Thursday, April 21, 2016

Chapter 3:

Hodger moaned quietly as they approached Ralphie’s home. It wasn’t grand like Hodger had hoped. It had no lawn and was attached to the rest of the town like every other home Hodger had come across. A sign of an anvil swayed back and forth above the door. Red light shined from the windows, and heat radiated from the door, which was propped open by a stone.

                There was a curse yelled from inside, and then lots of smoke billowed out the windows and door. Then there was laughter that could only be described as heroic. Ralphie opened the door fully and let more smoke out before heading inside and disappearing into the smog. The Gnome heard mumbles, and then Ralphie appeared again smiling.

Behind him, his father Rudolph the Great emerged. Rudolph towered above a normal man, and looked like a giant to the Gnome. Rudolph’s hair was cut short, and his beard was dark and trimmed. He wore a leather apron and a white shirt, and they were both covered in coal. His eyes were the same as his son’s, but his look was fierce, as if the look alone could take down a bear.

“My son tells me you are a great, magical Gnome.” Rudolph said, “He says you can aid in breaking the curse upon his sword. I have never heard of a magical Gnome before.”

It was at this time Hodger noticed he was shaking. He attempted to speak, but nothing came from his mouth. Hodger then proceeded to nod, and his whole body nodded with him. Stu flapped his wings releasing himself from Lucille’s grasp. He fluttered down to the ground beside the gnome.

“I am his familiar spirit, Studious. And you will treat my master with proper respect lest he curse your fortune, great hero.”

The hero leaned forward over his son, meeting Hodger’s stare. Hodger’s blood drained from his face and he wanted to run, or at least look away, but he was too scared to do either. Rudolph’s eyes warmed to honey, and his mouth turned into a wide smile, showing perfect white teeth.

“Well don’t be standing out here great Gnome! Stop shivering and get inside where it’s warm!”
Though it wasn’t particularly cold outside to Hodger, he hastily accepted Rudolph’s offer.
At first, inside was what you would expect from a smithy. Weapons and armor hung from the walls. Swords were in a barrel nearby, a glow from the oven on the far end of the room. There were two large anvils next to the oven, and a series of hammers and tools hung nearby. Rudolph, then, pushed a lever up, and then pulled a rope down. Wind roared upwards as the roof opened up, letting the smoke rise out of the home. 

Once the smoke cleared, the place looked more like a museum. Rugs and flags were hung and draped with ropes across the ceiling. Shelves were filled with trinkets from all over the world and pictures hung on the far wall next to the anvil. They told the adventures of Rudolph the Great.

Fire and smoke puffed from the glow. Rudolph mumbled another curse.

“I know you’re here for my son Great Gnome.” He said, walking to the oven, pulling out a large, curved blade. He set it on the anvil and started to hammer, “I get my Latin confused with my Greek and the magic isn’t working properly. Can you help me?”

Hodger leaned forward and gulped, looking at the red hot blade, “What are you seeking to do with this, ah, blade?”

“I seek Pluto’s fire. I have dust from the grave of a mighty beast and I infused the silver hair of the rabid unicorn.”

Hodger scratched his chin, “Wh-wh-what beast?”

“One of the Chimera Elders.”

“And how do you know that it was its grave? Chimera’s live an awfully long time.”

“I killed it protecting a village. The other three fled.” Rudolph said, “And I buried it myself. It was the least I could do.”

Hodger’s eyes went wide, “I see.”

Hodger pretended to examine the sword, circling it. He noticed Stu staring at him as Rudolph continued to explain his procedure.

“I really think it is in the lettering.” Rudolph finished as Hodger finished his second lap of the blade.
“Am I missing something?” the hero asked.

“Yes.” Hodger answered, figuring that was the best response.

“What is it, Master Gnome?”

Hodger’s eyes quickly scanned the walls hoping something would come to him. As the Hero went to ask a second time, Hodger looked upon a bronze shield, “Copper.” He said.

“Copper?” The Hero restated, he stood as his look grew quizzical. He scratched his chin, “Because it transfers heat better? Does that mean it transfers magic better?”

The Gnome, “Yes, that’s it. Copper is the steel of the magical world.” Hodger leaned back, placing his hands behind his head, smiling. He was quite proud of this lie. Hodger finished with, “And Pluto likes to be seen.”

The hero scratched his beard, and then the back of his head, “You would know more about magic than I do. This is more of a hobby.”

“My turn!” Ralphie said, grabbing Hodger by the arm and pulling him through a short hallway into the kitchen. He then grabbed a nearby chair, scooted it to the cabinets and climbed up, grabbing a box with a handle of a sword sticking out. He then climbed down, and presented it to the gnome.

“What is this?” Hodger asked.

“A curse has been laid upon it. Look!” He turned the box around, revealing lettering that Hodger could not read. Hodger closed his eyes and turned away, “Read it to me.” He said.

“I, I cannot. I don’t understand the language. I was hoping you could.” Ralphie said, defeated.
“I can’t do that.” Hodger admitted.

He sat down on the chair and pouted, “I’ve been told that when I use this sword, I’ll be a great hero. I can’t use it without lifting this curse.” He sniffed and wiped his nose.

