The panels have all been converted to ComicLife! They have all been uploaded to the website. All 238 of them! I'm a garrulous SOB.
The Enchantress and the Warrior is LIVE! I can now resume the story.
The story is now in one place, instead of scattered all over DeviantArt and somewhat jumbled in a Gallery folder.
To read it, you'll find the link at this site: NJB Media
The above link takes you to a mainstream publisher's website. That site does not contain anything any reasonable person would consider to be pornographic. Unreasonable persons might think a book containing scenes of a woman who has to be examined naked by a physician or whose dress keeps getting torn by monsters and swords to be pornographic, but I really don't care what pathological narcissists think. The link on that page takes you to a completely different site. What happens at that site is none of DeviantArt's business. It is two websites removed. So, the letter of the TOS has been upheld (eat it Purity League).
I will post the next ten to fifteen installments here. At that point, the story will be taken off DA completely. It is at that point that it becomes NSFDA.
Originally, I planned for that moment to be somewhat behind closed doors. It is necessary for the story to develop, but despite my hostility to it, I do respect the TOS. Or I did at the time I wrote out the script (back last July). It's abuse at the hands of Fascists and their personal Petains and Quislings have changed that. Be that as it may. With careful placement of the camera, and use of understated language, it is possible to depict those moments without even touching the TOS. But that is no longer tolerated by the Purity League or their Mod bootlickers. So! I'm taking it permanently to my own site at that point, and I'm going fullbore softcore erotica. There will be genital touching. There will be penetration. There will be sex toys. There will be vocalizations. Okay, so that last one is pure hyperbole. It's written, not recorded.
Oh, NOW you want me to get to work on the story, don't you. Well, remember I said softcore. Hardcore is boring. I said erotica, not pornography. There is a difference, you know.
It is ironic that in their zeal to make the internet a safe space for special sneauxflakes, the Purity League actually did me a favor. They goaded me into setting up my own websites. That, in turn, made the internet a wee bit more dangerous. Anyone can read my stories and see my art now, even folk who would not visit a site with the word Deviant in the name. So, more people will be exposed to the contra-MRA idea that women were not born to be pregnant, barefoot, and in the kitchen, and to the contra--SJW idea that heterosexual sex is not rape. You know, common sense. Thanks, Purity League. Would you like me to save Hot Pockets coupons and send them to you in gratitude?
It's been a while since I spat in the face of the Purity League. All that saliva was building up and had to go somewhere.
All right. I'm taking a well earned breather. For about an hour. Watch. I'll dream about ComicLife and Wordpress tonight.
- Eating: Chicken, broccoli, wild rice casserole.
- Drinking: Ice tea
Meet Miriam Fayne.
Oh, you can't. I've never illustrated her.
Miriam Fayne is a minor character in A Path of Stones, but she is destined for a more prominent role and to become one of Aura’s best friends. She is a fully initiated enchantress, and the handmaiden to Lady Naurelia t’Ardora, First Noble of the Order of Enchanters.
In the five years it took me to finalize A Path of Stones, I never illustrated Miriam. She exists solely in written description.
Your job as a Miriam Fayne ArtJammer is to interpret her based solely upon how I described her in the book. Did I describe her well enough for you to see her in your mind? What you see in your mind is what you should illustrate.
Here is what you have to work with.
Below is the moment Aura first meets Miriam:
Aura thought she was a clothed statue until she moved. The woman wore a tight purple blouse, shoulderless on the right, with a long bell sleeve on the left, and a matching wrap around skirt, tied over the hip on the left, but hanging down to her knee on the right. On her wrists, upper arms, thighs and ankles, the woman wore bands of gold, almost the color of her skin. She was barefoot, her toenails and fingernails painted sky blue. Aura could not tear her eyes off the woman. She looked like liquid bronze, flowing in the afternoon breeze, and her golden hair fell down her back in thick waves. She noticed the full figure, and her impossibly narrow waist flowing into full hips and powerful thighs. The woman's hooked nose and red lips gave her a seductive air. Her eyes looked like topaz, dominating the morning and cutting through Aura's heart with an inscrutable gaze.
Those clothes may be a bit daunting, especially for 3D artists. Not to worry. As befitting the right hand to a noblewoman, Miriam has a whole wardrobe. Usually, she wears an Tangini. That is the Auraverse’s version of a bikini, named for the Tangoi people who wear it as their national garment, when they bother dressing. A Tangini in a two piece outfit and comes in a variety of styles, from what we would find at the beach to a halter top and long loincloth. It can be elaborate or it can be simple. The situation didn’t come up in the book, but for formal occasions, Miriam will wear a gown. Since she is an enchantress, her gown will be rather revealing.
