To Everna and Beyond!

An exploration of Fantasy and Science Fiction Worlds in literature and multimedia entertainment
The official blog and novelblog for Evernade Saga and FireHeart Saga by Andry Chang

"Come forth, Paladins! Fulfill your destiny!"

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Friday, January 21, 2011

Warm up your winter!

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January 2011

Warm up your winter with
these sci-fi & fantasy titles!

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A Crack in the Sky cover

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A Crack in the Sky
by Mark Peter Hughes

Eli Papadopoulos lives in the protected dome-city run by his family's company, InfiniCorp. Their billboards are everywhere, proclaiming: DON'T WORRY! INFINICORP IS TAKING CARE OF EVERYTHING! But recently, Eli's been asking questions...

Play an all new game based on the book. In this exciting puzzle game, help decode InfiniCorp's confidential files. Play the game now!

Read the Book!

All Just Glass cover

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All Just Glass
by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes

From a legendary family of vampire-hunting witches, Sarah was raised to never trust a vampire. But now Sarah IS a vampire—changed by the boy she thought she loved. Her family has forsaken her, and Sarah herself is disgusted by her appetite for blood.

Read an excerpt from All Just Glass.

Visit the Amelia Atwater-Rhodes website.

The Splendor Falls cover

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The Splendor Falls
by Rosemary Clement-Moore

New from the author of Prom Dates from Hell:

Sylvie's pain runs deep. When her father died and her mother remarried, she was sent to Alabama where she finds her family has a lot more history than she ever knew.

View the buzz board to hear what readers are saying about The Splendor Falls on RandomBuzzers.com.

Visit the Rosemary Clement-Moore website.

Warped cover

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Warped
by Maurissa Guibord

Tessa doesn't believe in magic. Or fate. But when she discovers a weird unicorn tapestry, she accidentally releases a terrible centuries-old secret. And then the Fates step in, making Tessa's life a tangled mess.

Read a review of Warped on RandomBuzzers.com.

Visit the Maurissa Guibord website.

Throat cover

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Throat
by R. A. Nelson

R. A. Nelson takes us on a supernatural thrill ride: a modern-day vampire story set on a NASA base and filled with space-and-science intrigue.

Read more about Throat.

Visit the R. A. Nelson website.

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Introducing
The Emerald Atlas
by John Stephens

The Emerald Atlas cover

The Emerald Atlas is
the magical story of three children who set out to save their family, and end up having to save the world!

Who will they meet
along the way? Visit EmeraldAtlas.com to watch videos featuring Dr. Pym and the Countess.

Pre-Order
The Emerald Atlas
on sale April 5th.

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Saturday, January 15, 2011

3.3.17.2. The Dragon Riders - Part 2


Nefemia Fashon the Dragon Rider
(Illustration: Dragon Rider by Anne Stokes - www.annestokes.com - )


Three hours later, Iris rides her elf-breed horse at full speed southwards. she has done this before to save Carolyn from poisoning by covering the distance between Mount Hvalgarr in Halethia and Ascension in Valanis in four days. This time, she aims to reach Mallevarte Mount in two days.

The horse gallops on, without stopping to eat, drink end even sleep. Both are blessed with abundant stamina. Two days’ ride without rest, meal and sleep is natural for elves, but they must replenish their energy on the third day, or they will collapse.

Thank goodness, at night on the second day Iris arrives in a village near Grad Mountain Range – a village where weary travelers may eat and rest from all the fatigue of crossing the Great Grad. The Mallevarte is one of the three great peaks there beside the Gryveil (home of the Arcadian Griffin Riders) and Ylbarra (with the dwarven stronghold inside its crater).

Iris doesn’t look tired, but she asks around as she needs not only food and shelter, but also information about the Borgian Dragon Riders. Four houses she knocked, and she only gets info about the location of the food depot and head-shakes for everything else.

Ah, this is the fifth house, and I only got ‘talk to my hand’ as answer. Maybe I’ll get a better luck at the depot.

So, she goes straight to the food depot, fills herself up with nutrients and starts to ask around again.

‘Isn’t the Dragon Rider Clan just a legend? They have disbanded some eighty years ago,’ says an elderly woman in her fifties who looks like an ordinary housewife.