 Ralphie got off the chair and dragged his feet back into the main room. As they exited the kitchen, Hodger saw Rudolph taking big cutters to the bronze shield, cutting into one large spiral.

As Ralphie walked by, sniffing again, Rudolph stopped cutting and knelt next to the boy, “What happened son?”

“He said he couldn’t read the language. He can’t lift the curse.”

Rudolph gave a smile, “What were his words exactly?”

Ralphie repeated the conversation, Rudolph lifted him up into one arm and smiled, “My boy, you should be excited. This isn’t the end of your quest. This is the beginning!”

“What?” Hodger and Ralphie said together.

“My boy, never take what magical beings say literally. They must always speak in riddles. I still very much doubt that copper is the key to solving Pluto’s fire, but I followed his eyes until his gaze landed on this exact piece. That must mean something!”

“Yeah?” Ralphie said, hopeful.

“He isn’t saying he can’t help you, he’s simply saying he can’t open the box for you! That is something you must do yourself.”

Ralphie looking down at the gnome, “Is that what you meant?”

Hodger scratched one foot with the other, “Y-yes.”

“The Gnome will venture with you to unlock secrets of the box, and make you into the hero you need to be! And then, then my boy, you will be able to open this box for your sword.”

“Wait.” Hodger said.

“He will be your guide through some of the most dangerous peril and the most horrid creatures you’ve ever seen. But if you two survive, you will emerge a greater hero than I.”

“Excuse me, uhm, what peril?” The Gnome asked aloud. Hodger was ignored. This was the first time he did not like being ignored.

“You mean the three of us!” Lucille said, running forward, “The hero always needs his trusty sidekick Lucy!” She lifted her fist, “Aye!”

“Aye!” Rudolph exclaimed.

“Aye!” Ralphie yelled.

They all looked at Hodger, “Aye?” he squeaked.


They cheered. Stu hopped up onto Hodger’s shoulder, “Got anything up your sleeve for this?”

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Chapter 2: The staff is everything.

