Thursday, June 30, 2016

After Brexit

Brexit good for markets

Tesla Auto-Fatal

Dead Eggs

TG troops allowed to serve

From BLCKGRD

BLCKDGRD: The World of Matter Received Its Shape from Diabolic Power, or: Born One-Hundred Five Years Ago Today

THEODICY

Czeslaw Milosz

No, it won’t do, my sweet theologians.
Desire will not save the morality of God.
If he created beings able to choose between good and evil,
And they chose, and the world lies in iniquity,
Nevertheless, there is pain, and the undeserved torture of creatures,
Which would find its explanation only by assuming
The existence of an archetypal Paradise
And a pre-human downfall so grave
That the world of matter received its shape from diabolic power.  

Teachout Leads

The Silent Sphere -17


vi

What the observers saw when in the center of crater was a spire of black sand that struck upwards from the ground, rising nearly as high as the walls of the crater, and smoothly curving in a concave arc to a top. On that top was their ship, only not the battered and bedraggled shape that they had last seen, but, instead, shining and pristine.

Gradually the travelers arrived at the base of this spire, and found there a rope ladder of braided hemp, which led upward to the vessel. It waggled in the breeze, swaying from side to side in segments. The climb was not arduous, because the bottom was weighted down with lead plumbs of great mass that had sunk into the sand. Once over the top, they found upper deck spotlessly clean and in order.

All of this was amazing enough, but understandable, after a fashion, given the origin of the craft in the first place. However, as amazing was who was there, dressed in blue silk, embroidered with circular key designs, was the princess, and wearing a scarlet velvet robe, with a black velvet three-cornered soft hat in the muffin style that drooped a quarter of the way over his head, was the Summoner, his face even more pointed than before.

“Greetings!” He was jocular and jovial. He almost seemed as if he were the spirit of the East, ready to bestow gifts from a gnome's bag. His smile was so broad, it barely fit on his face.

Jehanjir looked at him, and then simply embraced him.

“You will have to tell all, old friend, this was almost a treachery.”

“You know Eo and her spies, if I had breathed a word of it, it would have been the collapse of all our hopes.”

“You know that Albrecht guessed.”

“Of course he would, he's very clever, and studied under some who were even more clever still. But cunning alone is not enough. He sleeps below badly wounded. Once everyone has gathered, I will tell all of the story that I know, and some that I guess, and a bit that I fear. Then each must do so in turn, because we are the blind men around an elephant.”

“And you, I think, have what part?”

“That remains to be seen.”

When at last Morwethe and Higar arrived, though her godling was nowhere to be seen, they had all arrived, they were seated in a semi-circle on pillows covered with silk embroidered with fantastic birds out of varied epic poems, mostly of green, though some of red and sea blue backgrounds, with gold and silver threads. The Summoner cleared his throat and pointed to each in turn, who told their tale better or worse depending on talents for oration. He prompted with many questions, and then thought for some time. Then he gathered them again, and spoke in a formal but animated high voice, as if giving a lecture at university.

“It seems auspicious to begin from before the beginning. In our cosmos there are seven sons and seven sisters, seven suns, and seven spheres, plus the moons which are their daughters. For half an eon, they have twined and danced, met and mated, and schemed. No one could upset the order, and even all acting in concert had only specific powers. Since they could not receive worship directly, their power was limited to that which they could draw from their own physical manifestations. Hence little was done, and less was accomplished, though from time to time all seven sisters or all seven suns, could deny their favors on the others, and occasionally some egregious transgression or heinous act on the part of a godling would yield a disproportionate response.”

“However, there is another true God, that is one who can draw power from the fabric of the cosmos itself, he is the gatherer of souls, who taketh them to distant and diverse places on their departure from mortal life. The ferryman is known to all, and is not among the imprisoned. He has a cult, and draws power from its worship. As this is, he is a very god, and mightier than any of the 14. While the others are interested only in their attractions and slights, in their fancies and fantasies, he guides the cosmos forward, because it is the souls who are elevated to choice and sentience who are his cult, and thus his power.”

At this point Higar spoke, “So why does he not rule.” It did not come out sounding like a question.
“It is not his purpose, and while he is stronger than any one, he is not stronger than all in combination.”

“So it was, there were the 14, and the Ferryman to watch over them. Souls passed through the world, and so the shape of it grew. But as the souls grew in stature, so too did the godlings they worshipped, and these godlings, while adrift from the fabric of the cosmos and deaf to the music of the spheres, were more than capable of oft challenging the rule of the 14, at least in places, and at times. This has led to struggles between godlings, and such spirits as they could command, and true gods and goddesses. Each time the rebellions have been put down, though often with some enormous cost to the mortals who were unfortunate enough to be collateral damage. The last of these was not that long ago as such things are reckoned, there was a great pestilence that swept the worlds, and it was part of that war.”

“At first, when Korana went silent it was the belief that this was a rebellion, and the shrouds we see were the architecture of some godlings and spirits in alliance, attempting to seal Korana's physical influence, and cut her off from the other Gods and Goddess' in preparation for attack. So the 13 others decided to isolate the spheres in the orbit of Isir, the sun of winter, regardless of the cost to the mortals on and in the seven spheres”

“This much, I think, was explained before our departure. But there was a problem, and that is that Eo wished to hold both Jehanjir, and most especially myself, in her grasp. It was only partially clear to me why this was when all of this began, but now I think I can tell the tale.”

“As Albrecht surmised, Korana lives, and lives still. There is no rebellion against her in this sphere. As I was told before leaving, the Ferryman is denied this sphere, but it is not by some aggregate of spirits, but by Korana herself. Jehanjir analyzed the substance of the shadowlands, and found them a great reef of living creatures. Death cannot visit it, as he told you in person. That is how the reef grows: minor spirits incarnate as the crystal diatoms of it, and grow as a reef, trapped there in a life in death. Greater spirits incarnate as the denizens of its dark ecology. But death does not hold there, and so it is a region of torment.”

Albrecht had been in thought, “So if we could stand there, and summon death to it, the whole evil edifice would tumble and topple.”

“And provided you have no concern for the lives of all below it, that would be a simple solution, which we could effect in an instant. Assuming of course, Death turns not on you first. May I go on?”
The swordsman nodded.

“So the shadowlands are of Korana's intent, if not specifically her doing. I do not know all well enough, but I think some devilish process of alchemy is involved, and of such who could effect it, there are few. The shadowlands shroud Korana, and thus she is more and more immune from other influences. But this is only the start of her plan. It is plain she is gathering spirits and godlings to her banner, and uses the growing physical sustenance she has as a cudgel to control them.”
Jehanjir nodded, “Such a fool I was not to see it, of course.”

“So were we all. But she was not alone. Eo too wishes the same trick, if only in more subtle form. Hence her, binding affection may we call it? For you and I.”

“That's one phrase.”

