4 – The Captain of the Guards

“Shouldn’t the Captain of the Guards be out…guarding…something?”

Ajie moved to pass the tall figure blocking his way through the corridor, but Eijivar matched him step-for-step, waving his hand like he wanted to swat Ajie down the hallway and back to the grounds outside. Ajie stopped.

“Well? You are the Captain of the Guard…of Many Guards. Certainly, there is something out there you need to watch over?”

Eijivar ran a hand down his long, blond hair and brushed it over the silver-scrolled, emerald fabric of his fitted vest, as if to flick off the imaginary dirt that Ajie had dragged in from the forest. His two, male Valdaren companions, similarly dressed to Eijivar, chuckled. Eijivar looked back at them furiously and nodded his head for them to leave. The look silenced them, and they both walked away. He turned back to Ajie and scowled.

Ajie, dressed in the plain greens and browns of the Guard, looked out of place in the Halls of the Great King. The bow and arrows strapped to his back and the sword and daggers sheathed on his belt spoke to his purpose. The dirt on his boots and sweat on his brow testified to the lands he had already patrolled that night. The shoulder-length, brown curls that adorned his head belied his Valdaren blood. He stared back at Eijivar.

“There is nothing in these halls or in this city for that matter, in need of your presence. If the guards are doing their jobs outside, then they have absolutely no need to drag their dirty feet down these pristine corridors.”

Ajie smiled.

Eijivar took a step toward him. Ajie responded by placing his hand on the handle of his sword.

“I have been summoned by the Great King. If you have a problem with that, take it up with him.”

Eijivar scowled.

“Summoned? For what purpose?”

“You are welcome to join me, provided you aren’t afraid of a little dirt, Eijivar.”

Ajie walked past Eijivar, bumping his side with his shoulder as he passed. Eijivar spun and caught up to Ajie, keeping pace alongside him.

“Summoned for what?” he insisted as they walked.

“Take it up with the King,” Ajie retorted.

“I will take it up with you!”

He grabbed hold of Ajie’s arm. Ajie stopped and pulled his arm free, grabbing his sword and pointing it to Eijivar’s chest before the man had a chance to react. Eijivar spread his hands wide and grinned.

“Ever the quick one,” Eijivar mocked.

“It’s why I have been summoned,” he said with a grin, and he put his sword back in its sheath. “For that…and other reasons. Take it up with the King if you don’t like it.”

Eijivar kept pace with him as they continued walking. They turned down several corridors, and then Ajie stopped. Ahead was a closed door with a guard on either side. Unlike the Guard that patrolled the lands outside of the City of the Great King, these men were dressed in fitted shirts and vests in dark blues and greens, in similar fashion to Eijivar, but without the fancy scrolling. They were armed with swords but nothing else. Ajie grabbed hold of Eijivar’s arm.

“What you discuss with the King is between the two of you, but this task is given to me. If you try to interfere, I will stop you,” Ajie responded.

“Then it involves her.”

“Of course.”

“You are going to accompany Lorien somewhere? This time of night?”


Eijivar took hold of the front of Ajie’s vest.

“Where? Where are you taking her?” Eijivar insisted.

Ajie pushed Eijivar’s hand away.

“I am not taking her anywhere. I am to accompany her. And I don’t know where. As I said, you can ask the King yourself.  I am warning you, do NOT interfere.”

Ajie walked up to the guard and bowed, and they returned his bow and opened the door. Ajie entered the room, and Eijivar followed him. They both stopped, puzzled, as soon as they saw Lorien and the King, and neither of them remembered to bow. To their surprise, Lorien was dressed in the dark browns and greens of the guard. She had a bow and quiver full of arrows strapped over her back, and a thin sword and dagger sheathed in holders strapped to her waist. She wore old boots of the guard that rose just above her ankles. The King nodded to the two men and motioned them into the room. The door was closed behind them.

“What is going on?” Eijivar asked. “You are allowing her to leave…like…like…?”

He waved his hand in the direction of Lorien. She glared back at him, furious.

“Like what?” she asked.

“Like a common guard,” he answered, returning her angry glare.

“What is going on?”

“Lorien has business outside of our lands. Ajie will be accompanying her. Would you have her leave the Northern Realm in flowing, silver-scrolled gown and slippers?”

