Jasmine Snippet #106

More Newly-found Notes for The Story of Jasmine Continue:

Although an autumn nip is in the air, she finds the water surprisingly warm. With a delightful sense of abandon, Jasmine swims carelessly about, rejoicing in a freedom she’d never known. She quickly composes herself as she senses another presence. She darts underwater and hides among the reeds. Slowly, she acknowledges the calling of her name.

“It is I.” the voice moans through the reeds.

“Where are you–show yourself.”

“There is little time–and I have so much to say. I no longer have a body–these reeds serve as my mouthpiece. I had hoped to fully reincarnate, but i cannot. There is a great danger for everyone — the witch Melantha is a far greater adversary than the dark prince. Make haste to the north and enlist the aid of the Ice King. Although his heart is cold, he can still be reached. Go to the council of the winds as soon as you acquire a trustworthy escort. I will guide you there. You are now baptized in the holy water of this ancient temple. By the time you leave, you will know where to find new raiment and my staff–use them with pride.”

© 2018 DARLENE

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Jasmine Snippet #105

More Newly-found Notes for The Story of Jasmine Continue:

“Think it over, Thorne. It is the best opportunity we have! The King of UR can no longer help you or your people! Why go back empty-handed when we can appeal to the Ice king in the North?”

“We’ve discussed that before. It is said his heart is as cold as the land he rules. He has no compassion!” The violet-eyed maiden snapped, brushing her dark locks from her brow.

Rogan pleaded, “There is still a chance—but only if we join the Wizard-woman and her protector Glynn. We can only make this journey together.”

Tjhorne smiled impishly, “Alright, I consent. Make the necessary arrangements with this wizard-woman…but first tell me she hasn’t enchanted you…”

© 2018 DARLENE

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Jasmine Snippet #104

The Story of Jasmine snippets continue:

“Yes, it is I,” the reeds rustled a wispy reply, “my spirit waited an age for you to be born. Find my staff in the Ruins and use it with the knowledge I will teach you. This land has so little time—you must learn quickly…”

The wind died and with it, the voice of Enel Rad. The magic had gone.

Jasmine only heard the crackling of dried leaves. Making her way to the Ruins, she no0ticed a stone which had been recently moved. Beyond that stone, in a small alcove lay the powerful staff of the Wizard Enel Rad. As she grasped the magical wand, she felt the strength of an age rush through her. In that moment, she was baptized Jasmine, The White Flower of Deliverance.

And then too, she knew what she must do.

© 2018 DARLENE

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More Snippets!

OMG! I unexpectedly found a bunch more notes for “The Story of Jasmine” in a hanging file folder. . . and they seem to be an alternate version of events.

This would be Snippet #103:

Although an autumn nip was in the air, the young woman found the shallow water by the ruins of an ancient temple inviting. With a delightful sense of abandon, she rejoiced in a freedom she had never known. Sensing another presence, she quickly hid herself among the reeds. Remaining still for a long while, she concentrated on each sound until one became prevalent among the rest. Slowly, she acknowledged the sound as the calling of her name—but not the name her parents gave her.

No longer afraid, she emerged from her hiding place, her nakedness gleaming in the autumn sun. “Jasmine”—her name before she was born—she embraced it with her entire being.

Strengthened by the revelation, Jasmine heard for the first time the raspy voice of the reeds. With reverence and a certain heaviness, Jasmine uttered the name of the great and legendary wizard who had wandered these parts in the days of old.

“Yes, it is I,” the reeds rustled a wispy reply, “my spirit waited an age for you to be born. Find my staff in the Ruins and use it with the knowledge I will teach you. This land has so little time — you must learn quickly…”

© 2018 DARLENE

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Jasmine Snippet #102

These continuing snippets are due to the patronage of a group of lovely people who are helping me make The Story of Jasmine saga complete for publishing.

Jasmine Faction card of Ahearn from the “Jasmine: The Battle for the Mid-Realm” collector card game.

