For The Last Time, People Don’t Suck!

Hello dear reader(s)!

Have you ever dealt with one of those people who just hates everyone?  Who thinks humanity is just a plague that needs to be cleansed from the planet?  Has dealing with them ever made you wonder why they just don’t start with themselves even though you hate the thought of someone actually committing suicide (with the exception of the Trump administration and his Congressional pets)?

I will admit, people can suck.  We have done horrible things to each other, to animals, and to the environment we rely on to sustain us.  People can be selfish, hateful, unfeeling, awful people.  They can be.

And those awful people. those that drop chemical weapons, those that manufacture those weapons, those that covertly supply those weapons, those that then put on a multi-million dollar fireworks show in what they claim is a response to the use of those weapons but is really just an attempt to distract from the investigation of collusion between those awful people and those responsible for backing the use of those weapons… those awful people get a lot of attention.

However, there are many, many more of us.  There are those who donate their own blood and organs to save strangers.  There are those that work tirelessly to ensure that people have a place to sleep and food to eat.  There are those who rescue unwanted and abused animals saved from the kinds of awful people that are currently getting all the attention.

The word “awful” has to be put in front of people when I write of the awful people because to call them simply people is to assign a humanity to them which they are clearly lacking.  I don’t have to put the word “good” in front of people to say that most people do not suck.

People have power.  People are being misled by awful people into thinking they do not.  People are being turned into awful people by the awful people in order to keep them from retaking the power that rightfully belongs to them.

Prior to the United States Civil War, then Presidential nominee Abraham Lincoln famously said that a house divided against itself cannot stand.  The awful people know this and are using it to break the will of the people.

They feed us stories of tragedy and terror.  Fear and suffering.  Hatred and evil.  A constant twenty-four hour barrage of information analyzed and justified by paid pundits to do one thing and one thing only… keep the people from seeing that most of us, just want to live in peace and take care of themselves and their loved ones.  That most people do not suck.  That if we could all understand who is keeping us from a better life in peace, things would change very rapidly.

At the end of a news segment, you have one short story about something good.  A puff piece designed to cover their agenda.   A way to pretend they have balance in their coverage.

Most news stories aren’t even useful news.  Rarely does a news entity cover who is backing a candidate’s run for office, what they received in donations, how those donations corresponded to their votes, what bills are being presented at state and local levels that receive bi-partisan support, or anything else that will help to keep an informed citizenry.

Instead, the news is filled with stories designed to scare you.  Shootings.  Bombings.  A conveniently placed next story about refugees or immigration and then you have people fearing those who they need not fear.  You do not hear about how sociopathic someone must be to fire hundreds of millions of dollars in cruise missiles to boost their poll numbers while cutting programs to help people eat.  You do not hear about how absolutely evil someone must be to drop bombs on a country because their government massacres them while leaving our doors closed to those who flee.   You are fed stories designed to make you fear the man on your block or the poor person in another country, instead of the people who can and will order the deaths of hundreds of people because they are where your buddies want to build an oil pipeline.

People do not suck.  People are awesome.  People are powerful.  Awful people suck.  Right now, the awful people are winning because they are successfully convincing some people that the threat is the people just trying to get by like themselves, and not the ones who are pulling all the strings.

The problems aren’t created by the poor people.  They aren’t created by the middle class or the upper-middle class; they aren’t even created by the rich.  But the ultra-rich in this world, I can guarantee you, have done some very horrible things to amass that amount of wealth.  No matter how they try to make up for it on the back-end with their foundations (even if most are just for publicity), they never would have gotten there without destroying lives.  By holding onto so much of it, they destroy even more.

People don’t suck.  People are being forced to compete for the scraps left behind by the awful people.  They are forced to undercut each other to sell their labor for nothing more than a chance at survival.  People become desperate, and may do some things that suck.  But people, in general, do not suck.

Awful people suck, and one day, I sincerely hope that people raid their palaces and suck away all of their ill-gotten gains.

And then I’ll be okay with those people who think people suck.

MyThursdayPost

Sandalwood remained in the air for days after she was last in his arms, only serving to make it even harder for him to think about anything else.  He was doing his best to distract himself from his thoughts of her, but was failing miserably.  Despite his miserable failure at self-distraction, he was far from miserable.

