Sunday, September 25, 2005

passing the time in Duwamish

passing the time in Duwamish

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Hermitage Publications Opens - Seeking Submissions

Invitations soon to be sent out, or email if you would like guidelines....golden opportunity to have your original ideas recognised.....Imogen Crest, Hermitage Publications, Hermitage Regions.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Famous undead rock band to play Duwamish

(Noted in the Raven Courier)

Entertainment organisers of the All Hallows Eve/Day of the Dead festivities at Duwamish have announced that rock band the Skiving Dead will top the bill at a free concert in Duwamish Cemetary on October 31 at midnight.
Skiving Dead frontman Slasher Poe said the band was looking forward to the gig.
``The crowds at Duwamish really go off," he said. ``Especially if you leave `em out too long."
Poe was silent on rumours that the Skiving Dead would unveil its new lead singer at the gig. But word is that the new vocalist has a voice that would wake the dead. Extra seating will be supplied at the cemetary just in case.

The Winged One

Pegasus came to me like in a dream. He loved me as a child and I loved him. I would ride on his back over oceans and deserts in the moonlight. All summer we had a platonic love affair. Every night he would appear at my window and off we would go. My parents never knew I was gone. And then one day I realized the world had their hold on me and I could not go. And he was so disappointed he never came to me again.

And now would he even remember me? Would he know in my heart, I so regret having to grow up. It was not a choice, it just happened. I only wish I had one more moonlit night with him. He shared with me wonder, mysteries and to not ever to be afraid of the dark. He was my protector, my champion. And I was only a little girl with dreams of slaying demons and nightmares. I still want to slay the nightmares but I do that with my pen. And they bow down defeated and bleed black India ink.

And now my beloved Pegasus, I remember you in the bright moonlight where you gave me courage and showed me magic. I can only thank you with limp words that cannot show you how much you have meant to me. I’ll keep my window open for you.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Dance Upon The Shore

The lights of Duwamish are an enticing glow as I stand here, beside my little driftwood fire. The shifting colours in the flames mirror the Aurora singing overhead. Within my Circle, not so tiny under this full moon, I stand naked and fearlees. Tonight I will dance as my spirit does. Here, where Sun, sky, sea and sand are one.

The donkeys have nodded approval to all my preparations, as have Skye and Pye. Skye's silky white tail is in wild spikes from the salt water, as is Pye's impossibly fluffy brush in all the colours of the sand. My own hair is in salty curls and waves, the crystals shimmer on my skin like the light of faery fires in the oldest of old woods.

Without music I am dancing, easily, freely. The thunder of the surf mimics the sound of my feet on the sand. The music plays in my spirit and my body must follow.

So many things I dance for; for my own slow salvation, coming to me on a little breath here and there. For peace and understanding to come into my heart; so that I may once again see the spiderweb of silvery bonds between the stars, whether I seek them or not. I dance for that moment beneath a desert moon, when everything was right and I was still within myself.

I dance for the love I cannnot gainsay, no matter if it will be consummated or not. I seek some poor comfort in the knowledge that I can still love, deeply, passionately and fearlessly. That must be what I carry in the face of my all-too human heart.

On the nights I would beg the Gods bring this man to me, I must instead plead for his happiness with her. I cry that I should not be bitter or jealous, although I could scream with the raging against unfairness.

I dance for a future that will be at once so rich and full, yet achingly empty at the same time.

I dance in supplication, "Let not my brother have that ugliness in his flesh, let the tumor be benign. I would not have him eaten alive from within. Nor would I see his daughter suffer through seeing him with the Cancer, I could not bear her lose her father to a mass of freaked-out cells.

I dance also for my mother, that her worries be lessened; that her twilight years be easy, and she know happiness that goes through her soul and shines out of her eyes.

I pray that my baby brother regain his feet and stop hiding away from life. I ask the Gods to show him wellness and strength of spirit.

I dance for all of the friends that have shown me the better life I sought years ago. I wish them to know love and happiness, that their gifts be returned a thousandfold.

I dance even for my father, that he will know healing, and not hatred in his last years on this earth.

And lastly, I dance for myself, that my gifts will always be used in the service of the light. That I will grow and move closer to the Perfect Self every day of my life.

And, yes, I dance also for Him, that I may know him one day, all of him... the man as well as the friend I cannot live without. That wish which is kept sturdily locked away from the light of day.

Tears are caught in the corners of my smile as I dance until everything blurs into a whirl of colours and the sound becomes a long subsonic "OHM" that reverberates through me.

At last I can dance no more and I collapse in front of the dying fire, laughing and crying at once. Skye moves closer to comfort me, and soothe my heart.

Skye, with her sweet trill and trusting adoration. She is my comfort and my spirit's companion, I thank the Gods every day for bringing this sweet lady to my life. She blesses me with a silken head-butt.

Not worrying about my nudity I curl up by the fire with cats and donkeys huddling close, as if to protect me as my magicking wings wherever it is needed.

In the silence comes the voice of every mother, "Namaste, my daughter, be at peace." I answer, "Blessed be, Mother of Man." as I drift into sleep, snuggling a cat on either side, and the donkeys next to them.

Journey to Duwamish

I was sitting in the garden at Baba Yaga’s when a raven brought me the invitation to spend a couple of days in Duwamish. My last visit there had been so short, hardly a visit at all as I was in a hurry to catch up with the rest of my group. In factI had had no chance to visit the Isle of Ancestors or even have a look round. I had also heard that there was a wonderful bookshop there and an art gallery.

It didn’t take me long to pack up my things and as they weren’t heavy and I knew that Duwamish wasn’t too far away I decided I would walk. I needed the exercise after sitting over my spinning and weaving for many hours at a time. There was an autumnal feel to the air as I set off. Fire tipped the leaves of the trees and cobwebs strung between the trees were hung with crystals, sparkling in the early morning sunlight, from the heavy dew. I saluted the spiders in their webs as I passed, now conscious of the invaluable work they do.

