Thursday, August 30, 2007

Centaur concept

Regarding the latest Jason Jones adventure, I felt compelled to sketch my notion of the centaurs portrayed theirein. I am not an artist, so as ever, it turned out poorly, but I was proud of the hands, so I upload it here.
If anyone wants to have a go at it for themselves: Please do.

Edit: They're about 8 feet tall. Just for reference.
Edit 2: The picture above is David's, not mine.

Jason Jones against the Centaurs

The centaurs charged into the dojo. They had the heads of men and the torsoes of horses, and, to complement it, the lower bodies of... something that Jason couldn't really identify. Each of them held in their half-equine arms a weapon; a spear, an axe, and a shorter spear with curving spikes. Jason and the others of his class that he could see stood poised, ready to fight or talk. Jason held himself back by an act of will. He reminded himself of the old man's warning; if fighting at the wrong time were ever to cause his death, it would be in attacking foes as dangerous as the centaurs appeared.

Then strange scooping wings unfurled from the centaurs and shot them forward and one impaled Tina and Jason Jones charged the centaurs with a toothy grin.

Jason observed, as he closed on the closest centaur, that the centaurs did not share the weak points which he was accustomed to in his, hitherto human, opponents. Seeking to exploit similarities, Jason ducked under the centaur's spear as it jabbed towards him and bounced up with a fist aimed for the centaur's face. It recoiled with a shout of pain as Jason broke its nose, covering his arm with slightly oily red blood. The attack was designed to do psychological, not physical, damage; and while this succeeded, the centaur was not deterred in its attack, and Jason was forced to retreat in an undignified manner as the spear came down for another blow.

Taking a breath, Jason looked at what the rest of his class was doing. About half of the class was staying away from the fighting; worthless. Some were attacking, but Fred was bleeding in several places, and another boy, who Jason didn't recall the name of, was down on the floor; still breathing, but not fighting. The instructor was fighting well, but the centaur he was fighting seemed to be holding its own. Then Jason jumped to the side as the centaur he'd punched resumed the attack and there was no more time to watch the others.

Jason ducked and dodged as the centaur with the long spear harried him, watching its movements, repressing his bloodlust. Then he saw an opening, and with a shout he again smashed his fist against the centaur's nose; and this time, as the centaur reeled in pain, he grabbed its hands, broke them, and wrested its weapon away from it. It looked at its hands, shocked, and Jason turned the spear around and thrust it into the centaur's belly.

There was surprisingly little resistance.

The centaur fell limply to the ground, and Jason yanked the gory spear loose; not without the least bit of revulsion. His bloodlust overpowered it, though; and as he turned to see the other centaurs charging him (perhaps furious at the death of their comrade, or fearing the only armed opponent in the room), Jason felt a perfect joy.

It didn't outlast his noticing the other spear-centaur dropping its weapon in favour of a rifle drawn from its back. As Jason's mind yammered why didn't it use it from the first? he thought and acted and charged, running as fast as he could toward the centaur who was even now aiming the rifle. The axe-wielding centaur, bloodied from its fight with the other students, unfurled its wings and with one beat flew directly onto Jason. Its axe, swung with deadly force, flew wide as the centaur's grip loosened. Jason's spear had punched all the way through its body. The rifle-wielder held its fire until too late; the instructor knocked its rifle away even as the centaur's fingers closed on the trigger. Fred and the other three students surrounded it.

The fight was over.

Jason took the axe, lifted it up, ran towards the centaur and buried it deep within the centaur's breast. The students gave way as it fell. "It killed Tina," Jason explained.

He heard no objections as he walked outside. Looking around, he could see no more enemies, though other people were coming to investigate the fight and the gunshot. Jason looked into the bright blue sky. A bright blue bird circled slowly overhead.

Jason Jones turned to go back inside, to wash the blood from his hands.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Thoughts from the Day

Matters that have come to mind in the course of this hot August day, but do not warrant their own post.

-

Nicholas Tar is a very versatile substance.
-It can be used in baking, cleaning, automoblies, children, etc.

-it is black, sticky, and viscous
-it is formed of a polymer with molecules known only as "solution B"
-it is the wave of the future

It is manufactured by combining 45 ml of NaClO with 5 ml of solution B and then burying it underground for 100 years with plutonium.

Then?

Then, it mutates.

-

Some thoughts on Metroid Prime 3: Corruption. So far, it's excellent. To summarize:

We slaughtered aliens, we laughed, we slaughtered aliens, we cried, we slaughtered aliens, and we used the scan visor an awful lot.

We also killed some things.

My brother believes that Samus Aran, famed interstellar bounty hunter, killer of men and machines, fires her 'power beam' through use of a little bean-ball.

To charge her weapon, she squeezes the ball.

Nothing more need be said to prove his madness.

Webcomic Update

I've spared you for a few months, but now it's time for a WEBCOMICS UPDATE!

Firstly, some notes on webcomics that I have blagged previously: Hitherby Dragons has been on hiatus for many months. It's... dead. Inverness finished this Monday. There are some post-epilogue pages going up supposedly but it's basically over. Some of the others have been odd but by default they're as awesome as they were when I linked you to them last. (Starslip Crisis is actually even cooler. It is doing neat things right now. )

Now, some new things. Things so non-Mormonic that even their excellence was not enough for me to present them to you before. (When Devin was in the same state.) Mormons, shield your eyes. For the rest, I present:

-Something Positive (it's in the link page, actually, but I don't know why)
-Fans (I'm actually reading this right now - over the last few days - it used to be subscription-restricted, but it's been finished for two-and-a-half years now)
-Demonology 101 (finished for even longer than that - I read it years ago, liked it)
-CRFH (Stopped reading a while ago but I should really resume - starts silly, gets serious)
-Perry Bible Fellowship (the name decieves)
-Goats (early stuff is VERY ODD, current stuff is pretty neat)
-Questionable Content (milder than the name might imply)
-Slumbering Lungfish/Bad Gods (this is really quite non-Mormonic - very funny, though)
-Roomies/It's Walky (by the Shortpacked guy; both started silly, got serious - only IW is really NSFW)
-Anacrusis (like Hitherby Dragons)

That's all I can think of for the moment. Stay tuned! Because I do know you love these posts so.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

SAVE THE BLAG DAY 1: What is STBW, Anyway?

You may be confused.

Well, actually, you're certainly confused. But that's not really the point.

Let me start over.

Save the Blag Day is an attempt to save our diving post total. You see, those of us committed to the blag watch the monthly post totals. The higher, the better! It shows commitment, dedication, and a number of interesting things to say.

But our post total for August was terrible. Awful! Nearly as bad as February - and we started in the middle of that! So. Something had to be done. Clearly! No choice about it. So we decided to post a bit more. How much? Enough! Enough to push us up to at least our lowest full month - May, or as it's sometimes known here, Maj.

So we did! That's why there are so many short, bizarre stories cluttering up the front page.

Have fun reading them!

I know I will.

SAVE THE BLAG DAY 1: The Aether Storm

Through the aether fields Devin's tiny ship went. Because everyone loves aether. Boiling, bubbling viscous pools of hot, thick aether coated the hull. “Critical Temperature Overload!” Announced the computer calmly. Devin knew exactly what to do in this crisis. Without a hint of hesitation, he strapped on his suit. Aether now started to seep in to the walls, foaming and running sick, sticky trails over his precious cargo. His hands were steady as he prepared the brush. Disregarding his own safety, he lunged at the aether with all his might. Scrubbing until the day broke, and the night ran long. “An aether storm is dangerous when you're all alone in space.” he said smiling for the cameras. That day, he was a hero. The next, he would have been forgotten.

SAVE THE BLAG DAY 1: Utah

I don't know much about Utah. But that's no good reason not to speculate. So, those of you "in the know" - save your chatter!

Today, I tell you about Utah.

Utah is roughly 500 furlongs by 1500 furlongs, though of course it's somewhat irregular. Its main population is of Mormons - strange creatures from West Kansas. Their main pastime is bee-ball. This is a game in which they kick around bee-hives into goals to score points. Being stung by bees is not considered merely a possibility in bee-ball - it's actively hoped for! If you score when you're being attacked by bees, there is a triple-multiplier applied.

In Utah, no-one is allowed to drink hot beverages. But sometimes there are hot days! Now, if Mormons were stupid, they'd all die of dehydration on these days. But they're not! That's why they've created a sophisticated series of air-conditioned tunnels to live in through the months of June through September. If you don't see many people on the streets of Salt Lake City in July, now you know why! They're underneath your feet!

Watching.

Skirts and kilts are not recommended attire for Utah summers.

SAVE THE BLAG DAY 1: The Beast Within

Young Matthew was a normal, unassuming small child, who would run in the fields and catch the little birds and some such. But one day, one day! He caught the great white bird, and it grew into a tiger, that spake unto young matthew. “Lad! You have capture me and now you will be afflicted with a terrible curse! Muaha!” From that day on, matthew was one of “the beast” who in the dead of night come up to the the turnip patch and take them all!! Then he laugh his silly laugh! And the townsmen weep, weep for their fallen comrades, the turnips, who perished in the field, the field of battle, where brave men go to die, but will always be remembered.

SAVE THE BLAG DAY 1: But What Of The Children?

His finger is poised on the button. Moments, instants of choice, stand before him and utter ruination. But he pauses. He pauses!

