Muhulda Speaks – Unlock the Truth

This is what I find interesting. I was able to obtain a copy of a letter from one Valedihr, a professor at the Academe in Jitradena, outright stating that he was conducting experiments into using bonded humans for food.



Muhulda Urswyk Vintage
Muhulda Urswyk – Lock and Key

Muhulda Urswyk here.


I’ve finally gotten an interview with Barnabas Merriweather, leader of the Shadow Walkers, so now we can get to the bottom of who these people really are.  Are they guardians like they claim, or are they vigilante menaces that need to be eradicated?  You decide.

Muhulda: Thank you for taking time out to speak with me, Mr. Merriweather.  I know you’re anxious to return to Corleon and resume your leadership duties.

Barnabas: You’re welcome.

Muhulda: Now, Mr. Merriweather.  Tell me about the Shadow Walkers.  Who, exactly, are they?

Barnabas: Shadow Walkers are those who’ve received weapons from the gods.  Most of us use those weapons to protect others and to guard Brimstone Thunderwatch.

Muhulda: ‘Most’?

(Just an aside here.  Mr. Merriweather nods but doesn’t answer.)

Muhulda: Weapons from the gods?  Can you tell me more?

Barnabas: When the universe exploded, many of the gods perished.  Those who survived now choose champions, so to speak, to wield their weapons.

Muhulda:  You aren’t making any sense.  Why would the gods need someone else to wield a weapon?  They’re all powerful, aren’t they?

Barnabas (shakes his head): No.  They aren’t.  The gods are trapped in this world with the rest of us, but they have no physical form.  They can’t interact with things in any real way.

Muhulda: So they choose others to do it for them?

Barnabas (nods): Yes.

Muhulda: And how do the gods choose these so-called champions?

Barnabas: That’s something we’ve yet to determine.  Some are given the weapons in times of great peril, but others receive them at seemingly random times.  (He pauses and shrugs.) We just don’t know what causes one god or another to reach out to someone.

Muhulda: But the Arcana Maximus is full of automatons the gods can inhabit and speak through.  Has anyone thought of just asking?

(Another note.  Mr. Merriweather shrugs and looks embarrassed.  It is clear that the simple idea of asking has never crossed his mind.)

Muhulda: And are these ‘chosen’ always human?

Barnabas: Our history tells us that they were once, back when the planes were separated, but they aren’t now.  The Shadow Walkers are chosen from all beings.

Muhulda: Even the demons?

Barnabas Merriweather – Leader of the Shadow Walkers

Barnabas: Yes.  We even have Shadow Walkers among the demons.

Muhulda: Now, see.  This is what I find interesting.  I was able to obtain a copy of a letter from one Valedihr, a professor at the Academe in Jitradena, outright stating that he was conducting experiments into using bonded humans for food.  Have you read it?  He sent it to his colleagues.

Barnabas: No, I haven’t.

Muhulda: Isn’t he one of yours, so to speak?  Isn’t he a Shadow Walker?  And would this go back to your earlier statement that ‘most’ of the Shadow Walkers use their abilities to help others?

(Just an aside here.  Mr. Merriweather didn’t answer this question.  He seemed quite agitated.  I wonder if it’s because he knows the Shadow Walkers aren’t to be trusted.)

Muhulda: Well, if you don’t want to answer, let’s move on.  What happens to Shadow Walkers who break the code, who do ‘evil’?  You do have a code, don’t you?

Barnabas: Yes, we have a code of conduct.  Shadow Walkers are forbidden from harming others, and they are required to stand up for those who are being downtrodden.

Muhulda: But isn’t right in the eye of the beholder?  For example, if a ruler is trying to establish rule of his people, and a small few dissent and call in the Shadow Walkers for help, aren’t they doing more harm than good?  Who chooses which side is the right one?

Barnabas: Our primary goal is to guard Brimstone Thunderwatch and to prevent the seventh hell demons from escaping.  Our other duties include assisting local constables and the like with situations that exceed their capabilities in manpower or that have a decidedly magical base.  Each case is evaluated before it is taken, and since we have Shadow Walkers in every region, it is quite easy to get the information we need to make an informed decision.  The only time we’re somewhat cut off is when we patrol the void to guard against assaults from outside of Grevared, and, even then, we have means of communicating.

Muhulda: But there are many in Moirena and Corleon who use magic.  It’s only in the Xaggarene Empire that magic is mistrusted.  Would you help in those places where it’s normal?  What about Harrowwind?  Everyone there uses magic there, so why wouldn’t the locals know how to deal with it or investigate it?  Why would you be needed?

(Mr. Merriweather seems quite annoyed at this point.)