Eventually I came to the stream that I knew would lead me down into Duwamish Bay. The water chuckled and gurgled as it splashed down the rocky bed causing rainbows to dance in the spray. Altogether it felt good to be alive. Even the birds in the thickets along my way were singing their hearts out.

At length I reached the village and looked curiously around me, for it was the first time I would have had the chance to look around. Immediately ahead of me was a sign announcing the presence of 'Ye Olde Tea Shoppe' with the most enticing smells wafting out from it. I went in and chose a corner table near the window, from where I could view the comings and goings of people. After sitting down and ordering a pot of Earl Grey tea. I picked up several of the leaflets that had been left on the table. The first was a guide to the more interesting shops in Duwamish. The North Star Studios immediately caught my eye as did Madame Livia's Bookshop of Chaos. There was also something called the Enchanter's Wunderkabinett. I would certainly try to visit all three of these. The second leaflet bore a picture of a mangnificent snowy owl and advertised private boat trips to White Owl Island, by special arrangement with the Enchantress. The third one advertised boat trips to the Isle of Ancestors. Duwamish was obviously a fascinating place and I wasn't sure I would be able to fit everything in. The White Owl Island trips only started in the early evening so I would have plenty of time to explore to my heart's content.

Visit to North Star Studios
I decided to visit the North Star Studios first. The blurb said that it was governed by Providence and that you had to make a wish. I was so busy wondering what I could wish that I bumped into the rickety garden gate knocking it right of its hinges. I immediately knew what my wish would be - I had the perfect gate at home sitting unused in a corner of the garden. I could wish its immediate transfer here, only after checking with the gallery owner of course, that such a gift would be welcomed.

I walked up the path through a truly exuberant garden and stopped to look in the window which was filled with mouth watering treasures - some raku sculptures, a magnificent ceramic torso and a Japanese doll. I couldn't wait to get inside.

The magic was upon me already. I stepped in to find a veritable Aladdin's cave of goodies ranging from wooden sculptures through glassware to jewellery, each piece more beautiful than the last. In a corner I found a silver horse prancing on a bed of uncut amethyst crystals. I just had to have that and duly asked the gallery owner if she would be kind enough to keep it for my return. It was only with difficulty that I tore myself away but I did want to visit the bookshop and the Wunderkabinett (the Old Curiosity Shop).

Madame Livia's Bookshop of Chaos was only a couple of blocks away. The doorway was very small and it was quite a squeeze to get in. Was the owner trying to discourage visitors from entering or leaving? Inside there were books everywhere, not just on the shelves but in tottering piles on the floors, a small table was completely hidden under a mountain of books and magazines and revues appeared to be in imminent danger of sliding off the chair on which they had been temporarily piled.

Madame Livia's appearance was as chaotic as her name. There was more than a hint of gypsy in her I thought. Her hair flowed around her in wild abandon and she was wearing the most exotic collection of jewellry - huge earrings, a veritable cascade of necklaces and bangles on both arms. In fact, she was wearing so much that the various bits of jewellry clinked against each other and tinkled like a myriad of bells whenever she moved. She wore layer upon layer of tiered skirts in a bewildering patchwork of colours and textures. I felt sure she must be related to Madame Eclectica in some way.

She scanned me shrewdly as I carefully made my way into the shop. "Greetings Traveller. Welcome to my little world of literary chaos". How was it that everyone in this land seemed to know my name? "Hello" I said and "thank you. Please tell me, how do you know my name?" "I can read it in your face" was her slightly unnerving reply. "You have been travelling for quite a while now and your adventures are leaving indelible traces on your face but only the aware can read them". I was beginning to think she must be related to Madame Rosa, the fortune teller, as well as Baba Yaga and all the rest and to suspect some sort of conspiracy. Were they all one and the same person but appearing in different manifestations in the different places we went to? I think I might have to have a quiet word with the Enchantress when I can finally nail her down. She seems to be so elusive these days.

I explained about the jigsaw puzzle map and asked her if she had any books on cartography. She told me to go and look under a dusty aspidistra plant in the back of the shop. "Would you like a cup of herbal nonsense while you are looking around?" she enquired. I replied that I would be delighted to taste a cup of herbal nonsense. She disappeared out to the back of the shop. When she returned a little later, Madame Livia was carrying a tray with two cups of herbal nonsense on it and a plate of fairy cakes. When I went to take one, the fairy sitting on the top of the cake flew off leaving a trail of fairy dust in the form of multi-coloured hundreds and thousands sprinkled on the top of the cake.

The cake and the drink were delicious. "Do you know anything about White Owl island?" I enquired casually as I drained my cup of herbal nonsense. "Indeed I do. Why, would you be interested in visiting it?" I told her what my research had turned up and explained that I was fascinated by these old rituals and would very much like to meet the Magiratha if that could be arranged. She told me she would see what she could do.

I continued browsing through the shelves which contained many interesting volumes. I picked up a book of beautiful floral illustrations and hastily put it back again when a picture of nettles stung me where I had been foolish enough to touch the page. I was lost in contemplation of some of the illustrations in another book when she came bustling back into the shop. "It's all arranged" she beamed, "you can go to White Owl Island this afternoon. Alec will pick you up at the quay at 4 o'clock." I thanked her and headed off to the Duwamish Inn as I still hadn't checked in, which I thought I ought to do if I was likely to be out all night. The Innkeeper recognised me from my very brief previous visit and showed me to my room on the first floor in the turret from where I had a wonderful view over the harbour.

Shortly before 4 I picked up my swansdown cape and my little pouch and set off for the quay.

Where to Go Next?

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Decision decisions! Where to go next? Pegasus is helping out a confused traveller.

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To view an enlarged view of one cartographers perspective of the Soul Food Silk Way click here.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Gone To Croatan by Anita Marie Moscoso

At the beginning of this year I came up with an idea about a town inhabited by Werewolves, Ghosts, Witches, Demons and Ghouls and other wonderful Characters...Including some named for members of my own family and put them in a little place we now visit here at the Soul Food Cafe.

I called it Duwamish and with Heather's encouragement it's grown to the extent that I'm now writing my first novel based on this short story.

