Conversations with Christopher: Quartz Frets

Quartz: Why? Why did I even try to talk to that woman? (Quartz strides back and forth through the steaming fog background of the Cauldron.) What was I trying to prove?

Christopher: (He blinks as if waking and becoming aware of his surroundings, including the presence of a character from not only different stories, but a completely different universe.) Hello, Quartz? Shouldn’t you be interviewing someone for Secondary Characters Speak Out right now?

Quartz: I am. At the Formely Forbidden Cauldron right now. Or I’ve already done it and I’m having an after the interview lament on the scribbler’s Facebook Author Page. (He looks up to glower at any readers who might be at this blog, beard bristling.) That’s right. If you want to know what I’m talking about, go inspirationcauldron.blogspot.com. Unless you’re reading the reflection at K.S. Trenten’s Amazon Author Page. If the latter is so, it’s afterwards for you, too.

Christopher: What happened, Quartz? Why are you here?

Quartz: Exactly! Why am I here? Why am I talking to you? It was your villain’s suggestion I do it!

Christopher: My villain?

Quartz: Yes, your villain, antagonist, foil, father figure, lover, cousin, master, whatever! (He balls his hands into fists.) Don’t expect me to make sense of your relationship with him. You can’t even make sense of your relationship with him!

Christopher: That describes a lot of ‘hims’ in my existence.

Quartz: I’m talking about Dyvian. Sometimes he swaggers around, calling himself Once Upon a Time or the Voice of Seraphix, but you know him as Dyvian. You do know him, don’t you?

Christopher: Of course I do.

Quartz: Don’t “of course” me. Memory is a funny thing with you. Anyway I’m trying to talk about me here. Not you!

Christopher: I didn’t-

Quartz: Typical main character, trying to make it all about him. (He grumbles.)

Christopher: You’re becoming a main character yourself, remember?

Quartz: If my story ever gets told. It may not. I’m just a minor, deceased character in a Nine Star Press anthology and Nine Star Press is no longer accepting stories, except those having to do with holidays. I shudder to think what sort of a festive situation I’ll be crammed into with Nimmie Nott. Especially if Oriana decides to join in the fun.

Christopher: I’m getting more and more confused. What happened?

Quartz: I talked to Oriana. Had her a guest on Secondary Characters Speak Out.

Christopher: What?!

Quartz: Don’t look at me like that! It was all Dyvian’s idea. He made me think, well, wonder if maybe it would be better to face Oriana. If I wouldn’t get stronger if I finally did it.

Christopher: And Oriana agreed to meet you? To become a guest on Secondary Characters Speak Out?

Quartz: Not only that. She agreed to just about everything I said.

Christopher: Perhaps she means it. Perhaps she’s sorry for what she did to you and Briar.

Quartz: Hah! It’s more like that she’s up to something.

Christopher: She could be, but that doesn’t mean she isn’t sorry. Her story is over, Quartz.

Quartz: No, it isn’t. It’s never over. Not in the scribbler’s head. Now Oriana is threatening to become part of my story!
Christopher: Well, she might be part of your story. If you relive part of your life with Briar at the cottage, she will turn up.

Quartz: Turn up and ruin our lives. I don’t want to go through that again.

Christopher: I don’t blame you.

Quartz: Only she says she’s going to make things better. She’s going to prove to me she’s changed.

Christopher: Do you believe her?

Quartz: No, of course not! Well, not really. Actually I don’t know. I don’t know what to think. (He tugs at his beard as if he were Garnet.) I’m so confused!

Christopher: Welcome to the ranks of our scribbler’s main characters. (He offers Quartz a weary grin.) We’re usually confused.

Quartz: (He stops in his tracks.) Really.

Christopher: (He nods in comforting certainty.) Really.

Quartz: Thank you. Y’know, for a shadow, you’re not so bad.

Christopher: (He smiles a sweet, yet sinister smile.) Oh, I am, but I appreciate the thought.

Quartz: Right. (He tries not to shudder.)

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#RainbowSnippets: A Symposium in Space

Welcome to Rainbow Snippets!

Every Saturday or Sunday, those participating post and share six sentences of LGBTQIA+ fiction on their blogs. It can be their own. It can be someone else’s. It just needs to be LGBTQIA+.