Iris replies, ‘Well, according to a reliable source and my knowledge, the surviving members of the Clan can live to hundreds of years old, still alive until now and hold secret meetings from time to time in the caverns of Mount Mallevarte.’

The woman is shocked on hearing that. She asks, ‘From whom did you hear that? May I know his name?’

‘Sir Heinrich Ratzinger, a Borgian Knight.’

The woman’s face turns angry, showing more traces of beauty from her youth. Her eyes gleam with rage, showing that she is not just an ordinary housewife. She speaks bitterly,

‘Ratzinger... that RAT. He betrayed us by staying loyal to Borgia and serving them after his dragon was killed. And this time he revealed our position and existence to a runt! I swear, I’ll get my dragon rip him apart if I see his face again!’

‘What?’ says Iris with surprise, ‘You’re a Dragon Rider too, ma’am!?’

‘Humph. So I am. My name is Nefemia Fashon, born in Escudia and joined this brotherhood since I was eighteen. I served and fought for years until a traitor, Dakronn von Karlsberg became the King of Borgia and conquered neighboring kingdoms including Arcadia with help from Phillipe Foucault, who turned out to be the Dark Overlord, Vordac in disguise. Of course, we were wrong too for being aggressive, but Sage the Fireheart spared our lives and made us see the light.

Alas, another Dragon Rider, Mildred Urganon took over our clan by force. With his dragon, Omegron he defeated our leader, Galliard and the Ancient White Dragon, Hazmat. A number of our comrades were killed in the fight, and the survivors went into hiding. I and a few others chose to stay here and organize meetings to keep the brotherhood intact...

Oh, no! Why did I tell so much about Dragon Riders Clan to a stranger? I must be going senile. Ah, what the shame, the disgrace... So, tell me! What’s your name and why do you seek us?’

‘Lavennia Iris is my name, and I’m in a very urgent mission. Borgia is under attack by the Dark Forces. We are greatly outnumbered and help is not arrived yet. So, we thought maybe you can help.’

Hearing that, Nefemia pauses in her thoughts.

Iris looks at her impatiently, and just as she opens her mouth to talk, Nefemia speaks up.

‘I’m sorry, young elf. We would like to help you, but we can’t. As you can see, we’re getting old and senile, and we haven’t recruited in years. Just let us retire and live our long lives in peace. About your fight, you can still call the Arcadian Griffin Riders, the Yvais Angels and many others. So, you better head back now. May you have the best of luck.’

‘But, but, ma’am... You don’t understand the escalating situation...’
Nefemia doesn’t want to hear anymore. She just walks out from the depot in a hurry, leaving Iris alone. The elf frowns and grits her teeth in disappointment, yet she has no intention to quit now.

She goes out from the depot and follows Nefemia stealthily from afar. Her experience as secret agent in Thyrine and the elf-nature flexibility – moving along the flow of air, her steps are hardly heard. Yet, Iris can’t help wondering that the powerful dragon riders can’t detect her moves – all that dragon eyesight, dragon super-senses and the bonding of power between human and dragon. Maybe Nefemia was right – the dragon riders are declining to their new low, in the brink of extinction.

Still, Iris follows the old woman into the woods. The eerie elm trees in the darkness of night present no significant hurdles for Nefemia. She still moves normally like a walk in the park. One may assume that it’s no wonder because she knows every tree, every spot in this place like her own house, living here for more years than everybody else.

Nefemia stops in an opening, and Iris spies on her from afar. The dragon rider extends her hands to the sky and no voice comes out from her mouth.

Nothing happens. The woman stays in place and Iris doesn’t even move a muscle – only breathing silently and slowly like elves can. Seconds later, a gust of wind blows. It’s getting stronger and stronger, sending leaves and branches flying everywhere. Some of them hit Iris, but the elf still doesn’t move, staying still like a tough tree trunk.

Later, Iris hears the sound of flapping wings, and a big, winged figure lands on the opening. Yes, it’s a dragon. It’s not as gigantic as the ancients like Algaban, Petra, Barudan or Omegron, yet a fully grown man can mount on the saddle that perfectly fits on its back. Its green scales deflect moonlight, shining in the dark.

Caressing her dragon lovingly, Nefemia whispers, ‘Come, Brimgust. Let us meet up with our brethren. This is an emergency.’

