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Friday, March 30, 2012

Strange Lands: Put Your Imagination Into Overdrive

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Time travel, dystopia, and advanced technology. We love science fiction because the future can be envisioned in endless scenarios. What if a Spore War wiped out an entire generation and forced us to rent out our youth? What if society was split in two, one that regressed into prehistoric times and one that exceeds current day technologies? And what if, given the power, we could go back in time and change it all? This month, our featured titles will have your imaginations going in overdrive, as you travel backward, forward, and beyond.

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"The only thing better than a terrific concept is one that is as well executed as 'Starters.' Readers who have been waiting for a worthy successor to Suzanne Collins' 'The Hunger Games' will find it here."
-- L.A. Times Book Review

"'Starters' is a smart, swift, inventive, altogether gripping story. Callie Woodland, the narrator, deserves a series, and happily I am sure she'll get one!" -- Dean Koontz

In the future, teens rent their bodies to seniors who want to be young again. One girl discovers her renter plans to do more than party--her body will commit murder, if her mind can't stop it. Sixteen-year-old Callie lost her parents when the genocide spore wiped out everyone except those who were vaccinated first--the very young and very old. With no grandparents to claim Callie and her little brother, they go on the run, living as squatters, and fighting off unclaimed renegades who would kill for a cookie.

Hope comes via Prime Destinations, run by a mysterious figure known only as The Old Man. He hires teens to rent their bodies to seniors, known as Enders, who get to be young again. Callie's neurochip malfunctions and she wakes up in the life of her rich renter, living in her mansion, driving her cars, even dating Blake, the grandson of a senator. It's a fairy-tale new life . . . until she uncovers the Body Bank's horrible plan. . . .

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"Filled with secrets, betrayals, and heart-pounding action." -- Karin Perry

To save his tribe, the cannibal Stopmouth must abandon it. Leaving the stone-age world of the Surface behind, he travels to the Roof, the mysterious hi-tech world suspended above. But the Roof has its own problems. The nanotechnology that controls it is collapsing. And now a rebellion against the ruling Commission is about to erupt. Hunted by the Commission's nano-enhanced agents, Stopmouth must succeed in a desperate hunt of his own: to find the woman he loves. Only she knows how to save his tribe. But in this super-sophisticated world, all he has to fight with are his raw strength and fierce courage.

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"So beautiful and romantic - I loved this book!" -- Danny

When tragedy strikes Michele Windsor's world, she is forced to uproot her life and move across the country to New York City, to live with the wealthy, aristocratic grandparents she's never met. In their old Fifth Avenue mansion filled with a century's worth of family secrets, Michele discovers a diary that hurtles her back in time to the year 1910. There, in the midst of the glamorous Gilded Age, Michele meets the young man with striking blue eyes who has haunted her dreams all her life -- a man she always wished was real, but never imagined could actually exist. And she finds herself falling for him, into an otherworldly, time-crossed romance.

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"[Carrie Ryan] knows how to build and break tension, how to amp up horror, how to give moments of utter peace, and how to create a world so unique, terrible, and lonely that it breaks your heart. " -- April

There are many things that Annah would like to forget: the look on her sister's face before Annah left her behind in the Forest of Hands and Teeth, her first glimpse of the Horde as they swarmed the Dark City, the sear of the barbed wire that would scar her for life. But most of all, Annah would like to forget the morning Elias left her for the Recruiters.

Annah's world stopped that day, and she's been waiting for Elias to come home ever since. Somehow, without him, her life doesn't feel much different than the dead that roam the wasted city around her. Until she meets Catcher, and everything feels alive again.
But Catcher has his own secrets. Dark, terrifying truths that link him to a past Annah has longed to forget, and to a future too deadly to consider. And now it's up to Annah: can she continue to live in a world covered in the blood of the living? Or is death the only escape from the Return's destruction?

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More Thrillers

The Dreamtrails
by Isobelle Carmody

Books five and six in the Obernewtyn Chronicles

The Inheritance Cycle
By Christopher Paolini

E-book edition of Eragon, Eldest, and Brisingr

The Fallen Sequence
by Lauren Kate

E-book edition of Fallen, Torment, and Passion

His Dark Materials
by Philip Pullman

The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass all in one volume.