Hodger awoke the next morning, eyes squinting at the sunlight coming through the window. He rolled over and then screamed, scrambling to put many pillows between him and the nearby chair.
“Good morning,” The chicken said, sitting in the chair, turning the page of the morning paper.
“What are you doing here?” Hodger said, “You got your night of sleep! Now go get roasted like decent poultry.”
The chicken folded the paper closed and set it aside, “That’s exactly why I am here. I know you’re not a Gnome, but you seem to have the uncanny ability to convince people otherwise. I, on the other hand, am an intelligent bird that can’t seem to get anyone to see me more than food, and I need some body’s help.”
“You need my help?” Hodger asked.
“Just to find someone here in Squaddlewog. Then I’ll leave you alone.”
“What’s in it for me?”
The chicken’s eyes turned back to the paper, “I said, I’ll leave you be. Otherwise I will find someone here to kill the evil Gnome lurking within the city.”
Hodger grabbed his candlewax staff and lit it with a lighter up his sleeve and pointed it toward the chicken, “What if I just roast you now and save you from speaking more about Gnomes.
The chicken looked at Hodger, and then at the staff. The chicken then blew out the candle. He turned back to his paper.
Hodger leaned back onto the bed defeated, “What is your name? It isn’t just ‘Chicken’, is it?”
“I am a studious chicken, that’s all you need to know.”
“Then I’ll just call you Stu.”
“Stu!” The chicken exclaimed, “What a preposterous name!”
Just then the door opened, and the smell of coffee and fried eggs came through the door. A young boy followed shortly after, pulling in a tray. He turned to the two guests and put his arms at his sides. He had dirty blonde hair in a bowl cut. His hair hung a little lower in the front, partially covering his blue eyes. His height and stature he looked no more than sixteen. The boy put his arms on his sides and smiled, missing a front tooth in his grin.
Though Hodger’s stomach grumbled and his nose sniffed, Hodger’s eyes could only focus on the gold bangle that hung loosely on the young waiters left wrist. If Hodger got anything from his unknown father, it was the love of gold. Hodger never had the desire to horde it, like most dwarfs, but to use it to buy things like food and more food.
“—And how many sausages, sir?” the boy said, interrupting Hodger’s trance.
“H-how many you got?” Hodger asked.
“Thirty-seven, but that’s meant for all—“
“That’ll do.” Hodger said.
When a slight frown, the boy picked up the pot and set it on a nearby table.
“Anything else?” the boy asked.
Stu requested a small plate of bacon and potatoes, refraining from the eggs altogether. Hodger stood and grabbed the pot of sausages and started scooping them into his personal bag, and then requested more if more should be cooked.  The Gnome then helped himself to eggs, bacon, and chilled milk.
As the boy turned from them to start putting things back together, Hodger’s eyes went back to the golden bracelet. He reached for it, and as he grabbed it, a shock went through him and sent him into the bedframe.
The boy didn’t notice, but smelled burning Gnome in the air, and turned. He yelped and rushed to the Gnomes aid, pulling him free from the bedframe.
“I told Lucille not to make those eggs, they were spotted funny!” He said as he pulled the Gnome free. Hodger fell onto the bed.
Stu rolled his eyes at Hodger, then turned to the boy, eyeing the bracelet, “What is your name young man?”
“Ralph, or Ralphie Junior as my friends call me.” The boy said, dabbing the smoking Gnome with a wet rag from his belt.
“Ralph Jr., are you the son of the great Rudolph?” Stu asked, hopping from his chair to the bed.
“The Hero of NorthPost is my pops,” Ralphie said smiling, “Though he is retired.”
“What is the son of a hero doing here?” Stu asked. Hodger rolled over and silently paid attention to his food, begrudgingly avoiding his eggs to thwart suspicion.
“My dad said a powerful wizards come through inns,” He shrugged, “I figure I might as well make some money while I wait.”
“You seek a wizard? Whatever for?” The chicken walked over the bed to Hodger’s bag and picked up a sausage and started to nibble. Hodger audibly growled.
Ralphie didn’t seem to notice, “My sword is stuck in a chest. My father said that only someone with magical powers can get it out for me.”
Stu turned to the Gnome, and raised one of his chicken eyebrows, “Well, it just so happens we are powerful wizards.”
The Gnome went cold and attempted to protest, but choked on his food.
“He is?!” Ralphie said looking at Hodger, “Oh Mr. Wizard, I’d love for you to help!”
We are.” Stu corrected, “And we’d be happy to help.”
Ralphie jumped up excitedly, “Yes! Thank you! Don’t-Don’t leave, I’ll be back in a half hour. I feel so silly now, I should have noticed his staff!”
--
“Why did you have to bring all of those sausages?” Stu asked as he and Hodger moved downstairs.
“Sausages don’t spoil. They are good for the road.” Hodger answered.
“You are a dolt. They do spoil.”
“Nonsense, they just turn into jerky. Everyone knows that.”
Stu was going to argue further, but decided seeing a sick Gnome would bring him far more amusement.
As they reached the base of the steps, both Ralphie and Lucille stood waiting. Ralphie smiled from ear to ear as the chicken hopped down the last step. Lucille also smiled, her teeth gleaming in the sunlight. She now wore goggles, the bright yellow eyes now contained. Even so, Hodger avoided looking at her altogether, as his wits told him to always fear demons. Instead, he looked at Ralphie, who now wore a wooden sword at his hip, his golden bangle hanging loosely on the wrist and rested on the pommel of the weapon. Hodger’s ears twitched upon the sight of the bangle, his left shrank and tilted forward while his right ear stretched and pointed outward. The Gnome shook his head and pulled on his ear.
“It looks like everybody’s here!” Lucille said. She picked up Stu and petted him. Stu was not amused.
Hodger nodded and walked in a wide circle around the new strangers paying him too much attention. He got to his exit, “Good day to you all,” he turned and quickly left.
He walked into the late morning air. Ralphie and Lucille followed him out.
“Where are you going?” Lucille said.
“Left.” Hodger said
“Straight to my house!” Ralphie said. “He’s definitely magical.”
“I, uh, meant right.”
“You said you’d help him.” Lucille said, petting Stu.
“I did not say I’d help him, Stu said he’d help him.”
“Who is Stu?” She asked.
Hodger pointed, “Stu’s the chicken.”
“That’s a silly name for a chicken.” Stu said.
“Actually, it works pretty well.” Lucille said, nodding.
Hodger turned toward Ralphie, whose face was full of utter defeat.
The Gnome looked down at his shoes and scratched his left foot with his right, “I-I-I am not the one you seek. I am a Gnome who seeks fortune, not adventure.”
Ralphie wiped his eyes, “If it is fortune you seek, my father has acquired a great wealth in his travels.
Lucille nodded, “No one is as rich as Rudolph the Great, only second to the king of Squaddlewog.”
Both ears perked up.
“D-d-does he have any of those bangles?”
Ralphie looked at his wrist, “Yeah, a lot of’em. This doesn’t do nothin’ though.”
Hodger twitched, “I sense great magic within it. It-it protects you.”
Ralphie raised an eyebrow, “Oh? I never noticed.”
Hodger twitched again, “I have. Th-that’s why I’m a great Gnome.”
Stu rolled his eyes. He then panicked as Lucille grabbed both of his legs tightly and lifted him into the air, turning him like a weather vane.
“Left?” Lucille said, pointing Stu in the proper direction.
Hodger nodded. Ralphie and Lucille took off in a run, Lucille refusing to lower Stu despite his demand otherwise. He flapped his wings in frustration. The Gnome took a match from his pouch and lit his candlewax staff and then walked forward after them.