He grinned at Lorien, and he winked at her. He was tall and strong; and, his long, white hair, the only testimony to his age, shined in the moonlight on the open terrace where he stood. Lorien found herself fighting the urge to hide in the protective fold of his arms, but the feeling was fleeting, quickly replaced by her curiosity regarding the events soon to unfold.

“I would not have her LEAVE the safety of the Northern Realm at all. I would certainly not allow her to run wild in the night like a common guard. She is the daughter of the Great King!”

“Yes, I am aware,” responded the King. “I don’t recall summoning you, Eijivar, but please, have a seat.”

He extended his arm to the table in the center of the balcony. Eijivar did not move.

“Ajie, follow her,” the King stated firmly. “Do not leave her side. Once you pass through the gates and out of our lands, move swiftly. She knows the way. Keep your eyes sharply tuned. There are shadows moving beyond our lands…”

He stared at Ajie, who bowed in acknowledgement.

“Lorien…” he said more softly.

“I will be careful, Father. Besides, I’ve already been wounded once tonight. How much mischief can he cause?”

“Plenty, but it is not HE who concerns me,” the King said, hesitating for a moment and nodding toward the door.

Lorien needed no further encouragement. She turned and hastened out of the doorway and down the long corridor, Ajie following at her heels. Eijivar stood by silently and waited until they were out of earshot.

“Do you not think,” Eijivar stated, carefully measuring each word, “that it is beneath the status of the daughter of the Great King to run like a wild thing in the night? And with a member of the common guard, for that matter?”

“Ajie has extraordinary eyes. He will spot trouble long before it spots them, and there is no COMMON guard, as you put it, who is more skilled than he,” the King responded calmly.  “Lest you forget, by my hands he long ago was made Captain of many of the King’s Guards.”

The King sat at the table on the balcony and motioned for Eijivar to join him. He watched the pathway leading to the forest, hoping to catch a glimpse of Lorien. He spoke to his guest without turning his head.

“Neither the will of a Great King nor the lust of a Valdaren prince can alter the ground that she must travel.”

“Lust?” Eijivar asked, astonished.

“Yes, lust.”

“Long have I…,” Eijivar protested.

“Long have you lusted. You have lusted her beauty and position my daughter possesses. I caution you, Eijivar, they are hers. She is free to share them as she wills, or not.”

“I do not…”

“Sit, Eijivar.”

Two figures emerged from a ground patio and moved rapidly along the path toward the woods. The slender figure with long, dark hair walked in the lead. Ajie followed, matching her steps. They passed the tree line and disappeared into the woods.

“Sit, Eijivar.”

Eijivar walked to the table and sat across from the King. He looked out toward the path that the King was still watching, then turned back to the King and leaned forward across the table.

“You belittle my feelings for your daughter by reducing them to lust. Long have I cared deeply for her. How can you allow her to wander out of our lands like that? And with him?”

The King looked at Eijivar and sighed.

“It was her choice.”

Eijivar sat back in his seat and folded his arms across his chest.

“I see. You had nothing to say about it?”

The King laughed.

“I always have something to say about it. In this case, I agreed with her. Ajie has keen eyes and a quick draw. They must travel swiftly and keep out of sight. He was the correct man for the job.”

“I would have willingly traveled with her. I’m a stronger with the sword than Ajie, and I am…”

“You are what?”

“A true Valdaren of the Northern Realm…one of her kind.”

The King laughed again.

“Ajie is a distant cousin of a lesser family born far from these lands. No matter how many Guards you make him Captain of, nothing will change that,” Eijivar’s words bit through the cool night air with hot bitterness.

“Jealously does not suit you.”

“I am not…”

The King held up his hand and stopped Eijivar.

“Time alone will reveal your intentions toward Lorien. It will sift you by its own moving measure, as it does us all. Do not profess to me. Save your words for her, if she will hear them. I have answered. She is free to choose a suitor, or to choose no suiter. This night, she chose a protector, and she chose well.”

“I do not…”

“I know what you would say. Eijivar, you are a noble and trusted warrior, a fighter second to none, but you have much to learn. You have chosen to grace my presence this night, my old friend. As it happens, Lorien’s test has just begun. I believe it is the beginning of your test as well. We have business to discuss.”


