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Review: American Monsters

Relating tales of close encounters with unexplained creatures through out America, AMERICAN MONSTERS is a useful guide to writers who may want more information about particular legends, or be looking for inspiration. Compiled by Linda S. Godfrey, published by Tarcher/Penguin in 2014. Her book covers a wide assortment of strange creatures including Air born creatures, the Jersey Devil and of course Bigfoot stories.

Godfreys book is a comprehensive guide including pre-columbian legends and eyewitness reports. Godfrey is known as one of the foremost experts on mysterious creatures and has written various books on the subject.


Raised as a servant in a world dominated by beasts, Kyra is taught the way of survival alongside the children of royalty. When her family is given its freedom, she experiences life always on the run from other beasts that would capture and enslave her. And when her parents go missing, she has to learn to rely upon herself and her horse, Storm.

Even with her wiles, she is finally captured and sold into slavery in the kingdom of the Holstein, a master race of bovine. Fortunately for her, she is treated well. When she shows her abilities, she earns the respect, and ear, of her Master, Prince Meateus.

This trust is crucial when an expedition, led by Prince Meateus, is taken across lands unknown to the bovine, in order to find the Lost Cities of the race of humans. But there is one among them who would see the Prince meet up with an accident, and the expedition fail. With members of the Cat and Canine races among the adventurers, it seems hardly likely that such a fate could befall the Prince.

However, as they make their way along, discovering new worlds and learning new things, his life (and those of others) are saved time and time again by the quick-thinking Kyra. And the beasts discover that there is an intellect still alive in the race of human.





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I’ll be posting any review shortly. Thought I would share a story I’m currently revising which I plan to be part of an anthology: Claws, Fangs and Broomsticks. This tale is entitled Vampire Girl . Let me know what you think of this first chapter.

There was no moon in the sky, darkness covered the land like a blanket. There wasn’t much in the little room, a canopy bed, table with a candle, and a chair by the door. Who am I? Isabella Montevaldo wondered. What am I? The quick and easy answer flashed through her mind; you are the daughter of Razvan Montevaldo – vampire.

Isabella turned as the door opened. Ana-Marie entered the room; the old woman had acted as the girl’s nanny since infanthood.

Ana-Marie wore a black cowl and hood. Her usual stoic face was cracked by a smile. She moved slowly, like crossing a floor of broken glass. What brought pleasure to the woman this night?

“Good evening dear,” Ana-Marie said.

Isabella smiled, “Good evening Ana-Marie.” She soaked in the woman’s smile. “What puts you in a fine mood this evening?”

Ana-Marie looked around the dark room. She waved her hand, and flames ignited from the candles.

Impressive, Isabella thought and smiled. She could do a few things of her own; things that a vampire could do. Like, shape shift.

“You child,” Ana-Marie replied. “Soon ye shall’t be a full fledged vampire as dawns your 21st birth year,” her old voice seemed to creak as she spoke, but a certain giddiness oiled the hinges of her vocal chords. “Joyous forever youth, my child.”

Ana-Marie walked to the window and looked outside.. Her shoulders trembled at the chilly air. “Tis a beautiful night.”

Isabella liked the cool temperatures, so long as it didn’t get below 50 anyway. “Yes, it is, and I’m rather excited myself.” There was so much she wanted to do.

“Well, come along,” Ana-Marie said as she took Isabella’s hand.

Compelled by her boredom, Isabella once again queried, “Ana-Marie, you think father will let me go out an explore the world?” Isabella asked, her voice echoing sadness.

“Oh, dear,” Ana-Marie said, her voice was slow and low. “You know how he fears to let you leave the mansion.”

“Doesn’t he trust me?” Isabella asked as she followed Ana-Marie from the room.

“Course he does, dear,” Ana-Marie said. “Tis others he don’t trust; if they find what you are – they’d kill you.” Her voice choked toward the end of her statement.

“So, what am I that would worry anyone?” Isabella asked.

