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The Song of Ascending Hurskfjell

There was once a city in rolling green plains. It was larger than any city known to Hurskfjell and had massive walls made of iron, not stone. They believed in wisdom and had forsaken both strength and the ancestors. Upset with the people turning away, the ancestors banished man and charged the spirits with taking the races far from the city in the rolling green plains.

Vitr, spirit of wind, water, ice, and winter, was sent north. It was a cold and frigid place, and the spirits and ancestors knew this, so Vitr was given the hardiest races.

Man had to split between the four spirits. Though he was ill suited for the land, he had no choice. So was the price of the sin committed.

The ulfr, or wolf tribes, went due to their thick fur and ability to commune with nature. They were dear friends with man while in the city, and in the far north they would advise how best to live.

Craefga, a tall insectoid race, had built the walls of the city. They created all sorts of wonders, and it was said Hurskfjell was a vault of rare materials for them to dabble in. They went eagerly, no matter the risk to life.

Finally, the giants went along for their great size. Why would a giant of a man not go to a giant of a hill? They were twice the size of a man and had tremendous strength.

Vitr was not yet a wyrm, and its heart had not frozen over to man. When they arrived at the base of Hurskfjell, the mountain’s icy peaks off in the distance, Vitr said, “This is a place you may settle. It will have harsh winters, but there will be summer, where you can grow your food as you did in the south. Man, would you take this as yours?”

Shodnr was the leader of men. He consulted the ulfr and they said, “It is good that Vitr offers us this land. It will only get more vile the farther we ascend. Take it and live a good life.”

But Shodnr was a fool. His heart was closed off to the advice out of pride, and he said, “We are not soft. We will climb.”

The giants said, “We tire. Our heavy bodies take so much to move. Please let us rest.”

Vitr was disappointed in Shodnr’s answer, but it granted the giants the plains at the foot of Hurskfjell.

As they reached the Mid Climes, Vitr said, “These mountains are filled with metal and mineral. The metals can help build a great civilization despite the weather. The minerals will break apart in stew to give you nutrients, though there is little to hunt or gather. Man, do you want this place as yours?”

The ulfr again said, “Take it, you fool. We live and die beside you, and if you do not take this, surely not even Vitr’s kindness and power can save us from an eternal winter.”

Again Shodnr was proud. “We are not smiths. Leave it to the insects. We will continue north.” Shodnr spat, and it froze before striking the snow covered ground.

The craefga said, “We thank man for his kindness and will burrow deep within the mountain. Here we will craft great things and create a city even better than where we had been.”

At the peak of Hurskfjell, where even Vitr shivered from the cold, the small group came to a halt again. At this point man and ulfr were furious with Shodnr and the few he took council with. Vitr saw it, and pitied them.

Vitr said, “There is no farther to go. This will be your grave, but I am kind to your people. I will create a land where winter does not touch. It will have four seasons, and each will take an equal share of the year. Outside of that land you will find death. Winter never ceases here, and even the blizzards rarely hold out. May man and ulfr find life survivable.”

Shodnr boasted, “This does us well. We will colonize this entire mountain, from the top down, and the ulfr will guide us to victory. We are not as weak as you think.”

Vitr said nothing more. It created the realm for man to live and went off. Ulfr and man both griped about Shodnr, but warriors were on his side and silenced them harshly. Then Shodnr said, “We will start here. This will be known as the city of Shodnr, for I have founded it with a great vision. Once we have gained our strength, we will head out and create more homesteads. Man and ulfr will be great, like we were before.”

So did Vitr bring his people to Hurskfjell. So did man decide to suffer greatly by their own hand. So did ulfr ponder if they truly wished to stand beside man.

NaNoWriMo: I plan

NaNo is coming up, and I plan on participating. If you’re keeping score, which you likely aren’t, this will be year three of me saying I’m going to, when in reality I don’t. I won it four years ago, and after that, I’ve sort of been keeping my own writer hours.

However, novel two is taking its sweet time, and I want to have an edit finished before November. I like giving a month for things to sit, so it would be perfect.

