Self-esteem is one of the hardest things to help someone with because it can only be generated by one’s self. You see people with low self-esteem all the time. They’re usually in bad relationships that often incorporate abuse. That abuse can come in the form of physical but more often verbal or mental abuse. The sad part is it can be a cycle with people. More often than not when people are brought up in abusive homes, they seek out that same sort of dismissive personality in their relationships. Even when they get out of an abusive relationship, many times they go right into another. I’ve watched it happen. They do this because they are conditioned to expect this sort of treatment. People with low self-esteem sometimes have problems accepting gifts or compliments. It’s just not something they’re used to. People with high self-esteem often keep it by doing things positive in their life that create a feeling of self-worth. It might be something as simple as mowing the lawn. It gives you a feeling of accomplishment. Personally, I am happiest when I’m writing. I’m putting words together that no other person could do exactly the same way. That gives me such a charge I can hardly contain myself. I love writing. It’s the best part of the entire publishing process. When I read over what I have written, I can only smile. I know that sounds vain, but I see no harm in taking pride in one’s work. That’s the answer to low self-esteem; pride. Too much pride can of course be a bad thing but there is no fault in taking pride in something you’ve accomplished. So; if you have a self-esteem problem, do something positive and meaningful. You’ll be surprised how much your behavior will improve as you add more positives to your life. That’s my take on it.
Round 2 with the monster. I’m sure some people have taken offence to my calling a puppy a monster. Perhaps it would be different if it was my dog or my family dog but it’s not. The monster belongs to my son who is “staying” with us for a while. In the mean time the creature seems bound and determined to destroy my home. No mater how much we take him outside, the beast urinates, defecates and chews random things in the house…including the other dogs! Having dogs now and in the past a certain amount of this is to be expected. This particular animal, however, seems obsessed with causing me grief. My patience is being tried. I try to pet him but he just bites me with his razor-sharp baby teeth which feel like a dozen needles penetrating my skin with force. Still, we take him out on the hour to try to housebreak him. The efforts have borne little fruit. For now, I will tolerate the monster; though I see no visible improvement in his behavior. What choice do I have? Lynard Skynard once said, “Lord I can’t make any changes. All I can do is write ‘em in a song…” I can’t make a song, but I can sure write about it.
“I am Sirca, Lord Grithinshield. Mr. Elmsworth said you needed a scribe, so I am here to be of assistance.”
Linvin looked at Gradon and asked, “Do you trust him?”
“We have used the company he works for in the past and never had a problem,” Gradon answered.
“I asked you if you trust him!” Linvin said sternly.
Gradon and Sirca looked at each other sheepishly. “Yes, I do,” Gradon answered. “Your father used him in the past and never had a problem.”
Linvin addressed Sirca directly, “How much do you make where you are working now?”
“Well sir, I am paid by how often my services are needed. In a good week I can make ten gold pharrings.”
Linvin stood with his face so close to Sirca’s that one could not fit a paper between them. “That was probably only one week that you made that much, was it not?”
Sirca maintained eye contact and answered calmly, “Yes, sir. Most weeks, I make about five to seven pharrings.”
Linvin’s angered expression turned into a smile. “Bold, but with integrity. I like that. Good, now sit at that desk over there and take a letter.” Sirca did as he was told. “You will write your employer a letter of resignation. You will now be the exclusive scribe to Linvin Grithinshield and the Grithinshield Trading Company. As an employee of the Grithinshield Trading Company you will earn a salary of twenty gold pharrings each and every week regardless of the amount of work you do. At the bottom, I suggest you sign your name.”
Sirca was speechless. He looked at Gradon and then Linvin. “But sir –”
“Do you accept?” Linvin asked forcefully.
“Yes,” answered Sirca, “but I must say, you could have a whole team of scribes for this price. I dare say they may be better than me. Why would you do this?”
Linvin sat in his father’s chair and lit his pipe. “Because my father trusted you, Gradon trusts you and therefore I trust you. I do not want a group of people around me whom I cannot trust. Much better a few that I can and do. Now, go take that to your employer and come right back. I have many letters for you to write.”
Sirca was so excited that he did not know if he should bow or shake his hand. After a moment of indecision he headed out the door.
“Oh, one last thing,” Linvin called after him.
Sirca meekly poked his head back in through the door. “Yes, Mr. Grithinshield?” his quivering voice asked.
