Saturday, March 31, 2012

LDS General Conference Saturday Sessions

I know that I usually post something that is creative or even lazy, but this weekend is conference weekend for my church and I just had the opportunity to listen to two fabulous sessions. I am of the Christian faith and I encourage anyone of this faith to take a few minutes to listen to or read some of the talks given during this conference.  You can check it out at www.lds.org.

I really enjoy this spiritual enlightenment and I have found a lot of really personal advice for my life. The talk that has struck me the most today was in the Saturday Afternoon Session by Jeffrey R. Holland. He shared the parable of the laborers from Matthew 20:1-15, then he counseled us to avoid envy in our lives.

This wasn't just a 'envy is bad' kind of a talk it spoke more about how we need to be happy when the Lord blesses others and be glad that he is a kind and generous God and that he cares. It really struck me because there have been times when I have thought 'why do they get that blessing' because either they have already been blessed with something or they may have made poor decisions in their life, but now are doing what's right and are being blessed.

I was humbled to realize that I was entertaining those feelings of envy and that instead I need to find humility and joy in other's blessings and praise my Heavenly Father for being kind and merciful to everyone, even those who may come in the eleventh hour.  What an absolutely beautiful lesson Elder Holland taught and how absolutely humbling to me that is finding joy in other's blessings I will be blessed.

I am grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ and that the power to repent, change and do good is always accessible in our lives.

Friday, March 30, 2012

The Tower 42


“What’s a tarrange?” I asked stupidly. I could see the creature there before me, but I had no idea what it was or what it could do.
“They range through the mountains that border Anderosea and Betlath. They have never harmed people before though. They’re very intelligent creatures and if you can get close enough to speak to one and pet it, it will protect you from other predators.”
A big improvement.
“Good,” I said. “Will this one protect us?”
She murmured a few words of the strange language to the creature and it purred back. When I forced myself to really listen I could actually hear words mixed in with its purrs.
“Well, he’s upset that we hurt it, but he is also grateful to be back to his normal self.” She paused. “He is afraid of Antheus cursing him again.”
I shrugged my shoulders thinking I was too, but for some reason I doubted he would be able to harm either the tarrange or Sareanne.
“I don’t know, but we have to leave this place and go back into the castle, so I guess he can find out and come with us or try to leave.” Deep down I hoped the creature would stick with us, the more the better. “Can you make the protection moveable?”
I doubted and hoped in the same breath.
“No,” she replied nervously.
I didn’t have a choice then, we would have to move unprotected and take our chances. I moved toward the door determined to return to the room at the top of the castle. I wasn’t completely sure why I felt like I had to reach that room, but that was where I wanted to go.
“Where are you going?” Sareanne asked.
“I need to get to the room, the one where I stayed the first night in the castle. You can come with me,” I paused, “I’d like you to come with me,” I qualified.
Sareanne hesitated. I could tell she had been in her little prison for too long. She didn’t want to be returned to her cursed state. I had to admit I would have felt the same way.
“Sareanne, you are very powerful and believe it or not, I think Antheus is afraid of you. That’s why he cursed you. Something I have noticed about people is that they try to hurt the people they are the most frightened of. Antheus knows you can communicate with the gods of the earth, he can’t and I think that frightens him. Simply put, you’re more powerful than he is.” As I finished I knew I spoke the truth.
My words were enough to create a firm resolve. Sareanne squared her shoulders and marched toward the door of her twenty year prison.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Tower 41


Sareanne stared at me without an answer. Neither of us knew what to do. Tuug stood watch like a faithful dog and every time either of us moved he looked up and glared.
“Can you speak his language?” I asked Sareanne suddenly.
“I remember some of it, but most of the knowledge came with the curse that you broke.”
“How did I break the curse?” I asked. I didn’t really do anything except fight nausea and go down a long tunnel.
“It was your courage to find me even though you thought I might harm you once you were no longer protected, courage to continue on even when it would be in your best interest not to.”
“Oh,” I replied. I looked over at Tuug. “Do you think he would listen to you if you told him to do something?”
“He might, he trusts me.”
“If you told him to put his hand through the barrier do you think he would?”
“No, he’s afraid of the barrier. It burns,” she said matter-of-factly.
I thought for a few moments considering my idea. “Do you think we could expand the protection to include him?”
“But he’s a monster,” Sareanne said shocked.
“So were you,” I pointed out. “Maybe he isn’t what you think he is, maybe he’s cursed too.”
I tried to sound convincing even though I wasn’t completely convinced myself. I had to try though, it was the only way to escape Antheus’ little trap. I had to get back to the protected room.
Sareanne looked at me like I was crazy, but my persuasion must have worked because she glanced over at Tuug then shook her head and began whispering under her breath.
It was an almost unperceptable change, but I watched as the circle of rocks around us faded ever so slightly, then reappeared just a bit larger. The process continued until the edge of the protection appeared next to Tuug and then suddenly enveloped him.
The pitiful cry of pain that escaped Tuug’s mouth wrenched my heart. He writhed for several moments and then finally collapsed in a lump of limbs. The change happened slowly. We watched as the horrible scales blurred and then seemed to burn away revealing soft fur. The clawed hands became padded paws and the horrible fangs shrank into catlike teeth.
When the transformation completed we faced a furry animal that appeared to be a strange catlike creature.
“A tarrange!” Sareanne exclaimed.
She rushed over to the creature and began stroking its ears and murmuring in a purring, guttural language. The creature seemed to understand her and it purred back. This wasn’t what I expected, but it was an improvement nonetheless.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Line That Divides Chapter 13

