Wednesday, April 30, 2014
"Welcome to the sandwich show!" Sweeping her arm forward, the little girl surveyed her audience. "Today we have an exciting recipe: dragon roasted peanut butter on pixie rye!"
Turning her attention to table before her, the little girl picked up a clear plastic knife. "Now, when working with anything that has been roasted by a dragon, it is important to use a clear knife. Metal knives will absorb all of the yummy stuff dragon fire adds." Jabbing the plastic knife into a squat glass jar, she scooped out a glop of the brown spread.
"As for pixie rye, it is best when used on Tuesdays and Thursdays. When used on any other day, the bread gets super mushy and will taste like feet." The girl said, plopping the peanut butter onto a thick slice of dark bread.
"It is important not to spread the peanut butter onto the bread, because the embers trapped within will explode if rubbed too much." The little girl said, offering her audience a slow nod as she added another glop of peanut butter to the slice of bread.
"Once you have three spots of peanut butter on the bread, it is time to add your secret ingredient." Reaching for a plastic bag, the girl pulled out a pickle and held it up. "Today our secret ingredient is none other then a unicorn pickle!"
Carefully setting the pickle on top of the peanut butter, the girl licked her lips. "Unicorn pickles are delicious, but can be hard to find due to then being the favorite snack of a unicorn." Letting go of the pickle, the girl picked up a second slice of bread.
"Now is the difficult part. One wrong move, and the juice from the pickle will cause the pixie rye to spontaneously transform into string cheese." Holding her breath, the girl squinted as she placed the slice on top of the pickle.
Letting go, she released a sigh. "And our sandwich is done!" Looking out at the audience, the little girl pointed. "You there! Come on up and try today's recipe!"
The ground trembled as a troll got to his feet and lumbered forward. Upon reaching the table, the troll rubbed his bulbous nose before reaching for the sandwich. With a single bite, it was gone.
"How was it?" The little girl asked. The troll gave a grumbling grunt and held out his hand.
"He liked it!" The girl giggled as she high fived the troll. "And that's all the time we have for today's show, fairies and gentletrolls!"
As the trolls and fairies began to disperse, the little girl turned and climbed up a rope ladder hanging against the wall behind her. It didn't take long for her to reach the candy print curtain at the top of the ladder. Pushing it up, the girl crawled out.
"Suzie, it's time for dinner." The girl's mother said as she appeared in the doorway. "Dear, what are you doing under the bed?"
"I had to feed the trolls. They love my sandwich show!" Suzie answered as she finished crawling out from under the bed and let her candy print blanket fall back into place.
Friday, April 25, 2014
1. So you can relax after having worked outside.
2. As a way to exercise.
3. As a way to spend time with friends or family.
4. So that you can help teach a child how to swim.
5. As a way to clear your mind.
6. To have fun.
7. As part of a party.
8. So that you spend some time out in the sun.
9. In order to cool off on a hot day.
10. So that you can test how a model ship would survive a cannonball.
Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Xavier was in his room at the fortress, busy patching a hole in his shirt. He had just finished when someone knocked on the door. Setting down the repaired shirt and his sewing kit on the bed, the mercenary got up and opened the door.
“Blossom, to what do I owe this pleasure?” He asked, receiving a glare from his fellow mercenary.
“The boss sent me to fetch you. You better not keep him waiting, or he might double whatever punishment he has in store for you.” Blossom smiled viciously, then turned and left.
Xavier watched her go, a grim smile slowly appearing on his face.
Blossom had always treated him more like an enemy then a fellow mercenary. The only time she had treated him with even an drop acceptance was on the day they met.
He had just been exiled from his home by his father, with only his sword and the clothes on his back.
Blossom had been traveling with a small band of mercenaries, having just completed a job. At a crossroad, their paths intersected. As Xavier passed her, Blossom had paused. After studying him for a moment, she had asked whether he could actually use his sword or if it was just for show.
After a demonstration of his skills, Blossom had asked him to come with them; with the promise that he would be able to put his sword to good use.