Saturday, April 9, 2016

Chapter 1: An Introduction of sorts

Hodger stood on his toes as he leaned forward to blow out the candle on his staff before walking into the well-lit streets of Squaddlewog on Squaddlewog Street. Squaddlewog was a place that even he, a tiny Gnome, could blend in. Or, at the very least, be ignored. He wasn’t a real Gnome, of course, his father being Dwarfish and his mother being elf descent. Their drunk one night stand left his mother pregnant and not on speaking terms with his father, whom Hodger had never met. Hodger was vertically challenged even by dwarf standards and hairy on spots where you shouldn’t be. He had ears that were often past his bald head. The ears changed length on a day to day basis.
Even with Gnomes being fictitious as they were, people still believed in them, and often confused Hodger with being one. The tales of these fictitious magical creatures would often end in gold or cookies if they were caught. Those stories were wrong, of course, as the original tales of gold and cookies were of leprechauns and not Gnomes.
The original stories of Gnomes were often horrific. Normally ending in maiming or being devoured alive. It is because of these original stories Hodger took a great amount of effort to grow a beard, and then sewed together a hat that allowed his ears to grow and shrink as they please, put a candle on top of a stick and called himself a Gnome.
People tended to stray away from things that could hurt them, and fire was understood among the well-adjusted people that it could hurt. For this reason, Hodger carried around his candlewax staff with a wick on the end, learning how to quickly light it with a trick of his hand. When approached for gold or cookies, he promised evil, fiery things to those closest. When Hodger didn’t go through with his threats, however, people started to ask questions, and Hodger always seemed to leave before those questions could be fully answered. Some of those unanswered questions is what drove Hodger to hide within Squaddlewog in the first place.
Squaddlewog was the biggest city on the East side of the Giant River. Where it was built must have been an afterthought of the forefathers, as the ground was harder than stone and made it very difficult to dig into. And, as it is read often in the history of Squaddlewog, that the architect who wanted to build the homes was outvoted, and a law was passed that each citizen of Squaddlewog would need to build their own. The first, built a simple home, and relaxed. The second, built his wide, and then promptly made a fire with the remainder of his building material. The architect, not wanting to be outdone, attempted to build a basement got heat exhaustion, and died. Teaching Architecture became a crime after that. After all, telling someone to murder themselves ought to be a crime.
The law of the forefathers caused many beautiful and strange tourist spots within the city. The local watch maker had built his shop so high that it became the town clock. One side of the tower slumped, causing the minute hand of the clock to go slower between 7 and 9, making those hours seventy-two minutes long each. However between the hours of 1 and 3, the hand would randomly stop and click forward after forty-two minutes had passed, and people thought that was close enough. The watch maker had a difficult time making wrist watches that clicked in such a way to follow the town’s time and he eventually closed his shop beneath the clock tower.
The rest of the town was built the same way. As more people moved to Squaddlewog, land was scarce among the downtown district, so people built their own homes and built upward to have more space. Most people’s living rooms were in their attic, basement on the second floor, and each home had two to three levels worth of kitchen, depending on how high they had built.
The city was full of all kinds of people of races, shapes and colors. The streets were full of Men and Elf through the day, and at night the streets were littered with Dwarf and Fairy. There were a mix of other less friendly races throughout the city as well, but through the years they tamed themselves into agreeing their bark (sometimes literally) was more menacing than their bite. After all, how scary is a Zombie if you think it is just another person handing you a flier?
Hodger adjusted his personal bag and stepped into the bustling Dwarf booths of Squaddlewog Street and was promptly ignored. He made his way through the market stalls, not paying much mind to anything around him, looking for the sign that was always in a big city. When he finally got to the crossroad of Squaddwog and Fergal, he found the sign he was searching for, ‘All you can eat breakfast’. The Gnome quickly stepped inside.
A wave of delicious smells hit the Gnome’s small nose, though it was an unnaturally large for a Gnome his size. He shivered and stood on his tip toes again, slowly walking toward the dining area.  He stopped following his nose as his eyes quickly focused on something more peculiar. A large rabbit sat at the front desk filing paperwork. She wore an apron and a little hat between her long ears that stood straight up. He walked up to the front desk and was ignored. He liked this place already. He stood there for some time to see if anyone would give him any attention, but it wasn’t until he rang the bell did the clerk even notice he had walked in. The rabbit looked around and then peered over the desk to see Hodger counting his change.
“Welcome to Bunnies Inn. What do you want?” The rabbit asked.
“A-a-a room please.” Hodger replied, wiping his mouth clean of the extra saliva.
“How long? The long-eared desk clerk asked.
“Full week, if you please.”
The rabbit tilted her head and examined him for a moment. She sniffed the air and then leaned forward closer and sniffed again.
“You a dwarf, or something else?”
Hodger adjusted his hat, “Gnome.” He said. His voice cracked.
The rabbit stared for a bit longer then shrugged. She prepped a room key as he placed a few copper pieces on the desk. She handed the key to the Gnome and motioned for him to go upstairs. He was about to comply when a young purple girl ran buy him, carrying several mugs and something sizzling. He wiped his mouth clean again.
“A-A-All you can eat breakfast?” He asked to no one in particular.
“Dwarf breakfast only has an hour left. Follow Lucille.” The rabbit said to him.
Hodger hopped before walking briskly into the dining room.
