Archive for the ‘Wizard’ Tag

chapter 3

Monday, September 3rd, 2012

“Why so stereotyped?” said Magus.

“What do you mean?” said Abda. “This is my home. What did you expect it to be like?”

“Not like this!” Magus replied. “I mean look! Almost everyone’s wearing a turban!  Why, I wouldn’t put it past this place to be ruled by a sultan!”

“Well who else would you have ruling a country?” said Abda. “A king?”

“Of course!” said Magus.

“Look,” said Abda. “It’s our country and we have the right to live in a cliché. It’s not like the empire’s any better. I mean aqueducts and fire engines? We might as well call them not-currently-ancient Grome!”

“Fine,” responded Magus. “But we better not find any more Middle Eastern stereotypes, or else I leave, no matter what the danger in the Empire is.  If I never see another minaret, it will be too soon.”

“What about terrorists?”

“Terrorists too! Blending time periods is almost as annoying as steampunk!”

“Then don’t look in front of you.”

Magus looked in front of him. As expected, there he saw some insurgents attacking one of the garrisons the empire had placed in the cities of its ‘allies’. They were impressive, showing matrix-esque feats of agility, slaughtering the guards with ease. Soon, there was only one left, a kid just barely old enough to join who probably had thought that he would get a medal by the end of the week. He was on his back in the dirt, quickly attempting to scuttle away.

“Please!” he said. “Please don’t kill me! I don’t want to be here, I just got picked up by the draft! I’ve got a family, a life, and I can’t go back to any of those if you kill me pleasenononononono,” he said as he broke down and was reduced to incoherent babbling. The insurgent in the front, a medium sized man garbed head-to-toe in wrapped cloth simply reached down and broke the guard’s neck.

Magus looked on the scene of carnage, obviously shocked. Then, as the insurgents began to disperse into various alleyways he said “We have got to figure out how to join them.”

“It’s not that hard,” said Abda. “This novel is rather linear. Here, watch,” he said, gesturing to a hovel with smoke leaking out from the holes in the roof. “I bet you that if we walked in there we’d find some kind of contact for them.”

Inside the hovel, there were two fires, equally spaced, with an old man in red robes standing in between them. The floor was coated in so many layers of soot it was as black as night, and the walls were a sickly green. The old man looked straight at Magus as if he could peer into his soul, before spreading his hands and saying, “Walk into the waterfall.”

“Dammit,” said Magus. “I have had it up to here with clichés. Tell us where to find the insurgents base or else.”

“Walk into the waterfall,” said the old man.

“Say that one more time and I kill you,” said Magus.

“I know you won’t hurt me,” responded the old man. “So I say unto thee once again: Walk into the fucking waterfall!”

“…”

“ARGH! MY BRITTLE, OLD MAN RIBS!”

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More! More!

Friday, August 17th, 2012

Trying to compensate for lost time.

For the Emperor!

********

“Now what?” said Ærin.

“Look, you’ve used that line twice already,” said Magus. “Try to be more original.”

“And?” responded Ærin. “It’s still a valid question. We’re stuck outside a collapsed escape tunnel in a forest in the middle of nowhere and it’s only a matter of time before the cops come after us.”

“Simple. We have created a precedent. We killed the baron and there was nothing they could do about it! We shall rise up and tear the Empire stone from stone, starting with the baronies, and ending with Ankhgard itself.”

“Well that’s nice and all,” said Ærin, “but I meant in the short term.”

“Look,” said Magus. “I think I know where we are, and according to the map there’s a town over there. Let’s just head on in and figure out what else to do tomorrow.”

******

“A town you said. Nearby you said.”

“Shut up Petrov,” responded Magus. “This is a town.”

“This isn’t a town,” said Petrov. “This is a group of thatched huts that huddle together for warmth.”

As Magus looked around, he found that he had to admit that Petrov was right. The largest building was the inn, which was made out of stone, and had a few rooms for visitors. All the other houses were shacks which housed the people who worked at the inn.

“Does it really matter?” he said. “There’s going to be food and drink. What more do we need?”

