Story Time

Hello everyone, I hope you are feeling amazing today.  The weather here in WS is absolutely gorgeous and my spirits soar.  So i have decided to share with you a little something special.  As you may or may not know, I am an aspiring author.  I am working on a fantasy novel that will (hopefully) propel the fantasy genre towards being more inclusive and representative.  I will share with you lovely people the prologue.  The novel is currently titled, “The Teller of Tales: The Tale of Durilfuin.  I do hope you enjoy it and let me know in the comments what you think.


The lightning flashed and flashed again.  Thunder boomed a second later, rattling the tired old structure.  The icy rain drip, drip, dripped through every hole and crack as the wind shrieked and raved and whirled in an obscene and wicked dance.  The scent of illness and death completely overpowered the musty smell of old straw, mildewed oats, and rotting wood.  The barn groaned as that evil wind slammed into it again and again, howling like a lunatic.  The lightning flashed and flashed again.  It was cold, so very cold.  The tiny fire fought valiantly against these overwhelming odds, but soon succumbed to the same wretched cold.  Worse than the cold rain and screaming wind, worse than the lightning that blinded and the thunder that deafened, worse even than the hunger that clawed at empty bellies was the heartbreak.

The Saeahsahn people lay in the ramshackle barn around the useless braziers. Women and children shivered and whimpered; huddled on piles of straw, furs, or the stone floor, trying not to think about the hardships ahead of them. Parents held their children, whispering softly into their ears, giving them comfort the parents themselves did not have. Those parents that had lost children held those children whose parents had been killed. Some talked quietly amongst themselves, others smoked clay pipes, some sobbed quietly at the memories of their murdered families and friends and some lay down to fitful nightmares. Bloodlines and family ties did not matter anymore. Everyone gave all they had left to the group.

An old man knelt beside the makeshift fire pit.  He leaned down and blew gently on the last embers of the fire.  His patient breath brought forth a tiny tongue of red flame.  He fed the fire, which grew in strength until it lived on its own.  He rose to his feet slowly, his old bones creaking as he did.  He surveyed those around him; a look of sorrow contorted his handsome features.  His thoughts tumbled through his head like dry leaves trapped by a brisk autumn wind and proved just as elusive.  The lightning flashed and flashed again.  Visions appeared before his eyes like the lightning, there and gone in the space of a heartbeat.  He shook his head and held his hands to the fire.  He rubbed warmth back into them.  The brittle light of the fire fractured shadows across his care-worn face.

Outside, the storm raged like a thousand demons of lore. The old man, a wizened baron named Gothrra Prentercaw; resumed his seat by the fire, pulling his orphaned niece into his lap, watching his people.  Gothrra scrubbed his calloused hand back and forth across his battle-scarred face and looked sadly at the people riding out the storm around him.   He shook his head to banish the thoughts in his mind.  Those kinds of thoughts would do them no good now.  If they were to survive, he must focus on the present and the future.  To think of the past was a luxury none of them could really afford. The young girl in his lap yawned, her eyes fluttering open for a moment.  Gothrra smiled down at her, attempting, for her sake, to be cheerful.  She smiled back and dropped back off to sleep.

The conqueror, Yowsiuv, a fire Djinn , had taken all they had, their families, their homes and livelihoods.  Soon he would claim their lives.  His magic burned everything, including the sky, a dark orange.  He had fallen to earth determined to reshape it in his image.  They had been given a choice: slavery or death.  The people of this proud land railed against the invader. After all the fighting, all the bloodshed, the invader won. Many had taken Yowsiuv’s offer and swore to him. Only three hundred lords and knights did not. These three hundred, with their families were to be executed. This was to be their last night in their homeland, on this earth. On the morn, Yowsiuv would attack, and burn them to ash.

Gothrra turned his face to the fire.  His bloodshot green-blue eyes stared unseeing through his shaggy iron-gray hair into the orange embers of the fire. He reached out with his dagger and half-heartedly poked at the embers, stirring the flames.  Absentmindedly, he rubbed at an old jagged scar on his chest, just below the breast bone. It always acted up in bad weather, and had been throbbing sharply for three days.  Gothrra’s lips moved in silent consultation with himself, a trait his wife had often teased him about.  He nodded, having made up his mind.  He stood, shifting to support the child sleeping in his arms.

“My people, hear me.” He said softly.  Finally, the words he had delayed all evening threatened to climb up his throat.  A few heads turned to look at him but most remained motionless.  He took a deep breath, knowing that they were listening.

