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Literature
The Old Druid
Chapter 2:  Words and Actions
Farther into the forest Khoravan and Talia traveled with Orwin in tow.  Along the way the party met others heading in the same direction, traveling towards the Nemeton, or ‘Sacred Grove.’  Here was where the druids met in council to determine matters, great and small, concerning the woodlands and all who dwell within.  At times it was a private matter, dealt with by the “sacerdotal”, the organization of the various classes of druids that perform the everyday tasks of counselling and governing the routines within the druidic world.  When such matters deal with the forest rangers and those people who live in the forest and woodlands, then the grove becomes crowded with those seeking answers.
As the trio worked their way through a press of bodies leading into the Nemeton, it was dawning on them that something, indeed, was of great urgency to attract such a mass of people.  Those they passed were muttering
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Literature
The Old Druid
Chapter 1:  Winds of War
The clearing was dim and narrow; the trees allowing a lane of only fifty paces long with twenty at its widest.  Two figures stood near one end while at the other a small rabbit pelt was tacked to the trunk of a tree.  Thirty paces of short grass covered the ground between the occupants and the pelt.
One of the figures was a Leorin female, dressed in the mottled green and brown tunic and skirt of a forest ranger.  Leather leggings covered the feline's legs, allowing only her heels and clawed toes to show.  A broad strip of brown cloth tied around her forehead kept the shoulder length brown hair away from her face.  She concentrated on drawing the nocked arrow back to her cheek, paused, then released.  The cloth yard shaft wavered slightly as it left the longbow, only to straighten before piercing the rabbit skin in the middle.  She grinned in satisfaction before turning towards her companion.
"Think you can beat that?
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Literature
Rusa - In the Land of Giants
Chapter 1
The underbrush shook, then parted as a small figure in buckskin exploded from cover.  Small bare feet pattered along the barely visible trail as a roaring of incomprehensible words sounded behind the figure, to be followed by the crash of giants bursting into view.  There were two of these large creatures, nine feet tall, and dressed in furs and leathers, and clutching spears the size of lances.  Their bellows of bloodlust were aimed at the diminutive quarry ahead of them.
Their prey, a female of mixed human-elf blood, continued running despite the burning of her lungs and the ache in her calves.  She didn't try to look back, for to do so could mean slamming into a tree, hooking bare toes under a tree root, or not seeing the sudden drop into a ravine.  So the elfling pressed on, her dark eyes snapping this way and that as the trail continued to bend sharply among the tree trunks of this unknown Missouri woodlands.
The giants came on, breathing deeply
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Activity


    Well, another Veterans Day has come and gone.  Today I've seen quite a few of the Vietnam vets out and about, though it feels strange to be separate from them as I'm a Cold War Veteran.  I did my time with the Air Force in the early 1970's when the conflict in SE Asia was in the stages of winding down.  My time was spent in Germany working on a microwave site just 17 miles from the East German border.  It wasn't uncommon to step outside and maybe see either an East German or Russian fighter slip over the line to test out response time.
    But now we have a new set of veterans coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan, and some in worse shape than those returning from Vietnam.  Maybe it's time to start bringing our people home and let the ideologists fight it out among themselves for control of their country, and try to figure out how to rebuild it.  So let us work together ( the true meaning of 'Gung Ho') and get them back into a more peaceful life among family and friends.

"It's not that I can and others can't!  It's because I did and others didn't!"      
Well, as you can see, I've finally uploaded the second chapter to "The Old Druid."  It took awhile to learn how to cut and paste this chapter onto my site; relearning procedures that I've forgotten over the years from my Technical Writing class I had taken at a local community college.
But as you will read things are starting to stir in the countryside.  Again I'm hoping Tom O'Leary will not take offense at my attempt to provide a sidebar story to his original work, "The Remnant."  I'm just trying to give the readers something else to enjoy that is happening in the background.
Chapter 2:  Words and Actions

Farther into the forest Khoravan and Talia traveled with Orwin in tow.  Along the way the party met others heading in the same direction, traveling towards the Nemeton, or ‘Sacred Grove.’  Here was where the druids met in council to determine matters, great and small, concerning the woodlands and all who dwell within.  At times it was a private matter, dealt with by the “sacerdotal”, the organization of the various classes of druids that perform the everyday tasks of counselling and governing the routines within the druidic world.  When such matters deal with the forest rangers and those people who live in the forest and woodlands, then the grove becomes crowded with those seeking answers.

As the trio worked their way through a press of bodies leading into the Nemeton, it was dawning on them that something, indeed, was of great urgency to attract such a mass of people.  Those they passed were muttering excitedly about having heard of invasion, the Helzig rampaging across the Empire, even a breathless exclamation that the capital had fallen.

