, I can still remember every minute I was there.

The first thing that I remember was the heat, not a dry heat like one would find in Nevada, but a sticky, overwhelming heat that immediately left a fog on my glasses as soon as I stepped out of the plane.  We were directed to wait for a bus that would take us to Subic Bay, about a 2-hour bus ride.  I was one of the first people on the bus.  I noticed a very beautiful blond woman, a petty officer sit in the seat in front of me.  A young blond sailor asked if he could sit with her…pointing out that the bus was filling up, and he would have no place to sit down.  She relented, and soon they were involved in a light conversation as the bus begain its trundle toward Subic Bay.  About an hour passed, and the bus driver decided to pull over to a Sari-sari store for a beer break.  As I departed from the bus, a large group of children approached me.  I must have been an easy mark, because they flocked to me like a bunch of seagulls on a dead fish.  I was 19 then; naive and full of wanton charity.  I handed them all the change I had, not realizing at the time that they were patting me down, testing my watch to see how well it was fastened to my wrist, as they all crowed, “Hey Joe, gimme peso…hey Joe…”  As soon as they noticed I had no more change to give them, they ran to find another “victim”.   Our Philipino bus driver quickly became tired of the show. when the children started approaching him, shooing us all back onto the bus.  As we were boarding, the couple in front of me were laughing at the children.  The blond sailor turned to the woman saying, “You want to see something funny?”  The woman tittered a bit, then nodded.  He leaned out and yelled, “Hey!  Hey!  You want a peso?  You want a peso?”, as the bus began to move.  The children ran after the bus, hoping for one more coin.  I remember one boy in particular, looking up to him as he leaned far out the window his hands outstretched as he threw his beer bottle at the child’s head, the bottle bouncing squarely off of the child’s skull.  I remember turning to watch the child falling down in the dirt road, blood already matting his head as the other children gathered around him.  “There!  There’s your peso!” the blond sailor shouted.  Some of the men on the bus laughed, while the female sailor smiled and said, “You didn’t have to do that.”  The blond sailor gave her a surly reply, “Damn slopes deserve it.”  That image has lasted in my mind for a long time, and I still do not see how any of those children deserved to be treated in that way by one of us.  I was told before I left the United States that we were ambassadors.  I did not know what to say then, and I do not know what to say now.

My very first ship was the USS Long Beach (CGN-9), part of the then nuclear task force in the Pacific.  It was dark by the time we arrived, the bus dropping us off close to Cubi Point, where my ship was docked. It was a long walk up the gangplank, with my seabag slung over my shoulder, my orders clutched in my hand.  The duty officer had me escorted belowdecks to bunk with Supply (temporarily of course), until my more permanent berthing was assigned to me.  The smell was something to get used to as I walked through the passageways.  It was a mixture of bearing grease, sweat, and floor wax that wafted through the passage.  I remember being assailed by all kinds of foreign objects, understanding the differences between port (left) and starboard (right), the fact that a bathroom was now a head, and that my newest friend was John Barton.  John was a second class Petty Officer, a bona fide Vietnam Veteran who befriended me not only as someone I could confide in, but someone to look up to.  I can still remember those first words.  “New on board, huh?”  I nodded my head.  “Well, don’t mind me kid…I’m just an overpaid seaman.”  John was laid back and wise, the kind of mentor that one hoped to find, street smart and ready to help.

My first look at the Phillippines started here

More to come…

My Writing Post (Final Installment)

In addition to this blog, I am also writing a fantasy book, actually a trilogy.  The next few blog posts will discuss the story at length and what it is about.  I will endeavor to discuss why I wrote each chapter, and why I felt it was important to discuss what I wanted to discuss in the book.

When the Cranes
Return Again in spring:  Synopsis

When the cranes return again in spring is a story not just about one person’s quest, but it is about life’s quest in all of us.

Lorevele (Lōr-ĕ-vel) is a city under siege; its king and his daughter are locked in an argument.  She has a choice she must make, one that could affect the safety of her kingdom forever, while placing her own life in danger.  King Hautered (Haw-těr-id), of Laifetre’ (Lī-ěh-fě-trā) has signed an edict, that a she must marry his son, Gerenoux (zhěr-ěh-nō) within the week, or his mercenary army of 10,000 trolls will march upon Lorevele, and burn it to the ground.  Her father, the great King Rosenet (Roz-ă-nĕt), is opposed to this marriage.  He feels that his daughter must ride out to the four corners of every distant land, bringing together the peoples of every kingdom they have helped, and rally an Army to drive back Hautered’s army of 10,000 trolls into back Laifetre’.  Rosenet’s daughter Anisse (A-nee-săh) is convinced that her duty to her kingdom and her people is to marry Gerenoux, and she only has hours to finalize her decision.

It is rumored that Hautered has made a pact with the troll army.  In exchange for their services in securing the kingdoms of Matrimé (Mĕ-trém), Uvalde (Ū-val-děh), and Zoltanne (Zōl-tan), they would receive the kingdom of Lorevele as payment in kind.  Stories have come from far and wide, describing the brutality and fierceness of this troll army.  Fear has led many families to flee from the kingdom, while others have grimly decided to risk family in defense of their homes.
The debate between father and daughter relaxes for a moment, as Anisse is frightened by the shadows of cranes coming to flight.  Rosenet asks his daughter if he ever told her stories related to the annual migration of the cranes returning in spring.  It is this question that leads to the introduction of a saga that the king shares with his daughter.

The very introduction to When the Cranes Return Again in Spring is based upon change, and our fears that can sometimes be based on how we deal with change.  In asian lore, cranes are considered a sign of longevity.

The cranes’ beauty and their spectacular mating dances have made them highly symbolic birds in many cultures with records dating back to ancient times. Crane mythology is widely spread and can be found in areas such as the Aegean, South Arabia, China, Korea, Japan and in the Native American cultures of North America. In northern Hokkaidō, the women of the Ainu people performed a crane dance that was captured in 1908 in a photograph by Arnold Genthe. In Korea, a crane dance has been performed in the courtyard of the Tongdosa Temple since the Silla Dynasty (646 CE).

In Mecca, in pre-Islamic South Arabia, Allāt, Uzza, and Manah were believed to be the three chief goddesses of Mecca, they were called the “three exalted cranes” (gharaniq, an obscure word on which ‘crane’ is the usual gloss). See The Satanic Verses for the best-known story regarding these three goddesses.