She mounts, Brimgust blows a bit of smoke from its nostrils and kicks off from the ground, soaring high into the starry sky. A second later, both dragon and rider fly away, vanishing into the night.

Iris, of course, uses this momentum to follow the dragon rider to the lair in Mount Mallevarte. Leaving her horse in the village, Iris can still keep up with Nefemia. The terrain of Grad Mountain Range is naturally, extremely tricky even for an elf, yet Iris can still move swiftly horizontally and vertically – an ability even the most skilled mountain climber will envy.

Still, it’s hard to keep the flying dragon in sight, especially when in a certain spot it goes down and vanishes! Iris quickly jumps here and there, and arrives on that spot. But, she sees nothing special there – just rocks, rocks, and more rocks.


Three-headed dragon

Oh, no! I’m too late. There must be a secret entrance here, but I can’t figure out how to get in. What to do? What to do?

Iris ponders for some time, and she gets an idea.

Ah, yes! I’ll just hide somewhere. Since the clan is holding an emergency meeting now, I’ll just wait in case the other members arrive. They must know the way in.

And Iris is right. Soon, she sees three dragons coming. Far up away they are, Iris can hear one of them, an elf, chants something,
‘Mathrakl, vehfatr!’

It’s a strange language, even for the elves. Iris feels that she has heard of it somewhere... It must be some sort of password, like the elves and Valanisians invented to trigger magic spells. It’s actually a Draconian spell, understandable by humans and dragons alike.

The effect of the spell is apparent and instant. The next thing Iris sees is some rocks flying aside, revealing a cavity big enough for a dragon to fly inside. The three dragons fly one-by-one into the cavity. Iris waits until the three dragons all go in and moves swiftly to enter, closing it shut.
Darn! No matter how fast I moved, I was still too late. Maybe I must use a different, drastic approach...

Iris tries the password ‘Mathrakl vehfatr’ herself, but nothing happens. She tries again with the same tone and pronunciation as the elf dragon rider did, and still, nothing.

This is strange... Maybe... Oh, yes! I must say it together with my dragon roaring, and I have no dragon.

And she waits again. Lucky enough, two more dragon riders arrive at the entrance. The password is spoken like Iris has expected, and the gate is open again. Just as the dragons enter the cavity, Iris runs and leaps! She reaches out, and grabs the tip of the second dragon’s tail. Annoyed, the dragon waves its tail to shake the weight off. The tail thrashes violently and Iris is thrown away, hitting the cavern wall and falling on the floor, groaning with pain.

Ouch! At least I’m inside in one piece, praise Enia. But, the riders must’ve known that I’m here. Ah, there must be light at the end of this tunnel.

Iris moves on further inside, thinking of ways to handle these proud people, prouder than elves and are difficult to convince. It’s a long way inside and walking will take forever, so she runs as fast as she can. A strong wind blows from her back and Iris abruptly dives and lies flat on the floor. A dragon passes, not noticing her in the dark.

Iris wastes no time. She immediately gets up and runs again along the twists and turns of the tunnel. Soon, she sees the light ahead and dashes towards it. There’s an opening at the end of the tunnel and Iris slows down into ‘stealth mode’ again.
She leans against the cavern wall, witnessing the happenings going on inside. It’s a vast hall, so spacious as though a village can be built in there. The walls, to Iris’ wonder, are made from crystals that reflect sunlight from the holes on the ceiling into colorful spectrums, illuminating the whole area like daylight. It’s the same principle like Ylbarra, the citadel in the mountain, with a different method.
There’s more than meets the eye. Loud speech and beastly roars indicate that the hall is filled with people – and dragons. The enchantress moves from her hiding spot and crawls to the open. Her action is indeed appropriate because the speech comes from down below. The closer she gets, the clearer the voices she hears. Now it’s one man speaking. When Iris peeps from a ledge, she sees the speaker, a man in his late fifties with his hair all-white and balding, except for a pair of thick sideburns. Now his voice is loud and crystal-clear.

‘... Upon this ‘emergency’ Sister Nefemia told us about, and since we are now separated from the outside world, I say we shall not fight.’

Another Dragon Rider, a lavender-haired elf protests, ‘So, if we don’t fight, what use is our existence, our brotherhood? We have fought for years and years, and now in this hideout we are, doing nothing.

