Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Bella's Tarot Reading...

Author: Brian Joseph Johns

Since writing Where Art Thou Barris? I'd wanted to bring Bella back in another story. To follow up on her life and progress in the aftermath so to speak. Transylvania has a wonderful mystique and intriguing lore that has been explored numerous times in other works a thousand fold. So I thought I'd bring Bella here to our neck of the woods in a pseudo themed mini-adventure that happens somewhere between A Lady's Prerogative and A Lady's Prerogative II: Wounded Aerth. I hope you enjoy this tale.

Bella's Tarot Reading

"Transylvania?! I was just there!" Mila exclaimed.

"That was months ago. And right when you and Barris needed just a little bit of spice in your lives to make things interesting." Susannia responded, her ghostly form extending from Mila's historical portrait rendering.

She'd painted the piece on a canvas, one of her largest paintings. Six feet wide by nine feet tall. An upper body portrait of two Women who'd innovated the position of Women, progress and the incredible responsibility that lay within the arms of scientists of their day in the early eighteen hundreds. It depicted two well known historical friends. One named Susannia and the other named Margaret. It was as simple as that and anyone eyeing her painting would know perhaps not who they were or their significance, but they'd see it painted in their poise and expression.

She'd kept the painting hidden for three years before meeting Barris and then after their return from L'Arbor De Noire she'd pulled it from her storage and placed it upon the wall. One night a few nights after she'd placed it upon the wall she'd wandered downstairs from her bedroom after an erotic and steamy encounter with Barris for a snack. She'd wandered into the den to find where the painting was centered on the large wall to find a bottle of wine they'd corked earlier in the evening when she noticed a chill in the air. When she turned to return to the kitchen, she was confronted by two ghostly apparitions. She jumped back startled even letting a scream out of her lips which sounded more like a "yip" than anything.

"My dear? That's hardly a scream. If you're going to do it you'll need to do it more like..." Susannia began.

"Wait! You'll go and terrorize the whole orchard. You'll send all those poor fauna and deer sleeping out back running for their lives. You'll wake the dead, you will!" Margaret said responding to Susannia.

"Wake the dead? You're hardly one to scold me about that. I mean look at the ruckus you caused by your silly book. Frank M. Stine was it? Oh it's been so long I can hardly remember." Susannia countered.

"Well you with your silly loom contraption are no better. I mean that thing was pretty much alive if you ask me, though it did not possess the biology one might find on a biped or quadraped. It couldn't even be classified as a ped at all. It was purely an 'it'! Nearly alive or so it would seem though it was made of parts that were n'yer able to breath!" Margaret was quick to parry.

"That depends upon how you'd define breath my dear. A thread or pattern might be a breath equivalent to ours for my loom making device. Would not you consider the characters from your nightmare of a book to be without breath? Ironic considering the context of your story." Susannia countered defending her mechanical craftiness.

"Begging your pardon but who are you?" Mila finally worked up the courage to challenge the two apparitions.

"Oh? She's back. Good. She didn't scream after all." Margaret directed herself to Susannia.

"She's fine. We'd better answer her or she'll have those dastardly ghost and demon hunters here in the drop of a feather." Margaret replied.

"Me first. I'm Susannia of Myrlebone, Earl of Lovelace milady." Susannia curtsied for Mila who bowed for her by instinct.

"I guess that leaves myself. I'm Margaret of Somers Town in London (of course). Wife of my beloved Percy. Oh Percy I do so miss him. Why didn't you add him to the canvas as well?" Margaret introduced herself.

"Or my William? My dear it would have been the first we'd had our tangled grasp upon them for such a long time. Oh how I'd ravish him!" Susannia grinned from ear to ear before batting her eyelashes at Mila innocently.

"You couldn't hope to nearly match what we'd heard from her bedroom only a moment ago!" Margaret put her hands on her hips amazed at Susannia's coyness.

"I have to admit I'm a bit in envy. Just a bit though... It's been soooo long..." Susannia's ghostly cheeks visibly flushed.

"So who are you my dear? You must be the one who etched us to this canvas and wall giving us life anew?" asked Margaret.

"...I'm Mila. Mila Rendebelle." Mila replied.

"The Rendebelle must have been your Father's side because I only see a tiny bit of Rendebelle in you my dear. You look to be a bit more Tokugawa. Perhaps Edo? Or even Usumi?" responded Susannia.

"Usumi? I'd say she appears a bit more Ito!" Margaret glared at Susannia.

"She is who she is!" Susannia stood her ground.

"Thank you! Actually my Father is from Austria. He and my Mother married in Osaka where he met her. She took his name naturally and they had me." Mila responded a little perturbed to have been taken apart so readily by these apparitions.

"You see! I told you that she was Japanian." Susannia held her chin up.

"Japanese! I think you've been tinkering with gears a little too long if you ask me. It does you a bit of good to read a word or two every now and again..." Margaret smirked at her friend and then looked to Mila.

There was a moment's silence before Margaret spoke.

"So is he a graven lord of lustful thoughts? He must be mounds of meat and muscle from the sounds of what I'd heard coming from your bedroom..." Margaret blushed nearly as much as Mila did.

Mila smiled and turned red recalling her ecstasy only moments earlier.

"No. Well... that's... Barris. My love you know. He's special..." Mila replied thinking about him.

"What? You mean he needs tending to? Like the lesser learned maybe? The lesser abled maybe?" Susannia asked.

"Barris? No. He's not special in that way though the disabled are not considered lesser here at all. In fact one of our most learned Scientists is paraplegic. He has limited to no control of his limbs or head muscles yet he's discovered some of the most profound secrets our Universe has held for ages." Mila responded.

"Who? Your Barris?" Margaret seemed amazed.

"No. Not Barris. He hasn't really discovered anything... Though he has discovered many of my most pleasurable zones in a short time... but no. Barris did not discover the secrets of the universe. Unless you'd consider my erogenous zones universal secrets?" Mila said blushing even more.

"Hardly now that you've divulged them so readily." Susannia eyed Mila precariously.

"And you are here for what purpose....?" Mila asked defensively.

Susannia and Margaret looked at each other quizzically.

"We don't know. You painted us." responded Susannia.

"I mean you could have included our Husbands. Our horses. Our estates even. But nooooo. You had to just paint us, our cleavage and perhaps a grotesque smile on our..." Margaret glared at Mila.

"Grotesque?!!! How dare you! Do you know how many weeks it took me to etch the expressions on your faces in that painting?!!!" Mila's fury was apparent in her response.

"What? A week? Maybe two?" Susannia responded folding her arms.

Mila's face held fast.

"Thirty weeks." she replied.

"Thirty?" Margaret confirmed.

"Yes. Twice fifteen. Thrice ten. Hextet five." Susannia smiled glad to have confounded Margaret for the first time in two hundred years.

"That's longer than I mulled over my wedding gown. It's certainly longer than my lust life with Percival. But far less than I spent with quill and ink whilst writing my coup de gras!" Margaret's chin shot up in confidence.

"...and nearly as long as I'd considered the design of the gear I eventually had to hand mill myself... after I'd hand milled the tools to mill the gear in the first place for my loom making device..." Susannia contemplated Mila's dilemma.

"So it appears that we are of like minds. Like obsessions?" Mila asked the ghosts.

"What? Are you saying I'd spend thirty weeks obsessing over the smiles of two Women who died two hundred years prior? For thirty weeks nonetheless?" asked Margaret.

"Likewise?" Susannia confirmed with Mila clearly above the lure.

"No. But Margaret, you'd spend nearly two years writing Frank..." Mila started.

"Yes it was just about that." Margaret replied reminiscing.

"Or that you'd spend nearly your whole life creating the loom making device and working with Charles on the Mind Engine." Mila's shyly smiled as if in the midst of stars.

Susannia blushed.

"Oh it was nothing really. I was so enamored of Charles though. Such a deft and charming Man. We were so entwined in the inner workings of the numerical apparatus. It was a splendid time." Susannia mired over her life's work reminiscing.

