Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Internet Meltdown

One of the few downsides to living in Ireland and in the country is the poor internet connection. Most companies here do not have cable to the countryside and proved coverage through wifi. This is very hit and miss as we have disovered over the past month. Taking up to 20 minutes to find and connect to google and then being connected for only 5-10 minutes is annoying. Each second is taken from your monthly credit of 60gbs as used units, even if you haven't actually connected. 60gbs suddenly does not sound a lot.
So, folks, our internet is all used up and I will be accessing the internet via the local library until the 4 June.
Keep checking the page and will soon be back in action.

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Primroses by Lorraine Poulter 2015

©️Lorraine Poulter 2015

Exhibited in the Ballincollig Resourse Library as part of the Bealtaine celebrations 2015

Monday, 23 May 2016

A Small sample of Merlin' Keep

I am proud to be able to share with you all this sample from my new book Merlin's Keep. Inspired by the name of a house in Kinsale in Cork. From this, the world of Merlin's Keep and its people grew. Enjoy the read.

Merlin's Keep

      On the leafy road to Bandon from Crookstown in Cork, there lay the ruins of a castle keep. This keep was as old as memory, and like it's history, there was never a time when the name of Merlin's Keep was unknown.

      Merlin's Keep was built of rugged grey stone, with tall arched windows now bereft of glass, and gabled points still sharp although now held no roof. This Keep was steeped in roadside fable and the stories of its people abounded. This small unassuming building was the home of the McMelvins and stood on the very edge of a roaring river, with half its foundations reaching into the water as it flowed noisily and rapidly, meandering rapidly down the hill to the town. Every sweep of the river, every gush of the tide, lapped at the stu4rdy walls of the Keep. The river was the watering place of the Keep, the town and often the stop of the weary traveller and his horse. This water held its own secrets. It brought to the Keep the magic of the Mountain Elders, the power of the valley dwellers, the Valdeems. As the water seeped into the walls of the Keep, it stole their memories, it robbed them of a future hungrily taking what it could as it passed. In their place was magic.

     Even to this time, on certain days, the passer by would stop and rest from their journey. They would slake their thirst in the cool water and then if they were lucky they could, with heart and ear, hear the sounds of battles past, the tinkling laughter echoing softly from the ruins amid the constantly rumbling water, tumbling over rocks and falls. Sounds rarely heard yet never forgotten. Sounds that meant the Keep was fought for. In the early morning light it had been said that that from the corner of the eye. the flash of wand fire could be seen reflected on the crest of the same white running water that gave them life, carried away their dead and wounded, the fallen, the invaders and defenders.

     The story ran that the greatest of magicians walked these lands and fell in love with the site and he imbued the rocks that held up the Keep with old magic. For many, many years the Keep was the centre of of restoring the old customs, old magic, old ways. During this time the Keep enjoyed the company of witches and wizards who walked freely and happily through its hallways in the gracious company of the McMervins.

