Voyage of the Lanternfish by C.S. Boyack

It is my privilege to host C.S. Boyack on my blog site so that he can tell you about his newest book release!

Jan, thanks for inviting me back. I’m here hawking my newest book, Voyage of the Lanternfish.

Excerpts are a time honored tool for blog tours, and that’s what I’m bringing you today.

Lanternfish is a pirate fantasy. It’s filled with monsters, magic, and fantastic creatures. It also has gunpowder, so cannon, muskets, and pistols are included.

To set the scene, the characters are forced into starting a war with a neighboring country. They came to this city to do some historical and political research. It isn’t coming together very fast, and James is on the verge of a new plan.

***

James strolled up and down each dock, occasionally checking the mooring of a ship. Putting a finger to his hat whenever a crewman spotted him.

The end of the third dock was empty. Even the lamps weren’t lit. The only light came from quarters on a ship tied to the second dock.

“Hello, mate,” a rough voice said.

James cleared his coat away from his pistol before turning.

“No need for that. I mean you no harm. Seen you down here walking the nights away. Been watching you.”

“What for? And come forward so I can see you.”

“You’re a cautious man, I see that. Well armed too.” The man stepped forward. Long grey stubble covered his face. He wore a small tricorn, and carried a cutlass. “I seen your type before.”

“And what type is that?”

“Long stares out at the water. Touching the ships as you pass. Hand on your face while you’re thinking of something. Probably a big loss of some kind. Family farm? Lost love? Maybe a title? Something along that route.”

“Pretty close, mate.”

“A few of my mates and I been lookin for a fellow like you. You’re a man of the sea, and can’t wait to get back to it.”

“I’m sure there are plenty like me around. Good luck in finding someone.”

“Hold up, mate. We’re just talking. Names Johnny Jump Up. There’s men around like you and I, but not too many with money to invest.”

“I don’t have any money, sorry.”

“Your mates bought a chest. Carried it back to the Ghost yesterday. Looked real heavy. They spent some too. Nice kit the lady bought. Kind of pricy. Seems like you own a slave too.”

“How long have you been watching us?”

“Longer than that fella all dressed in black. He only showed up the other day. Asks a lot of questions about who’s new in town. Asked if anyone’s been flashing a lot of gold around.”

“Speaking of him, maybe you wouldn’t mind continuing this conversation back at the tavern.”

“Naw. Too many ears at the Ghost. There’s another tavern, just down the way. It has ears too, but nobody cares. Called the Dead Man’s Rest. Heard of it?”

“Saw it from a distance last night.”

“Don’t want you to think I’m leading you into a trap. You go there. Order a bucket of beer. I’ll be along in about half an hour. It’s a safe neighborhood, but you might want to tuck your purse in your boot. If you know what I mean.” Johnny held out a lantern. “Use me lamp if you’re worried.” He struck a match and lit the flame, before placing the lantern on the dock and stepping back.

James picked up the lantern and Johnny stepped aside. “I’ll make sure your shadow ain’t around. Then I’ll join ye inside.”

“Any particular draft?”

“Get the yellow one. The dark one’s gone off, give ye the shits now.”

“Good to know.”

***

Blurb:

An honorable man is mistaken for his disreputable father. Now he’s pushed into a political scheme to start a war that will spread across multiple kingdoms. James Cuttler’s fiancé is being held captive to ensure he goes through with the plan.

He soon decides his skills are at sea and procures a ship to wage war upon those who disrupted his simple life. He can’t do it alone, so he recruits a band of cutthroats to help him. But first, they need guns and munitions to outfit the ship properly. Deception and trickery will only get them so far. Eventually, they’re going to have to engage the enemy.

James’ goals aren’t necessarily the same as his crew. It’s a delicate balancing act to collect enough loot to keep his crew happy, while guiding them back to rescue the girl.

Voyage of the Lanternfish is filled with adventure, magic, and monsters. Lots of monsters. Hoist the colors and come along for the ride.

Purchase Link: http://a-fwd.com/asin-com=B07MP8V633

Author, C.S. Boyack

Bio:

I was born in a town called Elko, Nevada. I like to tell everyone I was born in a small town in the 1940s. I’m not quite that old, but Elko has always been a little behind the times. This gives me a unique perspective of earlier times, and other ways of getting by. Some of this bleeds through into my fiction.

I moved to Idaho right after the turn of the century, and never looked back. My writing career was born here, with access to other writers and critique groups I jumped in with both feet.

I like to write about things that have something unusual. My works are in the realm of science fiction, paranormal, and fantasy. The goal is to entertain you for a few hours. I hope you enjoy the ride.