“Why, you are the daughter of Razvan Montevaldo.” Ana-Marie said. The answer that didn’t really help much.

Ana-Marie chuckled. “Now don’t go feeling sorry for yourself princess.”

Her hand clutched the railing as Ana-Marie descended the spiral staircase. Isabella followed her feeling a bit impatient with the woman’s cautious pace, but patience, father said, was a virtue.

“I just want to get out, see the world, meet new people,” Isabella said.

“You know how your father feels about that,” Ana-Marie replied. “Humans are dangerous to such as us; they hate us.” She paused, looking at Isabella with sad hound-like eyes. “And you.” She paused, turned and started walking again.

“What makes us so different from them?” Isabella asked.

“Why we be their monsters,” Ana-Marie as if the question surprised her. “Witches, vampires.”

I’m a vampire, at least half-vampire and half—human. Come to thing of it, what exactly am I? Isabella mused to herself.

The staircase led straight into the livingroom. Through there they walked to the diningroom.

Over the rectangular dinner table swung a candelabrum. The table was covered by a white cloth and surrounded by wooden high-back chairs. Father sat at the head of the table, a smile creased his pale white face; dressed in black he was tall and thin; his head was bald as an egg. Razvan Montevaldo was ancient, but he never discussed his age: time has no meaning to such as us.

“Nosferatu Jr.” Ana-Marie quipped and father smiled. Isabella was lost as to their meaning.

What did it mean to be human? Or even monster? Isabella wondered.

Razvan smiled as he looked at his daughter. He rose and waved his hand, his bony fingers extending from the palm. A chair pulled itself out for Isabella and she sat down.

“I want to go and see more of the land,” Isabella heard herself blurt out. Her eyebrows rose; wasn’t often she voiced her inner thoughts.

Father’s eyebrows twitched and he looked at her. A dead man placed a plate of mutton and baked potato in front of her father. “Why my dear? Everything you could need we have here.”

Except other people, Isabella thought, hoping it wasn’t too ungrateful to feel that way.

The dead man carried some food to Isabella. She eyed the plate hungrily; the man was very tall, over six-feet, with course skin and a face frozen in the expression of the somberness of death. Father called him Harold.

“Thank you Harold,” Isabella said. The dead man grunted.

“I want to see other people father, meet other people see what is going on in the world.” Isabella said.

Razvan issued an exaggerated sigh. “I knew one day you might wish to leave.” His face began to register sadness.

“Father, I just want to explore.” Isabella said.

“I understand my precious,” Razvan replied. “Really, I do. But, it is dangerous out there and I worry for your safety.”

“Those who call themselves human kind are dangerous to us,” Ana-Marie stressed as she slowly approached to the table.

Harold looked to the old woman and grunted.

“No thanks Harold, I’ve already eaten.” Ana-Marie said.

Harold grunted again.

“But there’s no one here except us,” Isabella said. She looked down as her fork stabbed the food. “I’d like to see more places.” She forked a piece of mutton into her mouth. “

“Does it matter?” Razvan asked. “They are all the same.” He paused a moment and looked at her. “Centuries I mean.”

Isabella smiled. She knew what he meant.

“You’re safe here,” Ana-Marie added.

Harold pulled a chair out for Ana-Marie and she sat down. Isabella looked at them, thinking they were cute. Could the dead feel emotion?

“Father,” Isabella’s tone tensed with exasperation. “I can’t stay cooped up in here forever.”

“Why not?” Razvan questioned. “It’s a nice castle.”

“Isabella, dear,” Ana-Marie said. “Your father is doing what he feels best. He loves you.”

“I know,” It just didn’t help anything.

“I think it is a mistake,” Ana-Marie said. “They do horrible things to their own kind,” a far-away look came over her face as though reflecting on something from her past. “Yet they call us monsters.”

Razvan growled. He looked to his food and stabbed a fork into the mutton. “I’d rather not discuss this anymore tonight.”

“Very well father,” Isabella said.