There are two types of people in NaNo: pantsers and planners. A pantser is someone who flies by the seat of their pants. I do it from time to time, but usually for short stories or highly experimental and whimsy pieces. It’s easy to straighten out a time line when there are only 10,000 words. Less so when there are 100,000. Don’t get me started on the dozen random characters I forget about completely.

When I work on my novels, I plan. I need to. It’s not that I plan every scene, every action, and so on. I understand you need space to grow. But a garden doesn’t grow correctly when you just randomly pick seeds and toss them on the ground wherever your hand may shuffle them. You church the ground, pick out the rocks, ensure good soil quality, make rows, plant the seeds accordingly, water, weed, and so on.

I know who my characters are. I know my setting and what type of people are in which types of areas. I understand the culture. There is an overall direction for the story, with major plot points which need to be hit. However, they’re rarely hit the way I foresee, and half the time they’re not hit at all and I have different major plot points. That’s fine. The plan evolved, but it remained true to the story and took into consideration past story points.

I’m bringing this up because I just finished the original Destiny game. There’s a character, the Stranger. She just poofs for the next two years. We haven’t heard anything from her. Yet she was some strange time traveling lady who had big plans for us. You don’t have big plans for someone and abandon them for two years. Many people think Bungie was so lambasted on her that they just wrote her out.

This got me thinking about Desmond from Assassin’s Creed. He was getting interesting. The real world story was progressing, and he was the only good part in Assassin’s Creed 3. They killed him to make way for an apocalyptic event. Later I read they killed Desmond because people weren’t relating to him, so they wanted to get a new protagonist. You. And for the next three core games they would phase the real world out more and more and pretend nothing happened in the first three core games.

I understand that a part of it has to do with the audience. Players didn’t like it. Yet often times it feels more like a lack of vision and planning for the future leads to the fallout of these story lines. Desmond didn’t die because the people couldn’t relate to him. He died because Ubisoft forgot they had to do more than create a game in some really cool time period and then shove in a real story on top of it. Honestly, with how it progressed, they might as well forget modern times all together.

Bungie isn’t letting the ball drop on the story because the players responded poorly. They dropped it because despite claims of a ten year plan, something was dropped. Some part of their vision could not be hashed out the way they thought. Year two was an experiment. They came out and said it. We were given one real story, though it was fun, and then a bunch of tweaks. Even with year three upon us, what they could piece together was a quick campaign. It was a blast. I enjoyed some of the lore spinning, and we even see more clearly that Rasputin is basically the reason humanity is still alive, because he hamstringed the Traveler, something eluded to often enough.

Either way, I think a large part of me is really happy to remain small as an author. I get why the vision falls short. There is a core of visionaries and a lot of people making demands. I understand Ubisoft had a yearly release. I hope everything gets back on track with their new every other year schedule. Bungie…I don’t know. I’ve loved the game. It’s jogged my imagination beyond words. But every time a new expansion comes out, I finish it, and I reflect upon it in coordination with the whole, I’m just left wanting. I’m left with a massive story void in my soul.

So if you’re writing something longer, please, for all that’s good, plan. Have a vision. Then go forth.

Understanding Population

I’m watching season two of Zoo. Love the show. Sure the science isn’t even psuedo, but it’s entertaining. However, I can chuckle at the animal science. I mean, they reached a point where the animals are gaining magical powers. It’s like latching logic onto the X-men. I’m okay with this.

Then they start talking about casualties. One million dead so far. I nearly spit my last can of Coke Zero before I started my Whole30 round two.

Later on they ran a simulator. In an attempt to cleanse the world of sociopath animals, two million people would die.

So if the initiative went off at that moment, three million people would have died in response to what everyone is calling an extinction level event.

I’m hoping some of you at home are laughing. For those wondering about why this isn’t right, let me tell you something. There are over seven million people in the world.

Three million people dying would be approximately 0.04% of the population. In order to save humanity from an extinction level event, we would lose 0.04% of the population.

One hundred million people, give or take, died during the Black Plague. It’s estimated 30-60% of the population was killed off. Remember, they had very limited census abilities, so the numbers have a large margin.