Craig

MY REVIEW:

What I enjoyed most about this new book from C.S. Boyack is the fantastic job of world-building he accomplishes through creative writing. I had no difficulty visualizing the cities, the boats, the monsters, or the people that make up this story. The root monsters are a surprise and it’s fun to see them take on personalities and start to become somewhat human. The goal of James Cuttler is often different from that of his makeshift crew, but he manages to keep everyone happy with enough looting to satisfy any good pirate. His goal is to start a war between two countries and rescue his fiance. The adventures along the way, the battles, the exploration and discoveries kept me turning the pages. I’d be hard pressed to pick a favorite character. I love Mal for his devotion to James (aka Captain Bloodshot) and for his incredible ability to grow monster creatures in dirt, using his special magic. I love Serang for her fierce loyalty and amazing physical abilities. Plus, she has her own surprising brand of magic. The romance that blooms between Fala and James’ best friend, Dan, is believable and adds a touch of sweetness to the story. But I think my favorite character is the half-goblin half-human woman, Halfrid, who ultimately gives James the magical tool he needs to accomplish his goal and rescue his fiance. The action and battles are intense. The ending is satisfying. Anyone who loves adventure on the high sea mixed with fantasy and magic will enjoy this story as much as I did.

JONAH – FINAL SEGMENT

When we left Jonah last week, his father, Drake, had given him a key that allowed passage through the portal to a paradise on the other side of the island. The enormity of the sacrifice Tidus had made to try and help him overwhelmed Jonah. He’s taking in this new world but still doesn’t know what his assignment will be. Let’s join Jonah, Tidus, Drake, and Jade for the conclusion of this story.

Jonah turned in a full circle taking in the beauty surrounding him. Palm trees swayed, turquoise water lapped at the shore, birds chirped, and brilliant flowers filled the air with their sweet fragrance.

island

The beauty made his head spin. A large house with stone dragons guarding the entrance sat approximately one hundred yards away.

Drake stood beside Jonah. “You’re home, my son. I have dreamed and hoped for this day when I could claim you. You are strong and brave. You’re everything my son should be.”

Jonah mumbled. “Thank you, sir.”

“I will teach you our ways, and your magic will grow, just as it did with your mother. But, you will have to work hard.”

“You mean like chores?” Jonah asked.

A deep rumbling laugh erupted from Drake’s chest. “I guess you could put it that way.”

Jade reached for Tidus’ hand. “Come, my love. We have some catching up to do.”

Tidus wrapped an arm around his mother’s waist and they walked toward the house, heads together, speaking in low voices. The obvious love between them brought a lump to Jonah’s throat. How he wished for the love of a mother, but his mother was dead and not coming back. He was happy for Tidus, though. The kid deserved to have his family again. He faced Drake.

“I’m ready. What do you have to show me?”

Drake pulled a spyglass from his coat and passed it to Jonah. “Turn around and look through this glass in the direction we came.”

Spyglass2

Jonah put the spyglass up to his eye and let out a shocked gasp. It was as if none of the rocks or brush existed and he had a clear view of the place he’d just left less than half an hour ago.

A smaller boat than the one he had refused to leave on, pulled up to the dock and dropped off a passenger. The memory of himself in that exact situation flooded Jonah. But, wait! It wasn’t a male. It was a female with long flaming red hair!

female red hair

He turned in confusion. “I don’t understand.”

“She, like you, has been banished to the island for her crimes. You will be allowed to help her, but only when she is seeking and ready. You can observe her from time-to-time but, cannot go to her until she does her part of the work.”

Jonah asked. “So, I will be for her like Tidus was for me? Is she my sister? Is she one of us?”

Drake chuckled. “No, my son. She is a mere mortal trying to find her way. And, yes, you will help her. As a half-mortal, you are more able to understand and communicate. She is your first assignment.”

Jonah turned back toward the girl. That moment of helplessness, fear and vulnerability he’d first felt, when he’d been in her shoes, washed over him. It was almost as if he could read her thoughts and emotions.

Drake laid a hand on his shoulder. “Remember what you’ve learned. She must seek inside herself for redemption and answers. In the meantime, you will become my student. And, when you are ready, you will meet the others.”

“Others?” Jonah found words jumbled with thoughts and hard to form.

“Yes, Jonah. Others. We are not alone. But, all in good time. For now, let’s go to the house and get you a proper bath, and clothes.

Jonah nodded and fell into step beside Drake, the powerful Wizard ― his father.

In losing everything, Jonah had found all that he sought. And so it is for us mere mortals from time to time.

THE END

I sincerely hope you’ve enjoyed Jonah’s story. It’s been a pleasure to share it with you. My intent was that maybe you’d find bits and pieces of inspiration along the way. To those of you who followed it from the beginning, thank you from the bottom of my heart!

 

Jonah – Part 14

When we left Jonah last week, not only had he chosen to stay on the island when the boat finally came for him, but he met Drake and Jade and learned a huge secret. Drake is his father. Jonah is half Wizard and half mortal. And now, Drake has told him he has work to do. To say the least, Jonah is overwhelmed with all the developments. I thought I would end Jonah’s story with this segment, but there will be one more. 🙂

“Work to do?” Jonah asked.

