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Thursday, December 25, 2008 The Armor of Righteousness - Part 6

Without speaking, Alexis proceeds to the door. The Firewall has died down, and the other fighters follow him, staggering from their wounds. A bright light comes from a distance inside the doorway, bringing hope of deliverance to the thirsty, much fatigued and wounded fighters.
Alexis steps into the next chamber, the core of the lave cave. It’s a vast area with a boiling magma pool far below and something like an island on the center. A natural stone bridge connects the entrance to the island. There is a stone pedestal on the center of the island, and the bright light comes from it.
Cautiously, Alexis treads across the relatively narrow bridge – barely enough for two people crossing side-by-side. He keeps his eyes on the light and tries hard not to look down. With that pace, he reaches the island in five minutes.
Approaching closer, Alexis marvels at the celebrated Armor of Righteousness, which have helped his forefathers won an empire. Like the Greaves of Diligence, the armor is silvery white with gold linings in color, stylish but not elaborated in form and design – a perfect harmony of display, performance and comfort.
This divine armor was forged with magic in this very place from the godly metal, eternium, mined from this mountain, Urzaghi. Rarest among the rare, stronger than mythril and adamantium. Once wore by the God of Light himself, Vadis, the armor bears the godly aura and power, empowering its worthy master, the Heir of Vadis to match the Heir of Vordac’s power.
As he moves to touch the armor, a voice comes. ‘Wait a minute, Prince Alexis. Don’t you care about the others here?’
Alexis turns and finds Hernan with Carolyn and Andreas trailing behind him across the stone bridge. He says, ‘Pardon me, Don Hernan. I was too distracted by this blinding light and forgot myself for a while.’
Saying so, he takes Hernan’s hand and guides him to the island, and then helps Carolyn and Andreas in the same manner. Just then, an eagle comes and lands on the island, transforming into the halfling, Dejan Pavlovic.
Alexis talks on, ‘So, who gets the armor?’
Carolyn answers, ‘None of us, I’m afraid. The efreet was disappointed. We didn’t reach the level of virtue he required.’
Dejan also speaks up, ‘But now the guardian is gone, and we don’t want Vordac’s heir lay his hands on this, right? Should I volunteer as the new guardian? No, thank you! I can hardly live in this kind of environment.’
‘We don’t have time to find a new efreet, and Algaban is busy guarding Adair’s Arsenal, ‘Andreas speaks out his point of view. ‘Anyway, the efreet has opened the way. It means we must replace him as guardians of the armor. Since we can’t guard it here, we better take it to Yvais under Archangel Avariel’s care.’
Hernan takes his turn to speak, ‘Good idea, Father Andreas. Just let the archangel decide and choose the one who will wear this armor and the Arsenal of Light as an entirety. We can take the armor but we better not wear it. Do we agree to this?’
‘Of course!’ says Carolyn. The others cheer their agreement.
‘Sounds fair for me,’ says Alexis. ‘Hernan, you bring the armor. The rest of us will guard you along the detour. Let’s hope we can reach the exit before our water supply runs out.’
‘Okay,’ says Hernan. ‘Now get prepared. We don’t know what will happen if I take the treasure away from its place of keeping. Well, here goes nothing.’
Hernan touches the Armor of Righteousness – nothing happens. Now he slowly takes it up from the pedestal – nothing happens too. Hernan sighs in relief. Just then, the pedestal moves down! The fighters become alert, in case it’s a trap. The top of the pedestal becomes even with the ground and the ‘island’ slowly rises.
‘Oh, no! We must get out of here now!’ says Hernan.
‘Wait, Don Hernan!’ Alexis responds, ‘Look above you! It’s a light! Maybe the exit is there, on top of that opening.’
‘Let’s hope you’re right, Your Highness.’
To cut the story short, it’s indeed the exit. Now the fighters are standing on a mountain peak in the middle of nowhere, far away from the dragon head entrance.
Dejan talks cheerfully, ‘Great! We took the armor and got stuck in the middle of nowhere. No I have to find the guide angel. You guys stay here and wait for the airship!’


About an hour later, Dejan comes back with two guide angels and one airship, Aurora.
‘Well,’ he explains. ‘Team Cristophe already rode griffins back to Yvais, so the airship only refueled at Klosser and flew back here. Looks like the other team is doing great as well.’
Carolyn comments, ‘What are we waiting for, then? Let’s go back to Yvais! I can’t wait to find out about the fifth quest!’ The Armor of Righteousness - Part 5

Ish'kandr the Efreet (Tentative Image)
from the artwork "Efreet" by Moai

The fireball comes into the maelstrom and gets sucked like a drowning ship. Carolyn collapses due to internal injury, and her lightning power still lingers in the whirlpool.

