Wednesday, 25 March 2015

How to cork!

...or spool knitting, Knitting Nancy, bizzy Lizzy...etc. Corking is my first every yarn craft and very easy for kids or older people who want to get started with yarn.
To make a corker:
Things you'll need: 4 long nails, one piece of piping (I found mine for 66 cents at the hardware store. You could also use a toilet paper tube, for a temporary-ish flimsy option), duct tape.
1. Have 4 pieces of your duct tape ready. They should be 2-3 inches long.
2. Take 1 piece of your tape and firmly tape one of your nails to anywhere on the pipe/tube. There should be 1 inch of nail sticking up from the edge of the tube.
3. Using your next piece of tape, attach another of your nails directly opposite your attached nail.
4. Do this again, placing a nail in between the two with equal space between them. Do the same with your other nail. The 4 nails should be in a square on your pipe/tube.
5. Cut a longer piece of duct tape and wrap it around the pipe/tube at the area of the nails attached by the tape, to secure and cover the pointy ends. Overlap your already-there-tape by 1 inch-half an inch.
Your new corker should look approximately like this:
Congrats. You have a corker.
(Please note that you can BUY things like this at craft stores for 5-10$. But it's cheaper to make your own.)
Now for the actual corking!
What you'll need.
There are 3 basic corker stitches. There could be more but here are the ones I know. I'll call them Basic, The Other One, and Skinny. Sounds good. 
Instructions for Basic:
1. Make a slipknot with a longish tail. Place the slipknot on one of your nail-pegs (doesn't matter which), and feed the tail down your corkers body (pipe-tube). This is how you will start The Other One as well.
Beautiful, darling.
2. Wrap your working yarn around the remaining 3 pegs from the back.
3. Repeat that, so that you have 2 layers of loops on every nail.

4. Then use your optional corking tool or more often your fingers to lift the bottom layer of loops OFF of the nail, over the newer layer of loops. It should look like this...

5. (and beyond...) repeat steps 3 and 4 until your corking is as long as you'd like. Every once in awhile tug the tail from your beginning slip knot.

Instructions for The Other One:
Repeat steps 1 and 2 of Basic.
1. Now, to make your second layer, this time instead of wrapping around each nail individually from the back, wrap on the outside around all 4, to make a square.
2. Loop your bottom layer normally.
3. (and beyond...) Repeat steps 1 and 2 until your corking is as long as you'd like. Every once in awhile tug the tail from your beginning slip knot.

Instructions for Skinny:
Repeat step 1 of Basic.
1. Wrap the working yarn around the peg diagonal from your beginning one (with the slip knot on).
2. Wrap a second layer and lift the bottom off of the nail, as normal.

3. Repeat step 2 until your corking is as long as you'd like. Every once in awhile tug the tail from your beginning slip knot.
How to finish off your corking.
So you;ve corked what you want. It's perfect. But then you realize HOW DO I GET IT OFF OF MY CORKER?!?! Calm the HECK down, first of all. Second of all, it's easy.
What you want to do is safely transfer all of the 4 loops onto 1 of the nails, whichever. I recommend first  transferring so that there's 2 each on 2 nails...
...and then transfer 2 of the loops onto the other nail.
Then cut a tail and carefully feed it through all 4 loops, from top to bottom.
Remove from the nail. Done!

From left to right: Beginner, The Other One, Skinny.
Make a headband.
Make a bracelet Or an anklet! Whatever!
Make a cat's cradle string (using Skinny).
If you add 2 more nails to the corker it makes a round corker, which makes long skinny tubes. Cool!
To change colours, cut your yarn and tie the new colour to it (TIGHTLY). Trim the ends.
Trivet/coaster/rug: cork a long stretch. coil it into a spiral, sewing it carefully to make a spirally circle thing. 

Have fun with your new skill!

Monday, 16 March 2015

A rant about my favorite book

Hello, good people. Today I'm going to rant about my favorite book.
Usually I say "choosing a favorite is like choosing between children" when it comes to books, but this lil book came along, and now I'm completely different. Man, this book is SUPER FANTASTICAL. Now you may be wondering what is the book in question here. I'll tell you.

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children.

Here's the link:
Alright, so. This book, man. This book. Miss Peregrine is a novel based around old, weird vintage photos that the author found. The black and white pictures work perfectly with the words and create an atmosphere that can't be explained. I was hooked from the beginning. This book is super duper;sgjkgdsflkjbnlkdjfsnbkdjfnbgjnfgnbkfngbjkfngbjnfgnduper creepy. Like, really. REALLY CREEPY. The hollowghasts gave me nightmares for weeks.
I didn't know what was going to happen next. I got so involved with the characters. I read this on a cruise ship, and spent my vacation days sitting in different lounges with my e-reader/tablet. I hate reading electronically but I put up with it because I was kind of addicted, and when we got home, I immediately bought a paper copy. I love this book. SO. MUCH.
That's all the time I have today to rant about THIS DARN BOOK, MAN. I reccomend this book to everyone. EVERYONEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE. Read it. All of you.
And that was Gwen's point of view on this SUPERAMAZINGWFELIJWCNAAAH book.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Wanderer (day 7)