The thing is, the way we as a society focus on stats, I feel like a lot of people in the world would be appalled at this statistic. They would say, “Three million lives to save humanity is unacceptable! There must be another way!”

A few dozen people die from a disease, and they call it an epidemic. As Jon Stewart said, in Game of Thrones that’s called a wedding.

Anyway, in your book, make the stakes actually matter. Or, I guess, have real bleeding hearts. Because they won’t die the first time they hesitate whether or not the villain’s redeemable.

As for me, if I’m given the opportunity to save the world, and the losses are anywhere under 50%, I’m pushing the button.

 

Antagonist Motivation

Motivation is one of my favorite things. Why did the bad guy become a bad guy? Why is he doing what he is doing?

I’ve been binge watching Gotham. Penguin wants to make his mother proud by being powerful. Galavan wanted revenge for a century’s old vendetta. Barbara wanted Jim back. Doctor Freeze wants to save his wife.

Jerome was my issue. He was just crazy for the sake of crazy.

I know he was to be Joker, or at least a proto-Joker. Joker’s motivation I appreciated. He is a counter to Batman. He is the other side of what can happen to a person when they are traumatized. Joker’s whole point is to show it only takes one bad day to make a person cross the line.

Jerome lacks all of this. There is no Batman. He’s not trying to be the foil of Detective Gordon. He just likes making people suffer. He is stereotypical evil with no battle. Pure evil villains are boring.

I hate when I see these villains. They are boring. The only reason they exist is to be taken down. It is a foil in the weakest sense.

Now that’s not to say there aren’t times where I think the pure evil villain isn’t appropriate, but for that to work, you need a beyond reproach hero. You need a paragon of virtue. In Gotham, we have no such figure.

So make your evil complicated. Spice it up with specs of good.

Visha’s Demise

It was many generations ago that there was this particular girl named Visha in the village of Miyam. The village, far from the Jaya Kingdom at the time, was peaceful and filled with common folk. They wore brown and gray, devoid of the beauty of dye, but they colored their lives with love and community.

Visha, however, was a diamond in a field of coal. Her eyes were like amber. Her skin was the settled milk from sacred cows. Her hair coiled like elegant snakes about tree limbs. The village of Miyam would not treasure all the gems in Sankive if compared to her beauty.

Visha was known to wander and bring home an array of flowers, and she was so loved by the creatures of the jungle that they refused to eat her. One day as she wandered, she ran into an odd man.

The man looked as if his skin had been ripped from him, so she could see the muscles, red and black, underneath. They glistened with a membrane, and moved in ways not known to men. His left eye looked as if it was filled with blood and water, swirling around each other. The right was black, like smoke caught in a glass bauble.

He reached out for the girl, and as he did his arm extended, until four inch nails, like knives, caressed her hair. Visha screamed and recoiled, falling on her back as she tried to get away. The man looked at her in horror that he did something to injure her.

The man said, “I am Rasha. I do not belong here, but here I am. You seem a sweet girl. Please help me make sense of this world.”

Visha was ashamed of the way she acted and stood up. “I am sorry to react so poorly. You caught me off guard.” She could not look into his eyes, as they called to her in unearthly voices. They told her truths were lies, then told lies which felt like truths.

“It is okay. I imagine you do not see many who look as I do. Let me fix this.” Rasha willed skin, and it pulled over his exposed muscles. Then he willed for a pleasing form, and his body had appropriate dimensions.

Visha smiled and looked into his eyes. He was pleasing, even though the voices lingered. She was not loved, she heard clearly. The old men only treated her nice for advantage. Her sisters despised her for her beauty.

She looked away and shook her head. She would not heed the words. “Let me show you my village,” she said. “You can find clothes, shelter, and food there. Perhaps the spirits will know what you are.”

Miyam reacted in countless ways to the stranger. Some smiled openly and welcomed him in. They offered him coarse robes and food. He thanked them. Yet everyone who helped him, walked away looking confused. They watched Visha with envy. They looked at neighbor’s with hate. They viewed spouses with contempt. Whispers followed where joyful jubilation once held.