"What do you mean?" he asks me. I answer him, watching for his finger to move - it does not. "You know full well what I mean. You say they are a terror. A threat that cannot be abided. Every last one of them must be destroyed."

"You know it!" he answers me angrily. "We've all been using it for years. But they've finally done what the engineers and the lawyers said couldn't be done. They removed the limiters. And now every last one of them is just a cloud of - replicators. Machines. They aren't human anymore."

He continues his rant. His finger is still there. "Are you another one who thinks that they're above humanity? Better than us, somehow, because they destroyed themselves? They're dead! Every last one of them! All that's left are monstrosities - that must be destroyed, before they spread."

"But don't they think? Don't they dream?" I ask him.

He is unfazed. "Machines think. Computers think. That doesn't stop me from reformatting when they get a virus. And these - things - are a virus."

I look at him sadly. "But what of the children?"

His finger is just above the button.

SAVE THE BLAG DAY 1: Ja'va

Ja'va, unrelated to Java, the programming language, is a beast, in the swamp. Nikolas relayed part of the story to before, but now here are the plain facts, bare and clear. It all started in the pit of the three trials, which Nikolas so boldly completed in May of last year. He first discovered Ja'va in a cave, where some runes had been scattered referencing it. He mistakenly assumed that it was the work of the Ja'va people, but in actuality it was a very cleverly disguised trap. As Nikolas wandered the cave, he accidentally disturbed some stone fragments, setting in motion a chain of events that would eventually lead to the release of Ja'va, the beast who had been sealed away so many years ago. Taking refuge in a swamp, he terrorised the people of the Ratte-Kingdom for many years. That is, until Nikolas put an end to it once and for all...

SAVE THE BLAG DAY 1: The Hunter

The Space Pirates fear her. The Hunter, they term her - a dealer of death in the armor of a race long dead. She has cast their best works down to ruin and ash. At Zebes, SR-388, Tallon IV and Aether and a dozen more worlds, they have met defeat at her hands.

They are a race of their own. Their name, given to them by a Federation that hates them, is a misnomer. No mere privateers, no mere corsairs - they are an interstellar power, a force that the star-spanning Federation fears. They are not villains by choice, but by birth.

And Samus Aran, orphan, Hunter, avatar of doom, chosen of the Federation, is killing them. All of them. A genocidal campaign; murder of a hundred thousand to avenge the death of two.

They say that there are more now; more Hunters. Warriors clad in metal, in ice, in the flesh of others. All seeking glory and wealth in the pursuit of the Federation's goals.

The Space Pirates fear Samus Aran above all others.

They are right to.

SAVE THE BLAG DAY 1: On Computer Class

Java is a strange thing. It claims to be a “language” and it is for the computer, and its entirely bizarre syntax, especially to people new to programming (as I imagine most of the class is) can be very confusing. Yet in the two days that we have been in the class, we have done some very strange things. Many problems arise from my having a Mac, largely incompatible with the standard PC curriculum. In fact, I had to look around and play with it for quite some time before I made any actual progress. Another aspect of the class is the people in it. Particularly the womons. Anyway, it has been quite an exciting adventure. There's nothing quite like the feeling of getting a program to finally run like you want it.

SAVE THE BLAG DAY 1: The Fish-Pump

Nikolas was a silly little poor man in the seaside village, where he fished and farmed and skinned trout for a living. One day, he died, and the fish came up to the surface, took his body and burned it underwater, then they took his bones and decorated their throne rooms with them. It made good chairs. Very comfortable. Suddenly, an uprising within the fish kingdom threatened to throw the fish world into chaos. Then a man named Kelsey took out a fish-pump, and sucked the fish in to separate pools, so the dissenters withered and died. Everyone was happy.

SAVE THE BLAG DAY 1: Cavalry

The Allies are hard pressed. The Germans, based across the river, have been pushing hard. All the centre strip is under their control, and the Allies are losing ground constantly.

Alex is in charge of holding the bridge until reinforcements arrive. He's supported by a full squad of riflemen, a 30-cal fixed machine gun, and an anti-tank gun. Right now, as two Stug-42 tanks in, he wishes he had more men. As he sees the infantry following the Axis tanks, he redoubles his prayer.

Bullets fly through the air with a tremendous whizzing sound. Alex shouts "Give me some suppressing fire on those infantry!" but no sooner does he shout but that the Stugs blow the 30-cal men into messy gore and the infantry are dying and Joe and Farnsworth and Less are dead and the anti-tank gun is firing but the Stug shugs off the shot and the Kraut's are right on top of them -

And with a tremendous roar, explosions burst in the German ranks like firecrackers. Rockets fly in from above, dealing horrific death. A few of the infantry survive, fleeing to the other side of the bridge; the Stugs do not. The men cheer. Behind them, the rocket-launcher equipped Calliope tanks roll in. The cavalry has arrived.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Jason Jones About Town

"Jason Jeremiah Jones, I am going to give you a whipping like you won't believe!" Jason leaned back under the onslaught of abuse as his mother continued, berating him for faults real and percieved. "Clod! Daredevil! Fool! First you disrespect your poor, hardworking mother, then you sully her good name with reckless adventures?"

Jason would take her less seriously if she was not bearing down on him with a knife. As it was, he presented no defense and backed slowly away. When she lunged, he ducked and ran for it. Mr. Jones, emerging from the kitchen, winked at fleeing Jason. A hallway away, Jason heard his father say, "Now, Ethel, were are you going? I do believe it's your turn to do the dishes..."

Saved for a time, Jason took a moment to catch his breath. His leg hurt, but he could ignore it. Limping slightly, Jason walked to his room.

It had been looted. Everything remotely valuable, all his prized collectables and posters and even his bedspread - gone. Junk was scattered across the floor.

Jason was aghast. Then, as he realized who had done this, he was furious. He turned and walked across the hallway. His sister turned as he entered. "Hey! You're supposed to knock!"

Jason stared at her.

"What? You are! You know that!"

Jason stared more pointedly at her.

"...is it about the stuff? Mom said you were gone forever, and no-one seemed to mind..."

After a moment more, she began to halfheartedly move Jason's belongings back to his room. Jason stayed with her for a while, helping with some things that he thought she was too small or too careless to move, and then headed outside. He had some friends to visit.

On the way to the front door, Mr. Green greeted him. "You're back. I'm glad - really I am. I was very worried about you."

Jason looked down, feeling awkward. He tried to find a path around his father-in-law. Mr. Green moved to block him.

"Look, I just wanted to say... I know I'm not your biological father, but I do what I can. And I really do think of you as my son, in the ways that count. Once I heard what your mother had done, I wasn't happy. I did what I could. You can talk to me."

Jason fled.

-

The first friend he tried to visit wasn't home. His mother answered the door. "Oh, Jason! Fred's out at Richie's place. There's a party or a get-together or something - Fred told me about two minutes before he was out the door, so I'm not really sure."

Jason found that she was quite right, ten minutes later. Most of the people there were known to Jason, from school or elsewhere, though he didn't know some of the girls. He hung out with them, telling tall tales of his absence (as opposed to the real, bloody, illegal ones) and drinking large amounts of soda. Then Fred walked up to him. "Yo, Jase!" They high-fived, and Fred continued: "Jase, you still taking martial arts?"

Jason nodded. "Yes..."

Fred looked at his watch. "Well, I hate to take you from the party, but the lesson starts in five minutes."

-

Twenty-five minutes later, Jason faced his third sparring partner of the day. Sensei moved through the room, correcting stance and techinque, but he'd been especially harsh on Jason. Just now, for instance, he shouted at Jason, "Mr. Jones! Left knee! Too low!" Despite the pain it caused his thigh, Jason pulled his knee up. He knew his opponent - pretty good, but not as good as Jason. If he thought Jason's wound was going to slow him down, he had another thought coming. Jason readied himself for the sensei's signal.

He spun about as the front doors crashed open. Through them, he could see what looked phenomenally like a centaur holding a very large spear.

Jason decided to postpone the bout for the moment.

Catch-22

To preface: I have an in-class essay in English tomorrow.

Catch-22 is disjointed in plot. The story skips from time to time nonlinearly - sometimes even within chapters. The most reliable way to gauge time, within the story, is to track the ever-increasing demands placed on the characters as a sort of insane clock. And perhaps that's part of the point. Because the author thinks that war is insane.

There's little overt madness. Even hospital scenes tend to be subdued; lying in bed, waiting, watching the IV feeds trickle into paralyzed patients. (Though there are exceptions to this.) Instead, the madness is inherent in the situation. The characters of the novel are soldiers, thrust into a war of scope that they cannot really comprehend - and it shows. Their officers are incompetents, battling and bickering for control of their units. The soldiers themselves are caught within a web of contradictions created by the bureacracy for the purpose of immobilizing them. Catch-22: As soon as the pilots fly the required number of missions, they'll be allowed to go home; but as soon as they fly as many missions as are required, the requirement is increased. Catch-22: Major Major Major Major (title, first name, middle name, last name) will allow you to meet him in his office - as long as he's not in his office at the time. Catch-22: You can be sent home if you're insane - but anyone who wants to be sent home is clearly sane. Catch-22 means whatever those controlling it want it to mean - those few outside the control of the mechanism, such as the mail clerk who redirects or censors mail at whim, or the MP who don't care.