Nomad hated her name. It was a nice name, and rolled on the tongue, but what she hated was the irony. When told her name, people laughed and asked "No, your real name?" But it was. She was a certified nomad Nomad.
Nomad had one rule-never go to the same place twice. When she applied for her Traveler's Certificate and proved eligible, she was ecstatic-her small hometown, Hadthorn, had never been enough. It was good, but not enough. So she packed her bags, said goodbye to her parents and brother, and left. That was that.
She kept track of where she went in a small brown journal. She stayed in towns and villages five days at the most, one the least, and it depended for the wilderness. Lots of resources? Milk it dry. Not that many? Stay for two nights and then move on. Nomad preferred the wilderness to villages, of course. Less people.
She had arrived in a beautiful forest town Modwell Grove yesterday, and stayed at a commonhouse. She had her own room, however; she didn't have to share.
Modwell Grove seemed nice. There was a beautiful market-shop-area-thing, swaddled in colour so much that it was like black and white when you left it. Nomad decided to stay for another one or two nights.
The room she stayed in was painted sage green, with dark wood floorboards. The arched window let in a lot of natural light, and outside there was a flowerbox, where daisies and peonies grew. Nomad stretches, getting untangled from the sunwarmed quilt, and standing. She wore her nightdress, made of cotton. The other thing she had was a long tunic, coloured forest green, and leggings to go with her hunters boots and cloak, for the colder places. She gets dressed and trudges downstairs.
One of the things she loved most about the world were commonhouses. They didn't have them back at Hadthorn, but it seemed everywhere else; commonhouses were like inns, but without the pay. They were run by a group of two or three nice people, usually, and it was wonderful; people from all over stayed in those big houses, and food was even provided. Nomad gratefully smiles as a round woman in a blue dress and white apron hands her a bowl of muesli and oranges. She gratefully eats.
Then it was time to go out.
She had but one ingot, earned through hunting veal for a man who couldn't hunt anymore for his family. She had resolved to save it for a food emergency, but she had the ingot for a year. She decided to buy herself something. Something small, but nice.
She strolled slowly down the market, enjoying the muffled and colourful feel of it. Above her was a silk almost tent-ish roof, and on either sides tables and buildings. She ambled, taking in the sights and trying to decide where to start.
A girl with brown hair and hetochromic purple eyes barreled into her, abrubtly. "Oh, Gods, I am so sorry!" The girl stands up with the help of (Nomad's breath catches in her throat) a tall iron golem, and then helps Nomad up. "You're new here," She notes. Nomad nods. "Traveler." "Aha. If you need a tour, let me know; I know this place inside out. There's not many people, you'll find me." The girl grins. "Well, sorry again, and bye!" She scampers off, golem following her. That was interesting, Nomad thinks to herself, and continues to walk.
She had been walking for a while when the entered Ouroborous Jewels. The bell above the door rings. Something falls down in the back room, and a woman's voice calls, "Fortuna, can you get that?" "Yup!" A familiar voice. The girl from before rushes downstairs, almost missing the last step. "Oh, fancy seeing you here!" Nomad grins. "Yup. I really just wanna look around. Oh, and I'm Nomad, by the way." "I'm Fortuna. Anything I could show you?" Nomad trails her fingers on the glass, "Hmm, I really like opal." "Oh, opal is over here." Fortuna bustles over to one area, showing some beautiful pieces of opal jewelry; including a truly beautiful ring. "Can I hold that?" "Oh, of course!" Fortuna takes off her earring, putting it into a small metal circle-indent on the front of the case, and a sliding door pops open. She takes out the ring. "Here you go. My mother made this one. I don't work with opals.  Gold, here, see, with the opal here." Nomad's breath was takedn out of her lungs. It was truly beautiful, and Nomad felt herself sliding down the slippery slope of wanting to get it. "How much?" Fortuna checks a price tag. "Looks like it's eight coins." "That's amazing! You guys certainly sell your work short." Fortuna smiles. "Ah, well, we love what we do." "I can see." The room was almost wall-to-wall shelves, full of beautiful pieces. Should I get it? I mean, I haven't gotten myself anything in so long. Like, forever. I don't even wear jewelery...but I love it so much....ah, what the heck? "I'll take it." Fortuna smiles. "Alright, come over here." She leads Nomad over to a cash register, pressing a button so a drawer pops out. Nomad takes the ingot out before she could change her mind. She slips the ring on. "A perfect fit." Fortuna grins. "Hey, want me to show you around the market? I could introduce you to some people I know." Nomad felt a pang. "I....I'm a traveler, though. I was planning on leaving tomorrow..." Fortuna looked a little dissapointed. "Oh. But I can show you around anyway, right?" Nomad grins. "Yup!"

After a day of awesome and fun, Nomad fell asleep in her clothes, ring still on.

She decided to leave in the morning. Her heart became heavy as soon as she saw the ring, and thought about her new friend. But she remembered her rule-never go to the same place twice. Don't get attached.
She decided to take the main road out, something she had never done. She walks out, slowly, as opposed to the usual excitement for where she would end up next. Nomad was sad to leave, but she didn't admit it to herself.
After about thirty minutes of walking, something changed. Nomad sat down for a break, drinking from her canteen, and heard feet crunching on gravel, accompanied by...iron clangs? Hopeful, she stands up. Sure enough, Fortuna was barreling down the path, and Nomad watches as she trips, sails in the air for awhile, and lands in the gravel. "JEEZ! The things I do for things I want! Nomad, please stay. I've never had a friend before." "Dang, you worded that so that I can't even say no, can I?" Fortuna's face falls. "Were you going to?" "Of course not!" "THANK THE GODS!"
The friends hug.