Chapter 4, The Captain of the Guards, from The Legend of the Lumenstones: The Lightbearer

words and cover art © 2017 Tanya Cliff


on sale now

Posted in books & Legend of the Lumenstones. Bookmark the permalink.

3 – The Task at Hand

“Ouch!” Lorien gasped and formed her hand into a fist. Drops of blood slipped out from her palm through her fingers. She held her hand close to her body and kept her back to her father, who was seated at a table in the center of the balcony.


“It’s nothing,” she responded.

But, a red line ran down from her palm and spread to her wrist. She grabbed the sleeve of her shirt with her left hand and pulled it over her wrist up to her fingers, grateful for the dark clothes of the Valdaren Guard she was uncharacteristically dressed in. Warm blood oozed from her hand and crawled up the arm of her shirt. The dark splotch on the sleeve grew, and she could feel thick blood pooling up to her elbow. Her hand throbbed. But where had the cut come from? Her eyes scanned the railing in front of her. She had been resting her hands on it only moments before, gazing out over the rushing waterfalls into the moonlit night that was to guide her journey. The marble was polished and smooth.

“There was a sharp piece of rock loose on the banister. I caught it with my palm. It’s just a scratch. It is nothing.”

Her father eyed her suspiciously.  Lorien, keeping her back to him, glanced down at her fist. She pulled the sleeve back slightly. There was no blood. She opened her fist. There was no cut on it, not even a scratch. She had felt the sharp pain and had seen the blood; but, even the stain of the shirt sleeve had vanished.  She bit her lower lip, then forced a smile and turned to her father, holding her hand up for him to see.

“See, it’s nothing. I just caught it on something. That’s all.”

Still, he watched her.

“It was nothing,” she insisted.

He got up from his chair and walked to her. He took her hand in his own and studied it, touching the spot where she had felt the cut and tracing his finger down the middle of her palm.

“It was nothing,” she protested.

She tried to pull her hand away from him, but he held on, his finger still pressed to the spot she had felt the gash. He looked intently at her, grinned, and pushed her hand gently toward her chest, releasing it.

“I’ve never known a little scratch to cause you to gasp.”

“True, but this isn’t an ordinary night. Consider that I am slightly on edge.”

“Hmm…I’ve never known you to be jumpy whether the night was ordinary or not.”

“I didn’t say I was jumpy, just slightly on edge.”

“You gasped and grabbed your hand.”

“I don’t know what it was, but there is nothing there now.”

“What was there?” he asked.

“Honestly, what does it matter?”

“Lorien, there is a task at hand that requires YOUR hand, but I will not allow you to leave the Northern Realm unless you are honest with me.”

Lorien forced a smile and held her palm up for him to see.

“Do you see anything?”


“Then there is nothing to tell.”


She looked away to avoid the piercing gaze of his blue eyes, but she could feel his probing. She bit her bottom lip and shifted from one foot to another.

“Fine…I felt a sharp piercing. I looked down, and it was bleeding…gushing blood. Then I looked down, and there was nothing.”

He grabbed her hand again, held it palm up between his hands, and he closed his eyes. Lorien relaxed. The strength and warmth of his hands had always reassured her. She was content to stand by him, and she didn’t want him to let go. Without releasing her hand, he opened his eyes and looked deeply in hers.

“A test,” he said quietly.

“Well, that is lovely and nonspecific, Father.”

He laughed.

“I believe you have been the unwitting victim of a little Gat mischief. It is nothing serious.”

“Yes, that is what I said…nothing.”

She laughed, though she tried not to.

“Honestly, I’m going to fix that Gat for good one of these days,” she protested. “He is always meddling…always!”

“He means you no harm, Lorien. Quite the opposite.”

“I know that, but…”

He raised his hand to stop her and nodded his head.

“Lorien, if I didn’t think you were ready, you would not be going anywhere. For all their magic and potions and knowledge, Gats are not Valdaren. They were neither Lightbearers nor Kings. To us were these tasks given, and we have always fulfilled them. The Gat sees a linear progression of life. He does not understand the swirling of the wind or the radiating of light. When the real test comes, what is inside of you will match it.”

