Arabesque Chapter 12

2/16/2017 House of Geekiness 0 Comments

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I will be sharing parts of my writing every week (alternating between Arabesque and Persephone) as I write them (with the exception of some parts of Arabesque, which were written previously), so please be patient with any errors you may find, as these are a first drafts.

About the book

Tatania is tired of living in her sister's shadow but doesn't know about Princess Anna's dark secret. Bound by a sacred oath, Anna's struggles to live a double life that can never be her own. 
Described as "Sense and Sensibility meets Ever After with ninjas," Arabesque is full of action, romance, intrigue, and betrayal.

Since I've always been super paranoid, Arabesque was officially copyrighted in 2009. Duplication or use of this work in any other form is prohibited by law.

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Chapter 12


Ignoring the searing pain in my limp arm, I washed and redressed Henry's wounds. The gash in his leg was the worst. Already oozing puss, the ragged edges were bright red and swollen. If Henry did not get proper treatment soon, the infection spread, and he would eventually succumb to blood poisoning.

I knelt, hunched over his body, stroking his dark blonde hair as I'd dreamed of doing so often before. I sobbed, begging him to stay with me, to guide me as he always did. "Henry, you've always known what to do I help you? If I leave you alone..." I couldn't admit out loud how I was failing him.

I kissed his hand, and held it against my tear wetted cheek. His blazing warmth evaporated the tears. He moaned, and shivered. His breath was labored and his eye lids fluttered with fevered dreams. I helplessly pressed my forehead to his. The comfort of his skin washed over me, as a calming warm bath.

"Henry, please," I whispered. "I cannot lose you like this...with you never knowing." I shuttered. "Henry." I brushed his hair away from his face, caressing it. "I love you, Henry." I kissed his forehead as I'd never before dared.

"Coward!" A voice hissed.

I jumped back and raised Henry's sword. There was no one.

"Anna Niala Ballenden di..."

"No!" I screamed. I didn't know how it was possible, but somehow the voice knew. I could not let that name be spoken aloud.

"You are a craven coward," the voice whispered.

My eyes darted around the abandoned room.

"Like your father," the voice burned in my head. I shook as the room spun.

"He doesn't know your secret," the voice accused. "Your own protector, your confidant. You claim you love him, yet you are too scared to even tell him your true name."

I braced myself on a chair.

"I can't..." I whispered.

"You are too cowardly to tell him of your love until he is too weak to hear your words. Like your father, you lie and manipulate, deceive and use people like pawns on a chess board."

My shaking knees buckled. I shook my head in denial.

"Pretender," the voice chanted. "Liar. Manipulator."

"It is necessary," I whispered hoarsely.

"Ah yes, the excuse of all who deceive. Just as road to hell is paved with good intentions, your lies will be your destruction, this you know. They already tear you apart."

"I have no choice." I fell to my knees.

"There is always a choice," another voice whispered like a soft breeze, barely noticed.

"No, you are a cowardly puppet, thrown into a war you cannot control. You have no choice. You can't win. They make you dance to their tune. You break your bones at their whim, deny your heart at their behest...and in their service, you have broken your own mind."

"There is always a choice," the other voice sang familiarly.

My eyes shot open. This wasn't real, yet it felt as real to me as Henry's touch. I was at war with myself, and in my weakened state, exhausted and overwhelmed, the thoughts I had strived to repress had broken free.

I was a coward. I deceived those I loved. I felt beaten, and helpless, and put upon.

"There is always a choice," the familiar voice rang out. "Even if your only choice is to be happy or sad."

I remembered. It seemed so long ago...Isabel's voice said, "No one can force us to do anything." That was right. I had chosen this life, no one had forced me into it. There is always a choice, but sometimes we don't want to think that because we don't want to face consequences that we don't like. I chose this life because I couldn't bare the alternative, but it was my choice and there was great power in that ownership.

I felt hope. Somehow, we would be alright. I lifted my pounding head, and laid it wearily on Henry's shoulder. It felt like home. I took his hand in mine, and lost the consciousness my broken body and mind had been clinging to.

I awoke in my own room with a start. Where was Henry? My aching body assured me that this was no dream. I tried to sit up and noticed wounds had been bound and tended to.

"Princess Anna," Nora exclaimed, rushing to my side. She peppered me with questions. I assured her I was well, and asked if I could see Henry.

"You won't be leaving that bed for a while, yet, Princess," Nora scolded and walked toward the door. "The king's not accustom to taking orders, but he almost took ill because he wouldn't leave your bedside. He'll have my hide for a rug if I don't tell him you're conscious."

She returned shortly, closing the door behind King Nicolas and General Ashenhurst.