“Eo, seeing the growth of Korana, hurled debris at her, threatening to start a war. She also informed the Ferryman of some of what she knew, though not all of it. And through his auspices, were we all dispatched to this place on this mission. She also has convinced the other 13 to call out the flies, and purge those godlings that will not rally to their banner. Thus Death himself, along with War, Famine, and Pestilence, have been sent hither to wage conflict against Korana and her forces. Their camp, as Morwethe and Higar found, is the white city, whose writing is in the language of the spirits.”
“So that is before the beginning magus, but not the beginning.” The princess was direct and matter of fact in this enunciation of what she saw as obvious truth.

“Yes, it is before the beginning. Of the beginning, it has been told in pieces and lived by all of you. Now let me supply the ending. Of course the ship was, as two of you guessed, a prison for my essence and body, which would be summoned back to this world by the appropriate means, namely the music of the sphere as it fell from a great height. I was reborn in side of it, and found the dragon scale which imprisoned Princess Si-yeona, and the swordsman, who was near upon death, or more accurately would have been dead if death could have caught us. So I sealed him in a magic circle and prepared for the impact, which was sharp, but no so sharp as to injure me, half in this world as I was. Once here, the energies released were enough for me to complete the transference from out of the everywhere, and into the here.”

“Once this accomplished, I reconstituted the ship herself, by summoning her true shape.”

“Where was this from?”

“Oh, in the mind of Albrecht, he had as perfect a vision as any. It was not difficult, given how he was raptured in a dream, to call it forth from there.”

“Dreams are a place?” Asked Higar.

“Yes, dreamland is a place, and while it is a constantly shifting archipelago, all dreams are contained within it, and border each other's inlets and estuaries.”

“Oh. So you can summon things from dreams?”

“Some of them. May I go on?”

Higar nodded.

“So it took some searching, but I found the scale. It was no difficult matter to pour the princess out of it, and then provide her with some covering.”

“She was naked?” Higar intervened again.

The princess stiffened only slightly and the Summoner made pretense to ignore the question. Higar grinned broadly.

“After this, we tended a bit to Albrecht's wounds, and the princess cast a soft ward around us. It was then a matter of waiting.”

Niccolo spoke next: “We have a long delayed council of war to hold, and take inventory of our resources, and catalog of our foes. What say you, is our objective now to merely find a way to depart on this vessel, remade as it is, and inform the Ferryman of these affairs? Or is there more that we should spy upon?”

“We have more intelligence to acquire I am afraid.” noted Morwethe, “and I have a task here in any event.”

“Which is?”

“My God is lost here, I cannot sense him, and I know he has not been called to another sphere.”

“Why is that?”

“I am his only human communicant. He has no other worshippers than myself who could call him off a hostile sphere.”

“A pitiful poor godling!” came Higar's cry.

“His enthusiasms have been misplaced,” she volleyed back, “and need to be better directed.”
Niccolo stared around and asked the assembly, gazing each in the eye, “Are there any other personal missions that we need to know of?”

“None here.” Albrecht was direct.

“Not of mine.” Came the princess.

“I have nothing occulted from common view.”

“To get out alive.” Higar's voice was almost faint.

“We have to decide what is next, then.”

A different voice, a hissing voice, a dark voice, hissed.

“That is easy, so very easy. You must first answer to me.”

They turned and saw him, coalescing from a foul smoke, a tall man in white plates of ornate armor, his face, and his voice, from before.

“I am Death, and I would have a word with you.”

He pointed at the princess.

“Have your word, Lord Death.” Her voice was neither haughty, nor humble, neither fearful, nor feigning courage. Instead it was if she were passing a condiment at a feast, without care, without worry.

“There is a soul that should be mine, and it is you who put it out of reach.”

“Would you be willing to explain?”

“I am not.”

“And what is it you want?”

“A soul to replace the lost soul.”

Jehanjir looked at Albrecht, and then at the Summoner, he reasoned that there must be some explanation between all of them, but could not quite place all of the pieces together.

“Which soul?”

“The one that was hiding in the mouse.”

“Hiding in the mouse?”

“Yes, which you secreted out to the shadowlands.”

“I can't say I intended to secret anything of yours out.”

“But none-the-less, you did.”

Jehanjir poked the Summoner. The Summoner whispered back. “The ship is a portal, souls can incarnate there, because spontaneous generation is wrapped around it. The vegetive force is stronger there. Like a lens, if you will, or a fulcrum for it.” Jehanjir replied back “Just preter-born, or souls attempting to evade death?” The Summoner though t for a moment, “Both.”

Morwethe remembered seeing the princess toss a mouse overboard into the void. And went over to the two sages, and they explained what they had concluded, she filled in with the story of the mouse. Finally Higar and Albrecht were brought in on the whole secret, but mean while, the Princess continued to talk with Death as if she were discussing bolts of fabric at the marketplace.

“I do not think you have the might to strip my soul from my body.”

“True.”

“So If I say that I am sorry, and offer that as soon as the shrouds of Korana are broken, that you will have whatever souls you lack, and many more, so that therefore you may join us, would this be acceptable to you?”

“It is not. The breaking of the shrouds is not in any way, nor in any shape, nor in any manner, nor in any form, within my province.”

“I doubt that. So flagrant a violation of your office it is.”

“True, however I have no means to bargain with the powers I serve on that basis. If it is broken, it is by their will, if it remains, it is by their will. I must still perform my office regardless of the resolution of other circumstances.” There was a particular hiss on that last syllable.

The Summoner leaned over to Jehanjir. “I think someone wants us out of the way.” The astrologer whispered back. “Men are more oft killed by the balance than the sword.” The Summoner nodded, it was an old proverb.

“So if I dismiss you, what of it then. You cannot take me before my appointed time.”

“Ah but I could haunt you, and have the odor of death on you, and everything you touch. I could have food rot in your mouth, and all that is near to you come to its most painful demise. Then when your hour does come, I could assure that most vile and agonizing ends are visited upon you in order, until you will beg for my final caress. There are fates worse than death, and they will be waiting for you.”
The princess gave a short, serene, nod, as if she were allowing a musician to play on.

“I propose a game, then. Win, and I go, lose, and you accept that the burden of replacing this soul short is your own burden.”

“I think, nay.”

Jehanjir spoke up. “Would it help to raise the stakes?”

Death turned and glowered at Jehanjir.

“My predecessor warned me that you cheated him.”

“One must always cheat death, but it is also true, that Death cheats all mortals of days, hours, and minutes. I merely was more skilled at that time and place than the soul that held your office at that time. I must ask what became of him?”

“You do not have the words for the torment he endures.”

“I imagine you would be happy to teach me. But still, my offer stands. The throw would be for double the stakes. Win and the old error is erased, and the new one rectified before it could possibly be of great import."

Death looked back and forth.

“Choose your doom, but it is she,” he pointed at Si-yeona, “who plays.”

She wasted not a moment in saying “I accept.”