The Greek for crane is Γερανος (Geranos), which gives us the Cranesbill, or hardy geranium. The crane was a bird of omen. In the tale of Ibycus and the cranes, a thief attacked Ibycus (a poet of the 6th century BCE) and left him for dead. Ibycus called to a flock of passing cranes, who followed the attacker to a theater and hovered over him until, stricken with guilt, he confessed to the crime.

Pliny the Elder wrote that cranes would appoint one of their number to stand guard while they slept. The sentry would hold a stone in its claw, so that if it fell asleep it would drop the stone and waken.

Aristotle describes the migration of cranes in The History of Animals, adding an account of their fights with Pygmies as they wintered near the source of the Nile. He describes as untruthful an account that the crane carries a touchstone inside it that can be used to test for gold when vomited up. (This second story is not altogether implausible, as cranes might ingest appropriate gizzard stones in one locality and regurgitate them in a region where such stone is otherwise scarce)

According to Japanese lore, a wish is granted to anyone who folds one thousand paper cranes. Watch the above video from Asia Society’s Education Department to see how schoolchildren at P.S. 154 in Brooklyn, New York, participating in Students Rebuild’s Paper Cranes for Japan project, got to work folding paper cranes,raising hope, and raising money to help Japan rebuild after the devastating March 11 earthquake and tsunami. (2 min., 12 sec.).

It is from these myths and legends that When The Cranes Return Again in Spring begins.

More to come…

Our story starts with a unicorn mired not only with thoughts of loneliness but a question forever locked within his mind: Where am I, how did I get here, where am I going?  The unicorn’s quest begins in a magical valley surrounded by high mountains that hide a sparkling lake passable only through the forest which he came.  The coolness of the lake is inviting to the unicorn. Dusty, dry, and tired, the waters of the lake are invigorating, and provide a sense of shelter in what he perceives as a dangerous world.

Like the unicorn, many of us can sometimes find ourselves in what seems like a safe place.  The location may feel safe at times, but in general, it may not be such a safe place to be…as the lake is surrounded by a very dark forest.

It is those perceived dangers that bring out fear in the unicorn, as he imagines the red glowing eyes of many a predator in the dense forest that surrounds the lake.  It is because of those fears that the unicorn begins to run for his life, leaving behind the magic of the lake, to enter the danger of a dark forest.

During a fight or flight situation, we may feel perceived danger.  Our pulse quickens, our heart races, and we decide whether we need to fight or run.

The unicorn runs for several hours until he finally slows down.  Finding himself mired in the sludge of a weed-ridden bog, the unicorn presses forward, ever mindful of a warm fog that begins to envelop him.  And it is in this fog, that the unicorn realizes that his memories are slipping away.  It is only by luck that the unicorn reaches a large tree, its branches withered and bent, surrounded by bouncing lights.  It is not until one of those lights approaches the unicorn that he realizes it is not just a light, but a fairy.

The unicorn meets his first friend, Humbalt (Hŭm-bălt).  A fairy purported to be over 5,000 years old, Humbalt is young for his age, a veritable wisp of a fairy when compared to the general population of the fairies who inhabit the tree, many of whom have ages spanning more than 10,000 years.  He befriends Rosenet, and offers his friendship and guidance so that he can complete his quest.

I decided to use a fairy as a mentor for the beginning of the quest, because he signified a minor thought that pushes Rosenet in a certain, specific direction.  Many times, we may start a major undertaking in our life with a small idea, or action.

Not long after the two have set off on the beginning of their quest, a third traveler is added to their group.  A princess of the kingdom of Matrimé, Pyridee is a strong young woman, who not only enjoys the hunt, but also the beauty of the world around her.  No one knows why she decides to join this group, but the three are a natural fit, the trio that forms the heart and soul of the unicorn’s quest to find his people and once again be reunited with them.

Pyridee epitomizes the new, present day woman.  She is strong, yet possesses a certain kind of fragility, almost worldly, yet naive in many ways.

More to come…

One thing I forgot to mention is that Humbalt is a healing fairy.  Those fairies with healing powers were generally known as “water fairies”.  The area that Humbalt is from is a swamp — thus, this fairy is borne of the water, so is also able to heal.  An interesting point is Rosenet, the unicorn.  His horn is also known as alicorn, known for its curative powers.  In some fantasy stories, as well as true stories, unicorn are hunted by man for their magical curative powers.

Within the next chapters, the three solidify their strength as a group with the addition of two others: Egarot (Egg-ĕ-rō) the griffon, and Anson (Ăn-sŏn) the mischevious, jittery elf.  It is the solidification of this group that allows Rosenet to overcome not only the dangers new lands, but also a persistent creature who attends to thwart their every move, named Sahame (Sĕ-hām).  It is in the second chapter that much of the back story is explained, and why the drive for Rosenet to find his lost people is so great.

Using a griffin and an elf, I drew upon the real meanings behind these types of characters.  The griffin was also thought of as king of the creatures. Griffins are known for guarding treasure and priceless possessions. In antiquity it was a symbol of divine power and a guardian of the divine. The elf is being used not only as a pivotal character, but in the old English tradition. English folktales of the early modern period commonly portray elves as small, elusive people with mischievous personalities.

The quest continues on until the group meets a very old and wise wizard named Gordoneste (Gōr-don-ĕst).   It is Gordoneste who explains all that happened to the lost tribe that Rosenet seeks, and of the final confrontation that must occur between the unicorn and his adversary, Sahame.  It is because of the final confrontation, that Rosenet’s friends unflinchingly offer their lives for his, faced instead with his imminent death, which Humbalt sacrifices his life, for that of the unicorn.  But the wounds are too great, the pain too grave, until Gordoneste decides to give the unicorn a second chance at life, as what he started; a human being.  In return for life however, is the price one must pay–that Rosenet’s memory will be gone, his life as a unicorn lost in time, forever.

When I saw Gordoneste in my mind’s eye, I pictured a wizened old man who stands as straight as a tree, and is as spry as a young man.  In medieval chivalric romance, the wizard often appears as a wise old man and acts as a mentor, with Merlin from the Matter of Britain representing a prime example.

More to come…

So begins the new life of the unicorn, in discovering what it is to be a man…what it is to win, to love, to gain, to lose.  It is this new Rosenet that suffers so many agonies in the pursuit of understanding himself, find the love of his life, losing her to another man.  Frustrated and distraught with pain and grief, he becomes a wanderer, finally regaining the love of one who was lost to him as a unicorn.  And like the cranes, return in spring to find anew, the preciousness of life in all its complexities, taking one day at a time.