Somewhere off to the right of the trail, sun beams illuminated a small grassy plateau. Rogan and Ahearn noticed some shadows milling slowly within that small meadow-like enclosure and realized they’d located the horses of Bardulf’s hapless, but well-supplied men. Unlike their masters, the horses were very much alive, happily trampling the dewy grasses glistening in the growing light. Rogan and Ahearn quickly took this opportunity to select from among them, the two most suitable beasts and riding equipment for Jasmine and Glynn. When Glynn arrived, he collected whatever might be of use from the saddlebags, packs and containers.

By the time they were prepared to leave, the sun had already replaced the night’s cold, blue-gray mist with a warm, rosy haze, which hung thickly over the grass, turning more golden as the dew began to evaporate.

Rogan and Ahearn expected the women to have shown up already. So, with a horse in tow, they returned to the ruins to collect them. Glynn stayed behind to finish his foraging. After he found a store of tobacco and heavy sacks of wine, he’d decided to take another horse to serve as a pack animal. After loading the second horse, he released the rest of the horses from the make-shift enclosure.

Rogan and Ahearn reached the ruin. Even from a distance, both noticed Thorne’s normally paled cheeks were hot red. Both knew not to utter a word. They already guessed that Thorne was livid with impatience and consternation at having had to keep waiting so long. Finally, they saw Jasmine climbing up and out of the dark. Thorne nearly grabbed Jasmine’s hair but she quickly checked herself and grabbed the large bundle Jasmine handed her instead.

Thorne turned to notice the men brought an extra horse. She signaled to Rogan. Nodding, he quickly dismounted and rushed Jasmine onto the saddle of that horse. With bundle in hand, Thorne leapt onto her own horse. In no time, Jasmine came to be perched, precariously high upon a horse, carrying her wrapped staff. Rogan steadied Jasmine for as long as he could before Thorne, in haste, quickly snatched the reins of Jasmine’s horse, making them lunge forward as Thorne lead them swiftly away.

As the sound of their hooves disappeared into the distance, the wind picked up. Swirls of leaves savagely chased each other in spinning battles. Crows called out a warning. Rogan instantly froze in position to open his senses and became hyper-aware.

Within this deceptively beautiful morning, the nature of the cawing sounds was a dark harbinger of change. All at once, Rogan knew they’d lingered too long. Being on the western loop of the trail, they had completely missed the group striding up the eastern trail. Thorne must have known the danger, she hurried too much not to have known.

Rogan then noticed some not-so-distant flashes of colors and flickering movement, accompanied by the dull thud of hooves upon rock and ground and the uneven hum of conversation. Rogan turned to Ahearn who also heard it, and whispered hoarsely, “Soldiers are nearly upon us. I will buy you some time to escape. Wait for me beyond the first outpost, at Flint Hill! My signal…” Then Rogan made a shrill, bird-like warbling sound. Ahearn nodded an acknowledgment, immediately whirled his horse around, and fled down the trail after Thorne and Jasmine.

Rogan calmly moved his horse out of sight, into the shadows of a thicket at the edge of the ruin. Out of his saddle-pack, he pulled out a simple muslin robe, dyed black. He put it on and belted it at the waist. After he dusted away some of the footprints, he located a small vantage point, nestled himself within it, and waited. If he were to be discovered, he was sure that his attire, along with the story he rehearsed in his head, would be convincing.

© 2018 DARLENE

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Jasmine Snippet 101

I’m filling in the empty parts of Book One of The Story of Jasmine:

Original Story of Jasmine title from 1981

The Group flees White Throne Mountain:

The temple ruins were tucked snugly within the folds of the mountain. The ancient road–now overgrown into a trail–leading to it was shaped like a giant horseshoe. Both sides ran up the mountainside from the main road, both lead equally to and away from a once-glorious Temple, situated at the top point where both trail ends met to become one.

Gazing down from the temple ruins, Glynn pointed out they had arrived using the trail’s eastern entrance – the one closest to Norram. Pointing to the trail in front of them, Glynn recommended they not go back the way they came, “We’d be some twenty miles further west along the main road if we take this side down to the main road instead.”