Saturday, 7 February 2015

The Curse of the Dagger (day 6)

The Curse of the Dagger
Beatrix liked weapons. Though the law that girls and women could become knights and guards had not passed yet, she still liked them. She had a vast collection, hung on walls, in chests, some in velvet-lined boxes and glass cases, some she polished every day. She had armor, too, carved and intricate, hung on a stand. She passed her time working in a local tavern, serving up mugs of ale and oversalted food, waiting for the news-yellers to yell that she could apply.
It was a day like that, serving the late shift at the Scroll and Scripture, when the merchant approached her. She checked her pocketwatch, still with an hour to go. He was seedy, tall and thin, wearing a bowler hat and a long black coat. He angled his head just so that she couldn't see his eyes. "Are you Beatrix Greene?" Beatrix nods. "Yeah. Who are you?" He laughs. "Oh, that's not important. I hear y'like weapons, eh?" Beatrix focused, then. "Yes, I do. Biggest collection second to the Army barracks." He grinned. She still couldn't see his eyes. "I have a remarkable offer for you on a rare dagger. Only one in the world 'n I got a great price." Beatrix nodded. "Go on." "I was thinkin' we'd set up a meet. Y'like?" Beatrix nodded, again. "I'd be good with that. When and where?" "Tomorrow mornin', around nine. Outside the Library. Meet you there." And then he was gone. Beatrix smiled to herself, and the next hour flew by.
The next morning, she briskly walked down the road leading to the Library. It was a big brick-and-birch building, and at the center of a small garden, full of oak trees and tulips. He was waiting by the door, with a small narrow chest in hand. She walked up to him. And she still couldn't see his eyes. "Glad you came. Alright, wanna see it?" Beatrix nods, eager. He clicked the latch of the box, and it pops open, revealing the most beautiful dagger of all. Its blade was a deep gray metal, probably iron, and had a beautiful ornately carved lapis lazuli and jet hilt. It was truly beautiful, and in the carvings Beatrix could spot a dove, a lion, a warhorse, and so much more. "Can I pick it up?" "Be my guest," She picked it up, gingerly, and studied the blade. Something was carved into the edge. "Hey, what do these carvings say?" "Oh, something in a dead language, I had it checked. Nobody knows it anymore." He hurriedly-almost too hurriedly-answered. She turned it around. "I love it. What's the price?" He grinned. "An' here's where y'think I'm crazy-I'll give it to you for free." "Not that I'm complaining, but this is an amazing dagger. why are you giving it away, like that?" She snapped her fingers. "I have my reasons. Take it or leave it?" "Well of course I'll take it!" "YESSS!" He throws away his bowler hat, revealing his eyes-all yellow. The yellow started to melt away, however, receding into his pupil until there was none left. He had plain brown eyes.
With that, he runs away.
Beatrix thought about running after him to ask what was going on, but she rethought it. Obviously he didn't want it, and now she had the most beautiful dagger of all.
She walked home happily, glossy hardwood chest in hand. When she arrived, she immediately decided where to put it; in the glass case, box open, but safe. She polished it with a cloth, and places it in. And though her reflection stared back at her in the glass, she failed to notice that her pupils were a little bit yellow.
The next day, a Sunday, Beatrix trudges downstairs, yawning and rubbing her eyes. She looked st the case, and gasps.
The dagger was out, lying on the glass of the case. The light of the oil lamp glistened on the blade, catching the inscriptions again. Wondering how it got there, Beatrix walks over, picking it up gently, and holding it to the light.
The crazy merchant had lied. It was in perfect English. The script was small, but with her spectacles, Beatrix could read it.

"All who hold this cursed blade
Anything. they would trade
For into insanity they slowly sink
And with yellowed eyes, they blink"

Beatrix gasped, placing the dagger on the case again quickly, backing away. "What have I done?" She whispered, nervous.
There was only one thing to do. Resell the dagger.
She downed a mug of tea to help her think, and got dressed, into a tunic and leggings, with a purple cloak. What would be open on a Sunday that would buy a dagger from her? There was the museum. Maybe they would value the dagger. There were scholars. She could donate it to the barracks.
She finally decided on scholars. After all, the House of the Arcane Lord was always looking for more things to study. She placed the dagger carefully into the chest, and exited the house. She decided to take her horse, Bunny, as the walk was long and she wanted to get rid of it-quick. Bunny seemed to sense something was amiss so she went at a brisk pace, snorting nervously at the other horses.
Beatrix took deep breaths; trying to calm herself and utterly failing. She ties up Bunny outside the House of the Arcane Lord, shaking.
The oak door was heavy. She leaned against it with all her weight and stumbled in, drawing an angry glare from many writing scribes and studying scholars.
The room was huge, and domed, with constellations painted on the roof. The walls were covered with bookshelves, which created a paperish smell. There were lapis and gold accents.
She walked up to the vast shiny desk, nervous. "Um, excuse me?" She raked her fingers through her hair nervously. The scholar behind the desk looked up from her papers, and smiled. "How may I help you, miss?" "Well, I, uh, was wondering if I could sell you this dagger. It looks old and it's made of iron and lapis and jet." The scholar got up from the desk, unlocked the latch and came out. She picked up the beautiful blade, "This is truly amazing. Just thinking about its untold much are you asking?" Beatrix hadn't thought of that. "Uh...I'm not much do you think it would go for on the mainstream market?" "Oh, easily an emerald." Beatrix was stunned. "Oh, uh, alright. I'll sell it to you for three ingots." "Let me get the Chief Scholar." The woman walked off quickly, into a back room, and after a minute she came back out with a short man following her. He seemed nice enough. "Let me see the object of talk," He said, and gasped. "Oh. Oh my, this is truly fantastical." He turned it over in his hand. "And your price?" Suddenly, something happened to Beatrix-something strange. Something came over her; she realized that no, she wanted the dagger, she needed it. She slowly reached out and took it, placing it back in the purple velvet of the box. "Actually, I'm sorry, I think I'm not ready to sell this just yet. I'm sorry." Not waiting for them to answer, she runs back outside, and jumps onto Bunny.
It was only after a couple minutes that she realized what she'd done. "NO! I need to get rid of this thing!" She rode along, raking her fingers through her hair again. She pulled a small mirror out of her pocket. The entirety of her iris and pupil was now yellow. What to do?