The natural spring of life is in all of us.  Some of us prefer to ignore it, others squander it, while still others cherish it.  One look at many FaceBook pages, and you will notice people with hundreds of acquaintances.  Others with perhaps 50, maybe even only 5 or so.  But, if one looks at the numbers of friends that another accumulates, and another that accumulates only a handful, imagine how many lives we all touch…and like the unicorn, how many we can change, for good or ill.

The second book takes up where the beginning of the first book leaves off.  The daughter of Rosenet, convinced by the stories that her father shared with her, vows to herself to free her people on the verge of enslavement.  Her mission is to travel to the far corners of every kingdom in the known land, befriend them, and raise an army to defeat Hautered’s troll army.  This book focuses on Anisse, her quest, and her trials, as she rides forward with a new group, intent on saving a kingdom.

The second book, entitled “From Where the River Wends”, is about the twists and turns in our lives.  It is a quest of one person to win over the hearts and minds of perfect strangers…to ask those people for an offering of their souls, in order to save a small parcel of land, and an otherwise insignificant people.  It is one person’s drive to raise an army, in support of those who cannot; and regain their property, respect and peace of mind. 

The third book finalizes the responsibility of Anisse to raise an army to rescue her father, and restore security and peace to her kingdom.

As a parable to the second book, many discoveries talked about in the first book are “rediscovered” in the third book.  Questions are answered, mysteries unravelled, with a final plot twist that will answer the question, “Will Rosenet survive?”

My Writing Post (Cont. Installment #3)

In addition to this blog, I am also writing a fantasy book, actually a trilogy.  The next few blog posts will discuss the story at length and what it is about.  I will endeavor to discuss why I wrote each chapter, and why I felt it was important to discuss what I wanted to discuss in the book.

When the Cranes
Return Again in spring:  Synopsis

When the cranes return again in spring is a story not just about one person’s quest, but it is about life’s quest in all of us.

Lorevele (Lōr-ĕ-vel) is a city under siege; its king and his daughter are locked in an argument.  She has a choice she must make, one that could affect the safety of her kingdom forever, while placing her own life in danger.  King Hautered (Haw-těr-id), of Laifetre’ (Lī-ěh-fě-trā) has signed an edict, that a she must marry his son, Gerenoux (zhěr-ěh-nō) within the week, or his mercenary army of 10,000 trolls will march upon Lorevele, and burn it to the ground.  Her father, the great King Rosenet (Roz-ă-nĕt), is opposed to this marriage.  He feels that his daughter must ride out to the four corners of every distant land, bringing together the peoples of every kingdom they have helped, and rally an Army to drive back Hautered’s army of 10,000 trolls into back Laifetre’.  Rosenet’s daughter Anisse (A-nee-săh) is convinced that her duty to her kingdom and her people is to marry Gerenoux, and she only has hours to finalize her decision.

It is rumored that Hautered has made a pact with the troll army.  In exchange for their services in securing the kingdoms of Matrimé (Mĕ-trém), Uvalde (Ū-val-děh), and Zoltanne (Zōl-tan), they would receive the kingdom of Lorevele as payment in kind.  Stories have come from far and wide, describing the brutality and fierceness of this troll army.  Fear has led many families to flee from the kingdom, while others have grimly decided to risk family in defense of their homes.
The debate between father and daughter relaxes for a moment, as Anisse is frightened by the shadows of cranes coming to flight.  Rosenet asks his daughter if he ever told her stories related to the annual migration of the cranes returning in spring.  It is this question that leads to the introduction of a saga that the king shares with his daughter.

The very introduction to When the Cranes Return Again in Spring is based upon change, and our fears that can sometimes be based on how we deal with change.  In asian lore, cranes are considered a sign of longevity.

The cranes’ beauty and their spectacular mating dances have made them highly symbolic birds in many cultures with records dating back to ancient times. Crane mythology is widely spread and can be found in areas such as the Aegean, South Arabia, China, Korea, Japan and in the Native American cultures of North America. In northern Hokkaidō, the women of the Ainu people performed a crane dance that was captured in 1908 in a photograph by Arnold Genthe. In Korea, a crane dance has been performed in the courtyard of the Tongdosa Temple since the Silla Dynasty (646 CE).

In Mecca, in pre-Islamic South Arabia, Allāt, Uzza, and Manah were believed to be the three chief goddesses of Mecca, they were called the “three exalted cranes” (gharaniq, an obscure word on which ‘crane’ is the usual gloss). See The Satanic Verses for the best-known story regarding these three goddesses.

The Greek for crane is Γερανος (Geranos), which gives us the Cranesbill, or hardy geranium. The crane was a bird of omen. In the tale of Ibycus and the cranes, a thief attacked Ibycus (a poet of the 6th century BCE) and left him for dead. Ibycus called to a flock of passing cranes, who followed the attacker to a theater and hovered over him until, stricken with guilt, he confessed to the crime.

Pliny the Elder wrote that cranes would appoint one of their number to stand guard while they slept. The sentry would hold a stone in its claw, so that if it fell asleep it would drop the stone and waken.

Aristotle describes the migration of cranes in The History of Animals, adding an account of their fights with Pygmies as they wintered near the source of the Nile. He describes as untruthful an account that the crane carries a touchstone inside it that can be used to test for gold when vomited up. (This second story is not altogether implausible, as cranes might ingest appropriate gizzard stones in one locality and regurgitate them in a region where such stone is otherwise scarce)

According to Japanese lore, a wish is granted to anyone who folds one thousand paper cranes. Watch the above video from Asia Society’s Education Department to see how schoolchildren at P.S. 154 in Brooklyn, New York, participating in Students Rebuild’s Paper Cranes for Japan project, got to work folding paper cranes,raising hope, and raising money to help Japan rebuild after the devastating March 11 earthquake and tsunami. (2 min., 12 sec.).

It is from these myths and legends that When The Cranes Return Again in Spring begins.

More to come…

Our story starts with a unicorn mired not only with thoughts of loneliness but a question forever locked within his mind: Where am I, how did I get here, where am I going?  The unicorn’s quest begins in a magical valley surrounded by high mountains that hide a sparkling lake passable only through the forest which he came.  The coolness of the lake is inviting to the unicorn. Dusty, dry, and tired, the waters of the lake are invigorating, and provide a sense of shelter in what he perceives as a dangerous world.