If you prefer a bit more metal, how about Miriam dressed to fight a wraith lion:
Miriam ran out into the lawn, carrying a mass of steel. She now wore bronze scale over her chest and stomach, with a matching skirt, bracers, and boots that ended just underneath the hem. Aura had seen that very armor on illustrations of Aitian warriors in books she read. The bronze armor over her bronze skin gave her the appearance of liquid metal flowing across the grass.
An Aitian is the Auraverse’s version of a Byzantine. It’s Miriam’s nationality.
The passage below gives you insight into Miriam’s personality:
"Come, Mistress!" Miriam said, leading Aura further into the clearing. "Can't you feel it? The freedom! You are one with the world as you should be. The wind caresses your body. The moon and stars seduce you, inviting you for a warm kiss. All you have to do is respond and you will begin to experience the world around you with your heart. You will feel the earth, the trees, the birds."
"What are we going to do?" Aura asked.
Miriam released Aura's hands and said, "We are going to dance!"
"Dance? But there's no music."
Miriam laughed and said, "Open your ears, Mistress. The world is full of music tonight. We have the song of the trees. We have the lyrical voice of the wind. More than that, we have the music of the lute upon which we stand, the earth itself. Who needs a minstrel? He is for a party, for laughter with friends, and telling jokes while we step off reels. Tonight, this is a celebration of life."
Miriam held her arms away from her sides until her hands were even with her shoulders. She dropped her wrists so her fingers pointed toward the ground. She cocked her hip to the side, lifting her knee as she did. Then, she cocked her hip in the other direction, then back. With each step, she increased her speed, until her hips rolled from side to side in a rocking motion. Without stopping her hips, Miriam began shaking her chest, raising and dipping her breasts in the same rhythm, until they shimmied to an unheard beat.
"You're a Mran dancer!" Aura said.
"Beryt," Miriam answered, twirling while continuing to rock her hips and shimmy her chest. "Beryt is the neighboring country to Aitia, after all. This is called ran aqi, or my own form of it. How do you think I keep my figure? I must admit, Lurna is a glorious cook. I try to get Milady to dance, but she refuses. The poor woman gained ten pounds because she can't stay away from Lurna's nut bread." She stopped twirling, and swayed side to side, using her hips as a fulcrum. Her arms flowed in the air like contained water. "Dance, Mistress, dance! It doesn't matter what you do, just dance! Jig, reel, even a tumble. This isn't about form or proper steps. This is about freedom! The more free you allow yourself to become, the more magical you will become. When you yourself are magical, your power flows."
The Miriam Artjam is open to anyone. You may use whatever medium you wish: 3D, hand drawn, digital drawing, Sims, oil paint, whatever works for you. How do you see her? Feel free to interpret her as a portrait, in action, dancing, or however you wish.
As with any artjam, this is for fun. Everyone wins.
The Miriam Artjam will run through March 30. That gives you a month and a half. Barely enough time considering what I threw at you.
Please tag me in the description, and use #MiriamArtJam as a tag so I can find your image and place it in a folder. When the submissions stop arriving, I’ll post them all in a journal entry.
That reminds me, I should gather all the Aura interpretations in a journal entry.
- Drinking: Coffee
I dreamed I was part of a four man secret agent squad. The other three? , , and . Now, given the four of us, it was odd that there wasn't a single pair of fine mammaries in sight. We were all dressed like members of the Kingsmen. Durn, we looked good! Maybe we were Kingsmen. Our mission was to stop a criminal mastermind from launching a missile equipped with an atomic warhead at the heart of London. Shades of the novel version of Moonraker.
We made out way out into the countryside to a small shack. Of course, the inside of the shack was as large and elaborate as any duke's palatial manor. We met no resistance negotiating the maze of corridors until we came to a dead end in a room with an enormous fireplace. Dangerguy lived up to his name and stepped into the fireplace. Looking up into the chimney, he spotted a lever marked with a sign, "Open Door." Of course, he pulled it.
A panel in the wall opened. Someone sang the theme to Scooby Doo as we stepped through. It wasn't me! The corridor led back to the outer wall of a large room. The mastermind's lair! The heart of his evil schemes. The room had four doors. Four doors, four of us. If we each bashed down a door, we had a chance to take out the mastermind and stop the missile. So, we braced ourselves, and ran at the doors shoulders first.
The doors were like those found in a commercial kitchen. They swung both ways, and were not locked. We charged through, howling like banshees, and ended up in the middle of the mastermind's lair before our momentum stopped. Dangerguy and Akizz took out the goons, while Thom went after the mastermind. What did I do? Fascinated with the doors, I batted at it like a cat does at the cabinet door in the bathroom. Then, the mastermind lunged at me from the hall, trying to take me out. Who was the mastermind?