Later, she had a plan.

The box was bound with chains, and tied to a rock. She rode Bunny down the beach, hope inside of her.
She climbed up a rock to higher ground, heavy box in hands. "Here goes." She lobbed it off the side into the ocean, and pulled out her mirror. Sure enough, her eyes were no longer yellow.
April and Clove walk down the beach, laughing and talking and being friends. The tide rolls in, and with it comes a rusted bundle of chains. "What's this?" Clove says, running up to it and picking it up. "Oof, heavy." "Over here," April calls, patting a flat rock, and Clove places it down. With a simple spell the rusty chains were off, revealing a weathered wooden box, sealed. April undoes the latch. "Oh, cool!" She picks up the dagger and the two friends pass it back and forth, talking and wondering.

And not noticing that April's pupils turned yellow.

Friday, 6 February 2015

The Sycamore Tree (day 5)

The Sycamore Tree
Cloverberry Manor is probably the highest esteemed place in this town, maybe even all of Bryder. For one, it's where the Royal Parliament meets. All our continent's decisions are made there. Also, Gnorme of Thornewood, built and currently lives in it. Gnorme is an ancient descendant of the gods, Jedikiah Brine's second, the most powerful sorcerer (he taught Queen Redbird everything she knows) in the world...the list goes on. And as a result people flock to Cloverberry Manor.
For one large reason besides Gnorme-the giant sycamore tree outside.
It truly is a beautiful tree. The trunk is twisted, there are tons of branches. Historians and scholars and everyone in between agree that it has probably been standing for over five hundred years. The splendor of Gnorme's architecture is almost completely hidden by the tree.
Thankfully, Gnorme is kind and  considerate. People flock to the small garden around the tree. I myself spend hours on end there, studying. Children climb in the trees welcoming branches. Everything is perfect, and there, it's as if time has stopped.
I sit there, on a park bench, legs crossed. It's Saturday afternoon, and people all around are happy. Couples walk hand-in-hand, parents smile at their children up in the trees boughs, people have picnics, scholars study. A butterfly flies lazily by, and birds sing. The sun comes down. Life is peaceful.
At least, for now. I have an inexplicable feeling that something's going to change.
I have my journal open, quill and ink in hand, writing my latest article. I'm a scholar, see, and until I get my certificate, I'm stuck writing articles to prove my worth and intelligence. I work part-time at the library, as well, to pay my rent.
I'm a scholar of the fundamentals of magic. I don't practice much magic-past the simple levitation spell if I'm carrying to many books-but it interests me. I like to learn, especially about all the different kinds of it; spells, enchantments, charms, curses, the elusive and hard-to-master Ender never ends. And I like it that way. Right now I'm penning an article on what Dark magic does to your brain, over extensive use; one of my favorite subjects. What magic does to people. It's intriguing.
I take a break from my furious cursive, looking up at the tree. In the noonday sun the sycamore is looming, creating shade for the people who don't like sun. I stay in the middle, where I could lean forwards and be in shade, but I lean back into the warmth. Even in the perpetual winter we have here it was a pleasant temperature, not requiring a cloak, more in the long-sleeved-tunic-and-leggings range. I wear the scholar's red and gold, which gets strange looks from people. Scholars aren't appreciated as much as we should be. But when I get my certificate, I'm going to change that.
I go back to my writing, and the next time I look up, it's evening. I sign off on my paper, finished for the day.
Thankfully the local tavern has reasonably priced delicious food. I drop a few coins on a good mutton stew and fresh bread, along with a mug of tea, and I wolf it down.
I drop my bag off in my small house, then decide to go back to the garden. After all, the sun is set, and there wouldn't be many people there. I could read my tomes in peace.
Books in hand, I stroll there, enjoying the crisp air. The sycamore's leaves are a nice shade of green. There are simple everburning lamps around. Surprisingly, there are no people except me, and so I make a decision-I'm going to climb it. After all, the aerial view of the city at night will be amazing, and it'll be clear and fresh air, and completely silent, to read. I cast a simple levitation spell on the books so that they trail after me as I climb, getting sap on my hands, and not caring.
Of course I won't make it to the top. The thing is miles high. But I get up pretty far, yet the core trunk is still thick.
I sit on a branch, keeping my books levitated. But instead of breathing, I look out, and my breath is immediately whisked out of me.
The view is perfect. Absolutely perfect. I can see everything, for miles around; absolutely everything. People walking about, people switching lights off in their homes, Trees and ponds and gardens, the whole bit. I smile.
Then I stop, because behind me is a voice.
It sounded human, like a very, very old man. "Hello," Was simply all it said. I frantically look around, for the source of the word. It chuckles. "Do not fear me. I am here to bear a prophecy." "W-who are you?" It chuckles, yet again. "I am the sycamore tree. The Ancient One." I search in my memory for something about a tree called the Ancient One. A legend, from a while ago, of an ancient sycamore tree. I understand now. "Oh. But I'm not worthy of a prophecy." "Everyone thinks that, but after all, everyone is worthy. Everyone is the main character in their own lives." It pauses.  "Listen to me. You take the next train West. You find the old woman Vera in Modwell Grove. Ask her for an Onyx stone in the shape of a dove. You are destined to make peace between two warring countries in Helenia, so you will have to find your way there." "But how do I do that? I'm just a scholar! And I don't understand! What do I do with the dove?" "You will know. You can do it." "But-" "That is all I can tell you. I am sorry. Fulfill your destiny." And then it felt like something was gone, a presence. I suppose the Ancient One decided to go back to where he was. Probably sleeping.
I practically fall down the tree I climb so fast. My levitated books can hardly keep up. I run back home, too, to think. I only get about three hours sleep.
But in the morning, I buy the first train ticket heading West.

