I’m pleased to announce that Crooked Cat Publishing have
accepted my first two Tana Standish chronicles.
Standish, a child-survivor of the Warsaw Ghetto, was adopted by a
British naval Lieutenant and eventually joined the British Secret Intelligence
Service. She is a psychic with a photographic memory. Each adventure begins
with the passing of a collection of papers and manuscripts to the author (Nik
Morton) by one of her secret service associates. He then writes down her
experiences. The first is The Prague
Papers (Czechoslovakia, 1975), followed by The Tehran Text (Iran, 1978), both of which have been previously
published (2008 & 2009 respectively), though the latter received minimal
exposure as the collapse of the publisher occurred almost at the same time as
its release. The next two adventures are planned; these are: The Khyber
Chronicle – (Afghanistan, 1979/80),half-completed, andThe Caldera Cryptogram(Argentina, Falklands,
The timeline for Tana’s secret service career is shown below:
The Singapore Signal
– 1965 – (Tana’s first mission)
“Sorry, sir,” Torrence said, shaking his
narrow-shaped head. He cleared his throat loudly. “The cargo's been in The
Star's hold too long, Mr Grant. It's surprising what a little dock-strike
blotched with red, George Grant scowled at his shipping agent.“And who knows about this?”Torrence must be getting past it, he thought
savagely, to make such an elementary mistake.
paused, grey eyes evasive.“And the
Second Engineer.”Before Grant could
react, he hastened on: “He learned of it by accident.Came straight to me.Seemed to think there might be something in
it for him...”
“Sounds like he
can be bought,” Grant remarked, stroking his thick dry lips. Being in a position of power wasn't enough
some days; it was much better when people could be manipulated, like the good
old days when he first began his climb to the top.He suddenly smiled, light blue eyes
sparkling.“Right.Would you bring him round to my house tonight
- at eight?”
Torrence left, suitably chastened, Grant leaned across his teak desk, his
paunch ample testimony of the countless business lunches he had attended.His wife still argued with him about the
coronary he was nurturing. She still cared for him, he felt sure.
picked up the gilt-framed photograph of Susan. His heart turned, threatening
that same thrombosis at the thought of those cupid's-bow lips kissing another
man, of those wide, exquisite hazel eyes looking lovingly at another... Her
auburn hair, tastefully draping her delicately boned shoulders, stroked by the
hand of another man!Moisture brimmed
some time now he’d suspected that Susan's lover was employed on The Star.Now, if he could get the Second Engineer to
scuttle the ship for the insurance - which seemed why he'd approached Torrence
anyway - then that would solve the rotten food problem.
unbidden, a dark thought occurred to him.He had not climbed to his successful position without treading on many
people, but he'd always resisted outright violence, no matter how much he may
have longed to “dispose” of a competitor.But where Susan was concerned he was not always rational. The scuttling
would also perhaps rid him of Susan's lover as well... Two birds with one
That evening, Susan greeted him warmly
enough, obviously keeping up the pretence of a loving wife.“Busy day at the office, darling?”Now, it sounded like a hollow cliché!Inwardly, he went very cold at the touch of
her lips on his cheek.
discussed his work with Susan and had even less cause to do so now. “A small
crisis has cropped up,” he said, hanging up his overcoat. “I've had to invite a
couple of chaps round tonight - to talk ship. You'd no other plans, I hope - ?”
her look implied that he could have telephoned to warn her, but she simply
said, “No, darling.It will make a nice
change, won't it?”
arrived punctually and Grant ushered him and the tall angular Second Engineer
into the comfortable lounge. The small chandelier's lights glinted on the
glasses and bottles of the drinks cabinet in an alcove; trendy tapas
decorated the coffee table and chair arms.
I introduce Martin Connolly?” the shipping agent said.
paled noticeably. After a slight hesitancy, she shook hands with the seaman.
glared, his heart hammering.His whole
body tensed; he was unaware that his teeth were grinding together.The telling exchange of glances had been
brief, but he’d been quick enough to detect the unspoken communication in their
eyes: as if she had said to Connolly, “And why the hell didn't you phone me?”
Connolly was her lover!
But what did she
see in him, a grease-smelling engineer, with a take-home salary barely a
fraction of mine?His dark brown eyes,
too close together, were too shifty by half, looked intense, scheming... Plans
would have to be revised slightly.He
hadn't wished to get personally involved, but now he had no choice.He wouldn't trust Torrence with the
task.A trip to Jacko in Soho would be
necessary... Tactfully, Torrence vanished into the kitchen to assist Susan with
the coffee.The swing-door shut behind
think you know why I'm here, Mr Grant,” Connolly said.“I want to marry Susan,” he blurted out.“Will you give her a divorce?”
direct, no-messing approach, so much like his own attitude in his youth, now
stared at each other.