“And just how do you know this?” Ahearn asked.

“Common knowledge.” Glynn countered, “This place has existed since the beginning of time. We once knew it as ‘Fool’s Hope.’ Like all old places, it is considered to be haunted by the old spirits of people who used to live there. In this case, the spirits of ladies dressed in white… All but the curious know to stay away.”

“Haunted? Ahhh… What? Is that what they meant!?” Rogan said thoughtfully and tried to explain, “I could not understand why the local tavern folk were all snickering about the soldiers who left to spend the night here. In the tavern, the bar keeper had been regaling everyone with his local folk stories and accounts of people who claimed to have seen one or more white-haired ladies dancing near The White Throne. That’s when the soldiers perked up and demanded to know where this place is. Naturally, the bartender explained to the commander that these stories were just very old tales.

Nevertheless, the soldiers were still ordered to leave at once for the landmark. The soldiers were warned, several times not to stay here after nightfall, especially not at the full moon. Then the commander sez, ‘sounds like you don’t want us to go there and that’s reason enough…” When they left, the inn people kept repeating, ‘they was warned about them spirit maidens,’ as, indeed, they were. And now, look at ’em…” Rogan gestured towards the newly formed statues all frozen in different attitudes of terror, “this is now their new story. This is what happens to the disrespectful … being turned to stone because they did not heed a warning. This new tale will put a permanent crown on the old stories. People will really avoid this place!”

“No,” Glynn disagreed, “People would probably flock here to gloat. The Inn Keeper will have a great increase in customers. Has anybody checked if any of the statuary can be moved? Or are they fused to the bedrock?”

Before anyone could check, Thorne interjected loudly, “So, can we p-p-please leave – now!” Everyone agreed, it was indeed time to go. But they were waiting on Jasmine. Before she disappeared, Jasmine told Glynn, she needed to retrieve some woven materials to properly wrap the staff for safe travel. He let her go, bidding her to return promptly, but she had not yet emerged.

The men were antsy to get off the mountain and decided to go on ahead, down the western side of the path. They noticed that this used to be a very fine, well-groomed road. But for the exuberance of nature, long ago the road had shrunk into a trail. Glynn followed the horsemen on foot. The trail was easy to move along, even at the steep downward angle. The wideness of the trail was just one of the many indications, the trail had been recently traveled by many on horseback.

At first, Thorne started after them, then decided to stay behind to carry whatever Jasmine collected. Her tingling senses bade her to leave. She was angry at Glynn. Why did he allow Jasmine to disappear underground and become inaccessible within the temple? Thorne became uneasy whenever she glanced at the frozen positions of the stone men. She stood, stiff and unmoving, like another statue among the stone ones speckling the grounds. She shifted her stance, trying hard not to stare at the last looks of terror etched upon their stony faces. She could only imagine what Rogan and Glynn had gone through, actually witnessing the spectacle. She had never seen Rogan so unnerved. He had heard their cries.

© 2018 DARLENE

It’s been about a month since I last posted–Did you miss the snippets?

These continuing snippets are due to the patronage of a group of lovely people who are helping me make The Story of Jasmine suitable for publishing.

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The Problem with Beauty

I just watched “Bombshell,” on Netflix. It’s about the life of Hedy Lamarr, the actress I always maintained was the most beautiful one of all. It turns out that she possessed a discerning, scientific mind. For instance, during WWII, she invented a communications system that today’s WIFI is based on. But always, her breath-taking beauty got in the way of people taking her intellectual mind seriously.

All sorts of judgments and assumptions are made about people who are good looking. In the cinema, beautiful people are usually depicted as conniving and underhanded. With an air of superiority, they manipulate people to gain advantage. The beautiful woman is often shown gazing fondly at herself in a mirror. While admiring herself as she primps, she plans the details of her next conquest. What kind of role-model is this?

Beauty and intellect are accidents of one’s genes. The same doors that opened because of Hedy Lamarr’s beauty, also imprisoned her in a narrower definition of who she was. But she accepted her beauty and all it brought. In my experience, being fair to look at has not opened any doors. That’s probably because, unlike Hedy, I’ve always been ill-at-ease with being attractive.