I've been amazed and awed by the visions Duwamish has inspired in all of you...So I thought I'd re-post this for you to read.

Enjoy your stay and the rest of your journey...
Anita Marie


Years ago, before they walked into oblivion someone turned back and left this message carved on a tree, " gone to Croatan ".

Now it's my turn, tonight I'm going to Croatan; I'm going to Croatan to avenge my own murder.

My name Is Livia Cotard and once I owned a little bookshop at the Marina on the Duwamish Bay.

In the front of my shop you would find books sought after by collectors from all over the world. Rare first editions, bound sets, atlases, maps, and a variety of other books that were prized by collectors for their illustrations.

The front of my store is separated from the back by a large imposing oak door. Its hinges are leather and its locks and tumblers are made of wood.

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The Imposing Oak Door by Heather Blakey

This is where my real store is; this is where I conduct my real trade.

The room behind this door is a very comfortable library. The walls lined ceiling to floor bookcases. One case has a glass door, the second had an iron gate and others were left open.

Each case held over 100 volumes.

The books were crafted by an unusual group of Authors and had been written for a very exotic group of clients. These were famous one of a kind horror stories among this group of readers and they would spare no expense in collecting them.

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The Authors by Heather Blakey

This is how these little treasures were created.

If the Authors were to arrive at a home for a story they always came hours before a funeral and they were never turned away. After a small ceremony involving salt and scented oils they were left alone with the Dead and their work would begin. The Authors would take blank sheets of parchment; sometimes strips of linen or thin sheets of copper, gold and in later years paper and place them over the chest of a dead person. Then the Author would place their hand over the corpse's stilled heart and the story would be recorded.

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Authors at Work by Heather Blakey

It was said you could hear the scratching sounds of what was assumed to be pen to parchment and that no matter how much you were tempted that you should never try to catch one of these Authors at work. Not unless you wanted to end up bound in one of those books too.

When they were finished what was recorded on these pages were all the sins and evil that the dead person ever committed. Page after page would hold horrible dark stories and horrific illustrations. Brought forward by the Author's skilled hand, images and words and flashes of smell and sound would be captured then interpreted by the Author and burned onto the pages.

The Authors always left a gift for the stories. Sometimes they left gold or jewels, potions in bottles and sometimes money.

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The Croatan Treasury by Heather Blakey

After they left these homes the Authors would take these pages and bind them, and place them in libraries in homes not fit for human habitation.

These books were not written to be read by human eyes.

Eyes accustomed to the dark and held by hands that pushed open caskets from the inside read them. They were cherished and prized by families whose bodies and very nature could be altered by the full Moon, by men and women whose bloodlines and family histories had been altered by curses and magic.

Owning these books and selling them wasn't where my trouble started, as you might assume. My family has been dealing in this trade since the Authors first turned up centuries ago. My problems started with a woman named Cynthia Kern.

I let her into my back room the day of my Murder, even though she was very much of this world because the book she held was already in her possession.

Cynthia was from the East Side and owned a large very traditional over priced antique shop. Her clients were as unique and demanding as my own and a few of them were well known art collectors. One of them, she told me had somehow gotten a hold of this most unusual book written about a woman who killed her own children and blamed the crime on a neighbor.

The neighbor was executed and the true murderess lived to a ripe old age and died childless because one tragedy after another struck at her new family. Her babies (five of them) who were born years after the death of her first family all met sad ends...unexplained illnesses, fires and another was drowned.

Instead of living under a dark cloud she was wrapped in the warmth of sympathy and kindness of her entire community.

There was of course no way to actually read this book because it was written in the language of a family named Benandanti. So, it was the artwork, the pictures that made these books famous and prized by the non-reader. Each illustration was a memory, which had been burned onto the pages

The stronger the memory the more vibrant and active the picture. It was like watching a movie.

The murdering woman in this story lovingly relived her crimes almost every moment of her day. Each memory had been captured on those pages with stunning detail and clarity. It was quite a find. I still don't know how this Kern woman came across the book but she brought it to me and asked if I could find more of them.

I told her this was an extremely rare series of books, created by request of the Benandanti family. Now days you'd call them true crime fans. At the time, I think the idea of infanticide intrigued a family who's children, poor little things, usually didn't live past the age of six.

Children were extremely important to them and the thought of killing one was, to the Benandanti, a true horror.

I didn't have any books from the Benandanti Collection.

The Venda Family I knew were avid collectors of the Benandanti book collections. If there had been any of these left to be found, the Vendas had no doubt acquired them ages ago.

Cynthia went through some of the other books on the shelves...and then she came to the Naemoor Collection, As she reached out and rested her hand against the glass case she asked me, would it be alright for her to look at these?

I saw no reason to say no. They weren't for sale though; they were part of my private collection. " They're blank " she said, confused as she turned the pages.

" They were for one of the Naemoor to use, when she became an Author, but she left the family and disappeared. Kids you know, they have minds of their own. "

" Why weren't they passed on? "

"It doesn't work that way, " I said taking the book and gently replacing it on the shelf and closing the door. " These pages were specially created for the Author, they won' right for anyone else."

Cynthia placed her hand with their long bony fingers, which had been over decorated with frosty dark pink nail polish, and many diamond rings against the glass. I recognized that look on her face. That volume was calling to her very soul...asking to be placed upon her heart. Begging to be allowed to capture her darkest secrets on its pages.

Strange to do that to a living person. Her heart I knew must be black and her soul darker yet. I must say I was intrigued by the way the book called to her.

No, not intrigued...mystified.

She tried again to persuade me to sell her the blank book bound in soft red leather and decorated with silver threads that are as delicate as a spider's web and I refused.

She tried to smile, make small talk and then she handed me her card. When her fingertips brushed the side of my hand my lip curled and I tried to not look repulsed. This woman was a husk; she was as decayed and foul as a corpse rotting in the hot sun.

It's not often you meet such a corrupted soul and her story would be valuable to any Author.

But that's not my trade, my trade is bookseller and for all these years I've been content to do that.

Until my Shop was robbed...and I was murdered.