It became apparent that the threesome couldn’t push on any farther and began casting about for some other means of reaching the council.  The younger man tapped Khoravan on the shoulder, then pointed to a rope ladder hanging from a tree close by.  The old druid nodded, pleased with his former pupil’s alertness.  Soon the two humans and Leorin ranger had clambered up to a wooden platform fitted to the stout trunk of the tree; a platform that was dangerously overcrowded.

On the ground below, a great crescent shape that surrounded The Great Oak was filled to overflowing with people of all sorts:  Druids, rangers, farmers, and artificers, either human or Leorin.  A variety of what makes a people a nation.  And standing against the massive bole of a most ancient oak tree, stood the High Druid and his advisers.  This elder of renown towered over all upon the root of the tree that served as his platform for addressing those gathered before him.  

Tall and slender, his long hair and beard as white as his silver-trimmed gown, Duranth was unbowed by age.  As his oaken staff was black from time this gentleman’s eyes still flashed a brilliant blue.  And those eyes gazed out upon a crowd that number three times the normal gathering for the Nemeton.  He merely raised his right hand and the murmuring died away.

“My friends!”  His voice was deep and resonant.  “This special gathering was called as a great catastrophe has fallen upon the Primean Empire.”  He paused to let those words sink in, and watched expressions of confusion stamped on the faces of those below him flow into fear and awe.  He continued.  “The great capital has fallen to a vast horde of the Helzig!”

A deep current of words flowed through the gathering until Duranth raised his hand again, and once more a quietude settled over those before him.

“Our information is poor and filled with speculations and half-truths!  All that we do know is that the Helzig have swarmed up the Frontier, overtaking the fortifications along their way, and have made an assault on the Omnipolis!”

Once more there was the general buzzing among the people, then someone up close shouted out, “Did not our diviners see this coming?”

A woman to Duranth’s right hand stepped forward.  Not as tall as the High Druid, but the Master Diviner Sara spoke as loudly as he.  “My people and I did not see this coming as there was some means of masking the Helzig’s approach.  A means as powerful as the Matron on High’s capabilities, rendering our sights blind!”

“You’re saying they may have a goddess as powerful as the Matron?”  This question was called out by a woman who stood beneath the platform upon which Khoravan, Talia and Orwin stood.

Sara shook her white head.  “All I’m saying is that the Helzig have somehow acquired the means to cover their passing up from Helmont.”

“Then, what are we to do?” was called out and quickly taken up by nearly every person in the assemblage.  The High Druid and his people tried to calm the crowd down but were having no luck.

“What we first do is not lose our heads!”  Those words thundered from on high until the packed Nemeton became deathly silent.  All heads turned in the direction of that shout as every eye tried to discern the figure standing at the edge of the platform overhead.  Even Duranth, Sara and the other members of the sacerdotal were duly silent at the moment.

“If the Helzig have stormed the Frontier, then their numbers must be so great that our Primean Knights were overwhelmed.  Whatever means they have used, fair or foul, must be learned and used to our advantage, or we’ll have no hope of defeating them and driving these hellish women back to those far lands that spawned them.”

His gaze swept those gathered below; even the people that first occupied the platform had drawn back from his presence.

“The Matron on High and her knights have protected this empire from their cities and held a firm hand over the lands.  As for us of the woodlands and forests, the druids and forest rangers looked after you people with that same firm hand, and the Matron had never questioned our resolve in keeping Her peace.”  Khoravan’s flinty gray eyes seemed to fall upon each upturned face as the people continued to watch and listen.  Then his voice soften somewhat, as a teacher would explain a point to a confused student.

“Now is not the time to give in to fear and run about as a chicken to the fox.  We must take stock of our enemy’s intentions and their disposition.  For those of us within the druidic order that travel extensively, as well as the forest rangers, we must reconnoiter the Helzig’s strength and concentration.  They will have their Warmages and other conjurers within their ranks so we must be careful to avoid a direct confrontation.”

“And what of the rest of us?”  It came from a woman on the platform beside him.
The old druid gave her a sidelong glance, as well as the briefest of smiles, before returning to those below.

“As for the rest of you,” he began, “there must be preparations made to travel, and quickly, to the sanctuaries of the deep forests and mountains.”  Khoravan stopped and looked down at the High Druid, before placing his right hand over his heart and bowing his head in respect.

“Forgive me, Master, for usurping your position in these matters.  I was only trying to calm those gathered here.”
Duranth merely smiled as he held up his free hand to the figure high before him.  “You seem to be doing magnificently, Master Beekeeper!  Pray, please continue!”

