Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Let me know what you people think...

This is the beginning of a fantasy novel I'm formulating in my spare time. Give my writing a fair and honest critique, no bullshit or platitudes.

The Exile Chronicles

As the morning sun raises in the eastern sky a faint sparkle shown on the horizon. Such sights in the war torn land of Grundig were not unusual, many armies with gleaming shields and deadly spears had passed along this same road marching towards victory or doom. But this new force would irrevocably alter the landscape and forever change the balance of power.

The Exile had returned, and he traveled at the head of the massive army he’d assembled in compelled isolation, driven out by his own people for an offense he did not commit. How long ago was he ostracized? A millennia at least, over a thousand years spent stewing and plotting. What plan he carried in his conscious none knew, revenge, redemption, or reckoning was equally possible.

What was the purpose of his sudden return? Was he here to serve the Jade Council, the same counsel who had pronounced guilt and had banished the Exile to the blighted northern reaches of Grundig, and who now had the temerity to summon him in hopes of gaining his allegiance? Or was he here to destroy them?

No one knew, save only the Exile himself, for he served no master.

What was the Exile’s name? Few knew for his name hadn’t been spoken aloud in many circles for a thousand years. As part of the sentence passed down by the Counsel, the Exile’s name was to be stricken from the records and his name was strictly taboo. Only those who knew him and were still alive knew his proper name but none dare speak it aloud in public lest they be tried by the magistrate for treason. The mighty Jade Counsel ruled with an iron fist and did not tolerate sedition of any kind. And uttering the Exile’s name was an affront to the Counsel itself.

As the Exile’s army slowly advanced towards the small town of Spikiri the locals sat along side the road going about their daily rituals. Some swept their stoops, some tended to the vegetable fields and fed the livestock, and others stood on alert with brandished weapons, hoping that the latest travelers meant this sleepy hamlet no harm.

The glint of sun on spear tips gave way to a large cloud of dust and the faint rattle of metal and footsteps. It was hard to tell how many approached but the seasoned lookouts high in their towers could not see the end of the column as it passed beyond sight over the horizon. Quick arithmetic would surmise that the Grendal Road, the main highway that linked all of Grundig, could accommodate only twenty men walking abreast, and half that count of cavalry, and even fewer wagons. This army numbered ten thousand, maybe more.

The guards knew such a force would level the town in seconds, so they stole up the courage to dutifully let this army pass unheeded. As the rumble drew near the Elvin guards in the towers, using their supernatural eye sight, could now see the head of the column, and their faces turned ashen with fear. The humans gathered below saw the look of dread in their normally stoically valiant and stoic compatriots and panic welled up in their hearts. The townsfolk scattered, doors slammed, shutters were closed tight, the mood grew apprehensive.

The hooves of the horses at the head of the column grew to a nearly thunderous din as the tip of this war scythe drew within a mile of the town walls. The elves on guard could now clearly make out the stern yet ominously beautiful face of the leader of this cabal. Stories had been written about this wayfarer. Tales of his sword cutting swaths of destruction through his enemy were the stuff of legend. It was also said that this one, the Exile, was the most powerful elf in the long and tumultuous history of Grundig. Some legends even said his eyes burnt with the fires damnation and that his visage was so fearsome yet so fare that to gaze upon his angelic face was akin to looking into the eyes of Yah, the Creator, The Master of All Things.

The Exile and his closest lieutenants were now within 200 yards of the town walls. He raised his right hand and the entire formation stopped in unison.

“’Lo there, state your business.” An Elvin sentry manning the gate, obviously the one in charge, tried to be stern but his nerves shown through in his voice.

A voice boomed from the head of army, “We’re making way to Vorai.”

The sentries’ hearts leapt to their collective throats. This army meant business and would not be stopped by the two hundred men-at-arms in Spikiri. “What business do you have in Vorai?”

A decidedly more gentle voice, yet one with great command shouted, “My business is my own. But if you must, we’re here to see the Jade Counsel.” To hear the voice of the Exile was like listening to a soothing and wise sage, the wisdom of the ages was in that voice. “Now please, let us pass.”

And with that the sentry captain signaled and the gate was open.

Tuesday night...shit it's cold

The mercury hath dipped to a paltry 10 degrees here in Denver. As I sit here on a Tuesday night I feel the urge to confess.

I’ve lusted many times but only truly loved once. Ahhh, Michelle, how you stole my heart with the first gaze upon your angelic face, your smile lit up a room and your soulful laugh made my soul sing. Wherever you are and wherever fate takes know this, I’ll never forget you.