“Hot water,” said Abda.

“A roof that doesn’t leak,” said Ærin.

“A bed whose insects haven’t yet discovered the wheel,” said Petrov.

“Come on,” whined Magus. “It can’t be as bad as that.”

******

Drip. Drip. Drip.

“We told you so.”

“Look, I said I was sorry! Now will you just shut up!”

Drip. Drip. Drip.

******

“Out,” said the innkeeper, rudely awakening them from sleep.

“Hey—” said Magus, but before he could finish the sentence the innkeeper said “Out. The empire’s looking for you.  I did you a favor by not turning you in the minute they knocked on my door.”

“Look,” said Magus. “Surely there must be something we can do to make you hide us.”

“You don’t understand the kind of trouble you’re in, do you?” said the innkeeper. “They’ve sent a steam tank after you! Out! Now!”

Harried by the innkeeper’s comments, the party ran out into the forest until they eventually reached a lake which barred all progress.

“All right,” said Magus. “I think this is far enough.”

“Dammit!” shouted Petrov. “You jinxed it!”

Then, there was a crashing sound. And another. And another. Suddenly, out of nowhere came a huge boxy thing. It had two caterpillar threads on either side, with a central body that looked like a huge, mobile water tank. There were two slits in the front, each about the size of a human head, and a boxy thing on the top with a long nozzle protruding from it. In addition, there was an aperture on the back that belched smoke and steam. There were two arrow slits on each side, and positioned around it were ten imperial soldiers.

Six of the soldiers had standard gear with the exception of some metallic eggs pinned on their belt. Two in the rear of the party were carrying odd metal devices, and had several rods strapped to their back, and one to the side had an odd mask, made out of chain mail and smoked glass, along with a tube that had some kind of hose leading into a metal barrel attached to his back.

As the formation moved, the nozzle attached to the device swiveled from side to side, and the formation would change so that none of the infantry were in the way as if the device was about to spout some kind of horrible, flaming death. Then, it turned toward the party and began to spout horrible, flaming death.

Said flaming death came in the form of what appeared to be liquid fire, which spouted out from the machine in an arc. Ærin managed to block most of it with her shield, but quite a bit splattered past and landed on the lake, where it continued to burn in defiance of all common sense.

“What the hell is that thing!” shouted Abda.

“It looks like one of our baks!” responded Petrov. “The imperials must have stolen the design!”

However, as quickly as the flame started to spout, it suddenly stopped, and from inside the tank came the sounds of cursing and someone hitting a pipe with a wrench. Petrov took this as an opportunity to attack, shouting his battle cry of “Death to most tyrants!” as he leaped into a group of soldiers. The rest of the party tried to follow suit, but one of the masked soldiers bought his tube to bear, spraying flaming oil from its nozzle. Magus leaped over it, swinging his staff and denting the soldier’s tube, but he suddenly realized he was now right in the middle of a group of enemies, exactly the worst spot for a wizard to be.

He prepared for the inevitable beating, but after a while he noticed that it did not happen. When he looked up, he saw that the soldiers had all backed away, and one of the bombardiers was franticly shoving a rod into his device, while the other soldiers were kneeling and winding up the winches on their crossbows. Relieved, Magus waved a hand and a golden shield formed between them. Meanwhile, the tank had gotten the turret working again, but no matter what it did, the oil burst out over the heads of those nearby. Meanwhile, judging by the sounds coming from the other side of the machine, his comrades were doing just as well.

Then, unexpectedly, the rod burst out from the bombardier’s tube with a whoosh of flame, smashing through the golden barrier and heading right at Magus! He knew he had to act fast, so he quickly cast a spell.

“Job mi ut flant. It’s job ictu.”

The gust of wind did not smash the missile into the ground as Magus had expected, but instead it sent it right back at the soldiers.  The formation simply stood still, standing in shock although a soldier in the back went and threw one of the eggs attached to his belt before the rod exploded, blowing him and his comrades to smithereens.