"I see her point. Or perhaps better put... paint. Pun intended I do so mean." Margaret thought about it.

"She's of a like mind and way. Why I do believe we've met a like soul? A like mind?" Susannia queried Margaret.

"I'd say because we have." Margaret replied.

"Then I'd say well met." Susannia curtsied once again for Mila as did Margaret.

That was how they met. Ultimately just a month after Mila's encounter with the Power Lord in the warehouse down on the main intersection of Alivale.

"Transylvania?!!!" Mila exclaimed.

"You don't have to go there. That's where your friend was calling us from." Susannia cupped her hands over her mouth as is amplifying herself.

"Summoning I think would be more the word for a Woman of her calling..." Margaret chose her words carefully.

"Bella! You mean Bella. The Gypsy?" Mila asked.

"Yes! Now you're thinking! You remember! She personally requested your presence from a distant place... though she's not in Transylvania." Susannia rested her chin on her hand.

"Well? Where is she?" Mila asked her stomach grumbling.

"Mila? Are you alright honey?" Barris yelled from the top of the stairs.

"Everything's fine sweetie! Just a minute more luvvy lips." Mila replied drawing a quizzical look from Susannia and Margaret.

"Alright. I'll be in bed. I've got your favorite massage oil ready..." Barris tried to sound seductive instead sounding like a poetically literate spokesperson for floorwax.

"Alright honey..." Mila replied seductively.

"Massage oil? What are you doing up there? Can I rent him for a week?" Susannia asked Mila.

"Never! So where is Bella?" Mila responded defensively.

"She's in a place of eternal falling water... a symbol for fertility and the female sensuality of abundance... the distant land of... Niagara Falls!" Margaret clasped her temples as she appeared to channel the knowledge of Bella's location.

[Saturday April 15, 2017 4:01PM Updates and additions proceeding and preceding]

"How...? What is she doing there? I mean when Barris and I last saw her she was just getting set up as a fortune teller in Transylvania." Mila asked very much surprised.

"Well I haven't the slightest as to why she'd have gone to Niagara." replied Susannia playing coy.

"I mean it's only one of the largest tourist attractions in the West not to mention a natural wonder of the world where many couples go to... how would you say? Consumate their relationships?" Margaret continued from where Susannia left off.

"What better place for a Gypsy fortune teller to set up her business than the place where so many people start their lives together?" Susannia posed a wide smile stretched seemingly ear to ear.

"I'm sure it can wait. Can't it? I mean Barris and I were just about to..." Mila was cut off in mid sentence.

"Who are you talking to Mila? Are you on the phone? If it's your Mum, tell her I said hello and send her my love. If it's Shaela, you tell her she needs to get a play toy for that giant cat of hers. On our last adventure her cat purposely tore my clothing right down to my nickers! If it's Sato, don't tell him that the Bonsai tree he gifted us is on its last legs... Hurry up! The massage oil is getting cold..." Barris yelled down from the top of the stairs.

"Alright honey! I'll be up in a minute! Keep it warm for me!" Mila leaned around the corner and yelled up the stairs to Barris.

"Not even married and you can't tell him that you're talking to two ghosts?" Margaret asked Mila crossing her arms.

"Well we haven't ascertained that you are in fact ghosts per se but possibly some residual magic left over from a prior artful incantation I might have accidentally imbued upon the canvas from which you emerged." Mila explained to them.

"Mila, you need to go see Bella! And soon!" Susannia responded her hands now on her hips.

"I said no! I will consider your demands tomorrow after I've enjoyed the rest of my night with Barris. That's final!" Mila replied her tone lacked amusement of any sort as she began towards the stairs.

"You heard the girl. She wants to enjoy her night with Barris." Margaret shrugged her shoulders as if giving in to Mila's demands.

"Then we give her a night with Barris. A night to remember?" Susannia verified with Margaret.

"I mean you can't stop a Lady when she knows what she wants, can you?" Margaret agreed.

"Unless she isn't aware that she doesn't know what she wants..." Susannia countered.

"You sly girl you. I guess that could be. So I suppose that we should do something about it?" Margaret narrowed her eyes at Susannia in disbelief of her craftiness.

"Let's." nodded Susannia.

They both simultaneously waved their hands in front of their faces leaving a trail of watery sparkles resembling a river's run just before the drop into the grand falls themselves.

Mila continued up the stairs momentarily feeling dizzy part of the way up. She felt a tug from within her core and a moment of sickness which quickly subsided. She then continued up the stairs determined to get to the bedroom and spend the rest of the night with Barris. It was when she arrived on the landing that she realized that she was not in her own home anymore. She was somewhere distant in fact had no idea of where she was at all.

She was indoors for certain and there seems to flurry of activity at the bottom of the stairs which had turned into an elaborate spiral with bronze railings and a marble floor landing.

"Where am I?" she asked herself out loud.

"Are you lost Miss? Perhaps I can be of help." asked a man dressed in a bellhop uniform.

"No. I mean yes. Where are we?" Mila asked sounding confused.

"We're on the second floor landing. The restaurant is just over there and the elevators that way. Would you like me to take you somewhere?" he asked politely.

"Thank you but I should be alright. I'm feeling a bit ill and faint. What building are we in?" Mila asked looking spooked.

"We're in the Niagara Grand Hotel. Would you like me to take you to our in house Doctor?" he asked her.

"No thank you. I'll be alright. Thank you again." Mila replied appearing to be in shock.

"Very well. Have a nice evening Miss." the bellhop left her.

"Susannia. Margaret. What have you done?!" she cursed under her breath.


Barris crossed the room towards the bedroom door in his loose fitting boxer style gauchies with the opened bottle of massage oil in hand.

"What is keeping her?! We had this planned all day!" Barris said allowed obviously frustrated and impatient.

Maybe she wanted him to come find her. Perhaps she was more affine to having their little playtime in the living room or den. The kitchen maybe? He grabbed the handle of the door which somehow felt different than the bedroom doorknob with which he'd become accustomed. He pulled the door open yelling ahead of him.

"Mila... I'm going to count to three. When I'm done, I'm going to come down there and find you. When I do, we're going to have our romantic massage oil evening and make love right there on the spot!" Barris yelled trying to sound seductive instead sounding impatient and pragmatic.

He was shocked to find that he was not looking at their upstairs hall but instead what appeared to be the somewhat populated carpeted hallway of a large luxury building. The patrons, many of whom were well dressed stopped to look at Barris in his under shorts. He dropped the massage oil as he realized that he was not in his own home.

"No need for alarm. I'm just looking for my... girlfriend. You see we were just in our own home and... now I'm not there. I'm in this place...? Where ever this place is... Ok. Be calm. I'm going to go back in there, where ever there is. Alright?" Barris assured the patrons who appeared to be just as embarrassed as he was.

He turned to step back through the doorway slipping and upending his feet completely on the floor which was now slippery with massage oil. He landed on his back upon the carpeted floor momentarily winded. A few of the patrons started towards him.

"Are you alright Sir?" one of them asked.

"...Wait... don't come near me..." Barris struggled back to his feet carefully.

He slipped again just barely catching himself before falling.

"It's alright. I'm Ok. Thank you very much. I'll be going. In there." Barris gestured to the door continuing his way back through the door from whence he'd arrived.

Barris closed the door behind him getting a good look at the room. It appeared to be a hotel room from the look of it much like a self contained apartment.

"Hmmmm. Now how did this happen? Why does it always happen when I'm in my undergarments?" Barris asked aloud hoping Mila would walk through the door with an explanation.

He ran for the drawers of the desk looking through it for some hint of where they were. He found a sewing kit with the words: Niagara Falls Star Hotel. He continued looking through drawers until he found the information package, a small folder with a local directory and all of the calling information he'd need to know where he was.

