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Tuesday, February 16, 2016

WEP_VALENTINE'S DAY_LOVE AMONG THE RUINS_518 words


Love does not exist in a vacuum.  

The mortals who house it in their hearts find themselves in an imperfect world.

When the beloved acts according to her nature in ugliness, what do you do?

Excerpt from THE NOT-SO-INNOCENTS ABROAD to be out in paperback this March.


 {General Sherman is talking to his officers in a commandeered Atlanta mansion on the Eve of his March of Infernos through Georgia}

Sherman shrugged, “If we are condemned later, we will claim that the men got carried away.  If we are praised, we will keep the glory for ourselves. There is a class of people, men, women and children, who must be killed or banished before we can hope for peace and order.”

Faint clapping grew louder and louder.  I went chill.  Meilori slowly formed by the general, standing by his side, courtesy of her strange sciences.  The general started, lost for words not just by her sudden materialization but by her eerie appearance.

I have called Meilori beautiful, and those of you who have read that word think you know what it means.  “Beautiful” evokes paintings of the masters in your mind and perhaps some face of an attractive woman from your past.  

Meilori was of another time, another realm.  To see her was to believe in the stuff of magic, perhaps even to catch glimpses of fallen angels in the distance, to hear lost faes’ sad laments in the twilight.  

 To see her face would break your heart with longing and yet heal that heart at the self-same time.  And from that moment on, your heart would beat twice as strong as before.

What does love look like?  What is its color?  A white flash of fright.  A billowing wave of warmth, its reach beyond the microscope and further than the length of hope.  Is it a jewel sparkling in the night?  Or a whisper murmuring within the corridors of the heart?

Love is not a shy beast to be caught but a rare moment to be treasured.  It burns within each cell, a living seed of hope …its rays invisible to most, seen only by the searching heart. 
        
Even Sherman, calloused soul that he was, was struck dumb for a moment which Meilori captured as was her nature.

“You would make war on children?  How utterly noble of you.”

“Madame, this is war.”

“And you, sir, are a war criminal!”

Sherman gestured to his stunned officers.  Meilori gestured as well … but with more grace and to infinitely more deadly effect.  Ningyo’s were masters of all things fluid, and Meilori was their empress.   

The suddenly blue-faced officers clutched their chests and reeled like sacks of flour to the carpet with hardly a sound. 

To those she considered heartless, Meilori often forced all their blood into their hearts at once.  And then, they were heartless in truth.  She turned to me.  

 I merely sighed.  Her nature was her nature.  I did not cut pie wedges out of those for whom I cared.  I accepted all of them. 


Sherman hissed, “What kind of damn marriage do you two have?”
 
“The kind that will last, General.  It’s all about intention.  Meilori and I mean to see our marriage works.  It's about not losing yourself in each other. Being together, two pillars holding up the house and the roof, and being different, not having to agree on everything, learning how to deal with not agreeing. Everything's a choice."

I tugged on the brim of my Stetson and said, “I choose Meilori.”
***
I write with tunes in my head.  This tune was there when I wrote of the Xanadu, the 1st Air/Steamship rising to the skies to face a battle in the clouds.
 

38 comments:

  1. I am so pleased to see that you have joined WEP again. I worried when your name wasn't listed.
    And love is so many things. Essential, but different colours and shapes for us all.

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    1. I thought I had joined for this! Thanks for letting me know that I had failed to sign up for it what with all the blood runs!

      Love is a jewel with many facets, each of them but a part of the whole. Thanks for being concerned for me. :-)

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  2. I intensely dislike Sherman, to destroy all that pre-Civil War history in Atlanta. How could I not think of him in disgust, since I'm from Georgia? A very nice Sam-Meilori moment!

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    1. From his own words, Sherman would be found guilty as a war criminal. He actively targeted civilians, children included, with his canons. He had civilians put in wagons and drawn across by ropes over roads suspected to have mines buried under the soil.

      Sherman is one of the villains in my latest novel. Sam clashes with him again at Ft. Laramie with the farce of a treaty signed there between the government and the Lakota and Cheyenne.

      I'm glad you like his moment with Meilori. :-)

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  3. So very intense. Yes, a war criminal. This statement, 'this is war'- does not hold value, does not excuse killing for killings sake, especially of the innocent, and yet it happens daily, and is so easily overlooked - forgotten.
    Thanks, Roland for participating in the WEP Valentine Challenge.

