Too Brained to Tired

Or something like that. I wrote over ten thousand words on Monday and Tuesday.

Have an excerpt about why the Good Old Days weren’t.

Tunk. Not the sound Aedelbert wanted to hear as his mattock grazed a rock. Be glad the soil is thick, he reminded himself, and you are not digging a slag channel through stone. On the other hand, how he’d lost the toss and ended up digging the dirt instead of levelling the site, well, he still had a little suspicion. Caedda was not above trickery when the opportunity arose. He was Scavenger born, after all.

Two lachter farther and he’d be done and they could start building. And Turold did not want a precisely sloped and lined channel. A trench in the dirt, deep enough to take melted rock but not so deep as to carry hollow logs for water, that sufficed. The workers would pull the slag out away from the smelters and keep the channel clear. Except some of it they’d re-heat to see what came out. Aedelbert had heard the words but not all of them made sense. He bent over, wiggled loose the offending rock, and set it aside. Continue reading

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Harvest Home?

“All is safely gathered in/ Ere the winter storms begin…Raise the song of Harvest Home.” This text is from one of my favorite Thanksgiving hymns, “Come Ye Thankful People, Come.” It combines the timely images of harvest and sorting the good grain from the weeds, and from the end of the Christian calendar and the winnowing of peoples described in the Bible.

What I suspect most of us who sing the hymn tend to forget is that a Harvest Home was a specific celebration in England. Harvest Home is the proper name and refers to the large feast and the rituals associated with bringing the last sheaf of grain in at the end of the harvest, bring the harvest home to the farm. Continue reading

A Difference in Perspective…

I just finished a chapter in Miners and Empire where the protagonist, Aedelbert, takes work in one of the mines during winter. He and his partner can’t do the work they contracted to do because of the weather, but they still need to eat, so Caedda hired on with the masons rebuilding the city wall. Aedelbert has reasons not to be seen working stone, and so goes into the mine. Not to mine, however, but to open a dedicated gallery (I’m [mis]using the term adit in the book) linking two shafts for better air flow. This he has no difficulty with.

Those who have read “The Scavenger’s Gift,” about a merchant named Osbert and his visit to the mine called Scavenger’s Gift are probably shivering a little and contemplating moving to a larger, airyer room, or even outdoors. Continue reading

Sunday Snippet: Training and a Hide

In which Tycho demonstrates dirty tricks, and inspects a strange hide.

As Tycho went to find supper late that afternoon, he observed a new addition to the grounds of the pfalz. Eight poles now stood fifty feet or so back from the road, neatly smoothed and roughly fifteen feet tall. A human head capped each pole. The birds had not yet found the heads, or were perhaps biding their time until the imperial Procession moved on and they could eat in peace with fewer observers. Tycho shrugged. Waste of good, straight timber, but it would perhaps deter the light-fingered and foolish for a season or so. Perhaps.

After supper, Tycho joined the guards as they worked. The morning practices appeared to be primarily instruction for the younger men, and Tycho preferred not to deal with the eager and energetic before his body finished waking. He’d brought both staff and sword, and at the sergeant’s nod, he put the sword on and released the peace-tie. He needed to practice staff while wearing the sword, because if he forgot that it hung in his way, well… Continue reading

That Time of Year

So there I was, strolling into Day Job, and motion caught my eye. A huge mound of… shrubbery approached from eight o’clock low. Truly enormous heap of greenth. I could hear wheels on pavement, so I was not too worried about this being an attack by killer tomatoes (zombie killer tomatoes if they were still moving after the other night’s freeze), but rolling bushes are not exactly common out here unless they are dried and the wind is blowing.

Then the heap-o-greens pivoted and I realized it was the chief of maintenance moving the Christmas tree from the garage into the rotunda so the Student Council could lead the decorating. Continue reading

Book Review: The Savage Worlds of Solomon Kane

Howard, Robert E. The Savage Worlds of Solomon Kane (Del Ray Reprint, 2004) E-book.

Although best known as the creator of Conan the Barbarian, Robert Howard had a number of other memorable protagonists, including the lean Puritan with glittering dark eyes, Solomon Kane. He traveled the world righting wrongs and sending the doers of evil to their fate, whatever that might be. The stories are set in Europe and Africa of the late 1600s, although there are a number of hints and nods to lost civilizations such as Atlantis and Mu. Continue reading

Miner and Empire: The Hard Part

it took more than just stone to build a smelter. The stones are the easy part for Aedelbert and Caedda.

Thunk. The mattock’s flat face bit into the creamy-grey clay. Aedelbert grunted with effort as he wiggled it loose, prying the lump of clay farther out of the wall of the pit. He raised the tool and brought it down again. He heard a quiet splash behind him, and Caedda’s familiar grunt as he tossed water out of the hole.

“Be nice if the rain had waited,” Caedda said at last. Thunk. They took turns bailing as rainwater oozed and trickled into the trench.

Aedelbert saved his energy for digging. The weather had turned chill and damp, of course. Radmar of the skies they should have called the god, not Radmar of the Wheel. Bad enough to be digging at the edge of a marsh, but the rain… Well, now they knew that the clay would keep water out if anyone needed it for that. The hired cart should return soon, and he wanted to have a good load for it, since they paid by the day, not by weight. Continue reading