"Well I guess I can rule out another dimension thankfully." Barris looked around the room spying that the television was a modern large screen LCD diplay.

"...and another time." he said thoughtfully.

Barris picked up the phone and dialed zero. A moment later the operator came on the line.

"How can I help you?" she said in a friendly voice.

"Operator, can you dial the following number..." he said giving her the home number of Mila's house in Alivale.

The phone rang for two minutes solid without being picked up.

"I guess she got whisked away too..." he said aloud picking up the phone once again and asking the operator to dial Mila's cellular.

The cellular phone rang for some time from inside their home right beside the land line phone on their night table. Nobody answered and Barris hung up.

"Alright. She doesn't have her phone with her. Now what?" he asked himself.

"Ah Ha!" Barris said in a moment of brilliance.

He ran into the bathroom and found a beautifully clean fluffy white house coat and a pair of fresh packaged slippers. He threw the house coat on and sat on the edge of the tub, unwrapping and putting on the slippers.

"Don't worry my love! I'm coming to rescue you!" Barris said with focus and confidence as he stepped out the hotel room door.

A moment later he was on his back having slipped in the massage oil again.

"...why?" he muttered from his back.


"Because I was on shift at the Sanctum!" Shaela exclaimed to Mila.

"So you mean you ended up here because you were shifted at the Sanctum?" Mila asked Shaela.

"Well whenever your crazy hair-brained situations seem to arise I'm the one usually on shift at the Sanctum. Do you think that I'd be here, at a one armed bandit trying my luck and fortune? You'd more likely find me at a Cat sanctuary than here." Shaela answered.

"Then why are you here?" Mila asked Shaela.

Mila paused for a moment to think about Shaela's explanation. Shaela'd been pacing the high point of the Sanctum when all of the sudden - she was in a Casino.  She'd seen the cat's eyes on the dashboard of the slot machine. She scoffed at them at first. Then the urge to test her luck. The luck of a lady who'd always landed on her feet despite how you'd dropped her. She instinctively pulled as the machines had drawn their customers to do. No fortune had come up but Shaela had broken even. So her Cat luck was certainly present. She'd pulled the arm of the one armed bandit again and again and...

Mila had suddenly arrived snapping her out of the need to do so.

"There's something desperately wrong." Mila had appealed.

"You're right. For me there is. I'm more of a roulette kind of gal." answered Shaela.

"That's not what I meant." Mila responded sharply.

"I thought you'd be a bit more lucky for me at the one armed bandits..." Shaela spoke into her purse.

A miniature version of Shaela's Shadow Cat peeked out of her purse.

"Is that who I think it is?! Why is it so small?" Mila asked Shaela.

"I can summon it either big or small you know." Shaela replied as her shrunken Shadow Cat peeked its head out of her purse.

"How does that compare to its natural habitat?" Mila asked.

"Not very well seeing as there are no naturally occurring purses in the Shadow Plane!" Shaela replied sarcastically.

"This is a little bit bizarre and dream like. I'd never have expected to find you here in reality." Mila said flabber-ghasted.

"Well I never expected to be whisked off from my home through a planar portal to a Casino. At least we were both well clothed." Shaela responded reaching almost automatically for the arm of the one armed bandit.

She hesitated and after a long struggle spoke.

"One more." Shaela said pulling the arm down in one clean yank.

A row of gold bars illuminated the feedback display and coins began erupting happily from the machine.

"Alright Kitty. You've earned your keep." Shaela said planting a kiss on its head.

The mini-Shadow Cat looked to Shaela with its glowing red eyes and let out a somewhat loud and rambunctious meow.

"Now we've got some money. Let's find out where we are and make this situation right." Shaela said to Mila as they both gathered the coinage from the Casino floor.


Barris being an astute but clumsy fellow had eventually gotten to his feet amidst the oil slick before the hotel room door. Humbled by his initial experience leaving the hotel room he'd sat in bed rethinking his plan. There were often many complications in a relationship with a Wytch. He'd known that from the beginning and had embraced it wholeheartedly before he'd fully understood the ramifications. One such detriment at least from his point of view was that during their adventures, he'd often find himself teleported to the middle of nowhere in nothing more than his evening gauchies. He'd contemplated this often and wondered perhaps that the powers that be might actually have a sense of humor. He then would go on to wonder how funny they'd find it if their mutual predicaments were reversed. Assuming of course that such powers in fact did wear gauchies at all. He accepted the fact that was something of which he would likely never be sure. In the end he was more grateful of what he didn't know than he was of what he was sure. Some things in life were just meant to be keep us wondering.

Having returned to the interior of the room he rationalized that he should call home, leave a message should Mila check their messages from where ever she was. On his message he'd given all the tidbits of information he'd learned about his location and that he'd call home again in precisely one half hour. It was at that moment during his contemplation that there was a light but firm knock at the hotel room door.

Barris got off the bed and slipped his feet into the slippers he'd managed from the hotel room bathroom kit. He headed over to the door checking the digital peep hole. It was a bald man with a large and fluffy twisted moustache wearing a jacket and bow tie. His nose covered a good part of the real estate in the middle of his face.

"Hello? Who is it?" Barris yelled from the other side of the door unsure if he was registered as the guest for this room.

"It's the Hotel Concierge. I have an urgent message for a Mister Barris whom is supposed to be occupying this suite at this time." the Concierge spoke in perfect eloquence.

Barris puzzled for a moment evaluating his options. A moment later he opened the door smiling as if nothing were out of place.

"Ahhh. A message. Good. I was expecting this very message. Yes indeed." Barris responded rubbing his hands together greedily.

"Here you go Sir. Please sign here." the Concierge presented Barris with a golden pen.

"Heh... Nice pen. I should hope so at this very expensive place. I mean I paid good money for my room here, yessirree! So the least you could present me with is a good pen for signing urgent messages like this one that I was very much expecting. Good job!" Barris said handing the pen and signed receipt back to the Concierge.

Barris slipped back inside the room before the Concierge could utter another word. Barris looked at the envelope he'd received just as he heard a crash just outside of the hotel room door.

He opened the door and saw the Concierge on the carpet having slipped in the massage oil slick.

"I'm sorry but some buffoon seems have had an oil wreck at my front door here. Let me help you to your feet." Barris held out his hand helping the Concierge to his feet.

"Don't worry Sir. We'll have this cleaned for you right away." the Concierge responded.

"Oh and by the way. You wouldn't happen to have tuxedo rentals here would you? My clothing seems to have not arrived. Probably on another flight. Could I rent a tuxedo of about your size temporarily?" Barris asked pushing his luck.

"Very well Sir. I will charge it to your room." the Concierge replied steadying himself.

"YES!... I mean yes. Alright. Thank you. Good day to you." Barris watched for the Concierge to clear the slick safely before closing the door.

"Aha! My luck seems to have changed considerably!" Barris said checking his face in the bathroom mirror.

"Let's rescue Mila. In style." he said to himself in the mirror as he tore open the message.

Dear Barris,

I knew you would be at the room. You know how? Well thats what I do. I'm a Gypsy. I read palms. Tarot. Tea reading. Psychic Advice. You name it. I had to let you know that you and your friends are in grave danger. You must meet me at my shop on the Niagara Strip at The Gypsy Wayfarer. It is about six blocks north of your hotel. You can't miss the sign. Wait. You could miss the sign. After all let's be honest, this is Niagara Falls. My sign is the only sign without lights but I did try to paint it with glowing paint. Perhaps once we talk we could arrange to have Mila make it look nicer? Talk soon...

Signed your dear friend,

Bella The Gypsy

"What is she doing in Niagara? Wait. What am I doing in Niagara?" Barris said aloud to himself.

He pocketed the room key card and stepped out the door. With his first step he slipped on the wet carpet and fell with a thud onto his rump.