Like the unicorn, many of us can sometimes find ourselves in what seems like a safe place.  The location may feel safe at times, but in general, it may not be such a safe place to be…as the lake is surrounded by a very dark forest.

It is those perceived dangers that bring out fear in the unicorn, as he imagines the red glowing eyes of many a predator in the dense forest that surrounds the lake.  It is because of those fears that the unicorn begins to run for his life, leaving behind the magic of the lake, to enter the danger of a dark forest.

During a fight or flight situation, we may feel perceived danger.  Our pulse quickens, our heart races, and we decide whether we need to fight or run.

The unicorn runs for several hours until he finally slows down.  Finding himself mired in the sludge of a weed-ridden bog, the unicorn presses forward, ever mindful of a warm fog that begins to envelop him.  And it is in this fog, that the unicorn realizes that his memories are slipping away.  It is only by luck that the unicorn reaches a large tree, its branches withered and bent, surrounded by bouncing lights.  It is not until one of those lights approaches the unicorn that he realizes it is not just a light, but a fairy.

The unicorn meets his first friend, Humbalt (Hŭm-bălt).  A fairy purported to be over 5,000 years old, Humbalt is young for his age, a veritable wisp of a fairy when compared to the general population of the fairies who inhabit the tree, many of whom have ages spanning more than 10,000 years.  He befriends Rosenet, and offers his friendship and guidance so that he can complete his quest.

I decided to use a fairy as a mentor for the beginning of the quest, because he signified a minor thought that pushes Rosenet in a certain, specific direction.  Many times, we may start a major undertaking in our life with a small idea, or action.

Not long after the two have set off on the beginning of their quest, a third traveler is added to their group.  A princess of the kingdom of Matrimé, Pyridee is a strong young woman, who not only enjoys the hunt, but also the beauty of the world around her.  No one knows why she decides to join this group, but the three are a natural fit, the trio that forms the heart and soul of the unicorn’s quest to find his people and once again be reunited with them.

Pyridee epitomizes the new, present day woman.  She is strong, yet possesses a certain kind of fragility, almost worldly, yet naive in many ways.

More to come…

One thing I forgot to mention is that Humbalt is a healing fairy.  Those fairies with healing powers were generally known as “water fairies”.  The area that Humbalt is from is a swamp — thus, this fairy is borne of the water, so is also able to heal.  An interesting point is Rosenet, the unicorn.  His horn is also known as alicorn, known for its curative powers.  In some fantasy stories, as well as true stories, unicorn are hunted by man for their magical curative powers.

Within the next chapters, the three solidify their strength as a group with the addition of two others: Egarot (Egg-ĕ-rō) the griffon, and Anson (Ăn-sŏn) the mischevious, jittery elf.  It is the solidification of this group that allows Rosenet to overcome not only the dangers new lands, but also a persistent creature who attends to thwart their every move, named Sahame (Sĕ-hām).  It is in the second chapter that much of the back story is explained, and why the drive for Rosenet to find his lost people is so great.

Using a griffin and an elf, I drew upon the real meanings behind these types of characters.  The griffin was also thought of as king of the creatures. Griffins are known for guarding treasure and priceless possessions. In antiquity it was a symbol of divine power and a guardian of the divine. The elf is being used not only as a pivotal character, but in the old English tradition. English folktales of the early modern period commonly portray elves as small, elusive people with mischievous personalities.

The quest continues on until the group meets a very old and wise wizard named Gordoneste (Gōr-don-ĕst).   It is Gordoneste who explains all that happened to the lost tribe that Rosenet seeks, and of the final confrontation that must occur between the unicorn and his adversary, Sahame.  It is because of the final confrontation, that Rosenet’s friends unflinchingly offer their lives for his, faced instead with his imminent death, which Humbalt sacrifices his life, for that of the unicorn.  But the wounds are too great, the pain too grave, until Gordoneste decides to give the unicorn a second chance at life, as what he started; a human being.  In return for life however, is the price one must pay–that Rosenet’s memory will be gone, his life as a unicorn lost in time, forever.

When I saw Gordoneste in my mind’s eye, I pictured a wizened old man who stands as straight as a tree, and is as spry as a young man.  In medieval chivalric romance, the wizard often appears as a wise old man and acts as a mentor, with Merlin from the Matter of Britain representing a prime example.

More to come…

My Writing Post (Cont.)

In addition to this blog, I am also writing a fantasy book, actually a trilogy.  The next few blog posts will discuss the story at length and what it is about.  I will endeavor to discuss why I wrote each chapter, and why I felt it was important to discuss what I wanted to discuss in the book.

When the Cranes
Return Again in spring:  Synopsis

When the cranes return again in spring is a story not just about one person’s quest, but it is about life’s quest in all of us.

Lorevele (Lōr-ĕ-vel) is a city under siege; its king and his daughter are locked in an argument.  She has a choice she must make, one that could affect the safety of her kingdom forever, while placing her own life in danger.  King Hautered (Haw-těr-id), of Laifetre’ (Lī-ěh-fě-trā) has signed an edict, that a she must marry his son, Gerenoux (zhěr-ěh-nō) within the week, or his mercenary army of 10,000 trolls will march upon Lorevele, and burn it to the ground.  Her father, the great King Rosenet (Roz-ă-nĕt), is opposed to this marriage.  He feels that his daughter must ride out to the four corners of every distant land, bringing together the peoples of every kingdom they have helped, and rally an Army to drive back Hautered’s army of 10,000 trolls into back Laifetre’.  Rosenet’s daughter Anisse (A-nee-săh) is convinced that her duty to her kingdom and her people is to marry Gerenoux, and she only has hours to finalize her decision.

It is rumored that Hautered has made a pact with the troll army.  In exchange for their services in securing the kingdoms of Matrimé (Mĕ-trém), Uvalde (Ū-val-děh), and Zoltanne (Zōl-tan), they would receive the kingdom of Lorevele as payment in kind.  Stories have come from far and wide, describing the brutality and fierceness of this troll army.  Fear has led many families to flee from the kingdom, while others have grimly decided to risk family in defense of their homes.
The debate between father and daughter relaxes for a moment, as Anisse is frightened by the shadows of cranes coming to flight.  Rosenet asks his daughter if he ever told her stories related to the annual migration of the cranes returning in spring.  It is this question that leads to the introduction of a saga that the king shares with his daughter.