“Yes. While you are learning of our ways and practicing the magic, you will be given assignments.” Drake paused. “You see, our original mission on earth was to help mortals find their true selves and lead them into the light and knowledge that lies within each of them.”

“How am I going to do that trapped on this island?” Asked Jonah.

“I will show you. We will work together.” Drake handed Jonah a small staff with a pulsating blue Crystal attached to the end.

blue crystal staff1

Jonah accepted the staff and was surprised to feel it vibrating in his hand. “What is this?”

“It is your key to passage through the portal.” Drake stood and pointed to the North.

Again, Jonah’s head swam. “Portal? I don’t understand, sir.”

“You remember how you tried to follow Tidus the first day you met him, and how the snakes blocked your way while he disappeared through a crevice in a stone?”

Jonah nodded.

“This Crystal allows you passage through that portal into our world.”

Jonah stared at the glowing gem. “I still don’t understand.”

“It will all become clear,” Drake put a hand on Jonah’s shoulder. “Gather your things. Let’s go.”

It only took Jonah a few short minutes to gather his meager possessions. He stuffed everything into a small bag and threw it over his shoulder. With a quick backward glance, Jonah bid farewell to the place where only a short time ago, he’d thought he was doomed to spend the rest of his life. When he stepped away, he watched mesmerized as the hut, the beginnings of the garden, and everything surrounding it dissipated into a dark vapor. Nothing but stinging nettles and tangled brush covered the area.

The four of them, Drake, Jade, Tidus, and Jonah followed a clear and unobstructed path toward the North.

When they reached the crevice in the rock, Drake stood aside. “Go ahead, Jonah.”

Crevice

Jonah hesitated. He held the staff in front of him and cautiously approached the rock. With a swoosh of air, he found himself in the most beautiful tropical paradise imaginable.

He turned around in time to see Drake, Jade, and Tidus appear in a mist. This was where Tidus lived. The enormity of the sacrifice Tidus had made to help him overwhelmed and took his breath away. And, to do it without knowing Jonah was his half-brother.

He approached Tidus with tear-filled eyes. “You gave up all of this to hang out with me in hell?” He made a flourish with his right hand.

Tidus grinned. “It was better than being here completely alone.”

“Thanks, kid,” Jonah choked. “I never imagined your world was this.”

“And, now it’s your world too, Jonah.”

Drake and Jade stood arm-in-arm and observed the two. Jade looked up at her mate. “We did well, my Lord.”

Drake lowered his head and claimed her lips. “That we did, my Lady.”

“I have one regret,” Jade said. “I wish I had been Jonah’s mother.”

Drake sighed. “Ah, my love. I could but wish I had only one regret.”

**Please join me next week for the conclusion to Jonah’s story**

Jonah – Part 13

When we left Tidus and Jonah last week, Jonah had missed the boat. He couldn’t find it in himself to leave Tidus behind, so chose not to go. Now, he’s having serious doubts about whether he did the right thing. And, they have company. Let’s see who it is.

Tidus looked up and let out a cry.

A man dressed in black leather boots, a long black brocade vest adorned with shining gold trim, a red and black silk cape slung across his shoulders and golden sword stood over them.

Drake

Weilderwolves stood like docile pets, on either side of the man. Gone were the blood red fangs and they looked up at him with adoring eyes.

“Father!” Tidus ran to him. “I thought you’d forgotten me.”

Drake embraced his son, then turned his gaze on Jonah.

“You did a righteous thing here today, Jonah. You cared more for Tidus than you did your freedom.”

Jonah swallowed hard unable to find his tongue.

Tidus knelt at his father’s feet and kissed his boots.

Jonah wondered. Was he expected to do the same? He certainly didn’t want to be skinned alive. He joined Tidus.

“Up, the both of you,” Drake ordered.

In an instant, a woman appeared beside Drake. With her long flowing blonde hair, purple, gold and green regality, she resembled a mythical goddess.

Jade

Tidus flew into her arms. “Mother!” Tears streaked down his face and he choked on his words. “I thought you died.”

Jade crooned, “Oh, my son. It was necessary for you to believe you were all alone so that you and Jonah could complete your lessons.” She stroked the boy’s hair. “I didn’t want to leave you but I knew you were ready for the task. You did well, Tidus, son of Drake and Jade.”

Jonah stared with an open mouth. If his life depended on him finding words to say, he’d surely die this minute.

His gaze returned to Drake. An electrifying aura floated around the warlock; something that resembled pictures he’d seen in books of the Aurora Borealis. Jonah sensed the strength of Drake’s magic. It ignited a flame inside him. Oh, how he wanted this gift. But, he was a mere mortal. Mere mortals could never possess magic this strong.