It was my friend Ignancia Guzman who owns the Curio Shop six doors down from me who discovered my store had been broken into. She came down to my houseboat and got me, reassuring me that whatever happened, she would help me.

The shelf with the blank Naemoor Volumes had been struck at the side with an axe and one of the blank volumes... a black book decorated with gold leaf and edged with small blue stones, had been nearly hacked in half. The books don't like to be separated and the hack job was needed to get to the Red Volume out of the case and away from the other books.

Ignancia pulled the broken axe out of the shelf and threw it across the room. She carefully examined each book and found that it had bee the black one that had not been as damaged as the others and she asked me for a towel and some salt.

" It's gonna be alright, here sit down. " Then she carefully set the book down, and shook the towel open and held it up to the light. She laid the towel flat and sprinkled the salt on it and set the book in the middle. Then as careful as a surgeon she started to fold the towel around the book.

" It's the best I can do " Ignancia voice was angry but her eyes were bright...she wasn't the type of woman who cried or showed her feelings easily and I was moved, honored to know I mattered so much to her.

" I know, and I appreciate everything you've done. " I assured her.

She nodded and looked away and pushed the bound book into my hands. " Go, go ' she told me very crisp and businesslike.

I reached for the book and it crashed to the floor, I hadn't dropped it. It had passed through my fingers. I tried to concentrate harder and this time I was able to grasp the book and lift it.

I didn't look into Ignancia' s face. She was as I've said, a dignified person and I wanted to spare her the embarrassment of my seeing the pain on her face that I knew was there and she couldn't help but to feel.

I don't know what possessed me to leave the message on my door that I wrote on the back of my closed sign. It was very important for me to leave something behind, something personal and all I could think to say was " Gone to Croatan "

Croatan is home of the lost, safe harbor to ships that sail in permanent twilight and the place where people like me return to in the end.

The train that left the station just outside of Leaning Birch Cemetery was a special train. It only ran once a day and it didn't cost anything to ride. The Conductor was a tall thin cadaverous looking gentleman and when he saw me waiting at the stop he looked very surprised.

" I almost didn't see you there Mrs. Cotard, " he said.

" I'm glad to say it's not your eyes Mr. Inverness, I'm afraid it's me. I've...I've had a misfortune. I haven't much time. I was wondering if you could help me. "

" Certainly Mrs. Cotard. What can I do for you? "

" I can't travel in my, well, condition. I need a ride and I thought that perhaps your train would work for me. "

He looked at my poor fading hands and smiled, then he stepped aside.

As I boarded I handed him a very old gold coin. It was Roman and the design would mean something to Mr. Inverness who had spent a lot of time in that part of the world. It was a gift not a token and he accepted it.

The train turned out to be more animal then machine and the engine sounded more like a heart beat then anything mechanical. It felt as if it were breathing. I took a window seat as the train lurched and moved forward. Nothing I saw through the windows looked familiar, the landscape at times was foreign the seasons changed in seconds and the sun and moon sailed across the sky.

The train reared back and stopped and we were in front of a house in the suburbs. The house was Tudor in design with bright yellow roses lining the drive up to the house.

Mr. Inverness smiled as I stepped down, " Take your time Mrs. Cotard, we'll hold the train. "

" That's not necessary " I replied

Then he said almost under his breath " Just saving myself the trip Mrs. Cotard. "

I enjoyed my walk up to the door, I enjoyed turning my plan over and over in my head, walking around it and admiring it from different angles in my mind's eye.

It was going to be a work of art.

When I arrived I didn't knock at the door, it wasn't there for me anymore. Entire parts of my world seemed to be disappearing. I saw the floor in the hall but not the walls on one side of the room, I saw paintings but within the paintings little images were gone, I saw people walk by with no faces, missing limbs, some looked as if they had been neatly split down the middle.

What I saw looked like an incomplete puzzle...almost there but missing pieces in odd shapes and sizes. Making things more difficult for me to find my way was my failing vision. I felt as if I were looking down a long tunnel with fog banks creeping towards me...or perhaps from me.

Regardless, somehow I found Cynthia's room and my Red Book.

My last surviving book held all that was left of my soul. It was desperately calling out to what was left of me and it's sister, my poor damaged book. Which I had been holding close to my heart since my journey began.

It was now almost full.

That book I placed under her bed and I heard it thump as it opened itself. A dark fog crept cautiously from under the bed and then my anger and grief swarmed out like angry bees from the book and clung to my fading image before they flew from the room and burrowed into every dark soul they could find...and in this house there were many of those.

My nightmares would become their reality and soon they wouldn't be able to tell the difference between the two.

I crept to Cynthia's bedside and watched her sleeping, my red book on her nightstand in agony because what it wanted most was just out of reach.

I had lied to Cynthia about the red book because it was my own and I had authored it myself years ago. It wasn't a blank book; it was full, bursting with dark terrible tales. The only person who could have actually seen the printed pages was a Naemoor, our language was the language of Authors and you don't learn our language you are born to it.

Those pages were full of words and images that only my family could decipher.

This was my proudest possession because I had turned the world upside down for this story and what I did to get it would be, how would you term it, be considered justifiable homicide.

That's what I told myself and my family after the deed was done.

We Authors only took stories from the dead...except for myself. Which was why I ended up selling books instead of writing them. My family was horrified I would take a story from a living soul because by taking a story from a living person you trapped them in paper and ink for all eternity.

You see in my younger days certain topics fascinated me, and one in particular fascinated me most of all. Cannibals...I collected story after story about Cannibals...and 200 of those dark tales paled in comparison to my Gentleman.

He was a butcher and a fiend and he called himself Jack.

I placed the red book on Cynthia's chest and held it down over her heart and because it was full I knew what it wanted was to speak to was romantic in a morbid way. This dark book caged in a hidden room had called out to this woman's dark heart and she had answered.

So I gave them to each other and they became one for a moment. Then she was no more and someone else opened her eyes and blinked and squinted and sat up.

She was so hungry she couldn't stand it.

