A post-Christmas post of ramblings

I should have realized how much Cat’s Forest would take over when I decided to post it almost everyday, in the busiest month of the year.  But I of course I didn’t.  Anyway, I didn’t post about Christmas much, except for my story.  I might do some deeper Christmas posts now, after the fact; but I think this was mostly a year of Catania, and that’s okay.

In the meantime, you should read this post that a fellow blogger of mine posted yesterday:

He’s Here: The Christ Candle ~ Ramblings of a Writer

This authoress has mastered the art of word-craft, and this post is simply beautiful.  The peaceful flow of the words is pleasant and calming, and it paints a crystal clear picture of the starry nightfall of the first Christmas.  You should read it.


Hopping down an unrelated bunny-trail, do y’all know about the whole “elf on a shelf” thing?  Well, my Mother found this, and I couldn’t help but share it:

So awesome, I really have no words.  I lost Santa elves about the time I found Middle Earth. 🙂

Merry Christmas, readers!!  Thanks for reading my rambles.

Catania’s Forest ~ Part Sixteen

I cannot believe this is the last part!  I had misgivings about posting this story, and I probably would have given up writing it if it weren’t for you guys.  But I’m glad I posted it, and I hope it blessed you.

I tried (without success) to make these last parts shorter, but looking back, I’m glad you get all of this at once.

I’m hoping to post a Behind-the-Scenes sometime after the new year.

Catania’s Forest: The Little Drummer-boy in Narnia ~ Part Sixteen


Lythia looked up at Catania and smiled. The firelight gleamed in her chestnut eyes, shining under the shadow of the brown hood that covered her hair.

“Greetings, Cat.”

Catania felt she should kneel, but somehow she could not. She could never have explained why she was suddenly frightened, but fear tightened on her heart and she trembled.

“I don’t understand,” she said softly.

I do not understand fully yet,” Lythia answered.

“But. . .” Catania stopped. She took a step nearer, cautious as a wary doe. She looked down at the tiny, pink face nestled against Lythia’s faded red kirtle. The sight made her breath catch in her throat. How many years has it been since I saw a child?

“Is he here to deliver us from the humans?” she whispered.

Continue reading Catania’s Forest ~ Part Sixteen

Catania’s Forest ~ Part Fifteen

Catania’s Forest: The Little Drummer-boy in Narnia ~ Part Fifteen


“Can you point me back to the city?” Jéru asked. “I don’t know which way’s east anymore.”

“You shouldn’t have come out here,” Catania said. “You could have lost yourself, or been attacked by something. You’re unarmed.”

“I had to tell you, Tanya,” he said seriously. His faced darkened then. “Which way’s east?”

Catania pointed, and watched as he swung himself out of the ditch–as easily as only an elf could–and made off through the forest. Catania pulled herself up onto one of the great, gnarled roots of her tree and sat there looking out at the palely lit forest.

Her thoughts were muddled. She suddenly realized her heart was pounding. I have to see. She knew it was the only way to calm her fears and find peace in her shocked mind. She slipped inside her cave again and snatched her bow and quiver, tugged on her bracers, and secured her makeshift shoes. North of the city gates, she told herself as pulled her door shut and scrambled out of the trench. The forest looked so different by this light that she stood still a moment to get her bearings. She glanced upwards, searching for the moon, but the leafy canopy masked it.

Continue reading Catania’s Forest ~ Part Fifteen

Catania’s Forest ~ Part Fourteen

Yesterday was one of the few days I didn’t need to post Cat’s Forest, so I thought I would post something else, but we were too busy,

I went to see Rogue One with some of my awesome people yesterday morning!  It’s a pretty intense movie, but still very good.  (First Star Wars to make me cry–congratulations, Rogue One.)  I had formed very great expectations (pun not intended) from the reviews I heard, and it did not disappoint!

