Sunday, March 26, 2017

The Phoenix - Chapter Seven

Chapter One-Six. Here

Chapter Seven.

“Her name is what?”

“Cendrella, Papa. That’s all she would tell me. Well, she did say that her brother gave her the name, not her father, so one could say that it is a nickname.”

     Lord Leon smiled at his son. It did his heart good to finally see his boy back safe and unharmed from the war. Unlike his brother...well, he tried not to dwell on his oldest. Rather he rejoiced in the homecoming of his beloved Lucien or Luc as he was fondly known.

“This Cendrella, my boy, seems to have quite the effect on you.”

     Luc looked apprehensive, “I suppose so. It’s just...she was so kind in the morning time and then when I saw her take on Reynard, something I have never witnessed before, I was struck even more by her courage to help those...” He stopped there. Unable to go on.

“People?” finished Leon, “They may be lepers, but they are still of human mind, body and spirit.

“Yes, Father, but they are lepers because of this war. These Crusades have torn countries apart, turned religion against religion and what do we bring back for our victory? Sickness and death that is inevitable.”

     Luc’s mind went back to Jerusalem. The war, the fear, bloodshed, grief. He remembered the Lazar houses outside the streets. Beggars covered with white bandages begging for alms. They were kicked and cursed, treated like animals. The unbearable heat caused these poor creatures to collapse on the roadside only to be pummeled by Crusaders horses and left for dead. And when death mercifully took them not even the vultures bothered to pick their remains. There were hardly any remains left.

     He remembered looking into the eyes of a young leper girl. Through her heavily veiled face he could almost picture what she might have been. Dark, beautiful, happy. However, her reality was a face that was being eaten away by this accursed disease that made her less human and more monster.

     Lucien still had nightmares from war. Yet, what kept him awake the most were the lepers and their unmerciful treatment from the world. Where was humanity? Where was God? Or was leprosy God’s punishment for being involved in the Crusades?

“I can’t forget them, Father.”


“I can’t forget what I saw in Jerusalem. I have killed in the name of God, but where was God when innocent and sick people were being struck down by Crusaders that claimed to come in his name?”

“Oh, my son,” said Leon taking his shoulder, “I have been to Jerusalem and I fought by King Baldwin’s side. The great leper king who died trying to bring peace back to his country. He was Jerusalem in every measurable way. While his body may have been decaying, his mind certainly was not. The only act you can do is to give to these people what you can. Food and clothing. You can do no more.”

     Part of Luc agreed with his father and part of him wanted to say that was more he could do. But what exactly? War was easy. You plan, you gather and you fight. The victory was whomever God favored on that day. War was easy and human. Humanity was not easy.

“Come,” said Leon, “Enough talk of war. We have your homecoming celebrations to discuss and what a glorious event for the whole of Vezelay!”

     Luc tried not to groan. He knew this would happen, he counted on it, but the idea of celebrating his homecoming, when so many of his own comrades and brothers in arms would never celebrate theirs, seemed somewhat shallow and selfish. Yet, he would let Papa have his glory. He was his father’s only family. Mama died when he was young and Bayard, his older brother, was killed on his way home from war a year before. There was no other family except Theodore, his cousin on his mother’s side and Father’s ward.

     Families were not very large in Vezelay. Every married couple lost at least two children to sickness and disease and many people were fortunate if they lived to see thirty-five. Father was already in his forties and was becoming a legend for his longevity. Luc loved him dearly, so much that once he feared his father’s death more than anything else.

     War was the first time that Luc had been separated from his father. He had just turned eighteen and his once warm and sheltered life became a distant memory the moment he stepped foot in Jerusalem. Now three years later, Luc was no longer that frightened and unsure boy. War had forged him into a warrior. Pain, sorrow and suffering had opened his eyes to the real world. And personal loss and grief had broken his heart and his spirit. More than once he had wanted to throw down his sword, curse God and end his life, but something or someone always stood in the way.

     Actually, there had been several people that had saved Luc from his anguish. Men he had not known a week before who would fight by his side and become closer than any brother of blood. Several of these men had no homes or families to return to. The least Luc could do was bring them back to Vezelay and let them begin new lives away from the East and the war.

“This is a kind thing that you have done for these men,” Leon said as he and his son walked through the gardens.

