Category Archives: Serial

Banner of the Hawk 3

2.

In the same menhir that had transported Rem and Hea, two human priests sat mehakan casting mandalas. Taipai, the elder, said, “A God is dying.” 

“Who?” his protege asked. “Which one?”

“Rem. Rem Ossilo.”

“Should we fear,” Dymal asked, “or be relieved?”

“Fear, boy. With his father dead, the Shambler will be free of restraint.”

Taipai pushed the runeboard away, disarraying the counters. His hands shook and his face was pale. Dymal reached out and touched his shoulder, giving what comfort ai and a human contact could provide. They were alone in the midst of the menhir; Taipai had sent all the other priests away. Beyond the circle of stones, the thorngall hedge threshed in the dry wind of autumn, and in the Great World beyond the hedge, all the creatures of sensitivity quailed before the outpouring of power that signaled the change.

On the runeboard, only partially scattered by Taipai’s movement, the counters told their story. There in the heart of the heartstar, the symbol of the double-face lay touching the symbol of the twisted branch. The sons of Lorric had joined with the Shambler, and Rem Ossilo’s counter had been shoved aside, all the way left to the deathside of the runeboard.

Rem Ossilo’s era was ending and the era of the Shambler would now begin.

# # #

She sat mehakan in the glade where she had been conceived. Her name was Lyré, and she was a Goddess. Where Taipai interpreted the surge of ai that shook the world through a wooden runeboard with counters of brass, she felt those powers directly, moving through her body as she sat, and redirected by her will.

Before her hung a sphere of swirling, buzzing golden bees of ai that were her counters in a three dimensional runeboard of pure will. Unlike Taipai who depended on the symbols embossed on his physical counters, Lyre saw directly what her counters of ai portended. From time to time, she reached out and touched one of them as it flitted by, and the entire pattern of the sphere changed. Between the counters, lines formed and faded, making a blue cobweb of light which disclosed the forces that impelled the counters.

She saw pictures, and not only pictures, but the forces that lay behind the pictures. Of all the Damesept of the Gods, Lyré’s ai was the least attuned to action and most attuned to understanding. 

Nothing like that could be said of her mother or her son.

# # #

Argella and Argat stood in the open air on a hilltop overlooking the Dzikakai encampment. They were protected from the heat and dust, and from prying eyes, by the forces Argella manipulated. She was dressed in woolens and lace and power. He was greaved and plated and helmeted, with sword at his side and a longbow across his back. She had transported them to this place by the power of her will, and the ai of Whitethorn; that was a feat he could not have matched, but all the creatures who defend Whitethorn bowed to him, not her, for he was their general.

Different, but well matched; grandmother and grandson, they might have been taken as siblings, for the Gods show little age until their third century.

They watched as Rem Ossilo, mounted on Margyr, reviewed the Dzikakai army he had recruited; watched as the Shambler with three of the sons of Lorric in wereform came down from the hills together, and watched the final battle as father and son strove together until youth and rage overcame experience and a harnessed ai. 

They watched as the Shambler killed his father and the world changed. Argat’s interest in Rem’s passing was academic; Argella watched with bloodlust and hatred. more tomorrow

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Banner of the Hawk 2

At the very edge of that forest of stone, Rem turned back to deliver a final curse, but Hea Santala faced him and shook her head. Anger colored his face, but there was no time now for a contest of wills. He turned forward and entered the maze.

Reality shifted subtly. A nimbus of light enveloped them both. The sky darkened, lightened, shifted hue, and they stood in a strange and quiet world of pastel yellow-gray where the menhirs were worried and pitted by time and where the desert stretched away in all directions, sandy and lifeless. The sky was saffron, the sand a dead and deadly cream, like ancient bones ground to powder between the teeth of time. Hea shivered as Rem Ossilo paused. Sweat stood out on his face and his age seemed to come and sit grinning on his left shoulder. Then he raised his head and began to speak again.