The efreet laughs. ‘Haha! Nice combination, very powerful! But, even if you block half of my fireball, the other half can still scorch you all to smithereens!’

Like the efreet said, the three elements collide on and on and finally explode! Most of the Great Fireball gets neutralized, but the rest thirty percent rains down on the fighters. Despite of their protections, the fighters take considerable amount of damage.

Shards of water and lightning energy shoot up as well. Ish’kandr already anticipates that and moves here and there to avoid and block the shards. Just then, another energy shard, larger and the rest and spiraling like a drill – or more like Alexis’ skill Griffin Noble Sacrifice – comes. The efreet warps aside. The energy shard turns and comes even faster like a homing heat-seeker. Panicked, the efreet shoots a Fireblast and hits the energy shard, making it disperse.

The efreet sighs with relief, but after that comes extreme pain. Before he knows it, flashes of light slice all over his body. The next thing he sees is Alexis the Red Prince, floating in front of him and slashes with his black sword. Ish’kandr is half-stunned by the last attack and can’t do another hyperspeed move, only barely avoids the black sword... and finds the white sword piercing into his torso, all the way to his upper back.

With a wound like that, nothing can save his life now. Being naturally immortal and powerful, Ish’kandr has lived long and knows no defeat. Both he and Alexis go down, and the efreet lands on his own throne.

‘Ahh... So this is what death feels like... Sweet and bitter in the same time. Painful, but after that comes rest. Defeated by a skill as quick as my own, I have no regrets. I can now rest in peace, away from this job and this place.

But pray tell me, why? Why did you kill me? There must be another way to make my job complete, why this?’

Alexis answers carefully, ‘Because there’s no other way. We wanted to ask your permission to borrow the Armor of Righteousness. We were willing to be tested in any way, but no. You didn’t give us a chance! You attacked us on and on until we die, then you’ll sit back and relax on top of our remains, and waiting for another victim so you’ll be satisfied again.

Archangel Avariel has made a poor choice by making you a guardian. Now you can rest in the depths of hell where you belong.’

To Alexis’ answer, Ish’kandr the fire efreet laughs most loudly. ‘Know you what of proper? Know you what of holy? Who are you to judge from my appearance?

I intended to stop the attack and give the armor to YOU if you survived the Great Fireball, but no, you didn’t give me a chance and decided to kill me. If only you waited instead, we can settle this without anybody gets killed.

But hey, we genies shall turn more powerful after we die – as spirits, of course. So I don’t know whether to thank you or curse you after what you’ve done. One more thing I must say to you is, never-ever doubt Avariel. He didn’t make a poor choice. He took my Great Fireball as whole, and he only smiled and offered me this job instead – entrusting me with the armor. I may look like a devil, but he saw goodness, righteousness in me, and for it I am eternally thankful.’

With his dying breath, Ish’kandr looks around towards the fighters, saying, ‘The greatest virtue is to find goodness in anything and anyone, even in the slimmest chance and the obscurest place.’

The great efreet rests his head back against the throne, and with a smile he is no more. His body turns to dust like burned out, and goes in flow with the magma. Alexis puts his swords back in their scabbards, thoughtful.

Suddenly, a stone wall opens like a sliding door on the back of the throne. Apparently, Ish’kandr pressed a hidden switch on his throne just before he died, activated the mechanisms and opened the doorway after a while.


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Merry Christmas! FireHeart Gallery Dec 2008

Robert Chandler is Powering Up - Another Suggestion for FH32 Cover

Desmond Edmundsen is looking cool

Adler von Bachmann - Side Look

Christopher in the FH31 Indonesian Version Cover

Carolyn (Jr.) garbed in her new version costume. Feedbacks, anyone?

Merry Christmas 2008 & Happy New Year 2009!
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- Andry Chang of

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008


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The Car of Juggernaut, as depicted in the 1851 Illustrated London Reading Book.

A juggernaut (American pronunciation ) is a term used to describe a force regarded as unstoppable, that will crush all in its path.

