Sunday, October 25, 2009

Chapter 3 - In Which We Meet Our King

And find out some other stuff. I'm enjoying this once a week chapter posting. I hope everyone else is too.

Additionally we have this awesome Lego pop up book (kind of), this awesome Star Wars Re-edited scene, and one of the strangest, oddly offensive, books ever, published in 1962 about marriage. What are the Swedish doing wrong in 1962?

Oh, well. On to Chapter 3.


King Otho was doing his regal pose, standing at the top of the stairs, the sun streaming in behind him through a stained glass window. Light glinted off his crown. His perfect white teeth beamed through his thick, rugged red beard. He was portrait-worthy. Looking down at his faithful advisor Sedrick he said, "Welcome to the life of a King! Women! I need more women!"

Sedrick sighed and said, "Yes, sire. Only it's payday, today, and you have to make at least a brief appearance."

"Payday?" King Otho descended the stairs. "Is it really?"

Sedrick said, "Not actual payday, sire, but, um, children's payday?"

"Oh." King Otho said. "Oh."

"Yes, and they're lined up in the vestibule outside the throne room, and we're paying them, but they wanted to see you. At least some of them did. Anyway, I thought I'd mention it."

"Say no more!" King Otho said. He hurried down the halls, and into the vestibule just off the main throne room to find a line of women and children, a large wooden table with a book and a quill, and each woman signed her name as she went past it, and a man on the other side of the book handed her a gold coin. King Otho's entry took everyone by surprise.

"My Lord!" Several of the women shouted. All of them young and attractive in different ways. Each of the children, a little regal in their bearings.

"My Lord!" This was Guard Captain Varin, who had been standing by the table. He put himself between the King and the line of women and children, who were starting to gravitate this way. The King was looking over the women in line and remembering each one.

"Varin, how are we today?" The King said, absent-mindedly.

"Fine, my Lord, but you should be more careful. This room isn't secure."

"The entire castle is secure." King Otho said.

A look passed between Sedrick and Varin. The king didn't catch it.

Varin said, "Perhaps we could bring some of the children by to visit with you, perhaps arrange for some sleepovers?"

King Otho smiled at the idea. "Yes. Yes, that is a good idea."

"Yes," Sedrick said, "A good idea for another time. For today, you do have a special visitor." Something about the way Sedrick said "special" caught the King's attention.


"A dark skinned exotic beauty. You remember the visit from Shonin Lord Gahn-Jihan? His wife? The long dark hair?" Sedrick was leading the King back up the stairs, thinking to himself, look how easy it is. He moves towards the description of a woman, he's so lost in thought he could be stabbed in the back by his own guard captain, he'd never know it.

King Otho said, "Yes. Yes, I do remember her."

"You asked us to find a girl like her? I believe we've done well, my Lord."

King Otho looked into Sedrick's eyes. He said, "Where?"

"The red chamber, my Lord."

King Otho turned to give a good wave to the women and children. Most of them smiled, some of them cooed. Only one or two looked perturbed by the whole situation. And like that he was gone, leaving Sedrick standing on the top step to speak with Guard Captain Varin.

"Where the hell did you find a dark haired girl with features like Gahn-Jihan's wife?" Captain Varin asked.

"We didn't. We found a brunette. He'll be disappointed for roughly three seconds and then she'll drop her top and he'll forget why he went up their in the first place. The man's a lech." Sedrick didn't bother to hide his contempt.

Varin said, "I heard you were in town last night."

Sedrick gave him a wicked look.

"In a bar, no less." Varin continued. "Talking to suspected pirates."

"Your spies are very good, Varin, I'll give you that." Sedrick said. "I was converting pirates to privateers, though. We'll need more of a Naval presence after..." He let the sentence trail off, looked around the room to make sure no one was listening to them, and then said, "Well, you know. After."

Varin said, "How many children are there? Twenty? Thirty?"

The line of women and children just seemed to keep going. They came in, once a month, and were paid a gold coin, by executive order of the King, for, what he called, services rendered. Sedrick shook his head. This was the straw that broke the camel's back, he thought. This was what had finally pushed him over the edge.

Sedrick said, "Our last count was thirty-seven."

"Thirty-seven!" Varin could barely keep his voice down. Women and children, and even the guards assigned to make sure each woman signed her name and took her gold coin all looked over at him, surprised.