It was found in old manuscripts that all princess' of her realm studied, writing from the hand of sages who played with death for some stake or other, not always for life. From a commentary she remembered the advice that one should never play a game of words or wit with death, for he can always find one who is dying to steal the words from. A game of strategy is possible, but dangerous, in that while death is no great strategist, he knows every trick and cunning trap, and is relentless in exploiting any small advantage to his own ends, grinding all opposition to dust. Thus, advised the commentator, unless one is an expert at some particular game, it is best to play a game of chance, even though Death is lucky, and often brings misfortune to the other. Another commentator noted that Death would never be truly fair. In fact, he never was.

She looked. “Cards. There is a game that gamblers play, called 'Show,' I am sure you know it.”

“In its many forms, we would have to agree to the exact rules first.”

“That would be agreeable to me. I choose the version played on the port of BuYang, in the establishment known as the Monkey Puzzle.”

“And how would you have made such an acquaintance as that?”

“To recruit sailors for our fleet, we are best by wars, and no hovel or hole to humble to do a fair turn for a fair country.” She didn't mention that in playing for terms in the navy, she used her sorcery to confuse and bewilder her opponents.

“I warn you little one, your incantations and vibrations will have no effect on me, and might even rebound to affect you.”

“I need no spell. In fact, I would propose we lay a circle down, and play with in it.”

“I accept. One game, to 7, and nothing more. But not on this vessel.”

“Done, good lord Death.”

One by one the clambered down, and found a place on the black sand. Both Death and the Sorceress drew a circle and placed a bar across it. As they did so, it seemed that men and creatures began to gather from out of the air. Some became solid after swirling of sand, others seem to crawl up out of it. Some had the bodies of men, and the heads of beasts, others were man on top, and serpentine below. They began gurgling a horrible tumult as the cards were produced from Niccolo's robes and the wax seal cut.

Each shuffled, Death with one hand cutting and splicing together, the Princess with two hands, which were nimble but clearly not professional. Niccolo frowned, all good carte players he knew were either very good, or very bad with the shuffle. Albrecht was just behind and to the right, and raised an eyebrow, but decided that it must have first been from alchemy, he did not know that the first decks of cards were printed on TianXin a very long time before. At least, the first packs known among mortals of this cosmos. Higar was intently looking at the faces of the players, but neither betrayed any inner thoughts.

They cut for the deal, the princess scored a 5, but Death a 6, and chose to call first. The princess tapped the cards together, and three times shuffled them, She then let death cut the deck, which became the trump, a Jack of Swords, on guard with an elaborate battle sword. Death's mob hooted and howled. On huge flightless bird with a large face rolled its tongue out and began the clap.

One. Two. Three.

The princess was a practiced enough player to put her cartes face down and make her call.

“Bow.”

Death stared at a Jack, a three, and a four. Good enough to win, but not quite enough to demand to show. The hand scored 3, 6 for the pair against the table, minus 3 for the cards he held. The princess had a clutter of cards, none of any use, though two were of the same suit. This scored 2, 3 for the blaze, minus one. Death tossed the four, and picked up a 9. This improved his hand to 4. The princess tossed an off card, but picked up another of no more use. Death had one point waiting.

“Win.”

Again the clamor started.

One. Two. Three.

“Bow.”

She took precisely the same amount of time as before.

Both drew. Death picked up a 7 of diamonds, which did nothing for his hand. He stared, and set the cards down.

“Stop.”

Whether it was fortune or not, the Princess had drawn the missing third heart, and with a blaze 4,6,7 had a score of 5, which is a relatively strong hand. But Death had stopped, and lead two to null.
She passed the pack to her opponent, who shuffled three times, and let her cut for trump, it was the Queen of Swords, and in the rules of the Monkey Puzzle, “Calamity.” This meant that if a hand could be scored two ways, it was scored for the least, rather than the most points.

The princess stared at three hearts: the queen, the 9 and the 6. This scored 6 as a blaze, but because of calamity, 6 for the queens, minus 3 for the 6 and 9 meant 3. In Death's hand were two 8's of the black suits, and a 6 of clubs. This scored as 2 either way.

“Win.”

“Show.” Death knew he was weak, but also knew that there were not many cards under calamity that could improve his hand. Best to end her calling and take what pain there was. Si-yeona turned her cards up, and the result was as expected. Death lost 2, the Princess gained 2. And now it was 2 to null the other way. But with Death calling. He smiled a cold smile and watched the cut of the cards, it was a 7 of trumps. He drew a breath in, and let the divine forces flow through him. He would have his win.

He looked at the cards, and even onlookers could tell he recoiled at them. He had a pair of sevens, but also an ace of spades and a 6 of hearts. No matter how he scored it, it came out negative. He decided to simply call “Stop.”

“Monkey puzzle rules, stop costs one without play.”

“True.”

“Debt of one.”

She was relieved, her own hand scored only 2.

Death's cut revealed an 8 of hearts as trump, and he looked at his cards. It was the same unpleasant circumstance: a pair on the table, but a useless ace. Amidst the row of pounding, the princess called “Win.”

He snarled back “Bow.” He discarded the ace and caught a five of diamonds. Now he scored 2, better.

“Win.” She called at the same moment in the drumming.

“Bow.”

She had caught a King of Spades, thus giving her a run worth six, and minus 2 for her two. Four, a relatively strong hand. She had a score of two waiting, this would bring her to 4, closer to victory and five points ahead.

Death decided to go for a blaze, and caught a diamond Ace. This was powerful: 6.

“Stop.”

Death simply looked. Was she using some magick, or perhaps other device?

The cut for trump showed a 4 of Swords.

Death looked at his cards, a natural blaze for 7, an ace, a 10, and a 4, all of diamonds. The princesses hand was almost valueless, she waited.

“Win.”

One. Two. Three. Now the gathering men at arms were pounding pikes into the sand, and one minotaur fired off a hackbut into the air, letting a sulfurous air add itself to the mixture of acrid odor and excrement and blood.

“Bow.”

Death held, the princess drew, she had a blaze, but of low cards. The new card was a queen, off suit, which only made things worse.

“Win.”

One. Two. Three.

There were trumpet screeches, another shot was fired, and the rattling of armor was heard. Now it seemed that at least a hundred retainers were behind the pale rider.

“Bow.”

Death was closing the gap, with a good show on the next hand, he would be even, however, even before she drew her card, he said “Stop.”
Death 2, Si-yeona 3.

Death again called out for divine aid. He knew that 10 of the Gods and Goddess were behind them, and so he visualized having 10s fall like rain.

The new cards that the princess stared at were good, but not too good: with the King of Clubs as trump, she had the queen of clubs and the ten of that suit, for 7, minus two because she held the 6 of spades. 5. Good.

“Win.”

Death's cards held two tens, he knew this had promise, he bowed, and discarded at once again useless ace, believing that his benefactors had to have sent tens. The card was disaster for the princess: a jack of spades, reducing her hand to 5. But death had no succor, he picked up a small 3, and was still sitting on a weak hand.