The very introduction to When the Cranes Return Again in Spring is based upon change, and our fears that can sometimes be based on how we deal with change.  In asian lore, cranes are considered a sign of longevity.

The cranes’ beauty and their spectacular mating dances have made them highly symbolic birds in many cultures with records dating back to ancient times. Crane mythology is widely spread and can be found in areas such as the Aegean, South Arabia, China, Korea, Japan and in the Native American cultures of North America. In northern Hokkaidō, the women of the Ainu people performed a crane dance that was captured in 1908 in a photograph by Arnold Genthe. In Korea, a crane dance has been performed in the courtyard of the Tongdosa Temple since the Silla Dynasty (646 CE).

In Mecca, in pre-Islamic South Arabia, Allāt, Uzza, and Manah were believed to be the three chief goddesses of Mecca, they were called the “three exalted cranes” (gharaniq, an obscure word on which ‘crane’ is the usual gloss). See The Satanic Verses for the best-known story regarding these three goddesses.

The Greek for crane is Γερανος (Geranos), which gives us the Cranesbill, or hardy geranium. The crane was a bird of omen. In the tale of Ibycus and the cranes, a thief attacked Ibycus (a poet of the 6th century BCE) and left him for dead. Ibycus called to a flock of passing cranes, who followed the attacker to a theater and hovered over him until, stricken with guilt, he confessed to the crime.

Pliny the Elder wrote that cranes would appoint one of their number to stand guard while they slept. The sentry would hold a stone in its claw, so that if it fell asleep it would drop the stone and waken.

Aristotle describes the migration of cranes in The History of Animals, adding an account of their fights with Pygmies as they wintered near the source of the Nile. He describes as untruthful an account that the crane carries a touchstone inside it that can be used to test for gold when vomited up. (This second story is not altogether implausible, as cranes might ingest appropriate gizzard stones in one locality and regurgitate them in a region where such stone is otherwise scarce)

According to Japanese lore, a wish is granted to anyone who folds one thousand paper cranes. Watch the above video from Asia Society’s Education Department to see how schoolchildren at P.S. 154 in Brooklyn, New York, participating in Students Rebuild’s Paper Cranes for Japan project, got to work folding paper cranes,raising hope, and raising money to help Japan rebuild after the devastating March 11 earthquake and tsunami. (2 min., 12 sec.).

It is from these myths and legends that When The Cranes Return Again in Spring begins.

More to come…

Our story starts with a unicorn mired not only with thoughts of loneliness but a question forever locked within his mind: Where am I, how did I get here, where am I going?  The unicorn’s quest begins in a magical valley surrounded by high mountains that hide a sparkling lake passable only through the forest which he came.  The coolness of the lake is inviting to the unicorn. Dusty, dry, and tired, the waters of the lake are invigorating, and provide a sense of shelter in what he perceives as a dangerous world.

Like the unicorn, many of us can sometimes find ourselves in what seems like a safe place.  The location may feel safe at times, but in general, it may not be such a safe place to be…as the lake is surrounded by a very dark forest.

It is those perceived dangers that bring out fear in the unicorn, as he imagines the red glowing eyes of many a predator in the dense forest that surrounds the lake.  It is because of those fears that the unicorn begins to run for his life, leaving behind the magic of the lake, to enter the danger of a dark forest.

During a fight or flight situation, we may feel perceived danger.  Our pulse quickens, our heart races, and we decide whether we need to fight or run.

The unicorn runs for several hours until he finally slows down.  Finding himself mired in the sludge of a weed-ridden bog, the unicorn presses forward, ever mindful of a warm fog that begins to envelop him.  And it is in this fog, that the unicorn realizes that his memories are slipping away.  It is only by luck that the unicorn reaches a large tree, its branches withered and bent, surrounded by bouncing lights.  It is not until one of those lights approaches the unicorn that he realizes it is not just a light, but a fairy.

The unicorn meets his first friend, Humbalt (Hŭm-bălt).  A fairy purported to be over 5,000 years old, Humbalt is young for his age, a veritable wisp of a fairy when compared to the general population of the fairies who inhabit the tree, many of whom have ages spanning more than 10,000 years.  He befriends Rosenet, and offers his friendship and guidance so that he can complete his quest.

I decided to use a fairy as a mentor for the beginning of the quest, because he signified a minor thought that pushes Rosenet in a certain, specific direction.  Many times, we may start a major undertaking in our life with a small idea, or action.

Not long after the two have set off on the beginning of their quest, a third traveler is added to their group.  A princess of the kingdom of Matrimé, Pyridee is a strong young woman, who not only enjoys the hunt, but also the beauty of the world around her.  No one knows why she decides to join this group, but the three are a natural fit, the trio that forms the heart and soul of the unicorn’s quest to find his people and once again be reunited with them.

Pyridee epitomizes the new, present day woman.  She is strong, yet possesses a certain kind of fragility, almost worldly, yet naive in many ways.

More to come…

Working ’til it hurts

It is 12:44 a.m., and I am working on my blog.  We were entertaining a visitor today, so I have not had a lot of time to think about what to write.  Sufficed to say, my eyes are burning, my ideas are not coming to mind and I am sore from head to toe.  On that note, I leave you with a poem that I wrote long ago.  I never entered this poem into any kind of contest, but it is copyrighted.

The Joust

‘Twas upon a field bright and gay,

An errant knight died one day.

For women he held close-at-heart,

One very near, and one apart.

A tournament joust he came to play,

Sporting banners the breeze did flay.

With lance and sword of finest gold,

A champion true, the bards all told.

A lady fair did he enchant,

Admirer of the knight-errant.

Another still as yet untold,

Was yet a love that could unfold.

For promise to the lady fair,

The errant knight did state a care.

Unwed twice his temple woe,

He took her-a maiden-long ago.

Yet, in his heart was lodged a lump,

A savage fever for a trump.

A Queen of Hearts he’d fallen for,

Another dream, unclaimed amor.

Life with either one a charm,

He did not want to give one harm.

So secret his confessed desire,

The Queen of Hearts, his hidden fire.

So ere he went out to the field,

The lady’s pendant he would yield.

And from the Queen of Hearts he shied,

A look of shock and smile to hide.

A bane did he confess to her,

A passion in his heart.

A constant longing did he harbor,

Her love to him impart.

For both alike were the two,

The Queen of Hearts and knight-errant.

