Crossing Paths

FE in Creative Writing, Poetry Assignment at Leicester University

 

As ‘Crossing Paths’ is made up of two poems spliced together and rearranged to create a visual image with words. The concept requiring the reader to rotate the paper, to mentally follow the paths of the two poems that have relating themes. Indicating that there is balance in nature and words alike… The two (untitled) pieces are as follows: 

***

5am wake up calls tip-tapping along the hull
precision dog-fight pilots with
a cascade of noise excited chatter
squabbling feathers fly
i turn to see your black glass eye hungry
you come so close yet still so cautious
you talk to me you watch me
yet you still won’t trust me
our royal highness you do not ignore
giant feet slapping churning frothing
water he reaches his full long length
tip-tapping upon glass round
the watchful mother guarding
black cotton wool balls of life
shrill cheeping calling cries
alert learning flight
once i saw a flash so bright so swift
brilliant orange electric blue a purr
hovering wings flutter zap gone
a split second of breathless awe
***
i arrived in the heart of winter amidst falling snow
trapped in the mud my arrival scarred the earth
my whole life wrapped up in boxes
i was alone
frozen water immense sheets of ice fizzled and cracked
electric sounds echoing through the air
a creak ting snap friction
i thought i would never be warm again
the scent of new life brings hope
rich thick earth parts for growth
sleeping seeds awake reach for light
a frisky underlying desire
hatch doors thrown open to welcome the sun
we count babies from week to week
watching hatchlings grow yet
only those strong survive
the leaves decorate the surface water
wood is horded and stored
a fresh nip clips the air with
a taste of frost
we circle water rises and drops
in the heart of nature
weather rules and i learn
i am never alone
***
Anne Harrison 30.06.17
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Home

Midsummer Awakenings

 

night sky – barley lit by a thin crescent moon

ink black and alive with sound

a deep darkness hugged the ground under the thick canopy of full summer trees

mist lingered brushing the tips of tall rich grasses

 

grasses swayed – mist swirled

disturbed by the lone woman – clad in tattered layers

this was her time – night time – moon time – dark

the mist hung to her form as she appeared to float from the trees into the clearing

the boy laid near the centre – yet he was not there

 

his journey was in the inner realm

he would struggle

he would cry

he fought

she watched over his journey – a silent guardian

this was something he needed to face alone

 

a strangled sob escaped his form

sparks – dancing fae drew close

imps curious – drawn by the raw magic

they surrounded the boy – dancing on moon beams

the hag – noticing the father – ushered him away – sent him back to the shadows

 

somewhere a wolf howled – calling to his mate

as the thin moon circled low atop the tree line

night relinquished its hold upon the forest – a pink light grew in the sky

it was time for travellers to return from the inner realm

 

the boy stirred

the hag knelt by his side

offered him water – laced with herbs

he shook – he trembled – he cried

hung his head and wept – the painful truth laid naked

 

he killed the guardian did he not

my own father

the father of the guardian

as the sun rose early upon that midsummer morn

it lit the path before the boy

the guardian reborn

 

 

Anne Harrison 21.06.17

 

 

 

Act 2 – Part 4

Just a mere taste of her Power…

 

They could not escape, not by magical means at least, which had been his intention. He had everything so carefully set up, he even had aid within the palace. He had been planning this for years and it was his very right to claim the child as his own, as agreed with a pact with her Father. The very purpose of the abduction was to spirit her away to the demonic realm, to sacrifice her life to the Lords of the Higher worlds, to absorb her power and join their ranks.

However his immaculate plot was ruined by the simple fact that his own magical powers were null and void in the girls presence. His energy reduced to nought more than simple parlour tricks. An apprentice mage could conjure more impressive illusions than he could. He felt mortal, felt insecure and felt trapped upon a realm he could not, currently, escape from with his prize.

The girl herself appeared completely unaware of her skills. She was tiny, even for her age, rather nymph-like and frail looking. Now sporting an ugly looking bruise upon her temple. There was no panic, no fear. She never once cried out in fear, even though he had turned to violence to subdue her.