The next land was rocks and water. Rocks wet and glistening, fog enveloping them on all sides so that she would not have seen Rem Ossilo except for the bulk of his mount. The rocks emitted water, ran with water, oozed water; they were alternately hard and spongy. The menhirs were lost in a myriad of mere stones. In the soft mist were creatures who felt no need to keep their viscera encased in a fleshy pouch. Bathed in eternal mist, they ran with organs dangling, dripping and functioning in naked sight. 

Hea Santala began to become angry.

They passed through the land of silver, elfin forest; and then they were in another vast, high forest where life moved, grew, suffered, and died in such profusion that the weight of it crushed her mind. She shrank inward at the cacophony of existence around her as Rem Ossilo moved to transport them again.

She touched him then, broke his concentration, and the vine encrusted menhirs which had begun to fade, reappeared. He turned angrily upon her, but she faced him, saying, “This time, I will choose my own destination and my own destiny.”

She released his shoulder and raised her hands. From the forest, a ruddy half-ape, teeth bared, rushed toward them, his talons tearing at the bog, his eyes mad. She ignored him and said a word . . .

# # #

They sat astride their mounts in a circle of stones of burnished basalt. This menhir stood in the bend of a river, on a soft and grassy floodplain. The sky was turquoise blue; the river was black as it hurried its way toward some sea.

She said, “This is where I will spend my exile.” 

Her eyes were soft with sadness as she regarded him. “Despite the years between us,” she said, “I urge you to depart. I have grown old watching your anger, and I am weary. Here, I would rest. Go on to some place suited to madness and dwell there with the devils you conjure.”

He moved to transport, then hesitated. Love and hatred, respect and loathing — all bind; and he was bound to her by the long years between them.

In that moment, Hea Santala could have driven him away with a harsh word, but she lacked the resolution to speak it. The World of the Menhir would suffer much for her weakness.

# # #

So it was that the two of them rode out together into a world temporarily without Gods and into the century of their power. And the century of their striving against one another. It was a vast tale, but we will pass lightly over it. Hea Santala and Rem Ossilo went their separate ways, and each had children, and their children had children, and yet again their children bore children.

Eight decades passed.

more tomorrow

Banner of the Hawk 1

from the novel Valley of the Menhir
by Syd Logsdon

Morning of the Gods

1.

Other lands; other skies. Not of earth. Lands of red sky and green sea; or gray sky and silver forests. Lands and peoples as endless as the sand, and as nameless. Realities shifting into one another, slipping by like images glimpsed in a nightride through chaos.

Out there in the night that stretches away from us all — there where consciousness ends; where experience missed sets an iron boundary on our lives — there is a land of red sky and green sea, Poinaith, and another land where the gray sky leans down to lock hands with the sliver elfin forest. 

And there is a land that has no name. We will call it the World of the Menhir. Although menhirs are found on many worlds — they are, in fact, the gateways between worlds — on no other world are the fates of its people so intertwined with their menhirs.

The World of the Menhir was temporarily Godless. Certainly, there were plenty of ways to worship. Piety was great among the people, but the last real Gods had departed a thousand years ago. All that was about to change.

The Ved arcanus says:

# # #

They came riding out of the earth, and it was the morning of the Gods.

# # #

In the land of red sky, two riders came, the one skirting the water’s edge and throwing up a spray of spindrift, the other riding some paces inland and throwing up a spray of creamy sand.

The foremost rider, Rem Ossilo, drew rein and his mount Margyr shook its head in rebellion at ending its run. Hea Santala’s mount closed the distance between them and they cantered inland to the cliff base and the path that wound upward. Switchbacking single file, Rem Ossilo in the lead, they ascended the cliff to a rounded, grassy hill. The sea was green beneath them, hurling itself against the headland beneath a rusty sky.

At the top Rem dismounted to look back. There was no pursuit —  yet. Hea Santala’s gaze followed his. Though her face was lined with sadness and his with anger, there was no mistaking the commonality of that gaze. It was a last looking, drawing in memories for an uncertain future, hoarding a moment out of time to nourish them in exile.