He was ecstatic to be missing someone so greatly.  He knew she would return to him.  The emptiness he felt in his arms was just a side effect of the anticipation and excitement he felt for the next time they were together.  And the time after.  And the time after that.  He started to look at the things he knew were upcoming, and to imagine her there by his side.

Their chemistry was incredible, but there was so much more than that.  She was a friend.  She understood him, and he understood her.  They matched each other or complimented each other in every matter of importance they had so far come across.  They had their own unique take on things that didn’t conflict with the perspectives they individually held so dear.

So yeah, I can’t wait to see her again.

Anyway, my appointment yesterday sucked.  I basically paid $40 for another referral.  Good thing I got referred to him, and not the people he referred me to.  So ridiculous.  My records were already there.  He already knew he wanted to refer me to other doctors (a good idea), but why not call me and cancel the appointment first, and set up the referral?  So he could bill my insurance, and get my co-pay, that’s why.

I have a terrible stomach ache.  It is better than yesterday and the night before, but it still hurts.  I’m sure whoever I end up talking to about it will refer me to another specialist who might refer me to a different specialist who will do nothing.  I’m so motherfucking sick of the healthcare system in this country, and Trump hasn’t even gotten his grubby, tiny hands on it yet.

On a related note, I wanted to say goodbye to all of you, since the likelihood of all life on Earth ending increases exponentially starting tomorrow.  I will likely say goodbye on all my posts, just in case.

I’m about to reschedule my therapy appointment.  I had to cancel due to the last time the roads were too icy, and delayed reschedule until after the ice storm that never came.  The extended forecast looks good, so I think I will try again.  I could really stand to get some things off my chest, like this shirt, because it is party time!

I got laundry done today, so that was nice.  I wasn’t supposed to be in town today, but something happened that required postponement of the plans I had made.  It is a good thing, not what happened, but that my plans were postponed, since I am feeling kinda cruddy and needed the rest.

Then I penned this letter to my family…

Dear family,

We have just returned from a trip into a few blocks away in Missouri where we got big amounts of everything to eat and everything we eat is so good to me as I had been starved out so long on protein powder, all that we got while we were here besieging Independence.  Over there we got sweet potato fries, chickens, molasses, and Peach Nehi.  How I do wish I could be at home now, for it is getting late in the afternoon and the General says that we shall attack at Dawn.  This makes me sad, as Dawn always seemed rather nice, and is a good dish soap.  The enemy still holds their positions in Independence, and we have now returned from our trip and taken the high ground above them near a car lot.  You must excuse this letter as I have written in great haste.  The General wants me to wear my assless chaps to her tent again, and be there in 5 minutes.  My love to you and all, except for Amy, because she’s a bitch.  Write when you can, and make it a long letter, because I’m anxious to hear from you.  Oh, and send money.  

Ellis Albert Swearengen (Just kidding, C-NT!)  

Anyway, yeah, today is a nice rest day.  I hope you are all well.  I miss you.  Say hi to Margaret and the kids.  Tell them that their father asked me to look after them because he didn’t make it back from Independence, but I declined, because they are rotten bastards!

 

 

 

Time To Rise

Hello dear reader(s)!

It is time to stop crawling.  It is time to stop bowing to the hate that has invaded our lives.  It is time to rise against the forces that threaten us.  It is time to fight back.

A desire for peace has for too long been interpreted as weakness or an unwillingness to fight.   Appealing to reason has been seen as appeasement.  We have attempted to work with those who oppose us despite their unwillingness to do the same.

We’ve played within the rules of a game that is rigged against us.

As we have seen, it is a game that we can not win.

This isn’t about voting, or the electoral college, or the popular vote, or anything else related to this particular election.  This is about those who have forced us to choose between two of the most hated candidates to ever run for office.  This is about those who have forced us to watch as our government is sold to the highest bidder.  This is about those who have a responsibility to report the news and the truth yet sit by and let people lie to us for their ratings.

So how do we fight them?

We can start by identifying our opponents.

It isn’t Trump, or Trump supporters.  I don’t like them, I hate Trump, but he isn’t the problem here.

