Thursday, May 21, 2009

"Classic: a book people praise but don't read." - Mark Twain

Part 3 of 3. Continued. Those of you know me know that I play D&D. One of the things that I’ve been doing lately is tinkering with character backgrounds. I’ve found it to be a good experience in developing the little writing ability I have and helps conveying my sense of imagination. The next few posts are of back stories I have written and one I just barely finished. Hope you like.

The Blind Swordsman

Kumano Zato, master of the blind sword,
defender of the eastern and far reaches.
Walker of paths of the sun's night,
treading with calloused feet a path
never seen by blind seeing eyes.

Born to this world like the world was made,
both knowing nothing but darkened skies.
Growing, learning as the earth did, slowly,
not to see with eyes that see nothing, for
the Mind’s eye must unlock the way ahead.

Spawned upon red skies of bloody death
fire and flames came to his village home.
Screams and nightmares of promised doom
renting the air. A Wurm of lore and legend,
driving the people forth to their demise.

Through Crags of Destiny he wandered aimless,
searching for the one horrid beast of fire.
Burning with vengeance, giving heat to a cold soul.
Peaks on high to glen low roamed Kumano,
finding nothing but caves filled with night.
Driven by a lusting hate he pursued him,
fumbling as a new born doe, ever onward.
Only finding whispers upon winds of strife and fear.

To forested dale he came, led by eternal
emptiness inside. Upon a hill he climbed,
to a convergence of earth, water, and sky.
Entwined together, like a lovers embrace.
A nexus, a source of power that was made,
where Genjus lived, untapped and unseen they came,
gathering together, like many rivers of energy.
Gazing out, Kumano found a home.

There he dwelt, learning from Spirits of the Elements,
attuning his senses, learning to see without sight.
Feeling the mountains with a body just as stubborn,
flowing like the Rivers his mind flowed with comprehension,
bending like grass with movements just as graceful,
and searching the sky with a soul just as expansive.
Being taught by the old souls of the world,
knowledge he gained, stored for eternity in bones
that are strong as the hills, on untraveled roads.

Upon such an untrodded path, came he to a great hall.
A place that made his great frame feel small.
Giants of Legend, born from the backs of mountains.
Living there for a time, earning the trust of these people,
by feats of strength and battle of wits, he proved himself.
Being called the Blind Mountain Priest, he learned as them.
Staying as long as his restless feet allowed,
Kumano made to depart. As a gift of parting, in good will,
the Masters of the Mountains gave him a no-dachi.
He took up the sword, called Jiwari, the Earthbreaker.

Departing in peace from a place of greatness,
coming upon new sights, new sounds, new ideas
of people, helping him along his way, never stopping.
Being blind, but no longer in darkness, now seeing
through the parted mists that covers his white sightless eyes

This is his way: to be guided by gaia.
Seeing the world through knowing eyes.
Sage to his own mind, wisdom learned.
Such is the path of the Blind Swordsman.

"Illiterate? Write today for free help." - Anonymous classified ad

Part 2 of 3. Continued. Those of you know me know that I play D&D. One of the things that I’ve been doing lately is tinkering with character backgrounds. I’ve found it to be a good experience in developing the little writing ability I have and helps conveying my sense of imagination. The next few posts are of back stories I have written and one I just barely finished. Hope you like.