“You do understand the meaning of trust, do you not?” Linvin asked.
“Good,” said Linvin, “because someone who betrays my trust will be shown no forgiveness and no mercy. Are we clear on this point?”
Again Sirca whispered, “Yes.” With that he was on his way to turn in his resignation.
Upon returning, Linvin dictated two letters.
We have a four-legged demon in our house. It does what it wants, when it wants and has no consideration for anyone or anything. The beast destroys at will and even with a certain level of satisfaction! Now; during my blogging time I have been left alone with the monster. I am tasked with preventing more destruction and soiling. But this is a clever demon I face. It hides its damage from view. I must be vigilant in my duties. Greater men and women have tried to contend with the monster but have found their efforts to be fruitless. So, it falls to me that I must watch the creature as I write these words. The family has even given a name to my bane. Oreo. He is disguised as a cute puppy but underneath hides the demeanor of a house killer! I check on him every little bit and he lies dossal; giving no hint of subterfuge. Yet I still find different forms of his destruction about the house. It has already been a week and we are entering “The Great Paper Towel Shortage of 2018.” My adversary is clever and has the others fooled by its charms. All I get when I come near are bites at my legs. Its teeth are small but sharp. I must go to the same room to observe my adversary. Lord, give me strength.
The Commander of the Guard came forward and knelt on both knees in full armor before this Emperor. “I have every available Guard in the City in their saddles outside the Palace walls awaiting your arrival. They and I will follow your orders to the death.”
“How many are there?” Mandrean Inquired.
“One hundred and eighty riders are suitable for duty and are ready to ride,” Vipis answered.
“That will be sufficient to guard me,” Mandrean told the commander. “Have my horse and one for Necromancer waiting by yours and inform the men we are leaving at once.” The commander nodded and stood. He gave the fist salute and rushed from the room.
Mandrean turned to his Court Magician and said tauntingly, “Be sure to dress warmly. These rides can become frightfully cold.”
“Fear not for me, My Master,” Necromancer said as he prepared to follow the commander. “A fire burns within me that will ward off the harshest of winds.” With a half-hearted bow he left the room.
Mandrean gave a nod to Fendri. Then the House Master stood and proclaimed. “The court is dismissed.” There was a good deal of mumbling as the courtiers exited the hall. Soon only Mandrean, Fendri, Gramlick and a hand full of guards remained. Mandrean snapped his fingers and the guards left.
With only the three individuals left, Mandrean approached Gramlick. “I have a special task for you, my Teacher. Maxion is as crooked as a tree-branch in the wind. You will stay here and see to it no coup is attempted in my absence. Furthermore, there are many displaced citizens who are likely hungry and cold. See the issue is handled.”
“How will I enforce your authority when Maxion has a Legion at his command?” Gramlick asked.
Mandrean held out his open palm and had it immediately filled by an envelope bearing his seal. “These orders give you the right to act in my stead. I have personally sent for a Legion of your men to camp just outside of town. They will be here tomorrow. Your soldiers will beat Maxion’s any day.”
“Then why leave Maxion here at all?” Gramlick asked. “I could have handled this alone.”
“I am testing him,” Mandrean explained. “He will not know of your forces and his allegiance will be proven in the coming days. He also has recent experience with handling rebellious people. You, on the other hand, will see to it the people are here when I return. Now go to your quarters and take some rest.”
Mandrean could see his former tutor playing through scenarios in his head as he limped from the room. Only Fendri and Mandrean remained. The emperor turned to the Master of his House and handed him six envelopes.
“What are these,” Fendri asked as he looked at the seals.
“These are orders I want you to personally deliver to Numbers One through Six,” Mandrean said slyly.
“To the concubines?” Fendri asked.
“No,” answered Mandrean grimly. “You know of whom I speak.”
Fendri paused a moment as he realized to whom his master was referring. “If I may be so bold, My Master, what do these orders say?”
Mandrean smiled and answered, “They are insurance. If I wanted you to read them, they would not have been sealed. Take heart in the fact I would not have given them to you if I thought you would open them. The less you know the better you will be, Fendri.”
“Now, I must vanquish a rat my forces are in the process of trapping. With his death dawns the birth of a Mandrean Empire that shall rule the world. I bid you goodbye, Dear Fendri.”