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Friday, March 23, 2012 Strife in the Ice - Part 4

Human vs. Orc Duel, as depicted in Quest Club Games
A mild light shines down upon Iris, Robert, Carol, Chiel and Sheena, and a blue layer of light glows once on everyone.
‘Now you’re all protected from magic and anything that tries to manipulate your brain. Careful, the effect only lasts a full day. And here’s more. An Eshmyria Aschi!’
Iris raises her hand up and a giant shadowy figure appears above her head. She just summoned the Spirit of the Wind, Eshmyria, a deity guardian of wind and air, servant of Enia. She looks like a beautiful fairy with four green wings, green skin and wearing a beautiful green dress to match. Her eyes are also green like emeralds – just like Iris’ eyes.
‘Infer Raduyev Eshmyriad!’
Suddenly Eshmyr’s wings flutter and a small typhoon erupts around her. It blows the mist away like a giant rotating fan continually in a short range. Robert and the others are impressed and thankful that they finally have a complete solution for what lies behind lies.
They now walk on, the mist and the mirrors can’t bother them anymore. Chiel releases some more hunters, Adler and Paliades, Orlevant and Eidos, and then Alexis and Hernan from the spell when they are fighting against each other. Adler must face the truth: he has his butt kicked badly by Paliades and was in a brink of losing his life.
Hernan’s condition gets worse as he got some more wounds from Alexis. He is too weak to walk about, now he’s severely injured. Alexis, feeling guilty of what he has done in his state of trance, takes out his healing salve and applies it on Hernan’s wounds. Seeing that Hernan is not out from his critical state yet, Alexis cries out, ‘Is there a healer around? Please, help him!’
‘I’m a healer,’ says a mysterious hunter who doesn’t look like a healer or anyone at all, wearing shabby grey hood and robe, his face is hidden as well. Then he lowers his hood and reveals himself, a Vadisian monk. ‘Let me work at him.’
Robert is a bit surprised to see this. A Vadisian monk! He must be a spy dispatched by Pope Xylen to see the progress of this mission. But why it’s so secret? Pope Xylen’s way of thinking is enigmatic. I must keep my eyes open and keep this in mind at all times. This will help me solve the puzzle.
The ‘search and rescue’ squad moves on. They rescue Andreas who can also cast Dispel Magic but the Mirror of Illusions affected him before he can do anything, and he only masters physical protection spells. And he was in fight with a satyr, neither can hurt the other. Now with Andreas’ help, they can do things more quickly now.
‘That’s the advantage of having many people in one time,’ says Andreas.
As they walk along, they find an elf guide wandering about alone, searching for others. From her looks, she is the elf sorceress who guides Hernan. Iris recognizes her and calls, ‘Ney’varíth!’
Ney’varíth sees Iris and the group and greets Iris politely ‘Enia’s blessings be with you, my friend. I see you saved lots already! But I only protected myself against this awful magic! I can’t free everyone from it!’
‘Oh, no, no,’ says Iris. ‘It’s Chiel the little micha here who saved us. I’m not adept in Dispel Magic too – but even I neglected to protect myself and others from magic when we went in. You certainly did better than me, Ney!’
‘Well that’s too bad, but praise Enia that little darling saved you anyway. Ah!’
Suddenly Ney’varíth moves quickly, hiding behind Iris.
‘What’s wrong, Ney?’ Iris asks her, puzzled.
‘It’s… it’s that Hernan guy,’ Ney whispers. ‘He can’t get his hands off me since I gave him the letter. I tried to avoid him so many times, that’s why I didn’t join you guys deciphering the runes. Oh, how I wish I didn’t volunteer to guide him!’
‘Hey, he’s all over us too! Me, Carolyn, other elf girls, and any pretty girl he runs into! Ohhh, he’s so horrible! If he is not married, maybe I’ll be flattered but… I heard his wife is King Jaime’s niece! The most beautiful woman in Escudia! What more can he expect?’
‘Maybe that’s because they don’t have any kids. You know, husbands tend to take a second wife just to get them a child! But at any rate, it’s still…’