It missed Magus, and he picked it up, looking at it. Then, he remembered the tank. He leaped around, and saw that it had backed away, knocking his comrades over, and was now charging at him! He knew he had only seconds to live, and in desperation, he remembered the egg and threw it and it went straight through one of the vision slits in the front.

From inside the tank, he heard someone shout, and then there was an explosion. Bits of metal and odd pipework were thrown into the air, and the burning oil was scattered about the landscape.

“Dammit!” shouted Magus. “Why does this kind of thing happen to me! Gandalf never had to deal with this steampunk crap! I mean, exploding metal eggs!  What kind of insanity is this!”

“It was probably a granat,” replied Petrov. “Just in case being a dying race wasn’t bad enough, we’ve got oneandahalflings all around trying to steal our technology. Why, back in the old county—”

“NOONE CARES!” shouted Ærin. Then, standing in the wreckage of the tank, surrounded by boiling oil, she asked the logical question:

“Now what?”

Chapter 2 again

Monday, July 30th, 2012

Hot kobold XXX! Just 999.99$ per month!******

“All right,” said Ærin. “This is the baron’s room. Let’s burst in and slaughter him.”

“Why?” said Abda. “You guys may have grudges against the empire but I don’t.”

You’re going to enter because I say so.

Then, his mind suddenly changed, Abda followed Ærin as she bashed down the door. Inside the room they saw a rug that probably had taken the lives of thousands of small furry creatures and a bed that could probably fit ten people although no-one was really sure why it would need to. Inside the bed there was a skinny man who probably thought of himself as rather dashing, and next to him was a wizened kobold wearing lipstick. Both of them were both in the process of taking their clothes off.

“AAHHHH!” shouted Magus as he attempted to claw his eyes out. “Brain bleach! I need brain bleach!”

“It’s not what it looks like!” shouted the baron. “And—wait, who are you?”

“Your death,” said Ærin.

“Didn’t we already use that line?” said Petrov.

“The death of me?” said the baron as he shrugged on a robe and pulled a rapier out from under the bed. “I’m not just a rather dashing wizard; I’m also a good hand with a blade. I think you’ll find that—“

There was a clatter as Ærin swatted the rapier out of the baron’s hand before he finished his dramatic monologue.

“Curse you Rohirm fiend! A pox on you and your descendants! May your car keys always fall into the deepest crevices of the sofa, and may your socks never match!”

“You call that a curse?” said Ærin once she was done laughing.

“Well I just started this wizarding thing. Just skimmed the introduction packet really. May I try again?”

“No.”

“Crap.”

******

More of chapter 2

Sunday, July 29th, 2012

********

“Well that was easy,” said Ærin. “Now for the hard part.”

“The hard part?” said Magus. “I thought this was the hard part.”

“Oh no,” responded Ærin. “The hard part is where law enforcement chases us in an attempt to have us executed for being dangerously competent and contributing to the public order. Trust me, I know how this goes.”

“This is the police!” shouted a voice from outside the guildhall. “Get on the floor and put your hands behind your head!”

“See what I mean,” said Ærin. “Come on, into the basement. We’ll figure out what to do from there.”

The basement was a place made out of stone, entered by a steel door at the end of a logn passage. Said passage was full of fortifications and arrow slits that couldn’t be used from that side. This, along with the dwarvish lock on the door, made it obvious the basement was a panic room.

The bunker was filled with iron rations, weapons, and barrels of water. It was obvious that Bromad had been planning to hold out in there for a long time.  There was a patch of mud in one corner with huge, purple mushrooms growing out of it, starkly contrasting with the rest of the room.

“Look!” shouted Petrov. “Plump helmets!”

“Plump helmets?” said Magus.

“Ve had zese back in old country!” replied Petrov.  “I didn’t know zat anyone knew about zem here!” Petrov then sat down, plucked one of the mushrooms, and started to eat it with every sign of enjoyment.

“Petrov?” said Magus. “Aren’t you forgetting something?”

“Oh, yes,” said Petrov. “I completely forgot about you guys. I’m sorry. Here you go.” And with that, he threw them each one of the vile fungi.