“Very well father.” She smiled and changed the subject. “I’ve been practicing my shape shifting.” She finished the last of her dinner. “I can become a bat, a wolf or a snake.”

Razvan smiled proudly, “Very good my dear. Very good.”

“Really?” She was feeling a bit impish. “What good is it if I have no one to show off for?”

“You have me, Ana-Marie and the staff,” Razvan said.

Isabella stood, held out her arms. She enjoyed showing off, and the change felt like nothing. She just closed her eyes and visualized, first a bat; then, a wolf and finally the snake.

Razvan laughed and clapped his hands. “Very good my darling.” He stood, and dissolved into the darkness.

Isabella became human again. “I’ve got to master that.”

Razvan reappeared with a smug smile. “It’s all a matter of focus and concentration my dear.” He paused and sat back down. “As you imagine yourself a snake or a bat, you visualize yourself becoming part of nothingness.”

Harold began clearing away the empty plates and glasses. Ana-Marie watched in an absent minded fashion.

Isabella wondered if Ana-Marie had known Harold when he was alive. Was she the one who brought him to “life.” Could there be some interesting parts to that story? Her mind played with the idea of torn lovers for a bit.

Then Isabella wiped her lips with a napkin, “Well, I shall be in the library.”

“Have fun darling Isabella,” Razvan said.

Turning, Isabella walked through a dark hallway. She pushed open a door and entered the library. The darkness was dispelled by the illumination of some torches and some strange lights floating about the ceiling. Witchcraft? She wondered/

A bag of bones behind the desk promptly came to life, “Isabella, Isabella,” He called in a weak voice. “Nice to see you.”

“Hello,” She only knew him as the librarian and Isabella was only assuming it was a ‘him.’ “Got any new books?”

“The latest Charlaine Harris,” The librarian said. A book floated up from the desk and into Isabella’s hands.

A raven flew into the room through an open window. It carried a book in its beak, which it dropped on the desk. The bird then landed on the desk.

“Oohh,” The librarian said in an excited tone and stroked the bird’s feathers. “Thank you Caw-Caw; the latest Harris book.”

The librarian did seem to like this Harris’ books.

“What troubles you?” The librarian asked. “Your father won’t let you go into the human world?”

“Yeah,” she replied glumly. Maybe if she got away in the daytime, no one would notice. Father slept during the daylight hours. But, Isabella had long ago found she didn’t need to.

But, would running away in the daytime be fair to father an Ana-Marie? They were so good to her. Her face fell to the floor.

“Isabella,” The librarian’s voice called her back. A stack of books was on the desk, his open hand gestured toward them. “Some books you may enjoy.”

Isabella walked to the desk and scanned the titles. There was history, fictional works by assorted authors; and a couple other books one on automobiles, and another on famous sorcerers.

“Thanks,” Isabella said to the librarian. She lifted up the seven books into her arm and started to the door. It opened automatically.

Glancing back, Isabella saw that the Librarian was engrossed in a book. She smiled and the door closed behind her.

On returning to her room she dropped her stack of books and plopped down onto the bed. Grabbing a Harris book, Isabella glanced to the open window. The wind seemed to be calling her name. There was an old record the librarian had brought in and sometimes played on his Victrola record player thing. It was called Where the Wild Goose Goes. About a man whose lot was to wander and see new things. She could sympathize with the man in that song.

Reading through the book, the song replayed in her mind. The outside still seemed to call her name and her heart began to race. Setting the book aside she rose and walked to the window. Standing there, fear filled her, this was something she’d never done before – just taking off, but the call of the wild goose, was powerful. She focused on being a bat.

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review – blogging for writers


Picked up a bunch of writing related books from the library, so I’m going to try and get some reviews done before they are due back. the library is my favorite place to get books, because they are free and if I don’t like the book no money is lost. Not only writing books will be included in my upcoming reviews, but other books that writers can make use of and additional material from which one may learn.

Today’s book is Blogging For Writers, by Robin Houghton, published by Writer’s Digest Books, publication date: 2014.