Sedrick said, "Calm down."

"Thirty-seven? That can't be right." Varin said, lowering his voice.

"Come on." Sedrick said. "Let's get out of here."

They walked up the steps and through a large wooden door back into the interior of the castle, and walked the halls, back towards Sedrick's office.

"Thirty-seven?" Varin kept saying.

"Why is it so much of a surprise? To be honest, I'm surprised it's not higher. What's he with, three, four women a week? There's bound to be ones out there we don't know about. And seriously, he's probably up there with thirty-eight right now!"

"It's staggering." Varin said.

"I agree. And it's costing us money. Thirty-seven gold a month, to be exact."

"We bring in more than that." Varin said, dismissively.

"It's good money we're just throwing away!" Sedrick looked pissed. Varin knew he'd hit a weak point. Sedrick was always worried about the money.

"Why do you care, Sedrick? Do you want a raise? Don't you have enough?" Varin decided to push Sedrick's buttons a little. See where he went.

"What could we do with that money?" Sedrick asked, returning the question. "Hire more guards? Make more weapons?"

"What do we need with those?" Varin replied, not letting Sedrick drag him in.

"Grandview is constantly over run with invading forces. But we never do anything about it!"

"If you mean Gandermere, they camped on our northern slopes for about a week while they were sieging the Northlander's capital."

"That's exactly what I mean." Sedrick said, his voice hissing like a snakes. "And don't tell me that doesn't bother you."

"I serve at the King's pleasure." Varin said.

"Don't play coy with me." Sedrick said. "You and I have been through this."

They went into Sedrick's office and he slammed the door shut.

Varin said, "Very well. We shouldn't let them do that. I agree. But what can I do? You know he doesn't care."

"That's just it." Sedrick said, sitting behind his desk and smiling. "He doesn't care. But I do. You do. And once he's gone, we're going to make sure Gandermere doesn't ever do that again."

"And we're going to stop paying all those women and children?" Varin asked.

"Trollops and bastards." Sedrick answered. "Yes, that money would be better spent on military matters."

"And a bigger office for you?"

"Bigger office?" Sedrick asked. "The biggest office in the land." He chuckled to himself.

"The king has lots of friends." Varin said.

Sedrick gave him a funny look. "I thought you were taking care of that."

Varin said, "As much as I can. I've done things I'm not proud of."

"Don't worry about that. History will forgive you. The man we serve is incompetent, and the whole Kingdom would do better to have someone else running things. Someone who thinks about how to keep an empire running for longer than it takes to bed a woman."

"Someone like you?" Varin asked.

"Someone like that, yes."

"What about the kids? The mothers? We're just done with them?" Varin asked.

"I'm taking care of that. Don't you worry."


"Don't ask questions you don't want the answers to." Sedrick said, a dark look covering his face.

Varin stared him down for a couple of seconds, but decided he didn't really care. He said, "Fine." And exited the room.

Sedrick had already decided how to deal with the prostitutes who came begging at his door once a month. And that's really what they were, wasn't it? Hookers? Whores? Women who had slept with the king, and now were paid a monthly stipend? The idea of sleepovers had come to him just this morning, and he could see it to, the King making time with one of the women he'd already sired a child with, while the kid played next door with a nanny and a room full of toys.

Yes, Sedrick decided, that was never going to happen. The King would be dead soon, and he'd be taking over. Getting Varin on his side had been his stroke of genius. He just had to play to the man's military background. Make everything about the fighting, the soldiers. The war. He needed a war. It would ease the transition. Yes, when a King was assassinated a Kingdom went to war, and he would come out the other end of that war as a man of honor, worshiped by the people for guiding the country through the troubled times. And then, King for life. It wasn't a bad dream.

Gods, it was better than working for this man. This lecherous old idiot.

He couldn't die fast enough.

But he still needed to engineer a war. Who would be the best candidate for that? Gandermere? They were close by. And had used Grandview's lands too often without compensation. Yes. He thought he could just about pull that off. At least technically. But it wasn't enough, was it? No, there were complications.

For one thing, Gandermere was too close. Gods, the names actually sounded the same. Gandermere. Grandview. Was it any doubt that the two countries had been founded at the same time by a pair of friends.

No, he'd need something else. Something more exotic.


Shonin Lord Gahn-Jihan.