As irresponsible as their votes for a racist misogynist are, I am sure most of them actually aren’t racist misogynists.  They were simply desperate, and misled.  Say what you will about them, but voting for Trump seemed the most likely way to vote outside the system.  Of course, they are finding out their candidate is anything but outside the system as he starts to fill positions with the insiders he promised to clean out.  We knew this would happen, but in their desperation I am certain they didn’t want to see it.  I would love to hate them, but if they are truly so desperate, I can’t.  I can only be mad at their unwillingness to stand up for the rights of all people instead of simply believing a conman who played on their fear and desperation.

So, who are the people who truly deserve our wrath?

  • “News” outlets  Specifically television news.
  • Lobbyists  These people have to register, it is easy to find out who they are.
  • “Defense” contractors  The real welfare recipients
  • Incumbent Congressmen  
  • The two major parties  
  • Political Action Committees
  • The greediest of corporate America  The other real welfare recipients

I think you don’t have to be to the left, or to the right to know that these groups have taken our country and turned it to serve them, instead of serving our country.

So, now that you have identified them, how do you fight back?

Well, I prefer nonviolent action.  I believe that violence should only be used as a last resort, in any situation.  The consequences are far too severe for me personally.

You could boycott these companies.  You could write to Congress and actually track their votes, letting them know that if they continue to work for those they are not Constitutionally supposed to represent, that they will not hold office for long, and then work to actually make good on that promise.  You can vote for third parties from the ground up, so the parties can actually be built into genuine forces.  You can come up with your own ideas, on how to fight these people in a peaceful way.

Protesting in the streets isn’t dong any good.  Complaining about the system isn’t doing any good.  Calling out people on social media isn’t doing any good.  Our voices have been heard for too long.  They are heard, and ignored because the money keeps coming.  The time for raising our voices is over.  It is time to rise in action.

Let’s rise up and fight a peaceful revolution, before things get so bad that someone sparks a violent one.

What ideas do you have for peaceful revolution?  Please leave them in the comment, or write your own post and paste the link.  Let’s make this a guide.

Peaceful

Hello dear reader(s)!

I am so happy to be in my new home.  Yesterday was a rough one, because many unexpected things went wrong, but I am still very happy to be here.  A lot of those things have either been worked out or will be shortly.  My cats are beginning to adapt to their new surroundings and are only occasionally growling and hissing at their new framily.  The house is nice, despite the lack of three-prong electricity and proper working cable outlets where any sane person would put a cable outlet.  But it being nice isn’t what I love most about it.

What I love most about the house is the neighborhood in which it is located.

In Seattle, I was constantly bombarded with the noise from the neighbors slamming their doors, or running laundry, or stomping around upstairs, or the trucks who would bang over the bump in the street out front at four in the morning, or the sirens, or the car alarms.

In my neighborhood, there are no people walking down the street, drunkenly shouting at each other every weekend night.  There are no traffic accidents out front.  There is no SWAT standoffs with the angry person two buildings over who threatened to blow up a mosque because apparently he believes that would somehow make a positive difference in the world.  I do not trip over the homeless who can not afford to live there, or come from elsewhere in the nation because Seattle is fine with building tent cities for homeless from all over but not affordable housing for people who have lived there for years but are being pushed out by foreign real estate investors and Amazon employees.

I woke up to the light flooding in the windows this morning, not to the loud noises of inconsiderate people.  I do not hear construction outside my window despite the fact that the neighbors are building onto their home, and the neighbors across the street are leveling their backyard.  None of them do it at 5:30 in the morning in the name of progress.

I am still wiped out from moving.  My stomach hurts from the stress of it all, and I need time to recover a bit.  But here, I can already feel that the typical recovery from events that still tax my body will be much less because I can do so in relative peace.  I look out of the windows with my coffee, and look at the squirrels and the trees.  I get to smile listening to next to nothing.  It makes me very happy.  I can hear the conversations with the voices in my head.