“Win.”

A deep silence broke out. Death thought to demand to show, but waited, the ten would pay for all.
“Bow.”

The princess was now at five, if she stopped.

The next round of cards made no change for death, but the princess dropped the heavy jack, and found herself back with a hand worth five.

“Win.”

Death bowed almost immediately.

She stood at 6. He would have to make her show on the next pass, because it was for the game. And so he did. He looked at her cards, and realized the 10 he had been drawing for, was in her hand all along. The final score then, 8 for her, 1 for him. It was a humiliating defeat for the fell spirit.

The princess took up the cards and handed them to Niccolo, never taking her eyes off of Death.
“It is too bad we didn't play for stakes, I would have seven souls of you.”

But death sat dejected, his leg slid forward and he slouched. His followers grew almost as still as if they had been turned to stone, and many began crawling off, there was a hanging expectation in the air, like the doldrum before a storm. Gradually a buzzing noise was heard, it was from all directions. Flies began swirling around them, and those who were still living, or had flesh to bite, began swatting them away. They grew think like the fetid air of a poisoned swamp, the buzzing grew louder, and then grew more incessant and moving. There were still enough spaces to half way see that everything was running for cover, beast, corpse, or human. Many were jumping in the water. Only the princess sat calmly, not a single fly entering her half of the circle. She saw as the insects formed a mass and swarmed over Death, crawling, biting, taking off again. She thought she could see blood dripping from their legs and wings as they left. The figure grew thinner, and then fell over, like a tent without poles. Finally, after many minutes of watching them flow out of the remains of eye sockets and the spirit's mouth, the poured down into the ground and the took off in all directions.

Air was noiseless, even breath was stilled. The camp brigade simply stared dumbly, not even a skeleton was left, only the hollowed out armor sat there with the skull of the old spirit lolling on the ground as the sole remaining scrap of his manifestation. However, the crackle of power was still in the air, and gradually at first, and then with an increasing pace, bones began to fill in, and then flesh, and then skin, and finally a face. Instead of a thin pale white mane, there was a ruddy full cheeked warrior, his beard filled in, and became thick and black.

The astrologer whispered “A new death.” The Summoner merely smirked.

Then the new holder of the grim office bent down, scooped up the skull and held it aloft. The followers stood up and cheered a broad “Huzzah!” There was a vast din again as the beat and shot and shouted. Death stiffly moved his arm in a gesture for silence.

“My name is Death.” And he cackled, one eye blue, the other black. He bent back with gales of laughter, and then grew starkly composed again. He turned one eye towards the slender small figure of the sorceress. His voice was booming and deep, but with a high-pitched edge as he spoke in softer tones.

“I shall slay thee, mine enemy.”

“The game was fair.”

“Indeed, perfectly fair. And so are you, fair beyond compare. And so shall your meat be sold in the fair, to whoever has coins for it. I will make you my riddled whore, cursed to be rotting and rutting for ages.” He stuck out a long tongue like a serpents and it rolled in the air.

The Summoner drew back, no preter-born spirit was this, but a godling incarnated with the office of death.

“You shall not find me so easy a mark as the last of the spirits of passing. I shall not depart at other's whim.” He turned to his company, and again held the skull aloft. His banner bearer, an eagle beaked creature with metal feather on his torso, and goat's haunches, raised the black flag with the white rose. 

“We fly! Return to the city, and prepare for battle!” The sound of the voice rolled over the sand, raising a wind before it that caused small dust devils to burst into existence and then fade.

Spiraling down from above was a monster, it was on four legs, like a horse, but its feet were claws, and its body feathered. Its head was like a lion and dragon mixed together with a fur main and lion's snout, but four eyes and scales about them like a wyrm. Its tail had round balls with spikes on it, and they lashed back and forth, striking some of his minions, who lapped up each other's blood.

In a single motion he boarded it the moment it landed, and then he rode it up and led his army in the direction from which Higar and Morwethe had come. The hoard raised black dust behind them, and were soon obscured as they ran and clattered away.

In the aftermath of this exodus, the group stared from one to another. Finally Higar broke it, with a half serious, half-jest: “Perhaps we should have compromised, and given him the princess, the astrologer, and the mouse.”

Albrecht chuckled. “Yes, those are the sort of compromises that many seem to make in the face of death.”

“I still do not understand why he did not show and cut his losses.”

“Because they wanted him to lose,” Albrecht called back over his shoulder, “so they could replace him.” He looked at the princess and bowed low. “You are a great lady, and it is unimaginable that we should be so fortunate as to be graced with your presence, your highness.”

She smiled slightly, and tilted her head. Realizing that, while the attention might or might not be wanted, she had to do something.

“I could not have done it without you. He was cheating, we could all feel it.”

“Yes my lady, he was calling on the Gods and Goddess, and you were calling on me. And I, now as always, will be there, against which so every foes you set me against.”

“Give me a lock of your hair to remember you by.”

Albrecht took out a small dirk and cut a lock of his hair, without hesitation. This was a more brazen and foolish act than usual, because in the hands of an adept of sorcery, such things give great fuel to a spell.

Niccolo looked up at the restored vessel.

“She's a yar ship, will she take the cataract?”

The Summoner looked quizzically at him.

“Didn't you see what just happened, man? Great spheres! The old cards are thrown up in the air, and we have a world to win.” He jerked his thumb at the ship. “When the Gods are at war, the mortals have no sides. So let's have at it. Korana is the closest one to bleed some sense into.”

End of Book I
To Be Continued in The Dogs of War.


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The Silent Sphere - 16

iii

Jehanjir turned to Morwethe's god, realizing at that moment he never had actually gotten a name to address him by. The godling saw his concern and simply waved him off, becoming a column of smoke and falling through the floor. It seemed, as usual godlings looked out after themselves first. He looked over to the mechanical princess and Albrecht, huddled at the center of the ship, and knew that they were in the hands of the summoner's magic, and if anything would work for them, that would. Thus, knowing as he did that both the boat was away and the captain had parachuted off, it was time to save himself. Fortunately he had had tie to complete a device that he had found sketches of in an older notebook in his possession, on an idle month, in his infirm days, he had made a better one. His modifications were based on sketches of the seeds of trees, most specifically of maple trees. HE wandered to the back escape hatch, and pulled a lever that slowly cranked out a plank. He hauled the device slowly into place and waited for a roll of the ship to make it easier to drop out. What was there was folded up, but it had two wings, like the seed pods of a maple, and a seat. He crawled out on to the plank, said a minor prayer for that bit of celerity he might need, hoping himself to be far enough away from Albrecht's influence, but not counting on it. He mounted the seat sideways, and sure enough, the ship rolled and he was tossed down and aside.