But Thom was too quick for him, and grabbed him from behind in a hammerlock. He shoved Ted into the lair, and we circled around him as Thom pushed him toward a bank of Star Trek type computers.
"How do we stop the launch?" Dangerguy snapped.
"Never!" Ted snarled.
I decided this called for a Captain Kirk maneuver. Shoot the computer. So I pulled a Desert Eagle from my back pocket. This is not your dream! If my dreamwriters want me to pull a Tiger tank from my back pocket, it happens. I aimed a totally overpowered sidearm at the delicate electronics. Just as I cocked it, Ted screamed "No! I'm about to discover a cure for cancer!"
Not believing him, I emptied the clip into the computer. It shorted out in a brilliant display of fireworks. The lair was plunged into darkness. Over a loudspeaker, we heard, "Launch aborted."
Akizz asked, "What kind of cancer cure requires a rocket launch?"
Ted replied, "A satellite to pinpoint global outbreaks?"
At that point, I woke up laughing. It's a wonder I didn't wake up Eowyn. It was just too absurd to go back to sleep. All it needed was the Beatles singing, "Help."
Now, really. If I'm going to dream about anything or anyone related to the world of 3D, why can't it be Aura, Viona, Duster, and me, in a hot tub with no clothes and no small amount of moral turpitude?
- Drinking: Coffee
Aura Lockhaven: www.njbmedia.com
That is Aura's permanent home. It's my publishing house website. Yes, I am a publisher, as I own the ISBNs, and plan to form an LLC. It also covers Valkyria, but she isn't linked to it yet since she doesn't have an actual volume or ISBN. It's the portal for book purchases in all four formats.
My Blog: nboutwell.me
That is the cheesiest and most narcissistic blog name ever! But it's what Wordpress gave me. There, you will find my thoughts about writing and art, as well as news of Aura and Valkyria, and any future projects. Fair warning. You think I'm an opinionated son-of-a-bitch here? Out there, however, I'm involved with professionals, and they make me look tame.
That is the direct link to the Valkyria comic.
Keep your eye on that one. It's the site navigator for all my galleries: Aura Art, Valkyria, Valkyria Shorts, Valkyria Art, and the two main galleries, Fantastical Visions and Beautiful Women. I have a bit of a Boris Vallejo and Frank Cho vibe going with those last two. It's also the portal to The Enchantress and the Warrior, the Aura-Viona crossover. Yes, that series will continue. Once the panels here are converted and uploaded, I will resume. The story is about to enter a rather erotic arc, and I refuse to compromise a story to suit the childish eyes of corporate shareholders and their tools, so I may as well take it offsite permanently. Dandelions will also make a reappearance, and will be linked to that portal page. If The Sarethian Seven make it off the back burner, they will appear there, too.
Really Steamy Stuff: erolair.com
Same name. Nathanomir. Most of what is there is also here. But considering Erolair's no holds barred approach to censorship (i.e., none), I am going to branch out into the full erotic. Softcore. Hardcore is boring. Imagine a high priest and priestess performing the ritual of the Great Rite in a stone circle by firelight. That's the idea. Besides, after what I've seen over there, someone needs to show those kids how it's done. That ain't bragging. That's fact.
I am going to return to my practices of 2016 through mid-2017, and use DeviantArt as a marketing showcase for Aura, as well as my best fantasy work (it is my genre after all). I plan to post three images per month. That is, until DA devolves into nothing but second-rate manga fanart and ads for third-rate Patreon channels, which will probably happen around May. Let's face it. This site is dead. It just doesn't know it yet.
The problem is when I entered the superheroine genre, I let my standards slide. Hell, I threw them out completely. The joke became more important than the art. It used to take a week, sometimes a month, before a scene was good enough for the final render. Now, a quick set, a quick pose, and render. That isn't how it's done! I'm better than that. I got into 3D so I could make images like Frank Frazetta. If I'm going to be anywhere near his level, I have to reimpose my rigourous, almost impossible, standards. That means a drastic reduction in output, but a massive increase in clarity of vision, and hopefully, an equivalent increase in quality. Even with those standards, I can only accomplish about 70% of what I see in my mind. Let's push that to 80%. Beyond that, and I will have to shatter the constraints of purchased items and start my own 3D modelling.
I'll still be around. I have to keep following 's The Journey. It features my main girl, after all. And Viona! And if I can ever get clear of the fog of the brain chemistry inversion that hit last weekend (you should congratulate me for being able to type with this clarity given that I'm in the middle of a severe breakdown), I'll work with Akizz, and on our four-way crossover. Besides, someone needs to smack you around, and it may as well be your favorite unguided missile.