His eyes locked with Drake’s. Light shot out of them into Jonah’s and he blinked hard and struggled to stay on his feet.

Tidus touched Drake’s arm. “Father, Jonah is trapped here. The boat just left.”

“I know, son. It was the final test.”

Jonah found his voice. “Test for what, sir?”

“Come. Sit.” Red velvet chairs appeared out of nowhere.

red velvet

Jonah stumbled forward and found a seat. His head swam with confused thoughts. Was it possible that he was asleep and dreaming? Had the stress of missing the boat cost him what was left of his sanity?

But, he sat and listened.

The Warlock, Drake, spoke with a deep rumble, “You see, Jonah, I knew your mother many years ago. She was a student, learning our ways when the leaders discovered what we were doing and killed her.” He cleared his throat. “But, she was more than just a student. She was my lover.”

Jonah scooted to the edge of his chair. “You knew my mother?”

Drake nodded. “I have watched and waited to see if you would have the same gift. You’ve kept it well hidden but, nevertheless the spark is there.”

Jonah waited for him to continue, his gaze darting from Drake to Jade and Tidus. This had to be a dream. Nothing about it could be real. And yet the plush red velvet chair beneath him felt real.

“The gift?” Jonah asked.

“Like I said, your mother, Elizabeth, was my student,” Drake said. “She was learning how to use the magic, and her powers were growing daily. It broke my heart into a million pieces when they killed her.” His voice hardened. “I wasn’t there to protect her, but let me assure you, young Jonah, that the man responsible for her death paid dearly.”

“Wait,” Jonah interrupted. “Let’s go back. You said my mother was your lover. Does that mean…?” His words trailed off, and he glanced at Jade too embarrassed to continue.

Drake nodded. “Yes, Jonah. You are my son.” Drake reached for Jade’s hand. “It was before I found Jade. I loved Elizabeth and you were born out of that love.”

Again, his head swam. The son of a powerful Warlock? How could that be? And yet it all made sense except for one part.

He faced Drake. “If you are my father, why did you let them put me in the orphanage after they killed my mother?”

Drake sighed. “It was a hard choice, but at that time, we were fighting to survive. The leaders were determined to extinguish all of us and our kind. Many times, I counseled with the elders. I begged them to let me go for you. But, they refused. After all, you were half mortal.”

Jonah ran a hand through his dark hair. “And what happens now? Am I destined to exist in this godforsaken place forever?”

“No. But if you want to learn and grow your magic, you have work to do.”

 

Jonah – Part 12

When we left Jonah and Tidus last week, Jonah had asked Tidus if he would start teaching him magic. Tidus was unsure. Let’s see what happened.

“I’m afraid,” Tidus paced.

“Afraid of what? I’m not going to let anyone hurt you, Tidus.”

“You don’t understand. It’s not up to me, and even though you think you can, you cannot protect me. I don’t think I’m allowed to teach you.”

Jonah stood and laid a hand on Tidus’ shoulder. “Okay. Don’t get all worked up. I’m just trying to understand more.”

Tidus faced him. “It’s not that I don’t want to. I think you need to learn more about yourself first. If you try to go too fast, you’ll burn.”

“Burn?” Jonah stepped back. “That’s a funny word to use. You don’t mean that your father would skin me alive, do you?”

“I don’t know.” Tidus dropped his hands to his side. “I can’t tell you everything you want to know. You have to find it on your own.”

“In the books?”

Tidus nodded. “In the books, in your heart, and in your head. When your thoughts become more honest, and your heart more open, you’ll find what you seek.”

“I suppose that makes sense. You hungry, kid?” Jonah changed the subject.

“Sure. I loved the soup you made yesterday. Can you make it again?”

Jonah laughed and ruffled Tidus’ hair. “For you, kid, I’ll do it. Go gather some firewood.”

The boy traipsed into the thicket. Jonah never stopped being amazed at how the stinging nettles and venomous flowers parted to let him through. That was the kind of magic he craved.

He grabbed the pot and filled it with water and the vegetables Tidus had brought from his side of the island. He dug the package of jerky from the ground. Funny that he hadn’t realized it before now, but this jerky should have been long gone, and yet every time he opened it, he found several pieces. He wondered if that was more of the mysterious magic that surrounded him.

Tidus returned with an arm full of dried wood and Jonah set about building a fire.

soup

A thick silence settled between them while they ate. Jonah mulled over the words Tidus had spoken. He knew beyond any doubt that his thoughts were different than they’d ever been. He spent hours reading, reflecting on and journaling about deep dark secrets that he’d never imagined would see the light of day.

He wanted to purge himself of the darkness he’d embraced for so much of his young life. Shadowed memories of his mother’s loving touch came unbidden. He wished he could remember more, but he’d been too young when it all happened. He only knew what he had been told in the orphanage. Someone had killed her. He’d often dreamed of finding that someone and exacting revenge. Now, those thoughts seemed foreign to him, like they had belonged to another person.