Seattle made me realize how important peace can be, because there were so many times it seemed like I couldn’t find any.  A full night’s rest there was rare for me.  I have slept all the way through every night here, with only occasional interruptions for my bladder.  All this peace has me thinking…

Imagine living in a war zone.  A place where bombs are dropping at night in your town off and on for years.  A place where powerful nations are using your home as a pawn in a deadly game for power and influence.  Where the resources under the ground you walk on are proven time and time again to be more valuable than the lives of you and your children.  Where arguments over settlements and territory are heard while arguments over how to stop the bloodshed and bring peace are never allowed to be spoken, or fall on deaf ears.  Imagine growing up in that situation for decades.

Then tell me why you would be anything but hateful toward those nations involved.

We wonder why people hate us, and the answer is that we do not even acknowledge them.  We allow our government to do things in our name and in the name of our interests that take peace from people.  Those people then feel they are justified to take the peace from us.

While we do so, we take away much needed resources that could go to improving the quality of life for all the people in our country, allowing a more peaceful existence.  We have bases spread throughout the world to do nothing more than provide for the companies that do business under our flag but no longer give anything back.

The military-industrial complex is a scam on all people.  Our illusion of a democratic republic is just that, an illusion.  We are under the rule of a corporate/military duumvirate, and no elected officials dare to challenge that system.  Until our military is not the defensive force it should be, we will face those who will try to take peace from us.

I had it good in Seattle.  Despite the way it felt like my state of mind was affected by a lack of peace, the truth is, it was very peaceful compared to many places around the world.

As long as we allow our government, our military, and especially our corporations to take peace away from people in other parts of the world, there are going to be people trying very hard to take peace away from us here.

If you want peace, you can’t win it by increasing the size of the largest military in the world by many times over.  You can’t win it by taking peace from others.  You can’t win it by building a wall to keep out those you do not like.   People determined to take peace will find a way.

You may never achieve total peace, but you can make things more peaceful by attempting to create peace.  When you create chaos, distress, conflict, and war, those things are what you get.

Let’s all work to make our neighborhoods, our cities, our states, and our countries more peaceful places to live.  Trust me, it’s really nice.

 

9/12, Can’t We Forget?

Hello dear reader(s)!

Unless you are living under a rock, you probably know that yesterday was the 15th anniversary of 9/11 (or 11/9 in just about every other country in the world).  And so yesterday I wrote about something other than that, knowing that just about every other post in my Reader and on my Facebook would have something to do with it.  And I was right, it was like Uncle Sam and Betsy Ross hosted an orgy all over social media.

9/11.  Never Forget.  9/11.  Never Forget.  9/11, fine…never forget, but how about we just fucking get over it already.  (Not the people who lost someone, I’m not that harsh.)

9/11 is the day the terrorists won.  They kicked our fucking ass, and we are so blinded by a sense of vengeance that we can’t even see it.  After 9/11, despite all the speeches, despite all the flag waving, despite the members of Congress deciding to ignore that whole separation of church and state thing by singing GOD Bless America on the capitol steps as a show of impotent Congressmen (and a couple of women) pretending to be strong in the face of awful attacks before playing right into the hands of those who were the masterminds…we ceded any notion of our nation being one of freedom and inclusion.

Law enforcement took advantage.  Things they have been trying to get passed into law for years but were rejected due to that pesky Constitution were suddenly re-branded with the word “patriot” (the most misunderstood word in modern history) and lumped into one giant bill that your Congress person probably didn’t read before voting it through out of fear as being seen as unpatriotic.  Fourth amendment?   Who needs a fourth amendment?  We have terror!

We went into Afghanistan, but instead of hunting the masterminds and any official accused of harboring them, we decided they needed our freedom.  We decided to create and attempt to prop up a weak and corrupt government.  We could have gone in, wiped out the people responsible, and left.  Instead we sent in troops with an unclear mission, no exit strategy, and their hands tied behind their back.   And we are still there.

And knowing that Americans were now afraid of every middle eastern brown person.  Our beloved President Dubya decided to get revenge on the man who once gave a headache to his daddy by falsifying evidence, and going into a war without the support of our allies, destabilizing the region, and starting Daesh (what you incorrectly call ISIS).

The military industrial complex (dangerous regardless of President) then decided to use America’s new fear of middle eastern brown people and chose to overthrow a dictator (awful, but stable) in Libya, and of course, to push for “regime change” in Syria (strengthening Daesh).

Daesh, the group we fear the most, is a direct result of the fear created by 9/11.  Fear breeds fear.