They both stood for a time, side-by-side, staring out into the forest of the Northern Realm just beyond the pools and river that collected below the waterfalls of the City of the Great King. On any other night, the two of them would have talked quietly and laughed, remembering stories of times passed or playing word games in a language only the two of them understood. He would challenge her and try to stump her. She would challenge back. They would make a sport of words and strategies, ideas and plans—constructs of a brilliant mind and its singular offshoot. This night, for the remaining moments they had, they waited silently.


Chapter 3, The Task at Hand, from The Legend of the Lumenstones: The Lightbearer

words and cover art © 2017 Tanya Cliff


on sale now

Posted in books & Legend of the Lumenstones. Bookmark the permalink.

2 – A Test

The Gat climbed the ladder to the top shelf of books. He swiped the boney finger of his right hand along the dusty spines, sending a small cloud of white particles into the air. He puffed through his scraggly beard several times to clear the air in front of his nose. More dust followed. He sneezed and blew vigorously. Still, his finger continued moving down the titles:


One Hundred Potions, One Hundred Cures by Finnaous Dolspringer

Gorgenyweed, Uses and Dangers by Dorian Middlesnout

Ancient Herbal Spells for Today’s Gat by Meldringfor the Gat (a Gat who had been dead for more than 200 years)

Plant use in Gates and Portals by Melvin Parnoidian

Herbaceous Curses by Doddlesnick Twofinger (rumored to have lost the other three to a particularly potent mix of Nodlesleg Weed and Brovlinine Seed)


“No…no,” muttered Mattoby. “Where is it?”

He continued along the line of books, careful not to damage the tattered spines. His finger stopped, and he gently patted the title of the next book.

“There you are.”

He pulled the book off the shelf and hugged it to his chest as he walked down the ladder, mumbling under his breath. He carried it past piles of books that covered every part of the room, from the overstuffed shelves and mismatched tables and chairs to the floor. Mattoby’s library contained books of every shape and size, color and age, and history and use arranged in a haphazard order understandable only to himself. He knew the general location of every title, including those stacked on the floor, books that he was now stepping over and walking around to get to the one empty table in the back of the room.

He placed the book on the table and read the title out loud, “Magical Cures, The Lingering Effects, by Vagmorgian the Gat…ah, Vagmorgian, my old friend…I do wonder whatever became of him.”

He opened the book, taking care not to rip the brittle pages, and ran his finger down the Table of Contents.

“Ah, there you are…Chapter 7: Tests of Completeness – The Theory of Magical Growth…dry topic.”

He coughed a few times and sneezed.

“Let’s see…let’s see…I know it is in here.”

He resumed muttering and mumbling to himself as he scanned Chapter 7. “Aha! Yes…yes…,” he read fragments aloud, “…magical powers displayed in young and developing beings…lingering effects connected to…especially pronounced in cures…provided the benefiting specimen remains alive…powers reflect, in theory…” He stopped. “Yes…yes…it’s all theoretical, isn’t it? Still, Vagmorgian…I wonder…I wonder…” He continued reading, stopped at one point, and traced his finger under the words as he read them slowly, “The connection between a healed living organism and its magical healer is a strong bond, lasting the life of the healed organism. In theory…yes, there it is again…yes, yes…In theory, the recipient organism reflects the power of its healer, the reflection growing in intensity with the maturing magical power of the being that delivered the healing. The healed organism does not possess the magical powers, merely reflects them under the proper test conditions, in theory…yes, yes.”

Mattoby waved his hand as to chase the word “theory” off the page.

“You always were a cautious one Vagmorgian. In theory…” he chuckled. “I wonder…I wonder…I shall put it to a test.”

The Gat returned the book to its place on the shelf in the same manner he had retrieved it, sneezing a few times at the top of the ladder. He paused at the door to his hallway, held up his hand, and snapped his fingers. The candles in the lanterns, which were positioned on the walls and hanging from the three chandeliers on the ceiling, all dimmed to a soft glow. He entered the brightly lit hallway and turned to the right. The ceiling in this hallway was high enough for the tallest of men to walk comfortably upright; although, the Gat, diminutive as he was, did not require it. He had rare, but occasional, company to the rooms down this corridor, and the hallway was set to properly accommodate them. He reached the room in the front of his house.

The corridors to the left and the right of this main hallway were reserved for his personal use. They were narrow and winding tunnels with low ceilings. He could pass through them on his tiptoes if he desired, but tall men and Valdaren would have to duck and walk bent over at the waist to navigate the passages. It was no bother to him. These rooms were never intended for company.