The king's relieved smile shone brightly in his eyes. He held my hand and stroked my hair softly. "Anna, we thought..." he shook his head, relieved.

"Where is Henry? Is he..." I couldn't utter the words.

The king scowled, but did not answer.

"Henry will be fine," the general smiled.

"But how? We were..." I stopped, my head spun.

'We waited hours after you were expected, then left to find you," the general answered.

"It was nearly too late," the king growled, glaring at him.

"But as luck would have it, my boy had that church well stocked. It was just a matter of finding the crate with the medicine you needed. When we found you, you and Henry were both stricken with high fevers and on the brink of blood poisoning."

"Henry is going to be alright," I sighed with relief. The only thing that mattered.

"Not when I'm through with him," the king said darkly. "He was to protect you. He gave us his assurance. I should have prevented this foolish venture..." he ranted.

"Your majesty, Henry saved my life. He couldn't have helped what was my fault. I acted foolishly and caused us to be ambushed by bandits. Henry acted bravely, taking on the whole group together as I cowered. H killed the last fiend after I'd been rendered unconscious. He saved both our lives."

The men looked at me skeptically. "Well, that is most certainly interesting," the king said, eyebrows raised. "That boy claimed that you took on the band single handed, then dragged his useless carcass across the Raleran district to shelter, where you selflessly tended his wounds while you nearly bled out!"

I blushed at Henry's exaggeration. After I had rejected his love, he could have spoken unkindly...I would not have blamed him if he had recited every fault, every mistake that had been made plain that night.

"Perhaps, once they have recovered, we will get a more accurate and unbias account of the matter," said the general.
More coming soon! Read Chapter 13 here or more about my projects here.
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    Save Our Dad: This IS The Update You've Been Looking For

    2/15/2017 House of Geekiness 0 Comments

    I've moved! Read this post and more on my new website.

    August 2016, when we thought we were going to lose Erik's dad, Den
    You're not gonna believe this! I'm still trying to process it...

    About six months ago, we moved our family from Utah to California to Save Our Dad (read about Den's fight against cancer). It didn't look good. In fact, as you can see from the picture above, he looked like death.
    Den snuggling with Kylo (our cat) while Daisy (our dog) demands tummy rubs
    The general advice we were given was to make him comfortable and to say our goodbyes, because once cancer spreads to the bones, you usually have less than a year to live (especially if you're as weak and emaciated as Den had gotten).
    Den, eating his daily Kozy Shack tapioca pudding and snuggling with our cat (Emo Kylo Ren) and our dog (Princess Daisy) while trying to figure out a Wheel of Fortune puzzle.
    With lots of prayers, chemo, puppy and kitty snuggles, and a whole bunch of Kozy Shack and homemade tapioca pudding (thank you for the amazing recipe, Alton Brown!), Cheetos Puffs, and Big Daddy Ice Cream Sandwiches, he got back up to his target weight. And, as we were able to announce in October, the cancer started shrinking.

    I haven't gotten to post many updates this winter because we've been fighting colds and trying to keep Den healthy. A bad bought of bronchitis gave us a scare, but he's finally back up and running, which, in Den's case, means back to playing pool at the senior center. 

    Den's had six rounds of chemo now, and the last PET scan showed the cancer was not only gone from the bones, but that only one cluster of lymph nodes was "active" (suspicious). 
    This was great news! It looked like there was only a small area with cancer still, so the upcoming biopsy would tell us what sort of treatment he needs and we'd plan from there. 
    The biopsy was actually a bit scary, and not only because of his medium risk status for surgeries. If you're squeamish, skip this paragraph. They put a scope/camera down his esophagus, then put a needle through the wall of the esophagus, into the suspicious lymph node to collect the tissue sample.
    Den, in the hospital, after the biopsy
    When the news came, I couldn't stop crying. The biopsy was completely benign. They'll be doing scans every few months to be sure, but for now, Den is cancer-free!!!
    A cancer-free Den!
    Some might be wondering why we're so astonished by this, isn't chemo supposed to get rid of cancer? Well, yes, but not only has this been a very short treatment period, but, aside from a weakened immune system, he had very few side effects from the chemotherapy (he was able to eat the entire time while actually gaining weight, and never once had to be hospitalized, as we were told to expect!) Not only that, with his heart problems and other issues, treatment options were extremely limited. We are so blessed to have been able to get a treatment that was right for him, actually worked, and worked quickly!
    We are so thankful to everyone who has shown so much love and support these last few months. We could not have made it without you! Here's a video message from Den:

    #makingcancersuckless #lymphoma
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      family fun