“I feel like I had to do something,” said Luc simply.

“This man that lost his memory, Olivér, I find him rather intriguing,” Leon remarked.

“And after almost six months he still knows nothing about who he is,” Luc said with a sense of guilt.

     Last year, Luc had been saved by a young soldier but at a heavy cost. The soldier, whom he had never met before, had gotten between him and an enemies sword. However, the soldier had taken a fall and hit his head on a boulder. He was in a coma for several weeks and when he awoke, he had no memory of who he was or where he was from. Luc felt responsible and took the soldier into his care. He had taken the name Olivér after the doctor who treated him. Not many other people knew too much about him. He had kept to himself and was quiet and stayed out of the way.

     Olivér was a mystery to everyone including himself. He was intelligent and courteous with a sense of humility. Yet, he was educated, could read and write and even knew several languages. Which suggested that he must have had a high upbringing. A nobleman or a merchant?

“This man may have a family, wife and children who might think him dead and he doesn’t even know his real name,” said Luc.

“You got him out of Jerusalem and out of danger,” Leon reminded him, “And that is more important.”

At that moment the mystery soldier appeared on the steps.

“Olivér,” Luc said, “I hope your first night here was restful. Well, as restful as a solider is able to have.”

“It was,” said Olivér smiling, “and oddly enough I slept through the night.”

“Fortunate for you,” whispered Luc, who still awoke in the middle of the night with horrors of war and bloodshed before his eyes and the screams of the dying in his ears.

“Actually it’s strange because I had dreams of this place when I was in the hospital after my accident. When we were riding through the forests or over the riverbeds, I would remember them from my dreams. Lord Lucien, I believe I might be from here...from Vezelay.”

Friday, March 17, 2017

Spring Header and Update

Celebrating the coming of spring with three of my favorite aesthetics, 
bouquets, books and bluebirds :)  

Due to my new full time housekeeping job that I got back in January, I'm not able to post as frequently as I did in times past. Which is sad seeing as I got a beautiful new computer because of this job, but I hardly ever use it! However, I am going to try and post more, because I miss writing and sometime this weekend get back into writing, "The Phoenix," I have not forgotten and I am anxious to get back to it as well as working on my new story.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Star Trek: Enterprise

     I've been a Trekkie fan since I was 8 or 9 years old. My parents love the franchise as well as my older sister. The Original Series, Next Generation, Deep Space Nine and Voyager, my family has seen them all. However, the prequel series Enterprise, which premiered in 2001, was something of a badly timed series (premiering two weeks after 9/11 and only 4 months after the end of Star Trek: Voyager) that seemed to have all the odds of failure stacked against it. And unfortunately, the show only lasted four seasons.

     I mean that's one season more than the Original series, but I pretty much grew up hearing (from my older sister) that the show was an abomination, that the writing was terrible, that is was completely contradictory to the Star Trek universe and (here's the big one, people) it had a THEME SONG!!! Like with words! Not an epic sounding anthem, but a country/rock song! Well, that just did it for Trek society and the show was cancelled in 2005. And good riddance from any self-respecting Trekkie.

     Fast forward to January 2017 and the same older sister is telling me that I would like that Enterprise show. Over ten years later and now I'm hearing that it was actually really good, the characters were well written, the story arcs were incredible and that awful theme song wasn't too bad. And anyways there wasn't much for me to watch at the moment. So, why not?

The Crew of The Enterprise NX-01

     Almost 100 years before Kirk's first mission in the Enterprise NCC-1701 and 100 years after Zephram Cochran's first contact with the Vulcans in 2063, Earth has finally managed to create a warp drive (warp 5) for successful space exploration with the use of Vulcan technology. Overseen constantly by the Vulcan High Command who never miss an opportunity to cast judgement and criticize, the still new Starfleet has now issued the new Enterprise starship to travel, search and seek out new worlds.

     Captain Jonathan Archer: His father created the warp 5 engine and Jonathan Archer believes that he alone should be the only person to captain the first warp 5 starship. Intelligent, bold and uncompromising, Captain Jonathan Archer is a plethora of characteristics, but fear certainly is not one of them especially fear of what people may think about him. A strong leader with a intense sense of right and wrong, Jonathan captains the Enterprise as a strict but benevolent father figure, calm negotiator, and loyal ally. In all essence, Jonathan is great leader and a good man who hopes he can be the fulfillment of his father's dreams.