My bones are itching for action, and only in battles we can confirm our existence!’ His dragon roars in support.

The sideburn man replies, ‘Now, now, Kahka. That very thought is the cause of our downfall. Don’t you remember how many of us died because of that? We fought and fought, but what good have we brought? Nothing! We were just killing machines, consumed by our own ambition to rule. One of us did rule, yes, but he turned out a tyrant, pawn of the Dark Overlord. And many of us turned traitors and cut our number in half. Now do we want to repeat the same mistake again? Hell, no!
I’m too tired of all these battles, and all I want is to live in peace. I hope you can understand that, Kahka, my brethren, and that goes for you too, intruder.’
Iris is startled. Who? Me?

‘Yes, you, green-haired one hiding on the top. Just show yourself. We won’t hurt you.’

So, it’s true that the dragon riders develop more sensitivity to their senses than we elves have. They have found me out and they could’ve killed me already, but they didn’t. Their sense of pride is still intact after all.

Iris leaps from the ledge, does double somersaults in mid-air and lands smoothly in a very show-off style. And she kneels before the leader, saying, ‘Pardon my impudence, O’ great ones. I am Lavennia Iris from Thyrine, coming from Freidle with an urgent request.’

‘Well, we have heard of your request from Nefemia and you have heard my view about it. We would like to help, young elf, but we can’t. I suggest you go somewhere else for help. I am Dagmar Langstrom, leader of the Dragon Riders Clan and this is our decision.’

‘Excuse me, Mr. Langstrom, but something about your decision is still bothering me. You haven’t asked your brethren’s views and thoughts and made your own decision as it’s the decision of all. I suggest you ask them now, to convince me.’

‘A thought of one is a thought of all, Miss Iris. All our decisions are unanimous, without doubt. But, if it pleases you, we will take votes now. Anyone in favor for ‘not to fight in Freidle’?’

All dragon riders present there raise their hands.

‘See? We shall not fight. We shall return to our homes and live our lives as ordinary people, with this brotherhood to gather and preserve our way of life. We’ve seen enough, fought enough, bleed enough and lost enough. Now leave, leave these dishonored people in peace, and don’t ever come here again or we’ll kill you on the spot.’

On that answer, Iris only stays put. The next second, she begins to giggle and laugh, louder and louder. Naturally, this irritates Dagmar.

‘How dare you laugh at us! Have you lost your mind, miss? I can kill you for that!’
Iris answers with a smile, ‘If you can kill a quick-on-foot elf, why don’t you kill orcs and undead instead? Huh, I thought the legendary dragon riders are all-powerful, every one of them is equal to ten thousand men? So I guess I came to a wrong place. The dragon riders are now extinct. Instead, here I found a group of old-timers sipping tea, chatting about good ol’ days. So sorry, I can’t stop laughing at that. Well, I better go back to Freidle now to aid my fellow Paladin.’

Iris turns to leave, but Dagmar shouts,
‘A Paladin? Hold it right there, miss!’

Iris stops and lazily turns back. Dagmar talks on,
‘How could you insult us like that! We are the once proud dragon riders, stripped off our honor. Hadn’t it because of our bond in brotherhood, we must have disbanded a long time ago! Just let us be and remember us that way!’

‘But that is just – if I may put it blandly – stupid,’ Iris replies, ‘Don’t you want your pride and honor back? Honor is something that cannot be restored automatically over time. If you want it back, you must fight for it, you must earn it. And here’s a saying, ‘It’s better to die honorably than to live in shame.’

Don’t you see? Nowadays, even a mention of ‘dragon rider’ makes a grown man shake into his bones, and a child sleepless all night. Do you want to change that? If you do, this is your only chance, your one shot. Take that, and glory and honor will be yours whether you prevail or perish. Drop it, and you’ll spend eternity tormented by your guilt and dishonor. So, what will it be?’

Dagmar readily answers, ‘Hmm. Before we can answer that, I’d like you to meet the TRUE leader of the Dragon Riders Clan.’