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    1. In my novel, 95% of Sherman's dialogue was taken from his written orders to his officers (some of which you read) and his letters to the Secretary of War, Stanton.

      I'm glad to participate -- I have participated in Denise's prompts from the very beginning. It is a tradition with me. :-)

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  4. Hi Roland! I thought you were just waiting to direct link before you joined! I never take it for granted that even our very loyal participants such as yourself will join each time we have a challenge as I understand the demands the rest of our lives put on us. However, it is always a joy to see those who've been with me from the beginning still writing to the prompts!

    All I know about Sherman is Sherman Tanks...I guess this is the guy they were named after. By the sounds of it, he was definitely a war criminal. It is beyond the pale that these warmongers use the innocent to further their conquests, but of course this is how war has ever been and continues to be...sadly. :-((
    Brilliant that you have taken the words straight out of Sherman's mouth for your novel.

    Thanks for this lyrical take on the prompt for Valentine's Day Roland.

    Denise :-)

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    1. As long as there is breath in me, I will have your back in these prompts. We're friends. :-)

      I think I was waiting to have a direct link before I joined, but life just blew me out of the water these past few weeks!

      I have Sherman speak his own written words in my novel, and they are horrendous.

      I found disturbing facts about Lincoln sadly, too. He hung 38 Dakota Indians who were tried in an illegal tribunal, not understanding English so not understanding the charges against them with no defense attorneys assigned them.

      There were other disturbing facts that made it easier to make Lincoln one of the main villains in my novel, along with Sherman.

      You know me: I love lyrical love. That McCord is an old-fashioned Texas gentleman makes it easier to write through his eyes. :-)

      Thanks for visiting and staying to chat!

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  5. W.T. Sherman really was a war criminal, and no doubt his dialogue in your story will condemn him most thoroughly. No doubt he would have been appalled by the very concept of the Geneva Conventions or the Nuremberg Trials.

    I'm so glad you counter his evil with Meilori's deep beauty.

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    1. Opposites make for great contrast and for highlighting the essence of both horror and beauty.

      Sherman made the mistake of making Mother Nature take notice of him and his troops. Never a good thing!

      Thanks for liking my post!

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  6. I can see a whole raft of war criminals from where I am standing, not as old as Sherman either.

    As always, I enjoyed the excerpt. Particularly the descriptions of Meilori - "To see her face would break your heart with longing and yet heal that heart at the self-same time. And from that moment on, your heart would beat twice as strong as before."

    Sumptuous and beautiful are the words that came to my mind.

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    1. Yes, my heart grieves for the present victims of tyrants and warlords the world over. In my fictional world, I correct some of the past tragedies - but trying to be realistic, I point out the consequences of even the best-meant actions.

      Thank you for the two kind words at the end. Sam is truly in love.

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  7. Wonderful story and I love how you have enclosed some of it into a poetic style that mixes well with your prose.
    Love the moral behind it also.
    Shalom,
    Patricia

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    1. Shaloam, Patricia. Peace, we tear and bruise it so over the whole world. I start a chapter in my new book with this poem:

      “I held a globe in my lap,
      ran my fingers across the whole world,
      and whispered,
      ‘where does it hurt?’
      It answered:
      ‘Everywhere,
      Everywhere,
      Everywhere.’"
      - Warsan Shire

      Thank you for liking my post and prose. :-)

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    2. Thank you for sharing that with me. Your poem speaks truth about pains that are happening throughout the world at the moment. I believe if the earth could talk, it would say, I'm hurting everywhere. I truly wish you success with your manuscript that you're writing.
      Shalom,
      Patricia

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    3. Your reply and wish for my manuscript's success means a lot, Patricia

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  8. Hi Roland - yes I too like the way you've used Sherman's words/orders ... I wonder what the soldiers thought as they would have known what would have happened to the women and children.

    Meliori is a wonderful enigma - to be used in the story as and where necessary - I can see the General being shocked .. and the completely 'horrified' by her standing up to him ... telling him the truth.

    Sadly we seem to have more war- bully-power-hunger criminals than ever - perhaps we never knew about them - the media does inform now - but ... if only the powers that be would take notice. We are in uncharted waters ...