Nelony had awoken early in her posh residence on the west coast. Her daily routine had been pretty much the same since she'd started her schooling at the Sanctum and had continued much the same after her graduation. She'd owned a small flower shop which operated five days a week throughout the year. During the weekends she'd commit her time to her duties at the Sanctum resuming her life as the flower shop lady upon returning.

She turned to spy her bedside clock noting the time to be twelve thirty ante meridiem.

"That's strange. I hardly feel tired and I have to wait six hours to get ready." Nelony thought aloud.

Her pet budgie chirped loudly from its perch in her room.

"And what is your problem Reginald?" she asked the bird.

"Chrrrp. Tweeltl. Twirrrt. Chirp."  Reginald chirped and squawked a few times for her and she nodded back to her little friend.

"Yes. I know. I can feel it too. There's something very strange going on." Nelony replied to the little bird.

"Chaauwp. Twirt?" Reginald asked.

"No. Its not lack of sleep." Nelony replied.

"Teeereewt. Toot. Tooortl?" Reginald side stepped across his perch.

"I'm not hungry. You just asked me that so I'd ask you if you were hungry didn't you?" Nelony asked accusingly.

"Pweep Pwoop." Reginald replied hopping across its perch in the direction from whence it had come.

Nelony looked at the little bird for a moment before breaking down.

"Alright. I'll get you a snack. But just a little." Nelony said finally breaking down.

She stepped out of bed still wearing her favorite flannel pajamas and put her slippers on. Reginald quickly flew to her shoulder where it safely perched as she descended the stairs to the main floor. She went into the cupboard and retrieved a half eaten seed cake, still in its wrapper. She delicately unwrapped it and broke a small piece off for Reginald who accepted it from her fingers.

"Feel better?" Nelony asked Reginald.

"Twup!" Reginald let out a proud chirp.

She pocketed the seed cake and began towards the stairs. As she walked through the doorway between the kitchen and the main floor hall she felt a static tingle from head to toe. An instant later she was no longer in her home but in the midst of a gathering of people. Each of them still as statues.

"I don't think we're in Kansas any more Toto." Nelony said to Reginald on her shoulder.

"Chwip Teert. Twee. Twirp. Chip. Tooort. Weee." Reginald responded.

"I know we don't live in Kansas. It's a figure of speech taken from a movie." Nelony explained the Reginald.

"Twirtwirt weert. Chirt Chip Choort." Reggie said hopping from one leg to the other.

"Alright. Just don't poop on me." Nelony said as Reginald disappeared into the quiet of the shadows for a moment before returning swiftly to her shoulder.

"All better?" she asked Reginald.

"Twup!" Reginald replied happily.

She looked around the dimly lit room at the statue-like figures surrounding her.

"I don't think they're alive." she said examining them each as she passed between them.

"Twirt Iwt. Errt. Chwerp." Reginald said flying to an extruded wall mounted light switch.

"Yes. I'd like to be able to see a little better if you could." Nelony agreed with Reginald's idea.

The little bird pecked at the switch a couple times and the room was suddenly flooded with light.

"I think they're mannequins. Maybe? They certainly look life like." Nelony said to Reginald as the little bird returned to her shoulder.

They both paused when they heard a noise from the other end of the room. Nelony and Reginald looked at one another. Nelony finally proceeded in the direction of the noise.

"Hello? Is anyone there?" she asked aloud approaching the mannequin that appeared to be the source of the sound.

She approached it and looked closely at its face.

"This one looks remarkably like..." Nelony began as she touched its face with her hand.

"That's because it is Sato! I didn't know it was you. When I heard you the first time I just thought it might be safe to hide until I knew more." Sato turned somewhat surprised to see Nelony.

"I take it that means you don't know where we are?" Nelony asked him.

"Maybe we're in a mannequin factory?" Sato said sarcastically.

"They look a little too realistic to be mannequins." Nelony noted.

"Well this is certainly a storage room of some kind." Sato said looking Nelony over.

"It's good to see you're dressed for the occasion." Sato said again with his biting sense of humor.

"Well some of us don't wear pajamas all day you know." Nelony responded defensively.

"I am not wearing pajamas. I am wearing a hakama and gi. There's a big difference. The fact that they are also comfortable for sleeping is just a coincidence." Sato said adjusting his gi.

"Well my pajamas are comfortable for more than just sleeping. Not to mention that its not like I got a notice before I was whisked off to this place. I didn't exactly have time to change." Nelony looked herself over making sure her blouse was buttoned.

"Chweeturp!" Reginald added.

"At least you weren't on the yōkei-ba halfway through your favorite book when you were whisked away..." Sato said retrieving a book of Haiku from his pocket.

"Yōkei-ba?" Nelony confirmed she'd heard Sato correctly.

"Uhhh... How you say? The loo. The latrine. The toilet." Sato said thinking about it carefully.

"I'm sorry to hear. I'm even more glad that I didn't arrive before you." Nelony said somewhat relieved.

"You'd have likely seen a second moon rise if you did." Sato responded pocketing his book.

"On that note lets see if we can't get that door open and find the first one." Nelony said pointing to the door.

to be continued...

I am Brian Joseph Johns and this is A Lady's Prerogative http://talesofthesanctum.blogspot.ca.

Copyright © 2017 Brian Joseph Johns

Friday, February 24, 2017

Short And To The Point: As If Magic Was Enough

This story is a very short story idea I had when I'd decided that there needed to be a short involving Sato, Barris and Feylashar. I like to circulate the characters and give each of them the spotlight from time to time. It was initially going to be very short but I managed to clean it up apply a relevant plot line to any who've been bitten in their life. It's also a bit of something to buy me more research time for Evan And The Ironsides which is likely going to be a very intricate plot line and as historically accurate bar my own interpretations her and there. I'm more concerned with bringing up the right issues at hand more so than defining who are the good guys and who are the bad guys. I think in that story it will explore all sides and very thoroughly.

So I hadn't written anything with Sato that didn't require Barris' presence as is often the case. The two characters play off one another but I thought that Sato deserves his own short story. Hallowed Weave was initially going to be that story, but due to time constraints I kept a lot of ideas from the story in favor of keeping it short. It kept the same goal with this one and it worked out just fine. Initially when I'd started the story on Friday, I'd been nearly intoxicated and it certainly showed. So today (Sunday) I'd just finished designing a 3D version of the exterior of the Sanctum (I'll render it sometime in the next few weeks and share the pics), and decided to clean up what I'd written and get it back on par with other A Lady's Prerogative and The Butterfly Dragon content. It was a nice break from What Different Eyes See for a change.

I hope that you enjoy it and you can probably look forward to a bit more A Lady's Prerogative content in the future.

Brian Joseph Johns

As If Magic Was Enough

Sato fell to the dirt drained and exhausted. He'd done all that he could for those in his care and beyond mere breath and ease of the passage of breath. No more could he have done and he'd fallen exhausted. Fearful he'd failed.

Did I do everything I could have? Everything?

The voice in his head asked and he remained reluctant to answer.

Somewhere in the distance he could hear the sound of taiko drums, their rhythm matching the beating of his own heart.

Barris he thought. Where? He'd left Barris some time ago as much in space, though in the midspace there was no passage of time. Barris body still lay somewhere upon the harsh and timeless ground of the midspace landscape. His final jest still fresh on his face though his assailant had not found it so fancy. Perhaps Barris' final scar upon the face of the living. Humor that none who'd loved him would fail to find a smile or tear within. Done he was and it was so because if Sato had given in, it could be none the more true. It was Sato after all. War veteran and honored Pilot of the Japanese Air Force despite his disagreement with the war. He'd never taken a life and in the end, he'd saved a few, including the life of an American pilot by a simple act of mercy. Was that him? Was that Sato? His life or was he just dreaming it all?

No. He wasn't dreaming. Not this. He used to be an explorer. An adventurer. He'd set up shop in Shepperton, in London England after years of global adventure. Selling the curios he'd accumulated during his years traveling. That was where he met Barris. Poor dead Barris. Dead and gone. Followed the time lords to their realm. John Pertwee perhaps? Tom? The Daleks? Who knew when it was Barris in question. Poe and the telltale heart perhaps? No. He did pass on but how? How long ago in this forsaken timeless pit in the underarm of all being?