Rem Ossilo gazed long at the distance, first assuring himself of their temporary safety, then taking in the panorama of his homeland. That was his way. Hea Santala took in all things at once, loving the land and fearing her enemies in the same unwavering gaze. Even hating her enemies somewhat, not for their animosity, but because she must leave this land. That was her way.

Rem looked then at his wife; that there was still some affection in his glance was a tribute to her, not to him. In the distance there was a hint of dust. She raised a finger to point, saying, “Our children are coming.”

For a moment every light emotion left his face, and it was as if someone had opened the gates of hell. Then hell turned icy and he turned away from the sea, remounting and urging Margyr toward the jumble of menhirs that surmounted the hillock. Hea Santala followed without comment. All her life she had followed without comment, and that had been her undoing.

At the very edge of that forest of stone, he turned back to deliver a final curse. more tomorrow

Serial Novels

Continued from earlier this week, when I discussed the Serial posts that were also writing how-tos.

I’ve been writing a long time, with some publishing success, and long years of drought. I’m not going to say, “But the things that didn’t get published are still good!” If you have been reading Serial, you already know that.

Here is the full list of my novels, not counting fragments.

Contemporary novels: Spirit Deer, Symphony in a Minor Key, and Raven’s Run.

Science fiction: Jandrax, published 1979,  A Fond Farewell to Dying, published 1981,  (and the novella To Go Not Gently which was extracted from it in 1978) and Cyan which is presently available

Fantasy: Valley of the Menhir, Scourge of Heaven, and Who Once Were Kin.

Steampunk: The Cost of Empire and Like Clockwork.

The Cost of Empire is freshly finished and looking for a publisher. Like Clockwork is in progress as we speak, and a little more than half done. You won’t be seeing either of them in Serial, but I’ll tell you when to start looking at your local book seller.

Valley of the Menhir and Scourge of Heaven are a single story, long enough for two novels, with a natural break in the middle. You won’t be seeing them here, but you will be seeing just the opening section of VOTM, Marquart’s story, starting Monday. 

Serial Education

Continued from last week, when I started to talk about what has already appeared in Serial.

Starting January 20, 2016, I presented a long fragment of the unfinished novel Voices in the Walls. I won’t give details, since you can read for yourself, but it was a teaching event. I interlaced the novel fragment with a chance to look over my shoulder as I worked. That turned it into a how-to for new writers.

#           #           #

Here is a bit of unavoidable nerdishness. I should have transferred Voices to Backfile. I didn’t. Time is short and work is long, and I never found the time to get it done.

You can still read old multiple posts, but it can be a major PITA (pain in  . . . ) because they are presented in archives last-first, and you want to read them first-first. Worse still, archives does not distinguish between AWL posts and Serial posts, so you have to read every alternate one.

It isn’t really hard if you know the secret. Here’s how it is done. At the bottom of each post are right and left arrows to the next/previous post. If you start with the first post of VITW, read it, then click the right arrow, it will take you to the next post. Unfortunately, in my world that will be the same-day post over in AWL. Slide down through that post and click the right arrow to go to the next day’s post of Serial. And so forth.

It goes quickly after a few clicks to get into rhythm. Try it. VITW is worth your time.

#           #           #

The entire novel Jandrax followed. It was and is available in used bookstores both locally and on Amazon, so it was not a lost work, but I included it with annotations. If you just want to read Jandrax, buy a used copy. Clicking through 92 posts isn’t worth 95 cents. But if you want to read the annotations in which I discuss why I did what I did, and confess to my screw-ups, it’s all there for you to enjoy.

more tomorrow

Serial History

Over the years, those who have been with me from the start have seen a lot of fiction appear in Serial. Newcomers may be surprised at the list which follows, here and over the next two days. The level in the well of unpublished work is dropping, and I have been agonizing for about six months on what to do next. I’ll tell you what I’ve decided as soon as I decide.