And for a few years, Xavier had put it to good use.
Xavier walked down the halls of headquarters, nodding to his fellow mercenaries. He had been accepted by some of them after his first job, but others hadn't accepted him until much later. Some, like Blossom, seemed to barely tolerate him because of his bloodline.
Despite that, they were his comrades. A second family, like the Knights of Zodiac had once been.
When he reached Apollo's study, Xavier barely moved his hand to knock when a voice told him to enter. Xavier opened the door and walked into the room, closing the door behind him. Ryleigh sat behind Apollo's desk; his face hidden by the hood of his cloak and the dim lighting of the room. Xavier moved until he stood in front of the desk, then waited.
With Apollo, he would have sat in one of the other chairs, or looked at one of the maps on the north wall while they discussed his next job.
But Ryleigh was an unknown, and therefore dangerous.
Xavier waited while Ryleigh studied him. “Xavier Fay of Atalo Bedros, a disgraced knight who was exiled from his home by his own father.” Ryleigh's voice was curious, like so many others had been when they learned he had once been a knight.
Xavier kept silent, waiting until Ryleigh got to whatever the reason for summoning him was. Ryleigh leaned back in his chair, and Xavier felt a slight trickle of pain at the back of his mind. “What are your reasons for being a mercenary, Xavier Fay?” The question was one Xavier had been asked before, by many different people.
So he answered smoothly, not allowing his emotions to show. “I joined Apollo's Mercenaries because they offered me a way to use my skills. As a mercenary, I do what I can for the people who come to us according to the assignments I am given by my leader.” The trickle was beginning to spread, but Xavier did his best to ignore it. Ryleigh pondered his words for a moment, then spoke.
“And now that Apollo is no longer the leader of these mercenaries, what will you do?”
The question was one that Xavier hadn't allowed himself to think of, because of his mixed feelings toward his new leader and this particular job. But now that the question had been asked, he had to give an answer. The girl, Lilly Vale, flashed in his mind, and he knew what his answer had to be.
“I will follow this mission to its end, and then make my final choice.” Ryleigh gave a nod, then motioned for Xavier to sit. Xavier sat in the closest chair, briefly wondering what would come next. Ryleigh studied him for a moment, then seemed to come to a decision.
“What do you know about your family genealogy, Lord Fay? Can you trace it back to the reign of King Zodiah, the seventh king of the Zodiac Realm?” Xavier was surprised by this question, but thought back to his study of his lineage.
Finally, he shook his head.
“No. Our records begin sometime during the reign of King Stephen, the ninth king of the Zodiac Realm.” The trickle of pain had spread throughout his entire body now, and was steadily increasing in strength. Ryleigh seemed pleased with this answer, and stood. He motioned for Xavier to stay seated as he walked around the desk.
“What if I could tell you the missing pieces of your genealogy from King Zodiah? What would you say to that?” Xavier fought back a frown, not quite sure where this conversation was headed.
How could he know that information? And what exactly was Ryleigh?
Xavier knew that the pain he was feeling came from Ryleigh; having seen the power used on Lilly before.
What point was Ryleigh taking to get across? That he could easily torture people into doing what he wanted? That caring about the well-being of Seth's sister was unacceptable?
Anger began to rise from deep within Xavier, but he quickly pushed it back down.
He couldn't afford to get angry.
“How could you know this information?” Xavier asked, taking whatever bait had been laid.
Ryleigh had stopped walking and now leaned against the desk. As he spoke, his hand reached up to the hood of his cloak.
“It's very simple, Xavier Fay,” His hand pulled back the hood of his cloak, revealing a face paused within a grotesque transformation. “I am your ancestor.”
Xavier stood, then crumpled to the floor as the cloak of pain Ryleigh had slowly been forming within him ignited into a hungry blaze.
Then through the pain came memories. Memories from Ryleigh of his life, the accident which had led to the betrayal that ended with him imprisoned by his own brother.