I cannot begin to fathom the grief of mother Alleta Sullivan and father Thomas Sullivan, whose five sons perished aboard the USS Juneau off the shores of Guadalcanal in WWII. George, Francis, Joseph, Madison, and Albert all died when their ship was sunk by a Japanese torpedo. May you rest in peace young men, and may the stars be your playground.

Thoughts turn to nothing in particular as Al Green belts out the classic “Simply Beautiful”. I’m discovering the depth and beauty of music again, something I’d taken for granted. Music hath charms to soothe the savage beast.

I go in for surgery tomorrow, Wednesday, and I’ll admit, I’m a bit scared. The surgeon, a decent bloke, plans to affix a steel cage to my lower leg via a series of rods drilled into the bone. This will help fix the tendon contracture that currently makes my foot totally incompatible with any footwear. It is also hoped that the chronic sores that plague yours truly’s lower extremities will be a thing of the past should my foot and ankle return to a more neutral and natural position. Ah the joys of modern medicine. I hope the Dilauded flows freely.

I really need to get a hobby besides video games. Damn things waste more time than watching the NBA. I detest watching basketball anymore. Sure doesn’t resemble the Showtime era of the 80’s when both teams routinely scored 120 points a night. Where’s the Magic Man and Larry Bird when you need them. The trinity of Dwayne Wade, LaBron, and Melo may salvage some of the mystique of the NBA of yore but only if they win championships with reckless abandon.

Woohoo, the Jay Cutler era begins in Bronco land on Sunday.

Tata for now kids, wish me luck.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Bravo old folks

It’s a Thursday night and the air cools. Winter is around the corner and yours truly will miss the warmth. But let’s be honest, winters in Denver aren’t that bad. Yes the snow falls in buckets but it melts away in mere days. The sun destroys the blanket of white, revealing yellow grass and semi-frozen dog turds. Ah the majesty of nature.

My dear friend’s grandfather passed away Tuesday. I feel for her loss. She was tremendously close to her grandpa, as I was with mine. Grandparents are fascinating creatures. On one hand they’re quick to spoil the little ones. Then your parents regale one and all with stories of the tyrannical despots that now sit, masked as your beloved octogenarians and familial patriarchs & matriarchs. Don’t they look cute as they shuffle along on frail legs that have seen better days. Terrorizing pinchers of facial cheeks, givers of the pocket cash, keepers of our heritage.

In these grizzled bodies lay wisdom beyond comprehension. Technology has swum by those eyes at a dizzying pace. They gathered round the radio in the forgotten days of yore to listen to Seabiscuit beat Man o’ War, to hear the call as Jim Braddock bedeviled and defeated the dreaded Max Baer, and were scared out of their wits when Orson Wells played the biggest practical joke ever during the now infamous War of the Worlds broadcast.

They watched as the economy collapsed and the Great Depression seized the throat of this nation. Yet they endured.

Then they fought and destroyed the Third Reich and the dreams of Japanese imperialism. Over 600,000 men lost their lives yet still they endured.

They saw the country through the Korean and Viet Nam wars. They witnessed a divided country nearly tear itself asunder during years of mass protest and racial strife. Yet they still loved this nation, and endured.

They watched with pride as the United States put a man on the moon and watched with bated breath as NASA, in its finest hour of heroism, saved the astronauts of Apollo 13. They took a deep breath and endured.

Then the telecommunications revolution changed the face of technology. The Internet now made it possible to communicate with anyone on the planet and to find any nugget of information imaginable. And there they sit in awe and wonder, and endure.

Stop for a minute and think about this. Our elders, grandparents and great grandparents, were born anywhere from 1900-1930. Think about the world they were born into. Cars were scarce, television was nonexistent, computers weren’t even contemplated, telephones weren’t universal let alone cellular phones, and business was conducted on reams of paper. Radio and newspapers were the only form of mass media, children really did walk five miles to school, family farms were the dominant agriculture machine, houses were brick, horses provided the most reliable transportation, and election results weren’t known for weeks afterward.

Now fast forward to 2006. The Internet is the lynch pin of research tools, phones now don’t require wires and fit in your breast pocket, microwaves can boil water in seconds, cars go 100mph, planes go 500mph, one nuclear bomb can wipe out a city, there are televisions in 97% of all American households, every CD and DVD you own can now fit in a piece of hardware barely bigger than wallet, and satellites beam porn 24/7.

Our elders have lived through the largest and fastest technological explosion in human history, yet they just keep on trucking. When you stop and think about what they’ve seen it humbles those of us who grew up with all this glorious gadgetry.

So, as these impossibly wise and gentle souls pass through the winters of their collective lives let those of us who still can lend a helping hand…or a round of applause.