      An Epic Valentine's Day

      2/15/2017 House of Geekiness 0 Comments

      As far as Valentine's Days go, this one rocked! We started with a wonderful morning at our LDS Temple in Oakland, which is where Erik and I got married fourteen years ago. (Learn more about our temples here.) In fact, it's also where his parents got married and mine too!
      Fountains, bridges, and palm trees lining the courtyard in front of the Oakland Temple
      Any temple is a wonderful place, but this one is extra special to us, and being there just felt right. I always feel so much happier after a visit. The Oakland Temple is one of my favorites because 1. Look at it! I love the Asian inspired design, the gardens, etc.:
      Oakland Temple grounds seen through one of the bridges (Image Source)
      Flowers in bloom on the terrace garden of the Oakland Temple
      2. It's full of memories. Not only did my parents and pretty much Erik's entire family get married there, but...
      Erik sat me down on this bench, overlooking the bay, got down on one knee, and popped the question
      When we were dating, Erik and I spent a lot of time at there doing wonderful work inside the temple, wandering the terrace gardens, and sneaking kisses on the stairs. It's also where Erik proposed to me. 
      Den sat on the bench (pictured above, the bench you can barely see on the lower right corner), and told us how being there reminded him of our wedding, his other son's wedding (they also got married there), and his own. Such a special place!
      That afternoon, we got to set up our Valentine's Day spread. 

      Our poor daughter was really upset this year because it's her last year in elementary school and they wouldn't let her class do Valentines! But she really enjoyed our little party, so we hope that helped a bit.

      My Hallmark Kiss Kiss Bears collection minus the Christmas ones that broke ages ago :(
      We finished off Valentine's Day with homemade Belgian waffles topped with berries and hand-whipped (because I couldn't find the beaters for the mixer—guess what...Erik found them in 2 seconds after he got home! Grrrrr) whipped cream. So good!
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        The Facepalm Project

        2/07/2017 House of Geekiness 2 Comments

        We all have times when we just don't know what to say...all you can do is put your hand over your face—aka the facepalm. But what can you do when people are ridiculous, stupid, or downright rude? 
        Captain Picard Star Trek Patrick Stewart Facepalm
        My amazing grandma taught me that humor can be an incredibly powerful tool in diffusing a stressful situation. From sibling rivalry to arguments with my husband, adding a bit of humor or choosing to see the hilarity in a situation has been a huge help over the years.  Some of my best memories came from fighting with my sister, then suddenly joking together. 
        Calvin and Hobbes Facepalm

        I can't tell you how many times I've seen posts on social media where I just didn't know how to respond. The only reply I could muster was a facepalm. Especially with the political climate lately, I've found the need to express my speechlessness growing. After using the same handful of memes over and over again (no pun intended), I wanted to make it more fun—to branch out. And it became a game.
        Elrond Lord of the Rings Facepalm
        One of my friends, a super funny author named Dennis Gaunt (read more about Dennis and his books here) has at least two posts a day that make me either laugh so much I have to tell someone about it or are so silly (in a fun way) that I HAVE to reply with a relevant facepalm meme. You might be able to imagine what a meme a day is starting to turn into...

        Dr Doctor House M.D. Facepalm
        I didn't realize how much I'd began to rely on my facepalm meme collection until I moved and lost access to my images (which wasn't huge, but, apparently, essential). Thus, The Facepalm Project was born. I've started collecting my favorite facepalm (and related) images for times when you just don't know what to say.
        Star Wars Princess Leia Facepalm
        Ranging from movies, tv, and celebrities to animals and art, this collection is growing.
        Sir Sir Ian McKellen holding a Picard Facepalm sign
        Of course, I had to share my wealth! I hope this collection also helps you find more humor in your life, and maybe even turn a stressful situation into something fun.

        Please enjoy and use wisely. Click here to peruse the entire collection or keep scrolling to see featured highlights of the collection. If you would like to contribute to the collection, leave a comment below.
        Stargate Daniel Jackson facepalm

        Yzma The Emperor's New Groove Facepalm
        Eleventh Doctor Doctor Who facepalm Matt Smith
        General Iroh Avatar the Last Airbender facepalm
        Stephen Colbert Report Triple facepalm gif
        Greuze Girl With a Dead Canary painting facepalm
        Hogan's Heros Shultz, Klink, and Hogan triple facepalm
        Jackie Chan facepalm what?? WHY??
        Lion Facepalm
        Marvel X-men Magneto facepalm gif
        Mulan Disney Princess facepalm
        President Barak Obama facepalm
        Sam Supernatural facepalm
        Scully laughing facepalm X-files
        Sesame Street Burt and Ernie facepalm
        Tommy Lee Jones "Are you serious seriously that stupid?"
        Wonder Woman Facepalm
        Click here to check out the entire collection!
        Read more about my projects here.
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          Disclaimer: All images are property of their respective owners.