They had been forced to flee on horseback, across territory unfamiliar to the abductor, without aim, lost for direction all intricate plans ruined, by now he had hoped the child would have been slaughtered and he would be received into the arms of his superiors as an equal. Stepping away from her a dozen paces and he could feel his strength return. Up close… Void…

She blinked at him with huge pretty blue eyes, her stare making him feel uncomfortable. “This isn’t going at all well is it?” She broke the silence, regarding the demon in human form, tall, magnificent, elegant. He pushed a loose strand of dark hair from his face and growled at her under his breath.

“Not at all well indeed.” She smiled sweetly, “Do you even have a back up plan? A route? What shall we do now?”

“You will shut up or I will not hesitate in striking you again!” He snapped.

“You, Sir, will never hit me again!” Her words carried with them a magical command that rattled around his skull, echoing, resonating with power that, if harnessed, could manipulate his actions. That was unsettling.

He had to think quickly, he had allied among the Six Empires…

“That would be too obvious.” She tapped into his thoughts.

Forcing himself to empty his mind from her reach, The beast with No Name stepped backwards until he could feel his power return. Put up magical wards around his mind, hoping they would protect his thoughts from her powers.

Then returned to the bound child…. She frowned… “That’s cheating!” She narrowed her eyes… He checked her ropes and tied her once again to the pommel of the saddle, mounting behind her, he lead the horse on, at least now he could think clearly and try to formulate some plan from this chaos…

 

Anne Harrison 31.05.17

Act 2 – Part 3

A Quest for a Child.

 

Kane was utterly livid and beyond frantic when they met up with The Lady Vixen at the City Gates.

“Where’s Kireina?” Her eyes searched the crowd that followed behind them, a mere dozen guards the King had sent with them upon their quest. As the gate was shut and there was still no sign of the child, her hand went to her mouth to stifle a panic stricken gasp. “Kane?” She gripped his arm tightly, he was so tense and shrugged out her grasp.

“My Sister is staying with The King as his guest while we aid his troops seeking the missing Princess Ataraxia.” Sha spoke calmly, with a half truth, knowing that his Father was close to allowing his aggression to over rule his common sense. They were in a difficult situation. The Guards at their heals were security and an added guarantee  that they do not fail in their task. They were also a dead weight and a nuisance.

Vixen blinked as she absorbed his words. “The Princess is missing?” She replied carefully. Kane was muttering under his breath, in his fury he could quite happily turn against all twelve guards just to unleash his aggression, his fists curled tightly at his sides, lip slightly still bleeding.

“Then we have a duty to aid the Royal Family.” Vixen said softly, Sha nodded agreeing with her observation and thumped his Dad in the arm.

Kane reluctantly nodded in accord, though his mind was clearly distracted.

“Now where to start?” Sha pondered aloud, it was a huge world out there and the kidnappers could have fled in any direction, to the mountains beyond the Northern Clan Territories, through DarkWood Forest towards the Wastelands. To the jungles in the East or even by ship out to sea. It was a daunting task for even the Palace Guards to comprehend, even more so for a boy.

Yet there was a connection, there was a sensation that he couldn’t explain, something he had known all his life without really understanding what it was. The girl in his dreams, that whispered secrets into his thoughts. He had believed her to be an angel, a guardian or a figment of his overactive imagination. Now he could trust his instincts more, could tap into that silken voice at the back of his mind. That it was real and the purpose behind his desire to train in combat with his father since a very early age.

“We start in the woods.” He said without hesitation. “We need to talk to Hera.”

 

Anne Harrison 30.05.17

Act 2 – Part 2

What value can you place on the price of freedom?

Fenroux Palace was in uproar when Royal Guards returned with Kane and his family. The Queen hysterical, Guards and Barbarian forces alike tore apart the castle like wild dogs fighting to dig a rabbit from its hole…

Sha stood tall and silent by his father’s side, while Kireina clung to his arm, eyes wide curious and observant. There was no form of outside attack, yet every armed man appeared on edge, sharing some measure of their Queen’s hysteria.

The Lord King Fendor was alone in his calm resignation,  for he alone knew the truth.