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Veronica Wells Automaton Emporium (day 4)

Veronica Wells Automaton Emporium 
For Veronica, business was booming. It was the Christmas season, and people would be storming around everywhere trying to find the elusive "perfect gift". And Veronica Well's Automaton Emporium was a good supplier of those.
She learned the family trade early. At about six years old she showed an interest, and her mother and older brother gave her lessons, and soon she had her own army of tiny automatons. She inherited the shop by consensus of the family on her 21st birthday, and even now, she loved her work.
The shop had an orange-ish aura. It was made of dark wood, with wonderful ornate accents of acacia wood. There were stained glass windows making whimsical pictures, and lots of shelves, where automatons waited. They moved about, demonstrating their skills, and larger ones moved around she shop, greeting people. The shops counter was smooth and shiny, and the register was made all of copper. People lined up, automatons in hand, coin pouches ready.
Veronica smiles warmly at a new customer, a tan woman with choppy blonde hair. "Hello, mahm. Was everything satisfactory for you today?" "Yes, of course. What you do here is certainly amazing. My daughter will love it." Veronica pulls a lever on the register, opening a drawer with coins and ingots laid out in it. "Family business. Let me see what you have there..." she takes the automaton from the customer's hand. "Aha. Made this a couple days ago." A small automaton insect, geared-and enchanted-to be completely passive and act as a pet. "Ah. How does it work?" Veronica flips the thing over. "Okay, so, these are enchanted to focus its affections onto one master-so your daughter. She has to hold it in her hand and press the button, here, on it's head. Its eyes will light up for a second, and then boom-she's its owner. It can go into sleep mode on its own, but if you want it to go into a little shut down-well, just flip this switch, here." She pokes at a tiny bronze switch. She places the automaton back on the counter. "That'll be 6 gold coins, please. Would you like a small box for it?" "Yes, please." Veronica pulls a tiny replica of a steamer trunk, opening it, and carefully placing the automaton in the box. It trills, and whirs. "Thank you for coming here." She smiles at the customer, who smiles back. "Thank you, so much!" The customer pulls open the door, and walks out, smiling. "Next," Veronica calls.
After a day of work, she serves the last customer and wearily sighs. "At least it's Friday." She flips the "Open!" Sign to "Closed! Sorry!", turns off the automatons, and marches upstairs, into her living quarters.
She passes through her study, gears and unfinished projects mingling with pages of sketch paper. She enters her bedroom, flopping down on the bed, not even bothering to change.
But her bliss was interrupted. A loud tok-tok-tok sound came from her study, causing her to snap back to reality. She glances at the grandfather clock.
"One AM? Now? Why now?" She sighs and gets out of bed.
On her desk sat her latest development, a human-like automaton with an enchanted free-will gear. She was going to market it as a babysitting automaton. Every night, in between midnight and dawn, it started to tick like this. But the worst part was that Veronica couldn't figure out why. She sits down, moving the thing onto her main workspace. It seemed to stare right into her with its empty eye sockets, waiting for the glass eye delivery to arrive. She sighs. "Alright, little bot, why are you doing this?" She mutters to herself, and it, as she uses a screwdriver to open the panel of its back. She fiddles with the gears a bit, which used to always stop the annoying sound. But tonight, it did not. She even tries moving one of the key enchanted gears to a whole different place, but that did nothing. She groans. "Gods, why tonight? I am so tired." She closes up the back panel and opens up the one on the head.
Still nothing.
She fiddles for an hour, finally exhausted enough to give up. But then, something happens.

The automaton stands up.

Veronica jumps out of her chair, backing away. Its head moves around, taking in its surroundings. She felt around with her hands for something to use as a weapon, not taking her eyes off of the thing.
It's head turns, facing her.
Her hand rests on a heavy golden candlestick. She should have known better then to grant it one extra intelligence gear and free will. It opens its jaw, unfinished voice box warping its words. "You keep us still. You sell us for profit. We are going to fight back." Suddenly she hears a powering-up sound, and things start moving in the shop part of the house. She somehow knew what it did-it called its friends. All her automatons were awake now. She grabs hold of the candlestick, tightly, in both hand and starts to run, down the stairs. But two of her biggest automatons guarded the door out. Even the smallest of robots seemed more malicious now, now that the lights were off, and now that she was scared of them.
The automaton from upstairs rustily climbs down the stairs. It successfully lands at the bottom, standing there. All of them watched her.
Then, they all took a step towards her, at once.
They stepped forward again.
Veronica wanted to swing the candlestick, to destroy the creatures, anything, but she couldn't. She couldn't bring herself to destroy her work, her very life, her drive and her purpose. She just couldn't. She sobs, dropping down onto her knees, candlestick rolling away from her.
"I'm sorry," were her last words.

