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Dulcet’s Hammers

Last Updated on August 8, 2022 by stormvisions
This is another fragment and not polished. It features Dulcet. She is a ‘gutter smith’ with hidden depths and strength she has yet to discover. Her father once had great talent but has been bent by life and drug use into a bitter self-loathing man. He is abusive towards Dulcet which makes her own struggles that much more difficult.
It is said, in Duaren lore, that when Fulkan forged the world, his twin hammers of light and darkness beat the iron at the center of all things. Each blow drew forth a note. Each note became a living thing. All that are, that were, or ever will be, are counterpoints in an eternal symphony just beyond the ken of mortals. Yet there are some who through suffering, diligence or some divine virtue have ears pressed tight against the veil. They hear more than the single ping of their existence and from among these few may rise one who can alter the arrangement of that transcendent music unto salvation, or utter destruction. History of the Daughters of Alfhira, The Third Age, Vol 1

Dulcet swung tirelessly, the muscles of arms and shoulders rippling as she drew music from the anvil with each blow. She worked steadily to to curve the hot metal into it’s intended shape. Sweat slid down her neck revealing fair skin beneath the soot. She laid down the hammer and stared at the small split head shovel with a critical eye. The curved part at the fore that would pin down a spiker-clam’s neck wasn’t perfect but it was pretty darn close. She felt a flush and looked around quickly to make sure nobody saw the big goofy smile she was surely wearing. I’m getting better.

In Illia, where the guild was strong, she would not have been able to work without an apprenticeship. Here in Hemmer, the largest of the five Islands of Farish and nearly two thousand leagues from Illia, unlettered craftsmen and merchants were tolerated as long as they did not directly compete with the letter holding members of a guild.

It wasn’t easy making a living amidst the squirming maze of streets between the harbor and the salt mire. Unlike those who lived on the hill, people here scrabbled and scrimped to survive. Many would never have the money to purchase guild services. So they made, or stole or traded for castoff items gleaned from the dumps. Most simply would do without. Dulcet’s growing skill had started to bring people in for simple utilitarian work and repairs and she was beginning to hope things would change for the better. She just wished she had access to more metal. Scrap and bog iron were plentiful enough to allow her to make small items, and effect repairs, but not enough to do anything bigger.

She shook her head at her worrying. A few months ago she was struggling to get enough to eat. Now she had a bag with some coin hidden in the rafters, and a few items she’d earned in trade which she could use or sell. The shovel blade and the pair of hinges she’d repaired for the tavern would net a few more coins. She’d deliver them and pick up a little food. Maybe get a couple of those dried sausages her father liked…

Her father.

She wouldn’t ruin this day by thinking about him. She grabbed his old jacket. The sleeves crudely hemmed to fit her shorter arms but the shoulders were broad enough and she had sewn two straps to the sides which allowed her to belt it at the waist. It was an ugly thing. Still, it was warm and it allowed her to hide her unusually muscular arms and the old scars and burns left by her work. She slid her finished metal work into an old carrying harnesses, one that Tebo had outgrown and given to her, then lifted it onto her back. The weight pressing down on the bruises on her back, caused only slight discomfort. Despite her intentions to avoid thinking about her father, Dulcet recalled his rage when she told him she had no coin. His addiction to glim had made him unpredictable. He had struck her repeatedly with a broom handle until it broke on her back then looked up with the splintered end gripped in his hand. Surprise filled his face, then self-loathing as he saw the unshed tears in his daughter’s eyes. He’d dropped the wood as if it were a piece hot iron, grabbed an old hammer, and run out into the street. She knew he’d try to sell the hammer but didn’t care anymore. After he left, she’d burned the remnants of the broom, and with no one to witness, sobbed quietly.

Dulcet sighed as she let go of the memory, then stepped onto the street. Her breath puffed out in tiny swirling clouds. She slid her calloused hands into her pockets. With her head down, and walking as fast as she could. She angled towards the market area near the docks, picking a route that would allow her to avoid as many people as possible. She’d learned to be cautious. But she did have a few friends. Without meaning to she angled her path towards the harbor. I wonder if Tebo is at the market, she felt the flush rise to her cheeks at the thought. Slag! She hoped the cold would mask the red flush before she got there – though Tebo probably wouldn’t even notice. He was as dense as a kley sometimes. A cute kley… she thought as she stepped over an icy puddle. A sudden shiver, unrelated to the cold, coursed up her spine as she thought of the mindless monstrosities that had once been men. No such thing as a cute kley.