My looks seemed always to target me for unwanted aggressive advances, often putting me in danger (boundary and abuse issues). I never flaunted my looks and seldom went out in public alone. I took pains to be nice and unassuming, but insecure girl friends or wives still considered me a threat. Jealousy made them regard me with suspicion and they made me feel unwelcome in their company.

I mostly kept to myself, or huddled underneath the protective arm of a boy friend and later, husband. Professionally, I did not fare much better. As an artist, it’s always challenging to find work, but if I landed a good freelance job, it must have been because I had slept around. Untrue stories questioning my morality cropped up that were very hurtful. The meanness of the gossip really got to me. What had I ever done to deserve the treatment I received in my younger, socially awkward days?

As a consequence, I retreated and spent my life hidden away as an introvert. I covered myself in frumpy, oversized clothes, and wore baggy sweaters. I did not embellish. I used no make-up. I covered my body like I was apologizing for my existence. I totally hid my radiance, my beauty, my light.

Never again do I want to be a victim of lust, jealousy or lies by people who cannot take responsibility for their own feelings, who claim it’s my fault for making them feel whatever they feel. The only time I felt safe enough to dress up, look great, be radiant and dance in public was within the company of my husband.

  *   *   *    *   *

Now it’s 2018. I realize I have never owned my beauty.

Now that age has given me wrinkles and whitening hair, with gravity tugging my less-resilient skin, it’s time I take a look in the mirror to have a peek at the truth. What has my all-natural, tattered jeans, baggy sweater, no-make-up style ever done for me (besides saving me an ton in cosmetic and clothing costs)?

I now perceive, the “all natural” hippie persona I chose to embrace has just been another way of remaining invisible. I’ve been using it as a shield, of playing small, and not owning the spotlight.

To achieve my soul’s purpose, Spirit needs me to actively embrace my totality. I’ve always been quite willing to look at the negative aspects of myself, but beauty… not so much. Now, it’s time to take the next step, even if that step means to jump into the fire.

Jumping into the fire — I suddenly know what that means — to have the courage to face something that truly terrifies me! My fear of being seen makes me camera shy and explains my reluctance to video record myself. (My gosh — people will actually see me…) Video pod-casting is my next hurdle.

To totally embrace my feminine self means to acknowledge my natural beauty and all that entails. That would automatically make it impossible to remain unseen. It’s an odyssey.

“Beauty is an asset, just like physical prowess, charisma, brains or emotional intelligence. The key with any gift is in the way that you use it. It doesn’t define you as a person. Rather, it’s an asset to be used judiciously and with an understanding of how it is just a small part of who you are.” Dale Archer

______________________

As I’m writing, I suddenly realize it’s a little before noon on the summer solstice. Maybe these words have more significance than I thought. Thus, my challenge becomes my gift.

© 2018 DARLENE

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A Message To Me from the Marketing God. 

In my last e-mail newsletter, I introduced the concept of “Spiritual Marketing.” The writing was mostly tongue in cheek, but now I am taking the idea a little more seriously. Let me tell you about a recent visit I had from none other than the Marketing God.

As well as a visual thinker, I’m also a spatial thinker. I’m able to turn images around in my mind and view them from different angles and perspectives. I use this capacity to visualize what a client describes to me and can usually get a close approximate to what is desired (if they are articulate). In addition to seeing different spatial orientations, a time element can get involved for projects more complex than a logo. Those times I have to give considerable thought to visualizing how separate graphic units fit together synergistically and throughout time.

A Spiritual Strategy Session

Just recently, I sat myself down in a quiet spot to mull over some design possibilities on behalf of a new client. In a meditation, I tapped into a huge marketing strategy involving the client, me and our project. It was pretty amazing: a 10-month strategy plan, which involved a brilliant way to re-engage the client’s existing e-list. The answer was to beckon or entice the e-list to become a part of my artistic process. As the project’s artist, I would periodically provide updates on my creative progress.