Sound of flapping wings comes. Iris looks up, and from the biggest, topmost opening of the cavern wall comes a gigantic, winged white figure. From his looks, he definitely is an ancient dragon. He has three heads with nine horns on each. His snouts are covered with beard-like white hair. His body is covered with white fur and gold, leathery plates from the neck to his belly. He has six bird-like wings, each wingspan is about a hundred meters in length, fully stretched. Three tails rest on his back, gigantic, fluffy fox tails, each as long as his torso. Holy white, pearly aura covers him, radiant like the sun.

‘Behold,’ Dagmar continues, ‘Our ancient leader, Hazmat the White. All hail Hazmat!’
All dragon riders in the hall shout, ‘Hazmat! Hazmat! Let be ancient, let be great, let be permanent! Hazmat!’ as the Ancient White Dragon lands in the middle of the hall.

Iris is deeply impressed. Hazmat’s aura makes her fell peaceful and secure at the same time. Hazmat’s middle head stares closely at Iris, and a man’s voice, so gentle and fatherly resonates from it.

‘Why so silent, little one? You let your guard down.’

Iris is snapped from her comfort and replies humbly, ‘Forgive me, O’ Ancient Hazmat, but I can’t help feeling secure and serene from the air of your presence. My charm is nothing compares to yours.’

Hazmat nods, ‘Your answer is too exaggerating, yet you’re honest at the very least. From the fact that I can talk, that’s because my last master’s soul dwells inside me. I am him and he is me, and together we guide and support the Dragon Rider Clan forevermore.’

‘So, you mean, you are...’

‘Yes, my child. I was Galliard the Iron Wall, on the Seven Star Heroes in the time of Fireheart, leader of Dragon Riders Clan. And now, you can call me Hazmat the White. Now, straight to the point.

I have heard about your plea, and since you are the first person ever to enter this lair without a dragon for years, we must require you to answer these simple questions... Before we make our final decision. Are you ready for this?’

Iris readily answers, ‘I am always ready ever since I stepped into this place.’

‘Good. Now listen carefully. If we refused to aid Freidle, what will you do?’

Iris thinks for a while. She frowns, looking up and down, and then she answers,
‘Then I’ll go back to Freidle and fight there. Yet I’ll be realistic. We are greatly outnumbered, four to one, and without help we’ll perish for sure. However, Freidle is not the last stronghold. We have evacuated most of the citizens, and if all else fail we will withdraw, all of us, to Arcadia, and burn Freidle with as many enemies as possible, and they won’t be able to loot from there. We can still rebuild Freidle with the citizens saved. It’s better to fight another day, another place than to die in vain and cannot protect our loved ones.’

Dragons have no expression, so we can’t predict their reaction. Hazmat just proceeds,
‘On the contrary, if we agree to help you and all help you’ve sought comes, what will happen?’

‘If the odds are good, two to one at least,’ says Iris without hesitation, ‘We will fight, yes, fight to the death with everything we’ve got. Even if that will be our last stand, it’ll be our best chance to protect Everna, our world and everything we hold dear. By Enia and Vadis, we’ll fight.’

‘So, if we dragon riders help you and the odds are not improving, we’ll just help you withdraw to fight another day. Is that right?’

‘Yes. In order to make sure your burn-down tactic a success. We’ll trap those undead in the city and fry them to crisp. And yes, we’ll withdraw to fight another day.’

‘Fight to the death, or fight another day.’

‘Yes, exactly. Either way, the dragon riders will regain their honor, except if you refuse to fight.’

Hazmat stares at Lavennia Iris with his eyes widened.


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3.3.17.2. The Dragon Riders - Part 1

The original Dragon Riders from Mount Mallevarte. Image source: Layoutsparks.com

The great city of Freidle, the Capital of Borgia is the last stronghold of this land to withstand the conquest of the Dark Forces. Half of the city was built on a mount, with impressive buildings carved on the foot. It’s a natural fortress against all attacks – except from within. Throughout the history, only inside coups could cause chaos inside. That’s why it’s called Freidle, City of the Free.

However, people in the city today are in unrest. Tension and worry fills the air, especially on the city walls. A number of soldiers stand guard, watching far and wide for any sign of enemy attack. Some knights also watch with them, and – to ease their worries a bit – two Paladins of Light also help, plus a massive firepower from the Skyship Aurora.

‘I hope Dejan can reach them in time, and I hope our messengers to Arcadia, Escudia and Thyrine will return too, with reinforcements,’ says Carolyn, the pink-haired sorceress with lots of tension on her face.