Reckoning is suspended. Frankly, I don't know how to end it. Originally, Aura was going to reduce von Kleinkok to his essence -- a baby holding a snowflake lollipop. Then, I had a change of heart and felt generous. Stephanie was going to come in after Aura beat von Kleinkok to a pulp, and let him see the world through her eyes. He was going to have an awakening to the glory of the senses, followed by a date with Whysper. Now, in the mood I'm in toward DA, I would have Aura do something totally out of character; i.e., cold blooded murder. So, just imagine Reckoning ending the way you wish it to end. Power Platoon is cancelled. I pissed off some of the people who loaned me their characters, so there's no point in working them up. Oh well. C'est la guerre.
All right, guys and gals. See you around.
EDIT: I forgot to mention my plans for the Ashe Girls. Of course, I'll still render them and post their images. But things are on standby at the moment. The comic will continue as planned. It's the one-offs that are in a state of stasis. I'm considering, seriously considering, upgrading Katie, Steph, and Jessie to G3F. The comic will remain G2F. It's just a faster rig for a production comic. For fine art pieces, however, G3F holds the cards. The musculature is superior, bending is exquisite, and the skin textures are the best of the generations. Besides, Katie, Steph, and Jessie all wear G3F costumes and hair anyway. If I do upgrade, it will take time to run the process, tweak the process, make sure they look close enough to the G2Fs to say, yep, it's them, and set up suitable skins. Katie will be fairly easy. It's Steph and Jessie that will be difficult. But Darkhound's system may simplify things. Anyway, nothing new until I make up my mind and see what happens.
That is not a link. It is text. It goes to a page on the website of a mainstream publisher. That site does not in any way host anything that a reasonable person would consider to be pornographic. So, in all ways, the letter of the law has been upheld.
That is the portal to my new comics pages and art galleries.
None of the galleries are hosted on the same server or by the same host as the mainstream publisher. Where the mainstream publisher wishes to link is none of DeviantArt's goddam business.
The galleries are still under development, but as nasty as I am no doubt going to be next week, this is probably your only opportunity to access my realm. I am going to hold my tongue until I finish converting The Enchantress and the Warrior to comic style (today's job). After that ... hell is coming for breakfast.
This content is intended for mature audiences.
or, enter your birth date.*
In honor of her impending return to DeviantArt, Aura Lockhaven sat down with me to be interviewed by you. You asked her fourteen questions; sometimes tough, sometimes intimate, but always interesting. She will answer as best as she can. Aura, is there anything you’d like to say before I open the floor for questions from your friends?
Oh, yes. They are my friends, are they not? Dear friends. I do so apologize for leaving you. I had no idea how much you genuinely loved me and wished me to remain. Your outpouring of support and desire for my return reached my ears and my heart. Thank you so much! It is humbling to think that I’ve touched so many.
My decision to leave DeviantArt seemed like the logical one at the time. This site had become untenable. The Purity League’s scorched earth war raged across our landscape. In my anger at their treatment of you, I sought a better solution. I wanted to retreat to high ground. In retrospect, I do see that it was a rather nearsighted and selfish solution. I was building a castle for protection, when the battle raged elsewhere. Isolationism is nearly as shameful as appeasement. I shan’t leave you again. We will fight the evil tyrants together. Perhaps, we can save DeviantArt. Perhaps, we can simply convince the Purity League to leave us be. Perhaps, we shall all have to retire to our own hill and build our own castle elsewhere. No matter what happens, I shall be there with you. To quote the Prime Minister of my country’s counterpart here on your Earth, “We will never surrender.”
So, good sir. Please do tell the kind folk to ask their questions. But do be forewarned. I am honest, and I do talk quite a bit.
Oh, Viona is such a wonderful girl! She is my, I believe the American term is, bestie. Obviously, we have a great chemistry on the set of our two stories, but off camera, we’re also on very good terms. We shop together, eat together, and drink together. She may be underaged here, but in my time, a fourteen year old was an adult, so she can have all of my ale she wishes. We get quite the kick out of watching the people titter about the way we dress. Especially Viona, with those almost not there metal bits on the tips of her firm, highlifted lovelies, and that quite bared, well rounded arse to die for, and those … Ahem … Excuse me.
I suspect that you mean something a trifle more than how I feel her. I mean, feel about her. Yes, about. Oh, dear. Hmm. Well, I may as well be blunt. Viona’s boyfriend isn’t here, and I don’t have one. Now, mind you, we’re both straight as spears, but I do hope you don’t think two women with our sensualities are simply going to watch reruns of Mr. Bean all night. Besides, we are rather fond of each other. A tryst between two close friends is quite beautiful, would you not agree? This place is small and has only one water closet. We save time and hot water by showering together. Oh, my. When the water flows across Viona’s luscious breasts, and trickles over her firm buttocks, and her full pouty lips are wet, and she looks at me with those big blue eyes full of longing and desire, things happen. Yes. Things. Happen. Um … Ahem. Nathan, would you turn down the air conditioner? Whoo. Next question?