It took some cranking to make the wings unfurl, and then unfold. They were shaped like seed wings, and he had painted on the edge of each wing and on the bottom of the seat, the precious dragon glow he had earlier collected. The wings began to spin, converting ether to ayre, and rather smoothly, he began to drift downwards quite slowly, spinning slowly on the seat as the excess motion from the wings was pushed down to the chair. He remembered to kick out the two small wings on the foot rest, which would stabilize the whole apparatus, and keep him from swinging too hard. It occurred to him that some kind of control would be desirable, but this itself might be quite useful, since the parachutes would only really work in the ayres of a sphere, where as this might well save men even in high ether.

But it would need work.

The trip down was not unpleasant, he saw the dragon wing its way off, he saw the ship sucked into the gyre. His eyes were now sharp again, and he could see the boat with its large chute, and the smaller chute of the captain. There were no creatures here of the high air, but he noted a fine black dust settling down. He speculated that this must be the action of the ayre of Korana against the shadow shards, but did not have the ability to collect any samples to back the speculation.

“You old fool.”

He realized he had a small microscope in his gear, he fished it out and took one of the specs of the black dust. It was very slow work to focus on it, what with the swaying back and forth of the craft, but it was not impossible once he got used to a certain level of nausea.He saw the spec and was surprised by what he saw, it was not dust at all, but a small black crystal like an animalcule from the sea, and 'twas not truly black, but, in fact, glowing black. Black as a color, as if it were any other color. He watched it, and watched it one by one duplicate its crystal structure. He also saw pressing on it the ghostly outlines of preter-born spirits, trying to push their way in and incarnate.

This then, was the answer to the shadowlands, they were living reefs, and someone had used some clever alchemy to convert ether into food for these living things. Now he understood why death not being able to operate there was so essential to the functioning of the black reef, these small things attracted hoards of preter-born spirits, why the mass above must be more life than existed in all the rest of the sphere of the cosmos, all the way out to the edge, and was growing rapidly. It was sucking the ether as well, hence the ease of their travel here on dragon wing.

“Yes, yes, it make sense now.”

Some months before received a freshly printed copy of a microscopist's text on observing both spontaneous generation, and on the incarnation of a small preter-born soul. And, of course, he had spent a week duplicating the work, even though he worked so very slowly. It took, he recalled figuring, a day for him to do an hour's worth of work of a healthy man. He saw a single animalcule about to divide, and the spirit slip in completing the division, and he had seen a clearly dead animalcule breath back to life when a spirit was able to stretch out within it. In both cases the trick had been a preparation that either encouraged dividing, or dying, and a method of using a hair stretched between two small screws to divide one creature from the rest. Here since the spec was dry, there seemed to be no need.

From the concentration, looked upwards, and thought that the black was not merely a place, but like a tumor that eats out a man in his waning years, swelling up until some small organ has bloated to be larger than all the others combined. Now he understood the panic of the gods and godlings, because this was truly some arcane operation that threatened the balance. He was also sorely doubtful that the sons or sisters had come to understand this themselves, wanton and lazy as they were. But who? But what? He decided to put away the microscope, and take the time to survey the land below, since this would be of use, and would be impossible to do later. But a thought gnawed at him that there was the germ of a solution here.

Below, to see that the pole was different from his maps, he took out a scrap of parchment and made a quick sketch. Most of all he took note that there were several impact craters around the edge of Korana's great polar sea. Was their source, as well, the shadowlands? This would imply much larger pieces of them falling downwards, but those larger pieces would create a particular kind of impact, since they would be falling slowly, and mainly through ayres all the way. No, these came from farther away, having had time to build speed among the ether, and then only lately towards the end of their journey be slowed on approach.

It implied that perhaps the shadowlands were not merely a creation, but in some sense a defense. But what would attack so? He had seen no comets of such size as to cause these craters, he counted four large ones and 3 smaller ones. He made some rapid notes in charcoal, and then carefully folded the map and put it deep inside his robes.

The rest of the ride down he used his spyglass, both to look up and note the underside of the shadow lands, which seemed almost ribbed, as if there was some kind of weave or structure. He noted the similarity to the ribs of a serpent or serpentine monster. He looked down, saw a city that was white amidst the black, and wondered how it stayed so, if this black powder fell, it should coat everything not moving, and thus he should be able to tell how the wind was scrubbing it off. So much to observe.
From far above he saw the impact of the ship, and he expected a shockwave, but when it came, there was a distinct hesitation before the second wave appeared, by many minutes. This was odd, and he assumed that therefore something else had caused the second explosion, He was fearful than any living thing could survive such a horrible pair of events, but was equally fascinated watching the great wall of black sand spread outwards in all directions, thinning as it went.

Some ways to fall, he made several sketches of the gyre as he went, till slowly worked such control as he had over the gyro to bring him towards the new crater that had been formed. He watched as the sea filed in part of it, creating a figure that looked like a giant crab from above, with blue resting between two slender outstretched claws.

Finally he did land, near the ridge of the crater. As he was coming to the ground here realized a paradox: that folding the wings would make him fall, but waiting might well make him collapse. However, in this case he had an out: by unloosing the rotary gear the bottom began to spin as fast as the top, and when the tip of the apparatus reached the sand, it augured itself in some ways before stopping. He stepped off the gyro, which tiled over on to the sand, still glowing slightly from the tiny remains of the dragon glow. It had been scrubbed off, and he noted this, it meant that dragons must secrete their glow from glands or some other workings of their body, in order to maintain it. Much to think about there too.


 Looking towards the center of the crater, and was briefly astonished by what he saw there.

Cons say "Fuck You"to Voters, EU says "Kûss mein Arsch" to UK

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

This could get Trump Votes

 Trump Compares TPP Trade Deal to Rape 

This hits the Clintoncrats were they live.

Life or Death

36 Killed Istanbul

Juno

Cobyn Out

U.K. Labour’s Corbyn Loses Confidence Vote of Party Lawmakers

Again this is what the Tories want. Corbyn staying... he knows the vote is non-binding.

Brexit a scam

The brexit vote was a scam. Do not take my for it, take the Conservative parties word for it.

First, the PM - before the vote - wanted to resign. This was not in question.

Second, when did a non-binding vote ever cause this much consternation, in both the UK and on the Continent? Normally, they would repackage this vote and try again if they wanted a different result. So why have not they? The obvious answer, is that this is the vote that the Conservative party wanted. But there were additional things that they wanted.

If they had wanted PM to resign in the normal way, Scotland would still be part of the union – and people would be questioning the next choice of PM. This way, Scotland will be removed – by its own choice – and there is no question as to whether the PM has two go. Of course that means that the one thing that the continent wants – a swift and certain divorce – will happen, rather than what the elites of the UK want – a rather legibly divorce, sleeping in the same room so to speak. The labour party is dysfunctional, and in the interim, will get a rather more Blairish leader – which is again what the Tory party wants.

What is more important however, is that when a conservative party is in charge, this is why it does not want lots of money in circulation. Allow me to explain.