“This is your boy? This is the lad Seizon-sha?” The King mused, hunched over a desk of scrolls and tomes. Black books of hidden powers, cryptic runes etched into thin metal pages… Dark, questionable magic oozed across the surface of the desk. Kireina clung to her father’s arm even tighter, uneasy with the diabolical chaotic power.

“I am Seizon-sha.” The boy replied. “Your Highness.”

“Ahh… Kane, he is tall, strong a lot like you my Captain.”

“What is this about Fendor?” Kane skipped over the formalities

“My daughter has been taken,  snatched in the night on this day, the day of her thirteenth birthday…”

“And just how does this relate to my family?  Why have you summoned us here?” Though Kane already feared he understood the nature of the summons, the unspoken connection that linked their children by sorcery.

“The boy,  Kane, your boy… he is the embodiment of The Guardian… born from magic, the same magic that granted my daughter breath… their connection exists beyond this realm. He can find her, seek out her location and liberate her from the beast which has snatched her from her warm bed…”

“He is a child Sire.”

“So is my girl,  a mere few months separate their ages. Yet I see the man he will become,  I see a strong warrior such as his father.”

“Such flattery.” Kane replied with sarcasm.

“Let’s skip through this pointless debate … we are wasting time!” King Fendor uttered strong magical words under his breath, summoning a crimson cloud that enveloped Kireina, holding her immobile in a magical grasp.

“How much do you value the freedom of your daughter Kane?”

Kane swore under his breath, his hand reaching for the hilt of his sword, fury overwhelming his respect… Yet Sha halted his father’s arm, before Kane did anything regretful.

“I will go.” The young teenager spoke softly, standing between the two man. “I want no harm to befall my sister, but I can’t venue upon this quest alone. I need my father.”

“So be it… find my daughter and I shall release yours…”

The thick red cloud encircling Kireina slowly dispersed, the girl vanishing into the mist.

Kane bit his lip so hard he drew blood… Sha hit his arm… ” Let’s not waste any more time Father…”

King Fendor smirked smugly as they left upon their impossible quest…

Anne Harrison 29.05.17

Intermission #4

The Pact

 

Ambition, no matter how carefully planned, can sometimes come with a high price and sometimes that ambition may cross lines, cost lives, divide family and turn best friends into bitter enemies.

Driven by desire a passionate lust to rule, to grasp the ultimate power of The Child of Prophecy. Fendor had killed and betrayed. He had turned against a King he had been loyal to for all of his life. He had faked alcoholism while planning assassinations. He had turned to black magic, got an innocent woman pregnant and then carelessly discarded her for another woman, stealing that child and raising her along side his new son.

A master manipulator who had taken some extreme measures to secure the throne. One such action was a Pact with a hell-spawn Demon many years ago to create this deception and guide him along his path to success.

The Beast with no name was a higher demon, reigning over several realms of chaos, powerful, magnificent, alluring, ancient. He was attracted to Fendor’s desire by his promise to deliver to the demon the Child of Prophecy. It was a high price to pay, the girl would need to be reincarnated into a pure virginal body and handed over to The Beast upon her thirteenth year.

When Fendor and his wife  conceived the boy he had desired and the little girl was a sweet six years old… The beast with no name attended the celebrations at Fenroux Palace.

Clad in a suit of sapphire coloured crushed velvet, tall and hansom, dark hair slicked back and clipped at the nape of his neck, his human persona caused heads to turn among the women (and some men) in the court. His eyes flared with a rich amber light, pupils horizontal, such as a goats. Behind his smile was hidden several rows of sharp needle pointed teeth. Fendor knew as soon as he sighted the stranger among the celebrants who he was as the beast drew closer to bid blessings upon the Prince.

By the crib the petite half sister, Ataraxia stood in a dainty dress, she also knew the true nature of The beast as he stepped forth and shuffled to hide herself behind her Step-Mothers legs, clinging to the layers of her dress, watching the stranger with fear and awe.

“What are you doing here?” Fendor whispered harshly under his breath.

“Your son, he is the final part of our pact.” The Demon reminded Fendor, speaking softly, so only The King could hear his words.