The word is derived from the Sanskrit Jagannātha[1] (meaning "Lord of the universe") which is one of the many names of Krishna from the ancient Vedic scriptures of India. One of the most famous of Indian temples is the Jagannath Temple in Puri, Orissa, which has the Ratha Yatra ("chariot procession"), an annual procession of chariots carrying the murtis (statues) of Jagannâth (Krishna), Subhadra and Baladeva (Krishna's elder brother). During the British colonial era, Christian missionaries promulgated a falsehood that Hindu devotees of Krishna were lunatic fanatics who threw themselves under the wheels of these chariots in order to attain salvation.[citation needed] Such a description can also be found in the popular 14th-century work The Travels of Sir John Mandeville. This is also described in Melmoth the Wanderer. In rare instances in the festival's past, people had been crushed accidentally as the massive 45-foot-tall, multi-ton chariot slipped out of control, with others suffering injury in the resulting stampedes. This sight led the Britons of the time to contrive the word "juggernaut" to refer to examples of unstoppable, crushing forces.[citation needed]

In modern times, the government officers and temple priests managing the festival take elaborate precautions to protect people from injury during these processions.[citation needed]

Since 1968 the Ratha Yatra festival has become a common sight in most major cities of the world through the Hare Krishna movement. Its leader A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada successfully transplanted the festival, which now happens on an annual basis in places such as London, Paris, Toronto and New York.[citation needed]



A mermaid is a mythological aquatic creature that is half human, half aquatic creature (e.g. a fish or dolphin). Various cultures throughout the world have similar figures. The word is a compound of mere, the Old English word for "sea," and maid, which has retained its original sense. Mermaids appear to have the torso of a fish and the body of a woman.

Much like sirens, mermaids would sometimes sing to sailors and enchant them, distracting them from their work and causing them to walk off the deck or run their ships aground. Other stories have them squeezing the life out of drowning men while attempting to rescue them. They are also said to take humans down to their underwater kingdoms. In Hans Christian Andersen's The Little Mermaid it is said that they forget that humans cannot breathe underwater, while others say they drown men out of spite.

The sirens of Greek mythology are sometimes portrayed in later folklore as mermaid-like; in fact, some languages use the same word for both bird and fish creatures, such as the Maltese word 'sirena'. Other related types of mythical or legendary creature are water fairies (e.g. various water nymphs) and selkies, animals that can transform themselves from seals to humans.


[edit] Ancient Near East

Tales of mermaids are nearly universal. The first known mermaid stories appeared in Assyria, ca. 1000 BC. Atargatis, the mother of Assyrian queen Semiramis, was a goddess who loved a mortal shepherd and in the process killed him. Ashamed, she jumped into a lake to take the form of a fish, but the waters would not conceal her divine beauty. Thereafter, she took the form of a mermaid — human above the waist, fish below — though the earliest representations of Atargatis showed her as being a fish with a human head and legs, similar to the Babylonian Ea. The Greeks recognized Atargatis under the name Derketo. Prior to 546 BC, the Milesian philosopher Anaximander proposed that mankind had sprung from an aquatic species of animal. He thought that humans, with their extended infancy, could not have survived early on. This idea does not appear to have survived Anaximander's death.

A popular Greek legend has Alexander the Great's sister, Thessalonike, turn into a mermaid after she died.[1] She lived, it was said, in the Aegean and when sailors would encounter her, she would ask them only one question: "Is Alexander the king alive?" (Greek: Ζει ο βασιλιάς Αλέξανδρος;), to which the correct answer would be "He lives and still rules" (Greek: Ζει και βασιλεύει). Any other answer would spur her into a rage, where she transformed into a Gorgon and meant doom for the ship and every sailor onboard.

Lucian of Samosata in Syria (2nd century AD) in De Dea Syria ("Concerning the Syrian Goddess") wrote of the Syrian temples he had visited:

"Among them - Now that is the traditional story among them concerning the temple. But other men swear that Semiramis of Babylonia, whose deeds are many in Asia, also founded this site, and not for Hera Atargatis but for her own Mother, whose name was Derketo"
"I saw the likeness of Derketo in Phoenicia, a strange marvel. It is woman for half its length, but the other half, from thighs to feet, stretched out in a fish's tail. But the image in the Holy City is entirely a woman, and the grounds for their account are not very clear. They consider fishes to be sacred, and they never eat them; and though they eat all other fowls, they do not eat the dove, for she is holy so they believe. And these things are done, they believe, because of Derketo and Semiramis, the first because Derketo has the shape of a fish, and the other because ultimately Semiramis turned into a dove. Well, I may grant that the temple was a work of Semiramis perhaps; but that it belongs to Derketo I do not believe in any way. For among the Egyptians, some people do not eat fish, and that is not done to honor Derketo."[2]

[edit] Arabian Nights

The Arabian Nights (One Thousand and One Nights) includes several tales featuring "Sea People", such as Djullanar the Sea-girl. Unlike the depiction in other mythologies, these are anatomically identical to land-bound humans, differing only in their ability to breathe and live underwater. They can (and do) interbreed with land humans, the children of such unions sharing in the ability to live underwater.

