The Muses' Gathering discussion

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Literature

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message 1: by Sidhe (new)

Sidhe Prankster (sidheprankster) | 6 comments Mod
This thread is for posting written works for peer review or for artist illustration. Feel free to post a paragraph or a portion of a chapter, or review the work of others and give them advice, encouragement, critiques and ideas. If you are an artist you may illustrate passages found here or take inspiration from them unless the creator asks otherwise. Please share your work!


message 2: by Sidhe (last edited Feb 24, 2011 10:13AM) (new)

Sidhe Prankster (sidheprankster) | 6 comments Mod
This is a character study of sorts from Shadow, the rough draft of which I finished about a year ago. I know at least one friend was interested in doing some art for it, and I hope to also get some feedback on what I feel is one of the rougher portions of the narrative. In this exert, the main Character, a child named Siofra, finds herself in the company of two of the Tuatha de Danann- Nodens Nuada and his son, Fionn Dubhglas. Please note that this is a ROUGH DRAFT. The writing, grammar and punctuation may be lackluster, but that will be addressed later. I am mainly hoping to learn whether the character descriptions are clear and vivid enough.

Across from me were two men so alike in appearance that I knew at once they must be kindred. They were both tall, built to the same sleekly muscular frame, and graced with the same delicately masculine features. Both had exceeding long and well kept hair, marking them as nobility, and both wore garments of finely woven linen. Beyond these things, however, the similarities were few.
The man who had spoken to me, sitting on the edge of my mat, was moonlight pale with hair that gleamed like true gold- or rather like gold woven into silk. His rich tresses were bound in a complicated series of braids, as was typical of the warrior class. The léine he wore was fine- dyed a vibrant, deep blue, and edged with green and sliver knotwork and green fringe. The truis, under his léine were patterned in dark blue and black, and were perfectly clean. Around his neck was a silver torc, made in the likeness of twin hounds and around his narrow waist was a belt of silver engraved with interwoven vines. The green brat thrown over his right shoulder was pinned by a bronze and emerald broach, and was lined with fur that looked enticingly soft. His almond shaped eyes were flawless sapphires, and when I looked closely I could see tiny bright specks scattered around the edge of his pupils- as if some naughty sprite had sprinkled gold dust there. There was a lingering smile in those eyes, as if summer’s warmth dwelled forever in twin oceans, ready to drive away the cold cruelties of the world.
If the first man was summer, his kinsman was like a winter’s night. He knelt further away from me, his head brushing the thatched ceiling of the unfamiliar hut. His long, dusky hair was left unbound- save for the front, which was pulled away from his face- and flowed like a river of midnight around his shoulders and across the earthen floor. His face was shadowed, and seemed nearly as dark as his hair, but the eyes that shown from the darkness were piercing, and, I realized, the same shade as those of his kinsman. I marveled that two gazes so similar could be rendered so distinctly different by the souls behind them, for there was no warmth in the dark man’s gaze- only a stone wall of quiet strength. He wore no bright colors, as his companion did, and though his clothing was undoubtedly fine, it was simple, seemingly intended for comfort rather than appeal. In fact, the only adornments he wore were the torc that marked him as a warrior, an opulent silver broach set with a single violet gem, and the ornate scabbard that hung at his hip.

Gaelic Terms

Léine- a tunic, generally made of linen and wore either mid-thigh or knee length (for men), or ankle length (for women.)

Truis- loose trousers, also known as trews.

Brat- A square cloak, usually made of wool, and- in the case of nobles- pinned with rich, jeweled broaches.

Torc- A distinctive, ornate necklace worn by Gaelic warriors. It was made of torqued or wrapped precious metal and was open in the front, often with a sort of figure head at each end.


message 3: by Sidhe (new)

Sidhe Prankster (sidheprankster) | 6 comments Mod
Here is a piece from another story. It's actually something I just starting scribbling while bored.

