Sunday, 2 August 2015

Nameless: Payment

[Day 3 of Blaugust 2015!]
[This is part of my Creative Writing Experiment.]

The village of Tea Kettle was little more than a cluster of mud brick huts surrounded by a great stone wall in turn was surrounded by mountains but because of the great well which never seemed to run dry it had quickly become one of the largest settlements of free folk in the desert. The chieftain, Chahl, a short bald man who happened to also be built like a brick wall watched as numerous wagons full of weapons and armor rolled into his town. Beside him stood the leader of the caravan train, a slender and sly looking man with sharp eyes.

"That's the last of them," the merchant said proudly as he nodded to himself with his hands on his hips. "Now great chieftain, you might stand a chance against the army of the Wizard King! Compliments from my master, Drisana, of course."

Chahl's steely gaze didn't move. "Chance bigger with more people. Your master to send warriors also?"


"Sorry," shrugged the trader. "That wasn't part of the deal. Speaking of warriors Where are our pretty gladiators anyway?"

The stocky man turned slowly to him and ever so slightly cocked his head in a vague direction with a grunt. The merchant knew better than to ask for specifics as Chahl was renowned both for his combat mastery and for a temper as short as his stature. The wry merchant simply bowed and made his own way from hut to hut. Eventually, after pulling open the curtain door on the eighth or so house he found the people he was looking for... in various states of undress.

After sharing a moment of being awkwardly shocked with each other Nessa managed to yell a few choice curses while Indas, fully nude bar for the bandages wrapped over her wounds grabbed the scrawny man by the neck and forced him back outside. She looked particularly menacing now that she was missing many more teeth. The other townsfolk stopped as they watched the naked giant effortly lift and slowly choke the scrawny merchant with one hand. Fortunately for the man, Nerith managed to get a long tunic on and calm her companion down enough to release him. With an angry grunt, Indas returned inside the hut while he coughed some air back into him.

"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to..." began the heavily embarrassed merchant, who wisely remained down on his knees.

"Who are you and what do you want?" asked Nessa from within the hut. She had opened the curtain just enough to show that she was armed.

"I am called Notaku and Drisana sent me here to deliver her thanks and the payment you earned for eliminating the wyvern bandits and Balkazar. She also wanted me to give you this amulet. It's of the magical variety and through simple touch and concentrating on Drisana's caravan can instantly warp the four of us right to the Sand Market."

The sisters shared a quick look between them before Nerith spoke "That won't be necessary."

"B...but there's a war coming! Having seen what you are capable of Drisana doesn't want you to throw your lives..."

"I said, that won't be necessary," repeated Nerith, more sure of herself this time as she leant down to help the man to his feet.

Flustered, Notaku looked at the sisters meekly. "Ok fine, but please just take the amulet anyway. I'll get into trouble if Drisana thinks I stole it from her."

With one eyebrow raised Nerith cautiously took the amulet from him and feeling no danger from it, decided to put it around her neck much to the chagrin of her sister. Having completed his task, Notaku gave an awkward bow and took his leave while the girls all relaxed back into their hut. It wasn't long before the curtain door opened again though and once more Indas, who was dressed this time, was the first on her feet but stopped suddenly when she saw the two blonde ladies at the door.

"Long time no see," smiled Jasmine of sorceress of Gedrin. Beside her was Chaya, the leader of the Sedrite village, also grinning from ear to ear.

"We heard there was a war coming and we want in."

Saturday, 1 August 2015

Nameless: Balkazar's Lair

[Day 2 of Blaugust 2015!]
[This is part of my Creative Writing Experiment.]

Balkazar stroked his beard as he peered into his crystal ball and watched the three intruders fight their way past his muscular but dim witted minions. His lair, built within the buried bones of a nameless, long dead, giant beast along with his small army of brutes had kept prying eyes away for years. That was clearly not going to be the case today but he remained quietly confident as he sat in his plainly decorated room. As the sounds of battle drew closer he looked up at the wooden door and grinned.

Having cleared the hallway of guards Nerith nodded to both Indas and her sister as she got ready to kick the door open. Just as she was about to the door exploded outwards with such force that it sent her flying back against the cold stone wall behind her, instantly knocking her out. In a rage Nessa charged in, focusing on the bearded mage grinning behind his table. Before she could take another step something cut into her side and threw her like a sack of potatoes across a waist high counter into what appeared to be a simple bed space. Gritting her teeth through the pain she looked back and saw her attacker - a tall, feathered humanoid with talons and the head of a demonic vulture.


