Saturday, January 31, 2015

Modern Mythical Creature Challenge

Time for the first Modern Bard challenge of 2015! This is one Mara gave me, and I must admit, I have been super excited about it since she came up with it like, last summer, so I hope to see a good turnout for this one!

Modern Mythical Creature Challenge


This challenge is to write a story set in modern times that somehow involves a mythical creature. Like a young girl befriends a unicorn on her grandparents farm in Virginia or a griffon wreaks havoc on New York City. Think Percy Jackson kind of idea, but take your own twist with it. The only real rule is that the story has to in some way involve a mythical creature (and it has to be an actual one from myth or legend, not a made up one.)

As usual, I'l setting the bar at 10,000 words, but I have a feeling I'm going to go over that on this one, so if you do, don't worry about it. This is a creative spot, but if you decide it's going to be a novel, I'll post the first chapter as the challenge ;-)


I will need entries by May 8th, when you get to that point, let me know if you need more time.


If you want to participate in this challenge, email me at 

Tell your friends! Also, I'm up for suggestions about some mini challenges to do for fun over the summer. If any of you have any ideas, let me know! Either comment or email me.

I look forward to seeing what everyone comes up with for this one!

Cheers, and I hope you are all having a good 2015 so far!


Monday, January 26, 2015

Historical Rulers Challenge: "How the Mighty Fall" -- Hazel West

Here's my contribution to the challenge.

How the Mighty Fall

Author’s Note

This is essentially a rant about my personal feelings on Richard the Lionheart. I have never liked him, he was an incompetent jerk and left his people to starve, waging war, just so he could get away from England. I never got why he was so great, he couldn’t even do his duty. So this story is in answer to that, and yes, this is my opinion, you don’t have to like it. This is narrated from the point of view of Robin Hood.

Many years ago now, I took up my bow and fought for my country. As a king should do. Because we had no king to do it. There is nothing more shameful than a king who runs from his own country when his people need him most and then outlaws the men trying to keep the people from starving. A man who seeks war just to stay away from his throne, and one who gets captured in battle, forcing his impoverished people to pay his ransom fee. And like the loyal, jaded, fools they were, they paid it, thinking it a glorious cause. It would be treason to say anything else, and once I might have thought that too; I did think that. But no more. Not now. After everything, I have sought to seek an end of the matter myself, when even the enemies he fought against didn’t have the gall to do so.
            Too long, I have watched my people, England’s people—Richard’s people—suffer. I saw them starve to death, their children crying for naught but a crust to stave off their empty bellies. I saw them scrape the money for taxes together, taxes the king who was not even sitting on his throne demanded. So many people saw John and his lackeys as the villain, and I did too, at one time; I too fought against him, but I have grown wise to how it really went. John stayed while his brother left, he at least tried to rule England instead of abandoning his people to fight a useless war in a foreign land, taking the able menfolk to leave the women and children to starve, not knowing whether their fathers and husbands would be back at all, dying for their king but not their country in a land far away. Too far for any of them to comprehend.
            So I was going to end it. My bow has been my trusty companion these many years and my aim has not failed me yet. I hoped it would not fail me today.
            We were in France now, that country our glorious king so professed to love above England. It was some petty argument this time. Some land dispute, acting like a spoiled peasant just come to riches. It sickened me. We were besieging the castle, and I roosted in a tree, as I had many times in the old days when I was an outlaw. I could see the king watching the people in the castle. There was a bit of shooting going on between the two armies. It was the perfect time.
            Richard was laughing. That barrel of pig tripe. It was as if this was all a game to him. And that assumption wouldn’t be wrong. He seemed to enjoy war so much, how could he not laugh at it? Even his ‘imprisonment’ had been a luxurious one as his station required, while the men who fought under him while his people who had been captured rotted under torture and harsh treatment in the horrid prisons. At the moment His Majesty was watching one of the Frenchmen from the castle wall deflect the arrows our men were shooting with a cooking pan. I had great respect for that Frenchman. He was braver than the so-called Lionheart.
            I drew an arrow from my quiver, nocking it on the string. It was the perfect time, he was distracted and I had chosen a tree on the dividing line. No one would know where the arrow came from. Not that I cared. If they wished to kill me for this, they could. I knew in my heart that it was for the good of everyone.
            He was laughing so hard, he was bent double. I drew my bow, pulling it back until the fletching tickled my cheek. I took a deep breath, letting it out slowly before stopping just as Richard stood up. I released the string.
            He cried out as it struck him high in the shoulder and fell to the ground. I slid silently from the tree, taking up my bow and my pack. I wasn’t staying to see how it turned out. I didn’t care about the outcome. It still felt better than anything I had done in my entire life.
            Now to make my way back to England and see what I could do to help repair his mess once again.