And the soldiers obey.

There was going to be some talk of 100 Years of Solitude and maybe Wuthering Heights, but I'm not quite certain what I would say. Maybe later.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Recent Events

There are three things of note that have happened, or will happen, within a day of this day. One happened a day ago; one will happen a day from now; and one yet unfolds. I will speak of each, in turn.

Yesterday, we did go to see the movie Stardust. It was good; though it was hard to avoid criticizing it for the differences between it and the novel upon which it was based. Also, we pointed and laughed a lot. (Unintentional humour.) But it was enjoyable, and David says that it's a "good date movie" (he brought Kelsey), so hey, go watch it.

Tomorrow, we shall go to the School. Shall I go; and shall Kelsey go; and David; and even Ethan, sibling of mine, most hairy and funny of creatures. Even he shall go, and see the schooling-place, and there be schooled. In the senior year, all schedules are strange, and alien, and there are many 'holes'; but that is as expected.

And today - or tonight, I should say, considering the hour of my writing - the Gods war in thei lofty heavens. Yea, do they tremble, as Cthulu battles Zeus battles Odin battles Ra for dominance.

The Enterprise is right out.

Post-Script: Be on the lookout for falling God-chunks.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

The Kronnikles of Desmond, at the Kessler Manor

Yea, there wasse a tyme where in whiche the greate peouples of the league of dessemonde cayme and gatherede atte the greate house of the Kessler, and they didde play manie gammes and acktivyes and they didde encountere at leaste two womones and they didde attempte to moleste the Ratte-Kingge's brouthere, and they werre sucksessfulle, and they he wausse traumatisede, and it wause goode. And the Ratte-Pryunce didde use his grippe of deathe, and drayne the lyfe-fource fromme manie peopels thatte werre presente, and he didde cackele menacinglie, and it wausse goude. And then the Ratte-Kyngge interevenede and he decklared that it wausse tyme to retire to the drawing roome, and he lefte in a hastie. And it wausse goode.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Jason Jones and his korean seed

Now we know the tale of Jason's wayward daughter. But what of his other young one, the good lad? Well, young Ross managed to make it all the way to the city of Incheon, Korea. Again adopted by a local family and growing up an otherwise normal life, he never knew he was an outsider, as he carried his young mother's Asian looks, through the laws of inheritance. And so Ross, the great one, who learned English at the academies, and who loved it, was a superb young man.

to be continued...

Jason Jones and his weird children

And so Jason Jones went back on the train, with children in tow, and rode the rails once again, back to California. When he had disembarked at the train station at the school, his young daughter, Evelyn, escaped his clutched as he was tending to the other child, and ran off into the hectic crowds of the city, where she was eventually found and adopted by a local family. Jason, having no choice but to turn back, with his son firmly in his charge. The train grinded its way through all its stops, until it arrived in Iowa, where Jason awoke from his slumber, only to find that his other child had now also vanished, to who knows where. Feeling terrible at the loss of his entire family, he swore off adventuring for good and focused intently in his academic pursuits, showing the most remarkable progress in the entire school.

Now the young Evelyn, seventeen years later in the school where Jason had lost her, had grown into a really hot womon. One day, in the class of the chemistry, a young man Nicholas, who was very smooth with the ladies, had decided to go after her. And knowing that she was indeed very hot, all the young men did stare at her body, and it did make her uncomfortable, and Nicholas, being sensitive to her distress, called upon a great tidal wave to wash the scalawags into the ocean. And Evelyn, grateful to the Nicholas, did cohabit with him, but they bore no children, and on the day, Nicholas died suddenly. It was a very sad day for the populace.

And on this day, a young man named Kelsey did become aware of this great distress, and calmed and soothed the panic of the school, as it was his way, and the young girl, he did soothe to a great deal, and he was smooth to her, and to him she, and in gratitude, she did cohabit with him, but they bore no children, and on the day, Kelsey died suddenly. It was a very sad day for the populace.

Thus it followed, that the men who had stared at her, were repentant to a great extent, and a young man Matthew, who was older and wiser than the other two, did see their repentance, and he, being a man of the church and pious and good, did use his knowledge to construct a great net, and he used it to rescue the surfers, and he did reunite them with their peers, and Evelyn, seeing this, and knowing him to be a good man, she did cohabit with him, but they bore no children, and on the day, Matthew died suddenly. It was a very sad day for the populace.

And the girl, seeing the devastation that comes with playing it hard and fast with her life, swore to be chaste and pure, and she did so, until her wedding day.

Jason Jones in the Grand Adventure

Whatever happened to Jason Jones after that fateful adventure? Well, one day, after watching a television broadcast on California and the massively hot womons there, he decided to try his luck in the great West. So he hopped on a train and rode the rails, stop after stop all the way to the lovely city of San Francisco. One day, while he was out stealing crabs from the wharf, he was caught by surprise in a dark and mouldy alleyway by a mysterious stranger. His usual fighting techniques were useless here, as he was stunned and incapacitated by the chloroform the stranger happened to have with him. His unconscious body was dragged quite a distance, and when he woke up, he had absolutely no idea where he was. Surrounded by darkness, he felt around and ascertained that he was in a small room, and he felt a space heater and a length of rope lying on the ground. Thinking quickly, he tied the rope to the space heater and swung madly at the walls, trying to locate weak points. At last, one of the walls crumbled, as a result of years of rust and rain eroding its supports. Jason was at last free. But the problem remained of orientating himself. After a small round of investigating, he determined that he had been kept in the arboretum of the Westmont High School all along! He was finally in the place where he wanted to be, surrounded everywhere by hot womons of all kinds. Three whirlwind months of romance later, he so enchanted a young lass that she agreed, perhaps under the influence of alcohols, to accompany Jason back to Iowa, where he would make a proud father. He intercoursed with her on the train back, and, soon enough, she bore him twins. Yes, they were indeed the pinnacle of hotness, and beautaceous in form, mind, spirit, and countenance. But the birth had taken everything out of the young lass. Jason's hot womon passed away mere hours after. But Jason never despaired. He would return to her hometown, to remember he always, and raise the children as she would have wanted.

Beard versus Hair

The time for the epic battle has begun. On one side of the ring - Nikolaus's Beard. Magnificent, lustrous, dark and firm - a beard from which legends are born. It stands tall atop the concrete floor at one-and-a-half ounces, ready for anything. On the other side - Ethan's Hair. Longer than imagining, a dozen, two dozen, a hundred strands of hair swirl about in a ceaseless flurry of activity. From the brown hue of the eight-ounce mass, a rich tapestry of fate could well be woven.

Today, the fate of the world will be decided.

The bell rings! It has begun. Nikolaus's Beard is frozen in place while Ethan's Hair charges - then, as the Hair reaches out with a single strand to rip and tear, the Beard forms a deadly sharp wedge. The Hair pulls back a stump.

Now they are more cautious. The Hair circles around the Beard, sending ever more strands whipping in at the Beard. Many are severed, but those which succeed in grasping the flat of the Beard's wedge (constantly reforming in response to new attacks) tear off chunks of precious Beard. The Hair swirls ever closer, accelerating as it goes - then the Beard leaps! Abandoning the wedge for a brief moment, it latches onto the core of the Hair and pulls. A great chunk of hair comes loose as the Hair recoils in surprise.

Now the Hair keeps its distance, wary for a repeat of the deadly attack. Its swirling tendril-attacks continue, but at reduced speed. The Beard is unconcerned with the few chunks it is now losing. With the Hair losing nine tendrils for every chunk of Beard ripped, the Hair will run out of hair long before the Beard. And both of them know it.

The Hair continues its suicidal attacks, launching ever more vigorous strikes from every direction. The Beard responds with equal skill and even greater speed, seeming to have an edge in every direction at once. Then, in a flashing moment, the Hair launches a dozen tendrils at once at the Beard. Two are immediately severed, but the rest grasp the Beard and tug, launching it skyward. The Beard soars for a moment, then plummets, landing stunned on the floor. The Hair seizes the opportunity, moving over the Beard and tearing viciously at its stunned opponent.

It is then, in the Beard's darkest hour, that it invokes its last resort - Nikolaus's Sideburns. They materialize above and to each side of the Beard, holding the Hair back just long enough for the Beard to recover. The Hair, shocked, is now on the retreat. The Beard attacks aggressively, shielded by its protective Sideburns. Either alone is fragile - the Sideburns are large but thin, and the Beard is much diminished from the Hair's attacks - but the Beard cuts at any strands trying to attack the Sideburns, and the Sideburns block any attack directed at the Beard. The scales have shifted dramatically.

The Hair is on the ropes. Cornered, it is easy prey for the Beard's swiping, cutting blows. It will fall within moments if it does not think of something. Then - as the Beard draws back for a vicious upperslice - the Hair strikes, coalescing its remaining tendrils into two large pigtails and smashing the Sideburns into shavings. The Beard tries to defend itself, but it is too late. Reaching down, the Hair grabs the Beard and tears it in two.

Victory for Ethan's Hair! (And may the FSM save us all.)