I could say it began on a cold night, when the moon shines so clearly that the air resembles crystal, and magic and mystery seem to hide in every shadow. I could describe the many astounding adventures, both mundane and otherworldly, that led to fateful meeting of Eric and Whisper- but that, I'm afraid, would be dishonest.
While it is perfectly true that Eric and Whisper found their fair share of spectacular adventures, the thoroughly unspectacular truth is that not all acquaintances- even interesting ones- begin in an exiting way, and this one, I fear, began quite ordinarily.
It was at Ash Street Books in Riverview, the art district of the city of Abygell, that the two first made one another’s acquaintance. This is hardly surprising, as both lived in the area, and both were confessed bibliophiles and frequenters of the shop. Nor was it particularly startling when they learned that they were both students of New Haven University, as it was largest second-largest school in the state. What was surprising, at least to the minds of everyone else, was the friendship that quickly grew between them.
Most who knew the friends thought- as people often do about things that are not their business- that the two should have been either closer or further apart. There were some, like Eric’s mother, who were determined that they were engaged in a sincere romance and simply wouldn’t admit it. These nodded knowingly as the two passed, laughing and tussling, or huddled in deep conversation, and came to suspect that a betrothal was always just around the corner. There were many others, however, who couldn’t understand why Eric and Whisper should associate at all. The friends had many things in common, it’s true, but their personalities were extremely different.
Whisper is an unusual name, especially when the person it belongs to fits it nearly as well as an elephant might fit the epithet Tiny. Whisper wore jewel-bright colors, and was known to dress in clothing ranging from flamboyant to elegant depending on her mood. She loved long skirts, bohemian dresses, earthy denim, and Gothic lace. Her seasonal job at the local Renaissance faire had provided her with ample period additions to her wardrobe. She adored embellishments- jewelry, embroidery, beadwork- and often joked that overdressed was her natural state of being. Further belying her name was her character, which was as vibrant as her appearance. She was not loud or strident, but rather she was very present. She didn’t believe in following the crowd or putting on airs, and no matter where she was, she was the same: laughing, big-hearted, and out-spoken. In a room of a thousand people, everyone noticed Whisper.
In that same room, Eric could have disappeared. It wasn’t that he was mousey, or down-trodden, or any such unhappy thing. It was merely that, on the outside, Eric was extremely normal. He wore blue-jeans, fitted band logo t-shirts, and kept his black, blue-streaked hair in a chin-long side comb. In class he never spoke out more or less than his fellows. He talked with other young men about the usual topics: cars, women, music, etc., and at first view, one would think him positively regular. All of this, however, was only one small part of Eric’s multifaceted being. He read books that most other young men had never heard of, let alone enjoyed, and had seen all but two of Shakespeare’s plays performed. He collected swords, and knew how to use them. He had studied Tae Kwon Do since eighth grade, and was now twenty-one. He had taken a year off between high school and college to serve in the Peace Corps in Romania- something that Whisper always envied him. He listened more than he spoke, and thought more than he listened. His entire apartment was an eclectic jumble of books, old records, new gadgets, and fantasy paraphernalia.
Fantasy and mythology were perhaps the two greatest interests- besides literature- that Whisper and Eric shared. They could- and often did- spend hours conversing about the subjects, and both could quote long passages from Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings by heart. Every Halloween- and on any other opportunity they saw- the two were likely to appear as wild spirits, Celtic warriors, vampires, mages or cavorting elves. Between them they had read every book of mythology the local library had to offer, and had an impressive collection of their own besides. They researched these volumes endlessly, discussing their findings and theories with all the ardor of curious professors.
Such a discussion was taking place one autumn afternoon at Calypso’s, a metaphysical shop and café on the corner of Ash Street and Burlington Road in Riverview. The shop was contained in a large, two-story Victorian house on the edge of the historic retail strip, its wooden siding and wedding-cake trim painted pale purple and stormy blue. Inside it was comfortable in a homey, slightly shabby way, and bedizened with Celtic and Eastern decor, fantasy items, and new age trappings. It always smelled pleasantly of blended incense, fresh coffee and old books.
Eric and whisper sat on the covered balcony, which wrapped around two-thirds of the second story, enjoying the crisp autumn air and big, mismatched cups of coffee.
“It’s amazing how many mythological ideas and archetypes can be found in countries all over the world,” Whisper was saying, reiterating one of her most passionate points. “And I find it even more amazing that people can see all of these similarities and not think that there has to be something behind it.”
“If you listen to Karl Jung, that something is a collective conscious,” Eric offered. “It’s like the myths are all part of us, and were all part of them.”
“I suppose. And sometimes I wonder if that’s part of what people mean when they talk about us being stories. I mean, obviously our lives are like stories, but sometimes I think there’s stories going on inside of us, too. Like the Hero, the Shadow, the Healer and all those other Jungian archetypes that we’re supposed to have in our psyche are all fighting, and what we choose to think or do decides the outcome. But I still don’t believe that that’s all myths are. There’s something real behind them.”
Eric smiled. “Every legend has a little truth in it, even if it’s one thread in an ornate tapestry.”
“Sometimes much more than a thread.”
“Sometimes the whole damned thing.”
Whisper put down her latte and fixed Eric with a look he knew too well: intense, serious, excited, and edged with something like laughter.
“Oh, no. Whatever it is, count me out. I have a paper due Thursday and I am not getting involved with any of your kooky experiments.”
“It’s not an experiment,” there was mischief threaded through The Look now, mingled with the knowledge that his protests were vain. No matter how insane Whisper’s ideas were, he always went along in the end. “It’s an adventure.”
“Adventure. Experiment. Whatever you want to call it, the answer in no. This really isn’t a good time, with midterms starting soon, and-“
“We have two whole weeks until midterms,” Whisper interrupted. “Besides, what would you say if I could guarantee that you would have more time to study for midterms than you do now?”
“I’d say you’ve finally crossed the line between charmingly eccentric and completely bug-nuts,” he grinned. “Exactly how do you propose to do it?”
Whisper glanced about and then leaned forward conspiratorially. “I’ve found a way into the Otherworld,” she said.
There was an undisturbed silence for several moments. “What?” Eric asked at last.
Autumn grinned with impish, knowing innocence. “I said: I’ve found a way into the Otherworld.”
Eric blinked at her, his thoughts scattering like leaves in a storm. One the one hand, he knew this was one of Whisper’s jokes- it had to be a joke- but on the other hand he half believed her. They had talked so often about visiting the Otherworld, wishing it could happen and jestingly promising that if either found a way in, they would bring the other along. If such a thing could actually be done, the possibilities were mind-blowing.
It took only moments for Eric to decide to play along. If this was one of Whisper’s games, it would be fun to see where it led, and if, by some chance that Eric knew he believed in more than he should, they actually were going to the immortal realm, Eric wasn’t about to pass up the opportunity.
Whisper smiled, recognizing the acquiescence in her friend’s eyes when he said: “So, how do we do it?”


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