While the book primarily focuses on blogging with WordPress and, it also mentions some of up and coming sites such as svbtle, medium, and ghost. The author goes into considerable detail about working with WordPress or Blogger, with details on setting up an account and managing your blog.

The author discusses how blogging is helpful to writers – “On your blog you are the publisher-you are in total control of what you put on it and how you present it.” Houghton discusses how the blog is a key element of your author platform.

Houghton provides information on how to get your blog noticed, connecting with Facebook and Twitter, and other helplful pieces of information. It is a very useful resource for writers and beginning bloggers. I give it four out of five chickens.

Links of Interest

Grammer Rules – Debunking 10 Grammer and Novel Writing Myths

My Links

Age of The Beasts

War Of The Beasts – Amazon

Feel free to make comments, suggestions, requests.

Current Work –

Animation Script for Age Of The Beasts – Lost Cities

Novel – In The Blood

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Publish Your Book – Proven Strategies and Resources For The Enterprising Author by Patricia Fry

Publisher Allworth Press

Publication Date: 2012

Aimed for the new and aspiring author, this book contains useful information on the writing process, as well as how to obtain literary agents and/or publishers. It opens with the basic self-exploration questions including mythbusters for new writers and questioning “why do you want to write?”

From there it proceeds to discuss issues such as finding a publisher/agent and marketing to the right audience. Self-publication issues are also considered by the author, weighing pro’s and cons and providing strategic advice.

The author also lists resources to look into for book reviews, which is always a useful thing, as she notes book reviews are very useful in increasing sales.

Fry’s book provides both realism and encouragement to new writers. Its faults are in the datedness of some of her self-publishing information, for instance Adobe’s PageMaker has been replaced by InDesign, and Alta Vista is no longer the best search engine. It would have been nice for more information on publishing through Amazon, which she provided little detail on.

Despite its faults, it is still a useful reference guide for writers, though I would recommend looking it up at the library or finding it on the cheap as an updated version could soon be released.

My own books are still up on amazon, Age Of The Beasts the Lost Cities and War Of The Beasts.

AOB flyer

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Page by Page and Day by Day

I have been reading THE GENESIS QUESTION by Hugh Ross, an interesting book that addresses problems people have with the book of Genesis. He tries to use science to explain why God and the Bible are true. I gather that he is an old earth believer, and a pre-millinialist as he references the future rein of Christ. I find the book a bit of a touh read because of his wording, but he does raise some good points about issues dividing scientists and religious people. He goes into the history of the science-Christian divide and explains things from both viewpoints.

One thing I have noticed is that no matter who I am reading, whether old earth or new earth believer, they all want to argue that the Nephilim in Genesis were the result of human and angel matins. I have trouble with that idea, for one thing I’m not sure either angels or demons have sex or the need for it. I have always believed they were just men regarded as heroes in their time.

I’ve never been totally interested in studies on creation or age of the earth, because to me it is not so important. The Bible does not say you will be lost if you believe the earth is a billion years old nor saved if you believe it is 6,000 years old. Salvation is dependant on your relationship with Christ and living the Christian life as best one can and obeying the Lord’s commands.

It is my intent to do a chapter by Chapter study of Ross’s book. Dr. Hugh Ross has a Bachellor of Science degree in physics from the University of British Columbia. He also has a master of science and doctorate degrees in astronomy from the University of Toronto. He has also served as a minister of evangelism at the Sierra Madre Congregational Church.He directs the Reasons To Believe Institute founded to research and proclaim the factual basis for faith in God and the Bible.

The GENESIS QUESTION was published in 1998 by Navpress.

Chapter One

A Personal Journey

He begins by exploring his reasons for addressing the topic, to examine the problems people have with the Genesis creation story. He quotes the Apostle Paul’s ad ice to test everything and see what holds water and what does not. He believes the first 11 chapters of Genesis can be tested scientifically and proven accurate.