Copyright© 2014 by Hazel B. West

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Historical Rulers Challenge: "Cold Winter's Night" --Abigail Leskey

Here's the first story for the Historical Rulers Challenge by Abigail Leskey, who decided to write hers in play format this time. I hope you all enjoy!

Cold Winter’s Night

Dramatis Personae:

Mistress Magdalen Foye

Her daughter, Kat Foye

Her son, Thom

Her son Christopher, an infant.

Noblewomen 1 & 2

Queen’s physician


Scene I. The interior of a Tudor era home; not belonging to peasantry—perhaps descendents of knights’ younger sons. Snow is falling. Mistress Magdalen Foye is sitting near the fire with he infant son, Christopher. Her son Thom is setting the table. They are shabby.

Thom: Kat has been long gone.

Mistress Foye: That I know, Thom. Perhaps the physician is elsewhere. Hush ye, Christopher; poor sweet!

Thom: Will she see the queen? The doctor’s house is near where the queen is. Kat said so; she said Queen Mary’s staying at our lord’s place.

Mistress Foye: The queen will be in; ‘tis snowing. I would not have sent Kat, only I must stay with the child.     

Enter Kat, snowy.

Kat: The physician will not come.

Mistress Foye: He will not?

Kat: Because we cannot pay well, and because it is said thou are a heretic. As is true!

Mistress Foye: Thou are sure he will not come?

Kat: I have no doubt.

Mistress Foye: Do thou get Thom his supper. (Aside) He refused; when my husband was on live, it would not have been so.  Christopher suffers because I am a—heretic, they call it.  Poor innocent! Hush ye. What can be done? What to do?

Kat: Are thou muttering spells?

Mistress Foye: Thou are worse than saucy, tonight. Thy father would have strapped thee.

Kat: My father is dead because thy apostasy broke his heart.

Mistress Foye:  Hold thy tongue.

Kat: I will not! My brother is dying, and the doctor will not come, because thou think thyself above the church! We could pay him, if it were not that no one will give us work because of thee; he would not refuse if not for thy soul! If thou were not my mother I would have reported thee to the queen’s men. If I did not owe thee a duty—

Mistress Foye: Does thou truly hate me, Kat?

Thom: I’ll open it!

Mistress Foye: What?

Thom opens the door. Enter two noblewomen.

Noblewoman 1: Greeting, mistress. We are wayfarers, who went too far and were met by storm.

Mistress Foye: You are welcome, gentles, though we have little to offer. Kat, do thou help with their cloaks.  

Noblewoman 2: I thank thee, child. We do not wish thy meat, only to bide a short time from the storm. Is the babe ill, mistress?

Mistress Foye: He is, alas!

Noblewoman 2 holds out her hands for him.

Noblewoman 2: He seems in need of a physician.

Mistress Foye: The physician would not come.

Noblewoman 1: Wherefore?

Mistress Foye: He—

Kat: We are right poor. And ‘tis a foul night.  

Noblewoman 2 hands Christopher back to his mother.

Noblewoman 2: I know the queen’s physician: I shall fetch him.
Jane; The weather, your—Wait until the storm slackens, prithee.

Noblewoman 2: The babe is sickening.

Noblewoman 1: Permit me—

Noblewoman 2: Thou are not well yet, from that cough. It is an act of charity; do not hinder me.

Kat: Shall I go with you, my lady, to guide you back again? I am well and strong.

Scene II. A village, a snowstorm racing through it. Kat and Noblewoman 2 walking.

Kat: Do you well, my lady?

Noblewoman 2: Well enough. Tell me of thy family, child.

Kat: My father is dead. My mother and I sew and farm as we can. My brothers you saw; they are young.

Noblewoman 2: Does thou think of marriage?

Kat: No one desires me, my lady.

Noblewoman 2: Tut! I believe it not.

Kat: ‘Tis true. May I ask if you be one of the Queen’s ladies?

Noblewoman 2: In a way, aye.

Kat: What is she like, Queen Mary?

Noblewoman 2: She is tired!

Kat: I have heard tell that she is ending heresy, my lady.

Noblewoman 2: It is her duty, child. (She sighs.)  So much of it, all of a time. I hear say of it in this village. A certain woman. Does thou know her?

Kat: Know whom, my lady?

Noblewoman 2: A woman, a heretic.

Kat. I know not, my lady.

Noblewoman 2: They are bold, and they will condemn many of my people.  Of the English; I am English, so I call them my people.

Kat: What, my lady, would befall this heretic, were she caught?

Noblewoman 2: Repentance, I hope.