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

The Train to Midnight (day 3)

The Train to Midnight
Lily hated trains. She hated everything modern, everything new. Yet there she was. The Seer had told her to take this train.
It was approximately midnight. Everyone else on the train was probably fast asleep. Except for one man, sitting across from her-a professional-looking one, in a suit and a top hat. He had no monocle, but it seemed like it would suit him. Lily studied him with her stormy eyes, under her spectacles, taking care not to call any attention to herself. She liked to study people. She found untold stories interesting, and liked to think up why they looked like they did, why they were in that place, why they were doing the thing that they were doing. His eyes were gazing out the locomotive's window, as if searching for something unreachable, and he looked steely and cold.
She stands up. The only good thing about trains is how vast they are, she thinks to herself; and it was true. She was in one of twenty "commonroom cars", where there were benches and little eating tables. People ate there. She enters another car, one of uncountable compartment cars. Each passenger had their own compartment, with a little bed in the wall, a desk, a bookshelf (stocked, thank goodness), and a small trunk for clothes. Lily didn't unpack her sparse belongings. She kept them in her steamer trunk, the one she found in the attic of the orphanage. It was sage green with copper accents, and it smelled like old books.
Each compartment had their own window. Each window had a view of blurs. Right now they were midnight-coloured blurs. In the morning, it would be green blurs. It was all trees and grass, out here, and it would be until the train arrived at its destination.
She pulls a book off of the bookshelf, a promising fantasy, and exits her compartment. She locks it, a satisfying clunk, and sits back down on the same bench, crossing her legs.
She reads. twisting the chain of her pendant idly. After a few minutes, however, she got the uncomfortable sensation of being watched. She looks up. Sure enough, top-hat man was staring at her. He smiles, slowly; a smile that seemed to say just you wait. 
Lily decides to go to sleep.

She woke at nine o'clock precisely, as usual. She changes out of her nightgown, into a simple pair of leggings and a teal tunic. They would take around the breakfast cart soon. She enters one of the commonroom cars, full of people, making small talk, laughing. She searches for a seat.
Oh, joy.
The only seat left was across from top hat man, who wasn't wearing his top hat anymore. He was bald. She uncomfortably sits down, waiting.
The breakfast cart came around. The usual train food, bread and cheese, and a small bit of smoked fish. At least it came with tea.
Lily picks at the food, finishing the tea, and watches the man proceed to finish everything. She stands up, about to leave, but he takes her wrist.
Suddenly, it's midnight again. Nobody else is there. He gestures for her to sit down. She does so, slowly. His eyes-something was off. They weren't normal eyes, but Lily couldn't quite put her finger on what was wrong. "What do you want?" She asks, surprisingly calm. "Your pendant." Her free hand instinctively goes to her neck, fiddling with the chain. "Why? It's of no value. It isn't even enchanted." She then realizes what was wrong with his eyes-his pupils weren't round; they were like a cats. He grins, digging his fingers even harder into her wrist. "That's where you're wrong." That's where Lily was lying-she knew what her pendant could do. And it was not the first time someone tried to steal it. It was, however, the first time a Netherspawn had tried to. "Give it to me, and I won't kill you and everyone else on this train." "Don't threaten me." "Try to stop me." "Believe me, I will." She wrenches her wrist out of its grip, standing up and backing away. It chuckles. "You don't know what it can do. You can't escape me." It starts to walk towards her, hissing. Lily calmly undoes the chain. "See, that's where you're wrong." The stone in the center of the pendant starts to glow blue. "Liar!" It screams, stopping short and starting to back away. Blue runes composed of light start to spill out, concentrating on the demon.
It screams, before disintegrating. 
"That's what you get for trying to mess with the guardian of the temple to the First," She says, before snapping her fingers. People reappear, and it is daytime again.

(KIND OF EXPLANATION THINGY: I wanted to base one of the stories on one of the characters in my main project, The Silver Dragon. The First is the father figure of the gods, basically the Zeus of the religion in this universe. He spawned out of nothing and created everything, basically. And Lily guards his temple/is his squire. Yeah. It's weird. But I really wanted to write this as a story. Sorry if it mega sucks.)

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

I Come From The Lake (day 2)