      More to follow.
©️Lorraine Poulter 2016

The White Horse as published in Tales From the White Horse 2015

    The White Horse
A Short Story
Lorraine Poulter 2015

      “At long last we can walk freely among the land.” Lilbet said happily.
     “Too long we have walked in the shadow of Taywan and Theodor.” Saree said.
      “Indeed. My work is done.” Said Lilian. She smiled. Her green brown eyes twinkled with the wisdom of her vast age as her crooked smile lit up her wizened, grey face. “It is time.” She said hobbling painfully holding her hip towards the comfortable chair. Her daughters, Lilbet and Saree knelt by her side.
      Lilian felt contentment wash over her. Lilbet and Saree. How fortunate she was to have them. Her daughters of contrast. Lilbet, fiery flame haired with pale grey eyes. While Saree was dark of hair with eyes as blue as sapphires. As different as they could be, she loved them both without favour.
   “You sense it to.” Lilian said calmly. “Mildreth is coming.”
      The wooden door burst open as the rain and gale forced entry. Lilbet rushed over and closed it firm, turning the key.
      “A locked door will not keep him out, my Lovelies.” Lilian said. “I am ready.” She said. There was sadness in her voice, an acceptance, an underlying uncertainty. She was ready, although no one was ever ready. “Come join us, Lilbet. I have much to tell you.”
       A cruel streak of lightning lit up the room. The yellow flames from the candles danced into the shadows of the dusty hovel caught in the draught from the cracked window. Outside the brewing storm was reaching boiling point. Rain splattered against the window and thunder rattled the roof.
       In that moment Lilian every one of her thousand years fell down on her, crushing her to what seemed half her size. She felt her life being inexorably drained from her. “He is here.”
      Lilbet pulled back the curtain. Through the rain lashed window she could see the distorted shadowy white form of Mildreth. She paled. “Why?” she said her voice breaking. Her face full of puzzlement.
      “Put another log on the fire. The chill is upon me.” Lilian said weakly.
     Lilbet picked up a log and threw it on the fire. They waited for the hissing sap to vapourize and the sparks to settle before they both turned to Lilian.   There was expectation on their faces.
      Lilbet knelt at her mother’s knee and took the cold trembling, and suddenly very tiny, hand.
“It is Twymus night.” Lilian explained. “Two nights before Hallowe’en. The night when all debts will be repaid or your spirit will walk on All Hallows Eve. I have a debt that is in need of repaying. My debt is to Mildreth. I owe Mildreth the debt of years. And I have lived many years. Some would say more years than would be deemed natural. And they would be right. Mildreth gave me those years and now he wants them back.”
         Lilbet let go of her mother’s hand. “You are going with him?”
        “Indeed I must.”
       “No.” cried Saree. “It’s not your time.”
       “My time is long overdue.” Lilian said firmly, the kindness still in her crackled voice. “I have much to tell you. Mildreth and I first crossed paths many, many years ago. It was a time of change, a time when not even the power of a mighty sorceress like myself could influence or alter the outcome of the deeds ordained. Chuem was once a place where we of magic could call home, could be free to perform the magic given to us without fear of retribution. And for many years we lived among the people of Chuem happy in the knowledge that all was safe, that we were safe. King Theodor married the beautiful Princess Esme and together they bore a son, Taywin. A bonny little fellow. However he was born with a defect of the heart.” She felt her own heart race unnaturally as she spoke.“Soon after his sixth birthday he began to show signs of sickness. The court physician was called for. He had vast knowledge of medicine but it was not enough. In desperation Theodor sent for those of us who practised unconventional medicine. In fact it was myself.”
       Lilbeth gave a short intake of breath.
       Saree clutched her mother’s hand. “You never told us.”
       “There was never a reason for you to know until now. Take me to the window. I wish to see Mildreth before I finish my story.” Lilian was led by Lilbeth and Saree to the window, the strength in her was slowly leaving. Through the rain streaked glass she saw the great white horse standing proud and ready to greet her.
