Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Blue Rose - Valentine's Day Gift to All

There was once a young man and this young man loved a young woman very deeply. This young woman was not entirely fond of this young man and like most of her gender at that age wanted, she asked him to show her his love for her.

Now, he did not know what to say. So he asked instead what she would want. Like most women at the time, she sent him along on a quest. She had done this quite a lot to her suitors, which was fine for them as it tended to allow them to see the world, conquer various strange beasts and end up with a bar wench who was quite prettier (and less apt to ask them for more than the typical house and children) than the lady they were trying to woo. After her last suitor failed to bring her a unicorn and the one before that a cloak of starlight, she decided to ask for something she believed a little more attainable.

So, when the young man asked her for what she wanted, she asked for a bouquet of blue roses. When he asked her, “Why not just one?” she replied, “Because one is not enough. Every year for ten years, you must bring me one blue rose. Only after that I will see that you are persistent, loyal and hard-working.” Believing this to be a time for adventure and fun, the young man consented to the deal. Pleased with herself, the young woman went back to her daily activities, which mostly included thinking up impossible things to ask of young men.

The young man planned and packed that night for his journey. His father hinted that he had heard during his own travels that a young woman in the Orient had asked for a blue rose and had even received it. Believing that a good place to start as any, he headed for the Orient.

However when the young man arrived at his destination, he found something relatively different than what he expected. Upon asking a young princess how her husband had gained a blue rose, she told him that he obtained it by being honest, true, valued her love, had been patient and kind. The young man told her that he had to give his young woman a blue rose every year for ten years and to that, the young princess smiled and told him to remain as honest, loving, patient and kind as he was now and his young woman would find what her heart desired. Confused by this strange idiom of wisdom, he felt that he would continue his way west.

As he headed to his destination by train, then by ship, he spoke to an old man with a thick accent. The man spoke of new times and a blue rose. When the young man asked the old man if he knew where the blue rose was, the old man said, “I plucked death from a lake and saved my love.” Unsure of what the old man’s tale meant, he followed the train west.

He found himself lost within the islands of the Mediterranean and there he found a woman. As he had asked many who had helped him along his way, he asked her if she knew of blue roses and their location. To this, the woman said that she had not fashioned any rose of that colour and to end his search for it was in vain. Wistfully as she sewed rose petals together in the form of a small woman, she mentioned that she had heard of poems contrived due west. Perturbed by the woman’s rose petal person, who had sprung to life and danced, he headed as she said, west.

He again took use of ship and yet another train and here he found a man somber and, when people asked him, told them a short fanciful combination of words. The young man question the somber man about blue roses. The somber man answered that those you will search the world all over and people will mock you for your try; the only place to find blue roses is in Death’s embrace.

Not very fond of that answer, the young man felt that he would, instead, dream. He took residence in a meadow in the west, where it was warm and many would often time slumber in such places. He fell asleep the warmth and golden sunlight and peaceful breeze. And there was a young lady. She was his age and she wore a dress. He smiled at her, for that was the polite thing to do. She bent and tended to a bush of flowers. Curious, he bent over her, realizing that that was not an entirely polite thing to do. She asked, “Do you wish for something, sir?” To this he replied, “I wish for a blue rose.”

She looked at him funny then. She asked why. He answered that he needed it to please a lady. She said, “You do not need these things to make a woman happy.” He told her that she wanted it. She replied, “Wants flitter and scamper about; they do not stay the same. To appease desire is to do the impossible.” To this he remained silent for a while.

She asked this time, “What do you dream for?” To this he replied, “I dream for a young lady who dreams for me.”

She said, “You dream for the impossible.”

He asked, “Why?”

She replied, “Young ladies, these days, only dream for things desired, those cloaks of starlight and unicorn fouls and bouquets of blue roses. They do not dream for love but for a show of it.”

This made the young man think again. He seemed puzzled, trying to work things out. He nodded his head and said, “Then what I dream for and what I want, you cannot give me?”