When one looks at the difference between conservative and liberal parties, one sees that liberal parties want money – while conservative parties do not. This is usually framed as a difference that favors the liberal party. But think of it in another way – money is not what the conservative party, either high up or low down, wants. They would rather have a scarcity of money, that the conservative party controls. Liberals want more money, because at the bottom, that is what their contingency wants – money to spend. But conservatives do not want money to spend, because that will mean that the poor do not think about money with every second – which is the way that the conservatives want them to think, they want them to think about money every possible second.

Thus liberal parties want money, and conservative parties want scarcity of money. Liberal parties want more,  the conservative parties want less -  and it is under their control. It does not matter whether, in the conservative view, the rich are richer in terms of money – instead it matters if the poor are short of money. Because after all, the money that they lost on a two-week bender is really not that important, what is important is the ratio between the money they have and the money you have. A ratio means that it does not matter how much money they have, but can they wait out your spending money faster than they spend money. And losing money happens to work out for the Tory point of view.


 In conclusion, they get what they want – as is seen by them not taking a vote when they could – they get rid of Scotland – which is so bad if you think about it, because the Scots are anti-Tory – and the poor lose – and if your Tory, what is bad about that?

 Discussion on Ian Welsh's blog.

The Silent Sphere - 15

ii

Niccolo abandoned ship, alone. He knew that there was nothing he could do, and to stand and die on deck was not his desire, or worse, to be dismembered and drift in pieces to the shadowlands. Part of him castigated his doing so, but it had been the plan for him to jump if it came to that. To get word out required someone to do it, and he was the only pilot. The discussion on this point had gone round in circles, but finally, if anyone was going to take the leap into the void, it would have to be him. Still as he drifted downwards, swinging back and forth like a pendulum under the octagonal canopy of silk, it felt as if he had spent a chunk of his spiritual wealth to do what he just did, and he owed the gods that looked over his soul some great geste or deeds as payment for their forbearance.

For hours he drifted down, his muscles straining by the straps, and then burning. He thought he saw black brackish water, and tried to steer a course. While hanging there he came to the realization that the courage he had been displaying, while a magnification of his usual ferociousness, had been augmented in some way by Morwethe's god and his fuming smoke. Now fear roiled up and down his intestine, and he reflected on what madness this plan had been. But no matter, it was done.

With each tick tock swing down, he felt gentle winds carry him, and rapidly the details of the land below grew more discernible to his eye. Everything was black, but there were shades of black, and highlights of sparkling white. There were rolls where the frail sun streaked, and those that were abyssal from the blocking shadowlands. He tried to memorize a map of what was below, seeing at least a few signs of human inhabitation, including a bone white city far to his east, a sea that he remembered fed into the great cataract that fell into the center of Korana, and what seemed to be a black circle with roads running into it, whose details never resolved in to his vision.

Finally he landed easily, not far from what seemed to be some kind of pool or pond, or oasis. He recalled the dream that Morwethe had sent, or inspired, in him, and wondered if it were touched by foreknowledge of what was here. He decided to hold the thought, but not let it overtake his expectations, since who knew which order dreams and waking came in.

Once on the ground he crouched, but did not let himself rest for long. His legs were like jelly, but he forced himself to methodically fold up the parachute, and then hide behind a large outcropping of rock that was not far from where he had landed, Fortune had been kind in depositing him on some particularly soft sand, but not too kind, as he found himself half stuck in it, and in places nearly slogging through it. He remembered tails of travelers sucked into sands, or creatures that waited in ambush in the desert. However, first to find a place sheltered from the sun, where he could catch some rest before dark, when the dangers would be many times multiplied.

For the rest of the day, he slept, and was awoken by a rumbling, he had only just enough time to unfold the silk twice and cover himself, before the black sand covered him, and its weight piled up over head. It piled on and on, and then even as he felt the wind and sand pass by, he felt more pour from the top of the rock on to him, and he realized he was sinking into the sand beneath. He wedged himself with one boot, and the weight of the obsidian powder weighed down on him. He pulled out a dirk, and rammed it into the soft rock behind him, giving him an arm and a leg, and grasped with his other hand on a bit of outcropping. He probed down with one leg, stretching it out, and finally it hit what seemed a small ledge in the rock.

This allowed him some stability, but he knew he did not have much air. The memory in his mind was that the rock itself was black as coal, and therefore, likely to be recent. This was, as he now reflected, a mistake. However, he was stable, and now slowly inched himself up through the sand, using the leverage of the rock. After some struggles, he managed to turn himself around, and began working his way up more quickly. Rigging had taught him all there was to know about grasping, levering, and pulling, even under the weight of the sand. At last he broke through, his breath hot from being held, but not yet suffocating. The winter's air was bracing and dry, but a cleansing dry after the fetid build up of moisture.

He breathed the clean air, and scoured the horizon. Still retreating in the distance was a vast wave of black sand, born on some kind of wave. That, he could feel, had to be from the impact of the ship, so there, he knew, he must go. He took his bearings, took the navigation quadrant from his belt, took measurements, and mentally counted the time. He would make fast movement for half the day, and then slower movement in the night, then, he would sleep the dog watch, where it was safest.

Then off over the sand at a run he went, he was heedless to being seen, deciding that time, and not stealth, was best, because anything of any importance would be focused on the ship, and not on some small man tracking his way through the northern black desert. It was not the surest concept, he knew, but his guilt was behind him, and is fear in front of him, and this lent what seemed to be wings to his feet.

Into the twilight he went, feeling the cold bands of dark grow in length until the wrapped all around him. The blackness was almost total, even though the sun was not far from the horizon. He could hear moving water, and it had to be close. His feet told him that he was moving from loose sand to more solid soil, even though it still seemed very black. He wondered if the soil of Korana was becoming like the shadowlands, but he could hear the buzzing of insects, the splashing of fish, the rustle of reeds, and all of the other normal sounds of life near water. He retreated some distance away, not wanting to be too closed to the animals that live in the water, or the hunters that come in the night. 

Once again, opting of expediency over inconspicuousness, he lit a fire, and used dried reeds and grasses to keep it going. The smoke trailed off of it, and reached high up into the night sky, he allowed himself to cat nap in the light of the fire, waking to fuel it periodically. However, at midnight he threw a last batch, and assembled his belongings, leaving the fire burning in his wake, in at least an attempt to create a distraction from his movement. He saw figures and shapes at the edge of his view, but they all moved like animals, and they all had stayed well away from the fire. He wished for a torch, but reflected that would be foolhardy, not efficient.