To read a wide variety of samples from LGBTQIA+ stories, go to…

https://www.facebook.com/groups/RainbowSnippets/?ref=group_header

For mine, Pausania will indulge in a sexist rant, picking up where she left off last week in my recent release, A Symposium in Space…

“Men have committed crime after crime, started countless wars, preying upon one another along with us. We should never forget that, especially when we start considering offering them citizenship in the Intergalactic Democracy!”

Ah, so this was what bothered her. The possibility of men being able to vote once more in the Democracy, to have a voice in public assemblies.

Official herstory (intergalactic schools no longer used the word ‘history’, just as they no longer used the word ‘patronizing’) taught young girls that the beginnings of our democracy started with the colonization of other planets. Many of these off-world settlements had been started by women, hoping to create separate cultures apart from the patriarchy we couldn’t seem to shake off back on Ancient Earth.

 

Like what you’re reading? Want more? Here are some buy links…

Nine Star Press: https://ninestarpress.com/product/a-symposium-in-space/

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Symposium-Space-Feast-Words-ebook/dp/B07PGB15FY/ref=sr_1_1?crid=3BPACY58MCCMV&keywords=a+symposium+in+space&qid=1552937461&s=digital-text&sprefix=A+Sympo%2Caps%2C239&sr=1-1

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1130883509?ean=2940161507872

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/a-symposium-in-space

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/928136

(I’m currently reading a biography of Queen Anne of England. I’m struck by a similarity in this scene between Pausania and Sarah Churchill. The intolerant rage burning within both of them, threatening to scorch those who dare to love them…it’s more than a little scary. The scariest thing is I’ve felt this rage myself as well as been on the receiving end of it…)

Me Me Monday: Conversations with Christopher

(Christopher is in the Cauldron, having a conversation with his beloved Damian Ashelocke. It doesn’t matter if he’s really there or not. Christopher misses him enough to talk to him, to imagine the questions he might ask. Or is Damian truly there?)

Damian: I was just thinking about Once Upon a Time and Happily Ever After. Just what are they?

Christopher: The beginning of all stories and the end everyone hopes to get. I’m not sure if anyone outside the Gardens of Arachne considers Once Upon a Time and Happily Ever After to be a whom as well as what.

Damian: Why did we start seeing them as a whom? Where did Once Upon a Time and Happily Ever After first come from?

Christopher: The Shadow Forest, perhaps? Its mists do creep into our former gardens. This was why Stefan Ashelocke called his realm ‘Mystere’.

Damian: Yes, but the Shadow Forest is composed of dreams, stray thoughts, imaginary creatures and places. Didn’t someone have to fantasize about Once Upon a Time and Happily Ever After in order for the two of them to become Arachnian legends? Or were they once real people?

Christopher: Just what is ‘real’? I’ve had dreams, visions of storytellers and legend crafters, gathering together around a legendary fountain to compete against each other in their art. The victor would become Once Upon a Time, ultimate crafter of story. He’d control the fountain and all the other fountains of creation itself.

Damian: He?

Christopher: Or she. Or they. It doesn’t matter who or what you were. To become Once Upon a Time, you just need the art and mastery to spawn legends.

Damian: This sounds a bit like being a deity or becoming one.

Christopher: It may have been. Only you could have very humble beginnings and still become Once Upon a Time. Like I said, it was less about who you were and more about what you can do.

Damian: And Happily Ever After?

Christopher: He was the prize all the participants in legends strove to carry off or obtain for themselves.

Damian: He?

Christopher: Or she. Or they. It depends of the desires of those involved in the legend, the form Happily Ever After takes. (He looks away from Damian, his cheeks coloring.) I’ve always seen Happily Ever After as a he. A particular he.

Damian: (His own cheeks colour as well.) Always?

Christopher: Always.

Damian: Your Happily Ever After could disappoint you. He might be not turn out to be what you expected.

Christopher: That’s the problem with being Happily Ever After, any form of Happily Ever After. (He smiles sadly.) It’s impossible to live up to others’ expectations of you.

Damian: One would think being Happily Ever After would grant some sort of powers to live up to such expectations. Something to help him fulfil his role.

Christopher: You would think so, wouldn’t you? Such powers mean nothing if Happily Ever After can’t use them. Or if he misuses them.

Damian: Does Happily Ever After misuse his powers?