Suddenly Orlevant the elf guide captain interrupts them. ‘Lavennia Iris! Ney’varíth Ushmiel! Stop chatting, you two, we’re in a mission, for Enia’s sake! And you, Ney! Where have you been all this time? Hiding, eh? So you don’t have to fulfill your duties? Now tend to Don Hernan there, he’s badly injured and is weak in healing process! After this is over, we’ll have a very, very long talk, young sorceress.’
‘But, sir, I have very important information to share with all! I’ve found a way out from this ice zone!’
‘Oh, really?’ says Orlevant. ‘Why didn’t you use it then? You’ve protected yourself from magic and you really need to avoid Don Hernan, so why did you come back?’
‘Because I still have the ones I care of, sir. Iris, other fellow elves, and…’
‘… and you, sir.’
Orlevant is silenced. It’s as though never someone even among his own brethren said care about him before. But to hide the fact that he is touched, he talks loudly, giving an order to Ney’varíth. ‘Well show us the way, then! To all!’ He turns to all other hunters. ‘Our guide here has found a way out! Let’s follow her and be free from this ice prison!’
Without replying, Ney’varíth turns around and starts walking to a certain direction, followed by everybody else, including Paliades. Orlevant looks at Paliades with a smile curling on one side of his mouth, with thoughts of triumph in his mind.
You old hoax! You said you know about Enia Sanctum from A to Z and how to pass the obstacles. Oh yeah, you may know about the mirrors, the mist and stuff, but you only told us not to look at the mirrors and not warding ourselves against their magic. My fellow elf indeed can do better than this! After we get out of this, I suggest you give us, the elves, our job back as guides and the true hosts of this holy place!
Paliades walks silently with the others. He seems upset, and this pleases Orlevant more.
Ney’varíth apparently remembers the way to the exit perfectly, and she arrives at a spot. Orlevant is confused to see his surroundings, saying.
‘Are you sure this is the exit, Ney? I see no door here, only walls of ice!’
The elf sorceress remains calm.
‘Aye, sir. I’m very sure about this. At first, I thought there’s no door here too; I was just looking at my reflection on the walls and mirrors when suddenly at this point,’ she points at a section of the wall, ‘I saw my reflection… and something else.’
Orlevant looks through this section, at a reflection of a different room. He clears his throat, and then talks again in a calm tone.
‘Uhm… very well, then. Now how can we get through this door?’
‘Oh, I just found it, and didn’t try to open it yet,’ says Ney. ‘But since it’s made of ice, I suggest we burn it.’
‘Oh, yes, that’s the very basic way to undo a novice trap. But nevertheless, any idea is worth a try,’ says the elf captain.
‘Let me try it, then,’ says Carolyn.
‘By all means.’
Carolyn tries to melt the ice door with Fireblast, and she keeps the fire flowing for two minutes or so before she successfully makes a big hole on the door, just enough to anyone to walk through. The one Cyclops hunter was lost or annihilated somewhere in the wind tunnels or the chambers of stone, so Carolyn doesn’t have to make a bigger hole for him, exhausting her spirit energy.
Carolyn sips her spirit potion while watching the hunters go through the door she made. She is rather disappointed that none of the hunters thank her for her daring attempt, but feels relieved at once when someone gives her a friendly pat on the shoulder. Carol looks back and sees her best friend (and rival) Iris who has un-summoned her Eshmyria guardian spirit and Andreas with his fatherly smile behind his bushy beard.
But Carolyn’s face instantly changes into surprise. ‘Where’s Rob?’
Iris protests, ‘Hey, don’t you suppose to tail him everywhere? I know you’re developing a soft spot for him, right?’
Blushing, Carolyn retorts, ‘How many times must I tell you? I just think that he’s a REAL man, and every man must be brave and strong just like him, not your ‘Ariel’!”
‘Humph! I don’t care! My Ariel is ten times cuter than your Robby, and as cute as an average he-elf!’
Andreas breaks them apart impatiently. ‘Once again, enough, you two! Stop arguing like babies comparing their candies and let’s find Rob before it’s too late! Look! The doorway is closing!’