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Jason Jones: A Background

Jason Jones was the second-born in his family. His older brother and two younger siblings were both born to Mr. Green, Jason's father-in-law. Jason's mother, Mrs. Green, was first married to Mr. Green, about five years before Jason was born. They divorced over a cutlery dispute (Mr. Green objected to knives being lodged in his face), and Mrs. Green married Mr. Jones, Jason's father, six months later. The relationship lasted no longer than Mrs. Green's pregnancy; just two days after Jason's delivery, Mr. Jones began divorce procedures, for health reasons. (Mrs. Green had broken his arm in a dispute over the television remote.) After Mr. Jones left, Mr. Green moved back in, to help take care of the children. Somehow, over the fourteen years since then, Mrs. Green managed to have two more children, and so Mr. Green is likely to stay for a bit longer than originally seemed likely.

Jason Jeremiah Jones grew up with three parents. Mr. Green taught him a - well, not a love, but a healthy respect for learning, showing young Jason how to do the maths and write school essays. Mr. Jones gave him pride in his body; Jason Jones entirely credits his strength and self-reliance on his natural father.

And his mother, Mrs. Green? Mrs. Green - not intentionally, but through every screaming row and violent rage she had in Jason's presence - showed Jason Jones the joy and thrill of combat. The exhilaration, the power in seeking to impress his will upon others - either with reason, or with violence. It is fair to say that without the balancing influence of the males in Jason's life - his two fathers, his martial arts instructor, and his older brother - Jason would have become a bully and a minor tyrant.

When Mr. Green took the family on a trip to Canada, it was Mrs. Green who stranded Jason in Quebec. Jason had been "sassing her", she later justified to her husband. Mr. Green was worried, but declined to take action after repeated assurances that "If Jason was in trouble, he'd call us; and as he hasn't, he must be fine." The delivery of these assurances may have enhanced their impact, as Mrs. Green held a rather large knife at the time.

-

Fact: Jason was barred from the school football team after he punched a member of the team in the solar plexus.

He never really liked being tackled.

Greedy Badgers, Greedy Men

A man went walking down the road. Along the road, a fricassee loped toward him.

"Why, hello there, little fricassee," the man greeted the meat. "Why are you here today, loping along the road, instead of being on a plate, being eaten?"

The fricassee looked down woefully. "A very bad thing has happened. I was on a plate, about to be eaten. Then a badger came into the village and farted everyone to death! He took everything there except me. I do not want to be eaten by a dirty farting badger!"

The man looked appropriately sympathetic. He suggested, "Why, little fricassee, why don't I eat you?" Then he did.

Then the man thought. If this badger had taken everything in the village, he must now have much treasure. If the man took this treasure, he could attract many pretty girls. He set out at once.

Soon, he got to the badger's cave. The badger was away, so the man crawled in. Inside, he found much treasure. There were finely crafted knives, piles of delicate beads, valuable spices (mint, pepper, and tarrgon), and many other good and useful things. The man grabbed them all up, putting them in a sack he carried over his shoulder.

Then he heard a noise: "You there! Why are you taking my treasure?" It was the badger! He had returned, and he was very angry at the man.

The man replied honestly: "I am taking your treasure because I want it, and because I think you are nasty and smelly." This made the badger upset! He turned and farted at the man. It nearly killed him! Luckily, he thought quickly enough to grab some pepper and crush it under his nose. Then he couldn't smell anything!

The badger was very surprised. "I have farted my smelliest fart at you. Why are you not dead?" he asked. He just stood there! So the man took his knives and killed and skinned the badger. Then he took him back to the man's village, through a magic way.

At the man's village, there were many pretty girls. They were impressed with the man's treasure, and they were pleased when he placed the badger on the campfire. But they would not let him kiss them. "You are stinky, and smell like badger fart!" they told him.

The man was very sad.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Jason Jones in Iowa

Jason pulled into the parking lot, breathing heavily. Blood had soaked his latest bullet wound during the two-hour escape. Jason had never caught sight of his pursuers during the chase. He wasn't quite certain why he'd fled; he might have been able to take the militia reinforcements by surprise, and kill them as he had the others. But his wound was already slowing him, and in any case, once he'd started fleeing, he certainly wasn't going to stop. Occasionally he'd fired a gun blindly behind him, in the hopes that it would drive off the militia. After a long, tiring drive along back roads and through tiny backcountry towns, it finally had. It had been a half-hour since he last heard the sound of the militia's Jeep. Now he'd found the place he'd been looking for: a gun shop.

Jason pushed open the door, limping slightly. He'd learned his lesson after his last batch of stolen guns. The proprietor looked at him quizzically as Jason brought a bag of guns to the counter, but asked no questions. Jason limped back into the Jeep with over $4000 from the transaction; he might have been able to get more from a gun shop that wasn't... well... a hole in the wall, but he really didn't want to draw attention to himself after the events of that morning.

Shortly after noon, Jason arrived at a nearby doctor's clinic. His wounds had gotten worse. The doctor took his time about showing up, and when he did invite Jason in, demanded pretty nearly the entire stack of cash Jason had gotten from the arms sale. Jason didn't have much of a choice. When he emerged, his leg was covered in bandages, and he had a sort of restrictive cast across his middle torso.

The police were waiting outside. They had guns, and they were pointed straight at Jason. One of them bellowed, "Put up your hands and come quietly." Jason, injured as he was, still considered fighting. His blood began to pound. Then a weakness came upon him. He staggered; nearly fell.

It turned out that they only wanted to question him. Where had he gotten those wounds? Where did the weapons come from? They hadn't connected him to the violence up north. Jason pled the Fifth, entirely terrified by his position. He was only fourteen years old.

They drove him to his house, after Jason told them where it was. He stepped out of the back of the police car, tired and hungry, in front of his house. It was just as he'd left it, five days ago; a nice farmhouse, decorated with wooden birds of a thousand hues, out on the Iowa plains.

His mother was waiting for him on the front porch. She said nothing to him until he'd entered the house; then, out of earshot of the police, she yelled, "Less then a week from Quebec to Des Moines? Next time, we're sending you to Manchuria!"

End Arc One.

A List of Mac Browsers

In alphabetical order!
Camino is what you get when you decide to combine the Gecko rendering engine (the thing that's used to make Firefox load pages) with Apple's Human Interface Guidelines (the rules which, when followed, make Mac programs simple to use). The result is a browser with fast boot-up and loading times, which is plenty compatible with mostly any website. Unlike Firefox, it doesn't support extensions, but it can be themed to an extent using Caminicon, and extended to an extent with stuff from Pimp My Camino. Since the rendering engine is Gecko, it doesn't support cool Cocoa stuff like pop-up word definitions and smooth scrolling.

Firefox is considered to be the definitive alternative to Internet Explorer on Windows, and is usually the default browser on Linux. Using Mozilla's Gecko, it's plenty compatible with most websites, and speedy to boot. Its interface is fancy, with plenty of hovering effects, but as a cross-platform application, it falls short in terms of usability compared to browsers designed for the Mac. It can be themed to Iceland and back, and with a huge library of extensions, it has more potential features than your operating system. It was developed to be cross-platform, so it's not as optimized for the operating system than other browsers; for example, you can't use the spacebar to select items on contextual menus. If you don't care about such insignificant things, though, have fun with the best implementation of tabs on a browser.

Flock bills itself as "the social browser". Based on Firefox, it's essentially themed and extended to integrate perfectly with the popular social sites. Its interface looks convoluted at first, if you're within the browser's target audience, you'll love it. It has a built-in blogging tool and plenty of media feeds, RSS and otherwise. You can click a button to bring up a bar of the most popular videos on YouTube or the most interesting pictures from flickr. You can easily bookmark pages and check if they're bookmarked, and it has a "Web Clipboard" designed for temporary bookmarking of pages and resources (e.g. for blogging). It has a built-in photo uploader. In its essence, it's designed to save you clicks in popular online communities. Unfortunately, being based on Firefox, it lacks a number of cool things a native Mac app would have—it's cross-platform—but if you frequent the places on the Internet where people aren't geeks, you'll find Flock indispensable.

The next time you start a research project, do yourself a favor and open up Googalyzer. It's insanely simple, and it's set up to make gathering resources and using them a breeze. It has a resizable rich text editor on the bottom, complete with bibliography and outline tools. It also makes the main Google search much cooler with realtime search results and suggestions. Using WebKit (Apple's equivalent of Gecko, based on KHTML), it supports smooth scrolling and pop-up definitions and any third-party Cocoa addons.

iCab has been around since Mac OS 7. It's also the only graphical browser currently maintained for it. It's got some unique features, but overall it's hindered by this backward-compatibility; it's only really useful on OS X if you're used to it elsewhere.

Internet Explorer for Mac was rad back in the day, when it was the only browser around and it came with OSX and it was using all the relevant technologies, but it's not really worth using now because its rendering engine and interface hasn't been updated in ages.

Opera is loaded with crazy features, many of which are unseen in other browsers. Unfortunately, its convoluted interface means that you won't be able to find them without looking really hard. It uses a proprietary, standards-compliant rendering engine, which allows for intelligent page scaling and some weird feature I don't understand that involves the spacebar.

There are two Safaris available if you have Tiger: the Safari 2 that came with your Mac, and Safari 3 Beta, an inferior version of what will ship with Leopard. I'll refer to both in the singular just because I can. Being an Apple product, it features a simple user interface complete with some unique features, while omitting some that many would consider to be mandatory. The beta version features a fully standards-compliant rendering engine as well as drag-and-droppable tabs and the best "find on page" implemntation in a browser. Similar to Camino, it can be somewhat extended and themed using Pimp My Safari and Safaricon, respectively.