The dining room was large and was lined with benches and tables. A large stone fireplace separated the kitchen and cooks from the dining hall. There was a small hallway on the far end that lead into the kitchen, and Hodger groaned as he watched the girl Lucille disappear into the door. The rest of the room had a few guests spread among the tables including several dwarfs, a cat, a large rooster with a stringed instrument, and a chicken who was picking at a book.
Hodger decided to sit near the chicken. It was close to the fire where he could be alone and warm his body up after numerous nights of walking. He leaned his staff against the table, putting himself between his candlewax staff and the fire to prevent any unnecessary melting. He looked around the room, everyone happily ignoring him, and the girl with the tray of goodies had yet to return.
He quietly kicked off each boot one at a time, stretching his toes against the cold stone floor. As he looked down to move his boots next to his staff, two lights shined down onto his feet. Hodger looked toward the light and saw two large yellow eyes look at him and blink. He panicked and lifted his arms as he yelped and fell backward.
Lucille grabbed him by the collar and sat him back up.
“You’re not supposed to take off your shoes, mister.” She said. Her eyes looking down at her pad of paper. The paper lit up with her gaze.
“I-I I am so sorry, I’ll put them back on.”
She lifted a pen to her mouth and chewed on it, “It’s not a rule, per se, but this floor only gets cleaned once a week. Keep’em off if you want, but don’t say I didn’t warn ya. Now what do ya want to eat?”
Hodger took a breath and then turned to the bright eyed girl, “Whatever you had on that tray would be nice. And a couple of those mugs you had as well.”
“That’s some sizzling raccoon and some Murky Water. Be right back!”
She closed her eyes and smiled. Hodger couldn’t help but notice her fangs before she turned and bounced away. It was then he realized what she had said, he turned in his seat to correct his order.
“Don’t worry about it.” A voice said behind him.
Hodger turned, but didn’t see anyone paying him any attention. He went to turn back around when the voice spoke to him again.
“Murky Water is just an ale,” the accented voice spoke again, “It’s just a rather unfortunate name.”
Hodger looked again, above and below the table, but couldn’t see anyone.
“My, my, you are a dolt.”
Hodger looked at the chicken, and noticed the chicken turn the page of the book.
“What… What are you doing?”
The chicken didn’t look up from the book but it replied, “I am reading. What does it look like I’m doing?”
Hodger scoffed, “I didn’t think chickens could read. A-are you a chicken?”
The chicken looked up from the book, “That’s a bit rude, isn’t it? Asking ‘What are you?’ as if you can’t tell that I am damn well indeed a chicken.”
“But you sound like a –” Hodger said.
Lucille walked through the kitchen door again, the sound of the sizzling made Hodger forget his question of unnecessary details and focused on his food. She set two mugs down first, then the plate of the sizzling meat mixed with a variety of colored vegetables.
Hodger took the mug and started chugging, only getting a small taste light ale poured into his system. He immediately felt a light buzz as he looked down to his food. He grabbed his fork and took a big piece and bit into it.
“I’d be careful,” said Lucille.
Hodger chewed his food and watched Lucille sit across from him. She grabbed the second mug and took a sip before placing it in front of her.
“The sizzling raccoon is spicy.” She finished, taking another drink.
The gnome started to feel the heat of the food as he swallowed his bite. He looked at his empty mug he had just chugged and then over to the second one, which Lucille has now claimed for herself. He hadn’t expected to be sharing. He stuffed a few vegetables in his mouth and chewed. After sweat had appeared on Hodger’s face, she poured some of her ale into his mug, which he drank immediately.
“So what are ya?” She asked after his second bite.
“Excuse me? Hodger said. He squinted as the light of her eyes roamed around him.
“I asked, what are ya? You a Dwarf? You don’t quite look like a Dwarf.” She said, her eyes squinting at him, “You don’t quite look like anything I seen ‘fore.”
Hodger looked over at the chicken, “My friend here thinks it’s rude to ask what you are. Don’t you chicken?”
The chicken said nothing, but Hodger could almost see a smirk within the beak.
“I am Hodger.” Hodger answered, “A powerful magically inclined Gnome.”
“Neat!” Lucille bounced in her chair.
“He’s lying.” The chicken said.
“And how would you know? Have you ever met a Gnome before?” Hodger said.
“No,” The chicken answered, closing his finished book, “but I’ve read about Gnomes. They are fictitious creatures.”
“He can’t be that fictitious, he’s sitting right here,” The purple girl responded.
“That’s right!” Hodger said. The sweat on his brow dripped, he wiped it with his hat and placed it back on his head.
The chicken looked at the girl, and then back at the Gnome, “Even if you were a fictitious creature from Fairy Tales, you aren’t magical. Gnomes are never magical in the stories.”
“What a studious little chicken.” Hodger said, “I have a staff.”
“Yeah, he’s got a staff!” Lucille said.
“What does that have to do with anything?” The chicken said.
“Staffs are magical.” Lucille said, nodding triumphantly.
“Staffs have nothing to do with magic.” The chicken replied, “Not directly anyway. I would know.”
“And how would you know?” Hodger asked.
“I am magical.” The chicken said.
“How so?” Lucille asked, her shining eyes forcing the chicken to squint.
“I am a talking chicken.” He said.
“Since when has talking been magical?” Lucille asked, “Seems to me that is just something people do.”
“But I’m a chicken. Normal chickens can’t learn to talk.”
“Now that’s just a rude thing to say about chickens. I’m sure they all could if they tried.”
The chicken rolled his eyes, “Just like this ‘Gnome’ can learn magic?”
Lucille nodded, failing to hear the sarcasm.
Hodger finished his meal and quickly stood, excusing himself and grabbing his room key from his pocket. Just as he was about to exit the dining hall, Lucille grabbed his sleeve and turned him around, putting the chicken in his arms, “Don’t forget your studios chicken, what would you do without him?”
She smiled again, unintentionally revealing her fangs. Those, with her bright yellow eyes, caused a shiver of fear to go through Hodger, “Th-th-thanks, but…”
The chicken plucked the key from Hodger’s hand and walked toward the stairs, “Room 27.”
Hodger turned back to the smiling Lucille and gave a nervous smile back before following his new roommate up the stairs.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