Love for the lady too; imbued,

Both were so verdant.

Then forth upon the field to play,

The knight rode out in trumpet’s bray.

Announce to him a good knight won.

An undefeated champion.

Cheers rang out among the crowd,

The deafening din a cry aloud.

To open up the gates of hell,

Which spawned the errant knight’s love spell.

Lances up, both breached each other,

Gloves enclasped, exchange good tide.

The errant knight then turned to smother,

A feel of dread he could not hide.

Love the two he did indeed,

He readied then, his mighty steed.

Trapped he felt, by his heart’s blunder,

Lance low, charged on hooves of thunder.

Fast the adversary came,

In that moment-split, a thought,

Grew into the good knight’s brain:

I can’t have both-Lord give me naught.

Hard hit he was, his helmet struck,

The champion’s lance-his throat had tuck.

Two cries he heard upon the field,

As unto death-grip he did yield.

The Queen of Hearts and lady fair ran out to the knight-errant.

First ired was the lady fair; she took from him her gold pendant,

A look of grief replaced the smile the Queen of Hearts did rend,

And so the errant knight found that the joust was at an end.

‘Fore death’s long sleep to him embraced,

Satisfaction crossed his face.

Seeing glistening tears upon her tress,

He laid his head upon her breast.

Though blessed by the eternal knife,

He’d found the true love of his life.

To him a peace had come to pass,

He’d won his joust-of-love at last.

Copyright 1987  R.M. Almeida

Anisse

Anisse is a shade of my oldest daughter (since the story was originally written for her).  My initial picture of Anisse was of a delicate princess with ebony hair, soft, delicate-looking skin, dressed in white.  After I had a chance to work with the character, I saw a young woman accustomed to riding horses, trained in working with weapons as exercise, graceful, yet strong.  Headstrong and filled with confidence, Anisse had to have a weak spot.  I decided that though for all intents and purposes, Anisse looks and acts like a teenager, she is thousands of years old.  Yet, Anisse has no idea of her real age, or anyone she has known.  Anisse is unaware that she has grown up time, and time again.  Watching those around her die of old age, while she retained her grace and beauty has been hard on her.  Taking a husband is out of the question, because ultimately, Anisse would watch him grow older and older, to finally die of age, while she would never age a day.

Anisse is an anachronism in her world, a veritable Methusaleh who seems never to age.  Unfortunately for Anisse, she will soon be cast out into the world to prove her mettle by recruiting an army to save her kingdom, or marry into the very kingdom that threatens to overrun the peace and tranquility of her own lands.

Rosenet

The father of Anisse and the husband of Pyridee, Rosenet is the son of Atlas and Circe, and a former unicorn to boot.  As a unicorn, he grows up in fear of his world, and unsure of where to go, or what to do.

I patterned Rosenet after myself. 

As a child, I grew up in a very strict household.  If I did anything wrong, justice was doled out by my father as swiftly and surely as lightning in an electrical storm.  My mother constantly complained that she could not handle me, and would complain to my father about what I did when he came home.  My mother’s favorite statement when I was growing up was “wait until your father comes home”.  That meant that I was going to get the beating of my life after my father came home from work.  Dad was in the Air Force, and had a nasty habit of using his metal buckle on me to drive his point home at times.  Other times, he would remove it, and slap me with it doubled over.  It only took a few years for me to dread my father coming home, or even spending any time with him.  My father also used “the corner” as a means of keeping me in check.  He would have me stand in the corner, facing a wall with my hands behind my back.  I can remember hours, facing the wall, a couple of times actually falling asleep standing up — other times my feet becoming numb as a result of standing for such a long time. 

As I grew older, my father gave up using his belt, and by the time I was in Junior High School (Middle School), he had resorted to using his hands and fists instead.  My father’s favorite statement was that I was going to be a “ditch digger” because he felt I did not apply myself.  My mother, on the other hand, always asked me why I couldn’t be like her friend’s son, or my sister, or anyone else that I knew.  It was questions such as these by my parents, that fostered a loathing for both of them.  My mother would not accept me for the myself, warts and all, and my father had given up on me long ago.

The household that I grew up in was very violent.  Dad just didn’t know how to react to what I did, and in frustration, lashed out the only way he knew how.  My mother already saw herself as weak and insignificant in those days.  Between the two of them, I grew insolent and unruly, to the point of having to leave home at the age of 14.

I spent 2 years in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  It was in Ann Arbor that I learned more about the world than I cared to know.  I lost my best friend in the winter of 1973.  He fell three stories into a cement stairwell, striking his head against a cement wall that surrounded the stair.  He had taken 6 thorazine, 7 stellazine, and 4 qualudes prior to his fall.  We were told that he probably did not feel a thing.  His funeral felt like a farce to me.  No one cried for him, even me.  I cried for him as the van I was riding in pulled away from the mortuary, feeling sad for the fact that his family did not even seem to care that he died.  His mother was dressed in a low-cut black dress, and fainted every few minutes.  His father, while busy catching his mother, did not seem fazed by anything going on, while his brother and sister played the entire length of the funeral.

Ann Arbor was a party town, and I learned how to party.  I experimented with psychotropic drugs in those days, not as an escape, but as an attempt to open my mind up to new experiences.  What I found was that I despised losing control of my thoughts, feelings and actions, only to become mired in trying to figure out what was reality and what was not.  I began smoking at 14, since my family was not with me to influence any behaviors.  I learned the gospel according to Doctor Eric Berne, and the New Testament as told by Fanita English, Thom Harris, and Jackie Schiff.  I took and passed written tests normally taken by college juniors and seniors for psychotherapy.  I was ready in one year for my degree at 16.  Ann Arbor had permanently changed my life; preparing me for the most turbulent years of my life.

By the time I was 19, I was responsible for getting my girlfriend pregnant, and I was on my way down a dark path.  I was afraid, not knowing what to do with my life.  My only recourse at the time was to join the military.  It was the military that gave me a course to steer by.  My problem was that I had a tendency to make the same mistakes over and over again.  I ended up staying in the military for 20 years, a veteran of numerous conflicts, and 3 failed marriages with 4 children from those unions.

If a person has never been in the military, they do not know how many of us (military) feel when we leave the service.  Many of us have problems adjusting to civilian life.  For many of us, the military is akin to being institutionalized for the major part of our life.  We don’t know how to take care of ourselves.  For those of us who spent a lot of time aboard ships, we don’t know how to cook very well, because we had food served to us.  Unless we were cooks, we might know how to fry eggs, toast bread, etc.  Finding employment is difficult as well.  I was a Radar Navigator/Intelligence Specialist/Missile Specialist.  I found out that I suck at sales.  The only thing I could do well at the time was type or teach.