Then from down the hall came voices, relaxed unassuming voices and Cynthia rose delicately from her bed and went down to the kitchen to see about breakfast.
© text anita moscoso 2005

Lemurian Archipelago

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Just down from Duwamish lies the Lemurian Archipelago. The ocean here is a living place where everything is governed by the laws of magic. The coastline here is dotted with archipelagos and deserted islands. Everyone who comes to Lemuria has their own personal island or archipelego which they must maintain through the use of magic.

A trip is being arranged for guests to visit the Archipelago with Pegasus and choose an island

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Visited the Duwamish Curiosity Shop

With a bit of time on my hands I decided to wander down to the Duwamish Cemetery and find Anita Marie's Curiosity Shop. I ended up spending an hour browsing and then sat in the sun sketching her new abode. Too cool!

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Monday, September 19, 2005

Ballast Island

This is the first in a series of stories about the strange history of Duwamish Bay Village. Legend says that the Village still exists just beyond Lost Harbor. This story was given to me by a woman who's Great Grandfather may have seen the ending of the Village...or perhaps it was it's beginning.

Is Ballast Island Haunted? We use to ask our Great Grandparents, are there ghosts out there?

My Great Grandfather who was a Magician and could spin tales as easily as he could make a coin disappear and then reappear would only look sad and say, " It's full of Ghosts. "

Located in the Lost Harbor, Ballast Island is where ships would dump their ballasts. " It was a garbage dump, it was a disgrace to us all when they sent those poor people out to live on that thing. "

Of course nobody lives there now, in fact most of the Island is gone but on some days you can see what's left of it when the tide is low.

" It was a disgrace to us all" he said slowly " and then the Halloween Storm came. "

I'd been brought up on the stories about the Halloween Storm.

The Halloween storm was freak windstorm that came to our coast just before 6:00pm on October 31of 1896 with no warning.

The winds came up off the Harbor and raged and raged until November 2nd.

When it was over everything had been wiped off of Ballast Island.

Wiped off the island and straight into the Harbor.

My Great Grandfather told us that the next year on the 31st to the hour the storm hit the people working on the new Marina saw them coming from the mists.


They were coming towards the shore, and the people in them were looking over their shoulders at something...something large and dark and alive and just before they reached the new Pier they disappeared.

Lots of people saw them then, they still see them now.

My Grandfather was a young man back when he first saw them and he said he saw the sky pull apart and the world around him flooded with Shadows and then the winds screamed off the harbor and he was swept up in a storm that wasn't there.

He couldn't breath because the wind was pulling the air from his lungs and he could barely keep his eyes opened against the force of it.

Then in the shadows and the boiling waters he saw a woman fighting the wind and the waves in a canoe and he saw three little children desperately hanging onto the sides of the canoe to keep from being pulled over its sides.

" I'll never forget it Tiger, " he told me, " it was like the Wind you know was pulling at them trying to pull them out of that canoe. Then she saw me, I looked into her eyes and she didn't want to die she wanted to fight. The Ghost Woman saw me and then she dropped the oar into the harbor and she reached for me. "

I dove off the dock and straight into the Harbor because the tide because, well, I could feel it. It wasn't the harbor that wanted them. It was that damn I swam out to her and then I put my hand out and she was gone. But I won't forget that look. Never, I will never forget look. "

" Well, don't you think I was the only person to see the Ghost People in those Canoes. Lots of people have. When I was down at the Pier just a few years ago they came back like they always do at this time of the year and this time Tiger I could hear them calling to the shore for help. Pleading and calling for help. "

" Do you know Mrs. Linden from the Hill? She was down there with her little kids and the winds came and the canoes came from the mists and we could hear them Tiger and the sound of it would've broken your heart. Well, Mrs. Linden starts shrieking like a lunatic, " Look at the pretty lights at the Marina ... look at the pretty lights. "

" And I'll be damned but everyone did, they all looked back up the shoreline and away from those poor Ghost People. "

My Great Grandfather told me that story every Halloween as we stood on the Pier and watched the Ghost People try to make it to shore.

It was the very least we could do.

Now I have Grandchildren of my own and when they ask me if Ballast Island is full of ghosts I tell them no.

I tell them the Ghost People are all around us...and they always will be.

That's what I tell my Grandchildren.
© anita marie moscoso 2005-text

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Waiting for the Silver

Even though I was delightfully tired and eager to check into the Duwamish Inn, it was such a lovely night and I loathed to go inside. I decided on the spur of the moment to walk down to the water's edge. It was misting lightly by the time I got there and the fishing boats were tied up in a row, rocking gently, and creaking on their ropes.

Waiting for the Silver

Rocking gently at their moorings,
water lapping at their hulls.
Holds empty now,
fishers resting,
Dreaming of the
shimmering harvest yet to come.

Salty spray adorning masts,
scales like stars upon the decks.
Clanking chains,
rusty anchors,
stinking bait.
Voices raised
as nets and ropes bloody hands.
Crews, wet and cold,
harvesting the sea.

Rocking gently at their moorings,
water lapping at their hulls.
Holds empty now,
fishers resting,
dreaming of tomorrow's catch.

©September 17, 2005

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Raindrop Madness

After leaving the raft I decided to hike to Duwamish. A gentle rain was falling and the light was fading fast. When I arrived in town there were lights shining from windows and through open doors. To add to the magic there was a smell of wood smoke in the air. I headed toward the inn from whence I could hear music. Although I was eager for company and conversation, I was in no hurry Because there was magic in the air.

Have you ever noticed
the raindrops on your glasses
when you walk about at night?
Squint a little, and you will see
street lights transformed
into silvery fish
swimming in star studded seas.
Bats flying on jeweled wings,
dancing with the stars
until they disappear
into the soft, warm darkness of the night.

The bats return,
to skim the waves of glistening oceans,
their eyes sparkling with
an awareness of their own.

Am I mad,
or just caught up in the dance?
If this be madness,
then keep your sanity
while I revel in a world of prancing lights,
silver bats,
and sparkling butterflies.

I go forth with joy into rain at night,
where sparkling lights will guide me,
and lead me into a fantasy
that is mine alone.