As it was still staring at her, it never saw Indas' hammer coming. The huge, muscular lady had swung with all her might and the blow made a sickening, crunching sound as it almost turned the vulture faced creature's head completely around in a spray of green blood. Indas continued her charge as it collapsed to the floor, swinging her hammer down onto the seated mage but her weapon went right through him and smashed the chair. Confused by the phantom image, Indas was caught by surprise when the stone statue behind her suddenly grabbed her long black hair with one hand and with the other scooped her up between her thighs, easily lifting her above its head and piledriving her face first through the crystal ball, the wooden table in sat upon and into the stone floor.

By this time Nessa was back on her feet in the next room and upon hearing the mage laugh in glee, noticed the image of the same bearded mage in the "reflection" in the nearby mirror. Having realized her true opponent she threw a dagger through the window disguised as a mirror, and right into Balkazar's throat. The wizard's eyes grew wide with surprise as he turned to face her, but upon attempting to utter an incantation the only thing that came forth was a stream of blood from his own mouth. Nessa leant against the wall as she watched him unceremoniously collapse through the "mirror", dead, and with his will gone the stone statue that had picked up Indas' own hammer to crush her  had once again become lifeless and dormant.

"I hate mages," Nessa spat before hobbling over to check on her injured companions.

Friday, 31 July 2015

Nameless: Easy

[Day 1 of Blaugust 2015!]
[This is part of my Creative Writing Experiment.]

"Why do we get to be the bait again?" grumbled Nerith to her sister as they cautiously approached the tall mouth of the large cave, lit torches in hand. A deep growl followed by heavy foot falls from within confirmed that the beast had seen them and in mere seconds advanced angrily out of the shadow and into the moonlight, letting the girls get a good look at its gigantic claws, heavily scaled back, and hideously ugly beak face. It was so focused on the two intruders in front of it that it never detected Indas and Chaya, patiently waiting above with a rather heavy looking boulder. With a large thud and a splat, the boulder found its mark right on the beast's head, killing it instantly.

"Hah, that was a lot easier than I thought," mused Chaya as she watched Indas climb down to her friends. Just before they vanished into the darkness below Chaya waved to them and gave the old arena hand sign for good luck.

The initial cave interior was pretty spacious and littered with the bones of whatever the rampager had been eating. There were higher ledges though which Indas was key to reaching, helping her smaller allies climb up the slippery and mossy rock faces. Those higher passages narrowed into a maze of cobweb filled tunnels, and more than once did the girls see the big, black spidery shapes skittering deeper into the darkness. Choosing the paths that had less webs and an an upward incline, they found a draft of cool air blowing into the caves and following that eventually found another exit near the top of the mountain which led right beside the old and crumbling stone castle.

The cold air was a good change from the sticky and hot ascent through the caves but they were given no chance to rest as a loud bell began ringing atop one of the towers: an alarm. Tossing the torches aside, the three women quickly charged towards the nearby castle walls to do what they did best - darting in serpentine lines to avoid incoming arrows and easily finding holes in the crumbling walls to breach into the ancient courtyard. The defenders were so unprepared for an attack that they were easily dealt with as they trickled in, even while Nerith climbed the crumbling parapet to get rid of the archer pair above. After a few minutes of slaughter no more reinforcements came. The girls grinned to each other, covered in blood while standing over the bodies of over a dozen bandits and a few, now mangled, wyverns, the only surviving beasts still locked in their cages - blankly staring out behind the bars.


Amidst the bodies Nerith spotted an oddly carved flute that must have belonged to one of their victims. Curious, she bent down to pick it up but before she could do so Indas quickly stomped on it - crushing it into dust. The caged wyverns suddenly all began to frenzy, as if only realizing now that they were prisoners.

"Bad magic," said the big lady in a low tone.

It was rare for Indas to say anything, so Nessa and Nerith didn't question her when she did. They considered what to do with the trapped wyverns for a moment but since it was equally dangerous to let them go or kill them, they ultimately decided to leave them where they were, letting the fates decide which ones would be strong enough to escape and which would simply die in captivity. The irony wasn't lost on Nerith as they returned through the tunnels to Sedrite to report the good news to an overjoyed Chaya.