“In the physics of the universe I saw harmony and consistency, perfection, freedom from contradiction, a pervading beauty and an elegance of design.” – Hugh Ross, p.11.

Bible Studies:


Tribulation time.

Matthew advised: “Whoever reads, let him understand.”

Among images: “Abomination of Desolation” – Daniel 12:11;11:31

Referred to ANTIOCHUS EPIPHENES who reportedly entered the temple and placed his idol there. He also pillages and looted the temple.

Used in Matt. as a precursor to what happens when the messiah comes and the Jewish Age ends. Nothing was rebuilt after second destruction (77a.d.)

This time the Abomination of desolation was the Romans.

  1. 19-perilous difficulty of travel, horrible treatment of peoples. Josephus records terrible treatment of women and other carnage.
  2. 21 – worse than ever before or since
  3. 22 – also II Cor. 2- false signs.

Many people think refers to final coming of Christ, but still talking about destruction of Jerusalem.

  1. 34 also Mark 9:1
  2. 28 – eagles represent Romans, whose banner was an eagle.

Luke 21: 20 spoke of the Roman armies surrounding Jerusalem.

  1. 29 apocolyptic language referring to a great tragedy. Symbolism used elsewhere in the Bible.
  2. 30/Mark 14:52

Many premillinialists believe these verses refer to the final coming of Christ and a kingdom yet to come. They believe this has not yet been fulfilled.

Before 1900 all Bible scholars agreed these passages referred to the destruction of Jerusalem.

Key terms used in these verses used elsewhere in the Bible. Such terms include: “Lord resting on clouds.”

Jer. 4:13 – Juda, like clouds of horses swifter than eagles

Is. 13:9, 34:4 – similar language referring fall of Babylon

Joel 2:2

Ezekiel 32 – Egypt

All use similar or same language referring to a time of great catastrophy. Not literal. All judgement language

Regards to judgment on Jerusalem. Jesus’ comments similar to what Old Testament writings said foreign armies would do to Israel/Judah. Indicates God used foreign armies to punish disobedience.

Nero sent Vespatian to quell a Jewish uprising, he killed, burnt and pillages. Pushed to Jerusalem, the walled city, at Passover. During Passover Jews from all around the world had come to celebrate at Jerusalem.

Nero died and Vespatian was recalled to replace him. Titus was sent to finish what the Roman general had started. Titus arrived the first day of Passover. The siege lasted 134 days or 3-4 months.

The Romans killed 1.3 million Jews in the purge, many died at the hands of their fellows and because the zealots refused to let anyone leave the city and killed whoever tried.

The zealots still expected the Christ to come and rescue them.

According to historical sources Titus tried to be merciful and fair and that he was heartbroken at what happened to Jerusalem.

While the Romans treated those who successfully deserted, rumors spread that they had ingested gold and silver and the mercenaries hired by Rome, ripped open many stomachs to retrieve the gold and silver.

The Temple, where zealots holed up in a final desperate act, was destroyed.

While Josephus mentions nothing about followers of Christ in these writings, some sources indicate they had fled and survived.

All family records were kept in the Temple and were destroyed. No one of the Jewish line would be able to trace their ancestry to show what tribe they descended from.

Matt. 26:64 – “You have said so,” Jesus replied. “But I say to all of you: From now on you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven” referring to destruction of Jerusalem.

Matt. 24:34: Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.

Pre-Millinialists believe referring to as yet time, but context does not fit. About taking of Jerusalem which happened during that generation.

  1. 29-31 regards destruction Jerusalem
  2. 35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

Three questions were posed in these verses:

  • when these things would happen
  • signs of Christ’s coming
  • end of the age while they had believed it was the end of the world, this was because they could not conceive of the temple being destroyed as Christ had said. It was actually a reference to the end of the Jewish age.

24:36 – But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.

24:37-38: “But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. “For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark,”

II Peter 3 – simile of Noah

Contradicts the idea of wars and rumors of war, people just lived their lives.