Feylashar lay stretched upon the ground her energies spent even for a healer. She'd given it all and when Barris had fallen she'd given her own life. He'd seen her try to rescue his friend. In the end she took a place beside Barris on the cold midspace ground. Cruel it was. Very cruel this life. After all, Sato had lived over seventy years. More than enough he'd thought. Why then did his best friend who was much less than half his age have to die beside the healer that tried to revive him?

Why were they even out here? Jasmer had told them not to go. Or maybe he'd asked them to go? Yirfir too? In the Sanctum... Yes it was the Sanctum. They were in the Sanctum gathering something from the gardens. Something with nectar. Honey. Something important. Feylashar, Barris and he. To the garden to get the nectar.

"Wake up? Wake!! Don't leave me in this place alone!" Sato panicked speaking to himself.

Trying anything he could to keep himself focused. Maybe if he waited a bit?

Time doesn't pass you fool. It's an illusion here. Want to hear a joke?

"Barris? Is that you?" Sato sat up looking around for his fallen friend.

What do you get when you pass go?

Barris' voice seemed to come from the air itself.

"Barris! Don't leave me!" Sato demanded of his best friend.

Are you serious? You don't know that one? The answer is $200 dollars! 

Barris' voice faded.

"That's not Barris! Don't play with me!" Sato cried.

No. That's community chest my friend. Draw a card? Perhaps your luck will change?

Barris laughter echoed through the air.


This time it was Feylashar's voice that pierced the still wind of the midspace.

You heard her! She said nonsense!

"Is that you?" Sato asked allowed recognizing the voice.

Yes it's me. The real me.

Sato recognized the voice. It was his own. He struggled to maintain his composure the sound of taiko drums pounding in his head.

"Then who am I?" asked Sato fending off anxiety.

You're just a memory. You're what's left of an illness we had. You're the panic. Fear. Pain.

"That's not true. I remember things. Of my life! It's my life! Mine!" Sato exlaimed.

No, I'm afraid not. You see, you only think that you're me but you're not. You're only a little piece of me. Like the sting of a sudden sharp pain you can into existence. If you don't believe me then why are you so panicked?

"That's not true. My friends know who I am! Don't they? Barris! Barris! Feylashar! Tell him! Please tell him!" Sato pleaded.

Sato could smell Feylashar's fragrant scent.

I'm afraid he's right. You're just the leftovers from a painful memory. You know? Like when you stub your toe?

Feylashar suggested.

Sato considered what she'd said. Could what she was saying be true? All he could remember was feeling panicked and tense. Everything else seemed imaginary. Like it hadn't to him. What about the rest of his life? It was all a haze to him.

"No. I'm real. I feel real. I am alive. I'm not just a painful memory. I'ved lived." Sato responded jumping to his feet.

No. I'm afraid not. You see we're here to rescue you. The real you. You are not the *real* you. I am. Because of your illness you're taking precedence. Anxiety. Fear. Pain. That's why your friends are gone. You couldn't help them because you can't be anything else but those emotions. That's because you're the effects of the symptoms of an illness. Now I need my body back so I can fix this problem once and for. There might even be time to save Feylashar. Barris too. You wouldn't want them to die just because you can't come to terms with the reality of your situation.

The voice was certainly his and he was debating his own existence with the voice. He could hear the taiko drums and their awkward timing.

"No. I don't want them to die. Really I don't!" Sato said still anxious.

That's good. Then just lay still and let me get rid of you. The more that you struggle, the longer it will be before I can have my body. If you delay it too long they'll both die.

"Why were we out here? In the midspace? Where's the Sanctum?" Sato demanded of himself.

You were in the gardens looking for the nectar. You know the nectar of which I speak. You needed it to cure an illness. Feylashar was going to make a medicine with it to cure that illness. The illness *is* you. You panicked when you thought it was the end for you, and took over my body. Now I want it back so I can save our friends.

His own voice reasoned with him.

You know what he's saying is true. I'm dying right now on the stone ground of the midspace right beside Barris. If you just go to sleep, he can take back his body and save us both.

Feylashar appealed to him.

For a moment the ground shook and shuddered. He braced himself covering his head with his hands.

"What is happening?" Sato screamed desperately holding onto his sanity.

"Don't listen to them Sato! Don't listen to the voices! Believe in us! Don't give in!" Feylashar's voice broke through the rumble of the quake.

"Sato! It's me! Barris! Come back! Don't you leave me here without someone to bicker! Mila wouldn't have it and I certainly won't!" Barris' voice followed Feylashar's.

Don't listen to them. They're just part of your psyche. They're trying to talk you out of giving up your body to me. They'd say anything just so you'd go their way. After all without you they won't exist, while your real friends will die.

"If I wasn't real, then why would I have real friends? Or even memories of them? After all, I came into existence through an illness, right? I'd have no memory of my friends, so I must be myself. I am Sato." Sato said in realization.

No you're not. You're panicking and your friends... My friends are dying. If you don't give me back my body I can't save them. Give me what is rightfully mine!

"It's not yours. It's mine. If I am thinking this right now and arguing with you, then it must be mine. If you are me, then what musical instrument did I learn to play at the age of nine?" Sato asked his voice.

You're wasting valuable time. They'll be dead soon and it will all be on your hands. All of it!

"I asked you a question! Now answer it!" Sato screamed at his voice.

Alright. I learned how to play the taiko drums. Are you satisfied? Now give me back my body.

"You know it's true that I considered learning to play the taiko drums. After all, my childhood friends used to play music together and we did not have anyone to play the taiko drums. I even asked my Father if I could earn the money to buy them. He said no of course, only because we did not have the money for taiko drums but we had a family Shakuhachi. So instead I learned to play the Shakuhachi despite the fact that I'd thought so much about taiko drums. I never learned to play taiko drums at all. So it is you who do not belong. You heard my thoughts about the taiko drums and assumed that was the instrument I'd learned how to play. So it is you that are the imposter!" Sato answered.

It shames me that we must decide this another way. So die you must old man. After all. I need that body more than you do. For myself and my kind.

It suddenly appeared before him, a humanoid without visage. It had no facial features or distinguishing form of its own. It took on the appearance of Sato's body though without the fine details that rounded out his being. Sato suspected as much of the being's martial arts skills.

It swung its limbs at the real Sato, and Sato effortlessly dodged the blows catching the beast's arms and folding them across it's chest. Sato merely stepped forward and the creature fell into submission on the ground of the midspace.

The creature turned over onto its stomach and before Sato's eyes it transformed into a mosquito looking insect about the size of a bird. If flew off and disappeared into the distance.

A moment later Sato awoke. He was on a gurney his chest  bare. He arched forward startled to see Feylashar and Barris hovering over him. His head connected with Barris' and they both grabbed their foreheads in pain.

"Oww! Argh! I know I've been saying that we have to starting putting our heads together but that's taking it a little too literal." Barris said rubbing his swolen forehead.

"You buffoon. What were to doing hovering over my face like that? You know how easily I'm startled when I sleep!" Sato said massaging the top of his tender head still dizzy from the impact.

"It's good to see that you're feeling much better." Feylashar responded upon seeing Sato come to life.

"If this is better, I'm glad I wasn't awake to see how I was unconscious." Sato said sharply still sore.

"I'll accept that as a thank you." Feylashar replied holding a pleasant smile while delivering her sarcasm.

"What happened to me?" Sato asked his eyes still watering.  

"You were tending to the gardens and you were bitten by a Doppleganger Fly. Pretty nasty bite they have. First it renders you unconscious. Then it tries to take over your body and and your life. Then it tries to lure everyone you know near more of its kind so they can do the same them. Most of what you experienced was just in your head. You imagined most of it." Feylashar answered as she poured two cups of tea and handed them to Barris and Sato.