2.977 people were killed in the attacks on 9/11.  Tragic, awful attacks.  I feel for everyone who lost someone so needlessly.

But over 12,000 people in the US were killed by guns in 2015, only 71 of which could be considered any kind of terrorism.  Only 24 by jihadists.

We condemn a whole religion.  We talk about carpet bombing nations of poor people caught among power-hungry mad-men.  We bankrupt our treasury and incur massive amounts of debt because we fear something that in the grand scheme of things is not something to fear.

We subject ourselves to ridiculous and ineffective security theater just to get on a plane.  You can’t keep your shoes and belt on, can’t bring a bottle of water, have to stand in a machine that lets people see you naked (and have been recorded), all so they can catch only 5% of the threats their own agency sneaks through.  5%.  And never mind that now those ridiculous lines that increase your travel day by 3 hours are now the easiest target for terrorists.

Our communications are monitored.  Our dissenters who engage in civil disobedience can be charged as domestic terrorists.  Our nation is racking up more and more debt that your children and your grandchildren will suffer for, for what?  Because some absolutely horrible individuals managed to commit a terrible crime 15 years ago that killed a lot of people at once, but not many people at all in the larger picture.  Our response to 9/11 has weakened our nation a great deal.

They knew that we would overreact, attempt to frame this as a war between east and west, Christianity and Islam, spend way too much money on a half-assed attempt to beat shadowy figures, thus inspiring more people to come after us, and take from our people the very freedoms we claim to fight for; all in the name of security we simply don’t have.

Do you think the victims of the San Bernardino shooting would feel as though we are winning the war on terror?

Stopping terrorism isn’t about spending fortunes on drones to hit one guy on top of a pyramid that will soon be replaced by the guy below him.  It isn’t about sending troops into regions with their hands tied and no clear mission.  It isn’t about regime change, or domestic surveillance against a net of people so wide, that you allow those you actually are supposed to be watching to slip through.  In fact, in a free society, you aren’t going to be able to stop terrorism.  But good police work. a public who feels they can trust those police enough to report suspicious activity, and trying to figure out what we are doing that makes people want to destroy us, may help to prevent some of the worst attacks.  Not ignoring the foreign intelligence reports of imminent threats might be a good idea too.

Don’t forget the people who died that day.  Don’t forget the first responders and ordinary people who tried to help others.

But please, let’s all forget the fear we felt that day.  Let’s forget the anger and need for justice that will never come.  Let’s forget the us versus them mentality and try to be the country they attempted to (and partially did) destroy.

Awakening, Part III

You can read part 1, and part 2 by clicking each number.  

She awoke from her dream surrounded by the bodies of three guardsmen and the screams of a fourth.  Confused, she looked in the direction of the screams and found the horse she had set free earlier, trampling the nearly dead guardsman.  There were no arrows in the dead guards, and Conor was nowhere to be found.  She approached the horse who stopped trampling as she neared.  She drew her sword and put it to the guardsman’s throat.

“What happened here?  To your fellow scum?” she demanded.

“Please do not do to me what you did to them!” the guardsman cried.

She was confused.  She had no idea what she did.  She didn’t want to let him know that, so she acted as though she had asked the question rhetorically.

“That’s right,” she smirked, “I shall spare your pathetic existence, if you leave your weapons and tell Lorcan I am free in Galicia, and the same fate shall meet him if he pursues me or harms my daughter!”

“M’lady, I can’t walk!” the guardsman replied as she disarmed him.

“Then I suggest you crawl!” she shot back with disdain.

As she crossed the river, she realized that Conor had never been there, and she had bested the guardsmen on her own (and possible with some help from her equine friend) before blacking out.  She felt her head for lumps, but felt none, and was not sure what happened.  She was not certain how she would survive, but began to awaken to the sense that she could.

It was close to five years later when Conor returned to Galicia in victory over the campaigns against the raiders from across the sea.  Her dream had been prophetic, he was a key warrior from Galicia, and because of this victory was being made Lord and High Protector.  She was in the crowd at the ceremony, and just as he was kneeling to receive his medal, he felt her presence.  He lifted his head, sending gasps through the crowd, and caught her eye.  As soon as the medal was around his neck, he stood up, bolted off the platform, and ran to embrace her.