Yes. Emperor King of the land of Isterak.

A land halfway across the world.

That would make things easier.

Grandview and Gandermere? It would never work. Too many people had friends in one place or the other. Too many families spread across both lands. Pitting brother against brother wouldn't help him. People would just start asking questions, and that could get messy.

But a fight between King Otho and Shonin Lord Gahn-Jihan?

Of course that would work. No one would even ask questions. The cultures were so different, who'd even know why we were fighting them?

Another day, another great idea. Sedrick thought.

Gahn-Jihan had been here only a few weeks ago. And while that dinner with foreign dignitaries had gone all right, who was to know that besides himself and those who were inside the castle walls? All the people knew about the dinner, but would they know what was talked about?

No. It was perfect.

War with Isterak.

A grand idea.

Now, if only he could think of something, some reason to go to war, some slight that the Shonin Lord had made...anything to cause a war to break out.

Well, that brilliant idea could be left until tomorrow.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Chapter 2 - Stories Need Pirates. Sort of.

Ready for chapter 2? It's down at the bottom somewhere. I was thinking what a good idea this was so that I wouldn't have to actually bother finding links or stuff to post, but of course since I did that someone sent me a good link I have to post.

This is Dungeons and Dragons on the Microsoft Surface. Pretty cool.

Well, ok, I had one link. No wait, I have two.

This is some thermal imaging of bats flying out of their cave. Again, pretty cool.

Also, I enjoyed these ridiculous and unnecessary product reviews.

See, I totally give up trying to find links and I have 3 of them without trying.

OK, on to Chapter 2:


On the deck of the "Green Squid" Captain Voosh looked out at the country side as they sailed into the harbor of Grandview and said, "Someone's built a fire out there."

His first mate, Mumphrey, took a look and said, "Probably orcs."

"Or hunters." The Captain said.

"Hunters don't build fires. Scares the animals away."

Captain Voosh got out his spyglass and tried to see if he could spot any orcs, but it was getting dark, and all he could see was a small campfire with some shapes around it. He said, "You're probably right."

Mumphrey didn't bother gloating, just shrugged and said, "We're going in tonight?"

"Landing on the docks. Like a legitimate ship."

Mumphrey's face soured. "This is no way to be pirates."

"We're not going to be pirates for much longer." Voosh said. "They're giving us a conscription."

"What does that mean?"

"It means we'll be legitimate. At least as far as Grandview is concerned. We'll be privateers."

"What the hell is a private ear?"

"Privateers. Like, legalized piracy."

Mumphrey said, "I don't like things that are legal."

Voosh shrugged. "It won't make much difference. There's not a lot of ships on the sea to rob anyway. At least this way we get paid a stipend."

"What the hell's a stipend?"

"Cash. Money. Gold. They'll pay us once a month."

Mumphrey said, "What for?"

Voosh shrugged. "I don't know. I guess for not attacking Grandview ships. And for attacking ships Grandview is at war with."

"Who's Grandview at war with?"

Voosh shrugged again. "No one as far as I know. But if they're signing up privateers then you can bet they're gearing up for one."

"Gearing up for a war." Mumphrey said, mulling it over. "Hm. Interesting."

"Is it?" Voosh asked. He was trying to put his spyglass back in it's case and was watching the black cat sleeping on the deck rail. "Doesn't that cat worry about falling off of there?" Roll over the wrong way, Voosh thought, and boom, a forty foot drop to the ocean. He didn't think the cat would like that very much.

"They like heights." Mumphrey said, looking at the cat. "It's interesting, the war thing, because I can't imagine anyone our king would want to go to war with."

"Our king?" Voosh asked smiling.

"Well, he's going to be paying us. Plus, I was born in Grandview."

"Oh." Voosh continued to smile. "I think the problem is, he's asleep. I mean he's not going to know if he rolls the wrong way, is he?"

"The king?"

"The cat."

Mumphrey said, "Oh. If it bothers you so much go move him."

"It doesn't bother me. I mean, he can sleep where he wants right? As long as he keeps the rats off the ship."

"He has been doing a good job of that."

"Gandermere, maybe?" Voosh asked.

"I think his name is Midnight isn't it?"

"No, I mean the country. Would Grandview go to war with them?"

Mumphrey frowned. Sometimes Voosh made it hard to follow along a single line of conversation. "Why would we fight Gandermere? Over rye bread? Do they even have any other resources?"