Dulcet stepped past a section of fused rocks, the bones of an ancient city beneath her feet, and quickened her pace into the market.

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Aqua de Jamaica

Last Updated on July 4, 2022 by stormvisions

This is a Mexican drink made from deep red hibiscus flowers. A little of the Jamaica flowers goes a long way so this is a fairly inexpensive drink – you can make gallons of this from one bag of Jamaica flowers. You can find alternative recipes on the internet this isn’t a set in stone recipe. My goal is to use some of our immunity boosting / cancer fighting ingredients so I modify it to include as many as possible.

Power-up tip: In Spanish Jamaica is pronounced ‘hah-my-kah’

4 quarts water
Raw honey
2-3 cups Jamaica flowers
2 or more cinnamon sticks – I also have used powder but buy a good brand for potency
Ginger – I mash several pieces
Allspice – I use a teaspoon or two of powder
Cloves – I use 3/4 teaspoon whole cloves or powder
Orange (I have also tried apple slices or pineapple instead of orange all work)


I use a covered pot and put in all the ingredients except for the honey, orange, apple and/or pineapple slices. I don’t boil the water just cook them on low heat for 45 minutes or so. I don’t want to risk excessive heat breaking down any of the ‘good stuff’ since my main purpose is not to make a refreshment but to load up my body with anti-cancer ammunition.

I usually do all of this before bed and let it sit all night, then strain it the next morning. By that time it looks like deep purple dye. Finally I add my apple, orange and/or pineapple slices and adjust with raw honey as needed.

Note: it’s best not to go overboard with the honey if you’ll be drinking this multiple times per day especially if you have diabetes or other health issues.

Then I fill a large insulated beverage container with ice and the magic purple potion and I try to drink a glass at least once per hour throughout my workday.

Jamaica (Hibiscus sabdariffa aka Roselle) is a sort of tropical hibiscus. It is not the same as Hibiscus rosa-sinesis which most people are familiar with though they are related and Hibiscus rosa-sinesis also provides health benefits. This page which show you how to identify the differences. Hibiscus vs Roselle: How to Tell the Differences

Related: Healthy Foods, Cancer & Immunity Boosting

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I’ve Got A Towel in My Pants & I’m Not Afraid to Use It!

Last Updated on July 2, 2022 by stormvisions

Getting old can bring with it wisdom, an ability to deal with difficult circumstances and a greater appreciation of the the value of human life.

It can also bring with it a lot of ‘uh-oh’ moments that hopefully are not captured by someone with a YouTube account and a large following.

I had one of those moments this week. Rather than hide it and hope nobody finds out, I figured I’d share. Laughing feels good.

I was at the oncologist laying on my back while a machine beamed radiation into my body in an effort to kill the cancer. I had to pull down my shorts to expose the area from my stomach to about half of my private parts. The technicians and nurses lay a towel across the area for which I am grateful. I feel a little vulnerable with people in the room, staring at intimate portions of my ageing anatomy despite understanding that it is necessary.

It goes fast, and everyone is kind. They know me by name. We talk a little before and after about common things. Still I pull my pants up as quickly as I can while trying to hide my discomfort. I’m sure they know but we tacitly agree it didn’t happen.

I am relieved and stop by Albertson’s to pick up some groceries on my way home. I look down and see a white square hanging from the left leg of my shorts. I assume it is my long underwear – the elastic is a bit worn. I look around to make sure there are no witnesses and pull up on the waistband but instead of disappearing up my short’s leg the square is now a rectangle. Confused I decide the white fabric waving like a parley flag from my leg must be a broken pocket. I stick my hand in my pocket, intent on pulling up the torn edge so it is out of view, but the pocket is intact.

And then it dawns on me.

In my haste to pull up my pants after my treatment I pushed the towel that covered me INTO MY SHORTS! Well what could I do? I now had about a foot of white towel hanging from my leg. I proceeded to pull and roll it as quickly as I could and stuck the resultant melon-sized bundle in the trash can. I didn’t look up but definitely heard snickering as I headed down the aisle to get some yogurt.

The next day when I went for another dose of radiation I confessed to inadvertently stealing a towel and when I told the story we all had a good laugh.