STAR WARS! WITH SPOILERS!

In case you haven't seen the newest Star Wars movie (The Force Awakens [TFA] ) and also didn't read my title, this entire post is about the NEW STAR WARS MOVIE.

THIS COMES WITH STAR WARS SPOILERS 
With my own entertaining thoughts.

To get a few things out of the way that a lot of people have been saying that I've heard:
-Queen Leia should have cried with Chewbacca.
-Kylo Ren is a bit of a baby
-It is very similar to a New Hope.

OK

So I enjoyed the movie. Not as much as some, but it was a good film and lives up to the original three in my personal opinion. I have minor complaints that I haven't seen anyone yet address, and then I have a couple of my own theories that I haven't heard from any of the podcasts I listen to.

My first and foremost major annoyance to me is the lack of different ships in the film. In A New Hope, Empire, and Return of the Jedi, they had several ships within the rebellion. They had the A-Wing, B-Wing, X-Wing, and Y-Wing. All were fighters except for the Y-Wing, which is a Bomber fighter. On the Empire side, you had the TIE Fighter, Bomber, and Interceptor.
 

In this new film, they seemed to strip away the extra fighters for just the basics - X-Wing vs TIE Fighter, which is a little boring to me. In the film, they talked about the "bombing runs" they needed to do on the Starkiller base, why wouldn't you use your BOMBING Fighter? Bah.

Second and final real annoyance, from a filming perspective, is that Kylo Ren takes off his mask at the wrong time. He should not have taken it off when seeing Rey for the first time. I understand that they needed his expression so people could speculate whether or not he knew her, but that could have been done with dialogue. Him repeating her name or asking her questions, or hell, just admitting that he once knew someone named Rey... I mean, up until he takes it off, we assume he's mangled or scarred in some sort of fashion. But if the first time he takes off his mask when he sees Han Solo, you would have gotten a shock factor that he is normal. It would have greatly shown that all of his anguish is internal and not external (which is where a lot of the dark side of the force gets represented,) And I think it would have better shown that he can be pulled from the darkness. Which is where my theories are gonna come in.

Side note - I listened to someone's podcast and they mentioned it could have been better if they just crippled the Starkiller base, and not destroyed it. I dunno how well that would have worked through the rest of the films, but it is very difficult to see how they can come up with another villain base to blow up. 

THEORY 1) Kylo Ren is going to be pulled from the dark side. He just is. 4-6 is all about the temptations of the dark side, 1-3 is about someone falling into the dark side, and 7-9 is going to be a redemption from dark to light. There is so much talk about the light side of the force in TFA that I almost got annoyed. The mission for Han when going to Starkiller was to bring Kylo Ren home, not to kill him. Kylo dying means Han Solo's last mission fails. The real villain is going to be Snoke. This parallels Darth Vader's journey as well, only I think Kylo Ren will be on the "Light Side" before the end of VIII, my theory is, is that he will watch his mother die by the hands of Snoke, and instead of shrinking into darkness, he is going to attempt to rescue her and pull away.

THEORY 2) FINN is force sensitive and will be a Jedi. The movie is named The Force Awakening. It is implied it is all over the galaxy. Finn will be trained as well, either by the hands of Rey, or someone else.

THEORY 3) Maz Kanata was a Jedi, or an apprentice of Luke's at one point. There are a few loosely mentioned facts around this theory. 1- She has been around for thousands of years, ya know during the Jedi hype days. 2- She knows Luke or of in some sort of fashion, after having his good ol' lightsaber handy. (This one is the Blue one Luke ended up losing, so I don't know if she knows him personally.) 3- She is clearly knowledgeable within the force itself talking to Finn the way she did. And 4- She has kept her place running for thousands of years with herself in charge... Jedi mind tricks could make that possible. It is a HUGE stretch that she is actually a Jedi, but she would be a great Yoda-Like character for Finn to train with while Rey is with her new Obi-wan (Her first Obi-wan being Han.)

I think that's about all I have. To be perfectly honest, I probably have more, but it is now time for me to leave work and start my weekend.
I hope you enjoyed this thrilling endeavor through StarWars vomit, but I hope mine was a slightly different color.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Surprising number of Dreams

(If you're looking for the short story I wrote, it is in the post below this one, that's right, you got a two-fer)

Before I begin, I'd like to point out that it is rather ridiculous to come up with a title before the story. The story itself is normally created, before a witty title can be placed on it. Welp, I chose to make the title, and, hindsight being what it is, it is probably going to be irrelevant to the post. 