Voosh didn't know the answer to that. He was still watching the cat, sleeping soundly as the sun set behind it. He thought of something else and said, "We're supposed to get a new guy, too."

Mumphrey said, "New guy?" Not sure whether this related to the sleeping cat or imminent war discussion.

"Yeah, a sailor. I talked to him before we set out last time, told him to meet us here tonight. Midnight at the Frozen Parrot. Today is Tuesday, right?"

"Yes. It's Tuesday. Who is this new guy?"

"Thought he could be a good replacement for Xarot. Not sure what the hell happened to him."

Mumphrey said, "Probably somebody's husband caught up with him and strung him up."

"Wouldn't surprise me." Voosh said, "Probably the only person that has more girlfriends than the King."

Mumphrey shook his head. "So, this new guy, he's a sailor?"

"Young guy. Maybe sixteen? Seventeen? Got the look about him, though. And he says he's always wanted to be a pirate."

"We're about to not be pirates anymore, remember?" Mumphrey said.

"Oh, right. I hope that's not a problem."


Voosh didn't like to walk into a bar through the front doors. He'd explained the reasoning to Mumphrey once, and it went along the lines of this: If everyone looked at you when you came in, that was a bad thing. It meant you were getting too famous. You couldn't be a good pirate if everyone knew who you were. If no one looked at you, that was a bad thing. Bad for the ego, he'd told Mumphrey. It meant nobody cared.

So when they went to the Frozen Parrot, Voosh always insisted on slipping in through the back door, up a flight of stairs, over the alley, and taking one of the tables on the second floor balcony. They usually didn't have trouble finding a table, even when the place was packed. Not a lot of people liked to sit upstairs because it made it harder to run if someone came in looking for you. On the first floor you could always go out a window.

Voosh and Mumphrey took the table closest to the back door and sat down, ordering a pair of drinks and waiting.

Mumphrey said, "What does this kid look like?"

"I believe the word you would use to describe him would be 'strapping'."

"So a big kid?"

Voosh nodded. "Not huge, like that guy that used to load crates by himself, remember him?"

"Something that started with an A, or an M. Not sure, but I know who you're talking about."

"Yeah, he's not that big." Voosh said. "But he's tall and in pretty good shape."

Mumphrey said, "I think he's coming this way."

Looking up and seeing the kid coming Voosh thought, he's not as big as I thought he was. Young, definitely, and perhaps strapping, but he looked younger than Voosh remembered now that he was actually looking at the kid. And he was healthy, but certainly not strapping.

Mumphrey said to the boy, "Sit down. You're Reed?"

"Yes. Indeed, I am." The boy said, taking a seat.

"We should get some drinks." Voosh said. "Are you even old enough to drink?"

"I'll just have some ale, if it's all right."

Voosh said, "Son, you could order Dwarven Whiskey in here and they'd serve it to you, long as you have money."

"I have a little." Reed said, seeming embarrassed.

"First round's on me." Mumphrey said.

"Thank you very much, sir." Reed said, bowing his head a little towards Mumphrey.

"You're going to have to cut that out." Voosh said.

"I'm sorry?"

"You're far too polite to be pirating, lad." Voosh said. "Relax. Be yourself."

"Right. Sorry." Reed shook his head. "I mean right."

"Right as rain." Mumphrey said, though he couldn't imagine why. Voosh was looking at him funny, and he shrugged.

"Stuff goes right into your brain, doesn't it?" Voosh asked, still looking at Mumphrey. He turned to Reed then and asked, "You ever killed a man?"

Reed looked concerned, shook his head and said, "No. I don't believe I have."

Voosh knocked back the rest of his drink and started looking for a barmaid.

Mumphrey said, "Don't worry about it. Most people haven't. Not even some 'real' pirates. You ever stolen anything?"

"Bread?" Reed said, like he wasn't sure if it was considered stealing if it was food.

"Did you need it, or just want it?" Voosh asked.

"I was hungry."

"S'not stealing if it's for need. It's provision procurement."

Reed said, "I'm not sure what you mean."

Voosh said, "Forget it. This stuff is going through me, and I can't seem to flag down a wench. I'll be back with some drinks. You said Ale, right?"

"Yes, sir. I mean, yes."