Grant replied, coldly, “Not without a fight.”
hesitated, nervously brushed fingers through his shock of black hair.
thought of his own balding head, and his other remorseless signs of physical
neglect and age, and realised what she saw in the Second Engineer.
are you doing about the rotten cargo, Mr Grant?” he asked pointedly.
“I know Torrence slipped up - it wasn't
made sense.Connolly would keep quiet
about the perished cargo if Susan had a speedy divorce... The scheming,
conniving – “That depends on you,” he heard himself saying.
wife has a price: that cargo and ship.I'd want you to open the cocks of The Star in mid-Channel.”
swine never even batted an eyelid!“As
ships go, she's past her prime, anyway, Mr Grant... And the divorce?”
“As soon as
possible - after.Plus a small cash
settlement of, say, £10,000 for services rendered.”It gave him great pleasure to see his
suspicions confirmed as Connolly's eyes widened greedily. “Agreed?”
unhesitatingly and they shook hands on the deal just as Susan and Torrence
joined them with the trolley of coffee and cakes.
Next day, directly after his Soho visit,
Grant stepped onto The Star's gangway.Salt-spray on the estuary's breeze sprinkled his face.
“Nice to see
you, Mr Grant.”Captain Henderson's
craggy features cracked into a grin. “If you're worried about the cargo, then
rest assured, the strike's over. We sail tonight at eleven and arrive New York
Captain!” Summoning a smile, Grant stammered, “Is it all right for me - to go
Henderson cocked his head enquiringly.
shrugged.“The engine-room,” he
mumbled.“An old friend's there - Martin
Connolly.”Heart throbbing, he gripped
his weighty briefcase tightly, knuckles showing white.
Marty!” the Captain beamed.“Along that
passage, third hatch on your right.Two
decks down... Mind your step, sir...”He
turned back to supervise the loading of some additional cargo.
below-decks, Grant ignored the Skipper's directions and headed aft;
half-choking on the sudden overwhelming stench of diesel-oil, he descended
three deck-ladders to the machinery space just for'ard of the
propeller-shafts.There was nobody
about.All busy saying their farewells,
gingerly removed the package his old associate Jacko had constructed for
him.It looked ridiculously amateurish,
like something out of a cartoon or B-movie, but Jacko had assured him that it
would do the trick.It had better,
thought Grant as he hurriedly left the ship.
He returned home
just after midnight, slightly the worse for celebrating the ship's sailing.
Susan's lover would go down with the ship at ten sharp tomorrow... A pity about
the crew, though.Perhaps only the
engine-room would have fatalities... He eyed Susan's photograph, and cried at
the lengths he would go to just to keep her.
Then he saw the
note, on the mantelpiece.
sorry, but I'm leaving you.Martin
doesn't know but I'm booked on The Star. I'm sure I can persuade him to stay
with me in America.I'm sorry. Susan.
Everything swayed before his eyes. He unconsciously crumpled the note into a
ball and threw it viciously across the room.Supporting his trembling frame against the mantel-shelf, he clenched and
unclenched his fists. His heart felt like it was doing the clenching too... He
couldn't live without her - didn't she understand that?And now he'd murdered her... unless he
confessed, alerted the ship...
a vision swam before his mind's-eye, of The Star riven by the explosion,
a fountain of water gushing through the blasted deck-plates, steam gushing, oil
spewing, flames cavorting, a pall of smoke, men shouting, shouting, panicking,
fire-fighting, swimming... And Susan, perhaps cast into the sea, bleeding or
burned or both, her beautiful features unrecognisable...
sobbed aloud and cursed.Now, there was
no feeling of smugness, of revenge, and no contentment.Only a fathomless sensation of emptiness, his
life stretching ahead, barren. Strange, he'd rather have shared the little he
had of her than this... he hadn't wanted her dead - well, not after the first
hot rage at discovering she'd been cheating on their marriage...
was Connolly - he'd enticed her away.
if I alert Henderson, I'll be as good as confessing to attempted sabotage,
fraud, and murder; I'll be imprisoned, ruined, parted from her possibly for
trembling, fidgeting with countless chain-smoked cigarettes, he paced out the
Unshaven, with bloodshot blue-hooded eyes,
he lurched past his astounded secretary, Miss Gaskell, grabbed the office phone
and rang the dockside.