Anyway, I’m super excited we got to this part.  In a way, it marks the beginning of the end.  (Which means Christmas is this week–how even?  I know everyone’s saying it, but how did Christmas get here so fast?)  It’s also. . . long.  As in, over a page. *cringe*  The parts just started getting longer and longer at this point, and there was never a place to break them up.  So here we are.  Consistency in length is something I’ve always been bad at.

Catania’s Forest: The Little Drummer-boy in Narnia ~ Part Fourteen


Catania awoke, and found everything about her dark. She sat up hazily, feeling strangely as if some sound had wakened her. She reached out and felt the heather beneath her, and touched her painfully dry eyes. She was still in her tunic and belt. She could not remember falling asleep, and she wondered what time it was. 

She thought it must be near midnight. No crack of sunlight seeped through any crevice around her door.


She froze as the faint voice hollered her name again. Slowly she reached out in the dark and grasped her bow.


She racked her brain, trying to place the voice. It was familiar. . . Jéru? What ever is he doing here? Her heart skipped a beat as the thought flashed across her mind: He is running away. He’s running at last, and he wants me to help him! What is to be done?

Jéru didn’t know where to find her, did he? If she kept quiet, he would never know she had ever heard him. Lord Nightseer was known for his pride and cruelty–he would hunt down escaped slaves. Catania knew all the risks. For a moment she sat still, torn between hiding in silence and going out. For an instant she wavered. Then she crawled forward, cracked open her hidden door, and slipped outside.

Continue reading Catania’s Forest ~ Part Fourteen

Catania’s Forest ~ Part Thirteen

Catania’s Forest: The Little Drummer-boy in Narnia ~ Part Thirteen


Catania felt herself trembling as she leaned back against a tree, clinging to her bow. She didn’t kill rational creatures. She had never shot one before. She felt sick.

She tried to suppress her raspy breaths. Tyre stood panting a little, his sharp eyes scanning the forest. She saw them roam bootlessly through the trees, before recognition spread across his face. Curse her hair! He had seen her. Why did she have to be an elf?


His voice held no gratitude or fear. In fact, it was even more intimidating and commanding than usual. If he knew she was thinking how much she envied a certain human’s dark brown hair, he would be more terrible still, she knew. She could probably lose him in the forest if she darted away, but she stepped forward out of the familiar embrace of the trees, driven by the same vague impulse that had forced her trembling hands to bend her bow.

Continue reading Catania’s Forest ~ Part Thirteen

Catania’s Forest ~ Part Twelve

So. . . I’m not dropping you on that cliffhanger very long.  Not so much because I’m nice, but because we’re crunched on time. 😉  Anyway, Part 12.  Enjoy. . . if you can?  I’m not very happy with some of the things my characters decided to start doing at this point. . . :-/

Catania’s Forest: The Little Drummer-boy in Narnia ~ Part Twelve


The humans drew slowly towards them. The guards walked quickly, obviously focused on some errand of their master’s. Good. Catania felt her fears begin to abate; maybe they would pass by without trouble. The ground between them closed. The elf dropped her head, avoided eye-contact. She slid over under the tree branches to make way for them on the narrow road. To her chagrin, Tyre strode forward in the center of the road, right in the leader’s path. The Man stopped and planted his feet, and his followers spread out behind him, blocking the road. Catania stepped back. Tyre! Not now! Please not now. Why must it be now?

Continue reading Catania’s Forest ~ Part Twelve

Catania’s Forest ~ Part Eleven

Another cliff-hanger, for those of you who like them.

I’m actually rather proud of this part.  The next one. . .  Well, it was trickier, but I think it turned out alright.

Catania’s Forest: The Little Drummer-boy in Narnia ~ Part Eleven


“You know, Catania,” Tyre began again, to the elf walking beside him. “I have not been happy with the stars lately.”

His young companion drew a deep breath. She had not really known any centaurs in the city when she was young, and it was only in talking to Tyre that she had discovered how much significance they attached to their practice of stargazing. Catania thought it quite silly.