Voosh left and Mumphrey leaned back away from the table, studying Reed. He didn't look like much. A dirty white shirt, long scraggled hair. He could already pass for a pirate if he were armed. He was certainly dirty enough.

Mumphrey said, "Why do you want to be a pirate, again?"

"I hate this place." Reed said. "I want to get away."

"Where are your parents?"

"Mom died a couple of months ago. I've been on my own since then."

"Where's your father?"

"He hasn't been around for years." Reed said.

Something about the way he said that made Mumphrey pause. He said, "What did your mother do?"

"Ran a jewelry store."

"Jewels?" Mumphrey asked, his eyes widening.

"Not real ones. Fake. Costume jewels. Paste and glass and gilded engravings. Cheap, is what it's called." Reed said. "When she died I sold everything, even the store, and didn't make enough to live for a week after I paid all the outstanding debts. I'm not sure how she did it."

"And you think pirating is the answer?" Mumphrey asked.

"When she died, I decided right then and there, I was going to be a pirate."

"Voosh said you told him you'd wanted to be a pirate all your life."

"I did. I mean, I never thought I'd have the chance. But when she died, I decided to do it. You know. To go for it. Live out my dream."

"Of being a pirate?"

"Why do you keep asking me that?" Reed said.

"Pirating isn't fun. It isn't rescuing damsels and swinging from chandeliers. It's mostly dull and uninteresting work. It's sitting on a boat on the high seas, watching for another boat to come near, not too near, so that it sees you and runs, but near enough that you can catch it, after half a day's sailing, and if you don't manage to get blown apart by it's cannons, you jump on board, kill a few people, and take what they have, which isn't usually much. I've never in my life known a rich or a happy pirate. People get into this line of work because they have nothing else. Some survive, and some don't. The ones who do will tell you, if they had it to do over again, they'd do something else. Probably open a costume jewelry shop."

Reed just looked at him, unsure of what to say. He hadn't thought it would be all chandeliers and damsels, but he'd hoped there would be some of that in there somewhere. Something in the back of his mind told him he hadn't really considered the whole thing. Being on the run. Wanted by the law. What would happen if he were arrested? What would happen if he ended up in a dungeon somewhere because he'd tried to rob a ship and failed?

He started to ask Mumphrey why he became a pirate, but was interrupted by Voosh coming back to the table. He sat down with four drinks and said, "Met our new boss at the bar."

"New boss?" Reed asked. "You're pirates. You don't have a boss."

"We do now." Mumphrey said. "Oh, we forgot to mention. We're privateers now."

"What's a private ear?" Reed asked.

"That's exactly what I said." Mumphrey told him. "Exactly."

"It's true." Voosh said. "Ah, here's our man."

An older man, short and bald, skinny and angry looking, sat down at the table. He had a hood over his head, and he spoke from the shadow it cast over his face. "These are your men?" He seemed to be talking to Voosh.

"Yes, this is Mumphrey and this-"

"I don't need to know their names!" The old man said. "Just take the marks and sign the paper."

Voosh looked vaguely annoyed as he took the paper and a quill and signed his name to it. The mark was handed to him and he folded it up and put it in his jacket pocket.

The old man said, "There. Now you're official privateers in service of King Otho." He started to get up.

Voosh said, "Your drink?"

"Keep it." The old man said, and he disappeared into the crowd.

"Well, that was certainly exciting, wasn't it?" Voosh asked.

Mumphrey looked over at Reed who was frowning. He said, "Welcome to the life of a pirate."


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Surprise! You wonder where I been?

I been working, but sounds making danger,
and black bird's chirping

That sounds a lot better in my head because those are lyrics from an EPMD song. I had all these reasons why I hadn't posted yet, one of which was I been working. But that said I didn't really have that much to post this week. Or at least I didn't *think* I did. Til my wife reminded me (inadvertently) that next month is National Novel Writer's Month.

That reminded me that last year I did actually finish a book, but I never let anybody read it because I thought it was terrible. That reminded me that I thought I had lost it when my hard drive crashed sometime in February? Which turned out not to be true because I had a backup of it on a thumb drive I'd forgotten about. Which reminded me that I'd told Travis that I'd let him read it, which in turn reminded me that I had forgotten to do that.

Follow all that? Good.