Grant boarded The Star an hour before it sailed,” he was told.
up, he snapped, “What's the time?”
- nine, sir.”
jumped up, eyes staring wildly. Damn the consequences!There was still time to save Susan.“Miss Gaskell, quick - I'll dictate an
eyes fixed on him, she sat with pad and pencil poised as an anxious-looking clerk
dashed in, waving a message.
grabbed the sheet, scanned its contents twice, his heart quaking.
he slowly sat down.
0840 GMT TODAY 'THE STAR' SANK FOLLOWING A MYSTERIOUS EXPLOSION.
device must have been faulty...
TWO DEAD, FIVE
that moment a tall stranger in a tweed overcoat was escorted into the office. “I'm
Detective Inspector Stokes,” he said, producing credentials from a pocket.
- she was among the dead?Or missing?
Or, possibly, a survivor. Pray, God...
Grant looked up
with a start, seeing the detective in front of his desk.A strange feeling of relief seeped into him.
Somehow, they knew... Dazedly, he nodded, mouth dry, and said, “I did it.”
The Star - what else - that's why you're here, isn't it?”
that's very interesting, sir...” said DI Stokes, taken aback.“Actually, we were acting on information
received regarding a proposed insurance fraud.The man Torrence in your employ had apparently sold produce intended for
shipment, the containers were empty.”He
checked his notebook, looked up.“Our
informants were your wife and a Mr Connolly, who jumped ship shortly before it
sailed.”He cleared his throat. “Now,
about that statement you just made...”
Previously published in the Costa Blanca News, 2005.
Copyright Nik Morton, 2014
If you liked this story, you might like my collection of crime tales Spanish Eye, which
features 22 cases from Leon Cazador, private eye, ‘in his own words’.He is also featured in the story
‘Processionary Penitents’ in the Crooked Cat Collection of twenty tales, Crooked Cats’ Tales.
Spanish Eye, released by Crooked Cat Publishing is available as a paperback and as
Trevor (1920-1995) wrote Expressway as Howard North (1973). This version was
released under his own name, 1975 (he changed his name from Trevor Dudley-Smith);
he was British, lived in France and Spain and finally settled in Arizona.
Expressway is a documentary
novel in the same vein as Arthur Hailey’s Airport and Hotel, as the cover of my version says.
Mainly omniscient in point of view, it still works in a strong cinematic sense.
The story is about the holiday weekend of 3-5 July on and around the New York -
New Jersey Parkway, early 1970s.
It’s about those who drive and ride in
vehicles and it’s also about the cars themselves. In the pearl-finish Cougar,
Walt and Carol Amberton can’t talk about the alcohol that’s destroying them. In the black Cadillac, the sinister Mr Solo is ‘cruising, searching,
waiting to see at first-hand a fatal accident’. In the Buick Riviera, Dr Brett
Hagen is trying to find his teenage daughter, Tracy, and her companion, a man old
enough to be her father. In the Chrysler Newport, Rod Gould and Nat Renatus ‘start
the weekend with murder and bring death along with them.’ Then there’s the
married couple, Floyd and Sue, expecting their first baby any week now; and
Erica, running away from her husband Craig, and highway cop Lieutenant Frank
Ingram and his paramedic wife Debby, whose lives are not improved by the
officious unhelpful interference of Captain Darrow… Suspense, tension and
action in a jam-packed holiday weekend.
Figures are now out of date,
naturally, but the carnage is still shocking. ‘… on the Fourth of July holiday
last year the national figures for death on the road reached a new peak at 917,
while more than 36,000 persons were injured…’ It begins with an overview of the
area and homes in on Patrolman Nolan who is due to complete his shift – until he
stumbles upon a couple of drug-dealers (Rod and Nat) and he’s killed by Nat;
Rod is wounded by Nolan. A neat little framing device is the young boy Jimmy,
who is a car-spotter, munching on an apple.