I Thess. 5 when men say peace and safety –

Matt 24: 40, 41 – used by some when talking about the rapture. One taken, anther left behind.

However, more like the parable of the 10 virgins, some taken and some left

II Peter 3:9 God is long suffering and not willing that any should perish

Luke 18:8 will still be saved people but Gospel will have stopped growing.

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Rescue The Princess CH. 2

Chapter Two

Flight of The Princess

I won’t lower myself to scream you filth, thought the princess as her airborne captors tossed her from one to the other like some toy. Playing a game of catch with her, the woman’s blood ran cold. How could she escape? It was a long drop. Oh, the fall didn’t bother her it was the stopping that worried Erica.

Spinning around, she found herself on the back of one of the beasts. It shrieked and twirled around, as the others scattered about. Pushing on its wings, she made the creature dive down.

Erica could see she was over farmland. No telling how far they’d gone from the castle. It was trying to shake her off as they fell lower to the ground, and soon raked the branches of a tree. It was her best shot; she ditched her ride, for a branch. The creature, hissing, looked back at her and slammed into a tree.

As she struggled to hang on to a branch and get some balance, Erica began to slip. She heard the tearing of her dress from pokey little sticks and stuff. It was such a pretty garment too; her maids had gone to so much trouble. Then her branch snapped. Her soundless mouth opened wide as the princess plummeted down.

She splashed into some water, then pulled her groggy head up. Things slowly began to straighten out as her eyes flickered. Her arm hurt a lot, like a bad sprain or something. Rising she shakily walked to the shore and collapsed.

The tree to which she’d hung had been partially in the waters. Good thing she wasn’t hurt any worse.

“What are you?” A small voice called.

Erica’s head lifted, she looked around – nothing. “Who’s there?”

“Me?” Now she saw it, with wings of a butterfly, a pointy eared little humanoid, about the size of a butterfly as well. That was it, a Butterfly Fae.

“I-I am Princess Erica,” She said, trying to rise. Her body ached too much.

“I am Paul,” the creature replied. “Wait right here, I’ll get you help.”

“Please hurry Paul,” Erica asked. She didn’t want to be around when the others came looking for her. Which they would once they realized she was gone.

Erica crawled under the shade of a tree. It would protect her from the view of sky born things. One would think a Devil like Lord Demonus could have better lackeys. Of course father always said good help was hard to find these days.

Looking up the tree Erica noticed a feline sitting on one of the branches. It was black, with a tail that wrapped around the thick branch like a snake. The creature had a wide smile on its face as it looked down on her.

What manner of beast was it? Erica wondered. So, if this thing killed her would that defeat Demonus’ plans? He must need her alive, otherwise he’d surely have killed the young princess. So, if this creature killed her and ate her? What then?

But, someone was nearing. The cat made a low pitched purr noise and ascended into the tree.

A young woman garbed in a lather made pantsuit and blouse ran to her, looking up at the ascending cat she shouted, “Away Gre-grump, seek your meal somewhere else.”

The cat gave a throaty roar in reply.

Gre-grump? Thought the princess. She struggled to rise as the young woman helped her.

“Greetings,” the girl said. She wore a straw hat over light blonde hair, her eyes were a nice grassy green. “I am Cassandra Caine.”

“Erica Goldenrod,” The princess replied.

“Princess?” The word came from the woman’s mouth as a sound of shock. Erica put an arm around Cassandra’s shoulders.

Supporting the princess, Cassandra helped her to a nearby wagon. It was a rickety looking little thing with a leather covering, and drawn by a horse that looked rather aged.

“What brings you here?” Cassandra asked. She settled Erica in the wagon’s back and promptly bowed.

“Please, rise,” Erica said and explained the whole story.

Rising to her feet, Cassandra was obviously still shaken and unnerved in the presence of the princess. She spoke, “An honor to meet you your highness.” She bowed her head again and again. “You are the direct descendant of the first man, your skin even still retains the dim brown coloring of the creating clay.” The girl was positively exuberant as she jabbered.