“No Petrov,” said Magus. “I meant the cops.”

“I didn’t forget about them,” replied Petrov. “I just wanted a snack first.” Petrov then got up, shoved the rest of the plump helmets into his pockets, looked over at the wall, and said “This place ought to do.” He then wacked the wall with the spike on the rear of his axe.

“Petrov?” said Magus “What are you doing?”

“Mining our way out.” replied Petrov. “Everyone and zeir mother have basement these days.  If we mine through and brick up behind us, no-one will know!”

Petrov got into a steady pace, and soon they got through into the wine cellar of some other building three blocks down. The place was cool and damp, with shelves and shelves of wine bottles, going back to the eight hundreds.  Petrov took a sip of the oldest one, spat it out, and said, “Foul human rubbish. I’ll take vodka every time.”

“Does it matter?” said Ærin. “Anyway, where are we?”

“Some rich guy’s place,” said Abda. “Only a nob would have a wine cellar this big. An army of dwarves would take fifty years to drink all this stuff.”

“Why the yebut vould ve vant to!” responded Petrov.

“Look,” said Abda, “it vas a figure of speech!”

“Can we just get going?” asked Ærin. “If we stay here someone’s bound to find us.”

“And?” said Petrov.

“Well,” said Magus, “the sane thing to do right now would be to leave.”

“SANITY IS FOR THE VEEK!”

“Here, I’ll make this simple,” said Magus. “We leave this wine cellar or I kill everyone in it.”

“Ha!” shouted Petrov. “Vizard boy, you couldn’t hurt a fly.”

“Really? Ardens gaudendum!”

As Magus spat out those words, a ball of flame burst out and hit a small casket of brandy, causing it to explode, scattering burning alcohol everywhere.

“Vhat the hell’s wrong with you!” shouted Petrov.

“I’m sorry; I couldn’t hear you over the sound of being surrounded by several thousand gallons of ethanol.”

“Hey, vizard? What say we go upstairs?”

“Much better.”

So, they went upstairs, passing lots of racks of elderly wine bottles as they did so. The upper half of the house seemed to emanate wealth, with floors made out of mahogany and walls coated in plaster.

“Vhat a dump,” said Petrov. “Vhy, back in the old country—”

“No-one cares!” said Magus. “If the old country was so good then why did you have to leave?”

“I fell out of favor with the Tzar.”

“The who?” asked Abda.

“The Tzar. It means king. He and his nobles rule over our realm with an iron fist, squeezing all money he can out of peasants.”

“This coming from someone who obviously used to be a peasant squeezing noble,” responded Magus.

“Well, you see—” said Petrov, but then, in the middle of his sentence, a rough voice shouted out “Oy! Don’t you know it’s illegal to develop the plot in other people’s homes! That’s breaking and narrating that is.”

As the source of the voice walked into view, the fellowship saw that it was a guard wearing the uniform of the empire. His face was—

“Hey! That goes for you too mister. If you want to narrate, go do it somewhere else.”

Did you just say what I think you just said?

“Yes, I did. Now get out or we’ll have you in chains.”

Really… *Ahem* FOOLISH MORTAL! HOW DARE YOU ATTEMPT TO ARREST ME! I AM THE MASTER OF LIFE AND DEATH! I RULE ALL!

And so, as the guard stood there dumbfounded like the insipid little mortal fool he was, a bolt of purple lighting burst down from the sky and hit the guard right in the chest. His body flopped around in agony for several seconds as the eldritch flame burnt through muscle and sinew, until there was nothing left but bones, and soon even these were consumed, leaving nothing but a gray powder. As the heroes watched, somehow they knew that despite the fact that the guard’s mortal form had been destroyed, his spirit was still alive in some nether-hell, soon to be eternally tormented by a foul demonic being that would leave him wracked in pain for what would be a unnaturally extended life.

“Wow,” said Magus. “Great job. I really liked that glowy text effect.  Next time maybe you could work on the insults a little though. Insipid seems a bit cliché. Be a bit more original next time. Maybe try something with maggots.  That bit at the end was good though.”

Thank you.