Like the Rosenet, the character that I describe in “When the Cranes Return Again in Spring”, he is looking for a path in his life.  He does not know quite where he fits.  He thinks he has a family, but he is not certain of any facts.  He feels that he is being hunted by something, that he is constantly being shadowed, and that in short, his life sucks.  The character Rosenet, is a lesson in personal growth. He has to find himself, discover love, relationships, and how to survive in life.  It is not until the end of the book, that the reader discovers what fate has in store for him, and like the story of my life that I described, he must learn how to grow and blossom in a world that becomes very different for him, affecting not only himself, but everyone around him.

When the Cranes Return Again in Spring

Chapter One:

The Time of Great Change

“Princess!”  Talia made her way through the halls of Lorevele castle in the direction of the armory, scurrying as fast as she could to begin lighting sconces in preparation for the onset of darkness.  A rotund middle-aged woman, a tattered green shawl was draped about her jiggling red bodice as she walked briskly among the castle halls, racing the lengthening shadows that seemed to proclaim the coming of night.  Retrieving an oiled torch, and lighting it from an urn filled with burning tar, Talia proceeded on her rounds, calling out for Princess Anise, who she had not seen for the better part of the day.  “Princess Anise?” Talia cried out again, pausing to touch the lit end of the torch to the oil-drenched sconces protruding every now and then from the walls.  “Princess?  Talia walked briskly now, touching sconces to her right and her left with the torch, deftly lighting each sconce as she passed by it.
Oh, for heaven’s sake, where’s that child got to? ” Talia touched the torch to sconce after sconce, a mutter issuing deep from the back of her throat.  “Every time, she’s always galavantin’ about, never where she’s supposed to be, when she’s supposed to be there.”  Talia paused to tip the torch against another sconce, peering around a corner, looking up a blind flight of stairs to shout out “princess” again.

“There’s gonna be the devil to pay, you can be certain of that,” she complained to herself, lighting sconces along a narrow corridor as she continued to press forward.  “Princess…” she spied a slight shadow, darting into an anteroom at the far end of the hall as she proceeded again to finish a line of sconces.  “Princess Anisse, please…” the woman begged.  “An old woman like me hasn’t the energy ta be chasin’ ya all over creation and back.”  The woman entered an anteroom, continuing on her brisk errand, spying the shadow once again retreating to another hall as she continued to light sconces on either side of the walls.  “Princess?”

The shadow ahead of Talia picked up speed, as if trying to avoid her.  Talia turned right to flank her, proceeding straight down a short hallway, touching the torch to sconces secured against the walls, her curiosity now piqued.  “Can’t be Anisse, she wouldn’t do this ‘ta me,” she whispered, touching the torch to sconce after sconce.  Turning left, and taking a short right passage, Talia quickened her pace again, touching the torch to a few more sconces on her way, surprisingly agile for her girth and age.  Lunging forward, around a blind bend, and to her right once more, the woman touched the torch to three more sconces, to stand solidly in front of the figure she had seen just moments before.  “Princess Anisse,” she chided, placing her hand on the shoulder of the hooded figure, “Why didn’t you answer…?”  The figure whirled around to disclose not the face of the princess, but the round face of Anna, a simple scullery maid.  “For heaven’s sake child,” the older woman shrieked, touching the torch to a nearby sconce.  “Where did the princess go, and what are you doing in her clothes?”

The Beginning of a Story

When the cranes return again in spring is a story not just about one person’s quest, but it is about life’s quest in all of us.   What I am posting now, is far from the original version that I finished in 1986.  My original version was a poetic saga.  It was derived from another original short saga I had composed, called “Clownsong” — borne of a failed relationship that left my heart in a shambles.  “When the Cranes Return Again in Spring” was a fictional account of my life that I wrote for my oldest daughter.  At the time, I had received a letter from my ex mother-in-law, telling me that she needed my help to get my daughter away from her mother.  The letter told me how my daughter was being physically abused by the man that her mother was living with.  I had come from a very hard life myself.  The last thing I wanted was for my daughter, my princess to go through the same kind of Hell that I had been through.  I would have given my life for her if I could have.  It was not until much later, that I found out my oldest daughter had been subjected to a lot of abuse at the hands of the men her mother had picked to share her life with.

So, “Cranes” as it would come to be shortened to (when I talked about it), was a work of frustation and futility.  The story was an attempt by me to show my daughter how to protect herself.  I was determined to create my own world for her, based on the trials that I had gone through myself.  A student of mythology, I grew up with an insatiable appetite for myth and legend.  “Cranes” was my own legend that I had created.  It was a work of love as well as a scary place to revisit.  There is a lot of pain in the first book for me.  I have done my best to create a dissociation to my past.  I cannot begin to describe those days, but I will endeavor to in this blog.  I am creating this as a companion to “When the Cranes Return Again in Spring”, in the event it is finally released for sale.

So, to the lore of the story — the background imagery that will hopefully be written someday.

The Lore

The story actually starts with my prologue, the ancient city of Atlantis.  It is once again, the era of magic and the stuff of legend.  Times are hard, but in this dismal past, a people become known throughout the world, the people of Atlantis.  But, what survives them are not legendary deeds, or technological advances, or even the fact that they become a wealthy people.  But, does survive them is a simple shell that they wear about their necks.  I’m sure you’ve seen the shells before — brilliantly white, long elegant conch shells that end in a wicked-looking point.  They are special because of not their size, nor their rarity (they can only be found in the waters off of the coast of Atlantis), but that they bring the wearer fortune and luck.  Why, look at the people of Atlantis!  They wear them every waking moment.  Anyone can tell a person of Atlantis, not by the silks that they wear, or the jewelry around their hands, fingers, arms, but the long, slender shells that suspend from their necks by the most delicate-looking, strongest rope ever conceived — some say made from seaweed that also grows only in and around the waters of Atlantis.

The cataclysm of Atlantis is sudden and sure.  No one knows exactly what happened to the people, only that they left their island in a day.  Nothing is left to tell us of their wonderful city.  Or their expansive lands. 