They kissed passionately to cheers and applause, and he lifted her into his arms.

“I thought I would never see you again,” he told her once he could stop kissing her.

“I had to run, it wasn’t you,” she replied.

“You had to run?” he asked.  “Do you still not see what is in you?”

“Come home with me,” she said, before kissing him again.

He stopped kissing her and replied, “I’ll take you home with me.  To my estate.  They treat their warriors pretty well here,” he laughed.

He carried her home and they made love by candle light.  Her soft skin glowing against his hard body.  They were both very powerful, and there seemed to be a give and take between them and an unresolved power dynamic that left them both hungry for more, but too exhausted to continue until another time.  They collapsed into each other’s arms in exhaustion and ecstasy.

For the next year, Conor taught her the art of war and defense, in case she was attacked again while he was away.  He would never forgive himself for leaving her vulnerable the first time, even if she knew he was not at fault.  When he saw how much of a natural she was, and how he knew there was still more she wasn’t showing, he began to encourage her to confront Lorcan, and rescue her daughter.  He built her up, and addressed all her fears of Lorcan’s posititon with the guardsmen.

Finally, they headed out.

Lauryn knew that her daughter would try to rescue Clar from Lorcan, and so she planned to ambush her as she did so, attempting to end once and for all the threat her daughter presented to her dark ambitions.

They came unobstructed right to Lorcan’s unprotected house, and were surprised when he opened the door as they approached.

“Come to take this bitch off my hands?” he asked her.

Conor drew his claymore and put it to Lorcan’s throat.  “Respect!” he shouted through gritted teeth.

Conor’s reputation as a fierce warrior was well-known, and even Lorcan was not about to challenge him.

“My apologies,” Lorcan said, and added, “She is a handful, I am not equipped as a parent.  I am actually glad you are here.”

It was then that Conor felt a sharp pain in his side and went down.

She turned around to see what happened, finding Lauryn, holding a now bloody blade at Clar’s throat.  Then she saw the guardsmen emerge from the woods to surround them.

She knew Lorcan would not physically harm Clar, but Lauryn had no such limits.  She began to feel terrible fear.

She felt a tug at her leg.  Conor had reached up from the ground, and grabbed a hold of her dress.  She looked down to see him wink and smile.

Suddenly, a blade rose from Conor’s hand and plunged itself into Lorcan’s chest, killing him instantly.

“You can do this!  Awaken and show us all!” Conor shouted.

Her eyes rolled back in her head, as if she was about to have a seizure.  But then they began to glow a brilliant white.  She spoke some words of an unknown language before a beam of light shot from her eyes, eviscerating the encircled guardsmen.

Then she turned to face Lauryn, who stood trembling, still holding the blade to Clar’s throat.

“Go ahead.  Kill me!” she shouted, “But I’m taking your precious spawn with me!”

Conor rose and readied his claymore.

“NO!” she shouted at both of them.

Then  turning to Lauryn, she said, “I will not grant you the luxury of death.  My awakening was not the only one here today.  I grant you your own.  You shall awaken to the empathy you could never feel.  You shall feel the pain your lust for power caused others back upon you three-fold.  You shall awaken to the knowledge of your own insignificance, crone.  You shall live out your days haunted by your wasted life.  So.  Mote.  It.  Be!”

Lauryn, suddenly felt it all, for the first time.  Her mind could not handle the sudden onslaught of grief and pain, and she dropped the blade.  Then she fell to the ground, curled up in a ball, and wailed helplessly, unable to see anything but the darkness she attempted to use against others.

The new family embraced and then left toward home, awake to the power of love.

 

Awakening, Part II

Continued from part I.

Lorcan was a sadistic person who took delight in the torture he visited upon her.  The money was just a bonus for him.  Something was wrong with him on the inside, and he craved control over others.  When he met her, he made himself out to be a savior of sorts.  He took her to the kingdom where he lived and worked.  He worked in the stables where they tended the king’s guard’s horses, but was not skilled or sane enough to be a guard himself.  Because of his relationship with some of the guardsmen, he was able to act with virtual impunity, and acted as though he was a guardmen too.  She wasn’t the first one he had hurt.  In the beginning, he was seemingly an upstanding citizen of the kingdom, and everything she believed she wanted.  And then her daughter was born.