Visha could feel it in the back of her head, a blooming voice begging her to cut this stranger loose. Begging her not to introduce this man to her family, and even worse, bring him inside. She ignored the voice.

When home, Visha introduced Rasha to her parents. Her father shook hands, grasping firmly at the elbow as was custom. Her mother bowed meekly, as was custom. Both went from pleasant greetings to shaking and retreating like a dog punished by her master.

Then Visha’s brothers and sisters met, all bowing, as was custom. Rasha insisted, “You boys will be men. Your custom is to grasp arms, so let us do that.” They did so, and the boys held their arms as if a tiger had gnawed on it.

Rasha went on to say, “Where I come from men and women may hug when they know each other. Are we not the best of friends, that you have let me into your house, promising to house and feed me? We should embrace at the least, if not kiss each other’s necks.”

Visha was confused, and so was her family. They relented and gave in, and with every kiss, the women and girls dropped to their knees and sobbed. Rasha’s smile only seemed to grow wider. At dinner, while the family cried and struggled to eat, Rasha’s smile became inhumanely wide and his teeth were pointed. He had no issue eating nearly a full pig.

That evening Visha had a nightmare. She dreamed Rasha was in bed with her and took her as his wife. She was cast away by her family into his arms, and they said she brought a curse into their home. The wedding was her punishment. They scolded her, abused her with words and fists. They tore at her clothes and pushed her into a festering pit, where Rasha, in his skinned formed, embraced her.

She woke up weeping, and said, “I will not let them marry me to that monster.” Visha went into the kitchen, grabbed a knife, and went into her parents’ room. She slit their throats, and as they held the cuts, looking in terror for the few seconds they lived, Visha realized what she had done.

Unable to bring herself to mingle the blood of her parents with her own, she fled to a cliff. Rasha waited at the cliff, again the skinned man. “What did you see,” he hissed.

“I killed my parents,” she cried bitterly.

“That’s not what I’m looking for. Why did you kill them? What did you see?” His body elongated, and his neck stretched so he was looking her in the eyes. She felt a pit in her stomach and an overwhelming desire to go home and finish what she started. She would kill her brothers and sisters. Her neighbors. The dog with the annoying yip. The wood cutter who said inappropriate things to her. His entire family for good measure. The butcher who wouldn’t say a single word to her. She knew he was mute, but still. It was rude.

She closed her eyes and held her head trying to clear the thoughts. “What are you?”

“I am Chaos. I am a demon come here to consume your world.” He licked her cheek, and it made her vomit. “I will make your pathetic people kill each other, releasing all their emotions at once. So weak.”

“I will not be your pawn.” She embraced Rasha. “Leave them alone and I am yours.”

Rasha wrapped his arms around her, and his body formed to consume her. “The world will be mine.”

Then Visha stepped off the cliff with the demon around her, devouring her as they fell over the cliff, splattering against the ground below. This was the first warning of the coming First Descent War, and Visha was both the first casualty and hero.

Movie Review: Arq

Last night I was flipping through Netflix when I saw a movie called Arq. Normally I probably would have just passed by it without a thought, but this movie had Robbie Amell in it, and I really like the work he and his brother do, especially after seeing the Code 8 short. I cannot wait for the full movie.

The premise for Arq was something about being trapped in a lab and there’s time travel. It sounded like a generic science fiction thriller, which often relies on the strength of it being a niche market.

The movie starts out fast, then pulls back a few steps to let you process what’s going on. They also put in wonderful hints of the world, as it’s post apocalyptic. They don’t over explain, which is refreshing in a world where we treat readers and viewers like idiots who cannot pick up on clues.

It is a small production, nearly exclusively keeping to one house. The cast is very small, but I think they did a good job. Robbie Amell and Rachael Taylor, the two leads, were convincing. There was even some decent character development as they came to terms with their relationship.