Lavennia Iris the green-haired elf archer, another Paladin responds, ‘Not to mention the one we sent to Grad. Boy, we need their help very much if we are to defend Borgia. The enemies – they outnumbered us five to one!’

‘A somewhat precise calculation, if I may say,’ says Heinrich, a stout Borgian Knight with unshaven chin standing guard there too. With Lord Adler gone to war in Lore, our thirty thousand troops are no match for nearly two hundred thousand dark creatures!’

Carolyn continues, ‘Plus, we’ve lost two strong allies: Res’marth and Father Bernides in Merida. With only you and me here, we won’t last a day under the storms of that demonic horde.’

‘So, what must we do now?’ Iris cuts to the point. ‘We can’t just stand here, waiting like lambs for slaughter.’

Carolyn gets an idea and speaks it out.

‘Actually, there are two more allies we can call upon: the Borgian Dragon Riders and the Arcadian Griffin Riders. Since the Angels of Yvais are still under attack and cannot help us, the riders are the closest and the quickest ones to come for aid.

Unfortunately, the griffin riders are still recovering from the last battle, and the dragon riders, once a proud, great clan have been decimated and dishonored during Mandrach Urganon’s rule. Now they hide like hermits, living a humble life in desolate places and never participated in anything ever since.’

Iris asks, ‘So, how can we find them now?’

Heinrich replies, ‘Rumors have it that the Dragon Riders Clan has a hideout somewhere in Mount Mallevarte, Southeast Borgia. The Clan occasionally holds its secret meetings there.’

‘In that case, I’ll go to them,’ says Iris. ‘My horse can run faster than any horse, and I’m sure I can persuade them with my charms,’ brushing her hair to the back.

(Mount St. Michels - This image is to illustrate the mountain city example only)

‘This is no time to joke, Iris,’ says Carol, poking the elf with her elbow.

Sir Heinrich comments, ‘Haha, we can use a bit of entertainment to loosen up this tension. But time is of essence. Very well, then. Iris will go and ask the dragon riders for help, and Carolyn, I suggest that you go back to Airship Aurora and fight from there. If things don’t go well, you can withdraw to Arcadia to defend your country.’

‘But...’ says Carolyn, to which Heinrich talks on.

‘Truthfully, we are very grateful that the Paladins have helped us fight all the way from the border, so we withdrew smoothly and concentrated our army here, in Freidle. You two also helped evacuate the citizens as well. We’ll handle this war from this point on, holding this line of defense. Thank you, Lady Carolyn. Thank you, Lady Iris. May Vadis guide you in your struggles.’

‘But, Sir Heinrich,’ Carolyn still insists on protesting. ‘You don’t know how terrible the Dark Forces are, and their leaders, Arachus and the Succubus Queen – they are very powerful. Believe me, we have faced them, it’s way more than you can handle.’

‘That’s why we devised this last resort strategy we have discussed with you about. If all else fails, we shall use it, no matter how great our sacrifice will be. So please, follow the plan to make us all focus in our fight. I have nothing more to say. Go about your tasks, please.’

Taking a bow, Heinrich excuses himself to inspect other sections of the parapet. Iris dashes off to her mission, leaving Carolyn alone with Chiel, her pet micha.

‘Well, here we are again, little one. Alone, just the two of us,’ she says, stroking the flying mouse-like micha’s fluffy fur.

‘Chi, chii...’ Chiel answers lovingly.


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3.3.17.1. The Dark is Looming

Undead Army - Courtesy of Chevsy


CHAPTER SEVENTEEN

FLIGHT OF THE EMPRESS



‘Light the candles. The sun is setting and the darkness is coming.’


3.3.17.1. The Dark is Looming


The Dark is looming. By land, air and sea.

Spreading out, swiftly and thoroughly like a blanket of night covering the skies as evening sun sets.

Like a plague, swallowing, shattering everything in its path. Turning the inland sea water black. Turning cities into ruins and rubbles. Turning fallen foes into undead – or food for their abominable monsters.

One thing for sure: The Dark Forces never seek to conquer and coexist – They seek to destroy. The ideal world for them is the world where evildoers, monsters and undead roam are on the top of the food chain.

