Cutting 60K into Scrivener I thought would produce more than it did.
It made realise ideas to think off but just thoughts and nothing to be squandered.
Astoria is a story of Politics, Corruption; a complete lack of care for anything or anyone providing you can win and then it gets messy as others must pay for your failures and in this case in another planetary system as you dump your dregs into their world but who will win – the Drarf Admirals or the Prisioners who found Destraight or who were already there?
Dwarvia is beset by problems and rebellion is commencing against wars that are destroying Dwarvia as much as the thousands of Dwarfs dead.
Hundred of thousands of prisoners relocated to Dwarvia and rioting whilst armies are pulled back to Dwarvia to stop the riots and they are killing anyone and anything, looting, raping and treating Dwarvia as they would treat an ‘off-world’ planet.
The Ruling Dwarf families used the idea of Dwarvia being threatened to continue to invade and destroy other worlds without admitting they started the wars in the first place to prevent being deposed as rulers.
The population are starting to rebel; the Minor Famalies arrested, disappearing and the blood letting in the Chamber House needs new drains and sluices to allow Dwarf Combatant diaglogues.
Still the Gutter Kids ideas are still there:
Arturo and Princess Laseith first met in a gutter of their choice; knowing and understanding each other from that moment they met although Arturo couldn’t shake off his life as a young Dwarf hated by his mother for looking like his father, and as his father was never there with his mother selling herself, his mother had a free hand and used it frequently. He paid for his mother’s timing mistakes but still never knew who his father was.
She knew her blood was pure and nothing ever flowed into her mind but she thought of Griselda: her marriage knife; turning the knife as she wrestled it from her mother into her mother’s rib cage … it was easy then to summons Gereft, shout to the Guards he’d killed her mother – she owed it to herself to come and watch him hung the following morning – he should have pleaded for something as the noose tightened although his silence still annoyed her. History often neatly dovetail’s people’s destinies amidst a mound of bodies and Laseith was doing her best.
Her mother serviced the Toshonian Guards and once wrong on her dates became pregnant leaving King Jamesson more than suspicious as to the origin of Princesses Laseith and Routani. Griselda thought that the Guard would support her and he did; he was found holding her body the and executed. Laseith learnt from the streets. Playing in a gutter she often ran barefoot along the open sewage ditch following a body as a soldier floated by whenever she saw one. Later, when Laseith was at a barrack party she stole enough purses to buy rags so she could beg as an abandoned child.
One day as she was begging in the street, she tried to trip Arturo so she could rob him after he fell. Arturo as usual had no thought for anyone but himself as he made his way he stepped on her outstretched foot, receiving abuse as it was the foot she meant to trip him up with.
Eventually, time found both of them at the temple of Astoron, who would feed them if they bowed to Astoron, and Arturo, who could hardly walk in a straight line after the beatings from his mother and father, attracted as much emotion as Laseith who carefully dressed in rags ever morning; Arturo’s bruises and trouble in walking were also a good entrance when the Priestesses took over in the evening but once again, timing was everything. Whilst the temple of Druncheon – the Dwarf god – had thrown Arturo out as a young brat, he now he was older and looking better so they allowed him to enter their temple during the day and study their magic as a novice whilst he returned to Astoron’s temple in the evening.
Laseith had tried the same with the temple of Alf – the elven god. They, however, kicked Laseith into the street which coloured more than her opinion and language, and they would never allow her back. Together Arturo and Laseith found Astoron good for food, although to them as they ate and praised Astoron it didn’t really matter, well food was food and the Priests received donations but in Arturo’s case he had another problem.
His mother had recently died leaving him with an absentee father, no money and he’d would have been reduced to the play level of Laseith if not for the clothing donated to the temple of Druncheon. One night as they gathered at the temple of Astoron, one of the Priests who was on night duty for a change, took pity on him, “as your mother is recently deceased, you can still speak to her spirit?”
“I thank you, Rosult, but my mother seldom spoke to me before she died, except with her hand or a stick and I cannot see her speaking to me now!”
“Arturo! The Priest is trying to help you!”
“To do what, Laseith?”
“Your mother must have had some money hidden away. Ask her and she will tell you … we can share it!”
“Do you have an offering for Astoron?”
“Rosult; I do not have an offering for you to speak this magic but I would plead that you ask my mother for help.”
“You are in his temple and Astoron always cares, Arturo and in more ways than you will ever know. The ways and thoughts of a God are beyond our understanding and thoughts—”
“—so what does he care about?”
