Welcome to Hereabouts!

“You think there’s more to the story?”

“The story? No. Stories are always simple. The truth, that takes work.”


Welcome to Hereabouts, home to Westfall, A Queen’s Ransom, and Ivan the Brave.

Long Reads

Westfall – Ever have one of those dreams you can’t get out of your head?  Ever have an immortal faerie king take over your free nation?  18-year-old Rose doesn’t believe in rhetorical questions.  (Warnings: violence and violent deaths, some sexual references and language, politics)

Scripts & Screenplays

A Queen’s Ransom A trickster princess disguises herself as a traveling harper to save both her fiancé and the kingdom from a father’s last request. (Warnings: fantasy violence, some adult themes, death)

Ivan the Brave – A simple prince faces off against a cunning sorcerer to save his mother and an unconventional princess from the Underworld.  (Warnings: fantasy violence, death)

The Midnight Dance (WIP) – Is it a conspiracy of cobblers, or something more sinister?  This new spin on the original skazka sends familiar but unconventional detectives to the edge of the map to find out how a dozen princesses wear their shoes out each night.

Quick Looks

Shorts Shorter works with rhythm, rhyme, and occasionally reason. (TV-PG)

Poems & Songs – Verse and rhyme, written for both fiction and memoir.  (TV-G, mostly)

The Real Life Personal journals on writing and life. (TV-G)

Short Stories – Bane of my existence, I’ve been told Short Stories are the crucible of a good writer.  Judge for yourself.

 

Other Musings

Thereabouts – Cabin fever, but stuck wandering the web?  Check out my writer’s blog on Weebly.

 


Images by Pixabay and Unsplash

Advertisements

14: The Door Opens

Last Chapter               Story Notes                 Next Chapter


INT. STOLIST PALACE – NIGHT

THE GREAT HALL

Alone, the king sits worrying on his throne, head in one hand.  He holds Pavel’s weapons on his lap and handles them worriedly.  Standing abruptly, he turns, sighs, and looks up at the fluttering banner. 

Continue reading

13: Round Two

Last Chapter               Story Notes                 Next Chapter


INT. AN UPTOWN HOUSE – DAY

A temporary lodging:  Sparse furniture, luggage chests.

A big chest creaks open.  Armaments clank and shift as the young man, OLEG (ILYICH) BELIYA, digs into it, nearly disappears. 

He drops a sword beside him.  Then a knife.  A hand ax.  A shattered spear. Continue reading

12: The Dyer’s Kingdom

Last Chapter               Story Notes                 Next Chapter


INT. THE PALACE LAUNDRY – DAY

An open room with high windows, sloshing tubs, boiling cauldrons, fluttering washlines. 

Broad-shouldered LAUNDERERS wield wooden paddles or push rumbling carts.  Two SORTERS divide laundry from a mountain of sacks, carting piles to the steaming tubs.

Galen crouches behind the mountain, peers over it.

The sorters cart off another pile and he pulls down a bag marked “LINENS.”  He digs — Nothing. 

Another bag disappears behind the pile. 

 

EXT. / INT. THE DYERS FIELDS – DAY

EASTERN FIELDS – WOAD, WELD, AND MADDER

The east city walls sport pikes — with skulls on them, sockets staring out.

Brilliant in contrast, acres of yellow flowers carpet hilly meadows.  HARVESTERS bundle flowers and load trays into carts bound for

AN OPEN WORKSHOP

Salts, dyes, and ammonia cauldrons are worked by CHEMISTS, soaking, dipping, stirring. 

A tour’s in progress:  Znakov leads and Pavel follows.

 

ZNAKOV

I was raised in the Fools’ tents, actually.  Rebel that I was, I took my skills and ran away to join civilization.

 

Pavel laughs as Znakov flags down a man in rolled sleeves.

 

ZNAKOV (CONT’D)

Gloves, Sven!  Check the boys there!

 

The MAN (ND) in question nods, and tugs the shirt of an apprentice handling dirtied roots bare-handed.

 

ZNAKOV (CONT’D)

(explaining to Pavel) There’s a reason madder has its name.

 

PAVEL

It’s dangerous?

 

ZNAKOV

And danger’s in demand.

 

They stop at a cart of flowers:

 

ZNAKOV (CONT’D)

The Old King loved red.

 

PAVEL

I see only yellow.

 

ZNAKOV

Earth’s best miracles are her secrets.  Here — (indicating the roots) — and the weld will show its true blue colors as well, once my students get their hands on it.

 

PAVEL

You have students?

Znakov beckons him past the ammonia baths and they hold their breaths.

 

INT.  A SITTING ROOM – CONTINUOUS (DAY)

Women at wheels sit spinning wool and cotton into thread.  Children with drop spindles chat with them but watch closely.  Some take to play instead.

 

ZNAKOV

My wife — gods rest her soul — believed in the strength of generations, and so do I.  Anyone who comes to me, I train.