         “I was as helpless as the court physician. I could nothold back the hand of fate. In a last ditch effort to save Prince Taywin I performed the Agromento spell. A nasty, difficult spell. It was not enough. Theodor saw me cast the spell and blamed this spell and ultimately myself for the death of his child. I taken to the dungeon and sentenced for using witchcraft for wrongdoing.”
        “But you are a sorceress. Why didn’t you use your magic to escape?”
       Lilian shook her head with sadness. “I too was heartbroken at the death of Taywin. The stars had shown a great future for him. I did not expect my spell to fail. I had never known a spell to fail. Seeing that poor child fade before my eyes was soul destroying. As King Theodor’s accusations grew more intense I began to believe I had, in spite of my best intentions, murdered that child. That somewhere in my heart lurked a darkness I had felt but had yet to discover. And that darkness had killed the baby not saved him.”
       “So you died at the stake? A common witch.” Lilbeth said bitterly.
“Indeed. The physical effort had drained all my energy and life dwindled from me rapidly. The guards found my body in the dungeon the next morning. They knew I was gone and threw me into the nearest ditch. There I stayed. Long dark hours passed. I neither moved nor died. I can only surmise I was somewhere in between the worlds. Hours and hours passed. A lifetime or maybe a whole death had flittered by. A whiteness fell in front of me. At first as a cloud, then it took shape, the shape of a rider less white horse. Mildreth. He shimmered and I did so want to ride with him. “Get up.” He said “Get up.” I stared at him. At the time I believed I was dead and that he had come to take me to the heavens. “Get up!” he ordered. I sat up willingly. Imagine the surprise I had when it was not my spectral being that rose but my whole body. I was alive. You did this? I asked of him. He nodded. “I have need of a sorceress, a good sorceress. I know you to be good, Lilian. I want you to carry out my work while on the earth and prepare the path for the coming of the Mother. Theodor will wreak a swift retribution of those of magic. He will banish all those who practise sorcery.”
     “He is lost to his grief.”
     “His grief has brought about injustice. None less to yourself.With our help his sorrow will mend. But it will take time. I will give you that time. A long, healthy life in exchange for you doing my work.” I was stunned. The guilt of losing Taywin was still very much up on me. I wasn’t sure if I had a good heart or not. But I did want to live. I did not ask the details, nor did I question if he was indeed a bad spirit in the guise of a good one. There on the spot I agreed. He was better than his word. He gave me back my life, a future and a reason to live. Today I must repay my debt to Mildreth.”
      “Still father died. You could have saved him.” Lilbet said angrily. “Mildreth could have saved him.”
       Lilian shook her head. “The power over life and death is not my gift.” She said quietly. “It was his time as it is now mine. Take me to meet Mildreth, my daughters.”
       The years all fell silently and weightily onto to Lilian all at once. She stumbled into Sharee’s arms. Tears ran down Sharee’s face as she lifted her mother into her arms.
      “I am not afraid.” She said in a whisper. “Fear not for me.”
      Lilbeth let out a sob. Together they gently guided Lilian to the door, her strength fading with every step.
       Lilbeth opened the door and the dazzling bright light of Mildreth reached to them. Mildreth stood radiant, white, filled with the twinkling stars of spirits.
      Lilian smiled. “At last.” She sighed.
       Mildreth moved serenely towards them. From him oozed loved, and a sense of reaching out to them. Soon he was in front of the door, calling silently to Lilian. He then bowed, before settling to the ground.
      “Take me to him.” Lilian said urgently. She thrust herself forward with a strength uncommon of the dying. Her hand reached forward and stroked his brow as she leaned against him releasing Lilbeth and Sharee. Her arms caressed his neck and she clung to him in an embrace of assurance. “I am yours.” She said with all her heart.
       Mildreth rose to his feet, with Lilian at his side. Together they walked into the forest, the light following and surrounding them.  In their wake there was nothing but darkness and shadow.
©️Lorraine Poulter 2015