But the practical point of that is, I had thought a long time ago about using a webpage to write a story on that would just be continuous, because I like things like Order of the Stick, where the guy has been telling a great story for a few years now, and it always makes me wish I could draw so I could have a webcomic, but I can't draw, so having a webcomic just isn't gonna happen.

But then I thought, I could have a webbook instead. And so, while Allie reminded me about NaNoWriMo being next month, it occurred to me that I could just post my terrible book here, one chapter at a time, and possibly drive you all away in a few weeks. So we're gonna give that a shot.

I may have some preamble before chapters or something (like this one, only not as long) and if I find any nice links I'll drop them in there, but for now there's only one thing I want to link (the most awesomest game ever, called Miami Shark) and then chapter one of my "new" book, Skullduggery.

"Listen, I'll explain it. What we're saying is this, you find parents, particularly ones with only one kid. I mean, there could even only be one parent, as long as there's only one kid. Got it? Ok. So what we're saying is, that kid has enormous potential, you just have to let it out. You got it? So you kill the parents."

The other orc said, "I don't get it."

Loro sighed. "You kill the parents. This unleashes the pent up potential inside this kid. The one kid. The orphan."

The other orc said, "I still don't get it."

Loro said, "We're both orcs, right? How many Orc Champions have their been since the Battle of Dungore?"

The other orc, younger than Loro, still fresh faced and unscarred thought about that. His name was Akar. He was holding his hand up, looking up in the sky and raising and lowering fingers as he counted. He had three fingers up for a while, then put up a fourth, then put it back down to bring his total back down to three. Then at the last second raised it again and said, "Four."

"Right. Gagnar the Invincible." Loro held up one finger. Akar nodded. "Grush." A second finger, another nod. "Kolo the Black Blade." Three fingers now, and Akar waiting expectantly. "And Grimfist."

Akar said, "That's right. That's the four I got."

Loro said, "And what happened to them?"

"What do you mean?"

"They're all dead. What happened to them?"

"Well, Gagnar was killed by a wizard, I think."

"That's right." Loro was nodding his head, smiling now.

"Grush was killed by Kolo, and then Kolo got killed by a knight, didn't he? A human one from that place in the south where they make that bread."

"That's right, Gandermere's that place. That bread is something with an 'R' I think. Rye?"

"That's it. And then Grimfist was killed by a horse."

"Not just a horse." Loro corrected.

"Oh, right, a horse with a guy on it."

"A guy?"

"What was he? A ranger? He wasn't a paladin was he?"

"Cavalier. The humans call them cavaliers. Come on now, he had a flag and everything."

"I heard the horse did all the work."

"Well, the cavalier trains the horse, so, you know. It's pretty much an even share of the killing."

"Ok, fair enough." Akar had forgotten where this was going. "What was the point of all this?"

"The wizard, the knight and the cavalier, you know what they all had in common?"

Akar shook his head.

"Orphans. All of them. The wizard, Gagnar killed that guy's parents when the wizard was a baby. Kid grows up with vengeance on his brain and becomes one of the most powerful wizards in the world. What does he do? He hunts down Gagnar and kills him."

"Seriously?" Akar was a bit shocked.

"This is what I'm saying. That knight? Kolo killed his mother. Father was long dead, but killing his mom? Kolo made an enemy for life. That kid trained with the sword and shield, found Kolo out in the frozen swamps and put a blade right through him. That cavalier?"

"Grimfist killed his parents?"

Loro shrugged and said, "Well, you know, we're checking on that. I mean we don't really know much about that guy, he just sort of showed up and ran Grimfist over and then left, you know, but it's a pretty safe bet."

"So what you're saying..."

"Of the last four Orc Champions, three of them were killed by humans, two of which were for certain revenge killings, and one is a maybe. Only one of them died like he should have. Killed by another orc in battle."

"So what you're saying is, orphans are what, powerful?"

Loro nodded. "They can be. They get powerful, you know, for vengeance. They get mad, they want revenge, they train themselves, push themselves harder than normal, those guys, they become like death incarnate. They become true warriors."

Akar was starting to catch on but had some questions. "Why single kids?"

"You got two kids they're sad, but they have each other to lean on, you know? They don't get the crazy like a kid left alone."


"You got your wizards, your knights, your cavaliers, apparently. They get tough, they go looking for the killer."

"And our plan is to be that killer?"