“You take his charity, now let us see if you can take his blessing—”
“I don’t want his blessing—”
“You both take Astoron’s blessings on a daily basis, yet both of you do not accept the sacrifices that feed you. You treat this temple as a food-source and we tolerate that for the pain you have suffered; unlike your ‘Alf’ temple, Laseith, or your ‘Druncheon’ temple, Arturo. They knew you for your worth immediately you arrived and you still haven’t learnt, Laseith. You still haven’t learnt! My God is different and through his benevolence, we feed you and help you leave the streets; you, Laseith, still drag the streets with you … we don’t ask for rewards … we have a saying in this Temple … ‘what goes around, cometh around.’ It will come around for you, Laseith.”
“And what does that mean, Rosult?”
“As you take, you repay although I don’t think the concept means with a sword, Laseith!—”
“Can I talk to my mother, Rosult?”
“Let us see, whether your mother wishes to talk to you, Arturo!”
“I will make preparations … it will take some time and I suggest you purge yourself of unholy thoughts, if that is possible!”
Rosult moved into another chamber and eventually green vapour filled the chamber. The chamber was some twenty foot high and the altar billowed green and then it began to move to red.
Arturo peering around the corner now saw the font in front of the alter turn orange as if it was a furnace that had moved from red-hot but it did not seem to need coals for it’s heat and the colours now merged with the green and red to create an aura of stillness.
Rosult looked over his shoulder to the doorway where Arturo and Laseith peered through, “as you cannot wait, come in and stand before the font. You will see your mother’s face and hear her words. Having heard some of her words, I suggest you prepare yourself but do not touch the font … if you do, you will join your mother on the other side and there will be no return!”
They both moved to stand in front of the font and looked at the image of Arturo’s mother.
“You killed me, Arturo!” Was the shouted accusation.
“I did not kill you!”
“You killed me with an axe, my beloved son.”
“Did you kill your mother, Arturo?” And Rosult’s voice rose as he looked first at the image and then Arturo.
“She was beating me again. I picked up the axe to defend myself … I did not mean to hurt her.”
“… you killed me, Arturo!”
“It was Laseith. She gave me the axe.”
“You fool. You’re admitting you killed her. Shut-up, Arturo – she deserved it. She was beating you. You were defending yourself. Shut-up!”
“You forced me … you gave me the axe … you made me kill her, Laseith!”
“No-one makes you kill an unarmed woman, Arturo,” and Rosult looked at Arturo with disgust, although I can feel the power in Laseith and you’ve dabbled in magic, Laseith … bad magic.
“For you Arturo, you are just a weak man who will commit evil for anyone stronger. You are weak, your spirit may recover but I doubt that. Your life will be that of an errand runner; a killer of the weak; a Dwarf you do not trust at your back!”
“She kept beating me, Rosult. She would never stop. I was only defending myself.”
“My God tells me you are lying, Arturo.”
“Don’t pay any attention to him, Arturo. You must know how to live from this world … you are a fool, but with me, I … we will rise and I’ll not forget you!”
“I am not a fool, Laseith. I don’t grab at nothing and attack those who would help me.”
“Then produce your pennies, Arturo … that is all you are fit for,” the Priest held his cloth a lot closer than required and he now seemed to shine.
Rosult waved his hand for Laseith and Arturo to follow and left the chamber, “Get you gone from this temple. Never darken it’s doors again. The only reason I don’t call the guard is that both of you have suffered and you will suffer again for this mischief – leave this temple, NOW.”
Laseith, kept from poverty by King Peter … now thought … yes he would do and she plucked Arturo as a willing killer with a history to join her. Laseith always felt she came from the gutter and carried the gutter with her – now she would sure Arturo never left the gutter in his actions.
With Arturo and Laseith, people watched in four directions at once as both of them were two faced – Routani however seemed mainly harmless but did everything Laseith told her to. Laseith knew she could make Arturo kill, which suited her because then he owed her for her silence.
Arturo, almost as a means of protection made himself as useful as he could by copying the magic scripts he’d learnt in the temple and sworn to never reveal to anyone.
Following Peter Jamesson’s death, King Machael put Arturo and Laseith in a dungeon and they stayed there for ten years.
Mi Kee in his life administered justice according to the rules, and the rules were laid down. Mi Kee was absolute in his belief in the rules; he felt he administered according to the law and the rules of his office. Only now did that start to bother him as he lost all of his organisation and was alone facing his actions.
The rules and the law had been laid down: the culprits were guilty or they wouldn’t be here before him – would they …?
No matter what he felt it was laid down and he ruled accordingly – often amongst heaps of bodies but everything according to the rules. His destruction of villages was never personal and the law proscribed that if they broke the law you killed them and destroyed their village – it was never personal and he always believed that.