Sunday, 22 May 2016

The Ship To Nowhere by Hannah Poulter 2016

                                                            ©️Hannah Poulter 2016

Hannah Poulter 2016

                                                             ©️Hannah Poulter 2016

Saturday, 21 May 2016

The Pretence by Lorraine Poulter

   The Pretence
   A Short Story by Lorraine Poulter 2015
   Published in Tales From the White Horse 2015

     The candle flickered and dimmed. It was nearing its final burst of light before faltering and plunging the room into darkness. Rather like Minoria. These days her back was stooped, her hands were crooked and withered; her untamed grey hair hung in thin wisps round her pointed chin, while her creased face held eyes that sparkled with bright knowledge.  Her body was failing yet her wits were razor sharp. She stood before the mirror, not looking at her reflection. Her reflection was clouded by the encroaching shadows and hampered by mottled glass.
      “You have come for me?” she asked without turning.
     From the shadows a figure did not move. Only the glint of a long blade announced his presence. “You see me?”
     “I don’t need eyes to know it’s you. Nice of you to drop by.Have I long?”
     “A little.”
     “May I sit?” she asked, wrapping her cardigan across her stomach.
     “If you wish. It’s your night.”
Minoria stepped close to her chair. She grabbed the arm and folded herself into it, panting. A sweat broke out on her forehead. “You’re early.”
     The figure moved forward and said severely. “I am never early. I come precisely when I’m needed.”
     “I haven’t trained a new witch yet. It’ll take years to find a replacement. I waited ages to graduate. My mentor, Mildew, was a great witch. You must remember her? Ugly as sin but you knew you could sit down to cakes and tea and not be turned into something horrible and slimy. Shame about that accident with the sea gull and the broomstick.” She mused. High on a hill on the outskirts of the town, Minoria’s hovel was sited. She had lived in here since she was fifteen, when she first became the witch of the valley on Mildew’s untimely death. “Mildew was a hundred and ten when she was taken. You do realize, at this time, the one part of our lives we all truly share,I’m younger than her. Does that sound fair to you?”She sniffed. The night brought with it an uncommon chill.
Minoria’s magical prowess had shown from her time in the pram. Since this early age she had managed little spells like changing the colour of her hair, and altering the shape of her nose. Sadly while her nose was crooked and pockmarked she told a wee lie and it never changed back.  But it was when she set fire to the cat that her parents both proud and bewildered were forced to face the fact that their beautiful little Minoria, bulbous nose and all, was different.
      “It was her time.”
     “It’s really is bad form of you to come now. There’s much left unfinished.” She said scratchily.For seventy years she had been lone witch to the people of the valley, who still regarded her with a mixture of suspicion and awe. It took years for the young folk to stopped throwing stones through her windows and knocking on her door and running away. Yet she stayed. The rude names uttered as she passed folk on the streets had long ceased and after many years she was accepted as their rather odd, and sometimes helpful, neighbour. She in turn had looked to them to finda suitable inheritor to her kingdom. Many had been viewed although none never quite made the mark. “I am not ready.” She said tetchily.
     “They all say that.”
     “Thuh!” she uttered irritably. “I don’t suppose you know how it will happen?”
     “I am not at liberty to say.”
     “Yes. Yes. I quite understand. I had just hoped for more time.” She said and turned swiftly. “Not that I’m afraid. I do not fear death. I have looked death in the eye and escaped many a time.”
     “I know.”
     There was a silence. The tired old clock ticked, the broom rustled nervously in the corner, the fire crumbled to its last ash. She reached for a log.
     “I would not bother if I were you.”
     “What and catch my death-?” She paused and dropped the log. She then leaned back into the chair and said quietly. “You’re right. No point in wasting good wood. They’ll have to send someone from the township to replace me. And someone will have to feed Jenks. Is it long?”
      From under his cloak Time removed a large wooden framed egg timer and placed it on the sideboard. Its sand had all but run out. For Minoria her time was diminishing.
Minoria gasped and clung to her chest as the breath was squeezed out by her failing heart. As the grains fell into the lower glass, she breathed her last.
      The cloaked figure moved forward and took the hour glass. Something was amiss.  He shook the grains. His orange eyes glinted beneath his hood, while his scythe rested on his shoulder. “Oh dear,” he uttered.
       “Is she gone?” the soft voice of a young woman eagerly asked. “Tell me she’s gone?”
      The face of Time looked upon her young, perfect face. “How do you feel?”
      “I’m fine.” She snapped. “What kind of question is that?”
     “Do you feel you have accomplished all you have in life?”
     “What? Of course I do. With Minoria gone I am now witch of the valley. I could not ask for more.” She said sharply. “Why are you still here?”
       “Then your time has not been wasted.” He replied dully. He shook the timer once more. “Did you kill Minoria?”
 The witch flushed.  “A stray spell might have reached this poor old witch withdevastating consequences.” She said casually. “I couldn’t save her.”
Then suddenly he turned the hour glass over. The grains with new life began to pour quickly through the midriff of the glass.
      “What are you doing?” she asked. “Stop it.”
     “How do you feel?”
Minoria gasped. Breath filled her lungs. She was reaching for life.
     The young witch scowled. “You tricked me.”
     “No. I made a mistake. It was not Minoria’s turn to die. She will live.”
     “Live? How long have you known?”
“Just now.Moments ago.”
     “You deceived me.”
“A few moments of deception.”
     “How could this happen?”
     “The grains did not completely drain from the Upper glass. When that happens I am obliged to turn the timer. There is, as you see, more time for Minoria.” He removed another hour glass from his cloak.Its grains were pouring fast with few remaining. “This glass is yours.”
     “Are you certain?” she said all colour draining from her youthful face.
He gave a shrug. “You brought me here to collect a soul. As there is only yourself and Minoria in this room then it is yours.”
     The young witch covered her mouth as she let out a shriek. “I am to die?”
     “How do you feel?”
“Not very well!” The young witch collapsed to the ground, writhing and then lay silent.
     Time himself stood very still. He would have smiled had he the means. He loved the ironies of life-and death. He watched the shade of the witch suddenly appear beside her vacant body. She pointed to herself in horror.
“You should come with me.” The cloaked figure said.
     “Am I dead?”
     “It would seem so.”
Minoria’s sightless eyes shot open. She licked her lips. The candle guttered and its light was gone. “I must have dozed off.” She said with a yawn, adjusting her cardigan. Her foot caught the discarded log. She picked it up and threw it on the fire. “You still here?” she uttered tilting her head for the reply.
    No one answered.
©️Lorraine Poulter 2015