Check out the next chapter of The Line That Divides.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Tower 40


“Sareanne, what do you remember? Not what you think, but what you actually remember,” I asked carefully keeping my eyes on Antheus’ face.
Out of the corner of my eye I could see her troubled expression, then her head snapped up. “I remember my brother Mehean leaving for northern Anderosea.”
“Mehean is your brother?” I asked incredulously. I glared at Antheus knowing he had lied to me.
“And when he returned with his tale of monsters I knew something was wrong, something in his eyes, but I convinced my father to let me go with him to try and help the people in Elderich,” she explained. “I couldn’t leave them to the mercy of the monsters
“You took your book with you, didn’t you,” I surmised.
“Yes. In all of my family I was the closest to the gods of the earth and the power they shared. My book contained the mysteries they had shared with me, but only I could read it,” Sareanne replied.
I looked at Antheus, “the first time you brought me here and you tried to get me to read from the book.”
“That is forbidden, Antheus, even you should know that,” Sareanne said scathingly. “That’s why you were pulled back into your own world.”
“But you brought me the second time,” I said to Sareanne. “Why?”
“I needed your help. He had already opened the doorway between our worlds,” she said carefully.
“And what do you propose to do, Sareanne,” Antheus interrupted coldly. His voice sent chills down my back. “You are stuck in your circle of protection in the prison I’ve kept you in for twenty years.” He laughed.
“Why did you do this?” I blurted out interrupting his evil tiraid.
“He wanted to control my father’s vineyards,” Sareanne replied. “I remember now. He cursed me to try and force my father’s hand, so I burned the vineyards.”
“That’s when he cursed Anderosea,” I added understanding.
“And it will stay cursed until I get what I want,” he said menacingly.
He turned to leave and then grunted at Tuug. “Stagrath, Tuug.”
Tuug turned toward us and then lumbered over to the door and sat down watching us carefully.
I turned to Sareanne determined to get some answers now. “So it was you that protected me each time.” It was not a question.
“Yes. I brought you back hoping you could help me break Antheus’ curse. He had already brought you here once so I knew I could bring you back. I hoped that if he chose you to try and break my protections I could use you to vanquish him.” She looked down at me. “I’m sorry.”
I nodded fighting the surge of anger that coursed through me. I don’t like being used.
“So the tower is not in Anderosea?” I asked.
“No, it is. The borders of Anderosea go all the way to the northern mountains. Elderich is the northern most city in the land. The cliffs of Betlath mark the border between Anderosea and Betlath.”
“Oh,” I replied, “but the tower is where you met with Antheus?”
“Yes. We had never been plagued by the monsters before, he must have done something to control them or rouse them against us.” I could see the memories seeping back into her mind as more and more understanding dawned in her eyes. “I took my little army north and when we met Antheus I knew the only way to protect my people was to speak to the gods of the earth. They answered and the chasm was formed.”
“How did the tower come about? Antheus said Mehean built it for you.”
“Mehean, as far as I know, fell into the chasm. When the earth cracked I found myself alone on the island facing Antheus. He cursed me before I could protect myself, but I had enough time to enchant the book so he couldn’t take it and read it.”
“How does the curse work, you look normal to me right now.”
“The change starts when the sun sets and goes away when the sun rises, but I always end up in this room trapped in the dreams he has forced me into,” she looked into my eyes, “but you broke through and found me. Thank you.”
I sighed, “but now we have to figure out what to do next.”

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Tower 39


“How old was he?” she finally asked.
“Around my age at least, mid-thirties.”
I stared at her trying to absorb the strange parallel I had entered.  Somehow I had gone back in time and yet it didn’t feel like that. Sareanne didn’t look like the young woman from the painting, she looked older like a mother who had watched her only son grow up, yet here she was with a babe in arms convinced it was Antheus.
“You left the tower with Antheus, Sareanne.  Don’t you remember?” I said carefully.
She looked at me with confusion and then looked down at the baby in her arms. It suddenly shimmered and disappeared.
“I remember something,” she whispered looking lonely and afraid.
“Do you know what is happening here?” I asked hoping for an answer, but not really expecting one.
“I remember seeing you at the top of the stairs. You were in the circle, my circle,” she said suddenly. “Who are you?”
I hadn’t expected her to ask me that. I had never had to explain to Antheus who I was he just seemed to know. I opened my mouth to answer, but I heard a strangled noise behind me. I turned to see Antheus accompanied by one of the monsters, probably Tuug. He stared at me and I saw a glimmer of anger behind his eyes.
I glanced over at Sareanne and heard the whisper of words escape her mouth, as she did so I looked at my feet and noticed the white circle of stones appear. I looked up and the glimmer of anger had turned to one of incredulous annoyance.
Several things clicked into place in my head. I finally realized that Antheus hadn’t brought me here, Sareanne had, and she was the one who had been protecting me the whole time from him.
A dark chuckle escaped Antheus’ lips as he read my thoughts.
“Who are you really?” I demanded.
“He’s the sorcerer from Betalth,” Sareanne replied. Her voice was much stronger than before.
I looked over to where she stood and realized she had created a circle of protection for herself as well. Our circles overlapped ever so slightly. She stood tall within the circle her eyes defiant and strong.
More things clicked into place.