"Our plan is to create those orphans. We go around every place we can, we create some orphans who have revenge on the brain. Then, later, when they're trained up they come looking for us."

"And then what?" Akar was still fuzzy on the end goal.

"By then the dragon will be back. And when they find us, they'll find the dragon. And when they find the dragon, they'll kill it."

"But the dragon didn't kill their parents." Akar pointed out.

"No, but humans and dragons, you know, it's all historical. They're always killed by a human."


"You ever hear any stories about dwarves killing dragons? Elves? No, it's always a human. But this dragon, this is a big one. We're going to need more than just one guy out there hacking away at it. We're going to need an army."

Akar said, "And we're going to create that army."

"Now you've got it."

"By traveling around the countryside killing kids parents."

Loro nodded. "That's about the size of it."

"How many have you done so far?"

"Well...we haven't really gotten started yet. I wanted to wait until we had a full group. But now there's like six of us, including you."

Loro and Akar were on a small hill and Loro nodded down to the hill's base where the rest of the orcs had set up camp. They were waiting for Loro to explain the whole thing to Akar, the youngest, who had just joined them. His uncle had sent him to find Loro and join up with the group.

Akar looked off to the north and saw lights. "What's that?" He said. The sun going down was making the lights more visible.

"That's the big city. Grandview. Human city. Where their king lives."

"Are we going there?"

Loro snorted. "Gods no! We're avoiding it. We're going to stay out here in the open country. Hit some of these farm houses around here. See what we can find, you know, kid wise, with orphan potential."

"Tough city, huh?"

"Thousands of people. We'd be slaughtered. They kill us on sight, don't forget that."

Akar nodded. He sat down and Loro sat down beside him and they looked at the lights. Akar said, "How do you get to be an orc champion?"

Loro shook his head and said, "You have to kill lots and lots of people."

Akar looked off dreamily at the lights of the city.

After a while Loro thought they should go back down to the camp, but before he could say so Akar asked, "What do you know about the dragon?"

Loro had to think. He said, "I saw it once, when I was a boy. Scared me to death. Flying over a village I was walking to with my parents. It was huge. Bigger than the hill we're standing on."


"On my honor."

"No one knows what to do. The shamans say you're the only one that's come up with a decent plan. That's why my uncle sent me to find you. He says if anybody's going to get anything done it'll be you."

Loro took the compliment and smiled. He said, "What are things like back at home?"

"You mean when I left? They say it's going to be a while before the dragon comes back, so there's not a lot to do. They're making weapons though."

"They're always making weapons."

"True." Akar said, "But they're making bigger ones."

"That's a start."

"When will the dragon come?"

Loro said, "No one knows for sure. They say it goes in cycles. It comes and burns down some villages, and eats the burnt bodies that get left behind. Then it goes off somewhere to sleep, or wreak havoc somewhere else. Who knows?"

Akar said, "But it's a long time between them."

"Like I said, last time it came I was a little boy. Now we have to wait a while. Long enough for some of these humans to grow up and not be kids."

Orcs have no concept of years, or seasons. In the far north the weather's always the same, so they measure time from battle to battle and not from season to season. If Loro had known how he would have told the young orc that the dragon came to their neck of the woods every thirty years or so, but since he didn't have the vocabulary to do that it seemed pointless to even try.

Akar had worked out the time in his head though, and he told Loro, "I'll be your age when it comes then, yes?"

Loro nodded, impressed with the boy. "Yes, something like that."

"How long will we be out here, then?"

Loro said, "Could be a while. Don't know how long it will take to find enough kids to orphan. We may need ten? Twelve of them?"

"And we're going to stay down here in the human lands until we do?"

"That's the plan. We stay out of sight, you understand? Guerilla tactics, we keep to ourselves we stay out of the humans way."

"Except the ones we're killing." Akar said.

"Right. Except those. That's why we have no fire for the camp."

Akar said, "Ah."

From the shadows at the base of the camp an orc voice called up, "We're building a fire."

"All right then." Loro shouted back down.

"But you just said-"

"I know." Loro said. "But no fire? That sounds terrible, doesn't it? Besides we're not where anyone could actually see it. And if they did, they'd probably think we were just hunters out, you know, hunting."

Akar said, "Oh."

Monday, October 5, 2009

Lots of stuff, for some reason.

This is gonna be a big one, I think, so take a deep breath and let's get started.