Trevor has a good eye for
detail. And in certain scenes we can discern the fast pace of his alter ego
Adam Hall (Quiller books), viz: ‘Only when something goes wrong are you brought
to realize how fast you are moving at a mile per minute but there’s no time to
think about what you are learning too quickly and too late, because there’s a
rocking motion and the scene dips as the brakes bite and then the world goes
wild and great forces rise to hurl you bodily through tumult and you know that
this is not you any longer, the you to whom nothing could happen, nothing terrible,
nothing so unimaginably terrible as this.’ Breathless, yet powerful and so
Jimmy’s apple is one subtle leitmotif;
another is the Venus 1000 car – advertised ‘as lithe, compliant, trembling under
your touch’. Walt is the salesman who thought up that sexist spiel, before he
succumbed to liquor. And another is the moths in the night air… when, a page
later, after Carol worries about her alcoholic husband Walt: ‘For some reason
they always go faster the nearer they go to the flame, spinning faster and
faster till they touch; but what about self-preservation, aren’t all living
creatures supposed to know when they’re in danger? Can’t they feel the heat
growing as they circle closer? Surely they do. Then why can’t they stop?’ And
of course her allusion relates to Walt’s alcoholic descent, not the moths.
Later, she’s in the car knowing Walt has imbibed and ‘can only sit here feeling
the refined brand of fear that is experienced by the trapped animal.’ This is
an excellent devastating exposal of alcoholism, right up there with Malcolm
Lowry’s Under the Volcano.
Cop-killer Nat got a piece of
grit in his eye and it troubled him. This symbolizes the irritation of guilt
and fear. A little later, ‘Rod watched his friend, his thin and dangerous
friend, whose nerve had gone because he’d done it before but never to a city
cop. Nat was finished. He’d never get his style back, even if he beat this rap
and set up somewhere safe, because the Nolan killing had changed everything and
a bit of it had spun off and got inside Nat, just like Nolan’s bullet had got
inside Rod himself.
‘ “It’s out,” Nat said, “I got
it out.” [Referring to the grit].
‘No, Rod thought, you never
Although I enjoyed Arthur Hailey’s
books Hotel, Wheels, Airport and Overload etc, I find it baffling that they are still in print while this fine
writer’s Expressway isn’t.
[If you're interested in the insight into a writer, you might try a memoire about Elleston Trevor by his wife, Bury Him Among Kings. Intimate Glimpses into the Life and Work of Elleston Trevor by Chaille Trevor (2012). It's a worthwhile e-book.]
continued from yesterday (where you can also find a short glossary)...
life is sucked from your bone.
not only in obscure curtained night.
they draw strength from any light.
the suggestion of a glimmer will do.
all, children understand them alone,
know that the Unreal in Darkness breeds,
their dread sustains all gloomy needs.
and children’s tears enrich them, true.
A Life of Their Own, from The Collected Works of Nasalmn Feider (1216-1257)
First Durin of
danced in the room, a faint breeze from the open door wafting the flames of the
shagunblend torches, casting stripes of darkness over the supine naked woman’s corpse.
Welde Dep stroked his black beard and cursed his bad luck as well as the gods.
He removed his watchman’s bronze helm and placed it on the wine-stained
sideboard. Those same shadows flickered over the helm’s vigilant eye, giving
the absurd impression that it blinked. Kneeling beside the dead woman’s head,
he glanced at the two attending watchmen who hovered near the doorway of the
House of Velvet. “Make sure nobody enters until I have completed my
“Yes, sir,” said Banstrike, the more
reliable of the pair. Cursh appeared disconcerted, which was not surprising,
considering the amount of blood on the floor and walls. Dep suspected that
Cursh didn’t have the stomach for the job; he bore watching. Watch the
watchmen. As ever. The two men hurriedly slipped under the bead curtain and out
The corpse was no longer recognisable.
Her face had been expertly sliced off, baring bone. That accounted for the mess
of blood. He shuddered and wondered if the mutilation had been done while the
victim was alive. As Lornwater’s chief special investigations watchman for
eleven years, he’d seen all manner of sights and dealt with man’s depravity,
the cruelty meted out to men and women alike by disturbed individuals forsaken
by the gods. Yet even now he was not quite inured to the grisly nature of his
calling. He still felt empathy for the victims.
Stripping the skin from a person’s
face was a message. Usually, the messenger was an assassin. This particular
message meant that the victim would be consigned to forever roam Below and
never attain eternal rest with the Overlord. That raised at least two
questions: who was the assassin, and who hired him? Yet more questions
lingered, however. This disfigurement was slightly different: the woman’s right
eye had been cut out and placed in her left palm, and her nose was missing. Absently,
he fingered the gristle that was all that remained of his right ear and let out
a throaty mew of sympathy.
The dead woman’s body was twisted,
as if she had fallen abruptly, her right arm trapped under her. Gripping her
cold shoulder, Dep eased up the corpse and released the arm.
