Archive | December 28, 2015

The Monarch

She was, above all else, tired.

The rain was coming down again. It seemed like it always rained, these days. The monarch sipped her tea and stared out at the yard, where the ravens were dancing in the downpour. The ravens had always danced there. Soon, her son would visit, and she would have to have a long-postponed conversation with him. She found herself exhausted at the very thought.

It was the reduction that did it. When her children had ruled over the planet and her empire had stretched over continents, she had never felt tired. When the world itself had been much smaller and she’d had only her little island to rule over, she’d never felt tired.

She stood, although the form she was wearing now protested. She had not gotten this old in a very long time. It suited, however; the aging body’s exhaustion matched the tiredness she felt. She felt the rain in her joints and in her soul, and it never stopped raining.

It had been bright and shiny when she was young, shiny and small.

The world had grown, and she had grown with it; her empire had grown, and she had stretched herself over the planet, sending out children, sending out bits of herself to the New World, to India, to Africa, to Australia. Very little of that had come back; she found herself small again, small and old in a huge and juvenile world.

The monarch paced. This was the fortieth form she’d worn as Monarch, and the transitions grew harder every time. More people knew her with this face than had ever known any of her other faces – perhaps more people could recognize this face, this Elizabeth, than had known all of her other monarch faces together. Not just her face, but Charles’ face and mannerisms, and William’s and Harry’s.

She allowed herself a small smile. Leadership changes you. Thus they had been saying for centuries. People would notice that the new King shifted uneasily under the mantle of leadership. They would notice he seemed different – more somber, perhaps, or older. They would make up a story that suited.

The Queen chuckled to herself. There had been the time where they’d said she was a body-snatching demon, and tried to burn her at the stake. That had been awkward, to say the least. It had taken some fast talking and serious footwork to get out of that with a viable heir left to become.

And now… and now… Now she was laying plans and readying herself to move on to a new face, and the rain would not stop coming down. Something was wrong, seriously wrong.

“This is my country, damnit.” The Monarch punched her own leg, sensible frock and varicose veins be damned. “This is mine.” She raised her voice to shout for her secretary. “Anna! Anna, get in here.” The rain had been falling for three weeks straight. It was no more natural than the Monarch’s endless reign was. “We’re going to save my country.” Again.

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Gifts in a Jar: Food

Christmas Food

I mentioned last week that we were going to make Kale & Apple Soup for my mom. It turned out delicious!

We made the following changes:

We started with butter and browned it, then sauteed some mushrooms (baby bellas) in that.

We toasted some cumin, fennel, allspice, and cloves (4 berries, 2 cloves, 1 teas fennel, 1 teas cumin) whole, then ground that up and added it to the butter.

After blending the soup and dividing it between 2 quart mason jars, we sliced a sunchoke and 2 carrots on the bias and sauteed them until they were tender and had some color, then used those as a topping.

Delicious and, well not vegan, def. vegetarian! And using up kale and apples from our garden!

That was Mom; for Capriox & Mr. Cap and a whole passel of co-workers we made Alton Brown’s Hot Cocoa Mix. Like most of these things, good ingredients are key, so we used a nice dark cocoa powder. Following suggestions from other people, we ran everything through the food processor for a bit to get the milk powder down to a much finer consistency, and, because we prefer our cocoa to taste like chocolate and not sugar, we halved the sugar (& skipped the cayenne). We put that in a mason jar, too, quart for Cap and pints/half pints for co-workers, topped or sided with mini-marshmallows and wrapped up with a ribbon so I could tie on an instructions tag.

Mason jars make everything awesome. 🙂 And, strangely, I have a lot of canning supplies in my house…

Next up: seeing if I can turn the tiny mug cakes into a kit/jar mix.

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Discovery, Part Four

Discovery
Discovery Part II
Part III

Captain Titrian and his first mate spent a few moments staring at the ship coming out of the harbor.

It was flying a flag, that much they could tell, and although it was no flag they recognized, Titrian at least had not expected it to be. Over a thousand years had passed; nobody still flew the same flags or bowed to the same kings.

It was also flying pennants in every color known to mankind; it was painted in horizontal stripes of red, blue, and green; its sails were red, blue, green, white, pink, teal, and black. It hurt Titrian’s eyes to look at, but he looked anyway. Because under all that brilliant color was a sleek, pointed ship unlike anything he’d seen before, and he could count, painted to match the stripes on the ship, at least ten cannon.

This gaudy thing was a warship, and it was coming out to meet them.

That itself was cause for alarm.

Standing at the helm of the ship, however, dressed in as many colors as the ship if not more, was a man who looked to be a hundred years old if he was a day, his beard and hair both white and both braided into many tiny strands. In the spy-glass, Titrian noted a crown. He also noted that the man – king, what have you – had dark brown skin and a face far more like the Ideztozhyuh than like Titrian’s own people.

“‘What happened to the lost colony?'” he muttered. It was the question everyone had been asking when this mission left. “Clearly, they were lost.”

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