“Why? What’s the matter with them?” she asked distractedly, glancing anxiously at the city’s towering bulwark, and wondering what he would say if she suggested making a loop through the trees and meeting him at the tower.

Continue reading Catania’s Forest ~ Part Eleven

Catania’s Forest ~ Part Ten

Catania’s Forest: The Little Drummer-boy in Narnia ~ Part Ten


Catania carefully used her knife to brush the dirt back over the hole she had dug beside the creek for her strawberries. She patted down the mould, jumped to her feet, and reached up to snatch a handful of leaves from outside the ditch to wipe her knife with. She sheathed the small tool and went for her bow. The sun was just beginning to wester, and Tyre would be walking home from the city again. She stopped to pick up her bow, and considered laying it inside the cave instead of carrying it; but decided to bring it along. She never guessed she would be called upon to use it—and she could never decide afterward if she was glad she had brought it.

Catania set off walking towards the city again, not really pleased with the prospect of another conversation with the centaur. At least she knew she could trust him not side with the humans and turn her in. He would die before he did so. She could think of no one else she trusted like that. She had not even been so sure of Lythia.

She scrambled up the familiar tree, waited for Tyre to appear, and started towards him. She met him halfway to his tower, and slipped out of the trees near him. He turned towards her in surprise.

“Catania!” he exclaimed, and she could not decide if he sounded glad to see her.

“Look,” she began, shifting her weight uncomfortably. How to begin?

“Whatever’s the matter?” he asked, coming to a complete stop and arching an eyebrow.

“Look, Tyre, it’s like this,” she stammered. “I accidentally shot Lord Daniel’s prize stag.” She slid the ring off her finger, where she had slipped it for safe-keeping and held it out to him. “I need you to melt this,” explained, lowering her voice, and glancing involuntarily up at the city wall. “You can keep the silver.”

“Melt it?” Tyre said—in his ordinary, loud voice—perplexed. He took it and rolled it between his fingers. “I’ll leave it on old Daniel’s porch with a blood-stained arrow for you. There is no need to make up excuses about accidents to me.”

“No,” Catania gasped, restraining her hands, though she longed to try and grab the trinket back from him. “You can’t do that! Moth and Horbrid will kill me!” she ended frantically, then winced as she realized what she had said.

“What, those good-for-nothing tramps Daniel calls wardens? What have they to do with it? Don’t tell me you went to them with a formal apology for unlicensed hunting, Catania!”

If the subject at hand had not been so grim, the young elf might even have laughed. “No, Tyre, of course not! I tried to hide it, but a raccoon dug it up, and they found it.”

“They know about you?

“Yes, I’m afraid so. They found me a few years ago, and Horbrid let me stay. There has always been the chance of Moth sneaking out by himself and trying to cut my throat, he never really approved—but they said they would leave me alone and not tell if I stayed hidden and stayed quiet. They knew it had to be me when they got that (gesturing to the ring Tyre held), and they found me. I said I would have it melted.”

“I see. Why did you never tell me you let them catch you? Really, ’tis ridiculous. I shall have to see if I can melt it then. But I ought to give you half the silver back. Come on.” He started off down the road.

“What?” Catania stammered. “What would I do with it?”

“’Tis not my concern.”

Considering that Tyre had taken responsibility for every creature the humans enslaved and every misdeed the humans did, there was a surprising number of things he simply did not bother about. But he would never accept or give anything as a gift, so the elf shrugged up her shoulders and started after him, relieved by his willingness.

Catania’s Forest ~ Part Nine

This part is. . . long.  For some reason, I am completely incapable of writing short conversations.  I think dialogue is the funnest thing ever to write!  I’m pretty much just ignoring how long some of the parts in this story are. 🙂

Catania’s Forest: The Little Drummer-boy in Narnia ~ Part Nine


Catania stepped back, away from the trench, as quietly as only an elf could. She laid her strawberries on a tree-root, and crept back, trying to stay hidden. He was dangerously close to her tree, but he obviously did not know what exactly he was looking for. She stood for a moment, peering between the two trunks of a river birch, watching him search under tree-roots and along the muddy creek banks for any sign of her. Her long fingers inched as they clutched her bow, but her stomach revolted at the thought. She had never shot a rational creature before—not even a human.