The glint of a gild ring on her
finger immediately caught his attention. Most odd. There were not many female
assassins registered in Lornwater. And what was a member of the assassin’s gild
doing here; and why was she killed?
Was it a failed assassination attempt?
Clutched in the woman’s right palm
was the missing grisly nose. The placement of the eyes and nose signified
something esoteric, he felt sure. He must solicit advice from someone adept at
dealing with the Darkness; his own dealings were concerned with ranmeron magic,
involving personal power, and this was beyond his knowledge. He sighed. He had
no choice but to approach Nostor Vata, the king’s witch.
Dep stood and studied the room.
This was a place of leisure and
pleasure. He expected to see scantily-clad nubile women, fruit of the gods and
wine, plenty of wine. A goblet lay on the floor, its red liquid spilt, near the
sideboard. No bottles, no more goblets. Wine mixed with blood. He noticed his
own bloody footprints – and those of Banstrike and Cursh – but there were no others. Most odd, indeed.
Business-like, he fished out a small
black leather pouch and bagged the eye and nose. Then he removed a thin sliver
of coloured paper and dabbed its edge into the spilt wine; the colour changed,
but not red, rather blue. Poison, then. That was the female assassin’s method,
though it clearly went awry and cost her life.
find it hard to believe that you’ve developed a sudden case of memory loss,” Watchman
Dep said, levelling his dark brown eyes on the proprietor of the House of
Velvet, Ska-ama. The office was small, two walls filled with shelving. Only
high narrow windows admitted daylight. Shadows abounded wherever Dep looked.
“I’m trying to remember, Watchman.”
He leant on his desk top, screwed-up his features. “But… it is the shock. Who
“I was hoping you’d tell me.”
Ska-ama shook his balding head and
his jowls wobbled. “I didn’t recognise her. How could I, with… with…”
“What about her other features? They
weren’t defiled by her killer.”
Ska-ama nodded hesitantly. “She – a
terrible waste, she had a good body… but nothing that would identify her for
“Do you know who was visiting your establishment
“No, I can’t keep account of…”
“The law says you should.” Dep
sighed. “I will have to close you down, since you’re incapable of abiding by
“But – some very important people
visit here. They don’t want their names associated with… with my house.”
“I’ll spare their reputations and
blushes, providing you give me the information I require.”
Reluctantly, Ska-ama got up, moved
sluggishly to a shelf and removed a book. “My receptionist records every person
who enters and when they leave.”
“So, since the woman’s body was
found the place has emptied. And she managed to make a note of everyone
“I imagine so. It’s her job.”
Dep took the book, leafed through
its pages, found the most recent entries. “Seemingly not. A good half-dozen
visitors are not logged out. Yet they certainly are not here now.”
“An oversight. My receptionists are usually
“I’m sure they are. And doubtless being
scared of vicious murderers, they abandoned their post.” He wasn’t going to get
anything out of Ska-ama. “I need to interview your… staff.”
“I’ll arrange it at once. But please
don’t keep them too long. They have a job, you know. Time is money.”
“Since you said ‘please’, I’ll do my
“Thank you, Watchman.” Irony was
lost on him, clearly.
Dep sent his two men away to check
on the whereabouts of today’s visitors listed in the receptionist’s book. In
the meantime, he spent the next two orms interviewing the men and women
“entertainers” who “catered for all tastes”. Every one of them vowed that none
of their company was missing. The dead woman was a stranger to them. This
suggested that she had entered this place without being noticed, which wouldn’t
be difficult for an adept assassin, and was here on a killing contract.
to be continued... in the free sample available from Knox Robinson soon!
This is a 9,000 word short story which will be made available for free by Knox Robinson, the publisher of Wings of the Overlord. It is a stand-alone tale, but it does foreshadow events in that book and its sequel (in progress), To Be King.
*[see brief glossary at end]
wary, they have a life of their own,
across ceilings in moonlight,
or slinking away in day-bright.
they hold feelings like me and you.
A Life of Their Own, from The Collected Works of Nasalmn Feider (1216-1257)
First Sidinma of
striking contrast to the brownish spot on her forehead above her nose, Sister
Illasa’s complexion held a bluish tinge, despite the flickering torches in the shadowy
stone-walled basement room.Deep green
silk covered her thickset body, wrapped about her waist and draped over one
shoulder. Her bosom heaved as she spoke, her voice demanding and yet sultry.