Barnabas: You ask the question as if we charge into an area and assume command.  This isn’t the case.  Yes, we have guild halls in just about every community, but we don’t interfere unless requested to.  Now, there are times when a threat presents itself that those in the area aren’t aware of, but when we step in on these, it is always for the good of the citizens.

Muhulda: What kinds of threats would those be?

Barnabas: Specters, zombies, animated corpses, and pixie mites, just to name a few.

Muhulda: And what do these things do?

Barnabas: Specters and pixie mites both possess the ability to drain your life force with a simple touch, and a specter won’t quit once it’s noticed you.  Zombies are the walking dead, and they’ll simply eat you.  Animated corpses are mechanically animated dead bodies.  They are usually controlled by whoever created them, but it is easy for their architect to lose control of them.  Would you prefer running up on one on your own, or would you prefer to know that there are people in your area who are actively seeking and destroying these things?

Muhulda: And who pays for your assistance?  Does the money come from taxes?  And what about the school you run?  Do the students pay tuition?  What about the ones who can’t pay?

Barnabas: All those who attend the school either pay a tuition or work for the school.  As for who pays our fees, it is usually the one who called us.  As to where the funds come from, I couldn’t say.  And no young Shadow Walker is ever turned away from our school, regardless of ability to pay.

Muhulda: And what about the threats from outside our lands that you mentioned.  Just what threats?  There’s nothing out in the void.

Barnabas: We assume that there’s nothing else out in the void, but we really don’t know.  There could be other lands out there with beings we can’t even comprehend.  At this point, we just don’t know, and the things we do know about, such as the void serpents, aren’t things you would want in your cities.

Muhulda: So, basically, you don’t do this because of writ from the gods.  You do it for profit.  You do this for self-aggrandizement because you feel you’re special.

Barnabas: I wouldn’t say profit.  Shadow Walkers have to be paid, just like everyone else, and the Shadow Walker guild halls have to be maintained, just as those of the ironworkers or stonemasons.  You don’t expect them to work for free, so we shouldn’t be expected to, either.  There is little to no real profit from what we do.  As to feeling special, many of us would rather not be chosen.  There’s a downside to working directly with a god.

Muhulda: But the Arcana Maximus claims the gods can only speak through the automatons it controls.  Are you saying that, out of all the creatures that live in Grevared, only the handful that have been ‘chosen’ can communicate with them?

Barnabas (shrugs): I couldn’t say.  I’m aware of the Arcana’s belief, but I couldn’t say who else can speak with the gods.  They may regularly meet the emperor for lunch for all I know.

Muhulda: So, what will you do when you leave here, Mr. Merriweather?  Do you have some dastardly creature to fight?

Barnabas: Right now, I’d just like to head home and get some rest.  It’s been a long journey.

Muhulda: Well, that’s all the time we have now.  Thank you for joining us today, Mr. Merriweather.  I hope you have a safe trip home.


To recap what Barnabas Merriweather, leader of the Shadow Walkers, has told us: the Shadow Walkers carry weapons that are given to them by the gods.  There is no specific criteria for receiving these weapons, so average citizens should be aware that anyone could carry one.  Your best friend, your neighbor.  Any of these could have powers you can’t comprehend or fight.

The Shadow Walkers assist in cases that are too complex for local constables, and they guard Brimstone Thunderwatch, the prison for the seventh hell demons.  They will also interfere in local business when called upon, without determining if they are backing the ‘correct’ side.  This being the case, we must be cautious when dealing with this group, especially when calling them into our affairs, as we have no way of knowing if they are truly on our side.

Muhulda Urswyk reporting.  Until next time.


Is Muhulda right in her assessment of the Shadow Walkers?  Visit Grevared to see for yourself.

The Shadow Walkers of Grevared – Learn more about the world of Grevared.

Wolf in the Shadow – Read a free preview here.

Something is killing the good folks of Black Crystal. People are missing, animals glow in the darkness, and what little has been found doesn’t resemble anything recognizable as a living being.

Timothy, Justin, and Eleanor are Shadow Walkers who travel to Black Crystal to investigate the incidents, but what they find is more than they ever expected. For the forest harbors a secret, something unknown to the folks of Black Crystal. It is in the depths of this forest that the Shadow Walkers come face-to-face with a truth they never expected, one that could change their lives and their hearts forever.


The Chronicles of Ethan Grimley III – Follow Ethan’s adventures as he learns to be a Shadow Walker.

A Walker is Born – Read a free preview here.

Cronus Attacks – Read a free preview here.

Pancakes…Or Not

1512031_683729534998292_8621720598215184951_oOkay, I know most of my stuff is about fantasy and mythology, and those are the things I love the best.  But I also like to make things, as those who’ve been around know from my crochet stuff.

