Rhonda's A 'Muse'-ing Rambles

Life and Times of a Busy Woman

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Archive for the ‘Tales of As’r’ Category

Happy New Year!

Posted by Range Officer Rhonda on January 2, 2009

I want to wish all my friends and family a happy and prosperous New Year. Many people at this time of year set out to make new resolutions, often failing in their attempts to keep them. Instead of making a new resolution this year, I am going backwards. I am going to ‘finish’ the old year. Instead of starting new projects, I will put the finishing touches on old projects. I don’t need to pick up a new book, I have old ones that need to be finished or reread, some even need to have their reviews finished. Instead of finding a new craft project to start, I will pick up one of the projects that I haven’t completed and finish it. I hate to admit that I have several of these, so it may take some serious time to complete them to my satisfaction. Among them are a rug, a crocheted afghan, a couple of weaving projects, a crewel embroidery project that my mother left half finished before she died, a scarf to knit, two pillows to make, a small pieced quilt for my son and half a dozen unfinished ceremics that need final coats and touch-ups of paint. That’s just handicrafts – the writing too has several directions I can take. My memoir has two new chapters that need to be fine tuned and added to the manuscript. A great poem needs polish, a magazine article needs to be edited with photos added [and sent in to the editor!]. More chapters can be written in my two fiction pieces – one a sci-fi/fantasy piece [see Tales of As’r here in the blog], has outline that can be fleshed out and added; the other [see Tales of Dina] has a couple of short stories that are hand written and need to be added to the computer.

And work can’t be forgotten! After an entire year has passed, I still have a couple of tax returns that require a little more client input before I can finish them. One more contact with the clients can’t hurt if it gets me the info I need so I can get these out and I can finally say, “I’m done!”. After all, this week all the new returns will start pouring in, starting with W-2’s and payroll taxes, then quickly following with tax returns that need to be filed quickly so people can get their refunds or at least prepare themselves for the blow of what they may owe. This is going to be a tough tax season I feel as many people lost much of their savings and investments, lost their jobs, their homes and, in some cases, the lives of loved ones. I’m personally in the same boat with nearly all of the above. My husband is unemployed, we’ve lost much of the value of our retirement and other investments, many friends and family have died and money is tight.

More on the work front includes planning and setting up my pieces of a Shotgun Instructor class that I am assisting with this month and assisting in setting up a Mountain Man Rendezvous complete with period costumes, black powder guns and wilderness skills.

Above all, I need to find a way to make more money and get insurance for my family. Although I have the certifications, hands on skills, college degree and more for a variety of jobs in business management & tax law, my age and lack of current work in the public sector makes it hard to come by a good job with the economy stressed as it is now. There are just too many people [younger] out there that are willing to work for less wages because they too are starving and losing their homes and needing money to put into retirement.

Not only do I need to clean house with unfinished work – but I literally need to clean house. Months and years of pack rat accummulations need to be sorted and either put into good use or disposed of. Old files need to be shredded; but require fine review before they meet the teeth of the shredder. Old clothes, blankets, coats and boots need to go to a deserving charity. Old chipped or broken things need to be mended or thrown away. Books need to be sorted and in some cases, recycled. This is one chore I will LOVE – since it means I can replace them with other books.

So, instead of diving into a New Year with new work – I am going to clean the slate and finish the old. It is so refreshing to complete something that has been sitting there emitting a little weary cry in the back of my mind “Finish me…..”


Posted in Daily Life, Shooting sports, Tales of As'r, Tales of Dina, Tax Talk | Tagged: | 2 Comments »

Tales of As’r – Introduction, Chap I

Posted by Range Officer Rhonda on March 31, 2008

The following is an excerpt (unedited) of a fantasy piece I started in the late 1980’s:


From Crone Maga’s hovel we hear the story of the legendary griffins. Some say the griffins were basically good, helping the good wizards of yesteryear. Long ago, several bad wizards drove the griffins so far north that a freak storm froze them in a crystal cave.

“Legend has it that only a person of the old royal magic blood can bring the griffins back and eventually free the wizards who are now trapped for eternity in the Magic Isles.”

As’r, one of the boys listening to the crone’s story, often dreams of griffins and magic. He leaves the crone’s hut to ponder her tale and to carry on his survival as a small, orphaned thief. When he is nearly caught stealing in the market, he must flee or be put in one of the labor camps where unwanted children are worked to death. He decides to run away, heading north into the woods to figure out his next move.

One night while camping, an unsettling dream comes to As’r in his sleep, parts of which he seems to have experienced before. When he wakes, he knows he must journey further north and attempt to find the Griffin’s crystal as shown to him in the dream.

During a brief capture by slavers, As’r befriends Chowt in a daring escape attempt. They find unexpected help from an innkeeper, Bozs, near the territory border. Bozs doesn’t take to the slavers so the innkeeper outfits the young men with warm clothing and food.

As rumor of a slavers’ raid party reaches the inn, the two fugitives bid Bozs a fond farewell and journey to a wise mage’s cave, of whom they had learned while in the slavers’ camp. Upon finally reaching the mage’s cave, they find the mage near death and try to nurse him back to life. He revives, somewhat, but knows his death is immanent. In exchange for a promise of a proper burial, the old mage tells them of an old rhyme that may possibly lead them to the griffin’s lair.

            Tho’ trader not, I follow their trail

            On dark northern mount, look up at a grail.

            Thru the pass pulled by wind I was beckoned

            Down to quiet deep forest I reckoned.

            Two days I pushed on, ‘till like-blood

            Doth the mighty river flow thru mud.