“You said thirteen years, it has been six!” Desperation crept into his tone.

“I am not here to collect any price Your Highness, not for another seven years. I am here with a humble request…” He purred softly.

“What is it?” Fendor spoke urgently.

“I want to name your son, he has breath because of my magic, your bride is well beyond child baring age, my power has granted you your Prince, I want to grant him his name.”

“How will I get my wife to accept that?”

“Not my problem, how you handle your woman is your business Fendor. I merely desire to name the boy.” The Demon handed over lavish gifts, as any other guest.

“What? What is his name to be?” The King graciously accepted the hamper.

“Ataxia.” The Beast replied, glancing at Ataraxia.

The tiny girl hid her face from the goat-like stare of the stranger in blue.

Reluctantly Fendor agreed…

The Beast with no Name bowed low, respectfully to the Royal Family and turned to merge into the celebrations, instantly surrounded by exotic curious ladies drawn to his beauty, giggling behind their fans. The Beast decided he was going to enjoy himself at this party, determined to make the most of his few hours upon the mortal realm…

 

Anne Harrison 24.05.17

 

Intermission #3

The day the Order was Issued…

 

Kane awoke with a start, roughly shaking the images of the nightmare from his mind… The loud hammering at his door was desperately urgent, it was still dark outside and the cat resting at the foot of his bed glared at having her rest disturbed, hopped down and slipped through the open french doors vanishing into the night as Kane pulled on garments in a rush… A thousand thoughts flooded his mind, panic, annoyance and curiosity… He flung open the door to be greeted by a nervous looking maid accompanied by two guards in Regal uniform.

“You are summoned to the Royal Palace.” The taller guard spoke firmly. “At Once.”

“Dad?” A young six year old lad rubbed sleep from his eyes, standing at his doorway down the hall… “What’s happening?”

Kane simply tilted his head to one side and the Guards parted to allow him to attend to the boy. “I need to work.” He knelt by the lad. “You need to guard your sister while I’m away…” Kane glanced at the awaiting soldiers “…You know what to do.” He added. The boy nodded, slipping back into his room silently pondering over the secret command.

***

At Fenroux Palace in the centre of the Capital City, known as the Northern Heart. The streets were filled with celebration and wonder. It was mid-morning by The time Kane arrived from the Clan Territories and the city was buzzing with a party spirit. Queen Roux had given birth to a healthy bright baby boy, a Royal Prince and Heir.

That news alone gave Kane the understanding of his summons, he wasn’t a fool and he knew this day would come. For near seven years he had held, in secret upon his estate three ‘guests’ three legal Royal Heirs who, in all intent and purpose were already dead publicly. They had only survived these last few years in seclusion upon the whim of Queen Roux, who had personally halted the death sentence upon her only son and two grandchildren. Now, with a new Prince born to the legal King… Jago, who should have been ruler, and his twins Kol and Indigo were insignificant. The traditional order of the throne had been manipulated to suit Fendor’s ambition.

Kane was kept waiting, while Nobles and Knights arrived in mass to congratulate the Royal couple and hope for a glimpse of the tiny Prince. Finally it was Lord Darkfire who greeted Kane in a silent side room. The giant barbarian leader eyed Kane distastefully, clad in traditional clan garb, a tan tunic and dark blue kilt, Kane had adopted the ways of the land he ruled instead of dressing like an outsider. To Lord Darkfire the kilt was offensive and he openly mocked the older, yet smaller man. Kane ignored the remarks.

“Are you going to get to the point?” He shrugged off any insult.

“The Order has been Issued…” Lord Darkfire confirmed Kane’s speculations.

“Very well.” Kane stood to leave.

“Where are you going?”

“Home, I have arrangements to make.”

“I shall be accompanying you!”

“Really?”

“Do you think the King trusts a lackey in a dress?”

Kane stepped right up to the Barbarian, standing chest to physically belly, as Lord Darkfire towered over him. “Do you want to try your luck?” Kane spoke softly, hand resting comfortably upon the hilt of his sword.

There was an uncomfortable silence until the larger man simply took a step backwards.