The other fellow returned the smile before addressing the crowd once more.  “As I have said, we must prepare to leave when the word is given, but not before.  Until such time as we have learned of the Helzig’s motives, and how and where they are heading, we remain at our crofts, villages and riverside dwellings, carrying on with our lives and duties as normally as possible, until such time as the situation warrants our making haste to safety from their bloody reach.”  

So saying Khoravan glanced down at the upturned faces.  People began to speak with their neighbors as the gathering seemed to be over and everyone slowly filed out of the clearing towards their respective homes. Only when the Nemeton was empty did the trio descend to the earthen floor and approached the oak tree upon which the High Druid and the sacerdotal were still present.  Duranth and his company stepped down from their posts and met the others.  Master Beekeeper and High Druid repeated the hand-over-heart gesture with a bowed head before gripping each other’s right forearm.

“You’ve helped in lancing this boil of contention within this meeting, Khoravan.  For that we are grateful.”

Khoravan merely nodded but his face was grave.  “Is it true that the Helzig have stormed the Frontier and taken the Omnipolis?”  There was no need for a verbal answer as he judged the expressions before him.  He looked to Sara.  “And your people could not see this?”

The tanned face of the woman known as the Master Diviner fell further than it had been at the start of this meeting.

“Not a damn thing,” she muttered bitterly.  

Khoravan gave a deep sigh.  “Then we are in great trouble, for this is indeed evidence that someone of great power is masking their movements.”  Shaking his shoulders, the old druid looked up at the others of the sacerdotal.  This assemblage of druidic elders was looking like a band of lost children, and Khoravan felt deep within his guts that they didn’t know what the next move should be.  But he knew that action was called for, and that he would have to make it, as he did to quell the fear running rampant through the Nemeton earlier.

“If I can make a suggestion, Great Elder, that we need to gather all the forest rangers and those druids that travel, as I had mentioned earlier, here and dispatch them to the areas with which they are familiar with. They would need to see the Helzig on the move, determine their strength, and what they are carrying as far as baggage and supplies are needed for this invasion.”

“And what of the people in the countryside that these hellish women have passed through in their onslaught?”  The question was raised by a short plump woman of middle age.  It took Khoravan a moment to remember her as being the Master Musician.

Nodding gravely the older druid replied, “Should time allow, and the Helzig are not about, then guide those left to safe passage with whatever they could carry.  And taking whatever livestock that can be moved, should there be any left.  As for the dead, give them a swift burial far from where they’ve be slain.  I know it will show the Helzig that others are about, but they’ll be too busy destroying and pillage to contend with it.  

“As for those Primean Knights still free, direct them to points of rendezvous where they can be carried for, before being sent to places where the forest rangers can take them in.  And that is about as simple of action as I can foresee for now.”

Khoravan and his friends waited while those of the druidic council stepped aside for a quick session.  The old druid turned to look about the crescent grounds of hard packed earth, comparing it now to what have minutes before was a sea of humans and Leorins pressed in to learn the truth of their kingdom.  He felt a hand on his forearm and turned to look into a feline face with warm yellow-green eyes and a smile that offered comfort.

“Don’t worry, you old keeper of bees,” Talia said softly as she stepped closer to keep the conversation private,” things will go as the Tuatha a Duann foresee it.”  Then she laid her head on his shoulder.  Orwin turned away, feeling a bit uncomfortable about this display.

There came the loud clearing of a throat that attracted their attention.  The Leorin’s head came up as she took a step away from Khoravan, the inside of her ears showing a bit of crimson.  Duranth spared the ranger a glance, a ghost of a smile haunting his bearded lips for a moment as he directed his attention once more on his Master Beekeeper.

“Khoravan, the sacerdotal has come to the agreement that you will organize this ‘rescue’ of our people from this invasion, and learn what knowledge that can be gathered for us to discern the intentions of the Helzig in Prima.”
The words were softly spoken by this man at least twenty years older, and was once Khoravan’s own master while in training.  But those words bore the weight of responsibility and trust that would not have been given so easily unless those within the council unanimously agreed that this personage was their sole choice to care them out.

With a sigh, Khoravan laid his right hand over his heart and bowed with a, “Your wishes will be seen through!”