The young lady smiled at this and answered, “I can give you what you dream for, young man. Awake and find yourself a pub.”

To that, he awoke. Not quite remembering what he dreamed about, he headed toward the town for something to eat. There he spied a pub called the Blue Rose. Smiling at the irony, he entered this pub. There it was quite quiet and still, not many travelers wandered into this parts and the pub was not really the rambunctious drunk pub but more of the calm with delicious stew variety.

He ordered what was delicious and as he sat by himself, a young lady entered. The man who ran the place greeted her and she gave him a bouquet of blue roses. The young man exclaimed loudly to this and startled the young lady. She laughed at his surprise and said, “Not many travelers come to these parts, we’re not on the map you see. Who are you?” He told her that he was a young man and that he was searching for a blue rose. She said, “Oh, well, you’ve come to the right place, I s’pose. Here, you can take one. They grow lovely around here, probably the soil.” And she handed him a blue rose.

To this he paused, looking at her. He said, “I have also dreamed of a young lady to take with me.”

To this, she paused, smiling at him in embarrassment. She said, “I have often dreamed of a young man to take me away with him.”

He took her hand, placing the rose on the table and kissed her lightly. She stroked his hair and he closed his eyes. She kissed his forehead. The next day they both traveled from the town which they never found again and with it they brought their love and blue rose.


This is my Valentine's Day gift to you all. It was written to work with my gift to Michael, my boyfriend. Those pictures of his gift shall appear when I actually give it to him.

Monday, February 04, 2008


An old woman wrapped in a shawl, red in colour, was rocking on her porch. She was enjoying the nice warm sun and slept. The woman was most commonly known as Kozani Shapash and while most knew who she was, nobody knew much about her otherwise. The townsfolk had learned that she was never either generous or stingy, but inbetween. She was not friendly and nor was she rude. Shapash, or Shapa as the little ones called her, remained neutral in everything.

That seemed very much impossible, and some of the town philosophers would contemplate this while sipping their coffee in the local shop in the morning. As far as anyone knew, she had never married nor had children. A very rare few people and a pinch more of other folk did actually know the answer to this question; however they would not be apt to discuss it, even if you could get a hold of them.

Now, one day a stranger came into town and the wind blew, as more than often times it does in these situations, and he entered the local coffee shop. He was a medium-sized man wearing a tan mud-splattered, with a few darker stains that gave a hint of long-splattered blood and even some other non-descript stains, trench coat and a dark moss coloured fedora. He was a traveller most certainly and not one of these touristy loudmouths that the town seemed to get too often these days. He was a brand of traveller that was well-welcomed because he would have stories to tell of worth and kept a certain amount of mystery on his person. What the townsfolk did not know that this was a special brand of traveller, one that was even more rare than usual.

The man, his name Thomas Shriver, ordered a small latté and sat down next to the early afternoon philosophers (who normally discussed how much film has fallen his Federico Fellini and how the producers should have left Orson Welles be or how publishers shouldn’t let 15 yr old boys publish their books and that nothing new is left to write). One of the men with a lime green tea mug leaned forward, “But what about this… You, Winston, can write about the mushrooms and Mark, you do the cats. I’ll write about the socks and-”

“-But I want to do the cats. And why are there cats in this anyways? WHAT are we doing?”

“What do you mean? We decided last time that in order for this to feel right, there needed to be cats.”

“But I don’t like cats, you like-”

“Alright, alright! No cats. How about envelopes?”

“Why envelopes? That doesn’t make anymore sense than cats OR socks OR mushrooms. I thought you said we were gonna do something normal.”

“Oh come on! When does writing EVER make sense?”

“So now what? We’re just going to do things that have no thought process then? We’re just going to end up just like those experimental film-makers - explaining the world by not making sense.”

“FINE. If you don’t want to do this book, then we’ll just call the entire group off. I’ll message Kat and Maddy; tell them that we can’t do it.”

“Look, I had to pick up my daughter 15 minutes ago, I’m sorry. I have to leave.”

