Jasmine Snippet #109

The note for The Story of Jasmine is from a scrap of paper, which mostly had crossed out words:

“What did you do?” Glynn shouted as he touched the stone statuary of the soldiers, which just a moment before had been men.

“It was not my doing!” Jasmine cried, turning pale, “it just happened — it’s the power of this place!”

The red-haired companion of Glynn’s began a hearty laugh, “And we thought she needed help!”

“But I do.” Jasmine replied softly.

© 2018 DARLENE

Note: This is another alternative version of events. The above must be among the first drafts.

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Jasmine Snippet #108

More newly discovered notes from The Story of Jasmine:

As excellent a horseman as he was, Ahearn could not follow the pale princess-maiden, Jasmine. He rode swiftly up the mountain path and sought to overtake her. At the next turn, his steed suddenly reared and threw him.

From the ground, he beheld the sight of a white maiden on a white stallion, luminous against the evening sky. She faced him with burning eyes as she thrust her staff in the air. With an edge to her voice, she spoke, “You sought to trick me — why?”

Only then did he recognize the apparition as Jasmine, more glorious and beautiful than he had seen any woman. “Not to trick you,” he called, dusting himself off and getting to his feet, “to let you understand … that I am your husband—your betrothed—according to a royal decree, signed and sealed by both our fathers, binding the Kingdom of UR to the Kingdom of Elfvenhogg on condition of our marriage! My armies can free your father from his imprisonment … think of it!”

She rested her staff, “Yes, ah yes, the dark half-elves of Elfvenhogg, renowned for their many skills. But you, Prince Ahearn of Elfvenhogg, should know above all others that the princess you seek has long since vanished.”

© 2018 DARLENE

***Note: “Elfvenhogg” is new to me … an alternative name for Dockalfar. But looking up the word “hogg” (related to swine), I think I prefer Dockalfar (meaning: dark elf)

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Jasmine snippet #107

New notes for The Story of Jasmine continue:

To Ahearn’s relief, Jasmine insisted she be alone in her visit to the Ancient Hollow. Her white stallion pranced lightly and safely across an old and delicate stone and wooden structure, a rickety bridge between two mountains.

Ahearn’s steed bounded hard and quick behind her, causing the weakened wood and stone to crumble underneath him. His horse reacted expertly. By the time Ahearn reached the other side, the link between Jasmine and her protectors had fallen in pieces to the bottom of a deep chasm.

Although this maneuver was a marvel to all that witnessed it, Glynn recognized Ahearn’s excellent horsemanship and suspected his purpose was to deliberately separate them. But without concern, Jasmine called to her companions left on the other side, reassuring them that they would be reunited after she completed her visit to the Ancient Hollow.

Jasmine then urged her stallion onward towards her goal.

Ahearn hesitated. The half-elf’s horse was still for a moment, as Ahearn regarded the temper of the companions he left behind. He snickered when he saw Glynn’s livid expression. In an air of victory, he lightly galloped his horse after Jasmine.

© 2018 DARLENE

***Note: This is definitely an alternative version from what I posted earlier, where Jasmine alone escapes an attack and her entire party gets captured, while she, on the next mountain, watches helplessly…

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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

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

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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.

Become a Patron!

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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