Theme from Writing at Bandon "Why did she run from the restaurant?"

She ran from the warmth of the restaurant to the cold toilet. The coolness of the room knocked the euphoria from the meal further into the background.
She locked the door with trembling hands. All sense of reality escape, and the quivering body she inhabited became a turmoil of loudly beating heart, cold sweat and shaking.
"Breath," she ordered herself. Even her thoughts were racing, her words gasping and she was falling into the black hole once more. "Breath," she inhaled although it felt she was already drowning in air. It gulped into her lungs in large mouthfuls tightening its grip on her chest, sending pins and needles down her arms. Nausea was settling over her. She would surely faint. Or was she dying?  She tried to remember the coping skills to help calm her. What was the worst that could happen? She knew the answer. She knew the answer and it did nothing to ease.
"Why now? she wailed, striving to fight back from the horror of the moment, and knowing too well she was losing.
The evening with Dan had gone so well. Ginos was a fine Italian restaurant. She loved Italian food. They had chosen it together. Dan had reassured her with his attentiveness all evening, and she had left the wine alone.
She banged her fist on the door. "Why now?"
The strength in her legs left and she crumpled to the floor. Not in tears. Just melting into the misery that was engulfing her. She fought hard against it, yet it fought back harder. It was stronger than her. She was succumbing to it ans she knew she had reached the point of no return. There was no point in fighting now. It just made it worse. Sitting with her back to against the door it dragged her down, down, down. Down into the pit of nausea, shaking, fear. She was being lost to the intense pain that held no marks, no bruises, no fractures. She pulled up her knees and pulled her coat over her head.
©️Lorraine Poulter 2016

Friday, 20 May 2016

Plee-Doo or Off The Top of My Head A short story by Lorraine Poulter 2015

     Ugrid’s hooked bulbous nose hung over the steaming pot on the stove. He closed his eyes and inhaled with hunger pangs coursing loudly through his stomach. The hot steam was sucked inside his nostrils and a tidal surge occurred in the pot. For a moment he savoured the aroma and then in anticipation he opened his eyes. “Smells good, Ma.” He said gruffly. “What do you call it?”
     His elderly Ma hobbled over from the back of the cave wearing her favourite white apron, with a wooden spoon held in one hand and clutching an unpeeled turnip in the other. “It’s Plee-Doo.” She said, her voice deep with scratchy bits.
     Ugrid looked at Ma. “It’s new? I don’t take with these new foods, Ma.”
     “I’ve made it a hundred times before.” She lied.
     Ugrid’s rock like hand brushed the steam aside and he took another look. “It doesn’t look like Plee-Doo.”
     Ma tossed the turnip into the pot. Water spilled over the side, hissing as it hit the hot surface. “That’s because we’re short of a few of the main ingredients and we’re making do with what’s in the cupboard.”
     Ugrid sighed. He was always hungry and the cupboard was always bare. So bare that the rats had long since deserted them in fear of being next in the pot themselves.
      Ugrid opened the pantry door. “Where did it go?” he asked in wonder. “Have we been burgled?”
     “Ate it, haven’t we?” Ma said, stirring the turnip round the clear soup. A few dark specks floated on top.
     “All of it?”
    “Aye. I found a few small bits to make the Doo. But there’s not enough to feed a gnat.” She said. For a troll she was small and dumpy.
      “I can’t eat vegetables without meat.” Wailed Ugrid. He stamped his foot ill temperedly. The cave shook and somewhere beyond the kitchen could be heard the rumbling of rocks falling.
     “Now look at what you’ve done,” Ma said.
     “Sorry, Ma.” Ugrid said. Being hungry made him moody. He couldn’t help it. It was one of those things. Sprouts gave him wind and too much beetroot turned his wee pink. He hated vegetables. “We could go hunting. I’ve heard fox plees are good.”
     “Yes they are.” Ma conceded. “Only the last fox left when he was stripped bare.”
     Ugrid thought for a moment. “Bear plees are juicy and succulent.”
     “Yes they are,” Ma said tenderly lowering herself into the chair. “There ain’t been a bear round these parts for years. Give the pot a stir, son. Don’t want to waste any goodness.”
     Ugrid lifted the spoon with exaggerated Troll masculinity. He was not going to start getting in the habit of stirring Plee Doo, any other stew come to that. He gave the liquid a stir. His brother would be home soon. They’d go hunting then. Nice juicy meat to put in the stew and some extra flavour with the plee doo.
     “Ma?” he said, the light of illumination flickered in his black eyes. “If the animals are gone, where did the Plees in the soup come from?”
      Ma grinned. “Right off the top of my head!”
©️Lorraine Poulter 2015