Xavier was forced to endure his ancestor's memories, and the thoughts which now ran through both their minds.
“Join me, and you too can have revenge against those who have wronged you. That, and much more can be yours.” Ryleigh's offer sounded in his mind, along with what he would have to do to earn the privileges being offered.
Xavier's eyes closed, and the Power of Ahriman within him screamed for blood.
Friday, April 18, 2014
1. You could use it to push buttons on the tv when the remote is missing.
2. After tying a handkerchief to it, you could use it to practice carrying a flag.
3. It could come in handy when you need to poke a pile of mysterious goo.
4. You could draw in the dirt with it.
5. Music could be made by tapping the stick against various objects.
6. By carving into it, you could leave a secret message for someone.
7. If you have an itch on your back, the stick could help you scratch it.
8. When a monster is about to eat you, why not try preventing its mouth from closing by thrusting the stick into it? Just don't use a thin stick.
9. It could be used to pet your cat.
10. You could light it on fire.
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
First came the confusion. The object you went to get was not were it was supposed to be. At first you shook your head, and looked around the area. Perhaps you had merely overlooked it. But as the minutes ticked by, your budding frustration steadily grew.
It wasn't there.
Pausing, you tried to remember where you had last seen the object in question. Surely it had been right here, where you were searching. With a frown, you began tapping your fingers against the desk. If it wasn't here, then the object would have to be in the other room.
Your pace was a little faster then normal as you moved to the other room. Looking around, you begin to search for the object. Carefully sorted shelves and tables become disorganized as your frustration morphs into impatience tinged with a hint of anger. The object remains elusive. As you continue to sort through your memory, you remain certain that you had seen the object recently.
A portion of you is certain that it has to be around where you first thought it was. Objects don't get up and walk away, so it had to be around there.
Leaving the now untidy room, you return to the desk. But another search through its contents does not produce to missing object.
Glancing at the clock, you stifle a groan. Due to your searching, you were now late for an appointment. With one last scan of the desk, you head out to the car.
As you pull out of the driveway, thoughts of the lost object linger in your mind. Driving away from your home, part of your mind continues to focus on the object, and you know that it will until the object is found.
Friday, April 11, 2014
Wednesday, April 9, 2014
Being dragged through a tree hurts. Take the pain of scraping your elbows against the asphalt, and apply that to your entire body.
The only part of me that didn't hurt was the wrist that the girl had grabbed. It felt kind of warm, and a bit sticky. Farther the girl dragged me, slogging through a dimness that obscured our surroundings.
That, along with an ache that reverberated through my bones, indicated that we were no longer in the tree.
A tug on my wrist that made me almost lose my balance brought my attention back to the girl.
“Come on!” The girl said, her grip tightening as she started down a narrow dirt path. Stumbling, I tried to match her rapid pace.
“What are you?” I asked after adjusting to the girl's pace and the unevenness of the path.
“A wood nymph.” The girl answered as we reached a fork in the path. Without slowing, she led me up the left fork. She broke into a run as we rounded a sharp corner.
Panting, my wrist burned in her iron grip as I began to fall behind. Focusing all my attention on not losing my footing, I slammed into the nymph when she suddenly stopped.
Panting, my wrist burned in her iron grip as I began to fall behind. Focusing all my attention on not losing my footing, I slammed into the nymph when she suddenly stopped.
“Rosalind! Oliver is here!” The nymph said, lifting the hand the held my wrist captive.
Taking a look at our surroundings, all I saw were trees on a hill. But slowly, I started to see the outline of doors on some of the trees, and windows at the base of branches.
“Wilhelmina, what are you shouting about?” The question was spoken in a patient tone. Turning toward the speaker, I found a tall woman dressed in a deep red dress. A corsage of small white flowers graced her right wrist. As she drew near, a pleasant aroma wafted from her long gray hair.
“Rosalind, this is Oliver.” The nymph who had dragged me her said, practically bouncing on her bare feet as she spoke. “He came, which means Myk has returned and that the Knoll is in danger!”