The world where evil reign supreme. The world Sodomos has once aspired for, but he will not rule this one, no. All these efforts are for his Hellspawn, Vordac, the Dark Overlord, the Dark Messiah to rule in his stead.

‘And now that the Dark Overlord’s Heir is with us, we will open the path for him. And I, Arachus, Lord Regent shall ensure it. Come, armies of the Serpent! Gremion allies! I’ll show you the green fields to scourge, the whole population to devour, and the cities to blight on! All hail Vordac!’

The Archdevil raises his hand and the Crow Scythe, the sign of Dark Supremacy once wielded by the Dark Overlord himself and then entrusted to him. The entire armies and monsters stare at it with awe, and they roar and cheer so the ground is shaking beneath them.

‘Hail Vordac! Hail the Hellspawn!’

The cheers roar on, among the ranks of armies in rows and formations, the armies so numerous that cover the entire plains under the cloudy, dark night.

Arachus just stands with a broad grin on his face (which is always so because of his big, sharp teeth in rows on his lipless mouth). He then looks on his left and right, to the Demonic Generals who are assisting him: A black knight with bald wings like spider legs on his back, the Archdemoness – the Succubus Queen – and a mysterious figure draped in all-black robe and cape. The ally, the Orc Khan Hagnorj claps his hands in deep admiration and awe.

‘That was impressive, Lord Regent,’ says Hagnorj.

‘Oh, you think so, Great Khan?’ Arachus replies. ‘I heard you have also recaptured Bresconnor. Congratulations!’

‘Thank you, Lord Regent. After all, it’s part of the deal. Now that we’ve got our share with your help, it’s our turn to help you.’

‘Good,’ says Arachus, staring at the Khan like a master to his pet dog. He turns and points to the west. ‘Well, now. Since we are in Borgia, let us ravage this land to punish our ex-allies!
Armies of Darkness! Forward, march!’


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Friday, January 07, 2011

Beyond Good and Evil HD Teaser Trailer [HD]



source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qrlAVG36OFc

Beyond Good and Evil HD Teaser Trailer [HD]
Developer: Ubisoft
Release: TBA
Genre: Action/Adventure
Platform: PSN/XBLA
Publisher: Ubisoft
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Thursday, January 06, 2011

Robert Chandler Version 5

okay, this is the chara mode for robert chandler for use in the next fireheart/everna game. note that this might not be the final version. by andry chang


FireHeart - Robert Chandler 5 by ~vadis on deviantART
source: http://fav.me/d36jh0e

implementation in the fireheart manga cover draft


Everna Chevalier Lumine Vol 1 by ~vadis on deviantART
source: http://fav.me/d363a0h

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

FireHeart Gallery Batch 7

my fireheart, maven and martial world scrapbook gallery in vadis.multiply.com - batch seven
oops, looks like megamind and friends got jammed into the mix - sorry.
also some spoilers for fireheart manga project.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Battering Ram

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battering_ram

A battering ram is a siege engine originating in ancient times and designed to break open the masonry walls of fortifications or splinter their wooden gates. It was used, too, in ancient Roman mines and quarries to attack hard rocks.

In its simplest form, a battering ram is just a large, heavy log carried by several people and propelled with force against an obstacle; the ram would be sufficient to damage the target if the log were massive enough and/or it were moved quickly enough (that is, if it had enough momentum).

Later rams encased the log in an arrow-proof, fire-resistant canopy mounted on wheels. Inside the canopy, the log was swung from suspensory chains or ropes to maximize its impact power.

Rams proved effective weapons of war because old fashioned wall-building materials such as stone and brick were weak in tension, and therefore prone to cracking when impacted with sufficient force. With repeated blows, the cracks would grow steadily until a hole was created. Eventually, a breach would appear in the fabric of the wall—enabling armed attackers to force their way through the gap and engage the inhabitants of the citadel.

The greater the weight of the ram, the quicker and more serious the damage inflicted on the target wall, although different materials will display varying grades of resistance to the ram's impact. Clearly a wall made from, say, hard granite will offer more resistance compared to one constructed out of soft limestone or mud brick.