“Don’t mention it. Anyway, can we get back on the road now?”

Oh all right, if you insist. Anyway, the fellowship went onward, sneaking, with nothing but the sound of their boots to tell you that they were there. Well, the sound of boots and armor. But the armor wasn’t that loud. Just sort of a CLANG BANG CRASH BASH BOING BOP PITING. See? Not that loud at all.

“Hey!” said a guard. “Who are you? You can’t be thieves, or at least not good ones. I could hear the sound of your armor from a mile away!”

Magus thought quickly and shouted, “Surprise inspection! Quick, where are you?”

“The baron’s house,” replied the guard.

“Good,” said Magus. “Now, what are you supposed to do when you find a bunch of intruders dressed up as surprise inspectors?”

The guard thought for a bit and said “You’re supposed to shout ‘GUARDS, GUARDS!’ and then—ARGH!”

That last bit there was not so much something he said voluntarily as much as it was something that you say when your internal organs have turned into kittens. Just in case you were wondering.

“Now what?” said Ærin. “We can’t do that to all of them.”

“Why not?” responded Magus.

“Because, there’ll be more people with them, and they’ll probably notice the corpses,” said Ærin.

“And?  We’re the heroes,” said Magus. “Winning when we’re outnumbered ten to one is what we do.”

“That sort of thing only happens in stories.” responded Ærin.

“Exactly!” said Magus. “Look down there! A page number! This is a story.”

“So was ‘The Horror at Insmouth’,” said Ærin. “That didn’t have a happy ending.”

Suddenly, a voice came out of the darkness! Again!

“Oy!” it said. “Wot the ‘ell are you doing in ‘ere?” Rather like the previous voice, this one belonged to a guard.

“Surprise inspection!” shouted Magus.  “Quick, what you do when you find traitors disguised as surprise inspectors standing over the corpse of your comrade while contemplating how to kill you?”

“Well you’re supposed to—ARGH!”

After gutting the guard, Petrov turned back to Ærin and said, “Told you so.”

******

Book Review: The Galactic Mage

Saturday, July 28th, 2012
Space. Space! Wanna go to space!

The cover art.

I know, me doing something silly and unrelated to the novel. Unbelievable, right?

Anyway, here we have it: A review for The Galactic Mage by John Daulton.

When I saw The Galactic Mage, I was really interested. I really like fantasy, and it’s a well-known fact that space is one of the few settings that instantly improves all works including it. Better yet, this book was about a Space Wizard, the most awesome thing this side of Teddy Roosevelt boxing with a Sharktopus. What more could I want?

For starters, I could want some closure. The mystery of the Empty Planet started off as the driving force of the plot, and I was looking forward to seeing what kind of Cosmic Horror could annihilate an entire species so thoroughly that there was no trace it had ever existed. In fact, I still am, as the writer seems to have forgotten about that plot thread around Chapter 43, page number 484, paragraph eight, line five, otherwise known as the exact point when the novel started being shit.

As the characters got closer and closer to meeting, and began to approach said point, I found myself getting sucked in more and more, wondering how they would interact. Instead of interesting interpersonal interactions and Dramatic Revelations, there was some love at first sight crap, and the tone went from ‘Pulp SiFi/Fantasy’ to ‘Shitty Chinese clone of a Disney Princess Movie.’ The change in tone was so drastic I would not be surprised if the author had the second half ghostwritten, possibly by a five year old girl.

I do realize that there will be a sequel, but by all rights it should have been part of this novel. Even though the novel was getting to five hundred pages, a thousand page doorstopper to rival Atlas Shrugged is still preferable to a normally sized novel that ends halfway through. If, (God forbid) rocks fell and everyone died in the final chapter, that would have been still preferable to the rushed and unfinished ending, as it would have at least been funny.

Still, despite all its flaws, The Galactic Mage is still a good story. It’s just a shame that the ending in my copy got switched with that of Barbie Princess Adventures.

Three stars.

Product link:

http://www.amazon.com/The-Galactic-Mage-Series-ebook/dp/B006VCZMVS/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top