He stepped into the hall to the left of the main passage. The lanterns scattered down the corridor lit up as he did but provided only dim light. Unlike the main section of the house with its wooden plank flooring and clapboard walls, the floor beneath his feet was dirt and the walls stone. Mattoby walked down the corridor past three thick wooden doors, each locked with a different variety of bolts and barricades. He stopped at a fourth, mumbled quietly, and ran his fingers over the face of the locks. One after another they unlocked.

He opened the door, walked into the dark room, and shut the door behind him, repeating the process with his fingers. The muffled snapping of the locks on the backside of the door answered him. He flicked on the bright white lights with a snap of his fingers, revealing an enormous greenhouse that stretched for a hundred feet in front of him. The ceiling vaulted high above his head, and numerous birds, startled by the sudden brightness, took flight and perched in the lofty rafters. In the center of the room was a grove of rare trees whose branches pressed against the glass panels on the ceiling, threatening to break through them.

A few of the birds landed by his feet, and he tossed some crumbs from his pocket to them.

“Yes…yes,” he said quietly to the birds. “I’ve disturbed your sleep…It cannot be helped.”

He walked down the path to the right of the tree grove. Several vines twisted their tendrils and brushed against him as he passed.

“Hello, my friends. I will not trouble you for long.”

At the back of the room was a small greenhouse contained within the cavernous room. It was made of glass panels all around with no apparent entry. Vines wrapped around the outside of little room, blocking its insides from view. Mattoby snapped his fingers, and the vines responded by recoiling off the structure. A light in the center of the space illuminated, revealing a table with a single plant that had emerald leaves shaped like hearts and lovely white flowers as large as man’s hand, the only plant in the small room.

“Still alive, I see…good thing…yes…yes.”

He mumbled a few words, and the front panels of glass folded themselves to the side, creating a doorway.


He stepped inside the room and gently touched a leaf.

“The first gift of the last Lightbearer…a child’s wish for your flowers to ever bloom…and still you bloom…though hundreds of years have passed. She is a child no more, but is she ready? Is her magic strong enough? I wonder?”

Mattoby reached to the belt around his waist, which was hidden by his long grey beard. He pulled out a thin dagger, a blade that looked more fit for a child’s play than a powerful Gat’s use. The handle was made of carved bone in the design of a twisted vine. It was an ancient bone, the former owner of, Mattoby would never confess to knowing. He pulled a clean tissue from his pocked and folded it into a perfect square several layers of cotton thick. He placed the cloth directly underneath a leaf and held that leaf in his left hand just at the base where it connected to the stem. He held the dagger in his right hand and poised it above the leaf.

“Forgive me Lorien. This will sting a bit.”

He whispered a few words, then plunged the blade into the center of the leaf, resting its tip on the cloth. Blood flowed through the gash in the leaf and down the blade, saturating the folded tissue. It dripped off the table and onto the floor.


Chapter 2, A Test, from The Legend of the Lumenstones: The Lightbearer

words and cover art © 2017 Tanya Cliff


on sale now

Posted in books & Legend of the Lumenstones. Bookmark the permalink.

1 – Lost

“We are lost.”

“We are NOT lost.”

“Have you ever been to this place before? Does any of this look familiar to you? Loni…Loni!”

Loni continued down the path without looking back. Dovni sighed, shrugged his shoulders, sat down, and leaned against a tree. His body ached, and he was hungry. They had not eaten a proper meal since setting out on their journey four days before. Now, as far as Dovni could tell, they were lost. The small men from Hill Country were a rugged sort, provided frequent meals from their well-stocked kitchens and long naps in their comfortable beds. “Adventurer” was the polite term given to those folks who fled Hill Country in desperation to avoid being locked up in one of the local jails.

Dovni pulled a loaf of bread out of his bag and tried to bite into it, then frowned. The bread was stale. He hit it on a rock repeatedly until it broke apart, and he picked up one piece at a time, brushing off dirt and a few insects as he ate. He watched Loni walk from one side of the path to the other, searching through the forest undergrowth. Loni pushed branches, ferns, and weeds to the side, feeling the tree trunks with his hands. He moved methodically from one tree to the next. He searched one side of the path and then the other, repeating the process every few steps.