Shiira, like Safari, comes in two versions: the old, functioning one, and the shiny new, buggy one. It has a number of crazy features which can only be explained by its Japanese origins. Notable ones are Tab Exposé, the beta-exclusive PageDock (basically, thumbnail tabs), and bookmark sharing (where it doesn't create a bookmark file of its own, but instead uses Safari's or Firefox's).
WebKit was pretty much Safari Beta, until the real Safari 3 Beta arrived. Now it's not quite as useful, but once significant progress is made, it'll be worth downloading again for regular use. Meanwhile, it's worth downloading if you like the idea of helping to improve Safari by sending in bug reports, or if you don't want to overwrite the current Safari with Safari 3 (to have both on the same computer requires a bit of hackery).

Monday, August 20, 2007

Nicholas the Trickster

This is "fanfiction" of a certain book we were reading at Nicholas House, and this was his idea.

Nicholas was wandering in the forest one day when he noticed two girls in there, frolicking without their deer-pelts or moccasins, and he saw that they were beautiful, and he desired to copulate with them. So Nicholas changed his shape into a rat, and he climbed among the vined that lined the forest floor, until he was close enough to the women, who were indeed naked, and beautiful, and he waited until they were close to the ground, and then he entered one of them. And then after he had had his pleasure, Nicholas withdrew from the young girl, and when he saw that the other one had run away, and he wished to cohabit with her as well, he went to her in the magic way, and he turned his penis into a reed, and threw it at the girl, and she sat upon it, and he entered her, and he sprayed his solution in her body, and then he rolled up his member and put it into his satchel.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Jason Jones and the Problems with Woods

Jason stumbled into the diner with a very empty stomach. He'd been out in the woods for two days, walking south across the border with a bullet wound in his side. He'd eaten nothing but berries, and drank only on the second day, when he found a stream flowing south. Jason had come fairly close to death; and though he didn't know it, he did know that he was quite hungry.

The Canadian money he'd stolen was worthless here, but luck was with Jason; even after three days, his credit card still hadn't been frozen. Jason ate two and a half burgers, luxuriating over the food, then got up to leave. He was promptly knocked back down again as a woman flew through the window and knocked him to the ground.

Through the now-broken glass, Jason could hear a rough voice shouting: "Is that all? Good. Now, we are the law here, no matter what the stinkin' guv'ment has to say about that, and today's tax day. Start paying up, or things start getting bloody!"

Cautiously, Jason peered over the windowsill, cutting his knee in the process. (Broken glass was strewn across the floor.) He saw four men in a Jeep; all heavily armed, with pistols, assault rifles, and some very large hunting knives. The man in the passenger seat was doing the talking; he was grizzled and unshaven. All of them wore camoflauge; probably army surplus. Jason was quite certain, from appearances alone, that they were back-country militia - apparently, running a protection scam of some sort on the town. And, from the stacks being handed over to them, they weren't doing too badly with it.

Jason was angry. He knew injustice when he saw it; and, after defeating seven terrorists in Canada, he was very confident of his skills. (The time starving in the northern woods hadn't done anything for his mood, either.) When a militiaman got out of the jeep and started walking towards the diner, Jason readied to fight. His heart beat loudly. The militiaman walked in the door, assault rifle across his back, pistol pointing toward the floor - clearly not expecting trouble from the cowed proprietor - and Jason knocked him to the ground with a quick one-two combo, grabbing the pistol from the floor and smashing it into the bandit's head as he attempted to rise.

Blood began to trickle, and the militiaman lay very still as Jason quickly disarmed him. Luckily, none of the militia were looking towards the diner when Jason attacked; but within moments, one of them noticed their comrade's absence and raised the alarm, shouting "Someone's killed Greg!" Instantly, their assault rifles came out, and they began looking for enemies. One of them, feeling cautious, unleashed a short burst of gunfire low across the facade of the diner; leading Jason to curse his choice of cover, just beside the door, as a bullet pierced his lower thigh. Hearing no reaction, the militiamen charged in, each turning towards Jason; not reacting quickly enough to fire before he opened up with his stolen rifle. One of them died, shot in the lungs. The other, wounded in the arm, managed to throw himself back outside. Jason followed, shouting triumphantly, filled with adrenaline. The militiaman who'd done the talking, still on the Jeep, was talking on a hand-held radio; the other didn't expect Jason to follow. Both of them dropped as Jason perforated their torsoes.

Jason was injured, but his adrenaline rush allowed him to ignore the pain for the moment. He posed a moment, triumphant, then walked over to the Jeep. He tested the engine, drove a few paces; a different feel than the van and car he'd driven, but still usable. He got out, about to loot the bodies before he left town (for he thought the police might frown on his activities); then the sound of an engine froze him in place. The militia leader had been on the radio - probably with other militiamen! It'd be a pretty poor militant group that only had four members, after all. Jason threw himself back into the driver's seat and gunned the engine, shooting off and caroming off a light-post as he went. He was bleeding in several places, pursued by angry militia, and just a bit thirsty, but the fight left him feeling good.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Kelsey-Blagging

A new age is upon us! On the treacherous "Mailing-Liste", on which many false and deceptive missives, you may have heard words of "Kelsey-Blogs" in the past. Some were real. Some were not. All were inferior... to the all-new, all-extreme KELSEY-BLAG 9.03!

The cast!

The terrifying Nikolas!



The vespene David!


And the pythoric, magnificent Kelssler!


THIS IS THE KELSEY BLAG 9.03! Defy it at your peril!


(It's a bit quiet, so you might want to turn up your speakers.)

Friday, August 17, 2007

A Time Reclining

Lo, did the David, and the Kessler, and the Nikolausse, and the Nikolausse-Brother, and the Nikolaus-brother-wife go to the Nikolausse-Castle. And the Wife and the Brother did go to bed together. And the Kessler and the Nikolausse did go to another room, and they did create great Art. And the Nikolausse did draw a Kessler, and a David; and the David did draw a Nikolausse; and the Kessler did draw a David. And it wasse good.

But then - tragedy struck! David was ambushed, from behind; stuck with deadly Jew-Stars. Kessler vowed revenge, and struck out to find the murderer.


Kessler wandered far and wide, seeking the vile foeman. Even did he venture through the reaches of hyper-space, so far was his quarry.


At last, Kessler found the murderer. Battle began! Kessler launched a vicious attack in his space-fighter, firing space-bullets and space-missiles at David's murderer.



With beams of solid steel, David was revenged at last. And it wasse goode.

Sketches

Some attempts at illustrating Morliek.


Morliek fortress, pre- and post-Ing invasion.

An adorable Ing.



I've been illustrating this with ArtRage, which Kelsey recommended to me - it's pretty fun. I may end up illustrating more things, though they're more likely to be included with the post in future. Comments appreciated, as always.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

The Tale of the Chariots

Once, long ago, in this very land, there was a world that was dark, and evil, and filled of terror and dreadful inconvenience. Whenever a youth of the League of Desmond required rapid and reliable transit to any location, he would have few options. To walk was gruesomely tiring and slow! Bicycle? It reduced the pains of walking only minimally. Other options were few and far between! However one day that all quickly changed. The very gods themselves, in heaven, constructed two magnificent chariots, of incomparable speed and skill. Formed from holy water and the blood of saints, bones of martyrs, the flesh of demons, and wings of angels, they were, without a doubt, extremely special for the League.

Young Matthew, being the oldest in the League, was first to receive his chariot, a magnificent machine. White and dazzling as an angel's halo! Faster than god on rampage! And inside? Technologies that couldn't be imagined for decades to come! The gods did bestow this magnificent thing upon pious and worthy Matthew, for they knew that his gift would be a blessing to the entire league. Matthew now was the great ferryman for the League, transporting massive numbers of people thousands of miles at a time. He was truly an inspiration to men.

But what about the good Nicholas? Surely he also deserved a great and terrible beast such as Matthew's. Yes, the gods were busy designing Nicholas's chariot! This one was insectoid in design, red as the sun on Mars, small and light and manoeuvrable, and on the inside it was cavernous and spacious to the absurd degree! No man could have imagined a citadel of such proportions there! There was enough room inside for at least 100 men! Nicholas, of course was delighted at his chariot, enough so to even embark in certain illicit activities.

Now that the chariots had been forged and distributed, the League entered into the Golden Age, and prospered in peace for several centuries.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Gargamel

Little Matthew had never been quite so terrified in his life. In the grainfield before him, Nicholas, the giant squid, had just descended from the outer limits. Of space. Without warning, he proclaimed, "I am Gargamel! And you have my cummerbunds. No seriously, I have a party tonight and I really need it. Come on, man, it's not funny." Matthew, having stolen the cummerbunds on his voyages throughout the space... sea... was not about to return them now, after having come all this way! So the Nicholas took his arms out and slapped the young man. And now he had his cummerbuds.

Jason Jones in: Borderline

Jason Jones was feeling comfortably full as he drove south towards the border in the evening twilight. He'd just stopped at a cheap diner, and was now was feeling sleepy and satiated as he neared the border. He'd seen signs for hotels ahead, so he planned to check into one for the night, and deal with his lack of a passport (and cargo of illegal arms) in the morning.