There was a silence as one of the men stood up. As he left the shop, the one named Mark smiled and shrugged his shoulders. He gave a meek noise, Thomas didn’t catch it and he was fairly certain neither did the remaining man, and left. Thomas looked at the man with the lime green mug. The man with the lime green mug sighed and noticed Thomas staring at him.

“An anthology of stories about kitchen-related objects, I presume? Mushrooms ready to be cut and placed into a stew, an envelope ready to be sent to a sister’s birthday, a cat drifting in for her afternoon meal and socks - things that do not belong in a kitchen but yet they somehow found themselves there anyway?” said Thomas Shriver. The man with the lime green mug gave a puzzled look. He was about to say something, realized another and with an apology, left the shop in a hurry.

Thomas Shriver smiled and drained his cup. He stood and threw his cup away. While exiting, he paused and asked a woman, “Do you know of the old woman named Kozani Shapash?”

“Oh, well… I do not believe I would call her old, however she lives on Oak Road, I think. Dear, where does that woman live?” she said turning to her husband.

“That is fine. I just needed to know the road to travel by, thank you. Ah, and no, stealing the stray hundreds from your dying mother is not justified.” Thomas said and before the woman could recount against what the man said, he left the shop with a jingle of the bells on the door.

He paused at the roadway and breathed in. A car or two passed by. “Oak Road, eh?” he murmured. He stepped into the road, strong deliberate steps. A wind passed around him, unlike that which is normal. It did not, say, pass around a little girl with her balloon and mother or a town-cat that eats on the scraps freely given by various shop owners. As he took his steps, the place he was heading in across the street changed from an old trinkets shop and shoe store and a blackened out building that went out of business to a young tree and a yard and a porch and a house. It was not blip of instantaneous or melting into a thing to another, but more so as though Thomas walked several miles by crossing the street. It was a direct walk, as some say as the crow flies however here it may be more prudent to say ‘as the stork walks’. Thomas was always most fond of this ability, it certainly was less work than wandering the through the mazes that people had built. He had once heard a preacher say that the god’s path was not easily walked and yet all Thomas had to do was step onto a road with a destination in mind and there he was. Then again, he was quite certain that the man was not actually talking about the REAL god-path but some sort of thing some one once made up.

Thomas glanced over to the end of the street and the sign said ‘Oak Road’. Sure enough, he had indeed arrived at the right location. Even the house he stood in front of had an old woman covered in a red blanket. It was all too easy and as some say, too easy means something is wrong. Thomas shrugged at the thought and walked up the porch steps.

“Now I assume that you are under the guise of ‘Kozani Shapash?’” he asked the old woman.

She did not stir, but answer nonetheless, “Ah, I was wondering when my little Norn would come around for me.” Thomas cleared his throat and she opened a lazy eye at him.

“Yes, well I prefer Thomas now. I suppose you may call me at the present, Lee Thomas. I have been known on occasion to be Thomas Shriver. It’s these Americans and the New Ages. They just don’t know the old gods like they used to. A New World, A New Name, eh? My dearest Mati Syra Zemlya?”

“Toh! I always hated that one, Thoth. I prefer the Earthmother or Sun-Mother.”

“Hm. Yes well, now you’re the Sun-Mother. It’s mid-day, isn’t it?”

“You did not come to chat about the Americans and their names or the New World and the End of the Old Ways, did you? Odin, he calls himself Wednesday now, came around and mentioned it to me too. Get on with the business and leave this town be.”

“Yes,” Thoth said. “Well, let’s see here.” He rummaged through his pockets, bringing out a piece of parchment and a stork feather quill. “Crocus All-Mother, the Serpent-Mother to Knossos, the Death Goddess, the Warrior Goddess, the Aphrodisiac in Living Flesh, Earthmother, Kar the Wise, Mother of Athena, The Hound of Hades, One of the Three-Fold Face, Plague-Bringer, Sun-Mother, The Meadow and Lady of the Organs.” He paused for breath. “And you know I never understood that last one?”