I Come From The Lake
I walked along a path, a path of pebbles, the path to the lake. Lake of Marie, where I loved to fish, and swim. There are all manners of creatures in the lake, fish and otherwise. Some magical, some not. Some aggressive, some not. It depends. They all look different, too-some are big and scaly while others resemble jelly flobbering around in the water.
But I don't go there anymore.
The interesting thing about Lake of Marie was that all around its beach is a band of oak trees, created by something unknown, according to the history books. I'd always loved the Trees, they would always get me excited, for the day. But something was different, that day, something that I couldn't see; but I could tell something was going to happen.
My fishing pole was in my hand, as I passed through the Trees. Attached to my belt was a small bucket, full of bugs and worms and such, for bait. I was ready for a day of fishing.
I broke through the Trees, onto the sand of the beach. But I was right. Something was different. There was someone else there. See, most people don't visit the Lake because of the ghost stories. Fortunately, then, I didn't believe in them.
As I was saying, someone else was there. She was young, only about six or seven years old. And pale. She was very pale. She had long blonde hair, almost past her waist, and it was tangled. I looked for a parent, anybody, but there was nobody. "Hello, there, little girl? Where are your parents?" I foolishly called, Walking down the beach, towards her. I felt a concern in my heart for this random girl that I only learned later could have been fatal. she could have dragged me down with her. "They're gone," she called back, simply. She wore the normal clothes that village girls wore then, except they were all white. "You shouldn't be here alone. You should go home. They're probably worried sick about you." Her eyes wide, she smiles, an enigma. "I am home." "Where do you come from?" "I come from the lake." I smiled. The little girl was obviously playing some sort of game, I thought. She wasn't. "Watch your back," She said, then ran away, down the beach. I decided not to chase after her, let her have her fun, and I settled down for a day of fishing.
I caught only one interesting thing (besides the usual salmon)-an old, purple boot.
The next day I decided to go back and see if the girl was there again. She was. I smiled. "What's your name, little girl?" "People used to call me Maria," She replies. Her feet were bare, today, and her dress was torn in one area, and smudged with dirt. "But now they run away." I grinned. "I wonder why?" "Because I come from the lake." She sat down, picking up pebbles and throwing them into the lake. I fish, again, and that time something more interesting happened. I felt a tug on my line, something stronger then anything, and it caused me to sprawl on my front. I almost lost my fishing rod. The girl-Maria?-giggles. "He likes you." "Who's he?" "Oh, he doesn't have a name, But he comes from the lake." "Oh." To be honest, she was starting to freak me out with the "I come from the lake" thing. I decided to let it pass.
She stayed with me the entire day.
When the sun started to set, I decided to go home. "I'll be here tomorrow," She said, and stood up. I nodded. We left it at that.
Surprise, surprise, she was there the next day. This time I didn't bring my fishing rod, just a small basket and a blanket to spread out on the sand. I did so, inviting her to sit. I opened the basket. "I got you sweets. Kids seem to like sweets. Do you like them?" She nods, and I hand her a box of them. After a while I noticed she was leaving behind one specific type of sweet, saltwater taffy. "Who don't you like those?" "They aren't like the lake." "Oh." I watched her eat. She ate slowly, enjoying the candy.
After awhile the box was empty, leave the taffies. "Glad you liked them," I said, taking the box back. "I did. Nobody brings me sweets anymore. They all run away." "Why?" "Oh, a little while ago, I drowned. And now I live in the lake." I was taken aback, understandably. She stands up. "I have to go. I have to go home. Back to the lake. It was nice to meet you." I stood up, concerned. "No, don't go! Hey wait! Come back!" I tried to chase after her, but she ran, down the beach, into the water, not stopping to look back, going deeper until her head went under. I scramble, running, getting atop a rock pile for higher ground.
All I could see of her was a smudge of white, her dress and such. She seemed to be deeper than she could have been, running in a dress in the water, and such. She was lying on the bottom. Just lying there. All around her I saw shadows, presumably the fish that get scarier the deeper you go. But the shadows ignored her. I watched, breathless, helpless, for a while and I was about to go home when something caught my eye.
A huge shadow. The size of fifty houses or more. It swam towards her, moving its great head, taking her in its gaping mouth, a tiny white dot compared to its bulk. But instead of devouring her it gently held her there, taking her downstream. I watched the shadow of its tail until it disappeared, into the distance.
Then I realize-the box of sweets. I was nice to her, and that was why she didn't take me down with her. I would have been eaten by that thing. 

Safe to say, I don't fish there anymore.
And now, I believe in ghosts.

Monday, 2 February 2015

The Four Judges (day 1)

The Four Judges
Nobody would look at me, talk to me, acknowledge me, as we rode along in the prisoner's coach. I begged for eye contact, but nobody seemed to know I was there. The bench was uncomfortable and outside the rain poured, making pit-pating sounds on the wooden roof.
I could face my fate now, knowing that I avenged my family.
The four armored guards around me, swords in hand, were steely and cold. I look at each of them in turn. Nothing. They were putting their blinders on, I suppose, so that they wouldn't be "tainted by my evil aura". I thought that their job was to kill anyone who dared do anything wrong, but I thought wrong. In the words of Ratman, the jailer, I would be facing something much, much worse.
The cart stopped, abruptly. They stand up, one beckoning for me to follow suit, and I struggle up, hands chained. One of them took my arm. As if I'd try to escape, now.
We exit the roofed cart, bright light making me wish I could shield my eyes. after a week of underground dungeon darkness, this was a change-a welcome change, or an unwelcome, I couldn't tell. But we marched on, across uneven sage green grass. Their armor made clunks, my boots made no sound. I had been silenced.
We stop next to a short stone tower, no windows. On either side of a heavy-looking door were banners, white, yet misty red, with a black skull.
The trademark of unwelcome justice, if I remembered.
One of the guards held my arm while one of the others unchained my hands. The third one looked me in the face, for the first time. "You will now go through the Judging process. Once you enter there is no turning back until you are finished. The first Judge is the Keeper of the Justice. He shall talk to you for a bit and you will answer honestly. Then, when he is done judging, you climb up the ladder. On either side of another ladder there are two statues, and once you see a sign you may go up, you may. The fourth judge...well, you'll be surprised." He grinned, a dark, intelligent sparkle in his eyes. "Good luck."
Somebody pushed me towards the door, ad I pull it open.
Sitting on a throne was a young man, bearded, and wearing a golden circlet with a scale carved out of bloodstone in the center of it. He smiles, surprisingly jolly. "Well, hello there. Why are you here? You seem nice." I take a breath in. "I killed three people." "Well then, that wasn't nice, was it?" After a few seconds, I realized the question wasn't rhetorical. "It may not have been morally accepted but they killed my family. All of them, except for me." "Interesting, interesting...tell me, why did you think you'd get away with it?" "I didn't." He smiles, something in his eyes that i couldn't decipher. "You are a very interesting case. You may proceed to the Statues." I bow my head, and climb up a ladder.
I didn't expect them to be scary, but they were. Two statues, again carved out of bloodstone; on either side of the ladder up. One of them had a screaming face, agony showing plainly; yet it's eyes were staring straight into mine, almost as if they could see into my very soul. The other showed fear, instead of pain, yet again, the strangely calm and staring eyes. I stood still for a few seconds, until something started.
All around me I heard disbodied, scattered whispers. They echoed around in my brain, and my mind slowly started to think, think about what I had done. I still yet felt no remorse. I heard an echo of the woman's screams, ad I pressed the knife to her cheek. I heard a baby crying. Soon, I was curled up in a ball, hands on my ears, screaming something untranslatable; though I suppose it was "make it stop". Then, it did. All of the sounds melted away, and the eyes of the statues closed, suddenly, making me shudder.
I tentatively stood up, shaking, and climb up the ladder.
I was in a cramped room; but something was different. Above me was a hole in the roof, and wind howled, swirling around. The sky was full of black clouds, foreboding, warning. I look down, and gasp.
All around were mirrors. Mirrors of every shape and size. You could barely see the stone. Everywhere I looked I saw myself, eyes wild, hair mussed. I was thin and waifish, a side effect of imprisonment, I suppose.I spun around, scared, wondering.
Then, in all of my reflections, hands popped from the ground; dead hands, I could tell. I heard the woman's scream again, and it echoed in my head, rattling. "No," I whispered, as the hands grasped my ankles, my shoes. The full weight of what I had done hit me, suddenly, like a rock, and I was sinking, slowly down, into the river.
A rumbly, demonic voice echoes around, as the wind howls. "You are not innocent."
The very last thing I hear is my scream.