Mandrean strode toward the door. Fendri looked at the sealed orders and then at his master. “Manenvious,” he called out. Mandrean stopped mid-stride and turned angrily to view his friend. “Remember the first thing Gramlick taught you,” Fendri reminded. “’Never underestimate your opponent.’” Mandrean snorted in disgust and left the room.
Fendri stood alone with his orders in hand and heard only his racing heartbeat. As he turned to leave a strong wind blew through the shattered remnants of the great doors and extinguished all the torches in the room. Fendri felt a sense of foreboding as he returned to his wing of the palace.
I’ve been working hard on my 5th book as of late. I’m at a point where everything is detailed and I have to be sure I write them in the correct order. It is time consuming but more of a stress on the brain. As a result, I can only write in short bursts or else the story meanders. It’s very taxing on me but that’s the way I planned it. Funny how books seem so simple when you think them up and are so much more difficult when you write them out. This is a nice retreat to talk to you fine folks. Thank you for reading. I’m still waiting on the edits from the republish of book 3. I always take them so personally. It’s hard to not take the edits that way. You say, “she is just rejecting the way you write. She’s not rejecting you as a person.” It is logical. I have told myself that many times. So far it hasn’t worked yet. It’s like a dog having its teeth dug into your leg. Meanwhile the owner is saying, “He’s just doing it because he doesn’t know you.” That is all true and again, logical. Nevertheless, my leg feels like a chew toy. But the edits aren’t here yet, so as Scarlet O’hara would say, “I’ll think about that tomorrow.” Now it is time to get back to the detailed work on book 5. Until next time, watch out for unfriendly dogs.
Betrimpia pursed her lips and said, “Very well. I was your very first consort. I have been with you since you became a man. Yet for years I have languished in the bowels of your estate being ridiculed by the over-bosomed, energetic young maids you keep at your whim. Every year you seek my companionship less and less. I have paid my dues and now desire what I have earned.”
“What you have earned,” Mandrean interjected, “is a sound thrashing.”
Betrimpia slammed her hand on the bed. “I have earned the right to be your wife. Marry me and make me the Empress I have spent nearly twenty years training to be.”
“Marry you?” scoffed Mandrean. “You have gone insane in your room. I require no empress and even if I chose one, it would certainly not be a conniving plotter like you.”
“Think of your son,” she pled.
Mandrean harshly stuck his finger in her face. Anger erupted from his lips. “For the last time, I have no son. You have an illegitimate child of origins I cannot say.”
Betrimpia shoved his finger aside and stood face-to-face with him. “You know there has never been another besides you. No man could even gain access to the lower chambers. Yet you still deny he is your son. Look at him. He carries your powerful frame and commanding disposition. His aptitudes rival your own and he looks like the man I knew all those years ago. Surely you must see he is of your blood.”
Mandrean sighed and looked toward the window. “I have given your son everything you have ever asked. The finest tutors in the empire have taught him. Philosophers, mathematicians, literary figures, warriors and the finest generals have educated him from birth. He has grown into a fine young man. I can do no more for him.”
“You can be his father,” Betrimpia pled. “Take me as your wife and acknowledge him as your son and heir.”
Mandrean turned to her and smiled like a person who has solved a riddle. “So that’s your game. You just want me to marry you so your son can take the throne. I wonder how long I would live after the nuptials. How long would it take you to poison my wine, or choke me in my sleep?”
“You know I could never do you harm Manenvious. I love you. I always have. If you feel so insecure, keep your whores in the cellar. I would suffer such indignity to make my Love happy.”
“Oh the women will stay,” Mandrean agreed. “You will no sooner be my wife than the sun will rise in the west.”
Betrimpia was visibly hurt by his words and formed tears in her eyes. “If that is what you require from me, I will resign myself to being Concubine Number One. I beg you, do not suffer your son to a life of humiliation. Adopt him as your own and make him your heir.”