I give it an 8/10. Despite my appreciation for Amell and Taylor, there were some moments where the acting was inconsistent. Some moments the story felt it was reaching a little bit to include elements which didn’t matter. But overall the story was a fun thriller with good twists, which had decent acting (several steps above the average sci fi thriller), and a good production level (especially considering it’s basically an indie film).

In short, if you want a good science fiction flick and can get past a few issues, this is the movie for you. Especially since it’s on Netflix, and I’m pretty sure free on other mediums.

My Path to Inspiration: Tea

I’m a tea person. I prefer it to coffee. There are so many flavors and so many purposes. Coffee has two purposes: wake you up and make you poop. There are teas for that, and you can get one without the other.

Yesterday I picked up an army of teas. Green, black, black cherry, and some other stuff. Chai. I love chai. I should pick up milk so I can get a chai latte at home for a few cents instead of $5 at Starbucks. It’s a date.

Anyway, I’m a bachelor, I live alone at home, and there is one thing I’m sort of ashamed of.

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They think I have a tea kettle! Good stuff.

I microwave the water. I’m a lowly pleb in the world of tea. I might get a tea kettle in my next apartment. I really think I need a new microwave. Some experimental uses of it caused there to be an odor I can’t seem to get out. It’s pretty bad.

But yesterday I wrote a lot, and I feel it’s in no small part to the delicious tea I purchased. Even if I let all but the lemon ginger tea steep forever instead of the recommended 3 minutes. Or in this case 4-6 minutes. Especially when these tea bags don’t have a string. How do you expect me to remove it?!

So what do you drink?

Author Spotlight: Featuring, JGJ Fairhurst

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What inspired my novel –

Inspiration came from many sources. Reading other novels & authors is an obvious answer but far too important to leave out for the sake of avoiding cliché. Personal experience is a huge part too. For example, I have a friend who wears glasses. Whenever it’s just me and him he would shout “hey, four eyes!” when he seen someone else wearing glasses. The offended party would turn round, see my friend with glasses on and then see me without. I’m sure I don’t need to point out who was always chastised for the yelled insult. Thankfully, It never lead to me being punched or beat-up but if looks could kill I would be dead fifty times over by now. I put this ‘trick’ in one of my short stories. There are lots of real life incidents that can make for interesting reading. If you remember it, then by definition it’s memorable. Chances are someone else will see the humour, the joy, the sadness, the awkwardness or whatever the case may be too. There are countless novels in your memory bank, the hard part is working out how to best utilise the material you have stored there. I used my “hey, four eyes!” memory in a short story called ones boy’s war. I think it made for a brilliant read but hey, we would all love to write our own reviews, right?

What’s it about –

The children of duty & justice interweaves fantasy, romance, politics and religion with mental illness, gender relations, and broken families.

The book follows Osyron Rymore as he leaves the family home to find his way in life. He joins the marshals (the law) in the hope of seeing justice done and being someone of worth in the world. However, it’s not long before world events outmatch one ideological boy and his honourable intent. All kingdoms have united into two empires that now sit tentatively side by side. Guided by scripture, Emperor Horim of Olbaid foresees an inevitable war and plots to strike before being struck. Horim hatches a plan to frame neighbouring empire, Miria as instigators to win support for his holy conflict. Despite a predicted death toll in the millions and a war expected to span decades, Horim see’s no price too great to shape his legacy and see off the preordained demonic invasion.

Due to this brewing war, most seasoned marshals are conscripted into the army leaving Osyron and fellow recruits with tasks that outweigh their experience. Opportunity is on the rise for criminals and a child trafficking ring is suspected to be operating in a coastal village in the far reaches of the empire. Osyron is sent alone. Here he meets Daniela Callahan, a fisherman’s wife who leads him on a journey further that any charted map and beyond all belief.

Additional info –

I have a deep love of the fantasy genre and wanted to create a medieval, fantasy world that incorporates and explores modern topics and issues. I wanted to write a novel that did not lean too heavily on fantasy elements just for razzmatazz sake. The idea was to keep real people with real issues as the meat and potatoes of the story and use fantasy as flavoursome gravy. I find there are too many novels that do it the other way around. At the very least I wanted to offer a fresh take on the traditional cornerstones of the fantasy novel, something a little different without sacrificing what makes fantasy such a well loved genre to begin with.