In another Arabian Nights tale, "Abdullah the Fisherman and Abdullah the Merman", the protagonist Abdullah the Fisherman gains the ability to breathe underwater and discovers an underwater submarine society that is portrayed as an inverted reflection of society on land, in that the underwater society follows a form of primitive communism where concepts like money and clothing do not exist. Other Arabian Nights tales deal with lost ancient technologies, advanced ancient civilizations that went astray, and catastrophes which overwhelmed them.[3]

In "The Adventures of Bulukiya", the protagonist Bulukiya's quest for the herb of immortality leads him to explore the seas, where he encounters societies of mermaids.[4] "Julnar the Sea-Born and Her Son King Badr Basim of Persia" is yet another Arabian Nights tale about mermaids.


Mermaids were noted in British folklore as unlucky omens - both foretelling disaster and provoking it.[5] Several variants of the ballad Sir Patrick Spens depict a mermaid speaking to the doomed ships; in some, she tells them they will never see land again, and in others, she claims they are near shore, which they are wise enough to know means the same thing. They can also be a sign of rough weather.[6]

Some mermaids were described as monstrous in size, up to 2000 feet.[5]

Mermaids could also swim up rivers to freshwater lakes. One day, in a lake near his house, the Laird of Lorntie saw, as he thought, a woman drowning, and went to aid her; a servant of his pulled him back, warning that it was a mermaid, and the mermaid screamed after that she would have killed him if it were not for his servant.[7]

On occasion, mermaids could be more beneficient, giving humans means of cure.[8]

Some tales raised the question of whether mermaids had immortal souls to answer it in the negative.[9] The figure of Liban appears as a sanctified mermaid, but she was originally a human being transformed into a mermaid; after three centuries, when Christianity had come to Ireland, she came to be baptized.[10]

Mermen were also noted as wilder and uglier than mermaids, but they were described as having little interest in humans.[11]

The mermaid, or syrenka, is the symbol of Warsaw.[12] Images of a mermaid have been used on the crest of Warsaw as its symbol since the middle of the 14th century.[13]

The origin of the legendary figure is not fully known. Tellers of many stories and legends have tried to explain where she came from. The best-known legend, by Artur Oppman, is that a long time ago two of Triton's daughters set out on a journey through the depths of the oceans and seas. One of them decided to stay on the coast of Denmark and ever since we can see her sitting at the entrance to the port of Copenhagen.[14] The second mer-maiden reached the mouth of the Vistula River and plunged into its waters. She stopped to rest on a sandy beach by the village of Warszowa. Local fishermen came to admire her beauty and listen to her beautiful voice. A greedy merchant also heard her songs; he followed the fishermen and captured the mermaid.[14]

Another legend says that a mermaid once swam to Warsaw from the Baltic Sea for the love of the Griffin, the ancient defender of the city, who was killed in a struggle against the Swedish invasions of the 17th century. The Mermaid, wishing to avenge his death, took the position of defender of Warsaw, becoming the symbol of the city.

[edit] Other

Among the Neo-Taíno nations of the Caribbean the mermaid is called Aycayía.[15] Her attributes relate to the goddess Jagua, and the hibiscus flower of the majagua tree Hibiscus tiliaceus.[16] Examples from other cultures are the Mami Wata of West and Central Africa, the Jengu of Cameroon, the Merrow of Ireland and Scotland, the Rusalkas of Russia and Ukraine, and the Greek Oceanids, Nereids, and Naiads. One freshwater mermaid-like creature from European folklore is Melusine, who is sometimes depicted with two fish tails, and other times with the lower body of a serpent. It is said in Japan that eating the flesh of a ningyo can grant unaging immortality. In some European legends mermaids are said to grant wishes.

Sightings of dead or living mermaids have come from places such as Java and British Columbia. Two recent Canadian reports took place in the Strait of Georgia.[17][18]

Mermaids and mermen are also characters of Philippine folklore, where they are locally known as sirena and siyokoy, respectively.[19] The Javanese people believe that the southern beach in Java is a home of Javanese mermaid queen Nyi Roro Kidul.