Well, it’s hard to get anything done on an empty stomach, so I thought I’d share some recipes we use when we want a snack.  Or breakfast.  Or supper.


Breakfast just wouldn’t be breakfast without a pancake now and again, and several companies have made it quite easy to enjoy their fluffy goodness (along with some bacon, of course). All you do is figure out how many pancakes you want, add some water to the mix, and pour it on the griddle. Cover it with syrup, and there’s no way to have a bad day.

But this awesome mix isn’t just for pancakes.

Let’s face it, we all have those times we remember the potluck at work at ten o’clock the night before. There’s that moment of ‘what am I gonna do?’ when the stores are closed or you just flat out don’t want to get dressed again and go out. And, of course, who really wants to stop at the crack of dawn on the way to work? Then comes that phone call when we’re cleaning house, reading a good book, or otherwise not in any mindset to entertain. That ‘I’m in the neighborhood and thought I’d stop by’ one.

This is where pancake mix comes to the rescue. I know, it sounds bizarre. But you aren’t making pancakes. Instead, you’re using the pancake mix as a base to make a simple coffee cake. Now, I’ll warn you, the cook time can range up to forty-five minutes, but the preparation only takes about five. This leaves you free to prepare for company – vacuum and scrub like a crazy person – or get ready for work.

NOTE: Cooking times may vary a little. Just stick a fork in the center, and if it comes out clean, it’s done.


  1. Simple Coffee Cake –This one is the easiest, and if you have the pancake mix, you probably have the other stuff, too.



2 cups pancake mix prepared according to package directions

1-2 cups brown sugar

¼ cup granulated sugar


Nuts (optional)

1 tsp. vanilla extract


Grease a loaf pan or 8” x 8” cake pan.  Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Add granulated sugar, vanilla, and a little cinnamon to the pancake mix.  Pour half the pancake mix into the loaf pan.  Completely cover the mix with brown sugar.  Sprinkle on a little cinnamon.  Carefully pour the remaining pancake batter over the first layer.  Top with brown sugar and cinnamon.  Bake at 300 degrees for 45 minutes to 1 hour.  Serve hot.


  1. Banana Nut Bread – This one takes a little more time, but it’s well worth the additional effort.



2 cups pancake mix mixed according to package directions

1 tsp vanilla extract

¼ cup granulated sugar

½ cup brown sugar

2 bananas



Grease a loaf pan or 8” x 8” cake pan.  Squash the bananas with the brown sugar.  Add the granulated sugar, banana mixture, vanilla, and nuts to the pancake mix and blend.  Pour into the pan and cook at 300 degrees for about 1 hour.


  1. Muffin Bread – This is another one that’s super easy to mix up. The end result is a warm, comforting bread that goes well with tea or coffee.



2 cups pancake mix mixed according to package directions

1 package muffin mix (any flavor) mixed to package directions

1 tsp vanilla

Combine the two mixes and pour into a greased loaf pan or 8” x 8” cake pan.  Cook at 300 degrees for about 30 minutes.


  1. Pineapple Upside Down Cake – This one is a little gooey and takes a bit longer to cook than some of the others. It’s important to make sure the pineapple is thoroughly drained.



2 cups pancake mix mixed according to package directions

1 can pineapple tidbits

2 cups brown sugar

½ cup granulate sugar


1 tsp vanilla



Grease a loaf pan or 8” x 8” cake pan.  Add the vanilla and granulate sugar to the pancake mix.  Blend thoroughly.  Pour ½ the mixture into the loaf pan.  Cover with brown sugar and sprinkle with cinnamon.  Carefully pour the remaining pancake mix over the top of the brown sugar.  Drain the pineapple and place on top.  Sprinkle with cinnamon and brown sugar and add a few pads of butter to the top.  Bake at 300 degrees for about 1 hour.


  1. Chocolate Coffee Cake – This is another easy one that only takes a minute to mix up.



2 cups pancake mix and enough water to prepare according to directions

½ cup granulated sugar

¼ cup cocoa powder




For this one, it works best to add the chocolate powder before you add the water.  Blend the pancake mix, chocolate powder, and sugar then add the appropriate amount of water and vanilla.  I like a touch of cinnamon in mine, but that’s completely optional.

Grease an 8”x 8” baking pan or a loaf pan.  Pour in the mixture and bake at 300 degrees for about 1 hour or until a fork stuck through the center comes out clean.