The plan was fairly brilliant. I wasn’t aware that Spirit knew anything about marketing timelines. My client’s first e-list engagement would involve the use of a survey. The client would solicit the e-list’s opinions about certain matters in an up-coming event (happening in the fall,10 months away) that is somehow related to a project/product, which I am working on (that is timed to be released at the event).

Producing Win-Win-Wins

Using the survey results, the e-list would be given monthly updates on how the art is progressing along. Updates will keep the list’s attention on the subject, generating interest and value. There would be a build-up, so that by the time of the event, people are charged up about acquiring the product. Happy people feel they have had a hand in creating something, or feel more involved in its creation. Everyone is satisfied, a win-win-win for all concerned. Win for e-listers who get the product; Win with client being associated with something positive & creative and finally; a Win for me in that I have work and can increase my presence.

But Gone in an Instant

I mean, I “saw” the whole thing unfold so beautifully in my mind’s eye! This time, I tried my best to explain the plan to my client. Maybe I got into too much detail. I don’t know. This time, I owned the fact that the information was spirit-derived. At other times, when the same spiritual download happened, I kept that fact to myself, thinking it would be best. But just like all the other times, when I divulged the vision, my client gave excuses and scrammed. Poof. Gone.

Amazing, but confounding. What is happening here? What good are these grand revelations if they scare clients away? What are my responsibilities? Do I ever divulge what I see/ feel /experience on their behalf or always keep this inspired information to myself? Or maybe I’m wrong about the entire experience. Maybe it’s simply an idea in my own genius brain, I mistook for a revelation?

Wait a moment – what’s the matter with me? If I was an ad agency, the marketing plan I presented has enormous value and costs gobs of money! Didn’t my client realize it was a tremendous gift that I had bestowed … for free? Is that the problem? I didn’t charge or built up enough anticipation?

Another Possibility

I’ve often wondered if the idea of truly being successful is what actually drives people off. Why do they hesitate? Is it because they already know the status-quo but success seems so elusive and unpredictable…?

Most people prepare themselves for failure. Few people prepare for success. They may think they are prepared, but are they? Just look at how happy the million dollar winners of the lotto end up being in the long run. Most were not emotionally prepared, over indulged their neediness, and faced some hard lessons.

Pretend I’m the Wish-Fulfilling Jewel and that I could grant to you everything you wanted your business to be — in the form of a logo. Could you immediately accept the gift without your shadow interfering and wondering if there is a catch? Used to the status quo, your shadow would most likely put the brakes on. It’s not sure what changes and challenges success may impose. If you don’t know what success looks like, you will not be prepared to plunge into these waters.

The Fear of Success

So… to extrapolate, if the people I interact with are a reflection of myself, and if they are all afraid of success (even thought they’d swear otherwise), that can only mean that I, myself, am not willing to face my own attainment of prosperity.

The message ultimately means I should actively prepare myself to embrace success. That means I need to consciously open a space in my life for success to thrive. That means I have to become the kind of person who can accept success and everything that comes with it, without reserve.

The Spiritual message for me from the non-existent, but all wise Marketing God thus becomes, “Plan for Success” and plan well.

© 2018 DARLENE

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Jasmine Snippet 100?

THANK YOU VERY MUCH for your interest.

The She-Demon of Melantha’s Faction from JASMINE: The Battle for the Mid-Realm collector card game.

People have been waiting and asking for Jasmine Snippet #100. I’m gratified to know that there is enough interest to generate anticipation. How great is that?

I believe we are at the climax of the first book of The Story of Jasmine.

I have halted at the point when Jasmine is being tested by the winds; her comrades captured by cannibals, a faery dragon is wounded, a magician is angered… It would be nice and poetic to be able to wrap that all up in a nice long post for Snippet #100. But there are too many scenes, to accomplish that feat.

This is far from the ending of the Original Jasmine story; it’s merely a stop along Jasmine’s arduous journey North. My notes continue well past this point. But I don’t want to get beyond myself. I think I have a book here and so it behooves me to go back, edit, and fill in the missing details. If I’m moving too much ahead by publishing more snippets beyond Book I, I will not be able to place the needed focus on preparing for publication, the 1st part of The Story of Jasmine.