The Argument by Lorraine Poulter 2016

The Argument 
by Lorraine Poulter 2016

      The God of All Things Good sighed deep and mournfully. “I’m bored!” he uttered from the depths of despair. He looked down on his world, his beautiful newly created world. The rivers flowed, the tides ebbed, the clouds formed and fell, the grass and plants grew. His work was done. He rested his chin in his hands and a woeful expression came over him.
      The Angel of Light who stood to his right although a few steps behind said lightly. “You should rest. You’re exhausted. You have worked endlessly for almost a week.”
      “I need more than rest, Mikey. I have reached my peak. My work is done. I am finished. I have nothing more to give. The Conclave will retire me and I shall be sent to an Old God’s home to spend out the rest of my days. I can’t bear the thought.”
     “I think you are merely over tired. The Conclave are fairer than that. You’ve used a lot of energy in creating your world. You sit right there, put your feet up and I’ll fetch you a piece of Battenburg and a cup of tea.”
       On the table beside the God of All Things Good appeared a cup and saucer of the most delicate design daintily  patterned with Lily of the Valley flowers. Beside it was a bowl with rather large sugar cubes (brown sugar because the God of All Things Good had been put on a diet by his Beloved). There was also a delightful jug with milk. On the tea plate was the slice of Battenburg.
      The God of All Things Good turned away, his face and heart awash with misery. “I have no appetite. He looked sorrowfully at the Angel of Light and his lower lip trembled. The Angel was alarmed for he felt sure the Great God was about to cry.
        “Tell me, God of All Things Good, when you set out to create this world, did you not by doing this, make sense of all the nonsense going on in the Cabinet? Did not your new world bring peace to the warring  Conclave? Did you not in building this world imbue your very essence into every atom of its being,implant your favoured images in the faces of your new people to find so they would know they were not alone? Did you not create these people in the image of yourself? You have succeeded where others greater than yourself have failed. Why are you so-so disappointed in all you have done?”
      The Great God swept back from his forehead a strand of white hair. From beneath his fringe his pale watery eyes peered out. He nodded. “I did, dear Mikey. I did all that. But I see nothing of myself in them and it pains me. My beautiful world. I poured my heart and love into creating that place but it has all been in vain. It is a cold vicious world. The winds howl, the rain lashes, the sun scorches and those abominations in my likeness believe they own my world. I haveno place with them. So I shall have nothing more to do with them.”
        The Angel of Light paled, if it were possible to do so as he was whiter than white already. “You will abandon them. Leave them without your guidance?” He asked, his words not so bereft of humour yet tinged with doubt. The Great God had said these things before, sometimes in jest but mostly to test his angels, to seek out those of dark tendencies. Today however the Angel of Light felt there was a change in the Great God. There was no humour in his voice, no pleading for their supplication. The darkness that surrounded the God seemed far from shallow. Its depth frightened the Angel of Light.
          “I will leave them to their own rule. I wipe my hands of them.”
         The Angel of Light felt cold. He had not known such coldness since his promotion to the Guardians. “Please assure me that you are jesting? All the time, your endless work and energy poured into this creation. The Clave will not allow it.”
       “I tell you. I do not care what the Clave nor the Cabinet thinks. I know here in my heart this was a mistake.”
       The Angel of Light spluttered and finally gave way to silence. A silence broken by the twang of breaking hearts, filled with the sense of genuine loss. A silence that stretched across the stars into oblivion.
“A mistake?” The slight but silken voice of the Angel of the Left said. He was more handsome than the Angel of Light. His brown eyes were pools of sensuous delight blighted by only by the resentment lurking in their black corners. His hair was curled and glinted silver. His chiselled cheekbones spoke not of famine but careful planning. “A mistake, did you say?” he said. The smile that curled on his lips showed his inner pleasure and he found it difficult to hide his glee at seeing the Angel of Light in such distress.
        “You heard me right. I wish I had never created it.”
        The Angel of Light could stand no more. “Please do not say such things,” he begged. He was all too aware that his he was weakening, that the light that radiated from him was waning.
        The Angel to the Left smirked. For the first time the Great God doubted. He doubted not only himself but he doubted the Angel of the Light. An unusually warm sensation filled him from within. “And what would you have us do?” he asked.
       “Nothing,” the Angel of Light interjected. “He will do nothing,”
      The Great God glared. “And what would you have me do?” He slammed his fist down upon the table sending the tea cups crashing to the ground. “Have tea?” he raged.
       The Angel of light stepped back, covering his face in fear of the Great God’s wrath.His mind a whirl of horror. What had he done to incur such anger from the Great God?
        The Great God was beside himself with rage and frustration. “I curse them,” he raged.
       “Noo!” cried the Angel of Light. “Do you not hear their cries to you?”
      “I hear their constant demands, their desires, their lusts and passions. They even fornicate in my garden. They seek my counsel and when I give it, I am wrong. I tell you I shall stand for it no more.”
        A smile flickered across the face of the Angel of the Left. He leaned close to the Great God. “What would you have me do?” he whispered.
        The Great God turned and looked at him. He saw the relish in the eyes, the darkness of his soul. His face contorted in the throes of deep dark rage. “Send for the horses,” he said coldly.
       “You mustn’t. You-“
       “-Can’t?” The Great God said with bitter irony, his face now alight with a terrible smile. “I shall be avenged.”
“And you shall,” The Dark Angel said.
      “Release them!” The Great God ordered.
     “Stop,” the Angel of Light cried. “You have surely lost your mind.” He turned to the Angel of the Left. “Nick, summon the medics. Before something terrible happens.”
     It was already too late. Four horseman astride four powerful armoured horses fled from the stables. They stormed their way to the earth below with trails of vapour, with loud shouts. As they neared the earth they parted into four different ways. With a loud thunderous sound they landed. As soon as they did the world trembled. The world died. The incoming storm destroyed all in their wake.
        All three looked down as the horsemen ravaged the world. The Angel of light, his eyes bright with tears and shock.The Angel of the Left triumphant. The Great God was still. Not a muscle twitched nor a an eyelid blink. His face as stone. Still on and on the horsemen drove their horror into the world.
      “Please,” whispered the Angel of Light.
Volcanoes erupted, lightning, tidal waves, famine, war, disease and death. The people cried to be spared.  Their voices rang through the skies, their sorrow, heartbreak and suffering.
      “You gave them life, let them live,” The Angel of Light said.
      The Great God turned to face him. “Call them off.”
     “I said call them off!”
     The Angel of the Left stood back. His handsome face contorted with his bewilderment and rage. His hold over the Great God had faltered.
The Angel of Light leapt. “Call them off,” he shouted.
     The Great God turned to both of them. He was alight with anger, his being weighed by the uncommon emotion welling in him. “Go. Now,”
      Both Angels looked to each other. The smile of the Dark Angel’s face was replaced with uncertainty and fear.
     “Not you, Mikey. Him.” He pointed a withering finger at Nick. “I played the test and you failed. You are banished from the Cloudsphere. I send you to my world as immortal, and for each act of desolation you encourage you are condemned to live another year. Your name will be synonymous with all that is evil. Go. And as for you Mikey, you are weak. Your softness of nature makes you soft in your dealings.”
      “I tried.” Mikey said.
   “Yes, Mikey, you are trying. Now put the kettle on. I fancy a cup of tea and some Battenbourg.”
“Wonderful to have you back, sir. What of Nick?”
     “Don’t worry about him. I’ve a feeling we’ve not heard the last of him.”