Have you ever noticed
the magic of raindrops on your glasses?
Of course, you have to look into
rather than through your lenses.

And those of you who don't wear glasses,
well, you're just plain out of luck.

©September 17, 2005

To the Island...

Waking early on a windy morning I left my quarters at the inn and made my way on foot to the jetty where the ferrywomen waited. I thought I saw a man there, too, but it must have been my imagination. The wind blew at my hair and clothes, and I pulled my cloak tighter around my shoulders.

On the ferry the ride was rough, but the women were unperturbed, as I expected them to be. I didn't see the man again, and knew it was a trick of the light. The light grew brighter in the distance, as I saw in my mind the territory of the White Owl. The women invited no conversation, only expertly negotiated the wild waters, singing in minor keys to the wind.
copyright Monika Roleff 2005.

The Yellow Hills of Italy


Burning the midnight oil in Dwamish. Painting by candle light and reliving memories of Italy.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Return from White Owl Island

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I returned from the White Owl humbled. She did not offer me advice when I asked for guidance as I lead so many travellers through a foreign realm. Instead she gave me this pastoral crook as a symbol of divine creative power. She assured me that with this crook on my staff I could guide others on the spiral journey of regeneration.

Now I am not sure what I will do with my free time here in Duwamish. I might wander down to the Gypsy encampment by the bridge or I might return to the bath-house where the Ferry Women and Priestesses bathe. My room in the Inn is very comfortable and from my window I can see the light house on White Owl Island and mentally plot the path I walked to meet White Owl.

Reaching Duwamish Bay by Signs

Leaving the enchanted forest I had some of the answers I was looking for, and felt less like a trespasser. The mossy green woods were full of life I had forgotten about. As I went on my way out and on the path to the Bay, which I could see in the future, I rode on in wonder at the signs along the way.

I was headed in the right place, chattered the Parrot, in its own particular language that I could understand now, after being in the enchanted forest. I followed its directions and then thought I was lost.

Fortunately, a beautiful Bird of Paradise flower was pointing me in the right direction with its orange plume of flowers. Again, it had a strange language that I could now understand. Here, here, it said, pointing along the path.

I followed the direction until nightfall and I could see the lights, weary but expectant, of the Bay and the bridge I needed to cross. I followed the lights in the darkness, and felt the strength of the bridge as I rode on my trusty horse across it to the other side....

copyright words and images Monika Roleff 2005.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

In Duwamish

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I have been in Duwamish for a few days now, waiting for folk to arrive from various parts of the realm. Some travellers have been at the House of Serpents while others were in servitude at the House of Baba Yaga. Mercifully Baba agreed that the spindles could lay idle for a few days and decided that evenn she would take a break and join the gathering in Duwamish. By all accounts the Gypsies are now camped just outside the town.

The Inn at Duwamish is filling and later there will be a potlash dinner supplied by the innkeeper to traditionally mark the arrival of the salmon. Visitors will no doubt be keen to explore the Marina, visit Livia's bookshop and take a bath at the bath-house frequented by the Ferry Women who have wonderful stories to tell.

Two excursions are planned while we are here. One will be a visit to White Owl Island which Fran discovered during her wanderings and another will be to the Isle of Ancestors for those who have not been there yet. If you go to White Owl Island you will find (later today) a special activity and the Isle of Ancestors is still open for visitors.

After a day or two we will be moving out and heading to the Lemurian Abbey where the Gorgons, Baba Yaga, the Amazon Queen and Abbess will be in audience to watch a special performance in the Great Banquet Hall. You may want to dip into Pandora's Box of Costumes for ideas. Everyone is welcome to go on stage and be in the spotlight during this wonderful festival.

We will stay at the Abbey for a few nights and then find our way to Baba Yaga's House.

Raft to Duwamish

My journey so far has been an education in methods of travel. First, I have enjoyed the company of Moonbeam, a very special donkey who bore me and my luggage safely through some of the wildest terrain, and who, with her flying ability, out of reach of the masked bandits who tried to waylay us along the trail. Then there was Black, as steady a mount as could be found anywhere in Horsedom. He reminded me of another Black who, with his partner Captain, hauled the coal wagon of my childhood.

And now, on my way to Duwamish, I board a walk-on ferry which is nothing more than a raft pulled by a cable from one river bank to the other. I was the only passenger but wished there were others. I'd been alone for a while now and could use a chat.

The Ferry Mistress is quite a character, dressed as she is in overalls and Wellington boots with dirty gray hair bundled into an untidy bun on top of her head. The pipe she smokes is so much part of her weathered features that I can't imagine her being without it. "Hurry it up, now, woman," she says in a voice that is more screech than speech. "We can't wait all day fer the likes o' you."

I drop some coppers into her hand and notice the weather worn veins and leathery skin. I wish I had time to listen to her story, if she would be willing to share it with the likes of me. I doubted she would, so I walk to the front of the raft and drop my rucksack and bundle onto the deck, such as it is. Then I sit, my back propped against the rickety rail.

"Mind it don't give way on you," the ferry woman screeches. "I can't stop in mid stream to pull you outa the water."

"Understood," I say with a smile as I hump my butt away from the edge.

The Ferry Mistress released the rope that had anchored the primitive ferry to the bank, keeping it stable and unmoving in the water. Once cut loose, the raft was propelled downstream by the swift current. Slowly, by cranking on the cable winch, my non-communicative ferry mistress, brought the raft back in line with the opposite bank. It was a slow process with the raft fighting the cable all the way. Where, I wondered, will we end up if the cable breaks?

Finally, we reached the other side. I shouldered my rucksack and picked up my bundle.
"Thank you," I say to the ferry woman; captain of her ship, admiral of her fleet of one antique vessel.

"Begone with you," she screeches. "You think you be my only passenger?"

I look toward the opposite bank. There is no one there waiting for this ferry of note.

"G'bye then," I say, and turn to face in the shimmering distance, Duwamish.

©September 15, 2005

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Ferry to Isle of Ancestors and Owl Island

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Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Coming Soon To A Blog Near You...