So when his tires popped with a series of sharp cracks and sent Jason skidding across a lane of traffic and off the road entirely, Jason was caught entirely by surprise. As Jason hurriedly unstrapped himself and made to exit (two crashes in one day! he lamented to himself), a flash in the night darkness unleashed another set of cracks on the car's door and engine. Jason cursed, realizing that he was under attack, and dove out the passenger-side door. He'd made it no more than thirty feet before an unfriendly face greeted him. The man, head covered in a black ski mask, held an pistol in his hands, leveled directly at Jason Jones.

Jason Jones jumped towards the terrorist, who sidestepped while firing three shots; one of which hit Jason squarely in the side. Jason lay on the ground, momentarily incapacitated by the pain of the landing and the gunshot wound. The terrorist stood over him and seemed about to fire when a thought came on him; quickly, he asked, "Où sont les pistolets?"

Jason looked at him; terrified by the thought of his imminent death, but still retaining enough control to ask calmly, "What?"

The terrorist repeated, "Where are the guns?"

Then the van, hit by a stray shot and slowly smoldering for the entire conversation, burst into flame; shortly followed by a second, much larger explosion, as the weapons (and explosives) in the back of the car ignited. The terrorist was knocked down by the pressure and heat of the blast; Jason, already prone, took the opportunity, wresting the pistol from the man's hands and turning it on him.

Then he remembered the old man's warning. The terrorist, now unarmed, showed no willingness to continue the fight; especially with the arms destroyed and police doubtless inbound. Jason backed away slowly, training the gun on the terrorist, then whirled and ran for the border once he'd reached a safe distance. Behind him, the terrorist ran in the opposite direction. Sirens wailed in the distance. Jason was hard up for breath, with a bullet (wound) in his side.

At least now he didn't have to worry about how he'd smuggle all those guns.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Morliek

The dark citadel towers above even the jagged peaks over which it holds dominion. No snow finds rest upon its smooth planes, nor on its sharp edges. Its windows glow an unearthly green, in the dark hours of the night. Those who see it, fear it. And that fear is warranted. But Morliek, the obsidian fortress, was not always the haven for darkness that it is now.

Ten years ago, the elf-king Liam IV, shark-bane, ruled in Morliek. His grandfather had ordered it built, to guard against the menace from over the mountains. His father had first taken up residence in it. And it was Liam the Third, victor at Elm's End and Longpier, who would be its ruin; and his own.

His foes from the darkness beyond the mountains - known by the elves as the Ing - were subtle and cunning. In Liam's grandfather's day, they had corrupted the high ministry of the elven court - nearly taking the elven valley by surprise. It was this treachery that provoked the construction of Morliek, to guard the pass. Liam's father had been surprised when, during his reign, the Ing remained quiscient; not engaging in any aggression against the elves for the entirety of his reign, breaking a six-ruler-long sequence of wars. He went to his grave without ever knowing that their efforts had been focused for the last thirty years on one elf: Prince Liam IV.

Liam had first met the Ing when he, escaping his nannies, ventured to the highest tower of Morliek. They sent shadowy emissaries to comfort the frightened child; soothing him with tales of glorious and righteous battle, of shining knights in golden armor. Before the nannies found him and took him away, the Ing gained a promise from Liam that he would soon return to hear more of their tales. Over the years, Prince Liam IV found solace in that high tower, listening to the tales of the Ing; which changed as he aged, focusing on battles against the Ing, and fables of the wonders just beyond the mountains separating Ing from elf. His servants learned never to disturb him when he rested there; and never did Liam realize the nature of his companions.

Then the sad day came that Liam's father died, and Liam IV ascended to the throne of the elves. He was known as a beautiful and kind king; generous to the poor and fair in his justice. But his one great flaw was his obsession with the Ing. The tales of his Ing companions had stirred in him a fierce flame; the need to be the one to wipe out the Ing at the root, and end their menace once and for all. His advisors could not dissuade him from seeking to fight the Ing - only before defeated with luck and superior numbers - in their very homeland. In the second year of his reign, Liam IV gathered his army - the vast majority of the elven army, and many conscripts beside - and marched over the mountains into the land of the Ing.

The whole strength of elvenkind marched with him, that day, seeking glory and justice. They never returned. There is much speculation on how the Ing defeated them; battle, treachery, madness; but not a single one of them returned to tell the tale. Instead, two months after Liam IV crossed the mountains in glittering glory, the Ing swarmed over on ten thousand scuttling black legs. The survivors of the garrison of Morliek described it as a 'sea of shadow'. Morliek was the first to fall; the entire valley, the blessed home of the elves, followed within weeks. Hundreds of thousands died, defenseless without the army Liam had taken from them. Only a few elves survived; refugees, from the disaster, and from the time of Liam's departure, when the foresighted and pessimistic began to flee.

And so it was that Morliek, once a bastion of light, is become a citadel of darkness. The Ing withdrew after their victory against their hated enemy was complete. Now a few, brave elves and humans are re-entering the valley of the elves. But never does any man seek to enter Morliek.

Monday, August 13, 2007

The Ratte-Kinge's Night of Terror

Yea, thisse storie isse probablie notte relayted to the previousse one, but it does adresse the sayme topick.

Yea, in tymes of olde, the Ratte-Kinge didde experience manie calamities, that didde befalle him like the raine-storme, where there wausse muche thundere and lightninge, and it didde calle out manie vengeful gods, and heathens, and that were indeede displeased at the Ratte-Kinge, and they didde demande a retrobution, and yea, they didde exacte a pennance, and the Ratte-Kinge wausse indeede deprived of the lighte because of the manie sins and atrocities and monstrocities that he had indeede committed. And it came to pass, that the Ratte-Kinge, being deprived of the holie lighte, he didde come to manie men to seek it from themme. Yea, he journeyed to the depths of the oceanes, and the sunne, and the moone, and fynally, he cayme upon our nouble house, and yea, he didde charge the doore, and we were startled, because we didde not expect the Ratte-Kinge, but, however, we didde agree to joyne himme on his queste to fynde the lighte, and it wausse goode.

And then it came to pass, that the Ratte-Kinge, who had broughte hisse brouthere, and that they were indeede in a great and vaste, and cavernous chariout, and it wausse faste, and loude, and wounderfulle. And yea, he didde operate it withe greate skille, and yea he didde commande the chariout to go the the country cottage of the King Kessler, and yea, it didde as such, because it was a dutiful and loyale sonne, and it didde obey his fathere and fear God, and yea, it was a goode christian, and it wausse goode.

And when we didde arrive at the manour of King Kessler, yea, it wausse disckovered that he hadde juste returned fromme a mouste glourious journey, where he hadde slainth manie bears and bear droppings, and he had touched the great point of the Salt, and it was blessèd, and goode. And yea, he didde joyne usse in the greate chariout, and we didde drive offe into the distance, and it wausse goode.

And it came to passe that the Ratte-Kinge wausse indeede manœuveringe the greate charioute withe greate skille, and yea we didde encountere several offerciers of the Lawe, and they were intimidating, yet we passed through unscathed.

And then we didde gou to the countryside manour of the Ratte-Kinge, and yea, we didde climbe and clamboure on the roofe, and there was much dangere, and yea, it was established that the Kessler didde have to be assisted on the clambour uppe, and yea, it wausse determined that this testicles were very smalle accordinglie, and yea, there wausse muche exchanginge of the cellular telephones, and a very romantick spot wausse founde, and it wausse indeede determined to be goode for bringinge womons up to itte, and fornicating withe theme, and we didde have manie interesting adventures.

And then it came to passe, that being goode Christians, we didde once againe adjourne to the great chariout, and the Ratte-Kinge didde dryve to the locale establishemente of the Coffee, where there were indeede manie hot womons, and where his noble familie hadde assembled to disckusse manie worldly matteres, and yea, they didde direckte usse to the nearbye shoppe of the Iced-Cremes, and yea, we didde order plentye, of the materialle, and yea, the men didde indeed take theire spoones fromme that garbage, and eate withe them, for they didde not know that it wausse the garbage canne, and it wausse goode.

And yea, when all the eatinge wausse fynished, and the familie had assembled into manie chariouts, and yea, they didde passe by the Royale house of the Tofu, and yea, they didde mocke it, for its nobility wausse dubious, and it had not recieved any honours from the viscounte, and it wausse goode.

And aftere all wausse donne, everyone returnede home, and the lighte wausse restored, and it wausse goode.

A Darkness Terrible

In days past, the philosopher Glaucon lived in a large town, near a larger city. His life was peaceful and happy. But lo, one night as he returned from the public gymnasium, he found his house cast into darkness. The animating power had deserted it; as it had three times before in that summer. He looked out, and saw lights north, and lights west; but none beside him. And lo, upon his father's return from his travels, he did step into a pile of dog's gifts; and it was most foul.

The animating power returned, in time; but again, even as Glaucon watched a tale of Star's Battle with his father and esteemed sibling, the power was lost unto them. And lo, it did flicker some time later, and then again fail; and Glaucon did venture, with father and esteemed brother, outside their home, where they did see a great whirling bird, illuminating the earth beneath. And Glaucon ventured to the land beneath which the whirling bird circled, first by foot, then by cart; and he did see the polis-men, and the fire-men, and did hear a most woeful tale, of the failure of the transformative force (not once, but twice!) and its pyrotechnic demise.

And Glaucon was content.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

To Fight the Vong

(Author's Note: For those of you who don't read the Expanded Universe, Wikipedia may be helpful here.)