"What's this for?" Barris asked.

"Your head." Feylashar answered them.

"Right. Thank you." Barris said taking a sip.

"So when did we start keeping Doppleganger Flies in the garden and Atrium?" Sato asked.

"We don't. One snuck in when someone left the courtyard door to the Atrium open." Feylashar said as she tidied up the remedies she'd used to cure Sato.

"Imagine that! Someone leaving the courtyard door open like that. The nerve! I'm just glad to have you back my friend. I'll speak to Mila about this incident and ensure that it doesn't happen again." Barris said to Sato shaking his hand before hastily making his way out of the Life Well healing area.

"Well I'm going check the Librum Universalis Codex. Maybe we can find out who did leave it open... Oh and arigatō. I mean thank you. " Sato said putting his tunic on as he headed for the Librum Universalis Codex.


Later that night Barris sat in bed thumbing through a book of William Butler Yeats selected works. Mila lay in bed beside him working on a charcoal sketch in her favorite drawing pad. Mila's attention didn't waver so nearly as much as Barris, who looked from time to time to Mila, without saying anything to her. Finally he spoke.

"Honey. Thanks for clearing up that problem in the Librum Universalis Codex. I mean it was for a special occasion." Barris said to her casually.

Mila remained quiet for a long period and then spoke.

"That's alright. I'm still going to hold you to that back rub tonight. You said..." Mila reponded keeping her emotions hidden as she concentrated on her sketch.

"You don't think anyone could find out. Do you?" Barris asked her still seeming a bit nervous.

"Find out? What? You did a good thing. You just wanted me to erase the Codex entry about you sneaking a present for Sato into the Atrium and gardens through the courtyard door. You just didn't want anyone to see it just in case someone told him and ruined the surprise. I mean you did nothing wrong." Mila stopped sketching and looked at Barris a little skeptically.

Barris feigned innocence and Mila's brows tightened inquisitively.

"Didn't you?" Mila asked Barris.

"How 'bout that massage?" Barris said rolling over onto her nibbling her ear.

"BARRIS!?" Mila asserted herself as Barris poured on the charm.

The End.

.Copyright © 2017 Brian Joseph Johns

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Evan And The Ironsides

This story is actually an excerpt from A Lady's Prerogative II: Wounded Aerth and a new chapter that I've decided to share. The truth is that in the book the chapter does not exist and I've decided to write and share it online. Marketing for the future release of the book if you will and yes much like The Butterfly Dragon II: Dragon Butterfly, it will be released. Eventually.

So who is Evan and what are the Ironsides? Evan is one of the first characters that Shaela Sheowellyn encounters when she after being abducted she finds herself inexplicably in the middle of the wilderness. Evan, an older man with short white hair and a groomed gray moustache arrives to assist Shaela in routing those who would have her hide for the price of a bounty.

It turns out that Evan Edwards is one of the early law men of an emerging colony. Shaela and Evan quickly become friends, Evan knowing her secret life as a Wytch having witnessed the destructive power of her giant Shadow Cat protector. Shaela then separated from her friends Mila, Nelony and Yirfir must overcome a great evil that threatens to eradicate all Wytches. Eventually Shaela and Evan are separated and Evan encounters an embattled Mila, Yirfir, Sato and Barris in a refuge. It is around that time that Mila has time to ask Evan about how he came to be the law man of the colony and he gives her a few details but his story is still vague.

In the book Evan does tell a little bit of his story to Shaela but not much detail is given to his history. I decided that the character who is quite pivotal in the entirety of the story and particularly the outcome that he should have his own back story. So I decided to address this in between writing What Different Eyes See for The Butterfly Dragon.

Keep in mind that this story takes place during the English Civil War and deals with a battle between the forces of the ruling Monarchy and the Parliamentarians in a largely divided and a post Magna Carta England. The story itself does not take sides but instead is about Evan's experience within and how it shaped who he became the only law man of the North American colony, West View. I hope that this story brings a bit of light to the forces of change and so called progress. It certainly not intended as disrespect or disdain for the English Monarchy, so I urge my readers not to assume anything about this story at all in that regard. Give it time and all will become clear.

So if you are interested in finding out who Evan really is, and what the Ironsides are and don't mind getting your boots dirty from horseback then read on. Mostly though, please enjoy.

Brian Joseph Johns

Evan And The Ironsides (First draft)

A chapter from A Lady's Prerogative II: Wounded Aerth

They had stopped for the first time on their hasty trip but only because the horses themselves were parched. Evan's immediate Officer had made the request when he'd noticed that several of the horses had begun wheezing during their breaths. West View still a good twenty hours travel was out of reach within the confines of the remaining daylight and Evan's West View Cavalry had themselves began to long for a rest. The Cree scouts had returned informing Evan that the only signs of travel were of the Cavalry themselves which had made the trip south to the Haven only a day earlier.

Evan made a quick camp and organized the Cavalry to sleep in shifts. Three groups, two would sleep while the other kept a regular watch and foraged for water food for their mounts. Evan planned to stop for six hours at most which would put them back on the road at roughly three thirty in the morning and in West View before nightfall the next day.

Jasmer had remained strangely withdrawn while Mila, Sato and Barris had helped put together a meal for the waking Cavaliers. Evan had been busy setting up guard detail and taking care of the scouts horses which itself was an honor for they would often trust none with their horses. By the time Evan had returned to the fire his body creaked and groaned from ware and tear, but mostly from age. He sighed heavily as he joined Mila, Sato and Barris before the camp fire.

"I presumed that ye'd be catching your night's rest." Evan said as he took a drink of water from his hide canteen.

"We had a lot of rest at the Haven." Mila responded quietly.

"Who could hope to sleep after that battle! I'll be surprised if I ever sleep again!" Barris said still slightly on edge and looking to the shadowy darkness that bordered the fire's light.

"The rest is welcome though I fear for Shaela's safety." Sato said drinking from a cup of herbal tea he'd concocted with the help of the scouts.

"We'd be her death should we show up unable to fend for her. A Cavalry's strength is in it's mounts and an unbroken ride would have crippled them. I am with Shaela in every thought. She's as much a daughter to my Wife and I as she is friend and ally. I've seen many Women in my life and she is none to fall easily. The hunters know this of her and they'll proceed without haste and a measure of care. That will give us the time we need to close ranks with their wretched hive and have done with this madness." Evan took another drink from his canteen.

"You spoke of your time with the Ironsides and the war. Would you care to tell us of yourself?" Mila asked him compassionately wondering if during his time as West View's solitary law man if anyone had ever given him an ear.

He sat thinking. Remembering before he spoke. Mila, Barris and Sato sat listening intently as the camp fire painted their faces with an eerie orange glow.

"Cromwell. He was quite a leader and certainly the fire under the rump of the men who made up the Ironsides, though he was a zealot and brash man. He did not himself fear God but he wanted only men who did. Him and I often conflicted and clashed. Almost as often as we'd taken on the enemy for we saw things very differently. He was at war more so with liberty itself than he was with tyranny. We loathed each other yet held a deep respect for one another. He was the right man to lead the Ironsides but not much more for should he possess the power of rule, he'd rule by terror and fear alone. Perhaps it is that recipe that kept the Ironsides so strong for such a green Company amongst the other veteran Companies of the war. It was a dangerous business to sell the idea publicly of overthrowing the rule a King. I knew this to be the case for from where I hail and the daily coinage I'd pocket, I am fortunate enough to be able to read and write. It is far a sight of the mind to understand by keeping abreast of one's history after all. Being able to read brings with it a great responsibility. Dire it is. Sometimes I'd curse the day that I as a young man became curious seeking out a scribe and tutor for it forced me to withdraw the shackles of my ignorance. From that moment that I could read I could no longer plead ignorance when I chose to give a blind eye to the issues of the day. At that time I kept a stable and was a skilled instructor in both riding and mounted combat. That is precisely why he arrived 'pon my door and step that day. I had been riding as I recall. A horseman's lance in one hand and a shield and coat of arms in the other." Evan began to recall the events in the preceding decade that had brought him to be in West View.