I belong to two magical orders. I am a wizard, although being a woman, the term is wizardess. I am, however, an enchantress, not a sorceress. Let me explain the differences in a walnut shell. A wizardess is a nature magician, working with herbs and crystals. She also has a vast knowledge of lore and wisdom. An enchantress uses her emotions to power her magic. The stronger the emotion, the stronger the spell. A sorceress uses her will, and contacts spirits. Personally, I’m terrified of ghosts, so I would never ask to be apprenticed to a sorcerer! I was trained by a magician who was both wizard and enchanter, so he trained me in both forms of magic. He thought it would make me more flexible and employable. So, joining both orders was a natural fit for me. These days, I think of myself as primarily an enchantress.
As for your second question, why choose? I’m good friends with Viona and Duster, and we have a marvelous time together. I have just met Scarlet Gravity and Sky Belle. They are delightful, and it is wonderful to talk to two women with accents similar to my own. Now, I don’t feel like such a misfit in this house full of rebellious colonials. It seems to me that five women of our capabilities, causing mischief in town, would be an absolute blast. I can’t fly, so we either take a cab, or one of them carries me. I can’t drive in the States. The steering wheel is on the wrong side of the auto. No wonder the Yanks have so many traffic accidents! As for a romantic date, again, why choose? As I stated, I am straight, but I’m also unattached. So, I’d dearly love to go out with each one, just the two of us, and get to know each other by candlelight. Can we not share our hearts with each other? If something happens afterwards, something happens afterwards. We’re all adults. Although, to be honest, I suspect that Scarlet Gravity, being older and English … Oh, merciful heavens! Can you imagine two redheaded English women in the same bed? Um, excuse me. I need to take a quick, cold shower.
Oh, that is rather a conundrum, isn’t it, Milord? May I call you Milord? No, Milord, I don’t have any plans for that. Sometimes, my plans are out of my hands, however. I wouldn’t mind at all, but there are certain physical obstacles in my way. First, I actually live in what you call an alternative dimension, another Earth. Your England is my Ayrdland, except we didn’t have any Normans. Also, I live 1,000 years ago. It sounds so peculiar to use the present tense to describe the past, doesn’t it? I suppose my ghost could come haunt you. Now, Nathan and Akizz found ways to get around that, so I presume any of the good villainous types here could find their way to Ayrdland, or I could once again be the victim of a spell gone awry and end up here.
Then, there is the matter of being a spellcaster. Pitting me against a supervillain is like asking a fencing master to fight a heavyweight boxer. Neither of us would know what to do. We would have the advantage over each other, but not in a fair manner. Do you have villains who are spellcasters? That could be an interesting donnybrook. Wait, sir. Nathan is sitting in his chair, cackling like a Siamese cat who has ingested henbane. That is never propitious. Please pardon me, Milord. I need to give the old boy a good comeuppance.
I’m not sure I understand the question. Tools I use to teach others, or ceremonial tools. Sorry? My favorite “dildo?” What is a “dildo?” Is that Bilbo Baggins’ brother? Oh, a magic wand, and not the type carved from wood to direct a spell. Well, as you well know by now, I am an unattached woman. I am also highly sensual and passionate. I do so need a lover! So, I have an entire chest full of magic wands, of different shapes and sizes, and carved for me from different crystals. Which one is my favorite depends on its use. I use them for three basic purposes. The first is personal, to satisfy that great ache that a lover should fill. The second is ceremonial, to raise energy for a spell. Sexual energy is the most powerful of all. The third is to restore my personal power quickly. That’s an enchantress’ secret weapon.
For the first purpose, I prefer a rose quartz wand the size of a man’s built in magic wand. If it is late at night, I use the amethyst wand. It’s a stone of peace, and I sleep well. For the second purpose, I prefer the orange calcite wand. It’s a good six inches in circumference. Although, the black onyx one shaped like a pear is also efficient. For the final purpose, I always use the eight inch long and eight inch in circumference sunstone wand. It’s a passion stone, although better suited for someone else’s hand, if you understand my meaning. When I use it, I quickly … Nathan, what is the modern term for what I call the loss of breath in bed? Come? What do you mean, come? I haven’t gone anywhere. How can I come if I haven’t departed? We’re discussing tools for bedpleasure, not travel. You 21st Century Americans, I swear! Anyway, I do believe you understand that the sunstone wand works rather quickly. I have one I dare not use. Not only is it the largest, but it’s ruby. That is a pure lust stone. If I used it, I should have to stagger into town and ask the first twenty men I met to bed me right then and right there. Oh, merciful heavens! I’ve worked myself into quite the lather. ‘Tis time for another cold shower. Now, where is that Scarlet Gravity?