Bit by bit, the ice door re-integrates itself. Ice begins to form in the entrance hole. Suddenly a voice chants, ‘an Vyr’me Prdaj!’
It’s an ancient Aurelian spell for the Wall of Fire, the alternative trigger spell for the Valanisian-Parthenian spell Agnioparadh. So it was cast not by Carolyn, but by none other than Akh’mal, the minotaur shaman from Thalag’dhega Mountains, Escudia. He says,
‘Go, now! My wall of fire will keep the hole intact for a while, but don’t be too long! My energy is limited! My bodyguard here, Fargothum will guard me here!’
Fargothum is a large Minotaur (or tauren), He’s bluish-grey leathered, and he has long, large ivory horns. He’s holding a giant club, resting it on his shoulder. Carolyn shivers a bit, but Akh’mal immediately responds to it by saying, ‘Don’t worry, we won’t charge on you whenever we see red. Now go!’
The dwarf priest, the pink-haired sorceress and the green-haired elf immediately run away, searching for Robert together. After a bit of going around, with Iris summoning the Wind Spirit Eshmyria once again to clear the fog, they find Robert there, fighting with Dar’gum. Chiel is there too, flying around cautiously to avoid Dargum’s fellow orcs watching their duel.
Iris talks in a surprised tone, ‘It seems Dar’gum and Robert are both free from the spell, right? But why are they still fighting?’
‘They must be having grudges against each other and want to finish them all right now,’ says Andreas. ‘We must stop them, now is not the right time for settling grudges. We have to get out of here with him!’
But the fight is already over before they can stop it. Robert is lying spread-eagled on the floor, exhausted and bleeding on many spots. Dar’gum is on his top, pointing his Il Khatl J’nadh axe to Robert’s neck.
‘A’bong, my brother, here is your enemy, succumbed at my feet. I’ve defeated him for you, and now I’ll offer you his blood so you may rest in peace.’
With those words Dar’gum swings his great axe.
Carolyn shrieks hysterically, ‘NOOOOO!!!!’
Iris can’t act faster than Dar’gum because she’s still busy concentrating with her summoned Eshmyria. And Andreas – look at his figure and you’ll know – is not quite well-built for situations like this.
Carolyn is horrorstruck. The orc champion’s axe is on the floor, with more blood stains on its blades. The Decapitator has severed yet another head by the look of it. But no! No head can be found rolling anywhere around here. Carolyn takes a good look at Robert at once and feels overjoyed. He’s still alive! There’s a small but deep cut on Robert’s left arm, blood comes out of it ceaselessly. Dar’gum bends, grabs some blood from that cut, and then he lifts his bloody hand in the air and rubs the blood on his chest.
Dar’gum sounds disappointed when he says, ‘Too bad you fought me in such bad shape, while I was lost to Adler with only minor scratches. Bhra’jul!* There’s no honor in killing you that way! Your blood will only be a stain on my brother’s spirit. I disagree with A’bong’s brutal way, honestly, but he is still my brother! So get up, get yourself in shape and finish your mission here. Then come to me again, maybe you’ll put up a fight worth remembering, Orcbane!’
Footnote :
*Bhra’jul: an Orcish expression of disappointment, just like ‘damn!’
Robert stares at Dar’gum in disbelief, while his friends help him stand and Andreas gives him a quick, emergency Vitali spell.
He spared my life! This orc is nobler than humans in general! He understands the warrior’s code of honor, and he can discipline himself and his brethren too! He wants revenge because I’ve slain his brother, but he’s willing to give it up for a better cause! He truly is worthy of my respect. I, on the other hand should be ashamed of myself, surrendered to my berserk instinct rather than trying to understand. Hm, maybe this can change things to the better.
Robert talks to Dar’gum, trying to make peace with him.
‘Dar’gum! There’s another way you can avenge your brother! Since I lost you your kin, let me take his place instead! Treat me like your brother! Maybe we can be friends and support you while we can!’
The orc only answers with, ‘Don’t push it, kid. Ze’boc, Chugal, let’s go!’ And he goes away at once, followed by his two companions.