He hewed close to the water's edge, and over time it became clear that a cliff was rising up to his right, and the water level was descending, the beach was perhaps a hundred paces or so long, before rising up to stoney layered red rock. He noted this, because it was the first outcropping or surface detail that was both natural, and not blackened. In the distance along the water's edge, he saw a small skiff, or other kind of sailboat moored on the beach. It looked to be a craft for no more than two or three men, perhaps it was a fishing vessel, or was used in small trade. its sails hung in a kind of strange limp fashion, and he wondered what kind of sailor would leave the rigging in such a state, unless it were either urgent to come to shore to do something, or perhaps running a very short errand before returning to the water. The planks of the hull were weathered, and the little boat had seen both better days, and many of them. It was in a gaff rig: a small triangular sail fore, and a large trapezoid sail aft.

In another few minutes of pacing towards it, however, he began to have a different sense of the scene, with the ship rocking back and forth, making it seem, to his eye, that something had to be terrible wrong. A skipper might leave the sails up if in a hurry, but he would not have left the boat so easily to drift off into the water. He was coming around a great slow curve in the beach, and gradually the full side of the boat came into view: and any illusion of a peaceful sea pastorale scene, was shattered. There on the peak halyard of the gaff rig, was a man hung by a length of thick rope, and the boat was swinging back and forth, because the body was still swinging back and forth.

He walked closer and could see more. It was clear the man had been hung for some time, as the face was somewhat mottled, and the tongue was hanging out. He was dressed in the long beige robes common of men on Korana, a style that they called a “bisht” – it was of a soft wool that hung in loose folds over his plain tunic that they often called the “tawb, ” though little different from tunics in any land, other than the bleached whiteness. On his feet were a set of light shoes, these were a dull brown. Nothing bespoke of anything but hardy common stock, without any particular adornment. His feet pointed down slightly.

“Poor bastard.”

He heard a gurgling noise come from the man's mouth, and there was motion. This was out-of-place, the man should clearly have been dead. In fact, reason dictated that he was dead, and was thus of the unquiet dead.

There was another gurgling noise, and Niccolo realized he had been gaping. Niccolo decided that the least one man of the sea could do for another, was cut him down off the mast and give him some send off to the void. Even if that meant killing him a second time. The second death was no worse than the first.

However, he halted just after climbing on board. At this point, the hanging corpse spoke: “Don't cut me down.”

Niccolo looked up.

“And why not man? Do you want to hang there?”

“If you do I will kill you!”

“And why's that?”

“The dead hate the living, ” It tiled its eyes down upon him in a glare, “hate them. I would not be able to help myself.”

“How did you end up dead then, I had assumed that you had been hung.”

“Oh no, I was killed and kept a corpse, I hung myself after I had killed a woman and ate her, her bones are back in far cave.”

“So you hung yourself.”

“Yes.”

“So you don't wish to be among the unquiet dead, or in a body.”

“Oh no, of course not. It was some doing to hang myself, since if it had been obvious I would never have been allowed to do it.”

“Who has power over you, Death?”

“Oh no. Death is the invader, it is a dark spirit of this world that raises an army of the undead against him.”

“And do you not want to defend your sphere, your home, the goddess that gives you life?”

“She is mad, mad I tell you, she raises a shroud over us, and blots out the light of any sun and all the stars. She is mad, and none I know see why.”

“Is there anything I can do for you?”

“Have me exorcised if you have the wit or the power.”

“We don't have such powerful rights. I can chase away a haunting or so, but not send it beyond.”

“I warn you, all that fall now remain here, at best haunting the sphere, at worst, like me, they will. KILL THE LIVING.” With that shout the corpse, with an inhuman disregard for its neck, twisted its head full around and dropped down, slipping out of the knot.

It dropped to the deck, but it was also clear that rot had begun to eat away at the body, as it stumbled badly as it lunged at him. It was not difficult to cut off the head on the first pass and duck side. The boat swayed, and the headless corpse, guided by some unerring force, began swinging its arms at him. The first swing was so powerful that it knocked Niccolo's heavy battle sword away, making him draw a rapier. This was less effective, and even as Niccolo pierced the corpse over and over again, this did little to the bodily integrity, the corpses arms swung wildly but hit hard. Niccolo rolled across the deck and brought his feet under him. He braced his right leg on the inside of the hull, waited for impact, and slid the rapier home. However this was not the point of the attack, he then threw the corpse overboard, sliding it off the rapier. Then after sheathing the steel, he picked up a fishing spar, and smashed the corpse to pieces with a series of blows that took several minutes to deliver. On the deck the head continued to roll around, gurgling all the while. Niccolo turned his attention to that, and battered it to pieces.

Once this was done, he found a sack, and speared remains for some time, finally filling the sack with limbs and guts. Grisly work, but he tied a rock around the shroud, and made ready to dump it in the water. Niccolo had made devotions to many godlings over the years, for many touch on the life of a sailor, but this time he knelt and clasped his hands, praying to the Ferryman to come. He felt a wrenching in the air, but then nothing. He shook his head, wondering what the cause of this sensation was.

He then went and found the gnawed bones of the woman, and buried them on land, again praying to the bearer of souls, and again, he felt a wrenching in the fabric of the air, and then nothing.
With this, he cleaned up the rigging on the skiff, and even though the day was late, he decided that it was safer on the water than close to land, polling a bit out, he dumped the sack in deep enough water, and then got under sail. He examined the ship closely, and found strange fresh markings on it, he carefully scratched these out, and set fresh wards down. He was far from an accomplished mage, but here and there, some protective binding or wording was useful to have. He had not seen these before, and being a merchant trader, meant he had seen most of the common, and no small selection of the uncommon.

From there, however, he set his mind to working his way out of the bay and towards his new destination. The wind was light, and he had to tack hard into it, but the magic of sail was that even a slow wind is faster than a hard run, and far less taxing. He began making his way out of the bay, with the cliff line growing shorter in his view, but spreading out longer as he began to appreciate that it was a large crescent, and, he reflected, quite likely the wall of a crater.

He slept aboard water, but did not use the net to haul up fish. Even fish have souls, and he did not want so many separated from their bodies under such odd circumstances. He had never thought to closely about what happened to such spirits, and he assumed that most of them, at most times, merely clung to where they had lived. But now, the idea of eating made him sick. Instead he scooped up jetsam of seaweed, and rummaged around to find vinegar to put it in. He chewed on this, and drank the water from the skin.

Before the dawn he awoke, munch a few marinated leaves, and used his quadrant to check the positions of the stars and spheres. It was difficult with the bands of darkness, but no worse than many a stormy day on many a world.

Soon he was at sail again, however, and began tacking towards where his reckoning told him that the ship, or what remained of it, had crashed. He remained becalmed for a time in the afternoon, and allowed himself to nap while waiting for winds. Out beyond land he could sense how the shrouds of the shadowlands were, indeed visibly growing and filing in the gaps. If it continued, in some weeks or months perhaps, the sky would be blotted out by black, and this would be an inner skin, but without one with either access to an outer sun, or the inner manifestation of the goddess of the sphere, which appeared as a sun to those inside of her.