Well, I can’t answer that with any genuine accuracy, but I can tell you what I’ve heard about the Magic Bus through the esoteric grapevine. You know how rumors are, but everything I’ve heard bears an uncanny similarity, which is only possible if it is founded somewhat upon the truth. Now, this is what Sabrina told me, and it corroborates what Samantha said, and it is quite the same as what I heard from Willow, and she heard it from Hermione, not Melisandre. So. It would appear that the Who’s favorite groupies at that time were all Gardnerian Wiccans, trained and initiated by Gerald Gardner himself just before he died. That is rather impressive, isn’t it? That means, those women knew some powerful shite. While the bus wasn’t magical in the truest sense of the word, as in it could not fly, it was most definitely charmed by those four ladies. As you can imagine, those charms affected the band. So, Pete Townshend could see for miles. Roger Daltry drove, and he never ran off the road into any teenage wasteland. Both may have had difficulty getting around, especially when attempting a quick one, but they always had a sell out. John Entwistle was never fooled again, not behind blue eyes, at least that’s what Sabrina said. Samantha told me that the charm didn’t work on John’s pet Boris, however. That poor spider always lived between heaven and hell. Now, according to Willow, Keith Moon became quite the philosopher, embarking as a seeker and substitute pinball wizard. Of course, they all received tattoos. Sabrina said that those kids were all right. As for the bus itself, it was a VW microbus, painted by numbers. So. Who’s next?
Oh, that’s easy. It’s the Real Estate Spell. It was created by my good friends, Karyn and Karyl Kriger. Now, you’ve no doubt watched Dr. Who. You remember how the TARDIS is bigger on the inside? Well, the Real Estate Spell does the exact same thing, except through magic instead of science. It can transform a small apartment into a mansion on the inside, without changing the external appearance. It works on purses, too. Unfortunately, I cannot fathom how to cast it. Believe me, dear. I’ve tried!
I suppose of the spells I can cast, it would be the series known as Tonic Spells. Those are designed to temporarily combat negative emotions. If someone is feeling fretful, I cast courage. If someone feels grief, I cast happiness. If someone feels anxious, I cast peace. They are a wee bit manipulative, but I see them as allowing the other person room to think. They’re not unlike a few tankards of ale.
FD Comics asks, Given your personal philosophy of defending the defenseless, helping the helpless, and giving hope to the hopeless, what's the furthest you've gone down the road of vengeance to anyone who has harmed the defenseless, helpless, and hopeless?
Oh, my. That is a rather deep question. I can only answer so much without revealing … Nathan calls them spoilers. I’m not sure why. The daft boy does have a refrigerator. Well, I can tell you a few. It is embarrassing to admit that I succumb to the desire for vengeance and vindication, as both are violations of my oaths. But at the end of the day, I am only human. Perhaps our oaths remind us that we are human and should try harder to be better. Anyway.
I did meet my uncle face-to-face. It was all I could do to not hit the miser in the face with my full strength. Believe me, such a punch would have broken his jaw. I wanted him to feel pain, far more pain than any spell would have inflicted upon him. That was vengeance for myself. I’m above that, at least I like to think so.
Another time I walked that road was with a man named Reggie. He had been one of the boys who tormented me when I lived as an urchin in an alley. He called me “Snake Eyes.” Well, he had just beaten his wife nearly to death. She was also with his child. I reached her in time to heal her and save her baby. The constable couldn’t arrest Reggie for murder, as his wife was no longer in jeopardy, and there are no laws against a man beating his wife. If Reggie beat her before, he would certainly do so again. What should we expect from a bugger … please pardon me … cad whose father was a notorious highwayman. So, I took matters into my own weak hands. I threatened to burn him alive in a pile of horse dung. And I suppose I would have, too, but he agreed to my terms to change his miserable ways and be a decent husband, father, and citizen.
Trust me, dear poppet. When I return from holiday, I shall have a few choice words to say to the Purity League on behalf of the defenseless they have harmed. Some of my words shall be in the form of incantations. They shan’t like it, not one bit.
Lady Quantum asks, My question for you has to do with your choice of being a nudist. With your background being what it is (from what I've seen/read) clothing, shelter, food, (and drink) and the ability to remain warm and comfortable, I would think them to be important things for you. Is there more to the story of Aura Lockhaven that makes it to where she realizes that those things don't matter as long as she can help people? A moment when that realization hit perhaps? An epiphany that drew her down the path of Enchantress and into heroism?