To be continued . . .
Well, going through another ass-bite.  Trying to upload an image for my story character, Khoravan, for "The Old Druid" site and not getting anywhere.  Something about joining Adobe and that's money I don't want to spend.
Had scanned the image to a flashdrive but when trying to submit my art to my site I got the run around about not previewing the image.
If anybody knows how to go about submitting an image for all to enjoy, I'm all ears.  Tanx! 
Well, finally got my story posted.  Had to run off a copy through the printer, then write it again on Stash Writer in order for the site to take it.  Then came back through again after rereading the initial chapter and finding a number of mistakes.  And come back through Trash Writer again to make the correction.
Don't know why it didn't take the chapter straight off of the flash drive like it did for 'Rusa'.  Damn programs.  Anyway, if you've read this first installment of my sidebar story then go back through once more and note the corrections made and how much more smoothly it flows.
Enjoy!
Here we are, the 1st of April, and the first quarter of the new year is gone.  Brother!  Currently dealing with having a car's oil and filter changed as well as the tires rotated.  And this is on what used to be my wife's Camry.  Two weeks ago, my oldest son was driving home from Topeka, KS, where he's attending Washburn University.  He was driving my Kia Optima for travels to school, work, and other things older teenage boys involve themselves in.  At this time I was working my part-time job as a custodian for the Lawrence, KS, Parks and Recreation Department.  My late night work involves cleaning the locker rooms at three rec. centers.  I had just pretty much gotten started at the local community building when my cellphone rang.  It was James, my son.

"Hey, Pa, the car quit running."
"Where you at?"
"East of Topeka."
"What's wrong?"
"It just quit running."
"Okay, be there in a half hour."
"Gotcha, bye"
"Bye."

Well, I put my stuff away, clocked out and headed up the highway.  Found him not too far from the company I used to work for.  Checked the car out and found there was no oil on the dipstick.  We went up the road to a Casey's convenience store and got a couple of quarts of oil.  Drove back and put them in.  Maybe the oil level sensor (Newer cars go them, don't they?) couldn't read the level.  Still wouldn't start.  Called AAA and they sent out a tow truck to take to the local Kia dealership.
 
Anyway, the dealership called on Saturday morning and said the engine was seized up due to the lack of oil (Well, DUH!)  They would try to look around for a replacement.  Luckily it was start of Spring Break so I only had to drive James to work and home.  He did have a friend living close to the campus of KU and spent a couple of nights crashing there after work.  When the dealership called on Monday they said they found a used engine that they could put in.

"How much," I asked.
"Well, with the cost of the engine, labor, other material, and taxes, it would be around $4,500."
Ouch!  Ass bite!  I thanked them and will get back to them after talking with the wife.

She said, "No!  I'll give him my Camry and we'll get another car for him."

So we got a 2005 Toyota Avalon.  After driving it, my wife then said, "Hell, no, we're giving him the 2004 Camry!  No 19 year old needs leather seats, a sun/moon roof, and more room than you can swing a car around by it's tail."

Well, she didn't say the last part, but she was so enamored with this next step up from the Camry she wanted.  So now we have 3 Toyotas (I have the original 2001 Camry my wife and I bought brand new and just rolled over 350,000 miles just two days ago.)  We finally donated the Optima to the Wounded Warriors Project.  Now I need the wait for the paperwork to get here so I can return the plate and have the registration cleared from out name.  The things one does for his family.  And that's not counting my 64th birthday early in March.  Like my old Camry, I'm still chugging on.  'Nuff said!

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Richard Messer
United States
Writer for the Spontoon Island website. Have commissioned artwork from Taral Wayne, Jerry Collins and Louis Frank.
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FURHEHE Featured By Owner Aug 31, 2017  Hobbyist Artist
Wanna RP?
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cullyferg2010 Featured By Owner Aug 31, 2017
Not now, thank you!
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InquisitorCat Featured By Owner Aug 13, 2017  Student Digital Artist
Hope this isn't strange but I am curious how you got your username. My first name is Cully, so whenever I see my name which is extremely uncommon I become excited/curious about it. Thanks! ^^
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cullyferg2010 Featured By Owner Aug 13, 2017
When I use to do Old West Gunfighter Shows about 15 to 20 years ago, I went by either Mattfield Greene or Cully Ferguson.  When I got tired of acting and took up Cowboy Action Shooting, I made my alias 'Cully Fersuson', and have used it ever since as my user name.  And now you know, the rest of the story!=P (Razz) 
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InquisitorCat Featured By Owner Aug 13, 2017  Student Digital Artist
ahhh how interesting! Thank you for sharing!
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:iconcullyferg2010:
cullyferg2010 Featured By Owner Aug 13, 2017
You're quite welcome.
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Zedrin Featured By Owner Jul 5, 2017  Professional Filmographer
can you chill
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cullyferg2010 Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2017
Over what, please?
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mirage2000 Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2017
Thanks for comments and have a nice day!
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cullyferg2010 Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2017
You, too!
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