Mermaids are said to be known for their vanity, but also for their innocence. They often fall in love with human men, and are willing to go to great extents to prove their love with humans (see mermaid problem). Unfortunately, especially with younger mermaids, they tend to forget humans cannot breathe underwater. Their male counterparts, mermen, are rarely interested in human issues, but in the Finnish mythology mermen are able to grant wishes, heal sickness, lift curses and brew magic potions.[citation needed]

[edit] Symbolism

According to Dorothy Dinnerstein’s book, The Mermaid and the Minotaur, human-animal hybrids such as the minotaur and the mermaid convey the emergent understanding of the ancients that human beings were both one with and different from animals and that, as such, humans' "nature is internally inconsistent, that our continuities with, and our differences from, the earth's other animals are mysterious and profound; and in these continuities, and these differences, lie both a sense of strangeness on earth and the possible key to a way of feeling at home here".[20]

[edit] Art and literature

See also: Mermaids in popular culture

One influential image was created by John William Waterhouse, from 1895 to 1905, entitled A Mermaid, (see the top of this article). An example of late British Academy style artwork, the piece debuted to considerable acclaim (and secured Waterhouse's place as a member of the Royal Academy), but disappeared into a private collection and did not resurface until the 1970s. It is currently in the collection of Andrew Lloyd-Webber.

The most famous in more recent centuries is Hans Christian Andersen's fairytale The Little Mermaid (1836), which has been translated into many languages. Andersen's portrayal, immortalized with a famous bronze sculpture in Copenhagen harbour, has arguably become the standard and has influenced most modern Western depictions of mermaids since it was published. The mermaid, as conceived by Andersen, appears to represent the Undines of Paracelsus, which also could only obtain an immortal soul by marrying a human being.

16th century Zennor mermaid chair

The best known musical depictions of mermaids are those by Felix Mendelssohn in his Fair Melusina overture and the three "Rhine daughters" in Richard Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen. A more recent depiction in contemporary concert music is The Weeping Mermaid by Taiwanese composer Fan-Long Ko.

Sue Monk Kidd has written a book called The Mermaid Chair. The title comes from a mermaid who becomes a (fictional) saint.

Movie depictions include the 1984 hit comedy Splash starring Daryl Hannah. A 1963 episode of the hit television series Route 66, featured an episode The Cruelest Sea about a real mermaid working at Weeki Wachee aquatic park.

[edit] Heraldry

In heraldry, the charge of a mermaid is commonly represented with a comb and a mirror, and blazoned as a 'mermaid in her vanity.' Merfolk were used to symbolize eloquence in speech.

A shield and sword-wielding mermaid (Syrenka) is on the official Coat of arms of Warsaw, the capital of Poland. The city of Norfolk, Virginia also uses a mermaid as a symbol, and a civic art project with variously decorated mermaid sculptures has been displayed all over the municipal area. The capital city of Hamilton, Bermuda has the mermaid in its coat of arms, displayed across the city.

The personal coat of arms of Michaëlle Jean, Canada's Governor General, features two Simbi, mermaid-like spirits from Haitian Vodou, as supporters.

[edit] Hoaxes

During the Renaissance and Baroque eras, dugongs, frauds and victims of sirenomelia were exhibited in wunderkammers as mermaids.

In the 19th century, P. T. Barnum displayed in his museum a taxidermal hoax called the Fiji mermaid. Others have perpetrated similar hoaxes, which are usually papier-mâché fabrications or parts of deceased creatures, usually monkeys and fish, stitched together for the appearance of a grotesque mermaid. In the wake of the 2004 tsunami, pictures of Fiji "mermaids" were passed around on the internet as something that had washed up amid the devastation, though they were no more real than Barnum's exhibit.[21]

[edit] Sirenia

Sirenia is an order of fully aquatic, herbivorous mammals that inhabit rivers, estuaries, coastal marine waters, swamps, and marine wetlands. Sirenians, including manatees and the Dugong, have major aquatic adaptations: forelimbs have modified into arms used for steering, the tail has modified into a paddle used for propulsion, hind limbs (legs) are but two small remnant bones floating deep in the muscle. They appear fat, but are fusiform, hydrodynamic, and highly muscular. Prior to the mid 19th century, mariners referred to these animals as mermaids.[citation needed]

[edit] Sirenomelia

Sirenomelia, also called "mermaid syndrome", is a rare congenital disorder in which a child is born with his or her legs fused together and the genitalia are reduced. This condition is about as rare as conjoined twins, affecting one out of every 70,000 live births[22] and is usually fatal within a day or two of birth because of kidney and bladder complications. Four survivors were known to be alive as of July 2003.[23]

[edit] See also

Grouping Mythological
Sub grouping Water spirit
Similar creatures Merman
Mythology World mythology
First reported c. 1000BC
Country Worldwide
Habitat Ocean, sea

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