Nathan didn’t tell me he had so many friends who were nobility. May I call you Milady? Well, the answer has many small answers. When I was an urchin living in an alley, nothing was more important to me than food and clothing, unless it was avoiding randy boatmen as I grew older. My master, Sagacius the Wizard, changed that the day he found me. He introduced me to new concepts and realities. It isn’t so much that clothing isn’t important. It is, but for different reasons now. My choice to be nude, or skyclad as I call it, also has several reasons. First, it’s practical. Cloth absorbs magical energy. The more cloth I wear, the weaker my spells. Naturally, my country has laws regarding exposure of human skin, so I wear what I must. What I do wear is actually the native garb of my mother’s people. That is the second reason. I am Ayrdish, but my mother was Coadic. I believe the equivalent in your world is Welsh. They are almost nude all the time, except in winter. They believe the human body is an art form and beautiful. Covering it denies its glory. The more I learned about my mother, the closer I felt to her people. That brings me to the third reason, Milady. My faith. I’m what you call a Pagan. I have sixteen gods and goddesses, all of magic and forests. None of them wear much, if anything. I celebrate them by being in the same state. When I am able, that is. Now, the reason clothing is important is I just adore the way it feels! Suede is especially inviting to the touch. As for food and drink, erm, I’ve been told that I eat and drink too much. I’m not sure if that’s the result of having been an urchin, or that it just tastes so wonderful that I can’t stop.
I’m afraid I am a bit long winded, Milady. However, your question requires more of an answer. There wasn’t an epiphany, not that I recall. Perhaps this would qualify. When I was cast out by my uncle, I realized, as much as a ten-year-old whose world has been turned inside out can, that I had a decision to make. I could surrender to the hate and bitterness that wanted to consume me. Or, I could fight it. I chose to fight it and my sword was love. Over the course of two years, love became a part of me, my dream to defend the defenseless, help the helpless, and give hope to the hopeless. Who feels more defenseless, helpless, or hopeless than a homeless orphan? Sagacius offered me the path of a wizardess, the chance to put power behind my dream. For me to achieve that power, I had to forgive those who ignored me and hurt me in the past. As for becoming an enchantress, they came to me. I thought the Order of Enchanters had died out. It seems they knew about me for a decade, and issued an offer to join them. I visited their capital. While I found the Order to be anything but enchanting, I did realize that learning to harness my feelings would give me more power to help more people without endangering my life. At this point in my life, it feels as if I was born to be an enchantress. It may be destiny, or what Nathan calls the right combination of jean attics. That has something to do with my parents, although it sounds like a place to hang denim trousers to me.
The drinking games in my world are similar to your own, but our ale and beer are three times as strong. One of my favorite is a tavern game called, “Stump the Bard.” We in the audience shout out a sentence, and the bard must make up a stanza on the spot, without ceasing to play his lute or flubbing the rhyme. The more bizarre the sentence, the better the game. Then, we shout out another. When he is successful, we must drink a pint. If he fails, he drinks a pint. No one loses, but it’s awfully fun to play that game with a less than talented bard and see what he sings after losing five times in a row. Here in your world, Miss Katie Ashe introduced me to a drinking game called “Lord of the Beer.” We watched Lord of the Rings, extended version mind you, and every time someone said “ring” we had to drink a pint. I thought I could outlast Katie. It turns out her body’s ability to heal itself keeps her from staying drunk for more than fifteen minutes. I lost. Let’s just say I’m still washing the dishes.
A Bashful One asks, You find yourself in the world of Game of Thrones. You are between the Army of the Dead, and combined forces of Daenerys Targaryen & Jon Snow. What do you do? (Bonus question ... Who do you celebrate victory with?)
Oh, what a fun question. I would join Queen Daenarys and Lord Snow, or is he Lord Stark now? King Jon? They are the side of good, and they do make a charming couple. Lord Snow could use a magical counselor. His is rather, shall I say, not too trustworthy. Her Grace may find my knowledge of dragons helpful, not that a Targaryen needs help in that department. I am a healer, and they will no doubt be requiring the services of a battlefield medic in the not-too-distant future. As for whom I celebrate victory with? That is easy. Lord Lannister! He reads and he drinks. What more do I need to know? We’d have a smashing good time trying to vie for our own victory at the tavern. To refer back to the previous question, it would be awfully fun to engage in a drinking game with him. We watch Game of Thrones, the entire series, and every time someone dies, we have to down a pint. Do you think we’d survive the first episode even remotely sober?
Oh, merciful heavens! What a difficult decision. Hmm. Dashing, bold, and curious, or intelligent, polite, and a great leader? Well, Captain Kirk was the more adventurous, but Captain Picard was the much better captain. Oh, I don’t know. I think I have to choose Captain Kirk. I have a soft spot for a dangerous man, and if he tried to seduce me, well! On the other hand, Captain Picard is French, and has a lovely accent. He makes bald sexy, do you not agree? Oh, decisions, decisions. Yes. I believe Captain Kirk. I’m going to be in a wee spot of trouble, aren’t I?