 

PAVEL

You don’t fear competition?

 

ZNAKOV

The war’s sent many widows.  We’re all on the same side.

 

ANOTHER WORKSHOP

More WORKERS:  sorting ingredients — shells, saffron, oak galls…  A bell rings as Znakov and Pavel pass and Znakov changes direction.

 

ZNAKOV (CONT’D)

Ah, I’m afraid that’s my delivery.  I hate to abandon you, ambassador.

PAVEL

You have your business to run.  Don’t mind me.

He follows Znakov to

A TURNABOUT

A festive Fools Caravan pulls up outside the doors.  DOREN (50s) leaps out.  He’s a bearded man with broad shoulders and a contagious laugh.

 

DOREN

Malen!

 

ZNAKOV

Doren!  What took you?

 

DOREN

The horses mostly.

 

ZNAKOV

Doren, this is the ambassador from Dolina, Lord Ilmenov.  Three Kingdoms — you have kin that way?

 

DOREN

Odds are.  (a bow) Ambassador.

 

He points to the eastern wall.

 

DOREN (CONT’D)

Hope you’re not here to join the ranks.

 

PAVEL

Not my intention.

 

DOREN

Best to you then.

 

Pavel smiles and turns to go, but Znakov looks back on a thought.

 

ZNAKOV

Oh, a question, milord — nearly slipped my mind…

 

PAVEL

(pausing) Of course.

 

ZNAKOV

The youngest princess, Melinka — you’ll pardon the familiarity, but she used to play with my girl — is she well these days?

 

PAVEL

I’m not certain why she wouldn’t be.

 

ZNAKOV

It’s only, her mother passed on a few months ago — a bad fever.  It’s difficult to ask after them — the princesses, that is — but my daughter worries.

 

PAVEL

She seems well, spirited even.

 

ZNAKOV

(sincerely) I’m — She’ll be happy to hear that.  A good day to you, milord.

 

He and Doren head inside, a murmured argument underway:

 

ZNAKOV (CONT’D)

I hate to rush you off, but there’s been some trouble here…

 

Pavel lingers until they go, then walks up the cart path to the main road.  A patrol’s doubling back at quick march.

 

INT. THE PALACE LAUNDRY – EVENING

The sunlight dips and shadows lengthen.

 Galen returns another bag to the shrinking pile, wipes at sweat, pulls down another –-

 — digs out a handful of blue and patterned white, pulls it straight, stares, confused: 

THE CLOTH

A sketch of the chalice — in blue.

 

SORTER #1 (O.S.)

Is that the last of it?

 

SORTER #2 (O.S.)

Just a minute.

 

Galen bundles the cloth under one arm and slips away.

photo - unsplash


Last Chapter               Story Notes                 Next Chapter

Images by Pixabay & Unsplash

 

History Notes – Dyeing & Laundering

There are a number of natural dyes all over the world, but the best known in medieval dyeing seem to be three plants with yellow flowers:

  • RedMadder, which has been found even among Vikings and Egyptian tombs
  • YellowWeld, which was combined with chalk to dull its neon tone
  • BlueWoad, which took a long time to make, making it more costly

On the other hand, I’ve been able to find very little directly on laundering customs in ancient Russia.  Fortunately, I was able to research around the subject.  This article in Medieval Textiles (pg. 4), posits that undergarments were ubiquitously linen.  Following that thread, I learned that linen tends to need either sunlight or lye to whiten, according to this interesting article by Distillacio. This, in turn, led me to Wikipedia, and I learned that the Nordic root for “lye” is the same as for “laundry day,” aka “Saturday,” so there you go:  Russian laundering of linens likely involved using lye.  (Three times fast now…)

According to MidgardtoMiddleEarth, given the size of sails on Viking (and by my inference Rus) ships, it was likely weavers worked in groups on projects such as spinning, weaving, and embellishing.  Putting all these bits and pieces together, I concluded that a laundry house is possible, though perhaps we’ll never know what one would truly look like.

161 Posts!

I just realized, it’s been almost two years!

Thank you everyone for your follows, likes, and comments, and for all the writing you do on WordPress that adds to the artful conversation of the Interwebs.

161 Posts
569 Views
48 Follows
266 Likes

As always, I’d love to hear from you in the comments.  Thanks again for coming along on the journey!

Hi, I’m J.A.S.O.N. (a Short Story)

BETA NOTES

Author’s Note:  Fun fact:  I actually had to authenticate my Weebly account when I tried to post this story because the site thought it looked like SPAM.  Given the contents, I think that means I’ve done a good job already.  But, that said/typed, since I’ve written this to resemble a blog, I’m putting this disclaimer up here to point out it is a work of FICTION and does not contain text from any actual blog (though it is contained by text of an actual blog, namely mine.)  Not sure if this disclaimer is necessary, but I figure it doesn’t hurt.  I’ll be back behind the fourth-wall if you need me… Continue reading