So you can read my books

Saturday, October 9, 2010


{I am the Turquoise Woman.

Each life ends.

Whether it ends in whimpering

or in courage depends upon the soul facing that end.

It is, in fact, the only true epitaph your kind leaves.

DreamSinger has entered the realm some call Hell to rescue Samuel McCord, whom he breathed into life.

Now, riding Epona, the last unicorn, with Death behind him and Lakota Spirit Warriors beside him,

DreamSinger faces what seems to be the end. Let the words from his strange journal take it from here ....}

A distant roar sounded from all around us. Oh, crap.

Bristling along the horizon encircling us, hundreds of lost souls, creatures, and demons charged to replace their slain brothers.

I twisted around towards Death to see if she would scream again.

She sadly shook her head. "We near my Avatar and Samuel. I dare not scream again."

My heart went sick and cold as a familiar voice, DayStar's, laughed to my far right. "Do you know what the third white meat is? Cat!"

I saw only his hands appear out of thin air. They held Gypsy, my cat, her eyes wild with fear.

DayStar's hands hurled her directly in the path of the charging monstrosities of Hell.

She yowled, and I could have sworn it came out, "Roland!"

I tugged on Epona's mane to head for Gyspy. Death placed a bitter cold hand on my shoulder.

"We cannot turn. My Avatar and Samuel are close."

"Fine!," I snapped. "Have a great trip."

With a grunt of pain, I flipped my leg over Epona's head, scratching it on her razored tusk. I slipped off and hit the ground in a run towards Gypsy.

Sitting Bull yelled after me. "She is just a cat."

"Wrong! She's MY cat."

A minotaur lunged for me. I slashed across his eyes. It bleated shrilly.

"I - I was blind. Now, I see."

It shot up startled into the flaming hellsky. Suddenly Death was beside me. She was floating.

"If you insist," she husked and snatched Marlene's saber from my hand.

"Marlene will soon need this."

And Death was gone. Just like that. And I was weaponless ... except for harsh language.

A heavy weight hit me in the back as claws gouged into me. I huffed. Another creature slashed me across the chest. I reeled sideways and shouted in pain.

I grabbed its arm, pulled back on its wrist, slamming the flat of my palm against its elbow as hard as I could. A sword dropped to the ground.

I bent and snatched it up. I looked for Gypsy.

I spotted her. She was moving so fast it was hard to follow.

Sparks flew from her claws as she bounded across the broad chest of a stone golum. She leapt to the werewolf in front of her, ruining its eyes with those same claws.

Never in one spot long, she sped between legs, up furry chests, across massive backs. She yowled in defiance, heading straight for me.

Something big and furry lunged at me. I slashed. It grunted but kept on coming. A razored tusk sprouted from its chest.

Epona reared beside me. "I leave no friend behind."

Gypsy screamed in pain.

I looked to the sound. She was bleeding, holding up her left front leg.

Suddenly, a blur of lightning appeared next to her. Crazy Horse, human-size now, blocked a talon with his hatchet and drove his knife into a scaled chest.

He looked at me with a crooked grin and spoke in Lakota, "If I die for a cat, I will never forgive you."

I realized the other six Sioux Spirit warriors were fighting all around me. Human-size and without lightning bolts, they were having trouble standing their ground.

Gall scowled to my left. "You would die for a cat?"

I bent next to Gypsy, who nuzzled her head against my palm, and said, "I would die for family."

He nodded. "That I understand."

Gypsy growled low, glaring up at the hellsky. I followed her line of sight. Oh, crap.

A sphinx. An honest-to-Cleopatra Sphinx.

{See : }

Gypsy rose, holding up her injured leg and baring her teeth.

The Sphinx rumbled, "Later, granddaughter of Bast. Your death is mine. I will slay all who would take that from me."

Epona reared, thumped a charging troll in the throat with her two front hooves, and whinnied, "Whatever. Fight now. Threaten later."

In answer, the Sphinx chomped off the troll's head and spat it back out. "Tasted worse than it looked."

I made a face. It had looked pretty bad.

A giant bull-man, wearing human skulls for shoulder decorations, tried to cleave Red Butte in two with a war-ax, only to have it wrested from his grip by the warrior.

Red Butte twirled it and brought it down in a huge blow which split the BullMan's head in two.

Muttering low and harsh, the five Lakota who remained unarmed quickly picked up fallen weapons,

from swords to hatchets to axes as Crazy Horse kneeled next to Gypsy and whispered, "They feed on you only after I am slain."

Slashing at his attackers with hatchet and knife, Sitting Bull yelled at us.
"Form a circle!"

Epona looked a question at me, and I answered it, "The Power of the World always works in circles. All life tries to be round. The sky is round."

I looked up to the fires sweeping across the skies. "Even the seasons form a great circle in their changing -- and always come back again to where they were.

The life of all Two-Leggeds is a circle from childhood to childhood."

I glared at the nearing Darklings, hate raw in their screaming throats. "And so it is in everything where Power moves."

Epona and Sitting Bull yelled as one. "Form a circle!"

And then the Darklings were upon us.

Borrowed shields and short swords, Epona's pounding hooves, Sphinx claws, Lakota ax and hatchets, my own flashing sword --

all were blurs as they met a wave of slashing claws, tearing fangs, and hissing weapons. The sounds of metal grating upon metal, screams, grunts, and curses were all about our small band.