"Our village can now rebuild properly," said the thankful woman. "We owe you our lives. We would be more than happy for you to stay of course!"

"Sorry," apologized Nessa "We still have things to do, but maybe one day you can return the favour."

After some hugs and final goodbyes, Chaya watched as the three girls walked out into the wasteland they had appeared from.

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Idiocracy

"The years passed, mankind became stupider at a frightening rate."

A military experiment goes awry when the most average army dude (Luke Wilson) and average "private sector" lady (Maya Rudolph) are cryogenically frozen, forgotten about and by sheer luck wake up years in the future... a future where the IQ of the human race has dropped like a stone. It's soon discovered that army dude is the smartest man on the planet and is tasked with fixing the world.

He's a Mac.

Yep, this comedy has a stupid premise and is full of swearing and low brow humor. There's also passable CGI (surprising that its of that quality actually) and a lot of really dumb shmucks running around. There's really not much more I can say about it than that but as silly as it sounds, it is surprisingly entertaining and probably worth at least one watch. I give it two Brawndos out of five. Watch it again? Ehhh, I think not.

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Good People

There are always monsters guarding pots of gold.

An American couple (James Franco and Kate Hudson) living in England happen across some "bad money". Due to their financial difficulties they choose to try keep it from themselves. This obviously becomes a problem when the bad people who want that money come knocking. That's the plot in a nutshell and there's nothing really more than that going on, yet it kept my attention throughout.

There's a fair amount of violence in this film but I felt it is used sparingly and instead relies on the thriller aspect of how the couple can get out of the mess they get themselves into.

"Let's just run away!" probably would have been a valid option.

Good performances all around and when the action parts come in they are quite exciting and sometimes brutal. No extra stuff or crazy car chases, just very character focused and to the point. Even if it's a somewhat predictable point. That's why I quite liked it, and give it two and a half hidden stashes out of five. Would I watch again? Surprisingly, yes!

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Today I Smiled: The Revenge of Blaugust!

Heads up everyone! Bel is running his Blaugust event again and once more I am participating. Seems I've been posting daily for a fair bit anyway. Hopefully this will also refill some of the "bleed" (aka blogs that I've been culling due to inactivity) which is currently on 15 this month (34 total since the last NBI). Be advised - I plan to be hitting my Nameless "Creative Writing Experiment" pretty hard during Blaugust. I know it's probably not everyone's cup of tea so just giving you advance warning that there might be large slabs of it coming up. I'll still try break it up with movie reviews though. :P

In other news, lumber jacking and getting wood from trees is pretty common in MMOs right? Well I had my first taste of it recently and it is definitely different in real life! While it definitely takes time (doesn't help that I'm a novice) it's also much louder than say... the sound file in Ultima Online. Way bloody louder. Also, vertical cuts are much easier than horizontal cuts which is great for branches but since trees generally stand upright I'm not getting any joy there.

Also doing the "wedge" cut is pretty tough! Doesn't help that my accuracy with the axe is not the best so I was ending up with deep "U" shaped things. Cutting half way into the target with the wedge cut is not enough. At least not with the things I'm trying to cut. It almost needs to be broken right through before things start to give. Next time I think I'm going to try a saw!

Monday, 27 July 2015

Jupiter Ascending

Time is the most valuable commodity there is.

Jupiter (Mila Kunis) is Sci-Fi Cinderella. Being an illegal immigrant, she and her Russian relatives work as maids and are struggling financially. This changes when various aliens arrive to try kidnap and/or kill her as it becomes apparent that she is the reincarnation of someone important and related to the space villains of this film, House Harkonnen. Oh wait. Wrong movie. Eddie Redmayne does make an interesting soft spoken villain though, very different from his Pillars of the Earth character.

Can you hear me now!?

There's a LOT of action in this movie and most is done with very cool, high budget CG. Mila goes through a whole bunch of outfits in the course of the film so kudos to the costume designers too. There are a number of plot things I'd question though, like how one dude can breathe space in one part but not in another, and why don't more people use hover skates as they clearly come in handy and must be affordable to all the bad guys if they are that "rich".

The most annoying one for me though is that Jupiter is basically a passenger for most of the film. She really has no say in what's going on with her for almost the whole movie. Not sure if it was intentional, but that's how I perceived it. Still, it's a fun watch so I give it two and a half gravity skates out of five and yes, I wouldn't mind seeing it again.