The story of one Grimlocke Axethrower

Some would say I was born under a bad sign. I would say I was cursed. There were days growing up that it certainly felt like it. From the beginning, I was a frail child. I was smitten with a wasting sickness as young child that racked my body and left horrible scars. There were days that I felt like was being singled out by an evil, unknown presence. Only if knew what I know back then.
My parents did all they could for me during those days, but soon gave up hope. Thinking that my disease didn’t have an end, they abandoned me at an orphanage, hoping that “the evil eye” that was upon me wouldn’t spread to the rest of the family. If they only knew how true that was. After a time, my brother Murts, the second oldest of my family, secretly found were my so called Loving Parents had cloistered me.
Upon finding me, and without the knowledge of my family, Murts helped me finally recover. I grew up loving my brother, and following his lead whenever I could, because no one knew I was still alive outside of the orphanage. But since I was so weak growing up, the martial path Murts had grown to love wasn’t to be mine as well. For I had more of a mind for books, and the arcane arts.
The day that Murts left to go leave his salty trail on the world was a hard day for me. I tried begging him to stay, but new deep down that he wouldn’t be around forever. I remember going back to the orphanage in a blind rage, for I felt I was being abandoned once again by those that should have loved me. I fell asleep crying in one of the many dark corners of run down orphanage.
I only retained vague and clouded parts of my dreams that night. I didn’t want to ever remember that much, for they were filled with red sulfuric mists and the howling of infernal beasts. But there was one thing that was etched upon my young soul: a demonic voice that slithered through the mist and rang with the might of 10,000 brass bells. I felt my mind would shatter before I would awake.
“Grimlocke; young one” it said, its hot breathe breathing down my neck. “I’ve been observing you for awhile now.” The stench of its breathe rolled over me like flies over a battlefield. “So weak you have been, without any relief. Abandoned by family and clan alike.” It continued with a low bestial laugh that echoed into the distance. “Let me guide you now, for you have been discarded by all. Let me lead you, for I have power to give to those who are faithful and true.” My mind was in a haze, and I couldn’t resist the urge to follow.
I saw things that mortals that were not meant to see. An immense citadel that sat within horrible twisted landscapes. Multitudes of cruel and laughing demons that were covered in disease and patches of fur and ruled by a demon of overwhelming stature that my mind couldn’t fathom, from whence the horrible voice emanated.
As I looked upon this hellish scene, the voice came again, saying “Part of this power could be yours, young one. For a price…” it said, as he trailed into another bout of demonic laughter. “Promise me your soul, and it shall be yours.” With my willpower drained from the loss of Murts earlier that day and the visions I had looked upon, I consented.
The rest of the dream faded into horrific nightmares and dreams thankfully unremembered. When I finally woke, the orphanage had burned down around me with the smell of sulfur thick in the air. Scared, I did what any young person would have done. I ran like the very hounds of hell were after me. And not for the last time in my life.
Over the next year, I roamed the country side, learning the limits of my new found powers. My body also underwent a transformation during this time of wandering. No longer was I the frail child I was. My body grew thick with youthful energy and demonic vitality. But alas! During this time, my wanderings became the notice of the settlements that were splattered amongst the countryside I had been roaming in. A cry had gone out to cure the ‘witch’ that had taken up residence amongst the hillside. Once again, I barely escaped with my life.
The following few years of my life I’m not proud of. I stole, cheated, murdered and did other unforgivable acts just to stay alive. After one alcohol soaked night of depravity, I woke curled up next to a shrine to Morradin. As I gazed upon the holy sight, I had a reckoning of my actions. I realized what I had become. The tool of a Devil. I thought just because I had a childhood that made Monsters, didn’t mean I had to become one myself. And also, what would Murts make of me then? I shuddered to think of the answer.
After casting out what I was, I became a warrior of fire. No longer was I powered by the power of a demonic whim, but the power of my own wrath. I hunted down evil where ever I could find it. Secret cults, wrong doers, even a few bars (to my heavy heart) didn’t escape the fury of my fiery touch. All these things I tried to do to make up for what I had done. Until the night I heard the barking laughter of the Hounds from Hell. I once again heard the Voice creep into my dreams, saying with a forbidding voice “The day of your existence is up, young one. Your soul is now rendered mine!”
I responded with my own righteous wrath, knowing my next words could be my last “For too long thou hast stood above all life in thy arrogance! And I spit upon you and your unholy judgment!” In a terrifying voice, the demon responded “In your blind arrogance you have dared to pit your strengths against me you weak mortal? Prepare to pay for your criminal effrontery!” I felt a scratching, demonic hand start to tugging at my soul. I woke with start. If I did not flee, then I surely would have perished.
I was on the run for awhile. Catching a few notes of slumber when I could, always fearing to dream, for it always seemed that hideous laughter was always right around the corner, waiting. In this weary state, I found myself limping my way into Hammerfall. As I entered upon the main path, I passed the most gloomy bear I’d ever seen. I my exhausted state, I didn’t give it much head.
I took refuge in first tavern I stumbled upon. Having little money, I just sat and listened to the tales that were being told as I tried to rest. At first, I could not believe my ears. Murts, dead? Sacrificed to the gnoll demon Yeenoghu?! Then it clicked with the faint chilling laughter I knew all too well. “I am not spurned so easily foolish mortal…” I heard in my thoughts. I felt my blood go Icy cold and my face go pale white. What had I done? Murts, dead by my actions.
Now I have a new mission. I will not rest until I had my brother out of that hell hole and out of the grips of the demon Yeenoghu. As I write this, I’m on my way to find this band that last saw my brother, this “Daring 6”. For its my curse to bare. Murts will never be forgotten.

“I can't write a book commensurate with Shakespeare, but I can write a book by me." - Sir Walter Raleigh

Part 1 of 3. Those of you know me know that I play D&D. One of the things that I’ve been doing lately is tinkering with character backgrounds. I’ve found it to be a good experience in developing the little writing ability I have and helps conveying my sense of imagination. The next few posts are of back stories I have written and one I just barely finished. Hope you like.