The converted mining ship's turbolasers thrummed as they spat thick green bolts into the darkening sky. The Vong fighters screamed shrilly as they shot overheat; for every one of them knocked spinning into the water around, a dozen passed by unscathed, wreaking destruction on the turrets below. With every passing minute, the ship's defenses weakened. The shields might have given it a fighting chance; but by some chance, or sabotage, they'd failed at the battle's beginning. Now it was only a matter of time.

Dorn Tachi stood in a bunker near the center of the mining ship, surrounded by nervous Republic soldiers. He spoke in a normal tone, yet through a minor Force trick, everyone in the room was able to hear him clearly even over the noise of battle. "I've been sent to the planet by the Jedi Council to stop the Vong from getting their hands on the Timonium that's harvested here. The planet is lost." Dorn had to stop for a moment and raise his hands for quiet before he could continue. "I'm sorry, but we don't have the resources to hold the Vong here. We're falling back all across the front - we do have plans to stop the Vong, but if we try to stop them everywhere, we'll be unable to stop them anywhere."

"My plan has been to either sink or save the Timonium mining ships - Timonium mining requires very specialized equipment, so at the very least we're slowing the Vong by the time and resources it takes them to develop their own mining equipment. So far I've succeeded - this is the last Timonium ship on the planet. The problem is, the Vong know that, too. They're sending everything they can spare at us - thankfully the capitol is still holding out, or the only chance would be to sink the ship. As it is, though, we stand a chance." As Dorn finished his sentence, a loud boom sounded just overhead. Everyone ducked instinctively as the floor and ceiling rattled. "Our engineers are working on the shield generators, trying to figure out what went wrong. Once they're back online, we can make a run for it. Until then, we have to protect them - and that means killing the Vong landing parties that will arrive momentarily."

A weight settled on the ceiling above. Dorn ignited his silver lightsaber and looked up. "Now, actually."

The ceiling went thump-thump-thump as holes appeared, even while the startled Republic troopers struggled to get their blasters in position. Moments later, Yuuzhan Vong warriors began to fall into the crowded room.


The Yuuzhan Vong are ferocious fighters - one of the reasons for their ongoing success in their war against the New Republic. A Vong warrior is raised from birth for combat, and armored in living, 'crab'-shell armor. Their weapons are the best their culture could devise in their centuries-long exile. It is for this reason that, as the Vong fall into the panicked New Republic defenders, only a few of their number fall under the concentrated blaster-fire, while the space beneath the holes from which they fall is swiftly filled only with Vong and corpses.

In the chaos and slaughter, Jedi Knight Dorn Tachi is like an angel of grace. He has trained with Luke Skywalker's own, and he is attuned to the Force that flows within him as he fights. At one moment, he appears behind a Vong warrior, stabs him in the vulnerable armpit, and moves on even as the warrior crumples. In the next moment, he ducks under a stream of venom from a Vong amphistaff and stabs the amphistaff in its gaping mouth, rendering it useless. A moment later, as a panicked soldier fires a blaster bolt directly at Dorn's back, Dorn brings his lightsaber up in a smooth arc behind himself and deflects the bolt into the chest of a Vong warrior, about to strike the killing blow on a Republic lieutenant. The Vong is knocked back, startled, and the lieutenant brings his blaster pistol up and fires directly into his opponent's face.

The New Republic defenders gain courage from Dorn's example, and rally, beginning to contain the Vong attack. Then Dorn is knocked to the floor, bleeding. Behind him, a bug as large as his head folds its wings; a thud bug, Yuuzhan Vong ranged weapon, thrown by the large Vong warrior now approaching Dorn. Dorn rolls away and back onto his feet, brandishing his lightsaber just in time to deflect a vicious stroke from the Vong's amphistaff. The duel begins.

Dorn is hard-pressed - wounded and knocked out of his battle trance, he is forced to dodge attacks by surrounding Vong even as he fights the large Vong, who he surmises to be an officer. Dorn's opponent, by contrast, attacks relentlessly, ignoring the blaster bolts that spatter off his armor. Twice, he lands bruising blows on Dorn; only the Jedi's quick reflexes save him from a painful death by amphistaff venom. Above him, the ceiling creaks from the weight of the Vong landing craft and the damage done to it.

This gives Dorn an idea. Deflecting a horizontal amphistaff blow, Dorn concentrates; lets the Force flow through him freely. Diving backwards from the officer, he pulls on the ceiling.

And the ceiling above the center of the room, filled solely with Vong warriors, collapses, spilling landing craft down onto them.

The Yuuzhan Vong's spirit is not broken by the attack, but their cohesion is. Concussion grenades tossed into the landing craft shred their remaining reinforcements, and the stragglers around their perimeter are cut to pieces by the now-superior Republic forces. Roughly twenty-five Yuuzhan Vong warriors died in the attack; twice that number of Republic soldiers have perished. Nonetheless, there is a spirit of celebration in the room, heightened as no further attack comes. The fearsome Yuuzhan Vong have been driven back!

Then the second-in-command of the Republic contingent approaches Dorn Tachi. "News from the capitol. The Governor's Palace has fallen. Stragglers are still being mopped up, but the main body of their force left twenty minutes ago."

Unbidden, Dorn's eyes rise towards the sky, where a handful of Vong strikecraft circle overhead, preventing escape. The ship's engines, presently protected by the water, would be exquisitely vulnerable if they tried to escape before the shields were repaired. But the only thing that he can do is wait.

An hour passes. Soldiers pace and grumble and gamble, the dead having been moved to one corner of the room for later burial. Dorn is tempted to join them; instead, he sits cross-legged on the floor, meditating on the force. By last report, the main Vong force is less than an hour away. Their escape window is rapidly closing.

It is with great relief that Dorn hears the hum of the shield generators as they go online at long last. The soldiers dance and cheer, heedless of their dead, as the ship rises ponderously into the air. Vong strikecraft dive, but it is too late; they are too few in number to destroy the mining ship's considerable shielding before it reaches orbit. Below the ship, turbolasers previously submersed now open fire, driving the strike-craft away.

And the Noble Protector, former Old Republic cruiser turned mining ship, flies toward freedom. The planet is lost. But the Vong have lost time; and time is all that could be hoped for, in the darkest days of the war against the Yuuzhan Vong.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Jason Jones Gets What He Deserves

by Nicholas Feinberg

(this is fan-fiction and it occurs in a different timeline)

Jason was driving in his stolen can and his gun sack when a police car got behind him and turned on the siren. "Oh man it is the polices" he said, as he sped up to great velocity. But suddenly, the police called for back-up, and when they arrived, they came in droves. "Yo what up punk, the dude is armed and he got a got gun gun, eh?" The polices came on and they All came at him and Jason tried to fight them off like he always did but his time he learned that he can't win all the time. He was arrested, indicted, tried, and sentenced to a term in a juvenile rehabilitation centre and is receiving proper psychiatric treatment.

Jason Jones in: A Gas Station

Jason Jones pulled off the road with a sigh of relief. He'd been driving for hours, and whoever owned the van he'd stolen hadn't filled up in a while. Pulling into gas station, Jason swiped the credit card he'd stolen from the Quebec punks and inserted the pump into the tank. Then he heard a voice from behind him: "Aren't you a little young to be driving?"

Jason spun about, raising his fists; then lowering them as he saw the old man inside the doorway of the concessions shack, raising his hands in the air. "Quick to fight, aren't you?" the man commented. "Don't worry, I'm not going to call the Mounties down on you. Here, why don't you come inside, and we can talk while your tank fills."

With some hesitation, Jason locked the van and walked inside the building. Along with the usual paraphernalia, the old man had set up a large brown recliner near the heater, which he sat as Jason entered. Beside him was a large bird cage, holding a blue bird with red feathers along the edges of its wings - a parrot, perhaps, Jason thought. The old man offered Jason a folding chair, but Jason remained standing. The old man sighed. "How long have you been driving?"

Jason replied, "Six hours," omitting half an hour from the tally, to disguise his origin. The old man nodded. "All right. If you haven't hit anyone in that time, you'll probably do all right from here. Another thing. Have you gotten into any fights on the drive?"

Jason hesitated, then nodded, "Yes." The blue-feathered bird was looking at him with its head cocked sideways.

The old man frowned. "You need to be careful, young man. I recognized that look in your eyes, when you heard me outside. You've got a blood lust - a hunger for fighting. And that's going to get you in trouble, if you don't learn to control it."

Jason, feeling rather awkward, agreed "All right," and went outside to check on the van. The tank was full. Jason withdrew the hose, got in the van and started the engine. From the concessions building, the old man shouted to him, "If you don't change... you're going to die alone, far from your home, entirely due to your own choices."

Jason accelerated away from the station, heading southward. In the side mirrors, he thought he saw the blue bird, a speck of distant color, rising into the sunset.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Jason Jones and the Frigid North

Jason Jones braked sharply as a flock of ducks shot over a rise, completely blocking his vision. After surviving his drive through the streets of Quebec City, having only dinged two parked cars and a mailbox, he'd gotten about two hours of driving on the route south, counting a half-hour's break in a parking lot. (He was a little stressed.) As he braked for the ducks, the car went into a skid, throwing itself off the side of the road and into an elm. Jason survived, securely seat-belted and airbag-cushioned, with only a few bruises. The car's engine block took it rather worse.