The wind rose to a shriek, whistling harshly through cracks in the building and cutting him off.  Lightning flashed and flashed again, and the sound of relentless rain on the roof accented the rolling drum of the thunder. A huge hailstone crashed through a weak section of roof, showering wet, rotten wood on everyone in the area. A woman screamed as the hailstone crushed her foot.  Pandemonium broke out as people rushed to help her.  The roof was missing in other places too and the rain poured in. People had tried to stretch hides over the openings, to keep the rain out, and that worked to some extent, but in places it still leaked. Buckets had been placed to collect the excess rain water. The lightning flashed and flashed again, revealing the silhouette of a man standing with his back braced against the doors.

At first, no one realized he was there. The stranger looked around, nodded and murmuring quietly to himself, as if taking stock of the situation. Suddenly, Gothrra realized that the shadow wasn’t a fatigue-induced figment of his imagination. Gothrra’s sharp eyes picked out the intruder’s shadow, darker than all the others. There was someone there. He turned sharply, placing his body between the intruder and his ward, and shouting for the guards. The men responded quickly in spite of their fatigue.  The intruder was now facing the points of three hundred swords. The stranger was well over six feet tall and barrel-chested. His short graying hair was plastered to his head and raindrops dripped from his long, neat beard. He wore all black; woolen pants, leather boots, woolen shirt, leather tunic, leather jacket, leather gloves, cloak fur-lined to keep out the chill. Around his neck he wore a curious amulet. It was of copper and etched deep into its surface was a single symbol. This symbol looked like two arrows, cut in half long ways; one pointed up, one pointed down. A single horizontal line connected the barbs of each arrow.

His wet clothes were plain, simple, and well-worn but not threadbare. The man wrung out his cloak and shook his head. He ran his hand down the length of his beard, wringing the water from it as well. The new arrival looked up, his brown eyes twinkling as he looked over the swords, at the knights holding them. He was unafraid. He stood straight and tall with the ease that accompanies a long and accomplished life. His mouth broke into a wide, toothy grin, saying, “What an evil night,”

“Who are you, Stranger?” Gothrra demanded brusquely, placing his ward in the arms of his cousin Eri, and weaving his way quickly through the maze of sharp swords, to stand before the grinning stranger.

“Fear me not,” he said, “I am, but a lost bard. I saw your lights and wished for shelter from the storm. I mean you no harm. Please, I will tell you a tale if you allow me to stay.”

The men looked to their leader, who nodded after a moment of thought. The swordsmen lowered their blades and parted to allow the new arrival to walk between them. His wet boots squeaked slightly at each step.

“You would be wiser to find your shelter elsewhere stranger.  Those that sleep here are doomed,” a woman’s voice cut through the air heavily.

Murmurs of agreement followed this outburst. Gothrra held up his hand for silence.  When it reigned again, he spoke.

“They are not wrong stranger.  We here are condemned to death by Yowsiev.  We will die as the sun rises.”

“I have no where else to go,” spoke the stranger, a piteous tone creeping into his voice.

“Come then stranger, and be welcome. We do not have much as you can see, but we offer you such hospitality as we can. What are you called?” said Gothrra, finally.

“I am Thaddeus, The Bard. Draw near, everyone, I will tell you a tale,” The bearded man said, motioning with his large calloused hands.

The stranger walked to the center of the barn. His footsteps echoed strangely throughout the barn, like the footsteps of a soul lost in limbo. Everyone followed him, grouping themselves tightly around his booted feet. When he spoke, his deep, hearty voice resonated loudly. All eyes turned to him. He drew the people’s attention and held it. Even when the wind blew the doors open and rain drenched those near the entrance; no one took their eyes off the Storyteller. A shutter fastener had come loose and the steady banging lent a hypnotic rhythm to the story telling.

“In a place very much like this, people very much like you, were enslaved, forced to abandon all they have. A power-hungry woman hatched a scheme. A scheme that successfully overthrew a government, toppled a monarchy, and enslaved the people. This woman, known only by her title, The Dark Lady, murdered thousands of people. For many years, this Dark Lady squashed any attempt at insurrection with ruthless, calculating precision. If they resisted the laws of their new empress, they would disappear. Stories ran rampant through the native communities; stories of midnight raids, secret executions, massive pyres burning constantly the bodies of the slain. Stories of brutal torture, of unceasing slavery, of people forced to betray their own. The few survivors waited for Death to ply his trade. They waited, but with each year that passed, their conqueror did not age at all, and her Power grew ever greater. It seemed as if all hope of freedom was lost. Then, in all that murky darkness, a light, a single spark, was kindled, as it always is when the darkest hour is upon them.”

There it is.  I hope you liked it.


What’s up everyone? Hope you are having a fantastic Sunday. Today I’m gonna tell you about buttermilk. Lots of recipes call for buttermilk, from breads and pancakes to salad dressing. But what if you don’t happen to have any… Before you run to the store think about this. You can make a sufficient substitute with just two ingredients. Milk, and lemon juice.