It was kind of cute, how this Cassandra carried on, thought Erica, but at the moment she hurt too much to fully appreciate it. How old was she? Maybe she was a couple years younger than the princess?

Erica wasn’t so certain she believed those old stories. “Yes, yes, but right now I am in distress.”

“Oh, of course,” Cassandra said. “I shall take you to my home straightway.” The she paused in midstep, “Or perhaps, I should go on to Count Marduke Issachar so he can tend to you most properly. Or perhaps, leave you at my place to recover and fetch the Count’s men to aid you.”

Erica let loose an exasperated blast of wind. “Just take me to your place, I need to recover and hide.” She paused, “We can decide the rest later.”

“Oh, yes, of course Your Majesty.” Cassandra made for the wagon driver’s seat. “T’won’t be so grand as you’re used to Your Highness, but it’s all I’ve got.”

“Thank you,” Erica replied. She hated to get impatient with the well meaning girl, but she was tired and she hurt. Soon, she was unconscious.

The world came back into view as her eyes opened. She lay in a bed covered by a thick quilt. The home smelled of smoke, the room looked fairly burnt, and roughly repaired. Sitting up, she saw the moon’s bright rays glistening through some cracks. A pitcher of water and a cup lay on the table next to her. A noise drifted into her house, the playing of a flute –which soon ceased.

The door creaked open and Cassandra entered, that cheery smile on her face, she held6 something in her hands. “Oh, good, you’re awake Your Majesty.” Again she bowed.

Enough with the kneeling and bowing, Erica thought. “Is that your flute?”

“Yes, it was a birthday gift from my brother,” sadness was in her eyes.

“You play very well,” Erica said. The girl’s face brightened and the princess continued. “So, is your family about? I should really thank them for their hospitality.” Reward them even as would be most proper.

Cassandra’s face drooped again. “No.”

By the look of her sadness something tragic must have happened, the princess reasoned. She motioned for Cassandra to come and sit by her.

Cassandra didn’t move, but looked to the princess, “Can I get you something to eat?”

Come to think of it, she was hungry. “Yes,” Erica said. “That would be good.” She wondered about the girl’s family and the condition of the house, but out front asking would be improper.

Spinning about like a twister, Cassandra went to get the princess some food. Erica smiled; she hurt a little less now. She moved to rise, wrapping the quilt about herself. So it is now night, she thought. Brother would be leading the army searching for her; maybe even her fiancée would be with them. But, if the Lord Demonus attacked them, or found her here and attacked – the latter would put this poor girl in danger.

There was only a partial roof over the main room. A fire blazed in the fireplace. Looking up, Erica gazed on the crescent moon and wondered why this Cassandra chose to stay here.

“Oh, Your Majesty,” Cassandra called, turning from the cook stove. “I’ll have some food momentarily.”

Erica smiled at her and went to sit by the fire. She recalled in her youth, sitting by the fireplace with mother, father and Barron.

Whatever the girl was cooking, it smelled tasty. Some meats? The girl was seasoning with whatever she had.

A Butterfly zipped over to her, “Hi, I’m Paul.” The small fae said in a squeaky little voice.

“Hello Paul, I’m Erica,” the princess replied. She sat on the floor, the quilt pulled snugly about her. She put a smile on her face. “Nice to meet you.”

“Fresh baked rabbit,” Cassandra announced as she carried the meal to Erica. “Garnished with mushrooms and celery.” She sat the food before the princess, and sat there on her knees.

Erica looked at her, “Where is your meal?”    “Oh, I’ve Already eaten Your Highness.” Cassandra replied.

Erica wondered if indeed she had. “I hope so.” the rabbit tasted pretty good, she thought; it was even marinated with some honey.

“So,” Erica looked around her surroundings. “What happened here, if I may ask.” She hated to intrude much into the woman’s personal world, but was curious. Also, as royalty, it was her duty to take an interest in her subjects.

“Grasshoppers,” Cassandra said. “You see, three years ago mother died,” she paused. “Well, I guess that has little to do with the whole story, but it hit father pretty hard.”