Cyan doesn’t belong here. You can buy it at Amazon, — and why haven’t you? — so there is no point in serializing it. A Fond Farewell to Dying won’t work either since the novella version, mentioned below, was already presented. Besides, it is still available used, although somewhat hard to find.

Since I began Serial, I have published my few short stories, and my poetry has been scattered about A Writing Life. I have one additional short story which is under construction and another which was written for an upcoming anthology, but nothing is available to publish here now.

I have non-fiction on science fiction relating to my appearance at Westercon 34 in Backfile, and relating to Westercon 70 scattered throughout May and June of 2017, in both AWL and Serial. Go to Westercon in the top menu for links.

Five pieces of long fiction, from 30 to 130 posts each, have been serialized here, starting with the novella To Go Not Gently, from Galaxy. TGNG consisted of the first third, slightly modified, of my then novel-in-progress A Fond Farewell to Dying. John J. Pierce of Galaxy magazine bought the novella version, but he didn’t like the name and suggested To Go Not Gently. I presented it in Serial, then transferred a more readable form to Backfile where you can still find it.

more tomorrow

Symphony 136

John Teixeira stared at his son, slowly shaking his head.  He said, “Son, I am proud of you. Why haven’t you been doing this kind of work all along?”

“Now,” Neil interjected quickly, “the favor you offered. I’m taking you at your word, and asking one. I am asking you, ‘Don’t spoil the moment.'”

John reached out for his son’s hands and said, “Of course. I am just surprised — and pleased,” he quickly added.

“Do you remember the last conversation we had, about how Oscar wants to be proud to be Chicano. Today he was, and if you were proud of him as a Chicano, I don’t think he’ll ask much more.”

John Teixeira swallowed hard and smiled to cover his feelings. He said, “I am proud of my son as anything he really wants to be, as long as he does his best at it.”

Oscar Teixeira looked eleven years old and eleven feet tall.

# # #

Carmen came to relieve Janice at the wheelchair, and managed to push him across the playground with one hand on the handle and one hand holding his hand. The children were milling around with their parents or wandering off toward the buses. Most of them had already come by to say hello to Neil, but a few more drifted in to welcome him back. There was much hand squeezing and hugging. It made him uncomfortable; it always did. But at the same time, it thrilled him.

Then he saw Lisa Cobb. She was standing with two strangers, waiting by Carmen’s car. As he rolled up, Lisa stepped forward, very proper and terribly embarrassed. She put out her hand for an adult hand shake, and Neil used it as a lever to pull her in for the hug she really needed. She backed away, biting her lip, and simply said, “Thank you.” Then she rushed to the woman and hid her face in her skirts.

The woman enfolded her in the kind of totally safe embrace that Neil could never provide. She said over Lisa’s head, “I’m Mrs. Bowman. The county uses me as a short term foster mother, so I see it all. Lisa told me a lot about what happened. She is one lucky little girl that it was stopped before things went any further. And she is lucky to have people who care for her like you two.”

“We are lucky to have kids like Lisa to care for,” Neil said.

“Coming here today was completely her idea. She didn’t know if she could go through with it. She’s still embarrassed by the whole thing. I told her the sooner she started living a normal life, the better. Then when she saw you, she had to talk to you even though that embarrassed her worse than anything.”

Lisa slipped under Mrs. Bowman’s arm and stared at Neil from its shelter. He said, “How do you feel, Hon?”

“Okay. I’m okay now.”

“How is your mother?”

“She’s getting better. They let me see her yesterday.”

She dropped her head and said, “I’m sorry about your jaw and all.”

Neil said, “Look.” He drew back his lips and showed her the wax covered wires. “I never had braces before.”

She giggled and then slipped around behind Mrs. Bowman, looking very young indeed.

# # #

On the way back to his apartment, Carmen said, “You just added another member to you fan club.”

“Jealous?”

“You just hurry up and get well, and I’ll show you how jealous.”

finis