    I love your paragraph about love and marriage:

    “The kind that will last, General. It’s all about intention. Meilori and I mean to see our marriage works. It's about not losing yourself in each other. Being together, two pillars holding up the house and the roof, and being different, not having to agree on everything, learning how to deal with not agreeing. Everything's a choice."

    Yes, I choose love ...

    Cheers Hilary

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    1. Thanks, Hilary. Yes, the world's people are being victimized by tyrants who have unlimited power to brutalize their citizens with impunity.

      With the advanced state of destruction and zealots who see no value in the lives of those who do not believe as they do -- it will only get worse I fear.

      I am happy you like my definition of what makes a working marriage -- emphasis on the word "working" -- like anything living, marriage takes work to maintain well. :-)

      Have a lovely day, Roland

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  9. I absolutely love that description of her. Such a beautiful, heartfelt painting. Who needs images?

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    1. Thanks, Crystal. I made Samuel a poet forced into a life of violence and standing between the wolves and the sheep, driven by the memory when no one was there to help his mother and sister who were killed in front of him.

      Have a beautiful mid-week, Roland

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  10. Hi, dear friend. Let me know when Not-So-Innocents is out.

    I just left a reply for you on my new website :) (am having trouble posting with my wordpress url on blogger. Anyway, go to http://anncarbinebest.com. I think you found me through google+. This is all SO confusing....

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    1. Ann! So great to see you here. Yes, Blogger and WordPress are usually not on speaking terms!

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  11. Got the above comment up, but now I'm going to try another way. Bear with me. You can delete this if you'd like :)

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    1. Thanks for going to so much effort to connect. :-)

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  12. What can I say, Roland? I have always found your voice unique and your ability to touch the heart marvelous. I think most villains of the 19th century would think of themselves as heroes and be confused by our opinion of them. Your heroine says it all in gorgeous language. Well done.
    Nancy

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    1. Sadly, I believe most of the villains in this century think of themselves as on the right track, too. :-(

      Yes, Meilori has the Way about her. A little further she upbraids Jefferson Davis and Lee as well.

      Thanks for the nice words about my prose. It made my evening. :-)

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  13. Great excerpt, Roland! Thanks so much for sharing it with us.

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    1. Thanks, J.H. Did you ever receive my email?

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  14. I always enjoy your historical spin! Great music choice! That's one of Thomas' best tracks from that album!

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    1. Yes, Mr. Bergersen really wrote a stirring score with that track, didn't he?

      Now, you know what I think about on my blood runs down lonely rural roads under a full moon. Or in my case, a fool moon. :-)

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  15. Love how descriptive the story was. I haven't come across many Civil War supernatural stories, so that sounds interesting.

    I see from another comment that Lincoln is one of the main villains in this one. Now that's intriguing!

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    1. I tried to make NOT-SO-INNOCENTS something unique. The supernatural and galactic aliens in the Civil War to me fit the bill. :-)

      Yes, Lincoln is the villain -- everyone is used to seeing him as the hero. I thought a turnaround would be jarring enough to make for a good read.

      Thanks for liking my excerpt. You made my weary morning much better! :-)

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  16. Love this last line! : I tugged on the brim of my Stetson and said, “I choose Meilori.” and such a wonderful description of her and her power... Keep up the good work, you make for enjoyable reading!

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    1. Thank you, Hannah. :-) Bruce Campbell is one of fan favorite actors, too. He was in a short-lived New Zealand TV series, Jack of All Trades. Sam tips his Stetson to you by the way! :-)

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  17. The way you describe love here is so pretty, I love it! I really interested in Meilori, she sounds sharp and deadly and right up my ally :)

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    1. I believe love is the only true magic we have in this dark world. I'm glad you like my turn of phrase in trying to do love justice. :-)

      Meilori is an alien Empress from another dimension. Her way of looking at the world and the people who inhabit it is totally unique.

      And yes, she is truly deadly and powerful-- like a panther padding beside you -- you know it is entirely up to her if you live or die horribly.

      Luckily, Samuel is a force of nature himself, and he loves her with all his bruised heart.

      What did Hemingway write? "When two such as these love, it never ends happily."

      I think you will like Meilori. :-)

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  18. Interesting to combine history with fantasy.

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  19. I think you're turning me into a fan, Roland. I love to find writers I enjoy reading and who have a connection in their writing to the real world, yet infuse it with that magic of creativity. You've done that here. Thank you.

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