So I'm doing this thing

Starting today, every day for one week I will post one short story. This is because I have writer's block that no amount of reading or tea (my usual fixes) can heal, and so I'm forcing myself to write. Here are some tidbits of info for those wanting to know more:
*The lengths will vary.
*I don't usually do sequels to short ones, however...
*...mostly all of the stories will be set in my slightly-based-on-Minecraft fictional universe, so prepare for mentions of things like Queen Redbird Flightwing-Brine (my main gal) and Ender magyk.
*If I like this I may do more. Maybe I'll shoot for every day for a month. Who even knows.
*There will be no art because I SUCK at drawing. You may say "naww you're probably good!" but no. I suck. It's widely accepted. The best I can get is a successful koi fish. And even then, it's lopsided.
*Prepare for NO modern fiction.
*And most of all, hold onto your seats, because I'm about to start writing the first one.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Book lovers unite.

Hey. In celebration of the fact that I have 4 fresh hardcovers in my room that I haven't even opened yet (which makes me happy), I decided to write some of a book lovers greatest pains.
*When you borrow/buy a nice-looking, safe book, and BOOM-"to be continued".
*When you say "oh yeah, I finished the series in like 2 weeks" and people look at you funny. I have my own library card and a hunger for what happens next, lord knows I'll use those.
*I once was talking to my friend about PJO/HoO and our mutual friend came up to us and asked us what we were talking about, we replied books. She said "Oh. I hate reading". People like that.
*People who don't start 9 books at a time.
*People who remove their dust jackets.
*The inflating rate of hardcovers.
*Going to Chapters without money.
*Books are great. Writing them is frustration.
And that, was a fellow book-lover's point of view!

How to make simple (like, really simple) 1-bead crochet bracelets

Hell-ooooooooooooooooooo people of the internet aether! I sat down today and said "well, Gwen, you are going to learn how to make beaded crochet bracelets." And did, because that's how I do. Here's a picture:
So here is how to make them.
Materials:                     Other things needed:                    Abbreviations:
Yarn                             Scissors                                         ch: chain                                
Beads                                                                                 yo: yarn over                                      
A crochet hook

Stepo uno: First, you must pick up a bead (for instructions on how do do this, see human instinct). Then string it onto your yarn. Since I do not have a very big yarn stash, I had to use pony beads with bigger holes, because my yarn is really thick. Whatever works for you. Make a slipknot.

It'sa me, step Twosio: Now, this pattern assumes that you know how much to chain to fit your wrist. This pattern is rude like that. For my 12-year-old wrists it's ch 24. So now I would chain 12. "BUT WAIT, GWEN!" you might say. "WHAT ABOUT THE BEAD?" Slide your bead calmly down your working yarn, I'd say calmly. Not too far, but far enough that when you yo to make your chain, you are yoing (it's a verb now, didn't you hear?) below the bead.

Step Duobus (latin): For your (assuming you ch 24 to make your bracelet. A lot of assuming in this pattern) 13th chain, you will slide the bead down as close to your previous 12 ch as you can. Then when you yo to make your chain, yo above the bead. That should fasten the bead to your bracelet. Now, chain your remaining 12.

第二步: I usually chain another one to make a good knot. Take your hook out of your loop, now enlarge your loop a teeny weeny leeny zeeny beet. (If you prefer to sautee your tiny beets, that's fine too.) Cut your yarn leaving a small tail, feed that tail through your loop, and pull tight, Now tie your ends (the end of the slipknot as well) in a very tight knot. Snip your ends or weave them into your chains, whichever,

Tu as finis. I told you it was simple.
Make a stack in contrasting colours of your outfit so that you are FAB.
Make with shaped beads, like stars and hearts. Use thinner yarn to use smaller beads.
Try a button.
Try a washer/nut.
Make with many beads. I made one once with every single chain having a bead.
Make and give to your friends!
This is a long shot, but if you have a wooden button/flat bead, you can write or draw something on it to make a personalized bracelet.

Remember-anything goes! Make tons of 'em and if you don't like 'em give 'em away! 'Em 'em 'em 'em. I like 'em. Yes, I do.
And that, was Gwen's point of view!