If anyone reading this is contemplating writing a novel or even a short story, then I urge you, do it. Don’t tell yourself you’re not a writer. You were not a walker once and if you applied that same logic back then you’d still be crawling today. It’s challenging but you can do it. Writing yourself off leads nowhere, writing a novel leads to be continued.

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Author bio – I was born and raised in Glasgow, Scotland and still enjoy living there today. I worked as a stock auditor for seven years which involved travelling around the towns of Great Britain and Ireland. What may sound glamorous on paper were countless hours daydreaming out of a mini-van window. My first novel, ‘The Children of Duty & Justice’ is a direct product of those daydreams. Like a lot of folk, I wanted to write a novel but always dismissed the thought, telling myself. “But you’re not a writer.” This horse before the cart logic only pacified me for so long. I decided to test the waters with a short story, something light to gauge my aptitude with the pen, or as these are modern times, I guess the keyboard would be more apt. That short story became my 116,000 word debut novel. Maybe I was a writer after all, or perhaps I just really suck at short stories.
links to my novel and social media…

UK link – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Children-Duty-Justice-GJ-Fairhurst/dp/153488940X/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1468582514&sr=8-1 US link – https://www.amazon.com/Children-Duty-Justice-J-Fairhurst-ebook/dp/B01HPJRLE6/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1468582733&sr=8-1#navbar

The afore mentioned short story ‘one boy’s war’ (free download) – https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/648756 twitter – https://twitter.com/JGJ20200

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/The-Children-of-Duty-Justice-1495894160654583/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel Official website – http://sebastian11145.wix.com/thechildren#!blank/cnec

Blood Oars and Jang E Part II

Part I

Ning strode out of the manor. As he left the gorgeous double doors, Lee handed him his oar, which had an oar branded into the paddle. Out the double doors there was a walled garden. The wall still had gaping holes in it from the explosives he and his men used to breach the manor in the first place. The guards of the magistrate were certainly vicious, but ten immensely talented guards meant nothing against a hundred hungry and thirsty pirates.

Fortunately the gardeners did not resist. They expected an exquisite batch of peaches by the end of the oppressive summer. Unfortunately the daughters did. Such lovely creatures, but they had to be thrown off the cliff with their family. Examples had to be set.

From the magistrate’s manor, Ning could see the village and the sea, both at the foot of the cliff. Both were hundreds of feet down. The magistrate always remained so far away from the people and the sea, something Ning found out while he investigated the city. This distance meant the magistrate had no idea the people were turning on him. It meant he had no idea the sea was filled with vile creatures. It meant Ning and his men put in minimal effort when they created a place for the Blood Oars to call home.

The bay was filled with Blood Oar ships, large flat barges with a dozen oars on each side and a sail. they were all painted red. Off in the distance a blockade was forming. Black ships, similar to his own, but they painted their hauls with pitch. The Black Hauls were insane, claiming they did not fear fire for the Eternal Flame protected them. Ning never understood how anyone could cling to the religions of the desert, but there were zealots of fire even in the water.

Lee stood behind Ning and said, “Should I summon Batu?”

Ning shrugged off his shirt, showing a body covered in tattoos and scars. He stretched and the muscles glided over the bones, showing his ribs. “What’s he doing?”

“If I had to guess, gambling, drinking, or sleeping. I haven’t seen him for two days.”

“No.” Ning stepped up to the cliff, his toes clinging to the edge as they went over. He looked down at the water and it called to him. “He shouldn’t be needed. Go back to the village and see that Jang E is protected properly. He can help there if you find him.”

“As you wish.” Lee bowed and left.

Despite the sea calling, the cliff was still terrifying. Ning had jumped off dozens of masts, but they were a hundred feet high on flag ships. He cried out over the ships, “Blood Oars, the Black Hauls come at us. They would claim victory, but they are few and weak. I would say they sent men, but who can tell the difference?” There was laughter and Ning smiled at himself.