Kristi and I talked a lot the past few days on realistic goals for ourselves. We are in a wonderful place right now where money isn't tight, that we haven't bitten off more than we can chew yet like everyone (including myself) does. We have the ability to save money, and we are going to try our hardest to do so. We talked about Cardisia, outlining some realistic things that we'll have to do for it, sacrifices we may need to make in order to make it a success, and goals that need to be accomplished before we take it to the next level. It was all very serious talk that I didn't enjoy (because I'm an immature brat), but when we got to talking, it was exciting I have that wonderful dream of "some day" and then suddenly it's like, "not some day, but rather soon"  I apologize that this is vague, I wish I could elaborate and not bore you with business-y related things, but I assure you, you would be bored.

Moving along... 

I thought I had a lot of stuff to say until I started writing. I honestly don't. I mean,.. I have a story that is odd for some, but I found it rather clever.

So, I am a big fan of Roosterteeth, They have a social Media platform that only works well enough, and random people can comment here and there. I've started a few discussions, made some enemies, had a few arguments, made some friends. It's a weird platform where they don't allow you to give too much information away, which I personally like.

That being said, there is this person on there, who wrote a simple comment saying, "Someone tell me a story." that was four days prior to me seeing it, but no one had commented her back.
So I replied, "What kind of story?"
A day later she wrote to me, "Any kind of story."
It was at that point, ladies and gentlemen, where I cracked my knuckles, stretched the fingers, and prepared to write the novella of a lifetime! Only I didn't. That's a lie, I simply read over one of my short stories that I've written, about a page and a half, copied and pasted it. It is about three Lords of their house who choose not to bow to the new king, thus resulting in their inevitable death.  I don't write their death, because a cliff hanger is the best part, it allows the reader to think of the different possibilities, and to want more. This is the ending quote from of of my three heroes, “I don’t think you understand us Commander,” Rowan looked at his comrades to his left and right, “We have chosen to accept death over life in service to your new King and we also decided to bring as many men who serve him to the afterlife with us. The next move is yours.”

And I left it at that. I thought at the very least, she'll have something to read. Maybe she'll enjoy it, Maybe give her something to thing about, let her pick her own ending.  And... She did pick her own ending. To my unsuspecting surprise She wrote roughly a page of the battle that my three heroes had. Where the arrows soared, the swords clashed, and the blood spilled. And then, she left it on a cliffhanger. It's crazy weird how I thought nothing of it, it was practice to me, but she then went ahead and thought it was worthy enough of another page and a half. Is it weird to feel... honored? Not to mention, I feel an obligation to continue the story with this stranger, who has decided to continue my unfinished story, cause she left it at a cliffhanger as well. It is just a strange compliment. A way to say, "I would like more." by contributing some yourself. 

Thinking about it some more, I had this feeling similarly to the beginning of Cardisia, When the Artists of my group delivered more artwork and edits than I thought possible. I enjoy this feeling. 

Now... About Cardisia you ask.

There are no serious updates on it, except that I have reworked the story from the ground up so it 10 times better with Kristi editing it. But something strange has happened to me in the past 24 hours, in which I was trying to say above (with all the vagueness) that I couldn't quite figure out until I started organizing my thoughts through writing this.

Cardisia is no longer just a dream. It is no longer "just a project." It is work. It is my second Job. It is the internship of a job of a lifetime. It is a struggle to deal with the issues at hand, it is a struggle to focus and not just be "the writer" of a fun project. I hate the work needed to be put into it sometimes.... Hates a strong word. But dislike. I dislike the work I need to put into it sometimes. But I still do. I am not the writer, but the creator. Do we need something sketched? I suck at drawing, but I can promise you I've drawn 10 images recently. Traced several others to sharpen them up (the originals were quite small). Every time an artist needs help with how to show something on a comic-panel platform, I'm sketching it up as best I can, and sending it on its way with a script, idea, and character outlines. I am constantly in need of more of me to do what I need to do. But deep down I love it. I won't let it go. It's soon, my friends. Very soon.

"So one vote to leave, and one to stay." Rowan sighed. "What should we do?" - Ending of the end of a story of three heroes. 

A hero's journey.