I saw nothing clear, only a flurry of dark bodies leaping at me.

I heard the wet thud of blades sinking into flesh, the whimper of wounded Darklings sinking to the ground.

Clear up my arm, I felt the numbing impact of sword-blocked swords and lunging talons.

Out of the corner of an eye, I saw Burnt Thigh go down with a bloody wound to the side yet stagger back up to his unsteady feet.

But despite the pounding of steel upon steel, the rending of flesh by fang, I and my new friends stood our ground, stood it, and smiled grimly to one another.

And to this day, still do the Lakota sing of this battle over their campfires,

though the dark weighs heavy upon their spirits and the whispers of doubt and fear mock them.

It is a song of courage against despair, of light raging against the coming of night.

And when wounded Time draws her final, faltering breath,

when the moon herself has become blood, and the gasping stars slowly strangle on the darkness,

even then will the Lakota stop in the midst of their Death Song, stand tall, and look to one another and remember --

-- remember when one small, defiant band of noble spirits fought, not for glory, not for land, nor for power -- but for one small life and the bond that one brave heart feels for another.
Read the passage that begins "And to this day ..." with the first minute of the following music. I wrote those words to this very tune :


  1. The perfect music to set this to.

    I love Gladiator.

    You have awesome talent for battle scenes. My, my, did I evr enjoy this. And thanks so much for bringing back Gypsy. I had wondered what became of her.

    Such a pleasure to be back reading your posts Roland.

    I do hope you are feeling better. Has all the pain receded?

    Have a good weekend Love.


  2. Donna : I'm glad you liked my battle scene. I'm afraid it will take surgery for my pain to go away. But that means more pain instead of less for awhile. And since it is day surgery, I will have to climb 23 steps to my apartment the day of my double hernia surgery. Ouch!!

  3. Hey Roland,

    Can't you find some friend or relative who will let you stay at their place for a couple of days? I doubt your doctor would approve of the 23 steps.

    Interesting scene... an eclectic but riveting mix of modern and Lakota perspective. The name Sam McCord rings a bell. Wasn't that a character from a Western movie?

    I have to respect anyone who honors cats.

  4. P.S. Don't mean to sound like I'm scolding. I'm just concerned! Take care, my friend.

  5. Hi Roland
    Happy Birthday.
    I enjoyed reading your work with the background music - I had to read it twice - I wondered about the spacing until I tried it with the music.
    Take care. Hope you feel better soon.

  6. I have to echo Christine's concern. Is there somewhere you can stay? And, is your birthday today? Happy Birthday!

    I absolutely loved this scene. Epic. Bigger than epic. And all those heroes fighting with Roland to help save a cat.

    There is a point at which pets cease to be merely pets and become family. A long time ago, I knew few people who felt that way. Now, however, more and more, I see that same fierce loyalty that Roland showed for Gypsy everywhere. They are family.

    The music is great with those last paragraphs!

    This post, the part with Gypsy, brought up a dark memory and I think I have to do a post about it....

    In the meantime, another thought: the cool thing about cats, kittens actually, is that, even when they're tiny and very young, they won't run from danger. They puff up and turn to fight whatever it is coming after them. Even when they're afraid.

    Cats have a bad rep, but they're really awesome animals.

  7. Good for you, for fighting for a cat! I agree with The Words Crafter--they are awesome creatures.

    If it is your birthday, Happy Birthday, then! :)

  8. Christine : Thanks for the concern. I'm pretty much a lone wolf. My best friend is overwhelmed with family at her home. I had to pay a motel for a room for two days last time. I doubt Workman's Comp will go for that!

    As for Sam McCord. I knew I wanted my undead, agnostic Texas Ranger's first name to be Samuel, from the ancient Hebrew Shem'uel (God has heard.)

    His name being an irony since he is often the answer to the prayers of the afflicted, though he himself can no longer find it in his bruised soul to believe.

    There is an ancient Western and a song by Johhny Horton : NORTH TO ALASKA :
    Sam crossed the majestic mountains to the valleys far below.
    He talked to his team of huskies as he mushed on through the snow.
    With the northern lights a-running wild in the land of the midnight sun,
    Yes, Sam McCord was a mighty man in the year of nineteen-one.

    Choosing McCord for my hero's last name was a tip of my Stetson to one of my favorite actors : John Wayne. Besides, he and Marlene Dietrich has a sizzling love affair -- and you know how I feel about Marlene.

    Golden Eagle : I crawled through a blazing inferno of my home for my dog and last cat. Family is family.

    Words Crafter : You got the real Gypsy pegged right. No dog, no cat, no raccoon, no hawk will she back up for. It's how she got so wounded before I adopted her when her former owner left the complex and tossed her to the mercies of our bayou apartment complex.

    Elaine : Yes, I did stagger the prose to fit the music. But even normally I stagger my prose in my posts to make it easier to read on my tiny blog.

    Everyone : Thanks for making my birthday special. And thanks for caring about my looming surgery and those dreaded 23 steps!!

  9. Okay, now I am caught up! WOW!!!! It warmed me but did not surprise me, the rescue of Gypsy. Our beasts are not 'pets', they are our animal companions and family. I feel the same about them and cats in general. I have 3. Angelina the Queen, Napoli my ITAM boy and Isis better know as Issy the Flying Cat.

    And a very belated Birthday to you. What a lovely month for it to fall on. And I hope by this message you are still holding up. I will read on to find out....