The Celestial Night

The anticipation mounts
Laughter, applause
But I must escape this merriment
I am too shy for this stage
I hide in the shadow of a great Willow.

I hear a hushed swish of a skirt
And there in all her radiance,
The Amazon Queen.
I bow my head,
“My lady…”
“Do not the festivities amuse you?” she inquires.
“Oh yes, but I cannot perform…
not even for you.” I shamefully admit.
“Then I will have to amuse you, myself,” she grins.
And pulls me into the night.

Away from the lights,
My eyes adjust to the forest floor.
I am careful to follow in her path,
Avoiding large fallen branches.

I hear a waterfall.
She has lead me to a spring.
And there,
sipping from its source
Is a crouching cloaked figure.

Feminine hands touch the water.
Hands brilliant like bone.
She turns to face us.
Her hood slips down.
Light spills from within.
And there…
a radiant being stands.

The Amazon Queen bows,
And I follow.
This gentle lady’s cloak,
Falls to the ground.
the night
Flares like a full moon just landed.
Her skin shimmers
Her blazing gown is gossamer thin
with the palest tiny pearls.

“Luna, I would like to introduce you
to your namesake,
Lady Luna, Diana,
The Moon Goddess.”
I stare, speechless.

Of all the surprises and worries
I had never expected the Amazon Queen
To bestow such a gift
To me.

The Goddess inclines her head
And gracefully enters the spring.
It dazzles
with what is not an underwater light.
There she bathes and tells us
how her sisters each manage a star.
But being the youngest
she wanted to stay nearest home,
And care for Gaia’s own little sister.

The Amazon Queen stirs.
“We don’t want to be missed.”
We stand ready to leave.
Lady Luna, holds out her hands to me,
with a gift.

Sisterly affection I have never had.
I would like a sister like her.
She dons her midnight cloak
The night goes dark
Only her voice tells me
I am still here.

I open the pouch
An oval piece of moonstone
Falls into my palm.
Its bluish surface brightens
Like a cool candle.
“If you ever feel lonely,
just listen to the stone.
It is connected to me.
It will be comforting, I think.”

I am so moved…
by this lovely Goddess…sister.
That my eyes mist
I am amazed…

The Amazon Queen quietly speaks
The Moon Goddess nods.
I hoarsely whisper thank you.

The Queen smiles satisfied.
I follow her back into the forest.
I have an urge to turn around.
But I hold tightly to the moonstone.
Filled with gratitude
And some giddiness.
Who would have thought
Such delights wait to be found!

Tea in the trees

Walking a well tread path
A crisp fall breeze catches me
By surprise.
It’s good to know Autumn is coming
After so much sun in Arizona and Italy.

I breathe in deeply.
A movement catches my eye.
Midnight with the star on her forehead
Greets me.
I sense a message from her:
Go to Duwamish Bay.

The Good Abbess has sent me a ride.
Thank you gentle Enchantress
Where ever you are.

We ride the trail and meet no bandits,
To my relieve.
Coming over the ridge
The awe inspiring surprise
Of that wonderful blue ocean.
The Isle of Ancestors nestles serenely
On the horizon.

I set up camp in a tree house.
It’s hardly rustic.
Opulent with velvet pillows,
Oriental rugs and tea for me.
On a plate of chocolates a card reads:

Welcome Luna,
Relax and prepare for your performance.

After a delicious cup of Earl Grey tea
in a Russian tea cup,
I write nonsense.
I reluctantly throw something awful together
and fall asleep.

Horns jubilantly announce
The beginning of the activities
I gather my things
As the half moon rises.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Road to Duwamish

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On the road to Duwamish I happened upon a farm and the farmer and his family have made me welcome for a few days rest. Some home style cooking and tender loving care is bound to do me good. While I was here I noticed a party of the Gypsies pull in. Maybe they will set up in the barn tonight and I will get to dance. On the other hand I might just enjoy a quiet night, soaking in the clear air.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

To See If I Am Right About A Few Things

I took a detour this morning to a mossy wood I had only dreamed about as a girl. I had lived in it, yet not known its significance, until it was gone. Deep thoughts about what was gone, and whether I deserved to have it back worried my mind. The green moss of the wood was like velvet and and yet it troubled me; I felt like I was trespassing....

Thinking back to the lake at the Hermitage I let the pictures form in my mind. Surely this place was as beautiful, but in a different way. Possibly I was more familiar with the Hermitage, not feeling like an interloper there. Was the world of nature different according to places and location? Did I have a right to the wild beauty of nature and its mysteries? To stop the fear and ignorance of the modern world creeping in, I thought of the Hermitage regions. I ride on to see if I am right about a few things....

copyright image and word Monika Roleff 2005


I knew better then to go off the path, I knew to keep the River to Duwamish at my shoulder no matter where it led me.

The Route to Duwamish always changes you know.

Once it took me passed a ruined mining town, through a cemetery and above a town inhabited by ghosts. On another Journey to Duwamish it led me through a city I use to live in as a girl, below a monastery and into the Catacombs there. Once I went to a great party at a Marina that took place in the 1920's... and that was in 2003 and I wasn't born until 1964 but who cares?

It was a great time.

This time the River was going towards the Mountains.

I thought we were going in the wrong direction- I’m not sure why other then it felt odd.

I went along because the River knows what it knows.

Then I saw this Creek, and along side of it was a washed out road and leaning against a tree at the beginning of the road where I was standing was a rope and a pick and my Aunt's leather bomber jacket she wore as a young woman back in the 1940's when she started flying.

I took it as a sign and grabbed the jacket, put it on and took the rest of the tools with me.

I looked back and the River was still and then as I walked away it bubbled and roared.

I didn't look back. I was afraid to; I was afraid of what I would see.

I went up a gravel trail that slowly turned to what I thought was solid stone and it got colder and colder and now I'm at the edge of a new river.

It’s made of ice and its very dark and cold here.

Very Dark.

© text anita marie moscoso 2005

Finally On the Road to Duwamish Bay

Making slow progress, many travellers, wondering
what lies ahead.....