“O, Tanemag, strong king of the Dunsaron, heed me in my conjuration!”
Her right hand comprised six fingers
and held a bowl of dark water, which she moving in a circle over a crackling
brazier. Her close-set olive green eyes flashed, almost luminous in this light.
“Mussor, master of water, fashion me my melog!” She blew on the flames, purred,
“Wrest from those I name the life-force that will drive melog, by ear and eye
and nose and ear, animate my shadow assassin from out of darkness!”
With her free hand she pulled at her
stringy black hair that was streaked with grey and blue. She yelped
involuntarily and her fingers gripped a bunch of hair like twine, and then
threw it on the flames, where it sizzled among the charred bones of sacrificed
An abrupt draught wafted through the
dark shadowy place, even though there were no open windows or doors. “Winds of
Lamsor, breathe life into my melog. Dark Bridansor, fashion me my creature to
do my earnest bidding! Let the named ones lose the use of their limbs and
become mere puppets for my melog.”
Exhaustion stretched her nerves
taut, her breathing rasped in her throat. This must work; she knew she would
not have the strength to repeat the spell. Lifting the bowl to her lips, she
drank the entire contents, every last vile drop. Fleetingly, her stomach
threatened to rebel, but she held it down and smiled. Her dry throat was cured;
the corners of her mouth dribbled blackly as she reeled off names, her lips moist
and slavering: “Pro-dem Hom, Den-orl Pin, Cor-aba Grie, Fet-usa Fin – you all are
spawn of Saurosen and thus deserving of my creature’s dread ire!”
continued tomorrow, (a little longer excerpt)...
AC - Arisan Calendar.
Recorded history began 0001AC. Originated and introduced during the fifth year
of King Zal-aba Men’s reign. The Calendar was backdated to his first year on
the throne. See below.
Bridansor – great-lord of
Brilansor – high-lord of
Doltra Complex – Prestige building in
Lornwater’s Second City, named after its architect.
Floreskand – Land contained between the
manderon range of Tanalume Mountains, the Varteron Edge, the dunsaron range of
Sonalume Mountains and the ranmeron Shomshurakand Barrier.
Gild – The vast majority of common
people belong to some kind of gild, be it religious, merchant, or craft. Merchant
gilds regulate trade monopoly. Gildsmen also take up vendettas on behalf of
members’ families. The most infamous quasi-legal gild is the assassin’s gild.
Lamsor – black lesslord of winds.
Lornwater – also called the Three Cities,
comprising The Old City, The Second City and The New City. Founded in 959AC.
Madurava – Compass. Florskandian
compasses are enormous; there are no portable ones; they are kept in Madurava
Houses, usually one per city. See diagram
Manderranmeron Fault – Geological fault running the
length of Floreskand and containing the four fault volcanoes: Danumne, Astle,
Altohey and Olarian.
Mussor – black lesslord of water.
Names – Surname is said first, then
the chosen or personal name; thus Canishmel Bis refers to Bis (chosen)
Orm – time measurement – 20 orms per
Paper – see reedpaper.
Parchment – common alternative to reedpaper.
Reedpaper – expensive paper, used
exclusively by the affluent.
Shagunblend – combustible tar-like
substance, a method of illumination.
Smalt – glass derived from the
treatment of cobalt ore.
Storytellers – gild of tale tellers, graded
in excellence by the pastel colours of their cloaks.
Tarakanda – the Ranmeron Empire.
Underpeople – people who are never seen or
heard; feared, perhaps mythical, inhabitants of the waterlogged disused mines
Watchmen – city wall or palace wall
sentries, wearing distinctive plaid cloaks; policemen.
The Arisan Calendar
There are 13
moons of 29-day periods in a year. Each moon is named after a constellation:
Lamous;10 Sortious;11 Anticous;
Each moon is
divided into quarters. There are 7 days and 7 nights in each quarter.
These days are numbered
One to Four, depending on which Quarter they are in; thus the 16th
day of the 4th month in 1470 would be written thus: Third Dekin of
Nik Morton also writes as Ross Morton and a few other names besides... Ex Royal Navy, Ex IT, Expat living in Spain. Editor and writer. I write short stories, articles and novels. I also draw cartoons and illustrate comics and stories and magazine covers. To date I have 20 books published or soon-to-be published...
I'm married to Jennifer, a linguist and musician who also writes. We have a daughter Hannah, son-in-law Farhad (Harry) a grandson Darius and a granddaughter Suri - who live in Spain too.