Evan rode pushing his war mount hard and furiously towards the target. Steam could be seen erupting from the nostrils of his steed as if it's innards boiled. Evan's arm held firm the lance as he leaned forward readying himself to brace for impact. His left arm held fast to a medium horseman's shield it's weight tiring him slowly as he bounced in rhythm of his saddle. The lance impacted the target disappearing into it and ripping the lance from his grip. He immediately pulled back on the reigns with his shield hand and with his other drew forth a saber from its scabbard. The horse slowed and turned a hundred and eighty degrees to return to the target barreling once again forward. As Evan passed he swung the saber severing the target's head sending it clean off and into the air where it arced back down disappearing into the field. Evan's horse stopped, sweat soaking both their bodies.

"Dead it is was and will be. Aye as t'were." Evan heard a voice from behind him.

"Dead is a quality given only to those once of the living. My friend 'ere was etched of n'yer." Evan responded his accent hidden behind his heavy breath.

"That may be it, truth. But by God it shall for certain not arise to strike you lest he alone wills it. Do you fear it? Him?" asked the man whom Evan saw was himself perched on the back of a heavy draft horse.

He was accompanied by another man who too was aback a smaller and lighter horse. He wore the attire of a courtesan or bureaucrat or perhaps both.

"I fear neither." Evan responded looking both men over carefully and only seeing trouble in them each.

"In yer death you'll answer to yer maker for yer deeds. Do you not this believe?" asked the man who was now grating on Evan's nerves.

"It shall be a short conversation. Much shorter than this one has been. I bid you a good day." Evan said coaxing his horse in a slow walk towards the stable.

"Of a clean heart are you? No ills that plague ye? Per chance have none inquired as such of ye?" asked the man again pressing his own fortune and Evan's patience.

"How can one corrupted heart uncover the corruption of another?" Evan stopped his horse as he spoke.

"Know ye not? It is the corrupt who carry the sword that cleaves the sin from his innards. None know it as much and better than those who've tasted it." the man answered.

"And none like it's taste as much I suspect. So corrupted are ye and in admission thereof? Then what is your business on this day? Ye'd best dare not make way with my coin or my heart for ye'd be cleaved much like my felled friend 'pon this very field." Evan said turning the horse to face them.

"We have no need of yer coin but we are in need of your heart. It is fact that all of England does so need as much for these are dire times indeed. When a single man can rule in place of God it is a dark day. For whom to you by day conduct your deeds? England? It's people? Or the King?" asked the man.

"I suspect that yer friend must have fallen from his steed many times more than the good health of his head and heart would allow. If I am not mistaken you are speaking aloud in the open day under this very sky words against the Crowned Throne to which I have sworn to protect. Be gone afore I deliver swift justice itself. I suspect that you'll find little pity here or elsewhere for your words smell of trouble, war and most certainly death." Evan spoke with purpose and direction.

"I suspect that fear holds you to oath more so than loyalty or principle." the man replied while the courtesan/bureaucrat remained quiet.

"One could say the same of your loyalty to God. What is the difference between men whose control of others are scepter and crown forged of fear." Evan responded clearly annoyed by the man.

"We 'ave made progress, Cromwell." said the courtesan/bureaucrat encouraging the other man.

"Cromwell? I've heard tell of you. A mad man using the Church to mount his campaign against the throne. You have some nerve coming here to seek me out!" Evan said holding his ground.

"Ye've heard tell? I am honoured by your say. We have the support of the English Mercantile, the Scots and others of this fine land not to mention the law itself of the high land and of God." Oliver Cromwell spoke the veil now lifted on his identity.

"Ye are none so much as a festering parasite seeking to profit from a conflict by absconding with the hole in power that remains after the battlefield has felled the throne and Merchants of England of theirs. You'd be no better and much worse I suspect than the rule of the oligarchy." Evan responded riding a bit closer brandishing his saber.

"We bring law with us and an act of the laws derived from men and principle. Founded upon the ideas of Solomon from the good book." the courtesan/bureaucrat spoke this time looking to Cromwell for approval after he'd delivered his oration.

"I am literate so I'd advise ye not tread with the belief that I am lost amidst the darkness of ignorance. I've read the Magna Carta. No thing from it arose except to entrap the King John to rules of his making and admissions. Those who enacted it never used it to give the people anything except more death under the guise of religious reforms. We are still just off the departed doorstep of the crusades and generations of slaughter. No gathering of men has brought with it justice for the people and the rule of law other than the those using the tyranny of either the Church or the Mercantile whose power yields death the same of a different blade. What bring ye that finds no common ground?" Evan approached them close, his horse looking on just as inquisitively as if the two were one.

"I have but one word that may it find nest amidst the ideas of such an educated and literate man as ye, convinced ye might be to follow and lead with yer brothers in arms. Parliament." Oliver Cromwell replied.

"Parliament? Your word in my ears?" Evan confirmed.

"Parliament." the courtesan/bureaucrat confirmed.

Evan remained silent and all that could be heard was the heavy breathing of his horse which kept it's eyes on them both looking through them.

"You have until nightfall to convince me of yer plans and ideas. If ye are still on my land by the time the sun descends beneath the horizon I shall fell ye both and deliver your bodies into the carriage by morn." Evan said coaxing his horse towards the stable.

"Bring yer steeds afore the stable and we'll get to yer proposal." Evan dismounted leading his horse into the stable to remove it's saddle and for a quick brushing before leading the two men into his home to discuss the matters at hand.


"So what did you discuss in your meeting with Cromwell?" asked Mila nursing Barris' head in her lap as they sat before the fire.

"T'was as I spake. He'd come to discuss the policies of the land and its rule for he was backing the Parliamentarians. He'd heard my reputation as a horseman and man at arms. He'd waint me to whip his Cavalry to prim and to ride with him in battle if deemed be. Those matters were of our discussing at that time." Evan replied taking a sip from his flask.

"What did you decide? I mean it must have been a tall risk, just the six of you riding around bullying the Imperials into submission?" Barris said a bit put off.

"As I'd mentioned, I was not directly in support of the Ironsides as was their nomenclature. I supported the idea of a Governance chosen by the people, but with the advisory and approval of Imperials. The power of the veto if you will. I mean t'would be dangerous to throw to the wolves centuries worth of experience and diplomacy by removing our own head as it'were. England needed their guidance and the confidence of its people. The real motivations for such a move oft are more devious than well thought in advance. More so than most would know or understand." Evan tried to explain the politics of the time.

"So you supported the Imperials?" asked Sato who'd sat quietly listening intently.

"Yay. As did I the formation of a Governance by the people." Evan replied.

 "So you wanted both?" Mila asked to be sure.

"Yay again Milady. You see, being the solitary power and rule comes with challenges most could not fathom. After all, you are but one often part of a family to whose heredity one must answer. That bares a weight of choice 'pon the lap that should n'yer be set as there. Your power is absolute and unquestionable. That is a feast unto itself and a temptation for many who'd usurp it by means we know and some not as so much. Play you into the hands of the people's ire whilst shining their own brass and silver before them. Those who make up the closest to the throne might be as puppeteers. The puppet being the throne itself. Working together to suit power to their own ends whilest cultivating the dismay of the people. At the expense of the people. It takes a sturdy and steeled kind in crown to weather such storms and to maintain grace, fairness and justice a'tween. Those who fail this prying of their mettle oft fall to despotic and monstrous measures to maintain their hands on that bridle. Death follows there behind more so than naught. All this while those who steered them through deceit and manipulation shine their brass before the people. So what the people want is an end to the risk of such manipulation and their hand on this bridle. Our finest steed. Our land." Evan paused a moment to take another sip from his flask.