“Oh, please do get on with it, Thoth. I do not have all day.”

“Ah, yes. I do suppose that you do not. Have all day that is. Usually my clients are less… ah… knowing of what to come. They tend to keep silent and are not in hurry. I haven’t judged a god for a while, you know. We just don’t die that easily. I suppose I’ll have to get used to it. People judge themselves these days.”

He hurriedly read through the last few lines to catch his place. “I, Thoth, the Judge, shall ah… judge your soul and heart against the Feather of Truth. If your soul and heart weigh more greatly than the Feather of Truth, then you shall be eaten. If the Feather weighs the same, you shall go to the Underworld, which Anubis, the Guide, shall show you.”

“Where is Anubis?” the Crocus All-Mother asked.

“Oh? Well, he is holding up our morgue we’ve put together. Have to make a living, of course. Now, where did I put that scale?” He again rummaged through his pockets, bringing out a normal-sized scale that looked, in the least, a little tired. He place a raggedly feather, again from his pocket, on one side of the scale. “Your heart please, Crocus All-Mother?”

“I haven’t had to take it out for ages, you know. I might have to dig around a bit. Probably in the back somewhere out of the way.” She took off her dress and stabbed her hand into her chest. She grimaced and after a moment of feeling around, she pulled it out. It was still, silent and looked as though it had not been used for a while. “Here you go.”

“Ah, thank you.” He placed it one the other side of the scale. They watched as the heart and Feather bounced from heavy to light and light to heavy. Finally the heart settled on being lighter. Thoth made a grunt and scribbled something down on his parchment ledger.

“Well, you shall be reborn, then. Of course, you ARE a god-being. That’s no surprise. The people will always need something to worship.” Thoth flipped the page. “Now it says here that you shall become Saffron. It’s not too readily worshipped around, so you might not get too high a rank. However you shall be, let’s see, patroness of spice, food, chefs, red dye… Still of crocuses and autumn crocuses, poison too.”

“Thoth, it’s been a good run, hasn’t it? I guess this Old Way is not needed anymore. Good luck in your own travels, Thomas.” Said the dying Crocus All-Mother.

There was a flash. It was not light, it was not dark. It was Change. It was Death and Birth. It was that of a goddess needed no more being reborn into one that was. It was an Old Way disappearing from the Human Lands and a New Way coming into. It smelled of red and was the colour of spice, of cooking and was as light as night and dark as day. It was a flower dying into existence. What was once an old woman with a red-coloured shawl was a young girl in a red-coloured spring dress.

“Hello,” said Thoth to the girl named Saffron.

She smiled back and asked, “Would you like some tea? Maybe some lunch?”

“Ah, no. I must decline. Work to do I am afraid.” Thoth responded and he left.

As he began to cross the street into a place over in California where his old partner Anubis was and his morgue resided, he thought that he might have curry for lunch. He knew a great, and expensive, Indian restaurant that served a special curry with saffron.


This is my newest piece. I was originally going to make it my first manuscript to send out to some fantasy magazine. HOWEVER, a few days later, I've decided the idea is a little too flimsy. It's sort of... based from TWO ideas that formed during the writing of it. One is about an old lady with a red shawl and she IS the Crocus All-Mother, the Lady of Spring and Autumn, of Sun and Moon, Life and Death, who dies and turns into Saffron. The other is about a medium-aged man named Thomas. He is the embodiment of Thoth in the new ages. Shriver comes from schreiben, German from 'to write'. Thoth IS a god of writing. He tells the writer in the coffee shop not the IDEA, for the writer came up with it himself, but more of the connection from dream-stuff to real-world ideas. Lee Thomas is the Judgement side of Thoth. Lee being a name in Korean that means 'judge' or 'plum'.

So instead, I think I'll send in a rewritten story about the Daily Life of Thoth and write one about Saffron for a series of illustrated books on spice.

Satu is a Scandinavian name meaning fable or fairytale.