He gathered their cups and strolled toward the water to wash them. He froze in his tracks.

There it was! A boat that looked as if it sailed straight out of Medieval times, approached the island.

Midieval Ship

 

How had he not heard it? His heart thumped. He glanced back at Tidus in time to see him disappear into a thick tangle of brush.

Jonah walked slowly toward the dock as the boat pulled alongside, churning the murky water with its propeller. A rope ladder appeared over the side of the boat, and a voice boomed. “Jonah, you have proven yourself. You are now allowed to return to the mainland. Are you ready?”

He swallowed hard. “I don’t know. Can my friend come with me?”

“What friend? We don’t see anyone?”

Jonah turned and yelled. “Tidus. Tidus come back.”

He was met with silence.

“Come on, Jonah. Let’s go,” an impatient voice continued.

“Can I have a little more time to go find my friend?” Jonah asked.

“No. It’s now or never. Either go with us now or stay here forever. We won’t come back.” The engine hummed and the blades churned.

Jonah put one foot on the bottom rung of the rope ladder and climbed.

“Hurry,” the voice ordered.

Jonah climbed halfway up the ladder and scoured the island as far as he could see, for any sign of the boy.

He yelled again, “Tidus!”

The only response was the hum of the engine.

He started back down the ladder, and the boat began to move. He jumped the last few feet and landed with a thud on the dock.

Without a backward glance, he ran in the direction he’d seen Tidus disappear.

“Tidus! Please come back,” he yelled at the top of his lungs.

He trampled through the tangled brush mindless of the sting.

Tidus emerged from a stand of trees. “You didn’t go.”

Breathing hard, Jonah leaned over and put his hands on his knees. Tears streamed down his face. What had he done? He’d given up his only chance to return. When he looked up, he met Tidus’ steady gaze.

“I couldn’t leave you here, kid,” he choked. “I wanted to go…I did. But, I simply couldn’t go off and leave you here alone.”

“I’m sorry, Jonah. Truly I am, but as I told you, I could not survive on the mainland.”

Jonah’s chest heaved. Emotion thickened his throat, and he turned back toward the hut. “You coming?” he asked.

Tidus fell into step beside Jonah. “I know you think you made a mistake.”

“I don’t know what I think. I wanted to go home, but another part of me is not sure I can survive on the mainland either. At least not the way I did before.”

When they reached the clearing, Jonah stared at the disappearing boat growing smaller. He sank down on the sand and let his chin fall to his chest.

Tidus dropped down beside him.

A shadow fell across them, and Jonah jumped to his feet.

JONAH – PART 11

This has been a pretty incredible journey so far for Jonah and Tidus. There is something shifting inside Jonah. When we left them last week, Tidus had gone back to his side of the island to get gardening tools. Let’s see how they’ve progressed.

***

Days passed by and Jonah spent hours working alongside Tidus.  His skin was covered in welts from the stinging nettles, and a large angry wound covered the back of his right hand where he’d accidentally brushed against one of the venomous flowers. But, they managed to clear a decent sized area for planting.

main-image-dug-bed-2x

Tidus had suggested a poultice of mud and herbs for healing. Again, Jonah was amazed at the boy’s knowledge. Tidus brought vegetable seeds from his side of the island along with a variety of flower seeds.

It made Jonah happy that Tidus spent days on his side of the island. Bit-by-bit, the boy brought more of his things, and Jonah had even constructed another smaller hut for him.

Shock rippled through him when Jonah realized that he hadn’t cast a glance toward the mainland or scanned the horizon for the boat in days.

Slowly but surely, he worked on clearing the land and himself.

After hours of digging, hoeing, planting and watering the rows of seeds in the makeshift garden, Jonah stretched out and opened “The Dark Side of the Light Chasers.”

Tidus dropped down beside him. “Will you read out loud?”

“Okay. Sure,” Jonah replied. “Chapter 6. ‘We can now begin to take responsibility for all of who we are, the parts we like and the parts we dislike. At this point, you don’t have to like all of your aspects; you just have to be willing to acknowledge them to yourself and others. There are three helpful questions you can ask yourself. Have I ever demonstrated that behavior in the past? Am I demonstrating that behavior now? Under different circumstances am I capable of demonstrating that behavior? Once you answer yes to any of these questions, you have started the process of owning a trait.’”

Tidus interrupted. “If you ever want to talk about anything, Jonah, I am a good listener.”

Jonah stared at him. “Yes, you are. But, I don’t think I could ever tell you all the things I’ve done. I don’t think you could handle it.”