“You know it would have been easier to have simply sent the order with the Royal Guards instead of dragging me all the way here to the palace.” Kane sighed, bored with the waste of time.

Lord Darkfire grinned then half chuckled as he spoke “We needed you away from your home, to make some security arrangements. To ensure you go through with the order without any resistance.”

Kane kept his expression calm, his mind calculating the amount of time it would take to return home and a thousand more racing thoughts, yet he could not afford to dwell on the threat… “Do you doubt my loyalty to The King, one of my oldest, closest friends?” He spoke without hesitation. “I am perfectly aware of my duty when it was issued to me six years ago. My only concern is why it took so long to act?”

“For the Queen to conceive?” The Barbarian let slip what Kane had guessed.

“Ahhh… What do we know about the cycles of a ladies body?!” Kane grinned slapping the barbarian on the arm then… “Shall we go get this nasty business dealt with? I see no purpose in hesitation, it will be dusk by the time we return. We can get this done this day and break open some spiced wine to celebrate the babes birth.”

He marched past Lord Darkfire, causing the larger man to trot along to keep up. He was spluttering details of his orders as they headed to the courtyard and awaiting transportation. Kane was hardly listening, his mind was tumbling over the empty threat that hung in the air and he pondered over what could possibly await him at home…

 

Anne Harrison 24.05.17

Intermission #2

Out in the Wilds

 

“Something has been killing my sheep!” Brynn pursed her lips in a defiant pout as she expressed her concerns to Hera. They were reclined around the fire-pit in the clearing outside Hera’s den, secluded in the wilds of the Deep-Wood Forest. They shared a sweet mead as Brynn continued to recount her drama.

“So I decided to lay in wait, I’m not a bad shot with my cross bow and any beastie, I thought I could ward away. Now wolves I can deal with, naughty wild cats can sometimes take down a sheep, alas tis five of my flock I’ve lost… All slaughtered, all torn apart, viciously gutted. I was thinkin’ me foe to be a bear, but no grizzlies venture this far north. Perplexed I was, sat on guard, cold and sleepy. When I’s hear this frightful cry, like a shrill howl, but laced with more pain than ever a beast could hold in its soul. Even the wolves yelped and fled at the sound. Why, I could hardly hold by bow straight for trembling with utter fear!” Brynn paused to sip her mead.

“Well, Hera, well… when the creature came into sight I was stricken with dread… Twelve foot high I would say and near as wide, black as the depths of the well pit and covered in matted hair… I tried to get a shot off, I screamed, my flock scattered, the beast howled… What can I say Hera… I’ve never been so frightened, t’weren’t natural I’m telling ye!”

Hera refilled the shepherdess’s glass, half amused by Brynn’s dramatic rendition of events… Brynn sipped the mead grateful.

“An idea jumped to mind and I dashed towards the old well, screaming as I ran, the thing blundering after me, I swear I could feel it’s foul breath down me neck… At the last moment I sprang and cleared the mouth of the well in pure desperation… The thing at my heels, tripped, stumbling over the low crumbling bricks and fell with a mighty crash down the old pit, splashing into the stagnant water!” She drained her glass with triumph!

“Is this creature still down the well?” Hera asked bemused…

“Why yes, yes it is, it growled and howled and sobbed. Yet I threw over the old lid and weighted it down with bricks from the old wall. Then I came straight here, I needed to calm my nerves!”

“Shall we go and see what kind of beast you have caught?” The Witch took a burning fagot from the camp fire and, with a very nervous Brynn at her heels, lead the way through the forest to the deserted well, where soft mourning sounds echoed within.

The ladies carefully pulled back the weighted lid to peer within holding the brand aloft to shine into darkness.

Within a man glanced upwards towards the fire light, a large man granted, but no shaggy beast, naked and covered in slime and grime. He trembled, hugging himself…

“I know that face!” Hera gasped, He glanced towards the sound of her voice. A rough beard half obscured his features, but the Lord of the Barbarians was distinctively recognizable.

“Grave? You’re supposed to be dead?”