What makes for the best characters in books? That’s a secret formula which some authors have mastered and others only wish to. So, let’s take a closer look at this. A first you might say that you have to like them. That is true but some of the best characters are hated. Look no further than Darth Vader in the Star Wars movies. Vader was hated and feared by most people but I for one loved him as a character. He was cool! Even members of the Empire feared him. Maybe detail is the secret to a good character. No; while it helps, you can describe a person for pages and they’re still not liked. So, it must be identifying with the character; right? People certainly like someone they can relate to in a good book. This is a tricky one because most of the time your character will only relate to a small sliver of the reading public. To combat this some writers, use the shotgun approach. They bombard you with characters and figure one of them will relate to the reader. It does work quite often but it makes for a confusing read. Actually, the secret formula is a combination of things; including the subjects above. As much as I hated him, I liked having Darth Vader in the Star Wars films. How boring would it have been without him there? A good description never hurts; especially if they change throughout the story. Identifying with a character in the book is a sure-fire way to keep someone reading. Sometimes the reader is intrigued by characters they could never relate to in life. The best characters in books are chosen by the reader and the formula is a blend of these topics and more.
Rander pulled a second arrow from his quiver and fired again at the fleeing game. The arrow struck a deer in the hind leg and knocked it to the ground. Bleeding badly, the animal tried to get to its feet and resume running.
Not wanting to lose the precious meat, Rander dropped his bow, drew a knife and slid down the tree to finish his task. As he neared the fallen game, he noticed that it was not looking at him as it tried to escape. It was looking back at the woods it had just left.
Rander stopped next to the deer and turned curiously to look at the woods as well. All he saw was a charcoal-colored blur as he was knocked to the ground. An immense pain came from his leg moments later. He looked down to see his entire calf lodged in a Trogo’s mouth. It shook its head back and forth so hard that the motion lifted Rander off the ground. With one last swing of the head, it threw Rander several paces in the air before he landed and rolled to a stop.
The wounded elf was in shock and looked about for the beast. To his horror, more creatures than he could count had entered the clearing and were surrounding him. They growled and snarled as they moved closer. Time seemed to creep as Rander awaited the attack. He screamed for help, but his voice was overcome by the sounds of the Trogos. Having sized up their prey, the one with Rander’s blood in his mouth attacked first.
Having lost his knife during the attack, there was little Rander could do except put his arm in front of his face and close his eyes. The sound of the barking suddenly stopped as a low-pitched whine came and went in an instant. Immediately following it was a loud yelp from the Trogo near him.
Uncovering his eyes, Rander saw the Trogo spinning in a circle, trying to remove an arrow from its side. It had hit near the ribs, but did not dig deeply into his thick hide. Another Trogo came close and snapped the arrow’s shaft.
It was about that time that another arrow struck the same wolf. It struck in the hindquarter, but again, did little damage. A third arrow totally missed the target and lodged in the ground.
The pack spread out and did not take long to locate Bander in his tree. They left Rander and the deer behind as they surrounded the tree and began barking at its host. The beasts demonstrated remarkable agility as they leapt nearly to the branch where he stood.
As the terrified elf drew back his bow, one of the trogos caught hold of his boot at the apex of its jump and tore it from his foot as it fell. The incident knocked Bander on his belly. He struck his head on the wide branch but had the sense to hold on to it. In order to grab the branch, however, he was forced to let go of his bow. It fell to the ground, where it instantly became a chew-toy for the trogos.
Realizing he was within reach of his adversary, Bander tried to return to his feet. The action was too late however, as a wolf jumped for his dangling arm. Bander could see the jaws coming near as if it was happening slowly.
Just as the teeth were about to strike, a high-pitched whine preceded an arrow slicing through the great animal’s neck. The arrowhead stopped only after exiting the far side of the skin. With a horrible yelp, the beast fell to the ground and moved no more.
The other members of the pack and Bander looked down the clearing. Linvin stood in front of Rander, panting, as he fired another arrow. It struck a Trogo in the chest and embedded itself deep into the innards of the wolf.
With a great howl, the one who had bitten Rander led the others on a charge. They spread into a bird-like formation with two wolves to each of the leader’s sides. Linvin gazed upon the wall of teeth bearing down on him and stood his ground. With lightning speed he fired shaft after shaft at the attackers. Two struck the leader. One wedged in his shoulder while the other hit dead center in his left eye. Its head immediately hit the ground while its body catapulted over the head before landing lifeless. With their leader dead and two others wounded or dying, the remaining Trogos decided to save themselves and scattered to the nearest thicket of trees.
Linvin stood ready to fire even after the wolves were gone. As the howls grew fainter, he could finally turn his attention to his cousins.
Fantasy fiction is my passion. This series embodies my love for a good story and action. You will find it to be many things, but not boring! Read what you love and love what you read...