This game is called Huje Tower. Not Huge Tower. Huje Tower. I haven't figured out why. But it has adorable little bacteria from the sewers that are trying to reach the sky. Yeah, you read that right.

Ok, this is on a beer page (I think. Is Tuborg a beer?) But it's a name that tune game that's actually pretty well done. And I like name that tune.

And this game is called Growbox. And it's cool. I like puzzle-y games and it's very puzzle-y. You have to cruise around through little mazes eating things, and sometimes they make you bigger and sometimes they make you smaller and sometimes they change your shape completely. And if you get too big in some places you get stuck. It's like a metaphor for not overeating or something. But it's fun.

Ok, no more fun for you, now we're on to things that annoy me. Remember this? Of course you don't, you're not 135 years old. But you probably know what it is. And you probably saw this (and really, was Billy Zane ever in a more terrible movie? Oh, wait, scratch that). Well now there's this. That's right, somebody's gonna take another shot at it. Oy. Listen, don't get me wrong, I'm all for comic book characters getting tv shows and movies. I love them. But the Phantom, well, it's just never been done well, and I'd love to see it done well, and it's gonna have to be reimagined to get it done well, but...this ain't it. In particular I like that there's a scene in that clip where they imply that part of the problem with the Phantom is that ridiculous looking suit. And then they go on to give the new guy an even more ridiculous looking suit. High comedy.

Speaking of high comedy, remember when Tim Burton was going to do Superman with Nic Cage? Good times, good times. Here's some pics so you can see what might have been.

Again with the Oy, this remake doesn't need to happpen. Ever. But thank God the director from Fast and the Furious Four is still getting work, am I right?

Hey, in the list of things that don't need to get remade, where does this rank? I'm gonna say it's top 100. Wolverines!

Hold on, I'm feeling a little ill. Seriously? Somebody's doing this? Oh. My. Lord. STOP IT.

Really James? The movie's not even out yet and they're already talking sequel. I can't wait to not sit through that either.

Ok, I think we're through the annoyance part of the show. Here's some pics of Seth Rogen as the Green Hornet. Well, some are stuntmen and some are Seth, but it looks, um...ok?

And weirder than weird, here's some pics from the A-Team movie. This is a good list of them. This looks like actual set pics. Isn't Liam Neeson weird with silver hair? That's just odd. Oh, and the guy playing "Howling Mad" Murdock? That's our old friend from District 9. That guy was not even an actor when District 9 was done, he was just like a buddy of the director or something. (*Note: on further review he was a producer. He'd been in one thing before District 9, something called Alive in Joburg, which upon further research turns out to be a short film that the guy who made District 9 made that was the basis for District 9. So, yeah). Anyway he was awesome in D9, and now he's in the A-Team movie. The world is a strange place.

Speaking of strange...Opie Cunningham is making a Cthulhu movie. There's really no comment I can add to that.

Robert Rodriguez Predators movie might not suck. They're doing a most dangerous game thing where predators nab some of the most awesome warriors on earth (which it turns out are serial killers, gang enforcers, assassins, etc.) and then hunting them on the predator home world with predator falcons and predator hunting dogs. Sounds predator-licious.

Other things that might not suck include Gentlemen Broncos. I think I put a trailer up for that before, but check out Sam Rockwell talking about working with Tim Allen. Amuses me.

Things that look cool: the Batman Superman Animated movie. They got Tim Daly and Kevin Conroy back to voice Superman/Batman respectively. Sweetness.

Also in animated movie news, sequel to War of the Worlds that looks cool.

Video game news, Crackdown 2. There's some cool stuff going on in this video.

In more interesting video news, John Lasseter, the awesome guy from Pixar who did Toy Story, Toy Story 2, Cars, etc. talks about how they came up with Buzz Lightyear for Toy Story. Fascinating. (Also, how they picked the colors for Buzz's suit. Neat.)

Other things that fascinate me: 50 extraordinary and attractive billboards. Some of those are very clever.

And speaking of clever, HBO has an impressive thing called HBO imagine. It's like a little puzzle of movies and sound clips that tell a story, but the most interesting to me were the movies that you can watch from 4 different angles.

And just to round things out, trailer for The Crazies. Horror movie. Don't watch if you don't like crazy horror movies, but I find this intriguing for some reason.