     Sub-commander T'Pol:  A member of the Vulcan High Command, T'Pol is a prime example of Vulcan logic, restraint and unfaltering loyalty to tradition. Originally sent to the Enterprise to oversee their first few weeks in space, T'Pol slowly begins to find a respectable place among the mostly human crew of the Enterprise. She becomes Archer's science officer and second in command and begins to understand humanity in a personal context she never thought would be possible. Although T'Pol is strong willed, she hides a fragile nature that is only seen by a few people. 

     Commander Charles "Trip" Tucker III: Enterprise's handsome and charming chief engineer who is forever finding himself in some form of trouble be it his fault or not. While Trip's headstrong and rash nature can be his downfall from time to time, his genius mind in engineering and mechanics gets Enterprise and its crew out of the worst of dangers. As the show continues, Trip experiences a great deal of growth that comes from personal tragedy and painful mistakes, but also finds unexpected love in the most unlikely of people along the way. 

     Ensign Hoshi Sato: A brilliant linguist and prodigy who is personally asked by Captain Archer to join the crew of the Enterprise as the communications officer. Although unwilling at first, Hoshi agrees out of her respect for Archer and leaves her comfortable teaching job to venture into space. Sweet natured, but at times painfully shy, Hoshi has the hardest time trying to adjust to life on a starship. Oftentimes her personal fears blind her from her true strengths that are brought out in situations that she alone must get herself out of. 

     Lieutenant Malcom Reed: Enterprise's tactical officer who has an unashamed delight of explosives and a natural sense of duty no matter the situation. Practical, pragmatic and fiercely private, Malcom can come off as cold at first, but overtime he has a genuinely warm and friendly nature.  Which can make him a great partner in crime or someone you have no problem going through the trenches with. 

     Ensign Travis Mayweather: Travis is what people would call a 'boomer' or a child who was born and raised on space freighters. Most of his life, Travis has spent in space so it's only natural that he would be an exceptional pilot for Enterprise. Extremely charming and outgoing, Travis has an abounding love for the unknown and unexplored, but also harbors a sense of regret for leaving his family on the freighter that he grew up on. 

     Dr. Phlox: A Denobulan physician and the only other alien aboard the Enterprise, Phlox exhibits incredible medical knowledge as well as a positive personality. Fascinated by humans and their lifestyle, Phlox never misses on opportunity to better understand the human mind and personality. Much to the annoyance to some of the humans on board. 

Favorite recurring characters

     Ambassador Soval: A leader on the Vulcan High Command as well as T'Pol's mentor/father figure, Soval spends most of his time telling humans what they're doing wrong. However, even Vulcans can see the light at the end of the logic tunnel and unfortunately Soval's came almost at the cost of his own life. 

     General Thy'lek Shran: The enigma to top all Star Trek enigmas, General Shran of the Andorian Imperial Guard is as conniving and arrogant as he loyal and brave. Never one to be in somebody's debt, Shran is Archer's noble adversary who can never be underestimated or forgotten. 

     Porthos: Jonathan Archer's beloved beagle, best friend, buddy (and at times baby) who has his master wrapped around his little white paws. Archer becomes a complete sap when it comes to his darling Porthos and how can he not? With such precious brown eyes begging for cheese and cuddles? It's hard for anyone to resist such a pet.

      If you follow me on Instagram then you would already know that I absolutely love this show!!! It was funny, engaging, with incredible story arcs and wonderful well written characters. In the last couple of years people have been rediscovering Enterprise and coming to the conclusion that it really is some Star Trek gold. Being a prequel series as well, Enterprise was able to provide theories and answers for Trek lore such as  the smooth head Klingons from the Original series, the Augments and their creator, the rise of T'Pau and the new Vulcan order, Andoria and others that have left fans in questioning for years. 

     Despite its short run, Enterprise has become my favorite of the Star Trek series. Primarily for its characters and also because of its basic simplicity if its story and not having the need to be overtly scientific or techy. I laughed and I cried at the simple human (and non-human) life that became the full heart and soul of the show and I believe is what got missed in people's first reactions to it ten years before. 

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