Note: Mar08 Rev3 Pg280top Strife in the Ice - Part 3

Sheena Mekh'ta the Corsair
As depicted in this tentative image

As the hunters are all gathering in the rune room in the ice chambers, they are amazed to see so beautiful a place. Everything is covered with ice – the walls, the floor, even the ceiling. The temperature drops, and the air the hunters breathe becomes steam-like. Ellephar begins to shiver and says, ‘D-uh, ‘tis gettin’ chilly in here, innit?’

‘Yeah,’ says Baxter. ‘Too bad we don’t bring our mantles with us.’

Suddenly a lizardman says, ‘Hey, guyssss, let’s check out the next room. I bet it’ll be colder in theressss!’ It seems he likes the cold temperature, being cold-blooded himself.

Orlevant tries to stop the hunters from going into the ice chambers without a clue, shouting, ‘Wait! Don’t go in just yet! Hear us out first, for your own safety! We’ve deciphered the runes and it said we must beware of “what lies behind lies”! Something’s bound to meddle with our minds!’

‘That’s why we go now to find out what that is,’ says Paliades.

Ignoring Orlevant’s protest, Paliades immediately goes into the next room, followed by a large group of hunters. Robert, Carolyn and Andreas decide to stay behind, waiting until Iris has completed figuring out the meaning of the riddle from her fellow elves’ translation.

Iris is surprised that Robert and his party still wait for her when they should’ve followed Paliades. ‘Lo, why are you still here?’

Andreas says, ‘Because you are still our guide, and our friend.’

Robert adds, ‘Yeah. We’ll never forget what you did for Chris, saving his life, and we need you now and always. We must stick together ‘till the end.’

Carolyn also adds, ‘You gave this to me, this token of our friendship.’

She points at the necklace that hangs around her neck.

‘I don’t know why, but since then I frequently find myself in right places, right times, with right solutions. That’s why I cherish this necklace very much; a greatest gift a friend ever gave to me.’

Iris laughs. ‘Ah, you do have a knack of clever ideas; you don’t need a necklace for it. But yes, I enchanted the necklace. The wearer will always have good luck and safe from mortal harm no matter how perilous the situation is. But it does have its drawbacks: If the wearer suffers illness or injury, it will take longer to heal even if you take it off after it happened, and you’ll need extra help before all is lost.’

‘Ah, you’re such a good friend indeed,’ says Andreas. ‘By the way, what is the meaning of the riddle?’

‘What lies behind lies… not in one’s eyes… there are many interpretations of it, but as I concluded, it means there will be illusions just ahead, there’s no escaping them, so keep your concentration, and don’t get killed. Er… guys, thank you for trusting us,’ says Iris.

‘In that case,’ Andreas says, pointing his Gloria Vadis healing staff at his comrades, ‘We shall need extra protection. Omnigalatr!

Andreas casts Mass Protect, creating a force field that covers Iris, Carolyn, Robert, himself and several hunters and elves in the area, grants them extra protection against physical and elemental attacks on their bodies for twelve hours. It takes a godlike physical and elemental attack to completely breach this force field.

‘Gee, thanks,’ says a protected hunter.

‘That’s okay,’ says Andreas. ‘Now, shall we? Remember, we have only twelve hours before this layer wears off.’

The rest of the hunters and elves follow Andreas to the next room. This time they see a huge room, with huge ice stalagmites and stalactites scattering everywhere, and lots of ice slabs that looks like giant mirrors, big enough for an ogre or Cyclops to see his own full-body reflection. The room is filled with a thin mist that adds to the cold temperature within.

Andreas tries to analyze this situation, saying, ‘Hmmm… this room is huge, and the mist prevents us to see the exit. Maybe we should split up and try…’

Robert cuts in. He sounds a little bit emotional. ‘No, don’t split up. We must stay together from now on. Chris is lost, remember? We can’t afford to leave any more of our friends behind again!’

Andreas shrugs, saying, ‘Aye, all right then. Lead away, lad.’

Robert says loudly, ‘Follow me, my friends! The rest of you,’ turning to the rest of the group, ‘you may follow us or go anywhere you like. Now move! For Vadis!’

Robert goes left, followed by his friends and the rest of the group, although some hunters split up to go to wherever they think is the right way.

As they move further in, Robert’s group finds that the fog is getting thicker and thicker. Realizing something’s wrong, Robert immediately yells to warn the others. ‘Stay with me! Don’t get separated! It’s a trap!’

But there’s no answer. Robert turns to find that no one’s there. Oh, no! This is happening again!

But then, an answer comes. Judging from the voice, it’s not from a human, but a faint ‘chi, chi!’ sound. Robert instantly turns and embraces Carolyn’s pet, Chiel the micha.

‘Thank goodness you’re with me. Now stay on my shoulder, Chiel, and don’t fly away, no matter what!’ says Robert. Chiel perches on Robert’s shoulder.

Now I have to find the others, Robert thinks. But I must be careful. These mirrors are here for a reason. ‘What lies behind lies’.