“I am a kid, but in some ways, I’m really not. It’s all very strange, I am sure, but I’ve just kinda’ stopped aging. I experienced a lot with my mom and dad. Stuff that would make your stomach turn. Before we were banished from the mainland, people came in large groups determined to kill us and all of our kind. But our magic was stronger than their hatred and they never succeeded. I’ve seen my father remove a man’s skin without ever touching him. I’ll never forget the screams. I bet you’ve never seen anything like that.”

man skinned

“You’re right, Tidus. I’ve never seen magic like that. I’ve only seen what magic I could create with my hands and it was all based on fear. I had to make people fear me so they would respect me. I was the king of my turf.”

Tidus poked at the ground with a stick. “What’s the worst thing you ever did?”

“I really don’t want to talk about it.” Jonah cleared his throat. “I’m beginning to wonder if I really want off this island anymore. Now that you’re here, and we’re making it better, maybe I don’t want to go back to the mainland.”

“One thing I know, Jonah. We are both being tested. I can feel my father watching me from somewhere. I know he’s alive, but I don’t know why he doesn’t come and get me. Maybe I’m supposed to be here with you and these poor forgotten creatures that roam this island. You know they weren’t always this way, the Weilderwolves. They mutated into what they had to to survive here.”

“Are you talking about the fanged beasts?”

Tidus nodded.

“Maybe that is what I will do. Mutate.” Jonah spat on the ground. “If your father is alive and watching, then we need to show him the best of both of us. I’ve never cared about being the best at anything before except stealing, bullying and even killing. But, now I have a strong urge to be something better.”

Tidus spread his long webbed fingers out in front of him. “I can’t ever go back to the mainland. I would be tortured and probably killed.”

Jonah growled. “Not as long as I’m alive.”

A long minute of silence passed between them.

“Do you think you could start teaching me your magic, Tidus?” Jonah asked.

“I…I don’t know,” Tidus stuttered and his eyes glowed. “I’m not sure it is allowed.”

“There’s only one way to find out.”

magic sorcerer

Jonah – Part 8

When we left Jonah and Tidus last week, a horrendous and sudden storm had totally destroyed his hut. He’d grabbed Tidus and his meager belongings and fled. After Tidus chanted and held his Amethyst Gemstone to his forehead, the storm had stopped as suddenly as it had started. Now Jonah’s returned to make the shocking discovery of a new bigger and better hut and a new burlap bag. Let’s join them and see what’s next.

Jonah stood rooted in the same spot for a long minute. He turned to find Tidus close behind him.

“What? How?” He pointed to the hut.

Tidus shrugged. “Maybe something in the bag will answer your question.”

Forcing his feet to propel him forward, Jonah reached the burlap bag and pulled the tie. He dumped the contents on the hard ground.

Another book and a note fell out. He dropped to his knees. With shaking hands, he unfolded the note and read it out loud. “Because you thought of someone other than yourself for the first time in your life.”

Tidus knelt beside him. “You mean you’ve never thought about anybody other yourself your entire life?”

“I suppose so,” Jonah muttered.

“But, you made sure I was safe and it seemed to come naturally to you.”

Jonah reached for the new book. “Dark Side of the Light Chasers,” by Debbie Ford.” He held the book out to Tidus. “Ever heard of this one?”

dark side of the light chasers

Tidus nodded. “It’s a workbook of sorts. There are exercises after every chapter.”

“Exercises for what?” Jonah thumbed through the pages.

“It’s sort of a guided way to work on yourself, to face your shadow self and do shadow work.  My favorite quote from the book is, ‘Remember, all the answers you need are inside of you; you only have to become quiet enough to hear them.’

Jonah stood. “Shadow work?  Answers inside me? That makes no sense.”

“It will when you read the book. Looks like you have to do some self-discovery work if you ever want to leave this island.”

“I’ll read the book and learn the right words to say. Then I can talk my way out of here.”

Tidus drew a symbol in the dirt. “It doesn’t work that way, Jonah. They’re not interested in your words. Your actions are what they want to see.”

Jonah squinted. “You’re a weird kid, Tidus. How do you know so much about all this? Did they send you? And what is that you are drawing in the sand? You aren’t doing some sort of magic spell, are you?”

Tidus dropped his stick and stood. “No. I swear it. This is what we call sacred geometry. It is the symbol of the flower of life.”flower-of-life-beach

He continued, “What I told you is the truth. My father disappeared. My mother died and I’m all alone on the other side of the island. I would take you there if I could. Then you’d see I speak the truth.”

“Okay, kid. I believe you. It’s just that you seem to know a lot about all this self-work stuff. More than a kid your age should know.”

“It’s simple. My mother taught me from all these books. She was also teaching me how to grow and use my magic when she died. I have lots of books back at my home. If you want, I could bring you some. Maybe I could help you.”

Jonah shrugged. “Suit yourself. Bigger men that you have tried.” He slapped Tidus on the back. “Let’s look inside my new digs.”