The Story of Murts, The Salted One

“Come around people, Come around!” The Old Bard called out while setting close to evening fire. “What shall it be tonight” He asked.
“Let’s hear about Murts Axethrower, the Salty Dwarf!” Someone from the group called. “That again, Young sire?!” replied the storyteller in feigned amazement. For it was a favorite, both in the telling and the listening.
“Yes!” the mass cried out. “Then let us start at the beginning…” The Bard said.
“Murts was like any other of his tough race. Bound for feats of strength and to out weather the very hills themselves. But at a young age, Murts’ feet had a mind of their own. He left Family and Clan like his older brother and set out for a Life of adventure.”
“He was already highly skilled at the use of axe and fist, which helped him greatly in his first trials and feats of strength. With every new challenge, he seemed to grow more careless. For it seemed he moved through his enemies like they were unmoving pillars of salt. Then he came upon a challenge that he no hope of overcoming. His path happen to cross with an green dragon of an unknown name.”
The listening throng gasped in unison, like they always did at this part of the story. The Old One continued with a small smile “Yes! Imagine! Murts, The Salted Ones himself took on a Green and lived to tell the tell! The fight went on longer than any would of dared. But let’s be frank here people. You think you can take on a dragon by yourself and win?!” In which the Storyteller got a splattering of boos.
“See how long you survive against a dragon of any size you dolts!” He shot back, which seemed to silence the hecklers for the time being. The Old Bard nodded, continued after a moment “The Great Dragon left Murts for dead in a secluded Vale, miles away from any city, or a decent road or path. He managed to make his battered body crawl to a cave nearby, in which he passed out from his wounds.”
“After what seemed like an eternity of pain induced sleep, our Hero woke up to something sniffing him. Still hazy from the effects of sleep, Murts thought for a moment it was the Dragon coming to finish him off. He jerked awake (or as best he could in the state he was in) and tried moving away. But then the creature growled, which made Murts stiffen where he was. Murts thought ‘That’s no dragon, but a bear!’”
The Crowd gasped again.
The bard waved them down and saying “Yes, He thought he was trapped too. But after the growling stopped, the bear start licking him” several children started giggling, which got quieted by an up turned eyebrow “and cleaning his wounds. He once again passed out from the pain. Over the next month, this bear helped Murts heal by bringing food and such to the cave. Then He never came again.”
“Murts, by this time, was healed enough to make it to Fallcrest His brother, Murgeddin Axethrower, was a smithy there. He still needed some help. Then 2 Weeks to the day Murts arrived in Fallcrest, a shaggy assortment of people walked into the inn…”

Sunday, May 3, 2009

"Snikt!" - Wolverine

I saw X-Men Origins: Wolverine over the weekend. Overall, it was an enjoyable experience, but it was nothing really to get all worked up over. The casting was great, the acting was good for what the actors had to work with, and the plot/story was generic, choppy at times, quite predictable, and a missed opportunity. 3 out of 5 stars.

Now for what I’ve been thinking about since I saw Wolverine. Over the last 8ish years, comic book movies have been getting better. Because they’ve had bigger budgets, better actors, more well written scripts, call it what you will. But they have been on a upward curve. And that makes me happy.

Granted, there has been a few pitfalls and bumps along the road upwards, but unfortunately, that’s to be expected. But I’ve been kind of working on a theory lately about the comic movie industry. First off, let’s take the few Comic Trilogies that we have at the moment, Spiderman and X-men. Both in their own right I’ve enjoyed and really liked, but to me, there seems to be a pattern forming.

The first movie in each series have been solid and decent origin stories, which is fine and to be expected. Considering the success of said first movie, the second gets a bigger budget, better actors, and BAM! You get a really great second movie. Then this is where they end up going wrong somehow. Both series have had their 3rd movies crash really hard. For me, Im going to chalk it up to a few certain things. I can be totally off base here, but this is my blog, so there.

I’m going to call my theory “The too much stuff” theory. One, too many villains for the hero to fight. They try to squeeze them in, which in turn hurts the development of said villains, which also makes them uninteresting and lifeless. And in the end makes them have less screen time, which in turn makes it seem like the villain is really under powered and weak when our hero takes them out in 2 mins on screen (Venom anyone?). The opposite of this is true to. To many Heroes (Xmen 3???). Again with this, you can’t dedicate the necessary screen time to flesh out the character, and if you do, the rest of the movie suffers.

And 2, to high expectations for the 3rd film to be awesome. Why not, since the first two were awesome? But it happens. With each success comes higher expatiations that the next one will be better. Because of this, I’m kind of getting this apprehensive feeling for Batman 3 if they decide to do it. But hopefully it can break the cycle.

Comment and tell me what you think and have a lively discussion. I also have a developing theory about why spinoffs are mediocre at best But it will come later when I have time to think on it.