The lovers watch as they were forced to. No water should be in the pool before they were forced to watch the water flow and know their heads would fall into it. The families had paid for their trial and justice would be done, and since they were honoured families – very honourable families the money would flow into his mentor’s benevolence; perhaps justice would flow out and his white cap button might change it’s colour.
He watched the lovers look at each other as they watched the water rose. Yes, they looked at each other and he could see the love in their eyes and that told him, if nothing else they were guilty … as an act of kindness he’d allowed them to face each before they were beheaded. A gentle impulse but one he wanted to make even if it broke the rules. Mi Kee moved towards the pool to face his wife for the last time.
He always felt he should observe the process and judgement as the heads floated in the water …? Well, this was something he felt and he’d seen too many pieces of water used to prove adultery when the Magistrate wasn’t there – the law would be upheld and not used to kill, especially now – he hadn’t meant to find them together – he’d just arrived home early and summons the Guards – now justice would take it’s role.
Perhaps this was his thought as he watched the pool fill and move towards it to check as tears filled his eyes; catching his foot on one of the blood gutters surrounding the pool as he fell head first.
Mi Kee now found himself lying on a beach with a spinning storm almost a face in his face with the colours watching him. A large log nearby screamed at him, “get this damned parrot off my back … it’s driving me spare with its screaming!”
Mi Kee confusion increased even more as he understood what the log was saying and it wasn’t mandarin and his panic erupted as the log suddenly stood up and moved towards him with the parrot screaming even more.
“Princess Laseith; I was born one hundred years ago. I wrote magic scripts and I copied them as a safeguard and swapped them so the original scripts left the castle.
For revenge for their killing my love I changed the copied scripts and altered them so they would destroy the Matira’s as well as the world.
The original scripts were put on a horse and I went up to the battlements to enjoy my death.
I then saw Princess Rona with a gigantic bird but I just stayed there to enjoy my last sunset. Princess Rona climbed onto the Roc’s back and took off.
Where the scripts ended up I don’t know but the Roc snatched the rider and then swooped on the horse … I’m not sure what happened after that but it was east of the castle, and then high in the air but I saw something fall …? What? I don’t know … I was too busy watching my last sunset?”
“Can you ever get back to the subject, Drufus …? Now!”
“The original scripts were in the horses’ saddlebags. Every piece of magic I’d ever written. They could be in the sea; on a mountain – I don’t know … I really don’t know!”
“You must have some idea, Drufus. You stood them and watch the bird and not just your sunset?”
“I can only say, ‘it was in the distance, and an hour’s wings for a Roc’. I wanted to end my life and watch the sunset. I didn’t give a hatchet about a Roc carrying some woman off and picking up a horse to eat, which it then dropped!”
“There you are, Laseith. Find the scripts and you have the original magic of Drufus: if you can work out where it is and remember how badly he writes magic …?”
Sir Facid stopped at that point. Let her really find out how badly Drufus wrote his magic and that he never tested it first. Sir Facid had learnt that, along with various people he had valued, who were no longer with him.
Arturo learnt there are worse things that brooms for travelling as his feet seemed to touch his head and then unwind and he travelled and so did the broomstick; Laseith screamed as Drufus’ code screwed up once again or did the broom?
Drufus had made sure only a male Dwarf could read the scroll and a captive spell generated at the end would move the Dwarf to where to where Drufus was.
Drufus had listened to the imperious tones of the Matira’s that he hated and wanted revenge. Arturo claimed Matira blood even though born in Ascan and met the demands of the scroll.
Drufus didn’t forget the death of his love by Grisalda. He’d make sure the Dwarf who read the spell was safe for his revenge but also incorporated his own magic into the spell to try and destroy Laseith, however, once again, Drufus got it wrong!
The magic of Drufus did not bring Arturo to the main hall but with a gut wrenching motion, Arturo found himself facing an altar with soldiers behind him and behind the altar, Drufus sharpening a knife.
“I’ve always found sharpened knives concentrate the mind almost as much as a hanging and that can be arranged, Arturo, if necessary – Sir Facid has no love of Laseith or her games, and my scroll was never intended to allow Laseith, her broomstick or you to travel anywhere unless I planned it. I had planned to try and open an inter-planetary hole to send Laseith to, and with that broomstick to accompany her to some godforsaken planet where magic does not function but I do make mistakes in my magical coding and instead people and animals came from other worlds to Dagril; the scrolls are still there and you are here. Laseith and her broomstick, with my compliments, went back to Ascan.”