 

 

Anne Harrison 18.05.17

 

Part 69

A Chance to Kill 

 

Alleia slipped out the bed and wrapped a sheet around her slender figure, it was mid-afternoon and the sun pooled through the locked windows. She stood watching the people mull around in the courtyard beyond, once more feeling a captive in her former home. Her thoughts a jumbled web of confusion, she regretted leaving Hera with Kol, yet she had been so keen to be reunited with her Son’s Father, she had failed to consider any danger. This last twist in events caused her to fear who she could trust. Fendor had betrayed her Father with the aid of Grave, then Fendor had turned against Grave once his usefulness had come to an end. Alleia wondered how deep Fendor’s plans were set, how many layers there were to his betrayal and what his end goal ultimately was…

Everything was overwhelming, even Kane appeared to know more than he would say and her delight to be with him was overshadowed with doubt. She could no longer trust him, trust anyone…

Kane was actually sound asleep, sprawled in the sun, his breathing heavy and rhythmic. Their son,  Seizon-sha, laid upon his chest, the babe had fallen to sleep first. Tears stung her eyes, was it not for her troubled thoughts, this scene would be idyllic.

A notion to escape came into mind, to flee with her son to Hera and get aid. Glancing around Alleia noticed Kane’s discarded clothes, scattered across the floor with her own. Among the garments a blade, a knife she had seen him with before… She softly padded over the floorboards and gathered up the weapon, it felt heavy in her hand, so clumsy, she wasn’t used to being armed. It slid free easier than she anticipated, wicked and sharp.

Returning to the bed she held the edge of the blade against Kane’s throat, he didn’t move, his breathing never changed, still heavily slumbering. Alleia could quite simply cut his throat as he slept, gather her babe and run. Her eyes glanced over to her beloved Seizon-sha, could she really murder his father as they slept together. The scars which still healed were evidence of what Kane had been through himself, had he been part of this deeper conspiracy, would he have really suffered so, just to have killed Davenport, kill Pepe. Was this all part of Fendor’s plan? Was Kane so loyal to his General that he withstood torture?

Her head swan with all these questions, tears fell freely down her cheeks, frustrated, confused. The knife trembled in her inexperienced grip, nerves stole her courage.

“I wouldn’t blame you if you did.” Kane opened his eyes.

Alleia shrieked…

 

 

Anne Harrison 12.04.17

Part 68

The Mutilated Prince

 

Kol was conscious as he was restrained, back flat against a hard table, his arms bound to the table legs. His own injured legs he could barely move, if he raised his head, he could see the wicked bolts that had torn through both thighs, yet could not count their number, his slacks were stained crimson, hot blood still flowed, though the stream had started to slow. He near fainted from shock several times as he was roughly manhandled.

Two barbarian guards held him down by the shoulders causing fear to shot through his core, panic threatening to blur the edge of his consciousness as Fendor came into view, brandishing a wickedly sharp curved knife that caught the light.

“That looks painful.” he remarked, gripping Kol’s right thigh, The Prince winced. “Very nasty.” Fendor purred, gripping hold of one arrow shaft and wrenching it free violently.

Kol jolted, screaming, yet the hefty barbarians easily held him down.

Fendor ripped a second arrow free, blood pouring. Kol swooned until Fendor slapped him hard. “Stay with me, you’re not going to want to miss this part…” His smile was pure evil as he leered at the injured Prince.

Kol felt the cold steel of the knife slowly dip into the white hot injury left torn and exposed, following the track of the arrow shaft, Fendor admired how easily the new knife severed flesh, tearing into the leg to bone. Twisting the blade to cut wider, slipping through muscle, circling the entire thigh. Blood soaked the table, the floor. Kol had ceased screaming having gone into shock, trembling, jolting nerves afire as Fendor slowly severed his leg.

Yet Fendor found the bone difficult to break with the knife and reverted to a smaller hatchet. Kol lost consciousness, mercifully, as his leg was finally torn away from his body. Shock and loss of blood threatened to end his life, yet Fendor needed him alive, the stump cauterized and cleaned, yet he cruelly left the arrows in bedded in his remaining leg …

 

 

Anne Harrison 12.04.17