“I found her, Moth.”

Catania all but jumped out of her skin as the stale voice called out inches from her ear. She whirled, heart pounding till her chest throbbed. The tall man stood right before her, as she stood with her back pressed against the ruffled bark of the birch. He was nowhere as large as Tyre, but that did not keep the elf from realizing that he towered over her.

Continue reading Catania’s Forest ~ Part Nine

Catania’s Forest ~ Part Eight

Catania’s Forest: The Little Drummer-boy in Narnia ~ Part Eight


Catania woke with the morning sun peeping into the cave through the tiny crack around her door.  She sat up slowly, stretched her arms, and pushed her tangled hair back from her face. She wormed into her tunic and belt, and crawled outside. The crisp morning air was cool—cooler than any midday would be, this far North. Syrelia was just between North and South—never hot nor cold, always just warm enough to raise a sweat in a day’s hard labor, yet cold enough to make the nights chill. Catania knelt beside the creek (wary of the mud), wetted her fingers-tips, and scrubbed the sleep from her eyes; but it was too cool to wash her face and hair just yet. She ran her fingers through her blonde locks, and tried to catch the wisps that would most likely get in her eyes. She braided these on either side, then twisted the braids back with the rest of her hair, which she knotted into a bun and secured it with a snatched fern frond.

She ate a dull breakfast sitting beside the laughing stream. She ate grains and meat in the forest, and occasionally such things as berries or wild honey if she could find them. She could scarcely remember what bread tasted like–which she was glad of: she could not get bread in the forest; there was no point in her craving for it.

She rinsed her pot off in the runlet when she had finished, put it away, swept up the ashes from her fire, dumped them in the rill, and fetched her bow and quiver. She didn’t really need to hunt today, after bringing down the deer, but it was good to have it with her in the forest. She tugged on her bracers and wrapped her feet in leather, but didn’t bother with her fingers, as she was not planning on shooting much.

The top of the trench was almost as high as Catania’s head, but it was not hard for her elfin fingers to find a hold along the edge and swing herself up. She set out, leisurely walking northwest, keeping her keen elfin eye out for food of other kinds. It was too early for most fruit, but there might be nuts from last autumn, a few berries, or edible sprouts of some kind. Such things were more plentiful northeast, but Catania felt a strange reluctance to go that way. Strange, but not unrecognizable—Lord Nightseer’s tower was north of the city. She could not say why she was often unwilling to see the lord’s swineherd, but she always obeyed the impulse to stay away from Jéru’s haunts.


It had been a long search, but not a bootless one; and Catania carried a parcel of leaves, filled with wild strawberries, and gnawed on a fiddle-head as walked. She drew up near the creek’s deep channel. She had followed a wild sparrow that had a hazel nut in its beak eastwards, hoping to find the tree it had looted. She had come back west towards the creek, and had come to the channel’s eastern beginning. It was not gradual in the rocky ground here, as the western end, but dropped suddenly at least three feet, with the spring—which began several yards east—pouring over its edge in a small cascade. One could look far down the trench from this view. But as soon as the young elf drew near the tiny waterfall she stopped short and drew back:

A human Man stood on the muddy bank of the runlet, his knee-length boots sunk almost to the ankles in the mud. He was dressed for the forest, with leather boots and gloves, a quiver and hunting dagger at his belt, and a tall recurve bow in his hand. His tunic and cloak were made of dark grey fabric, patched with brown and green cloth, which blended with the trees almost inseparably.

Catania saw, at one glance, that he was looking for something—and what could he be looking for but her? No!  Her thoughts raced frantically. Did we not agree?