Suddenly, Robert sees someone’s reflection in the mirror, in the fog. He draws his kiliji quickly, saying, ‘Who’s there? Show yourself!’ But that someone charges on Robert fiercely. An enemy! Robert swings his kiliji backwards, blocks the attack and moves back. The orc also pauses for a moment there, staggering from the impact of their weapons. Robert can see his attacker clearly now, but he is shocked to see that he is the orc who raided Arkvale and killed Robert’s best friend, Laetitia, the same orc whom he killed when he was ten years old.

Robert is totally confused. ‘No! It can’t be! I-I killed you! I-I-must-kill-you-again!!!!’

Robert’s eyes are bloodshot. He seems to have lost his mind, as though he is under a spell. He attacks the orc fiercely, causing Chiel to fall from Robert’s shoulder, and barely manages to keep itself aloft by flapping its tiny wings. Chiel looks at Robert, but it only lets out an angry ‘Chi-chi-chi!!!’ and doesn’t attack either Robert or the orc.

Apparently, whatever meddling Robert’s mind doesn’t affect Chiel at all, being a magical light-enforced creature. Chiel is confused that Robert ignored its calls. It decides to go to Robert’s side before he goes out of sight.

Meanwhile, Robert successfully lands a Three Point Chain Slash on his opponent, and in retaliation, the orc inflicted a minor graze on Robert’s arm. Robert grunts. It seems that his orc grunt is very tough, as though a martial arts grandmaster. He is using double scimitars as weapons, and only gets away with minor wounds.

Chiel ‘chi-chi’-s Robert continually, tries to get him back to his senses in vain. Then, Chiel’s body and eyes begins to glow brightly. Then it emits a beam upon Robert and the orc. Robert’s eyes slowly and gradually turn to normal. He begins to see the orc with a clearer mind. Apparently the orc’s eyes are bloodshot too, but the change is not on his eyes, but his entire body too.

And instead of an orc, Robert now sees a woman with tanned skin and wearing only a breastplate and a dancing skirt. There are wounds from the Three Point Chain Slash and a few more minor slash wounds on her. Robert is shocked.

‘Sheena? What the… Did I fight you just now?’

Sheena is more shocked than Robert, as though just waking up from a trance.

‘You… you’re not Kyflynn? Where did he run? Bloody rob…’ She turns to chase ‘Kyflynn’ in her mind when Robert stops her.

‘Wait – wait! I didn’t see anyone here, just you and me, and… Chiel! Chiel, where is it?’

Robert turns around, and his face collides with Chiel who has stopped its action and flies to Robert’s side. Robert is flabbergasted. ‘Oh, Chiel! It’s good to see you! Did you cast that ray?’

Chiel somewhat understands what Robert is saying, and nods playfully. Robert hugs Chiel like a little girl hugging her precious doll, and with a calm face he says, ‘Thank you. I don’t know what I would do without you.’

Sheena sneers at Robert, saying, ‘You really fond of that animal, don’t you? Looks like we were in some kind of spell here, and your pet there cast Dispel Magic on us to prevent us from killing each other. But you’re a bounty hunter and you’re reputed on hunting down bandits and criminals like me. If given a different situation, I’d like to continue our fight.’

‘I’m looking forward to it. But for now, here, take this healing potion. I’m sorry that I attacked you just now. I thought you were someone else.’

But Sheena refuses it, saying, ‘I brought my own potion, thanks but no thanks. I take nothing from a hunter like you.’

‘But you did take something from us, Sheena.’

‘Huh? What’s that?’

‘The Greaves of Eil’Thanath, from Grad. My friend Andreas was banished from Grad and separated from his family because you stole it and our friendship with the dwarves was shattered.’

Sheena laughs and holds her scimitars firmly as though is ready to counter Robert’s attack, saying, ‘Hahaha! Well, the dwarf’s fate is no concern of mine. In fact he should be thankful, because almost all of my victims always end up dead. So, what will you do now? Fight me for it?’

Robert shakes his head. ‘No, Sheena. I’m just asking you to return the greaves to Andreas, so he can reunite with his family. I’ll buy it from you if I have to. So, do you have it, Sheena? Because I don’t see you wearing it”. Robert points at Sheena’s feet that are covered with her own greaves, and no way the mythril greaves can be hidden behind it.

‘I don’t think you can afford to buy the greaves. I’d like to sell it to you, but I don’t have it. We have lost it to Kyflynn, Desmond and Agustina. They ambushed us and killed my entire gang, leaving only me, Baxter and Ellephar alive. You might want to ask them for it.’