Rosalind studied me for a moment, then lifted a hand. “Calm yourself, Wilhelmina. Come, our guest is confused and likely tired from his journey.” Sweeping her hand toward the nearest tree, Rosalind smiled as an opening appeared in the trunk. “Let's retire to someplace more comfortable and explain the situation to him.”
Friday, April 4, 2014
2. It can be cut into strips and used as backup bookmarks.
3. It can be used as a simple background when photographing a small object.
4. When crumpled, it could become a toy for your pet.
5. You can use it as a hand fan on a hot day.
6. With the inclusion of a crayon, it can help entertain a child.
7. It provides an excellent surface on which you could record your thoughts. Though you might need some ink...
8. You could fold it into a little balloon, then hang it up as a decoration.
9. If you attached it to the ceiling, you could see how long it takes for someone to notice and comment on it.
10. If you stare at the one on your desk for long enough, then perhaps a message written in invisible ink will become visible.
Wednesday, April 2, 2014
Rain fell, the droplets slowly dripping through the thick foliage to splash against the dirt.
Leaving the safety of our mostly dry camp, I trudged through the growing muck.
"Softly, Xolani. Don't drag your wings." My father called, his own wings held regally aloft. Throat burning, I straightened and urged my wings higher. Stumbling a little under the full weight of my wings, I focused on my father's wings.
His weren't too large for his frame. Their wiry might wasn't limited to the air. Father's wings were beautiful.
Father stopped at the edge of the forest. Stopping beside him, I glanced up at him. His dark eyes scanned the open area before us, searching both the ground and sky. He took a slow, deep breath, then released it.
"What do you sense?" He asked, his gaze flickering to meet mine.
Turning my head, I looked out at the land. There were hills in the distance. Short, dense brush covered the ground outside the forest, with a thin, muddy road cutting a line through the brush and heading toward the nearest hill. The sky was a dark, angry gray for as far as I could see. The pounding torrent of rain made it difficult to hear anything, but from what I could see, nothing was out in the storm.
There was a flash of lightning, followed by the roar of thunder. In those brief moments, I saw them.
"There are some sylphs frolicking in the storm, but I don't see anything else."
Father nodded. "And where would a dragon be during a storm like this?"
"Grounded. Unless it was of the gray bloodline. But grays prefer the chill of a northern storm. They don't usually come south this time of year." I answered. Father smiled, revealing sharp fangs.
"Correct. Come." Turning, he walked out into the open.
I hesitated for only a moment. Leaving the shelter of the trees, I stumbled as he wind whipped at my wings. The large, cumbersome things hurt as I fought to keep the wind from carrying me off. Digging my claws into the waterlogged earth, I caught sight of my father.
The rain pelting his purple scales didn't seem to bother him. His wings were neatly tucked against his back. Managing to make my way to where he stood, I looked up at him and tried to control my shivering.
"You're doing well, Xolani. Now it is time for you to learn how to maneuver through a storm. This skill could prove beneficial should you need to flee your larger kin." Lifting a hand, father pointed to a lone stone jutting from among the brush. "Fly for as long as you can, then land there."
Staring the stone, I forced myself to swallow the lump in my throat. Tensing, I leaped into the air and opened my wings.
The wind twisted around me. Tossed about and blinded by the water lashing against my face, my chest tightened with a burning pang. Focusing on the burning, I forced my wings to shift. Their protests hurt. Positioning them, I tried to use the wild wind. It carried me higher.
With the storm raging all around me, I could scarcely believe that anyone would try to fly through this. Far too soon, I felt myself weakening. Diving back down to the chosen stone seemed impossible.
Until cool hands grasped my arms.
Father pulled me along with him, traversing the storm with a skill I did not possess.
Even after my feet hit the ground, my father held on to me.
As we made our way back to the security of the forest, I thought of how it was possible to fly during a storm. One day, I would have the skill to fly in one.
Like my father.