It doesn’t seem so long ago, the six of us standing there, enjoying each other’s company, the calm before the storm. Even Johan and Treven got along that day, remember? And when the storm reached us, when Vyell and his darkness stood at our doorstep, we fought as one. It wasn’t a battle of desperation anymore to us, we wanted to be there, we were happy. We were the six warriors of light who kept the shadow back. It was our honor. And finally, when the sun could be seen through the clouds the next day, we won. Even through the victory, Vyell’s pact of power kept him alive and a threat. He would remain immortal for the century his contact gave him. The King of Kalem had a way for us to succeed. A way to hide one of the warriors of light from time and space until they were needed. To hold ourselves in place as the rest of the world turned for one hundred years. The six of us looked at each other in disbelief before tears were shed. After everything we sacrificed, everything we gave up to go on this ridiculous journey and beat all the odds against us, we were asked to sacrifice one of us to battle alone while the rest of us lived out our lives. You volunteered first.
                Johan and Treven argued with you before turning on each other like they always did. Then Tiffy argued on my behalf. Kat slapped you and then hugged you, knowing she couldn’t change your mind. She was always OK with your tough decisions, she saw you as our leader from the very beginning. We all did. You were the one to pull us through, and you had made the decision easier for everyone. Everyone except me. You know your decision would change my life forever. It was the saddest I had ever been.
                We had plans, you and I. Fenix the mighty, and Faye the adorable. That is what you called us. I was a warrior through and through, yet you called me adorable. Kat had Johan, Tiffy had Treven, and I had you. You had promised me a happy life. You said we would wander together until we grew old, and then buy a small castle with all of our earnings. We would be a Lord and Lady, have servants, and seamstresses and little pets and… You broke that promise. You sacrificed our love for the good of the world and I hated it. You were being a hero and I hated it.
                I tried to convince myself you were just doing it for the glory, that you were being selfish. But, deep down, I knew you were being as selfless as anyone could be. It was a decision you made quickly, but not easily. I heard you cry that night in the woods, the day before the ceremony was to take place, do you remember? You wept alone, away from everyone, to keep yourself looking strong. And it is now I know why. Because your weeping lead me to where I am now.
                I am sorry for what I did. It was irrational and stupid and dumb, but I stand by it. You see, without you, I had nothing left. I had no happily ever after, no storybook ending. And that’s what heroes end up with at the end, don’t they? That’s why the hero chooses to fight and no one else does, because they have nothing to lose. They choose because everyone else can’t make that tough decision.
I hope you ended up forgiving me Fen. I hope you found another pretty girl, wandered the lands, became a Lord, and treated your servants well. I hope you lived out your days while I slept. I hope you were a hero even to the smallest town. I promise you I will be. I will be Faye the adorable, even in this future I have woken up to. Vyell will feel your strength through me. Everyone will. I promise.

-Faye, the Adorable Warrior of Light

Friday, January 2, 2015

The Reaction.

Happy New Year everyone!

Least I hope it was happy. Way better than previous Years I've had.

So... I don't know why, but I felt obligated to write before the new year, set some new year resolutions. Like I do every year. Except I didn't do it last year (January of 2014)... My first post was in late January, and I didn't talk about resolutions at all.

Anyway, I have a few resolutions, which now I feel that I should keep to myself. I don't know why. I think it is cause it's a bit more personal, and you wouldn't care because it is boring. "Do more office work" sounds like a really horrible resolution, quite the opposite of most people's "take time to smell the roses" But that's what it is. There. I told you. Are you happy? Also to write more...

Moving on.

It is story time! Title related.

Kristi, Mike, and I were doing our usual Sunday get-together and we started with lunch. Kristi was sick of Paradise Bakery food, so we walked a little ways down to Pita Jungle. On the way, Mike and I were discussing superheroes, and how there aren't that many original powers left. I came up with a person who can basically mimic another persons ability, or can absorb the blow and deal it back in the same manner. (To be quite honest, I thought this was unique as far as unique goes. But Final Fantasy uses "Blue Magic" which is similar, and there are several heroes like Sebastian Shaw who have that exact power.) I thought it would be a fun hero and I was made fun of. Even told our waiter about him, and he asked his name... So I said, "The Reaction!" More laughter ensued (all in good fun, I assure you) and at the end of the meal as he gave us our checks, he said he hopes to see it in a comic book some day. I don't know why, but that stuck with me. Made me feel good. I think I took it a little more to heart because I am trying to accomplish getting a story and comic book going. Shortly thereafter, we were at Paradise, writing, yelling, and arguing are way to finishing Cardisia again.

That was early December. Fast forward to Christmas, Kristi got me an Xbox One and got me set up with an account and everything. And the password had to do with The Reaction hero. It warmed my heart as it was something I said off the wall and in jest, but it was clearly memorable enough to make sure it was included. "It was something that was you." I think she said.

And even two weeks after, it pops up now and again. I'm starting to like him. I think he would be a great hero in one of my Hero stories. 

As I said above, one of my serious goals and resolutions is to write more, specifically, write more at home. I have an office I rarely use, but the past few times I've been in there I've enjoyed opening my blinds and writing, or talking to people online. I've decided that along with my weekly Paradise get together, I will start setting a schedule for myself to write at home. Make sure Kristi has writings to edit when Sunday comes around. 

Lastly, this wasn't mentioned above. I had wanted to start my Fit For a Hero recordings back in November. I sorta did... But didn't have any intro's and I haven't really liked what I've recorded thus far. I've watched a lot of Wheezy Waiter videos, and even a few of his jogging... And I liked them. They weren't perfect, they sounded just like my jogging video, and I enjoyed watching it. Which made me realize that I only dislike it because I am the one in the video. SO, that being said, I am going to start it. This month. No reason not to. I have EVERYTHING I need. No time like the present. Got to start. NOW.

The secret to creativity is not even a real secret. ... It is Don't Expect to like what you're making. About 70% of what I make, I don't even like. - Wheezy Waiter "The Secret to Creativity"