©️ Lorraine Poulter 2016

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Work in progress-Chewie

©️Hannah Poulter 2016
                                   Another picture from Hannah's Star Wars collection. Chewie.

The Rockpool from the Tower of Medreil by Lorraine Poulter 2016

 The Rockpool

“Let me see.” SuraAnn said.
“Don’t push.” Miduel said.
“I want to see.” SuraAnn said.
“Don’t we all.” Mira agreed lazily.She was sitting on a rock a little away from them, listening to the departing waves. “The sun is setting.”
“Are you sure you have everything?”SuraAnn said.
Miduel patted his back pack. “All we need is the moon.”
They stepped back from the little pool of water and waited.
Ahead lay the vast expanse of damp sand and rocks that led out to the ebbing sea.
Miduel sat on a rock behind Mira and watched the pale sun sink beneath the watery horizon in a blaze of orange and yellow streaks.
The rocks merged into the sand as darkness fell and soon all they could see was the distant glistening black water still leaving the shore.
He removed a candle from his bag and lit it.
“Look at the stars.” He said gazing upwards. “We should have luck with us tonight.”
 “Do you think they’ll come?” SuraAnn said sitting down beside him. Her long, elegant legs sprawled ahead of her, her naked toes kneaded the damp sand.
She wore a long dress that even in the darkness luminesced with translucency.
“They said they would.” Miduel replied.
His soft features reflected the candlelight. His hazel eyes gleamed and the tenderness of his lips tempted her. He turned to look at her and smiled. Gone were the days when the witches of this world were gruesomely ugly.
“Will there be others like us?” she asked avoiding his gaze.
He said. “Others from all over the world have promised to join with us this night. When the water settles we shall see their faces and to the dimension beyond.”
SuraAnn paused. She wriggled her toes through the sand and then whispered. “Are you afraid?”
Miduel gave a shrug. “I used to be. I have lived this night many times and have been lucky enough to survive each time.”
“But tonight you may not?”
 He shrugged. “Where are the others? Our group is small. It could be too small.”
“Dane and Caris are fearful it might be their turn.” Mira said.
“Fools! They know that no one escapes. When your time is called to an end that is it.No matter where you are. If it is my turn then I shall face it with pride.”
SuraAnn smiled. She liked to see his eyes flash with anger and, dare she think, passion. “You are ready?”
“As always.” He said with a grin.
He went over to the Rockpool. The candle flickered as the cool breeze whipped round his face asthe impending night brought with it the promise of chill.
The Rockpool’sbrackish water was still as glass, holding a depth unseen during the hours of day.
Miduel stared into its blackness; all too aware that from deep within challenginge yes stared back at him.
“Mira.SuraAnn.” He called.
“I know.” SuraAnn replied.
“The moon is beyond the cliff top. It’s nearly here.” Mira said excitedly. Her youthful pale face framed with black hair and oval black eyes told of unbidden truths. She was the youngest of the trio, of the coven. Yet coursing through her veins were filings of steel, of fierce courage, and the blood of sacrifices past. She had seen more of the dead, the undead, kept the company of demons.More than Miduel and SuraAnn had seen together.
Maybe tonight it was her turn?
Miduel removed seven more candles and placed them on the rocks around the edge of the pool.
He flicked his lighter and soon all eight candles were aglow and shimmered. Eight marked the Powers of Night bestowed on Shua; the eight hours of sleep; the eight hours of nightly darkness.
“Almost there.” He breathed.
Over the edge of the water, glimmering on the navy rippling waves,Shua made her first tentative appearance. A round, pockmarked moon grey-white.A mere stone held in the night heavens.
 That chill pierced his heart.It was the first time Miduel looked upon the moon as less than friendly. It was the first time he felt the draw of the tides pull him down towards the watery depths and into the desperate unknown.
He was sure that tonight it was his turn.
Mira and SuraAnn stood behind him.
His fist tightened as the slow, steady the moon moved across the water, water so still, so calm.
She called out to the essence of his soul.
He felt a shiver; a footfall had stepped on his grave,
A salty coldness sent an ache through the marrow of his bones.
She was near.
And then, oh so majestically,
Amid the reflection of the ring of candles in the Rockpool,the face of the demanding Moon Goddess settled. It was time.

©️Lorraine Poulter 2016

The Tower of Medreil in paperback format

                                                               ©️Lorraine Poulter 2016

Yoda by Hannah Copyright 2016

©️Hannah Poulter 2016
                       Currently on display at the library in the Ballincollig Resource Centre.

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

The Fed and the Floozy A short story by Hannah Poulter

    This story needs a small introduction. It was written by Hannah in 2015 and was published in "Tales From the White Horse" in November 2015. It is a romantic story which is written using the language of 1906 New York. A glossary will follow at the end of the story. To my mind this is a masterpiece and deserves to be read.

The Fed and the Floozy

The man laughed loudly at a joke that only he had heard. The noise of the busy Fifth Avenue Park suffocating the conversation as he played with his dark brown slicked curls, before buttoning up another jitney button to his grey waistcoat. It was very clear this man was no hillbilly nor a rinky-dink wino. In fact he could easily pass for a hawkshaw or fed in his fancy doodads and his killer ice.

His companion muttered a quick good-bye, as the man took a long drag of his cigar. He was watching a welcher arguing with a loan shark when he saw something that caught his keen eyes. A posh, dolled-up girl walking through in her Sunday Best, and her brown hair done up with a Marcel wave. He watched her intensely as she made her usual journey through the park. She sat sown on a rusted park bench, before taking out of her bag a paperback "Sister Carrie". She flicked through the pages, and began to read.

He stood up then slowly walked over to her and took a seat beside her. She did not notice him as she  was too busy reading this humdinger book:

       "Oh Carrie, Carrie! Oh blind strivings of the human heart! It is when the feet weary and hope seems vain that the heartaches and the longings arise. Know then, that for you is neither surfeit nor content," The man quoted with exaggerated compassion.

The woman looked up startled and impressed. Her approving hazel eyes met with his. For a brief moment she gazed into his emerald eyes before replying. "In your rocking chair, by your window dreaming, shall you long, alone,"

"You have good taste!" He said. "Allow me to introduce myself. I am John Kent, you may have heard of me. After all I am a poet."

"I'm Georgina Mayfield." she replied coolly. "A famous poet? I haven't heard of you."

Not put off by her reply John continued. "Georgina, eh? That's a beautiful name. It's a privilege to meet such a changing peacherino. Makes a nice change from the floozies around here. So today's the 23rd July 1906, how about a date next Thursday, the 26th, then?"

"You may gussy up well, but I don't need you being on the make, I'm not duck soup, so lay off!" Georgina retorted.

He looked taken aback, his face dropped in a false hang-dog expression. "I like you, Georgina, you're too good for this world." John frogged. "I see right through that little act of yours. You pretend you're above the riff-raff and dingbats, yet you're no wisenheimer. You have a fine way with words, in fact you might even make a good author, or poet. Wasted talent."