Kat: If not?

Noblewoman 2: Death; and I would pray God to save her soul. Child, if thou know this woman—

Kat: There lies the hall, my lady.

Scene III Kat waits near fire for return of Noblewoman 2.

Kat: I have perjured myself. I have betrayed my faith. Again, again, again; every time I go to confession, speaking to this lady, speaking to any. But what can I do? She is my mother. I cannot cause her burn—I am afraid to save her soul…

Enter Noblewoman 2 with Doctor.

Noblewoman 2: Are thou well, child?

Kat: I am, my lady.

Doctor: Again, I beg you to stay, yo—my lady. You are not strong.

Noblewoman2: Do not hinder charity! Let us go.

Scene IV. The Foye’s house again. The doctor is examining Christopher, while Mistress Foye and Thom watch. Kat and both noblewomen are drawn aside out of the way.

Noblewoman 2: Thou are of gentle birth, Mistress Katherine?

Kat: (Distracted by Christopher) Aye, my lady. My father’s father was Sir Oswald Foye’s son—the youngest of five.

Noblewoman 2: I should like to take thee into my service.

Kat: I thank you, my lady. But my family stands in need—(she winces as Christopher coughs.)

Noblewoman 1: Nay, but with thee in the service of the que—

Noblewoman 2: Jane!

Jane Dormer: I beg pardon—

Kat: You-Your majesty?

Mary I (Noblewoman 2): Sit, dear child. Fear not—I’m but a woman. I meant this not to come out. Does thou like the offer?

Kat:  Prithee, Your majesty, may I have space to think? And my mother—

Mary: I shall ask her.

Doctor: He speweth! There. The lad shall be well now. ‘Twas but mucus.

Mistress Foye: Thank Providence! And I thank you doctor, greatly. I can offer you little—

Mary: Do not concern thyself for that. I should like to take thy daughter Katherine into my service, if it please thee and her.

Mistress Foye: Kat? Into your service, my lady?

Mary: She pleases me.

Mistress Foye: May I ask who you are, my lady?

Jane: I am Jane Dormer, the Queen’s lady, and I vouch for her. She does not wish to be named.

Mary: Nay, she ought to know. I am Mary Tudor, the queen—Doctor, she is ill.

Doctor: Faintness. There. Sit down. The room’s hot.

Thom: It’s cold!

Kat: Are thou well, mother?

Mistress Foye: Entirely. Your majesty, I beg your pardon.

Mary: Pray, do not be distressed. Thou need not be.

Thom: Mother, thou’re making her sad!

Kat: Hush, Thom!

Christopher begins crying loudly, not in pain, just because he is a baby. Kat cuddles him.

Mistress Foye: Kat, I leave this to thee. Thou are a woman.  

Kat: Your majesty, mother, might I have time to think?

Mary: You may.

Mistress Foye: Aye.

Kat gives Christopher to Mistress Foye and goes away from the fire, turning her back to the group.

Kat: Do I have a choice? An I stay—I may offend the queen; she may think we’re not inclined to her. An I go, my mother lives here, a heretic, with none to farm or shield her; I know she’s less suspected for my piety. My piety! When I lie forever! I would be among those of my own faith if I went, no disputes, no hiding—but there would be hiding. Forever hiding. (She leans her head against the wall.) I wish not to go, not truly. Jesu, show me…

Mistress Foye’s voice rises.

Mistress Foye: Your majesty, they seek truth.

Mary: They seek it wrongly. It does not befit thee to speak in their favour. Almost—is there a heretic here?

Mistress Foye: Aye, more than one.

Mary: More!

Kat sees that she must stop this conversation. She makes a hasty decision.

Kat: Your Majesty?

Mary: Thou have chosen?

Kat: I am grateful for your kindness. I accept, Your Majesty.

Mary rises, smiling, forgetting previous conversation, and takes Kat’s hands.

Mary: I am glad, Katherine. And do not fear, Mistress, she shall have leave to come see thee. And it is only right that I give great recompense for her absence.

Thom: Is recompense pudding?

Kat: I will be greatly honoured to serve the Defender of the Faith.

Mistress Foye: O Kat!


Author’s Note: I wanted to write about Mary I of England. This is what ended up happening. The book The History of Mary I., Queen of England: As Found in the Public Records, Despatches of Ambassadors, in Original Private Letters, and Other Contemporary Documents (Google eBook) by Jean Mary Stone (found here: is one I consulted. I went through a period where I was rather into the Tudors (and Mary’s my favourite; I’m sure plenty of books have influenced this, particularly the style of speech. Thank you, authors.

Copyright© 2014 by Abigail Leskey