Jason pushed the passenger-side door open and clambered up, jumping out of the tilted, ruined, smoking car. Looking it over, he thought to himself, I would have had to get rid of it soon anyway - that cop probably got the license - but this isn't really the method I would have preferred. Shrugging, he threw the car keys on top of it and stepped back to scan the skyline. I could hitch a ride if I have to, but... Ah! That looks like a barn, just barely visible. Hopefully I can find better transportation there.

-

A half-hour's walk and a quick climb later, Jason Jones crouched in the raft of the old barn, trying to be a stealthy as he could manage. (It wasn't really something he'd practiced.) Moments later, five men and two women walked into the barn, foretold by their heavy footsteps. Their idle chit-chat stopped as a man with a trenchcoat called them to order: "Arrêt. Il est temps de commencer." They gathered in a rough circle, with the man in the trenchcoat standing somewhat outside the circle, towards Jason; probably the leader of the group, Jason surmised. He'd entered the barn looking for transportation, but had heard the group's approach as he looked around, giving him just enough time to climb to his current hiding place.

"Cette réunion de front de libération du Québec viendra pour passer commande. Est-ce que les pistolets sont en place?" Jason, though unable to follow most of the sentence, noticed two key things: de front de libération du Québec, which sounded like a terrorist group, and the word pistolets. His suspicions on the latter were confirmed when one of the women went over to the far corner of the barn and, after rustling about in several burlap sacks, produced an armful of semiautomatic weapons. "Oui, ils sont ici," she said to the group.

At the sight of the guns, though, Jason started - not enough to fall off the barn loft, but enough to knock a clod of dirt falling, falling, falling directly onto the leader's head.

The leader turned. "Y a-t-il quelqu'un là? Is someone there?" Behind him, the other of the women laughed. "Vous êtes paranoïde. Il n'y a personne là." Jason held stock still as the leader cursed at the woman and then, as he began to climb the ladder, Jason crept slowly back. Carefully he posed, adrenaline beginning to pump through his veins; then, as the trenchcoat-wearing man reached the top and began to exclaim in surprise, Jason lashed out with a foot and kicked him off the ladder. Moments later, there was an unpleasant crack, as he hit the ground from rather too high, rather too fast.

The group below immediately began shouting at each-other rapidly; impossible to follow what they were saying. Jason crept to the back of the barn and looked out the window; it was a high fall, but there were some rather old-looking hay bales lined up along the wall. Jason took a breath and shoved himself out the window; the sound of his fall was drowned out by bursts of gunfire, shredding the loft that Jason had just left.

Footsteps could be heard from within, moving in all directions. When another man came out, Jason had barely enough time to react, swinging two quick blows in. The first hit; the man grabbed Jason's wrist before the second could connect and shouted "Ici!" Jason looked at him for a tense moment, then kneed him in the crotch, head-butted him, and pressed a nerve in his right arm in quick succession. Jason's opponent crumpled to the ground, and Jason joined him a moment later as more gunfire ripped out from the barn, cutting through the rear barn wall at torso-height. Jason rolled to one end of the barn and got to his feet as one of the women rounded the corner. Jason tried a quick kick, pulling it back as she reached out and swinging a right hook which she neatly deflected with a side-step and interposed arm. Jason took a moment to catch his breath, watching his opponent warily; when the second woman hit him from behind, knocking him to the ground with a heavy tackle, he barely retained the presence of mind to roll with the blow, throwing his assailant into the first woman. They both went down in a heap, and as Jason's first opponent attempted to rise, Jason stepped on her hand, pressed, and twisted. Jason had never felt more alive then he did in the heart of combat.

The two women stopped moving; Jason thought that they probably could, but didn't like their chances while he was still standing. Jason bent down to grab the women's guns; an act which most likely saved his life, as the bullets from the two gunmen behind him wounded his shoulder, not his vitals. Accelerated by the bullet, Jason fell backwards behind the barn wall, snagging one of the women's guns as he did so. Aiming carefully with the unfamiliar weapon, (Jason having never used a firearm before) he fired through the thin barn wall to where he expected the gunmen would be. The recoil startled him, and he fired no more than a short burst; but, to his surprise, heard no response.

Looking at the women he'd thrown down (who were staying carefully still), Jason peeked quickly around the corner; and found the two gunmen lying on the ground, shot in the legs and raising their hands in surrender. The fight had gone out of the group. Jason had defeated an entire terrorist cell. He was exultant; victory pumped through his veins. Then a sudden worry cooled his ardor: he'd defeated six of the Québécois. Where was the seventh?

Jason collected weapons from each of his fallen foes, then walked into the barn, blinking as his eyes readjusted to the dimness. Once he'd gotten his sight back, he saw the remains of the trench-coat wearing leader; and another, the last of the terrorists, apparently fallen beneath the ladder. When the terrorists had searched for him after Jason dove out the loft window, this man had climbed the ladder to see if he was still in the loft; and the ladder had broken away under his weight, pinning him to the ground.

Jason's triumph returned in full measure. He sauntered over to the corner, put most of his weapons into the burlap sack which had held them before (surprisingly heavy - there was something else inside), and wandered in the direction from which the terrorists came. Several cars were parked in a close area; one of them still had the keys in the ignition. Jason flung the sack in the back and shot off, driving a car stolen from terrorists (while, it should be noted, he still hardly knew how to drive) with a sack of illegal weapons and far too much confidence. Jason had just killed a man, and he'd never been happier.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Pwnzorred

The fool that was nikolas can not match
the skill
with which one takes a hold and shoves

now he lies in a puddle, in his comfortable house
watchin' the things

paile oop
in th' ocean

then nikolas deci'ed to go an' visit an ol' mann
an' th' sea

an' soo 'ee waen'

an' 'e broo' 'is fis'n' pool'
n' it brou'è

n' th'n ni'ö'as
ee' diè'd süo'ènl'y

t'''n'

Wikiclams

This is the story of the wikiclams - the clams that anyone could edit.

Once upon a time, the wikiclams lived in peace - harming no-one, and being harmed by none. They lived life as all other clams do: sitting on the sand, growing and eating and dying.

Then came the famed adventurer, Fjafalgnjir the Vexed. He sailed to the tiny island by which the wikiclams were found, quite by accident when a storm tossed his ship onto its sandy shore. But when attempting to harvest the clams, he thought quite distinctly to himself, these clams should be much bigger (in Old Norse, of course) - and lo! They were so!

Fjafalgnjir was quite surprised at his discovery. He touched the wikiclams, tasted them, and then, to test, thought these clams should each contain a large oyster (in Old Norse, of course). And lo - they were so!

Fjafalgnjir was astounded at his discovery. Together with his crew, he harvested the clams in great numbers; sometimes he edited them to great size for food. At other times, they were edited for purposes of treasure, to mirrored hue or jeweled facets or (once, on a bet) to a perpetually spinning, hovering, glowing state. (That one Fjafalgnjir kept in his cabin for use as a night-light.) At last, the Norse adventurers left the island, marking it carefully so as to be able to find their way back again; but tragically, a storm rose up once more as they traveled the cold northern seas, depriving them entirely of their bearings and consigning the Island of the Wikiclams to history and legend.

Centuries later, the Island was found once more, when an English destroyer on extended patrol for German Unterseeboots found the island, unmarked on its charts. The captain himself went ashore, curious about their discovery, and (feeling a bit peckish) thought that the sight of so many clams on the sandy shores should emanate an odor such that would make any man hunger. And lo, it was so!

Again, the crew were startled by the discovery, and only one among them knew the near-forgotten tale of the Island of the Wikiclams. Much experimentation was conducted, and after adequate samples were taken (and eaten), the destroyer steamed back to port to report its exciting discovery. Scientists were fascinated by the phenomenon - the clams seemed to rearrange their very molecular bonds, though the instrumentation available at the time was too poor to say for a certainty.

The war ended before the wikiclams could be put to any use, and in the post-war cutbacks and budget shortfalls, no more research could be conducted. Still, they were remembered, and a generation later, as another Great War broke out of the confines of Europe, another expedition was sent to the Island of the Wikiclams. They were swiftly discovered to be weapons of unparalleled power, capable of being edited into explosives of unparalleled power with mere thought. High commanders dreamed of clams used as bombs and land-mines, and sent tankers out to gather more.

It was then that treachery struck. German spies were able to gain word of the poorly-concealed operation, and a flight of Luftwaffe bombers were sent to the Island of the Wikiclams to turn the sands into melted glass. The Axis could not control the Nordic seas with enough certainty to deny the Wikiclams to the Allies - but they could destroy them, as indeed they did, only harvesting a few samples. When the Allied force arrived, they found only ruin.

Still, a few wikiclams remained, in laboratories on both sides of the war. They were hoarded, unused, until the war's closing, when Allied agents caught word of a mad scheme to Axis wikiclams to destroy the Allied forces - and half of Europe to boot. The only possible protection was the Allied wikiclams - swiftly edited into vast protective clams upon being shipped to the front. On a fateful day, the Axis set off its Wikiclam weapons - only to find them thwarted by their own kind. The clams, edited into weapons of war, battled for brief moments in the skies of war-torn Europe - and then vanished forever, gone from the world whose violence had destroyed them.

And that is the tale of the passing of the Wikiclams from our world.