The introduction in the later Middle Ages of siege cannons, which harnessed the explosive power of gunpowder to propel weighty stone or iron balls against fortified obstacles, spelled the end of battering rams and other traditional siege weapons. Much smaller, hand-held versions of battering rams are still used today, however, by law enforcement officers and military personnel to bash open locked doors.

Contents

[hide]

[edit] Design

During Iron Age, in the ancient Middle East and Mediterranean, the battering ram's log was slung from a wheeled frame by ropes or chains so that it could be made more massive and be more easily bashed against its target. Frequently, the ram's point would be reinforced with a metal head or cap while vulnerable parts of the shaft were bound with strengthening metal bands.

Many battering rams possessed curved or slanted wooden roofs and side-screens covered in protective materials, usually fresh wet hides, presumably skinned from animals eaten by the besiegers. These hide canopies stopped the ram from being set on fire. They also safeguarded the operators of the ram against arrow and spear volleys launched from above.

A well-known image of an Assyrian battering ram depicts how sophisticated attacking and defensive practices had become by the 9th century BC. The defenders of a town wall are trying to set the ram alight with torches and have also put a chain under it. The attackers are trying to pull on the chain to free the ram, while the aforementioned wet hides on the canopy provide protection against the flames.

The first confirmed employment of rams in the Occident happened in 427 BC, when the Spartans besieged Plataea.[1] The first use of rams within the actual Mediterranean Basin, featuring in this case the simultaneous employment of siege towers to shelter the rammers from attack, occurred on the island of Sicily in 409 BC, at the Selinus siege.[2]

Defenders manning castles, forts or bastions would sometimes try to foil battering rams by dropping obstacles in front of the ram, such as a large sack of sawdust, just before the ram's head struck a wall or gate, or by using grappling hooks to immobilize the ram's log. Alternatively, the ram could be set ablaze, doused in fire-heated sand, pounded by boulders dropped from battlements or invested by a rapid sally of troops.

Some battering rams were not slung from ropes or chains, but were instead supported by rollers. This allowed the ram to achieve a greater speed before striking its target, making it more destructive. Such a ram, as used by Alexander the Great, is described by the writer Vitruvius.

Alternatives to the battering ram included the drill, the sapper's mouse, the pick and the siege hook. These devices were smaller than a ram and could be used in confined spaces.

[edit] Famous sieges

Battering rams had an important effect on the evolution of defensive walls, which were constructed ever more ingeniously in a bid to nullify the effects of siege engines. Historical instances of the usage of battering rams in sieges of major cities include:

There is a popular myth in Gloucester that the famous children's rhyme, Humpty Dumpty, is about a battering ram used in the siege of Gloucester in 1643, during the English Civil War. However, the story is almost certainly untrue; during the siege, which lasted only one month, no battering rams were used, although many cannons were. The idea seems to have originated in a spoof history essay by Professor David Daube written for The Oxford Magazine in 1956, which was widely believed despite obvious improbabilities (e.g., planning to cross River Severn by running the ram down a hill at speed, although the river is about 30 m (100 feet) wide at this point).

A capped ram is a battering ram that has an accessory at the head (usually made of iron or steel and sometimes punningly shaped into the head and horns of an ovine ram) to do more damage to a building. It was much more effective at destroying enemy walls and buildings than an uncapped ram but was heavier to carry.

[edit] Use in mining

Pliny the Elder in his Naturalis Historia describes a battering ram used in mining, where hard rock needed to be broken down to release the ore. The pole possessed a metal tip weighing 150 pounds, so the whole device will have weighed at least twice as much in order to preserve its balance. Whether or not it was supported by being suspended with ropes from a frame remains unknown, but very likely given its total weight. Such devices were used during coal mining in the 19th century in Great Britain before the widespread use of explosives, which were expensive and dangerous to use in practice.

[edit] Modern use

A modern battering ram.

Battering rams still have a use in modern times. SWAT teams and other police forces often employ small, one- man or two-man metal rams for forcing open locked portals or effecting a door breaching. Modern battering rams sometimes incorporate a cylinder, along the length of which a piston fires automatically upon striking a hard object—thus enhancing the momentum of the impact significantly.

[edit] Notes

  1. ^ Tucidides, II, 76.
  2. ^ Diodorus the Siculus, XIII, 43-62.

See also the detailed article in:
http://www.castles.me.uk/battering-ram.htm

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