With his dagger drawn, Jonah flung the rickety wooden door open to reveal a more spacious and weather-proof hut. As far as he could tell from the dim light, the inside was empty. He could almost stand up inside.

He sheathed the dagger and tossed the new book into one corner, then emptied the contents of the bag he carried over his shoulder. He quickly dug a small hole and re-buried the Jerky. With some of the vegetables Tidus had brought, he could make them a nice soup to eat. He leaned back against the wall and blew out a breath.

His head spun with thoughts. He was being forced to look at himself. The thought frightened him more than anything or anyone he’d ever faced. This was not going to be easy or pleasant.

Jonah Part 3

In the first episode, we met a young man, Jonah, exiled to a deserted island to pay for his crimes. But, this is no ordinary island. It’s inhabited by wild mythical creatures with long red fangs and claws like an Eagle, venomous flowers and stinging nettles and brambles. In the last episode, a drop had occurred. The burlap bag contained some dried buffalo, hygiene items, a note, and two books, The Four Agreements, along with a blank journal. The note informed Jonah the only way he would ever get to leave the island was to examine himself and face his demons. Jonah dismissed the books with a snort. Let’s see what’s going on with him now that a few more days have passed.

Thankful that he’d been given one pot to cook in, Jonah hunched over the small fire and drew the savory smell in through his nostrils. The dried buffalo would make a hearty soup and his stomach growled at the thought. He stirred the mushrooms and Burdock root to a slow boil, then added pieces of the meat.

Campfire

The crackling of leaves brought him to his feet and he reached for the ever-present dagger. He turned in a full circle and saw nothing. It must have been an animal. After all, the Master had been very specific in warning him he would be the only human inhabitant on the island.

He sat back on his heels and stirred the boiling stew.

There it was again. That time, there was no mistaking the sound of footsteps. Was he going mad? He yelled. “Who’s there?”

Silence answered him.

He ran his hands through his thick black hair and returned to his stew. Once he was satisfied that it was thoroughly cooked, he pulled the container from the fire and disappeared into his hut to enjoy the fare.

His nostrils flared, and eyes closed as the delectable aroma arose. Within minutes, he devoured the tasty concoction.

Just as he wiped his mouth on the back of his hand, he heard it again. Footsteps approached from the east. He got to his haunches ready to spring and held his breath. They stopped just short of his hut.

He let out a loud cry and lunged from the hut, dagger drawn. To his surprise, a young boy stood wide-eyed. He stopped short.

Jonah had difficulty finding his voice but managed a weak, “Hello.”

The boy simply nodded.

“Who are you? Where did you come from?” Jonah fired the questions. “How did you get here? Are you from the mainland?” Jonah quickly deducted this was no ordinary boy. His eyes glowed with luminescent light and webbing grew between his long fingers. 

Merlin1841

The boy turned and ran.

Jonah gave chase and pulled him to the ground. He turned him over. “I demand some answers. Did the Master send you?”

The boy shook his head. “I didn’t know you were here, mister.”

“You’ve got some explaining to do, kid.” Jonah helped the boy to his feet and pushed him toward his camp.

Who could this mysterious visitor be and what sort of magic does he carry? Tune in again next week and we will find out more.

 

Magic – A Holiday Story #2

Cabin_Snow

MAGIC

JAN SIKES

Last week an old rancher, Frank Pyburn, found an insistent horse clomping on his porch. The horse seemed determined to take him to someone or something. Let’s join them.

“I hope you know where you’re going,” Frank let the reins fall loose in his hands. The horse came to a halt near the fence line.

Frank eased off the horse, gun cocked and scoured the ground. A small lump covered with a light layer of snow groaned and moved.

“Hey,” Frank knelt beside the small form. He brushed the snow away to find a young boy with a nasty bump on his head. “Can you hear me?”

A groan escaped the boy’s frozen lips.

Frank leaned his rifle against a fencepost and picked up the limp boy. He glanced at the horse. “I suppose this is your owner.”

The horse snorted.

“Well, it’s a good thing you came and got me. He wouldn’t have lasted long out here.” He found a blanket rolled up behind the saddle and wrapped it tight around the boy.

How on earth would he be able to get back on the horse holding the boy?

As if reading his mind, the horse kneeled in the snow.

“I’ll be damned. If you ain’t somethin’.”

Frank reached for his rifle and stuck it between the saddle and leather strap. Then holding the boy, he straddled the horse. As soon as he gained his balance, the horse stood and trotted back toward the ranch house.

When they reached the porch, he slid from the horse and retrieved his rifle. “I’ll be back to tend to you shortly,” he said.

The horse snuffed and tossed his head.

Frank lost no time getting the boy inside and laid him on a rug in front of the fireplace. After a closer look at the bump, it didn’t appear to be as bad as he’d first thought. The boy was lucky.

He grunted when he pushed himself up. “You’re gettin’ too old for this kind of stuff, old man,” he muttered, as he slipped out of his coat and gloves.