The only thing that survives is an old wives’ tale that the people of Atlantis became the very first unicorns.  Thousands upon thousands of unicorns that populated the world overnight.  Magical creatures with a long wicked-looking horn, very sharp, that curled up from their foreheads.  It is also said that on occasion, if one was lucky, a unicorn would cross the path of a human, bringing them good fortune and great wisdom for the rest of their lives.  That was, until the unicorn was hunted down by man.  It was said that an English queen had a piece of a unicorn’s horn, later to be known as alicorn. 

No one knows what happened to the unicorn, some said that we hunted them to extinction.  Other stories that they were hunted by an evil that continues to pursue them for all time.  And there are still other stories that the unicorn are here among us.  If you are lucky, you may meet your unicorn one day.  Your unicorn may come to you in the guise of any being, even a person.  Some stories have been circulated that because the unicorn were once human, one of them was given another chance as a human to make the world a better place.  There are stories that the original unicorn had children, long-lived children at first, but children today, who are descendants of that original unicorn, possessing their ability to make the world a better place for us all.  That is the unicorn who will change your life — offer you another path to take — for good or ill.  And the only way you will discover you are in the company of a unicorn is by their smile, a disarming, gentle smile.

The Story 

Lorevele (Lōr-ĕ-vel) is a city under siege; its king and his daughter are locked in an argument.  She has a choice she must make, one that could affect the safety of her kingdom forever, while placing her own life in danger.  King Hautered (Haw-těr-id), of Laifetre’ (Lī-ěh-fě-trā) has signed an edict, that a she must marry his son, Gerenoux (zhěr-ěh-nō) within the week, or his mercenary army of 10,000 trolls will march upon Lorevele, and burn it to the ground.  Her father, the great King Rosenet (Roz-ă-nĕt), is opposed to this marriage.  He feels that his daughter must ride out to the four corners of every distant land, bringing together the peoples of every kingdom they have helped, and rally an Army to drive back Hautered’s army of 10,000 trolls into back Laifetre’.  Rosenet’s daughter Anisse (A-nee-săh) is convinced that her duty to her kingdom and her people is to marry Gerenoux, and she only has hours to finalize her decision.

It is rumored that Hautered has made a pact with the troll army.  In exchange for their services in securing the kingdoms of Matrimé (Mĕ-trém), Uvalde (Ū-val-děh), and Zoltanne (Zōl-tan), they would receive the kingdom of Lorevele as payment in kind.  Stories have come from far and wide, describing the brutality and fierceness of this troll army.  Fear has led many families to flee from the kingdom, while others have grimly decided to risk family in defense of their homes.

The debate between father and daughter relaxes for a moment, as Anisse is frightened by the shadows of cranes coming to flight.  Rosenet asks his daughter if he ever told her stories related to the annual migration of the cranes returning in spring.  It is this question that leads to the introduction of a saga the king shares with his daughter.

Our story starts with a unicorn mired not only with thoughts of loneliness but a question forever locked within his mind: Where am I, how did I get here, where am I going?  The unicorn’s quest begins in a magical valley surrounded by high mountains that hide a sparkling lake passable only through the forest which he came.  The coolness of the Lake is inviting to the unicorn. Dusty, dry, and tired, the waters of the lake are invigorating, and provide a sense of shelter in what he perceives as a dangerous world.

And very quickly, it is those perceived dangers that bring out fear in the unicorn, as he imagines the red glowing eyes of many a predator in the dense forest that surrounds the lake.  It is because of those fears that the unicorn begins to run for his life, leaving behind the magic of the lake, to enter the danger of a dark forest.
 

It is not until the unicorn has run for several hours that he finally slows down.  Finding himself mired in the sludge of a weed-ridden bog, the unicorn presses forward, ever mindful of a warm fog that begins to envelop him.  And it is in this fog, that the unicorn realizes that his memories are slipping away.  It is only by luck that the unicorn reaches a large tree, its branches withered and bent, surrounded by bouncing lights.  It is not until one of those lights approaches the unicorn that he realizes it is not just a light, but a fairy.
It is here that the unicorn meets his first friend, Humbalt (Hŭm-bălt).  A fairy purported to be over 5.000 years old, Humbalt is young for his age, a veritable wisp when compared to the general population of the fairies who inhabit the tree, many of whom have ages spanning more than 50,000 years.  He befriends Rosenet, and offers his friendship and guidance so that he can complete his quest.

It is not long after the two have set off on the beginning of their quest for a third traveler is added to their group.  A princess of the kingdom of Matrimé, Pyridee is a strong young woman, who not only enjoys the hunt, but also the beauty of the world around her.  No one knows why she decides to join this group, but the three are a natural fit, the trio that forms the heart and soul of the unicorn’s quest to find his people and once again be reunited with them.

Within the next chapters, the three solidify their strength as a group with the addition of two others: Egarot (Egg-ĕ-rō) the griffon, and Anson (Ăn-sŏn) the jittery elf.  It is the solidification of this group that allows Rosenet to overcome not only the dangers of new lands, but also a persistent creature who attempts to thwart their every move, named Sahame (Sĕ-hām).  It is in the second chapter that much of the back story is explained, and why the drive for Rosenet to find his lost people is so great.

The quest continues on until the group meets a very old and wise wizard named Gordoneste (Gōr-don-ĕst).   It is Gordoneste who explains all that happened to the lost tribe that Rosenet seeks, and of the final confrontation that must occur between the unicorn and his adversary, Sahame.  It is because of the final confrontation, that Rosenet’s friends unflinchingly offer their lives for his, faced instead with his imminent death, which Humbalt sacrifices his life, for that of the unicorn.  But the wounds are too great, the pain too grave, until Gordoneste decides to give the unicorn a chance at life, as what he started; a human being.  In return for life however, is the price one must pay–that Rosenet’s memory will be gone, his life as a unicorn lost in time, forever.
So begins the new life of the unicorn, in discovering what it is to be a man…what it is to win, to love, to gain, to lose.  It is this new Rosenet that suffers so many agonies in the pursuit of one.  Only to one day regain the love of one who was lost.  And like the cranes, return again to find anew, the preciousness of life, in all its complexities, taking one day at a time.

The second book takes up where the first book leaves off.  The daughter of Rosenet is convinced by the stories that her father shared with her, that what is important is to travel to the far corners of every kingdom, and raise an army to defeat Hautered’s troll army.  It is this book that focuses on Anisse, her quest, and her trials, as she rides forward with a new group, intent on saving a kingdom.
R.M. Almeida