In the distance, the Black Hauls closed the blockade, locking into the cliffs, then fasting two lines of boats to make it impossible to breech. They had far more boats than they should have, and many were skeleton crews. Several of the boats were fashioned more like rafts, likely built in haste to complete some odd plan.

Ning pulled out a chipped dagger from his belt. He cut his index finger and willed the blood to form into a ribbon. The ribbon became so thin even Ning could not see it, but he could feel it as he commanded it to reach for the sea. When it touched, the water exploded and a pillar shot up to him. He stepped out just as the geyser reached the cliff, and the entire pillar dispersed into a light mist. The men clapped, as they had seen the trick.

The Black Hauls were confused. Some celebrated the sea swallowing the captain. Others were uncertain it was the sea. All of them whispered uneasily of some form of witchcraft that the gods would frown upon.

Waves rocked the boats of the Blood Oars, and they cheered louder. Then the Black Hauls saw a man swimming through the bay with the ferocity of a shark, and they cried out in terror and panic, but the boats did not separate.

The water felt amazing against Ning’s skin as he flowed through it. He wasn’t exactly swimming, though the spirits enjoyed a dolphin motion as tribute to them. The water instead pulled him forward, and it felt like it would pull his skin off from the speed. But it felt so exhilarating that he never worried about the pain.

When he swam under the blockade, he dove deep into the bay and let the waters settle. He could hear the men shouting to watch out, then going to the edge and looking over to see nothing. Then Ning willed their destruction.

Water shot up with great force, making blades which ripped and tore at the boats above him. Blood filled the water at the unfortunate men who got caught in it, and soon actual sharks would be there to feast upon the battlefield. As long as Ning could remain engaged, it would mean a feast of Black Hauls and not Blood Oars.

Five boats were destroyed. The Blood Oars started their advanced. Ning took a deep breath, oxygen rich water filling his lungs. Then he swam up to the surface, using the water as he neared the surface to push him several feet in the air. He landed on one of the rafts.

 

Pokemon Table Top

I have good news and awesome news!

First, I’m working on a Pokemon table top game. I love the video games, but there’s only so many paths you can take, and Ash and his friends rarely stick to those paths. By paths, really I mean you’re forced to be the savior of the world and a Pokemon master. Yet we know there are scientists, coordinators, breeders, and others who live immensely fulfilling lives with incredible reputations in the Pokemon world. Honestly, anyone who competes at a competitive level (such as the World Championships which just happened) is as much a breeder as a battler.

There are already some Pokemon table top games out there. The issue is they require a degree in mathematics, primarily statistics, to play, as they attempt to mimic the video game’s stats. When a table top game for kids makes dice rolling more complicated than Exalted, I have issues with it.

So the awesome news is I think I figured out how to make a Pokemon table top game that is also kid friendly! I’m not willing to reveal a bunch of things quite yet because I need to try it out, but ultimately Pokemon and trainers will both have a stat sheet. Pokemon will be based on the video game layout, but the stats won’t end up being really high. Leveling will be more conservative. It’s about the journey not the destination. There will be more advanced options to allow more variance in Pokemon stats, or if you’re just looking to pal around with them, you can nix that.

Stats for trainers will consist of things like athletics to show physical ability, coordinator, breeder, and so on. This will allow players to pursue other avenues than Pokemon master.

I’ve created the base of the game, now I just need to start applying the point structure to Pokemon, then play around with it. At that point, I’m going to see if my local gaming store will let me advertise for a group of 4 players. I’ll start with the regions already created, but eventually I’d like to make my own region. It will only use the Pokemon from the game, as I’m no artist and don’t want to make Pokemon without drawing them, but the threats would be different.

Yes…I’m a proud Pokemon nerd.

Anyway, hopefully I’ll have weekly updates on this, though I know a lot of it will be, “I’ve put stats to Pokemon 1-15, along with their moves. I cannot see the sweet oasis of completion. My life is the black hole of Oblivion, but I shall trudge on.”

Stay tuned for more announcements!