“I imagine,” Erica said.

“So, the farm began to fall behind,” Cassandra explained. “And every year the Grasshoppers demand a tribute of the farmers.”

“Wait,” Erica said. “Grasshoppers? Bugs?”

Cassandra nodded her head. “Father couldn’t make his contribution so they burned our farm.” She paused, tears were drizzling in her eyes. “Brother tried to fight them but he was killed.” She shook her head “Father-“

“I’m sorry,” Erica said. She felt sadness in her. “Did the Lord of the lands give you aid? Did he seek retribution against these – bugs?” He should never have permitted such actions in his territory.

“He rented me the men to bury my family,” Cassandra said. “But, well, we’re not his problem.”

“Rented?” Erica felt anger bubble up inside her. The girl seemed so calm and casual about it all. But the Lord Issachar had not acted well. Father would need to have a word with him.

Maybe she could take this poor girl under her wing, make her a lady of the court. She did need reward for the aid she provided the princess.

“What’s it like being engaged?” Cassandra asked.

“I love it,” Erica replied, feeling a rush of enthused pleasure reinvigorate her body. “It has been exciting, and Prince Arjen is quite a man.” She paused, he will make an excellent king one day.

“I wish I could find a love,” Cassandra said. “All the boys around here are either already with someone, or looking to the wealthier girls.”

Erica shook her head. “I’m sure you will find your man someday.”

Erica paused, looked up at the crescent moon. “I remember standing in the light of a full moon with Arjen, holding his hand.” She smiled. “I looked at him and said, “On your knees slave.”

Cassandra’s eyes widened in shock, “You speak that way to your husband to be?”

“Well,” Erica felt a little uneasy now. “It’s not what you say it’s how you say it.”

Cassandra nodded her head.

From the distance came the baying of wolves. Erica shuddered, thinking of the snarling things with their gnashing fangs. Actually she licked wolves, normal ones anyway. Not the ones controlled by the Wolf Master.

“They must be hunting me,” Erica said. Fearful for her new friend, she asked. “Have you anyway of defending yourself?”

“Fret not,” the Butterfly Paul called. “The Butterfly Fae League shall protect you.”

“Thank you Paul,” Cassandra said. “We must of course see to Her Majesties safety.”

Paul nodded his head.

“If only I had my sword,” Erica mused.

“You have a weapon?” Cassandra asked.

“Of course, as the King’s daughter I am required as much as Prince Barren to master fighting skills.” She paused. “How can the people support a leader who cannot fight?”

“Your thinking seems much different than that of Lord Issachar.” Cassandra said.

“Paul,” Erica turned to the Fae. “How do your people plan to protect us?”

“Easy,” Paul said, beaming a brilliant gold. “We can block the wolves from scenting you, confuse them, and send them repugnant smells scents that drive them off, get their legs stuck in grass.”

“Very good my little friend,” Erica said.

Cassandra set a cup of some steaming beverage before the princess, “Honey tea.” She smiled.

Erica took a sip, “Very good.” Almost like pure honey.

The wolves continued to howl. If there were a way to get power over them

“Why does Demonus care if you become High Empress?” Cassandra asked.

“The High Empress of the kingdoms commands a lot of power,” Erica said. “I can command the obedience of – others,” maybe even the wolves.

“Wow,” Cassandra said. “That must be great.”

“Mhmm,” Erica replied. It was. “So, Demonus wants to prevent a new High Empress from being enthroned, from uniting the kingdoms, and maybe more.”

Cassandra’s eyes bugged and her jaw dropped. “Could you command the grasshoppers to leave us alone?”

“I think so,” Erica said. She wasn’t entirely sure what those creatures were though.

Smiling, Cassandra held her flute in her hands, “Would you mind?”

“No, please, play.” Erica said.

The woman began playing her flute. It was a nice tune. Erica closed her eyes and listened. The meal and drink were very good and soothing.

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