Christopher: All too often.

Damian: How does he stop? Or learn to use those powers more wisely?

Christopher: That’s a riddle I’m still struggling to figure out.

#RainbowSnippets: A Symposium in Space

Welcome to Rainbow Snippets!

Every Saturday or Sunday those participating post and share six sentences of LGBTQIA+ fiction on their blogs. It can be their own. It can be someone else’s. It just needs to be LGBTQIA+.

To read a wide variety of samples from LGBTQIA+ stories, go to…

https://www.facebook.com/groups/RainbowSnippets/?ref=group_header

For my own, I’m going to pick up where I left off last week in A Symposium in Space. This is a little longer than it should be, but I left off too soon last week, clipping the scene too short, so it didn’t really make sense. I didn’t want to do the same thing this week…

 

Sure enough, red liquid spilled out of it. “Thinking her wealth and power are enough to lure you to one of her dull dinner parties, let alone me!”

“You just used the word ‘woman’,” I ventured. “Didn’t you just chastise me for saying that?”

“Of course I chastised you.” Pausania ran a hand through her hair in a self-conscious gesture. “We’re trying to get away from a past dominated by men in the name we use for ourselves.”

“Why use it?” I asked. “If you feel the word is wrong, why do you keep using it?”

“Because I can’t forget it!” Pausania slammed the glass into the wall, heedless of the broken shards. They sliced her hand causing crimson wounds to bloom all over her smooth skin.

 

Like what you’ve read? Want to read more? Here are some buy links…

Nine Star Press: https://ninestarpress.com/product/a-symposium-in-space/

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Symposium-Space-Feast-Words-ebook/dp/B07PGB15FY/ref=sr_1_1?crid=3BPACY58MCCMV&keywords=a+symposium+in+space&qid=1552937461&s=digital-text&sprefix=A+Sympo%2Caps%2C239&sr=1-1

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1130883509?ean=2940161507872

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/a-symposium-in-space

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/928136

Me Me Monday: D is for Dyvian

Growing up in the Gardens of Arachnia, I was known as Dyvian Ashelocke. That name predated the rose arbours and mazes decorated by statues of past Marriage Feasts. I recalled the man with eyes the very hue of the blooms on the vines around me, smiling, stretching out a living hand to me, even if he was stone now.

All Marriage Feasts turn into stone once their brides have drained them of their essence, leaving them still and beautiful to stand at the center of mazes, crowned with flowers and given offerings by the Feasts of the future. Quite cozy, isn’t it?

Only I got flashes of the darkness, sometimes felt the spray of the waterfalls from what existed before. Back when Mystere was Stefan Ashelocke’s Place of Power before his bride made him the very first Marriage Feast.

I harbour no ill will to my sister, Duessa for her little coup, which created the arachnocracy with herself as the reigning queen of it all. Even if she herself will claim it’s the Spider who is the true Queen of these gardens and webbed halls. Indeed, I admire Duessa for her boldness in embracing a new vision, putting into action her ambition, and being willing to pay the price to make it all happen.

This doesn’t mean such a scheme can’t be imporved upon. Making a pact with the Spider, a greedy deity with such inflexible demands is one way to carve your own realm out of the rock of reality amidst the shifting shadows of dreams. Yet why not shape your deity out of your very dreams?
It’s a bold thought, yes. I doubt such a notion ever would have occurred to me, even with the memory of Stefan’s ambition living in my memories. Not if Christopher and Damian hadn’t given me a taste of what was possible in a vision they shared with me, a dream which wasn’t a dream.

Do they have any idea how much they may have shaken the very groves of the Shadow Forest with their childish games? Life could be created and awakened by will, a shadow life which could be breathed into something tangible. Such precious, tender life. It changed everything for me, the very nature of my ambitions, my very nature itself.

I doubt I would have gone as far as I did if I hadn’t accepted my bride, Vanessa’s offer, becoming her Marriage Feast. She, the arachnocrats, and the Spider herself drained me of all essence, reducing to me to silent stone, yet I was able to drift as a shadow beyond the Door. After being a Feast myself, I learned how to stalk and savour lost dreams, stray thoughts, discarded memories, and unwanted emotions, making them part of myself.

I grew much stronger beyond the Door, stronger than any other Shadow. For Christopher gave me a gift before my Marriage Feast, a title which clung to me and found me beyond the Door.