The boy suddenly sat up with wide terror-filled eyes and cried out.

Frank knelt beside him. “I’m not gonna hurt you, boy. I’m just tryin’ to help.”

The boy’s eyes shot around the room. “Where am I? Who are you?” Where’s Magic?”

“Whoa there, stud. One question at a time. I’m Frank Pyburn, and this is my ranch house. I’m guessin’ Magic’s your horse. That horse saved your life tonight. I brought you back here to keep you from freezing to death. What in tarnation are you doing out on a joy ride on a night like this?”

The boy’s bottom lip trembled, and he jutted his chin out. “Wasn’t no joy ride, mister.”

He rubbed his head and groaned.

“Well, whatever it was, you can tell me all about it later. Right now, we need to get you into some dry clothes.”

The boy tried to stand and wobbled. “I need to get going.”

“You’re not going anywhere kiddo. Settle down and let’s get this all figured out. You got a name?”

“Jasper.” The boy stuck out his hand. “Jasper Doolin.”

Frank shook the small hand. “Well, then, Jasper Doolin, do you have any dry clothes in your saddlebags?”

Jasper nodded. “Got any coffee, Mister Frank?”

Frank grinned. “I reckon I do at that. Sit here by the fire, and I’ll fetch it, then I’ll get your saddlebags.”

He returned to find the boy leaning against the threadbare sofa.

“Here you go.” He pressed the cup into his small hands. “I’ll be right back.”

As he shrugged back into his coat, a million questions swarmed around him. What on earth was a young boy doing out by himself on a night like this? Something told him the answer would be unsettling.

Rather than taking time to look through the saddlebags out in the cold, Frank draped them over his shoulder and darted back inside.

He found Jasper pulling off scuffed boots and wiggling his toes close to the fire. Frank guessed him to be around ten years of age and in better condition than he’d first thought.

“Here are your saddlebags, son. Why don’t you get into dry clothes while I tend to Magic?”

Jasper nodded and once more, Frank trudged back out into the cold.

Frank talked to the horse while he led him into the barn and took the saddle and blanket off his back. The horse snuffled and whinnied, almost as if could understand every word Frank uttered. In under half an hour, he had Magic settled with fresh water and hay comfortable in the shelter of the barn.

When he opened the door to the house, his nose twitched. He shut the door and hurried into the living room.

 

TO BE CONTINUED…….

Red-Haired_BoyFrank

 

Magic – A Holiday Story #1

Cabin_Snow

MAGIC

SEGMENT 1

Frank Pyburn tossed another log into the fireplace, poured two fingers bourbon into his coffee and settled into his easy chair. With joints that ached, he ran a gnarled hand through a shock of white hair. The newest Zane Grey novel lay on the table next to his chair. He kicked off his worn boots, switched on the lamp and reached for it.

That man sure knew how to write a good western.

Frank grunted a little as he settled in and reached for the coffee. The burn felt good and warmed him on the inside.

“Ah,” he said to no one.

After he found his reading glassed under a two-day pile of newspapers, he opened the book.

Halfway through the first chapter, the sound of hooves clomping across his front porch brought him to his feet.

“Damn bears again,” he muttered. “But, since when did bears grow hooves?”

He slipped on his boots and grabbed the Winchester propped beside the door.

“Who’s out there?” He yelled.

A loud whinny cut through the cold Montana air, followed by a snort and a hoof pawing on the wood.

Frank cursed and eased the front door open two inches. He peered out with one eyeball. A saddled brown pony with no rider stamped his foot and nickered.

“Who’s out there?” Frank yelled again.

The horse tossed his head and let out a long whinny.

Frank swung the door open wide and stepped out into the porchlight, gun cocked and aimed.

The horse backed off the porch and continued to toss his head and nicker.

When Frank saw no one, he walked toward the horse and grabbed the trailing reins. “Good boy.” He patted the horse’s thick neck.

“Where’s your rider?”

The horse pulled against the reins and reared.

“Whoa, boy. Whoa.” Frank kept a tight grip on the leather.

The horse jerked against Frank’s hold and whinnied.

“You’re trying to tell me something, aren’t you, boy?” Frank peered into the cold blackness of the night. His gut told him someone was in trouble. “All right. I’ll go with you, you stubborn horse, but I’ve got to get my coat and gloves.”

He pulled on the reins and the horse followed him. “Damned if this don’t beat all. The coldest night of the year and you’re gonna drag me away from my warm fire. You better have a good reason.”

If someone was in trouble, this weather would freeze a person to death in no time.

He tied the horse to the porch rail and stepped back into the warmth of the small ranch house. He shot a longing glance at the fire, his book and the rest of his coffee while he slammed his hat on his head, slipped into his heaviest coat and gloves.

The minute he swung up into the saddle, the horse spun around and took off.

To Be Continued…

Magic