"I agreed to be a part of the Ironsides but not to throw the Imperials from England. To do my part to see that this was not a murderous revolt seeking to place the blame for the ravages of time 'pon their lap. There have and had been many sins in the name of the land and the rule for religion, business and the meritocracy of land. That burden should not fall to the lap of just one. One who'd be cast aside and spat upon so that the hands of the guilty could be cleansed continue from where they left using their vassalage as a vantage point to prey upon another rule and so on. So I agreed to do my part to see that the throne would be a part of what was to come. Working with the people to restore the faith in our good land. T'would be no greater crime than to sacrifice the learned knowledge of the prior years of rule and family. They've weathered challenges few of us would a'yer know or be capable of knowing. There were many as I who'd vested enough time to learn to read. To educate ourselves to the ways of this land and the known world. Business. Politics. Theology. How the three strive for their full grasp around the reigns. Just by the very knowing of it, there's implied duty upon us. Mine was to be a part of Cromwell's Ironsides, and to ensure that the virtues I stood for were preserved. Whilest a rider finds rough and rocky hew 'pon a horse's shoe, must he fall to walk and none too soon. To lead the horse safely forward to steady footing. Upon finding as much they then travel together as one. Horse and rider. I was doing this for our great steed, England. So we, Oliver, his advisor and I spake of what was to come and I became an Ironside 'pon the agreement that I never draw the blood of a Royal." Evan explained.

"And he agreed?" Barris asked sitting up slightly as Mila stroked his hair.

"Of course he did. After all, I was the most trusted horseman and man at arms of the land at that time." Evan said twisting the end of his moustache as he winked at Mila.

"Maybe we should ask the horses first." Sato responded.

They started laughing heartily together for the first time since they'd found themselves in their precarious situation. Evan smiled sitting back slightly worn from the days events.

"You are going to finish this aren't you?" Barris asked enthusiastically.

"There's a bit more to say, so I shall say it." Evan replied as he continued.

To be continued...

Brian Joseph Johns

Copyright © 2014, 2017 Brian Joseph Johns

Friday, January 27, 2017

A General Announcement...

Just a new message to any readers that I have left here. After a good cleaning of my apartment and a little evaluation I decided to continue my work on What Different Eyes See a lot sooner. You can consider new posts continuing the story from where it left off as the Delegation head off to meet the Chinese and Taiwanese delegation. From there they'll be headed for Korea. I might have made a mistake in the current story timeline which I will correct to match this change. My original assumption that after Bryce Maxwell had made his (legendary) entrance was that the itinerary had changed but I have decided to go with the original itinerary to coincide with the Lunar New Year. The tensions should pick up as Heylyn will meet an old friend in Beijing that will setup part of the storyline of The Butterfly Dragon II: Dragon Butterfly. The rewrite for the current chapter will take place this weekend and continue in to the new chapter. This post will will be mirrored on The Butterfly Dragon site as well.

Also of note I have decided as well to pen a new tale for A Lady's Prerogative that will be integrated as a new section in the upcoming book A Lady's Prerogative II: Wounded Aerth. I can't say much about it except to say that it will cover the story of Evan Edwards of the Law Offices of West View and be about his past in England during the Civil war and his part as one of the elite cavalry units under the command of Oliver Cromwell. The legendary Ironsides. It's my tribute to something very precious to me.

There has been some devastating news in the case of Gemma Nuttall and her Cancer case. You can find out details about her case here. I'm hoping that for cases like hers and many more our there that soon such Cancer will be a thing of the past and curable like any disease. The day when we can scoff at Cancer as an inconvenience much like we do about colds. Thanks once again to the Prince Margaret Foundation and the Cancer Research Institute and the many medical Universities for making these goals possible. Thanks to the people and industries as well that inspired me to write The Butterfly Dragon series of stories.

Thanks for your patience and support,

Brian Joseph Johns

I am Brian Joseph Johns and this is The Butterfly Dragon http://thebutterflydragon.blogspot.ca.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Just To Clarify...

Hi again. It's been a while since I've posted a new update and I've delayed any further additions to What Different Eyes See until I can deal with the issue of stalkers once again.

I have a blog where I actually deal with that issue, expressing everything related to the anguish it causes and describing accurately their organized criminal methodology in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. I am posting this here because I'd like people to know that the person who writes The Butterfly Dragon and A Lady's Prerogative is also a person who gets stalked, abused and has his identity stolen excessively not by people online but in person in his home city of Toronto, Ontario, Canada and despite the fact that I've sought legal assistance with regard to this crime, none has been forthcoming. This is not a delusion nor am I mentally ill or a pedophile, stigmas which gangs that do this sort of like to hide behind to keep their existence hidden.

I've been experiencing this for a very long time now but the worst thing about this crime is that those who do it actually steal the victimization and apply it to someone else in their gang, so my victimization benefits them.

I'm not rich nor have I ever pretended to be. My education is nowhere near that of someone like Professor Bryce Maxwell, Professor Mattu's or that of Professor Sangsorn nor do I pretend it to be. The gang tries to paint me as a fraud for the reason that I'm writing characters with a high degree of education but lacking that same level of education myself. I'm not a black belt myself like Heylyn Yates but I have studied multiple martial arts formally but am far from being an expert. I never was trying to give others the impression that I was. I was creating a world and characters to populate that world to convey a story.

I'm not on the "blue team" as some might say. This gang defines the color blue as meaning that what you say is the opposite of what you mean. I'm not a member of any gang that would define the color blue in that way. I say what I mean and mean what I say. Just to note that while writing this post I was attacked by the gang in my area prompting a loud response to their abuse from me. I think that if Professor Bryce Maxwell was in this situation for as long as I have been and mistreated by this gang for as long as I have been, he'd likely respond to it similarly, gentleman or not. This is a gang that believes that if they can get you to react with anger, that you have "the mark of the beast" or possess "Kane" blood rather than gentle blood. The motive for such abuse is so they can reduce you to their level so that they may share in anything good that you achieve, while keeping you away from those they don't abuse in this regard of whom your lover or love interest might be a member. Sorting people out by gentle blood and hateful or violent blood so that they can divide up a person's good and bad accordingly and worse, their right to attain success in life. Hence its an ideology that creates a market for abusing people who make the most effort because such people who conduct that form of abuse want to share in their effort as if they were part of it themselves. Abusing someone to the point of reaction is their means of doing so and there's no big secret to that. It should be investigated legally much more than it is. I am certainly not against anyone having a belief but I am against someone using that belief as a justification to abuse others and especially for the purposes of theft or stealing their victim's identity. I'm not a violent person by the way but I can be vocal when it comes to being abused. You get like that when it has occurred for years. There's quite a bit of racism mixed up in this as well because said group is often against Caucasian people being in a relationship with someone Mandarin Chinese, and that's the culture of my love interest.

I'm going to put the identical post on A Lady's Prerogative official blog so that it give some credibility to this activity as a whole.

The blog I use to expose this activity is at http://aboutgroupstalkers.blogspot.ca

Just in case someone does try to steal this blog or my books, I'm Brian Joseph Johns. I am 6 feet all and about 180 lbs. I'm fairly fit. I have green eyes. I'm 49 years old. I'm circumcised. I have no criminal record or prior criminal history so there's no justification for this. As I've said this criminal gang are attempting to swap my identity with that of someone else in the building or my home city of Toronto.

Hence, I won't be posting any updates to What Different Eyes See for about two months. Nor will there be any updates to A Lady's Prerogative for that time as well.

I might post to one of my other story lines located at one of my other blogs at:


Stories From The End and Welcome To The Pleroma haven't received an update in a while. They're good candidates for a new post.

I can be reached on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/Brian.Joseph.Johns
My twitter account is located at http://www.twitter.com/favBrianJ

Oh and hate is not love and love is not hate. I'm not a member of any ideology called "blue hell" nor a part of any ideology that would subject someone to that.