  1. Apple Cobbler – This one takes some effort to put together, but the end result is pretty good.



2 cups pancake mix prepared according to package directions

4-5 apples, chopped into pieces

¼ cup granulated sugar

½ cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons butter


Nuts (optional)

Prepare the pancake mix, add a little cinnamon and ¼ cup brown sugar then set aside.  Chop the apples and toss them with the granulated sugar, cinnamon, and the butter (cut into small pieces).  Add nuts if desired.  Place the apple mixture in the bottom of a well-greased pan.  Top with the pancake mix.  Sprinkle the top with brown sugar, cinnamon, and add a few pads of butter.  Bake at 300 degrees for 1 hour or until done.


  1. Strawberry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake – This one is a little softer than the others, and baking time can be more difficult to judge.



2 cups pancake mix prepared to package directions

1 cup chopped strawberries

¼ cup granulated sugar

4 oz. cream cheese

¼ cup brown sugar



Grease a loaf pan or an 8” x 8” cake pan.  Fold the strawberries, granulated sugar, cream cheese, and vanilla into the pancake mix.  (The cream cheese will blend in best if it’s at room temperature.)  Top with brown sugar and bake at 300 degrees.  Check it at 30 minutes for doneness and let it cook until done, checking about every 10 minutes.


  1. Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake – This is a super easy one that’s nice and sweet when it comes out of the oven.




2 cups pancake mix prepared according to package directions

1 bag chocolate chips

1/3 cup granulated sugar

¼ cup brown sugar



Stir the chocolate chips, brown sugar, granulated sugar, and vanilla into the pancake mix.  Pour into a greased loaf pan or a greased 8” x 8” baking pan.  Bake at 300 degrees for about 45 minutes.  Use a fork to test for doneness.


  1. Syrup Coffee Cake – This one takes less than five minutes to put together. It’s a great substitute for pancakes when there isn’t the inclination to stand at the griddle.



2 cups pancake mix prepared according to package directions

¼ – ½ cup pancake syrup

1 cup brown sugar

¼ cup granulated sugar


3 tablespoons butter chopped into small pieces


Grease a loaf pan or an 8” x 8” baking pan.  Combine the pancake mix, syrup, granulated sugar, vanilla, and butter in a bowl.  Mix well.  Pour ½ the mixture into the baking pan.  Cover with brown sugar.  Carefully pour the remaining mix into the pan.  Top with the remaining brown sugar.  Bake at 300 degrees for 45 minutes – 1 hour.


  1. Breakfast Casserole – Okay, this isn’t a coffee cake at all, but it makes a wonderful breakfast casserole, especially when you add syrup like you would with pancakes.



3 cups pancake mix prepared according to package directions

1 package bacon, cooked and chopped

4-5 chicken tenders cooked and chopped

1 ½ cup grated cheese

Two eggs, scrambled (optional)


Grease a casserole dish.  Add the bacon and chicken to the bottom of the dish.  Add a layer of eggs if desired.  Top with the grated cheese.  Carefully pour the pancake mix over the top.  Bake at 300 degrees for about 45 minutes.  Use a fork to check for doneness.





Rainy Days

background symbolMost people don’t really like rainy days.  The overcast sky, the water falling, the gloom – all these tend to make most folks bummy – and I’ll admit that grocery shopping in it can be a pain.

For the most part, though, I love the rainy days.  There’s something about them that’s more peaceful than the bright, sunny ones, something that cries out for introspection, and I find that I, too, am more peaceful in the rain.


Best wishes!


Golem JuiceMention the word ‘golem’ and most folks think of the creepy little critter in The Lord of the Rings, but the mythological creature is actually, to me at least, much more terrifying to consider.

The most famous golem in mythology is the Golem of Prague. This creature was created by Rabbi Loeb around 1580 when the Jews were threatened.  This site provides one version of the ritual that brought the creatures to life, but I know there are others.  There are also several versions of the story, and some alternate stories can be found here.

A number of years ago, we won’t say how many, I was doing research into the golem and came across one of the rituals.  I wish I could remember where I found it, but it basically stated that the golem had to be created out of soil that had never known human touch.  There was a period of purification that came before the creation, and the incantation for the ritual took about thirty hours.  If even one mistake was made in the incantation, then it had to be begun again, which could extend the time needed to create the golem.  Now, this isn’t something I’d have the time to undertake, no matter how nice it would be to have a creature that obeyed commands.

Golems do not have the ability to think for themselves.  All they can do is follow the commands of their creators.  This being the case, the creator has to be extremely specific with instructions, for the golem won’t infer from anything said.  It will follow instructions literally.

The book Sefer Yezirah supposedly contains the instructions for creating the golem, but the instructions have to be interpreted, and each Rabbi who has decided to make a golem has interpreted it differently.

Golems are said to be great creatures for manual labor and defense.  However, over time they become unstable and will rampage and possibly harm others.  For this reason, it is important that golems only remain active for a short period of time for a specific purpose before being deactivated.