This is something my Patreon champions are helping me to accomplish. I still intend to be posting more of The Story of Jasmine, but my patrons will get dibs on seeing it first.

If you want to consider becoming a patron to get an inside glimpse of a work in progress, please visit Darlene’s patreon page.

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Jasmine Snippet #99

Four cards from JASMINE: The Battle for the Mid-Realm Collector Card Game.

The Notes for The Story of Jasmine continue:

“My dear,” Sud addressed her, “now that introductions are over, it is time to address a disagreement between the West Wind and myself about your possible use of the faery crown to cheat on our tests…”

“Cheating? Tests? What? You tested me?” Jasmine asked.

Sud answered, “Oh yes, from the moment you arrived on our doorstep… you have been ours to play with…” Sud paused, to address the West Wind, “Ah, Wein, dear, the entertainment value alone grants enormous points!”

“What were these tests?” Jasmine asked.

All four Winds halted their interactions and faced Jasmine. One after another, in rapid succession, they took turns answering her: “Many times, we tested you… We tested your courage to open up and your courage to be vulnerable. We tested your reaction when shown the truth of history. We tested your ability to become lighter than air, and we dared you to think with your heart. Maybe the crown made opening the gateway of ecstasy more accessible…”

Ost interrupted the litany and spoke loudly, “or maybe the difference is her birthright and not the crown at all! You two just don’t want her to succeed. Since you are not in a position to provide her with aid anyway, your opinions in this case really don’t count, do they?”

The West Wind blew, a cold blast of fury at Ost, who quickly pushed himself away. Wein followed. Both took the forms of nasty, fast-moving, funnel-shaped spirals. Right after Wein’s blast of frigid air circled Jasmine, another energetic blast knocked her off her feet, as Noird left to join the windy fray. Out in the dense forest, two mighty winds chased and abutted each other in the form of tornados, wreaking havoc on the local weather and on the land below. In their beds, the people below crouched in fear. They will long remember the terrible winds that visited them on this day.

Sud suspended Jasmine from her fall and pushed her gently back to her feet. “Ost and I believe you have passed all of our tests,” she said, sweetly. “And everyone knows Ost will win. He’s the strongest at the moment. I would guess they are putting on a show for you, my dear.” She mused.

“Why would they do that?” Jasmine asked.

“Don’t you know you are only half mortal?” Sud explained, “Your mother is a well-respected air elemental. You exist because of Erlkyng’s magic. This crown, err-r-r ring, is a curious thing. It easily pulls you into the awesome beauty of the Faery Realm. Right now, you are standing on a portal in a spot between two worlds. But, with that device on your finger, you have your own portal into Faery.”

“Then, when I see stunningly beautiful vistas…”

“You’ve wandered into the Faery Realm.”

“And the voices I heard talking to me?”

“Denizens of Faery. They’ve been very concerned. That’s why they directed you to us. That you listened and made your way here is astounding. I noticed last night that when you visit the Faery Realms, your substance lightened and you easily took on the qualities of an air elemental. You were also able to fly under your own soul power. I was with you but you did not need my help. You did fine, until you left Faery…”

“Things have become so complicated since I left home.”

“Things are much more complicated than you can guess. It’s not your fault, but you have enemies. There are factions that strongly disagreed with Erlkyng’s plotting and tried to prevent it. That’s why you were born in the Crystal Caverns. But the moment your mother left the underground, Aria was abducted and whisked away from the Mid-Realm… Well, all I can say is of all your enemies, the West Wind is one of the worst. Always be on your guard in the afternoons. Try to stay in doors. Wain means you no good.”

“Thank You, I don’t know what to say.”

“As a reward for being worthy, you have earned the right to use this spot, the Meeting Place of the Winds, to go to any place you desire within the Mid-Realm and probably Faery. You might want to use it now…”

© 2018 DARLENE

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