I became Once Upon a Time while he became Happily Ever After. These may be the beginning and the ending of many a legend and fairytale, but they have a special meaning for boys in the Gardens of Arachnia. They’ve become our deities, the entities we pray to. Once Upon a Time is our beginning, everyone’s beginning while Happily Ever After is the magical limbo we exist in after we’re feasted upon.

Only what if there was more to it than that? What if we could create more to the legend beyond the Door?

This was one of the many paths I discovered in the Shadow Forest. Drinking deep of everyone’s beginnings, I was able to renew myself. I continue to renew myself with each soul I touch in dreams.

This makes me stronger, yet it makes me vulnerable as well. The more I draw from a particular soul, the more vulnerable I am to it.

I’ve learned this particular lesson with an all too painful clarity.

#RainbowSnippets: A Symposium in Space

Welcome to Rainbow Snippets!

Every Saturday or Sunday, those participating post and share six sentences of LGBTQIA+ fiction on their blogs. It can be their own. It can be someone else’s. It just needs to be LGBTQIA+.

To read a wide variety of samples from various LGBTQIA+ stories, go to…

https://www.facebook.com/groups/RainbowSnippets/?ref=group_header

I’m going to be continuing where I left off last week in my ambient science fiction fantasy novella, A Symposium in Space…

 

“I plan to reveal that to all of you…if you come.” The ball moved away to hover in the open window. “I hope curiosity will temper caution.”

The orb moved away from the window, gaining speed when it took to the sky.

“Impossible woman!” Pausania growled, shaking her wine glass at the departing silhouette.

 

Like what you’ve read? Want more? Here are buy links!

Nine Star Press: https://ninestarpress.com/product/a-symposium-in-space/

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Symposium-Space-Feast-Words-ebook/dp/B07PGB15FY/ref=sr_1_1?crid=3BPACY58MCCMV&keywords=a+symposium+in+space&qid=1552937461&s=digital-text&sprefix=A+Sympo%2Caps%2C239&sr=1-1

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1130883509?ean=2940161507872

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/a-symposium-in-space

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/928136

Me Me Monday: D is for Duessa

Duessa:

I saw the possibilities in the mist. I saw them in my husband’s eyes when he summoned the shaodws, creating a barrier that protected his private, magical realm, his Place of Power.

Power was all he craved, nor was he willing to share it. I experienced this when he shattered my dreams, forcing himself upon me on the banks of waterfall. Too many men share this lust and a need to take it out on women’s flesh. I saw this in the trembling hands and tear-filled eyes of many girls, too many girls who’d had their romantic illusions shattered by false princes, the lovers they’d trusted.

Hands reveal vulnerability, but you can accomplish a lot with many. Eyes are windows to the soul, but how many souls can you read? Too many men are incapable of sharing theirs or their emotions. Other men will mock him for it.

What if he was cut off from the mocking society of other men who goaded him into rapine, to “have a little fun” at the expense of a woman’s self-esteem? What if he was divided from those who’d encourage him to crush a girl’s pride and scar her soul?

What if a man never became a man? What if a woman could drink his soul, offering him ecstacy beyond any fleeting, forced encouter, and keep what’s best of him inside her forever?

It could be an intimacy like nothing else, that one moment.

These thoughts swam in my mind when I made a contract with the Spider. Arachne offered me a chance to make all these things possible while creating a haven for women in Mystere, the very realm which Stefan Ashelocke made his own.

There was a price which Arachne demanded in return. To be save from male monsters, we women had to become monsters. We would be compelled to suck the life, the very essence out of our brothers, our sons, and nephews, every male that we loved. Yes, loved. You see that’s part of the sacrifice Arachne demands. She won’t accept a victim unless he’s truly precious to us. Oh, we can drain the life out of anyone, but it won’t increase our power. The Spider claims a portion of the essence we drain to maintain our strength and the barriers around our realm. She drinks deep of ecstacy and despair of a bride experiencing her Marriage Feast along with the bridegroom, her victim. Afterwards the bride becomes less human. She grows an extra pair of arms, with which to cast spells and pleasure future bridegrooms. She opens an additional pair of eyes, reflecting the soul, essence, and power of her victim.

Thus the arachnocracy of Mystere was born.