            Then on a reed raft, upriver I row

            Till ice forced me out into the snow.

            At end of winter, the sun rose up high

            And caused a great flash, ‘most blinded my eye.

            Toward the beacon, till out my body gave

            I made it not to the Griffin Ice Cave.

Shortly after extracting the boys’ promises of a proper burial and reciting the poem as best he remembered, the mage dies. As’r and Chowt fulfill their promise to the mage, and then make their way into the mountains. Pausing near sunset after a strenuous day, the boys build a small camp and light a warming fire. “Well, Chowt,” asks As’r, “how do you think we can find this grail thing?”

“I suppose,” comes the reply, “we must look up like the poem says – maybe for a cave or sump tin?”

“That’s it!! Look Chowt,” cries As’r, “see that rock formation? It looks like a grail! Tomorrow we head towards that pass.” After a short discussion of their plans, they both bed down, almost too excited to sleep.

The following day, they make it across the mountains after nearly freezing to death and reach a very heavy forest. Entering the forest, they stumble across a small being that only stood about one meter tall; he was very hairy and had a very deep voice (which never seemed to stop sounding). “Hey you,” the strange little man cries, “What is the meaning of destroying my snare? I was so looking forward to a rabbit to dine on.”

The two boys apologize and help him reset his snares and then begin to look around for a good camp site. Further in the woods, the two pause at hearing a loud snoring noise. “What is that?” whispers Chowt in surprise.

“I don’t know, but I sure wish that little guy was here, he…” begins As’r.

“The name’s BOGN, and I am NOT a little guy, at least not where I come from Harrumph!” And into the clearing appears Bogn with a brace of rabbits over his shoulders.

“Oh, beg pardon sir,” As’r stammers with embarrassment, “But since you are here, can you tell what that noise is?”

“Nothin’ to fear, me boys, if you’ll just help me skin these two varmints, and build a fire, why I’ll get us some food cooking. A man can’t think well with a growling stomach.” At that, he hands them each a rabbit and promptly disappears, leaving the young men to fulfill his request.

When Bogn returns, he hangs a small kettle of food over the fire that he carried with him. “I calls them noisy things Pigits cause they look like pigs and smell even worse. Fortunately for us, they’ve been foraging and found some spoiled red fruit that had fermented and they’ve gorged so much, they’ve passed out. I figured they would sleep for a time, so I sneaked over to the Pigit camp and took this here kettle.”

Making quick work of their meal, the three continue with their journey. The travelers have little trouble other than dealing with nature, something neither of the two young men have much skill at, having come from villages and such. They learn much of each other and agree to continue on and search for the Griffin’s Crystal.

As they journey north, they find winter setting in and decide to make camp for a few days and try to accumulate supplies to carry them further in their journey. As the fabled griffin Lair can only be approached in the spring time, they must hurry to find the location before the key time has passed. Following a long, cold trek through the winter snows, spring shows signs of breaking in the northern reaches. Following the clues of the wise mage’s poem, one sunset they are lead by a sharp beacon of dazzling light straight to the Griffin’s lair. In it, frozen in the ice, they find several griffins. Towards the back of the cavern a pile of multicolored crystals lie, around which is curled the largest Griffin.

As’r peers closely at the frozen seeming monster and suddenly finds himself transfixed by the stare of one eye. “Do not be scared, royal one, I cannot harm you. I have been frozen here in time for many millennium and only with the magic of all those present have I been able to remain awake long enough to impart my message to one who was foretold would come. You must be he because I detect the magic blood in you, but you do not approach or appear in the normal way. Why is that, mage?”

“I….I, uh, I’m As’r. But I don’t know why you call me mage; I am just a poor village orphan, now without a village. I received a dream and a wise old mountain mage directed me here” stammers the boy in confusion.

“Ah, me” sighs the griffin. “Very well, you’ll have to do. Take one of these eggs and guard it carefully with your life. Take it to the warm sands in the caves beneath the southern reach volcanoes. There, tend it will as it bastes in the warm sand so that the future of the griffins will not perish. Once done, you must tend my baby well, she will mature quickly and with your help, you should be able to return before winter sets again and free us. If you do not return, we will perish and the good wizards in the Magic isles will remain locked there for eternity.” With that, the griffin closes its eyes, seeming to freeze solid as the others.

“But wait,” cries As’r, “I have so many questions, can’t you tell me…”

“Alas, I cannot remain awake, good luck royal mag…” and the presence of the being could no longer be felt.

“Now that’s a fine whooped dee doo,” states the little manling, “now I suppose ye wants me to go wid ya to the south now and tote that fancy rock of yourn, huh? Well, I never! Wish you’d make up your minds, first we fight wild critters in the forest and then we have to freeze and near starve to death and now, NOW, he wants to go ALL THE WAY TO THE OTHER END OF THE WORLD, well, I…” With that said, Bogn turns and walks further in the cave.

“Chowt,” asks As’r, “will you help me too? I can’t do this alone, why; I don’t even know where to start.” Turning to the griffin, he creeps closer and chooses the large crystal egg the griffin seemed to have indicated in his speech.

“Well, As’r, I feel I owe you my life and my freedom for helping me escape the slavers, so I will go with you. I’m sure we will find the right place. Just think, a real live Griffin!” Chowt stares around the cave in awe.

Agreeing to journey together to the south, our three friends gather their belongings and the griffin crystal egg. With this adventure at a close, they ponder what new excitement awaits them as they journey south to raise the baby griffin and perhaps free the wizards one day.

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