Dovni felt a crunch and squish of beetle juice in his mouth. He shuddered and gulped, washing it down with water from his flask, and he shuddered again.

“We are lost!” he yelled, after he cleared his mouth of the bitter bug juice with another drink.

“We are NOT lost,” Loni responded, his words muffled by the leaves and stems surrounding him. “I found it!” Loni stood, holding what appeared to be a Luna Moth in his hands. “There! See!”

He walked back up the path and sat next to Dovni.

“Look,” Loni said, “I told you we were not lost. We’ve followed the Gat’s instructions to this point. And here is the next piece of the map.”

Loni unfolded and gently rubbed the back of the wings. As the scales shed, parchment was revealed underneath. Drawn on the paper was a meandering line with a tiny “x” marked in the corner at the bottom and a larger “x” marked toward the top.

“Here is where we are now,” stated Loni, pointing to the bottom corner. “And there is where we will find the next piece of our map. So, no, we are not lost at all. We are exactly where we are supposed to be.”

“Where we are supposed to be?! I am supposed to be home, sitting in front of a fire eating my dinner, or maybe at “The Border Inn” enjoying a meal and some ale with you, or at your Granny Nana’s house eating…oh, I can’t even think of it.”

Dovni picked a chunk of the bread off the ground, brushed it off, and held it out to Loni, who took it and began gnawing on its edge, a grin on his face.

“No,” continued Dovni. “We are NOT where we are supposed to be.”

“Where is your sense of adventure?” Loni spat out small crumbs as he spoke.

“Adventure?!? Are we criminals fleeing Hill Country? Adventure,” Dovni complained. “Adventures are for Valdaren or the large men who hunt in the Trividian Forest or sea-trading men. They are NOT for simple folk like us.”

“Drougerhead!” Loni bumped his shoulder into Dovni as he spoke.

“I am NOT!”

Dovni leaped to his feet and put his hands on his hips, glaring. Loni grinned up at him as he chewed.


“I am…I am NOT! We are days away from Hill Country, following a…well, what would you call it? It isn’t a map. The Gat could have at least given us a proper map!”

Loni folded the disguised paper in half for Dovni and then opened it back up. “It is a map…or a fragment of a map. We are here.” He pointed again to the small “x”. “And we are going here.”

He traced his fingers along the jagged line to the “x” at the top. He folded it again, showing off its lime green wings, and held it for Dovni to see.

“It is a Gat map,” he stated proudly.

Dovni shook his head in disbelief. “And, what do you know about the Gat?”

“Plenty. Do you ever read?”

Loni stood and brushed the dirt off his pants. He examined the inside of the moth map and looked down the trail ahead of them. He folded the map, opened the side pouch of his bag, and placed it behind several dozen other maps in the shapes of various moths and butterflies. He closed the flap, secured it, and patted it a few times with his hand.

“I read…plenty,” Dovni protested.

“Well, then, you would know that Gats are secretive. They take great measures to hide their houses. It is written that a single Gat home contains more histories, potions, and records of dark creatures and mysterious things than all the libraries in the great cities of men combined.”

“You mean there are more Gats? I have only ever heard of Mattoby,” Dovni said.

“I think there used to be…a long time ago. Mattoby is the only Gat I know of, but the old books told of more.”

“Mattoby is old…ancient.”

“Yes, so he must have a treasury of things worth hiding. He has given us a map, or fragments of a map, to get us to his gate. We are exactly where we are supposed to be…one more day to go…seven more maps to find. We are NOT lost. You are a Drougerhead, but you are a nice one who shares your stale bread.”

He grinned at Dovni, bumped him with his elbow, chuckled, and started walking down the path.

“I am not a Drougerhead!”

Loni continued walking.

“What does he want with us anyway?” Dovni questioned, raising his voice to get Loni’s attention.

Loni didn’t look back. He concentrated on the path ahead, matching his steps to the jigs and jags of the picture of Gat’s map he had sketched in his head. “Don’t know,” he answered, nonchalantly.