Friday, September 09, 2005

Roads to Duwamish Congested

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All Roads Lead To Duwamish

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The roads leading to Duwamish are busy. Raven is heading on foot through the Mountains of Myrr towards the bay and is planning to stay at the Inn. She has been at the source of the Duwmamish and says that the waters are gushing down from the source, emptying into the bay.

Thursday, September 08, 2005


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Demolition of Infamous Boathouse

The Lawton Boathouse, the scene of several unsolved murders over the years was sceduled to be demolished today at Sunrise.

However, local authorities halted the demolition because it has yet again been linked to a crime scene in Duwamish Bay.

" I think you can burn that place to the ground and it won't matter. " said local fisherman Koji Barker " It's going to come back no matter what we do to it. "

Murder most foul

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Someone, mercifully not from our party, has come to grief at the Duwamish Inn. I expect that there will be more details in the Raven Courier.

On the road to Duwamish

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Word is travelling around the realm that there is to be a gathering of all travellers at the Duwamish Inn. Riders are coming to bring people from wherever they are located to stay for a few days in Duwamish - before heading to the Lemurian Abbey for a grand festival.

Some travellers have been here before and but I know that tehy will be keen to revisit Duwamish and catch up with old friends like the Inn Keeper and the Ferry Women. Everyone will need to bring a special outfit, a wig, a mask, an act to perform before the Abbess, The Gorgons and the Amazon Queen who are said to be staying at the Abbey at the moment. I suggest that travellers rummage in Pandora's Wardrobe to find the perfect apparel.

The Abbess is organising a banquet to celebrate your visit and she has asked me if everyone could perhaps do a poetry reading, a story telling session, a tarot reading, tell a fairy story or an old wives tale (wash her mouth out now)... oh I don't know, some presentation of some sort that uses your distinct voice. It is a stage you see and I agreed because I figured everyone is here because they are looking for a stage door, eager to walk out into the spotlight and be heard - as often as possible.

But first everyone must reach Duwamish by horse, donkey, raven or whatever transport is available.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Wandering Luck

I have been out wandering the local area for the past few days. I am sorry to be holding up all of my companion travels. I just kept finding winding trails that called my name. I must say I took quite a few photos of the local flora while I was out an about. The wilderness is very lovely here. This wise, old tree was my favorite thoughtful spot on the journey. I spent hours leaning against it's sturdy trunk and letting any thought or idea or whisp of wisdom passing by on the breeze soak into me.

I'm not sure what the locals call this particular vision, but I found it very confusing and very calming at the same time. I would try to leave and wasn't sure which direction I should go. Sometimes I felt like I was standing on my head. I would call this the Land of Disorientation. It has it's good points. Being disoriented for a long period of time helps you look at things from angles you'd never considered before.

Before heading back to the House of Serpents, I decided to wander into Duwamish Bay. Any excuse to be near my beloved, the ocean, once more. I wandered the beach, collected magical rocks and shells, and let the ocean air wrap me in her cozy embrace. I don't know why, but I feel more at home when I am at the ocean than when I am anywhere else in the world.

As I have come to expect on this journey, I was called to Duwamish Bay for more important reasons than to visit the ocean. In my wanderings I came upon a quaint little shop. I was first attracted to it's open gate that lead to a fountain in a courtyard. Ivy climbed walls and trees adorning the entire area in rich splendor. When I tried to enter the shop, I found the door locked. Disappointed I wouldn't be able to see the treasures within, which I was certain would be even more glorious than the treasures outside, I turned to walk away. A glittery sprite caught my attention as she fluttered by and landed on a window sill just below a sign that read "For Rent." The sprite continued to flutter, even though she was sitting quite still. I decided to take a closer look. When I got closer, I noticed that the sprite was pointing in the window. I decided to peek inside to see what she was so excited about. At first I couldn't tell what sorts of treasures this shop may have sold in the past. The inside looked like any other shop with display tables and shelves, all bare. I perused the scene with my eyes a bit longer until my heart skipped a beat when my gaze fell onto a potter's wheel. "Could it be?!" I gasped. "Could this have been an art gallery?"

I couldn't leave without knowing, so I followed the instructions on the "For Rent" sign which said, "Interested parties may enter, only if you are judged to be a worthy pervayor by the Sprite Muse. She will unlock the door and allow you to browse the shop. Details of ownership are on the table by the door. Follow their instructions if you think you have what it takes to be the next owner of Duwamish Bay's only art gallery."

The Sprite Muse flew to the door and the door sprung open with a slight creak. I walked to the pace of my heart I could hear beating in my ears. My breath quickened. "This is a dream come true," I thought. "What could be better than owning an art gallery that looks out over the ocean -- a marriage of my two greatest loves in all the world!" Visions of items that would soon fill the shop flashed through my mind. I started getting a sinking feeling when I thought about cost, but the Sprite Muse fluttered by and my spirit soared again. She landed on the table next to a few sheets of paper. "That must be the details of ownership," I thought.

After muling over the ownership requirements (not for very long since I was constantly distracted by the Sprite Muse), I realized that it was this gallery, and the sprite, who had chosen me to be the next owner. It was not me choosing to own the gallery. I signed on the dotted line, filed the papers in my traveling bag, and danced my way back to the House of the Serpent to catch up with my traveling companions to share my good fortune.

Along the rest of the journey I will collect pieces of art to show in the gallery. I will dream new dreams of this gallery by the sea. I know I have what it takes to make this gallery the best anyone in Duwamish has ever seen. I'll have to...I have been chosen.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Artists Wanted In Duwamish

Space for Rent:
146 Anacortes Street
Duwamish Bay, Washington

This Charmer sits above the Duwamish Marina in the lovely Glass Gardens District.

The Glass Gardens Art Gallery and all of it's contents are currently for rent.

It's the hope of the Marina Merchants Association that the Lease Signer will agree to maintain the sight as an Art Gallery as it is the only one in Duwamish.

Please Direct all Inquires to Mark Arima of the Marina Merchants Association.

Or contact
for an invitation to Duwamish Bay....

Spotted at Duwamish