For this particular recipe, you need just 1 cup of milk and just 1 tbs of lemon juice or white vinegar. You stir the lemon juice into the milk and just let it sit on the counter for 10-15 minutes. Then use it as you would buttermilk. The milk might begin to separate, that is ok.

That’s all there is to it. Let me know how it goes or what recipe you use for buttermilk.
All my love.

Homemade Mayo

Welcome to another exciting edition of Kitchen Adventures!  (Insert theme music of your choice) Today, we’ll be exploring home made condiments, specifically mayonnaise. Yep mayo, the most boring of Goop Group. Mayo isn’t actually as bland so you might think. If you make it yourself… This recipe for homemade mayo uses just 5 ingredients that you probably already have.

You will need
3 Eggs
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp mustard
1/4 cup vinegar
1 1/2 cup oil
A blender

How to
Add all of the ingredients to the blender except the oil. Combine well. Add the oil slowly while the blender is running. Blend until thick. Takes 10-15 minutes. Scrape into a jar with an air tight lid and place in the fridge. Makes just over a pint of mayonnaise.

That’s all there is to it, folks!

A few notes
I used a stick blender, a regular blender will work also, and a food processor, but you will need to stop to push down the sides. Also, be mindful of the heat of whatever appliance you use. If it becomes too hot, stop and allow it to cool.
You can change the spices you put in per your preference. I have made this recipe with vegetable oil and coconut oil. I noticed no difference between the two. You can use whatever oil you choose… Though I would recommend against the motor oil.
This mayo will not be as thick as what you by in the store, but it is plenty thick for spreading on sandwiches. I haven’t tried it in a salad yet, but I’ve already decided to switch to homemade mayo completely. It will keep for several weeks in your refrigerator.

Homemade Facial Scrub

As I live my life and gain experience in the world, I find I am growing more eco-conscious. I find myself wanting to grow my own food, reduce the amount of garbage I send to the land fill, and make my own health and beauty products. The last of these is the topic for today.  I want to phase out all of my store-bought products in favor of homemade ones by the end of the year.  I started with something simple, a recipe for facial scrub.  I made some up this morning and as I was making it, my brother asked why.

There are many reasons for making your own products at home. It can help reduce the amount of plastic that is thrown away.  It can be a way of finding products that don’t aggravate your allergies.  It can save you a boat-load of money in the long run.  But for me, there are two main reasons why I want to make this change in my life.  The first is probably common to almost everyone who makes this choice.  I want to know what’s in the product I am using.  If I make it, I can control what goes into it.  I can use ingredients that came from Fair Trade companies, companies that do not use GMO (genetically modified) crops to make their products, that do not use chemical pesticides, herbicides, or hormones.  I can support small businesses and local farmers.  OR not…the choice is mine.  The second reason is that I know that my health and beauty products were not tested on animals.  This is something that is very important to me.

The recipe that I used is very simple.


  • 1/2 cup sugar – I used brown, white will do
  • 1/4 coconut oil
  • A few handfuls of used coffee grounds, you can take them directly from your coffee maker, just make sure to squeeze out any excess liquid.  You could also use fresh grounds if you want.
  • The contents of 3 vitamin E capsules
  • A very small dribble of honey
  • A few drops of peppermint extract – optional


  1. Mix the sugar and coconut oil.  I found that melting the oil, just slightly helped when combining the two.  No more than 10 seconds in the microwave.
  2. Add in your coffee grounds, and mix well.
  3. I used liquid gel vitamin E capsules.  Using a pair or scissors, i carefully cut the tips off and squeezed the liquid into the bowl.  If you can find the vitamin E oil, that works well too, just a few drops of it.
  4. Add the honey and peppermint extract
  5. Stir together well and pour into a jar.  Place the jar in the freezer to allow the coconut oil to solidify again.  Store in an airtight container (mason jar works well)  and use every other day.
Oh no!  What has happened to my face!?  Nah, its all good.  That black stuff is just the coffee grounds.

Oh no! What has happened to my face!?
Nah, its all good. That black stuff is just the coffee grounds.

To use:

Rub a couple of teaspoons worth on your face and massage gently in circular motions.  Wait a few minutes and rinse off.  Your face will feel sticky while the scrub is on and it will feel slightly oily as you rinse it off.  This is from the coconut oil and once you dry your face, it will feel smooth and soft, and not at all oily.  You could maybe use it everyday, depending on how delicate your skin is.  As with any new product, use sparingly until you know how your skin will react.  If you do have very delicate skin, use only once a week and use other, less abrasive creams in between.

A few notes:

If you keep this jar in your shower, be warned that the heat from your shower will cause the coconut oil to melt.  This product will keep for weeks outside of refrigeration.  It is my personal opinion that you should only make a month’s worth at a time.  You can make less or more, per your preferences.  I will use this product every day for the next couple of weeks and see how it affects my skin.  I will update this post with my findings.