Fair greetings, Doctor. Oh, yes. Constant magic use definitely has a side effect. It exhausts me. It exhausts any spellcaster. Magic is empowered by many things, but essentially all are concentrated forms of the spellcaster’s personal energy, his or her life force. We only have so much. Using it in such a tangible form exhausts it far more quickly than chopping wood or clearing a field. How fast depends on the type of spell. Smaller spells just leave me tired and right peckish. Nothing a good meal and a nap won’t restore. The intensive spells, such as healing and dueling, will leave me totally emptied. Often, I have to sleep an entire day afterwards. It is possible to cast so many healing or dueling spells that I completely empty myself, and my heart fails. I’ve come close several times. As for a hangover, it’s more a physical one from my restorative processes: eating too much, sleeping too much, drinking too much, or as I stated earlier, using that sunstone wand.
Let me begin by describing my world. My oven is a fireplace. My refrigerator is a cellar. If I want to preserve meat, I have to smoke it. If I want to hear music, I either play the fiddle myself, or go to a tavern. I read by candlelight. I wake up when the rooster crows, which is around sunrise, because the old beast won’t shut up. I heat, read, and cook by fire. If I don’t chop the wood and buy the candles, none of that happens. I walk everywhere, or ride a horse. For long distance trips, I’m at the mercy of a coach. It’s a hot, dusty wooden box suspended by leather straps on wooden wheels. They always make my back hurt. Now, I do have conveniences in my home that most don’t. My master left me his house. He was an inventor, and built an indoor cistern. That’s my version of a sink. He built a shower behind the house. It’s a large barrel that catches rain water and I bathe underneath it. It’s cold water, I tell you.
The marvels you have! These little lightning balls that permit you to read all night. I love those! Your heaters are magnificent, but I think I like your air conditioning better. It’s easy for me to keep warm in winter, but not so easy to keep cool in summer. Not here! Hot water. A hot shower! That alone is worth living in the 21st Century. Your refrigerator is magnificent, but these Americans like their ale way too cold. I’m still not accustomed to the painting on the wall that moves and talks to me. Your telly. I fell in love with your horseless carriage, your automobile. When I’m in Britain, I can drive, although perhaps I shouldn’t. It is so amazing to me that you can travel a distance in two hours that would take me two days by horse. How wonderful! I won’t get on an aeroplane! They’re terrifying. And these little tiles that … What do you call it? A phone? You can talk to someone over great distances. I have something similar back home, but it’s a gazing ball. Only spellcasters have them, and they only transmit the voice. Here, everyone has one. I suppose all of you are magicians somehow. The things you can do! You can sit in Dallas, and read a book in Oxford, look at art in the Louvre, talk with a friend in Tokyo, correspond with a colleague in Nairobi, and receive a portrait from a suitor in Buenos Aires. That is pure magic. I’m accustomed to these marvels now, but every morning when I wake up, I spend about half an hour staring at them in total amazement.
Some things I’ll never get used to. For instance, not being able to see the stars at night. That’s awful! Your buildings that touch the sky house more people than many of my towns. How do you do that. The lift! Every time I’m in one, I want to vomit when it moves. And your methods of warfare. In my time, a man must look a man in the eyes when he kills him. Here, you can destroy his entire city without ever seeing it. You’ve made war clean. It should never be clean. It should always be bloody and messy. Otherwise, you won’t fear it. That’s just my two farthings on the subject.
Is that with or without my “educational tools,” sir? Well, I’m not sure exactly. I haven’t kept track. Do you mean practically? You’d have to ask my father how many times he changed my diaper and my sister how many times she bathed me, but you can’t. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been injured and required the services of a healer. Every time meant removing what remained of my clothes, or more likely, having the shredded rags cut from my body. Of course, back home, we all swim naked, but no one notices. It’s expected. The population of my town is 1,000, and they’ve all had a dip in the River Gourdvine, so perhaps all of them. I’m not sure. Do you mean lovers? I can count them. Seven. Perhaps you mean in rituals? Erm … I’ve been to so many, some with up to twenty-five in attendance, but none of us pay attention.
I’d say not nearly as many people have seen me skyclad as may wish, apparently. That’s based upon something Nathan calls a “pole result.” Maypole, perhaps? Another type of pole? Hmm? You naughty people! I love you! When I return, I simply must sit for more skyclad portraits. Perhaps even a few more “painted on” body suits. Speaking of seeing me skyclad, I best go see what Viona is doing. Oh, speaking of naughty!
Aura will be preoccupied for some time, so this concludes her interview. She extends her gratitude to all who asked questions and to all who read her little blabbering.