Knowing her love for her daughter could be used as a tool to prevent her escape, he began to show his true intentions.  He abused and tortured her mercilessly, and delighted in her screams and fear.

As much as Lorcan delighted in torturing her, he did love their daughter.  He was never physically abusive toward his daugher, Clar, although he certainly was verbally.  Lorcan loved Clar, even if he did not know how to love properly, and even as he kept her mother locked in the house.

After one night where Lorcan had nearly choked her to death, she attempted her first escape.  She made it to a nearby village, but was tracked by the king’s guardsmen who brought her back in irons to Lorcan.  He took her, beat her, and left the irons on, securing them to the wall when he was away.

Lorcan went off to the stables the next morning.  Chained to the wall, she did not even attempt to struggle.  Five-year-old Clar, however, had other plans.  She had witnessed all that Lorcan had put her mother through for years, and managed to pick the locks that held her mother there.

“Go mommy.  Run.  I love you!” Clar told her.

“No, baby.  I can’t leave you, and they will just bring me back anyway,” she told her beloved Clar.

“I can’t watch him kill you,” Clar told her mother.

“I shall take you with me then,” she said.

“If you take me, he will kill us both.  He won’t hurt me here.  Not truly.  Go!  I will find you, when I am of age,” Clar told her.

“You are wise beyond your years,” she beamed with pride.

“I am your daughter,” Clar replied.

“I love you, I will come for you!” she told Clar as she hurried away with tears in her eyes.

As she ran from the house, and the boundaries of the village, she considered turning back as the guilt of leaving Clar behind began to eat at her.  She thought about what her daughter had said, and knew she was right.  The only way to protect Clar, was to leave her behind for now.  The tears streamed down her face as she ran.  She didn’t have long to think about it.

The thunderous sound of hoofbeats bearing down on her was unmistakable.  It was a guardsman, about to run her down.  She increased her running to a speed she didn’t know she was capable of, and headed toward a dry gully.  Just as the horse was within striking distance, she jumped the ten feet down to the bottom, rolling to absorb the impact before leaping back to her feet.  The guardsman was so focused on catching her, he failed to lead his horse into the jump and they crashed into the far bank wall.  As the horse struggled to get up with the guardsman’s leg pinned underneath, she grabbed a bolder and bashed his head in until he lay there, bloody and motionless.  The horse was struggling, but seemingly okay.  She grabbed the reigns of the horse, and in a calming voice, helped to right the majestic black creature.  She considered mounting and taking the horse, knowing that she could make better time to another kingdom on horseback, but seeing the fear in the animal’s eyes, elected to remove the saddle and pack from the horse as she stoked its muzzle.  She unhooked the reigns, and told it to be free.  The horse wandered down the length of the gully, until finding a place shallow enough to climb out, and galloped off.

She turned her attention to the pack, and to the weapons of the guardsman.  She took his sword, his dagger, the pack, and his canteen.  She put the canteen to her lips, took a drink, and plunged the sword into the guardsman to ensure he was dead.  She removed it, and sheathed the still bloody blade before walking off to the neighboring kingdom, hoping to elude the guardsmen until she reached safety.

The pack was heavy, and she was growing tired.  She was nearing the river and knew she was close to freedom.  The king’s guardsmen were not going to cross the border into the next kingdom of Galicia, knowing of the superior forces on the other side that would decimate them.  She had heard Lorcan speak in jealousy of the Galician forces, and knew that even the elite guardsmen feared them.  She wasn’t sure how she would be treated there, but figured she couldn’t fare worse than she had.

As she neared the river, and the border, she heard the hoofbeats riding her down from behind once more.  They were guardsmen to be sure, only this time, there was at least four.  She knew she could not close the distance in time, and turned to fight, raising her sword.

She readied herself as they came near, unsure how she would defeat four mounted guardsmen, when she saw one fall from his horse.  Then another.  Then the third.  Then the last.  She saw arrows protruding from the final body to fall, and realized that the forces from Galicia had just saved her life.  She turned to face the river and saw a lone warrior, with his bow at his side.

She saw Conor.