Loni picked up his pace along the dirt trail. Night would be falling in a few hours, and they would have to stop lest they miss one of Mattoby’s clues in the dark. He wanted to reach the next map piece, if possible, before dark and find a safe place to hide for the night off the trail. That should get them to the Gat’s gate before nightfall tomorrow. He wanted to leave extra time, just in case they did get lost, although he said nothing about that to Dovni.


Dovni sighed, shook his head, scowled, and jogged to catch up to his friend.


Chapter 1, Lost, from The Legend of the Lumenstones: The Lightbearer

words and cover art © 2017 Tanya Cliff


on sale now


Posted in books & Legend of the Lumenstones. Bookmark the permalink.


“We are lost.” *

It is a new beginning, an adaptation of my old fantasy novel, unearthed under mounds of verbal dirt. My writer’s brain grew. My editing skills sharpened. Like a painter learning a new medium, I have cultivated my storytelling skills in poetry and repainted the old tale on a fresh canvass. The rambling paragraph that once started this tale has been scrapped.  I’ve burned the dross off the plot and allowed my characters to carry it.

The book has a new cover and a new name. Loni and Dovni may be momentarily lost in the first chapter, but the story has been found.

Next week, I will be sharing the first four chapters of the book and providing a link to the eBook on Amazon as soon as it goes live. This summer I will follow with the next two books in the series, both in final rewrite.

*Opening line of The Legend of the Lumenstones: The Lightbearer

Words and cover art©2017 Tanya Cliff

Posted in books & Legend of the Lumenstones.

Bookmark the permalink.







My Striking Pen

Is my pen led astray?
Or just having its way?
two line strikes
those “rich green, carpet of flowing grasslands”
“verdant meadows”

Ideas morph in the margins
the chrysalis cracks
under the weight of my rolling, ballpoint pen
“the welcoming pale pink petals of my wax begonias that lure hummingbirds”
flutter away as
“blushing invitations to winged friends”

Arrows zing around my page
in colorful edits
this is war
in my mind
ten words drop in a single line:
“the furry, flop-eared bunny hopped, hid eggs and in the yard and, exhausted, dropped”
simply put:
“the rabbit died”

I’m not crying
though cute
are ever multiplying
like words
before edits
they overrun the garden-page
ideas flourish
under the cut of my striking pen
this is war


Words and Photography ©2017 Tanya Cliff ~ to contact me

Posted in poetry & free verse. Bookmark the permalink.


to rainy beat
through the open window
the storm’s falling tears beckon me
carry me on waves through tempest-tossed night
I cascade over waterfalls
and drift on oceans calm
wash up on shore


Words and Photography ©2017 Tanya Cliff ~ to contact me

Entry posted in poetry & Rictameter Verse. Bookmark the permalink.


what does a ban say
on a sunny Easter Day


starving children,
the moaning human refuse
for posterity
in refugee wastelands
must starve
sheltered youth,
plump and spoiled
dressed in pressed watercolors
not junk yard soiled
are allowed free run
on a White House lawn
to hunt for candy-filled eggs

what does a ban say
on a sunny Easter Day


this year
the Easter Bunny voted
rolled his eggs for Trump


children, impoverished,
hunted meals
from the dump

what does a ban say
on a sunny Easter Day



Words and Photography ©2017 Tanya Cliff ~ to contact me

Posted in poetry & free verse. Bookmark the permalink.


winged company
through a blushing appeal
each petal, an invitation
treasure map to ambrosia concealed
butterfly moves proboscis probe
seeks nectar to consume
as soft flowers


Words and Photography ©2017 Tanya Cliff ~ to contact me

Entry posted in poetry & Rictameter Verse. Bookmark the permalink.

An Instrumental Tanka

trees shake maracas ~

a Taino rhythm to keep ~

rattle past’s recall ~

the new world vomited bile ~

poisoned, the old leaves fell dead


(note: Maracas originated with the Taino people, the Indigenous inhabitants of the Caribbean Islands and S. Florida. The coming of Columbus brought a time of disease, slavery and murder that left approximately 5 million humans dead, nearly exterminating the Taino. Indigenous people today face a continued battle in America to protect their treaty negotiated lands, waters and ancestral burial sites most recently from gas pipelines. An honest look at history is a starting point in healing old wounds and preventing new ones.)


Words and Photography ©2017 Tanya Cliff ~ to contact me

Entry posted in tankapoetry & noACP. Bookmark the permalink.