Strangely, or not, the weather was otherwise faire, with the white rising gyre seeming no more than a slender cloud that snaked down from the sky far away, and certainly not threatening, and few other clouds that ran across from horizon to horizon rather quickly. He slept again, moored in four fathoms of water, this time more soundly.

On the morning of the next day, he saw another circular bay cut out of this small sea, but one that was freshly cut. It had two great arms that circled out into the water, leaving a wide gate like entrance into it, he spent hours tacking towards it, as the winds remained against him, but handling such a small sail was not hard, and even was relaxing. He entered through the narrows between the two crab like arms, which ran like a sharp curved ridged spin of black sand. Already the wind was eroding them down.

He was through the narrows, and looked straight at the center of the crater.



Monday, June 27, 2016

Breit goes faster lauch

This golf cart could work for disabled people

The American way - consumers pay more for health care

once again I am working on a novel which cannot be solved

 It is set in Lýthia,  a world created by N. Robin Crossby.   in essence,  unless I want to fight things,  there is no point to selling the work.  I should just stop,  but there are characters that need creation,  so I will write a short book and then go on to something more substantial.

it may be corruption but it is not corrupt says TSC

Supreme Court rules unanimously in favor of former Va. Robert F. McDonnell in corruption case - The Washington Post

Yes that is really what it says.  The Supreme Court has no opinion on whether the corruption was corrupt,  that is for lower courts to decide.  It was unanimous,  meaning it is for the jury to decide.

Texas anti abortion law struck down by the supreme court

The Silent Sphere - 14

Interlogue

Every carte player knows that there are three natures of games. There are those games of court, which revel in their complexity and difficulty, so that only those who have endless leisure and presence among the nobility may master all their many intricacies. These games are played for great stakes with myriad variations. There are those games of table, whose rules are simpler, but whose diverse manners of winning are an invitation to scheming. Then there are those games of hand, whose rules are rude and simple, upon which stakes change hands rapidly...

Show is a game of the table, and as such it places a premium on quick throws of cards. The rules of Show are simple, and it is played in a deck with court cards, though sometimes it is played without court cards and is called the game of Fields, or the game of Peasants.
Players cut for the deal. The player sitting to the right of the dealer plays first, and is the caller for that hand.

A single card, call the trump, is placed on the table, and then each player is dealt three cards. The players will form their hands out of the three cards they have, plus the card on the table. A variation calledFerryis to have two upturned cards, which each player may use one of. In this variation there is no-trump suit unless both cards be of the same suit. In some places both players are allowed to discard one card and draw before the call, but this has little impact on the play.
Then the player whose turn it is to call, sayspush,” “win,” “stop,orshow.
    • If the player sayspush, then each player discards one card, and a new card is dealt to each, then it is the next player to the right in a circle's turn to call. Any points from previous calls are added to their score.
    • If the player sayswinthe other players callbowto concede, at which point all may discard one card, and draw one card, and the caller calls again. Usually in play when a player callsbowthe card is dealt before them, which they may pick up once they have discarded. If they do not discard, then that card is out of play until a new deal. The caller may continue to call win as many times as they like in a row. However, if the caller discards, his discard becomes the new trump card.
    • If the caller saysstop,then they credit their score all of the wins they have called, and a new deal is made. In most places, to call stop having no won hands, is counted one against the caller. It is occasionally seen that the next caller may decide whether a new deal is made, but usually it is required. Gamblers favor going round the table as this is called.
    • If the caller saysshowthen players must show their cards, and the winner wins one point, while the losers lose one point. The winner keeps points won from previous calls ofwin,but does not keep any in the event of their loss. A new deal is made and there is a new caller.
    • If one of the other players says show to a win, then each player has two points at risk, winning or losing two as their placement allows. If the caller wins, they may continue to call, but if they lose, then a new deal is made and there is a new caller.
    • In games for stakes for each point, a player other than the caller maysleep,and put all their cards face down on the table until the next new deal. They need not pay any more until the new deal, but may lose the whole game if the caller goes to 7. Whether it is permissible tosleepafter ashowvaries from place to place.
    • In many places the second player may saydouble,which places the onus of decision back on the caller, only with the stakes doubled, that is four won or lost, plus doubling of the points from the call. A call of double will often end a game forthwith.
    • Because it is a game of the table, it is common that all players may only look at their cards in three slow counts, which is often emphasized by all players knocking on the table in rhythm. At which point the player must put their cards face down on the table, and a slow count of three is made again, and if the player has not played, they are assumed tostopif the caller, or conceded if any other player.

A player whose score is below zero must pay one additional point each time they are the caller, which they will get back if they win the hand in addition to their other winnings, but will lose if theypush.This is the calledthe usury.

The play is won by reaching 7 points, or lost by reaching a debt of seven points.

To determine who has won, first the player must have a hand. A hand is either a set, that is cards of the same rank, or a blaze, that is cards of the same suit, or a run, that is cards that are in order.

The score is the point value of the cards that are part of the hand, minus the cards that are not part of the hand. The trump is not counted, if not part of the hand.
    • The value of a card is 1 for a card that is odd,
    • 2 for a card that is even,
    • 3 for a card that is of the court.

If the score is tied, then a blaze of trump wins over other blazes,
    • a run with more trump in it wins over other runs,
    • but a set with trump in it loses to other sets. This is calleda catastrophe,” “a comet,oran assassin.

A royale is when a run is also a blaze, in which case it beats any hand of equal or fewer cards, even if the points of the other hand are greater. Between royales, the highest top card wins, with trump winning over not trump. Thus a royale court, is all court cards of the same suit, and so must also be in trumps.

Of course, a hand is counted as its highest score, though in many variations, if the upturned card is a black queen, the hand iscalamity,and the lowest complete hand is scored. So, to place pictures to words, imagine a player has a queen, and a 6 and a 7. If playing calamity, then instead of scoring this as 6 less 3, or 3, for the pair of queens, then it is scored as 3 less 3, or 0, for the run.

In most lands, a player who is dealt or obtains a royale court, lays the cards on the table and sayscrown,for they have won the crown.

In many lands, a player with a hand of four may lay the cards on the table, and sayclaim.The other players must then draw and discard for a royale in three tries, regardless of score. This is done in the coffee and smoking houses, but seldom elsewhere. It is often calledchaos,oranarchy.

In most places where it is played, it is also played for stakes, and either there is a stake placed at the beginning, or there is a cost for each point between the player's final total, and the winner's 7.

Another variation is for the caller to be able to callcarnage.In this all players discard one card until a hand is formed on the table, and draw one card if they discarded. If this hand loses against the caller's hand then the caller's debt is erased, then the player with the highest score is set to 0. If it wins or is tied, that player has lost and must place all remaining stake on the table.

A another variation is that the first win called counts for 1, the second for 2, and the third will be a for four, the last for 8, which will be a show for the game. In this variation the caller may not draw or discard.

If they are still tied after this, all players lose one point, but the caller keeps all previous points from calls.


The games of cartes on the seven spheres describedHans Fruhling