Georgina gulped, knowing she was treading on thin ice. Her secret could easily be revealed in the bat of an eye if she didn't step carefully. She quickly composed herself and ignored the warning signs rattling around her head. She hoped to quickly to close the curtains on the never ending conversation
©️Hannah Poulter 2015

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Hannah's first drawing of her Fantasy Character Copyright Hannah-Maria Poulter2016

       This handsome chap was Hannah's first drawing of these fantasy creatures. She did this in February of this year. Since then she has done a selection of different ones which will be showcased here over the coming weeks. On the basis of these pictures Hannah has been accepted to attend college to complete her portfolio for art school. I am very proud of her.©️Hannah Poulter2016

The Tower of Medreil ©️Lorraine Poulter Copyright 2016

      This is the cover of my new novella "The Tower of Medreil". (copyright to Lorraine Poulter 2016). A fantasy adventure of the search for the key of time.
     The book was written initially as a short story "The Rockpool", which is actually the first chapter. After reading  "Rockpool" at a then regular writing group I was encouraged to expand and extend it until there are 13 chapters. It is available to download from Kindle and is for sale  as a paperback in numerous shops in and around the County of Cork, Ireland.
A sample chapter to follow soon.

Monday, 16 May 2016

Me and Agatha Raisin

A few years ago I discovered the author M C Beaton and her wonderful creation Agatha Raisin. The early retired PR manager of her own company who sells up and moves to the Cotswolds, where she sets up a detective agency.
I have read nearly all her books and can totally relate to the active 50 something who finds herself still seeking love yet aware that the years are slipping from her.
Agatha's investigations into crimes committed locally are great to read. Her blunderings into finding the culprit, her irritation of the police force.
I love the parts where Agatha finds out she is human, that the experience is too much and she breaks down in private.Often into the arms of the handsome and elusive James.
In the Wellspring of Death she finds herself constantly at loggerheads with the entire village where she is investigating. No one is nice, with no redeeming qualities. However she perseveres. She struggles against the animosity and finds the murderer.
 In a sense the message is clear. Keep looking for the truth. It is out there. It is there to be found.

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Poem by Lorraine Poulter

By Lorraine Poulter Copyright 2015
Published in "Tales From the White Horse" 2015

He looked at me and I felt a memory stir.
I knew that man, smart in his army regalia, a hero.
I knew him of old.
Old as in another place, another time, another war.

What was he doing here?

My stomach lurched as I recalled that day, that war,
When we and a thousand, thousand others stood
   Against the evil that threatened Middle Earth.
We fought side by side, ranks behind and before, and 
   Gave our allegiance to those who would lead us,
To the Wood Elves, to Legolas
To the dwarves, to Gimli,
To those who carried magic at their fingertips, to Gandalf
We came in our thousands in answer to the lighted beacons of Gondor,
We, the unknown, the many.

I looked into the face of this much decorated soldier
    and recalled that day.
When as younger men we served under the leadership of
    Aragorm, the Ranger of Middle Earth, usurped heir to the throne of Gondor.

I recalled that pale youthful face terrified in the face of
     Such vast numbers of Orcs.
And how we trembled at the overwhelming sight of
     Them surging towards us.
Sauron had summoned every foul creature to his side
     And they had answered.

I placed a reassuring hand on his shoulder for the briefest moment.
He neither looked at me nor responded.
His eyes were fixed beyond his bow to the impossible
    numbers who were better trained, better armed, better shielded.
My own fear filled my nostrils and I knew those Orcs
Would thrive on the scent.
We knew we were out numbered many times over.
We knew that on that day we faced certain death.
That same day when the power of wizards diminished
Under the Great Eye of Sauron.
The Great White Wizard rendered powerless without his magic.
Astride his white horse Gandalf rode into the battle as one of us, 
His staff of magic, now a staff of anger.
The battle horn of the Orcs summoned a further advance.
And advance they did.

The air riven with dust, the woodlands bereft of trees, birds long gone.
A sight that haunts my dreams to this day. The swoosh of a thousand arrows released all at once,
Heralding the small hope of the demise of another clutch of Orcs.
The world was filled with the clash of swords, the pained screams of the dying and fallen.

But you, young sir, with your eyes fixed on me in my decrepit old age,
I saw you die.
I saw the sword pierce your heart, and cried out to you as  you fell.
I saw the light of mortality fade from your eyes and watched you fade into nothingness.
Yet, many, many years later, here you stand.
As youthful as they day you died.
Your face shaved and polished, your shoulders proud and straight.
And you are looking at me with the same wonderment in your eyes as I look at you.
Was that the light of recognition in your eye for an old comrade?
Or do I see before me the unlocked memory from centuries past?
Lorraine Poulter Copyrighted 2015


Check out the web page to see some of our work
Check out the web page to see some examples of our writings

Saturday, 14 May 2016


Welcome to the first blog of HanLor Publications. It is a page devoted to displaying creative writing, drawings, art of myself, Lorraine Poulter and Hannah-Maria Poulter. We are a mother and daughter team who love all things creative. And we look forward to showing you examples of our work.