Robert thinks, Hmm, Sheena told the truth. No wonder Father Andreas acted strangely when I got clobbered by a rock golem back there. He knows Kyflynn has it, but if we all try to get it from him now, we will fail utterly, and it’ll jeopardize our mission and our lives! So Father Andreas might’ve let Kyflynn wear it for a while because the greaves are very vital for a speed-demon assassin like him! I’ll deal with it later, but for now I must release the others from the spell, with Chiel’s help.

Robert nods and tells Sheena, ‘Don’t worry, I’m not here to arrest or kill you. We’re on a mission for the Trinity, right? Come with us under Chiel’s protection so we won’t be jinxed again, and we’ll release the others as well.’

‘Reasonable enough. All right, then.’

Robert and Sheena walk closely together to prevent being separated by the mist, and Chiel perches on Robert’s shoulder, emitting beam from its eyes through the mist. Robert utilizes his Eagle’s Eye precision-sight ability and he soon sees two women fighting against each other. They’re Iris and Carolyn with their bloodshot eyes, chanting spell after spell, shooting lightning bolts and razor winds against each other.

Robert quickly yells, ‘Chiel, stop them now!’

Chiel glows again, casting Dispel Magic beam on Carolyn and Iris, turning their bloodshot eyes and addled minds to normal again. The two women collapse on the floor, confused.

‘Wh… what am I doing here?’

‘Did I fight you?’

It seems they didn’t need an illusion to know they are enemies – rivals to be exact. Iris says, ‘We were deluded! The last thing I remember was, I was looking into this mirror and saw Carolyn there too, and then I was lost, completely! Eshmyr!’

Iris gathers her energy and casts Wind Slash to destroy the mirror, but the spell only leaves many deep scratches on it.

‘It’s no use…,’ says Iris. ‘Carol, use your fire!’


Carolyn casts Fireblast, and she keeps the fire flowing from her magic trident, Esthagar, and the ice begins to melt. Seconds later, Carolyn stops casting. At last the mirror melts down.

‘That’s enough. I’ve wasted too much energy just to melt this one. I bet there are a lot more here. I say we find another solution.’

‘Here,’ says Iris. ‘Drink this spirit potion. It’ll replenish your magic and elemental energy.’

‘Thanks, Iris. I’m sorry I harbored much hatred on you because of our rivalry,’ says Carolyn, receiving the potion and drinks it carefully.

‘Me too, Carol. From now on, we’ll always work together. After this is over, I’d like to join your hunting party.’

Robert says, ‘You’re welcome to join us anytime. But anyway, we must get going, we have to save the others and find the exit.’

Suddenly Iris says, ‘Wait! Gather up, everyone. Okay… Omninervatr!’


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A Wendigo, tentative image from
In Everna, Wendigo can be found in cold places like Val'shka, Fjorn and Bjordan


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The Wendigo (also known as Windigo, Weendigo, Windago, Waindigo, Windiga, Witiko, Wihtikow, and numerous other variants)[1] is a mythical creature appearing in the mythology of the Algonquian people. It is a malevolent cannibalistic spirit into which humans could transform, or which could possess humans. Those who indulged in cannibalism were at particular risk,[2] and the legend appears to have reinforced this practice as a taboo.

Wendigo psychosis is the name conventionally given to a culture-bound disorder which involved an intense craving for human flesh and the fear that the sufferer would turn into a cannibal. This once occurred frequently among Algonquian Native cultures, but has declined due to the Native American urbanization.[3]

Recently the Wendigo has also become a horror entity of contemporary literature and film, much like the vampire, werewolf, or zombie, although these fictional depictions often bear little resemblance to the original entity.



[edit] In Algonquian mythology

The Wendigo is part of the traditional belief systems of various Algonquian-speaking tribes in the northern United States and Canada, most notably the Ojibwe and Saulteaux, the Cree, the Naskapi and the Innu people.[4] Though descriptions varied somewhat, common to all these cultures was the conception of Wendigos as malevolent, cannibalistic, supernatural beings (manitous) of great spiritual power.[5] They were strongly associated with the Winter, the North, and coldness, as well as with famine and starvation.[6] Basil Johnston, an Ojibwe teacher and scholar from Ontario, gives one description of how Wendigos were viewed:[7]

The Weendigo was gaunt to the point of emaciation, its desiccated skin pulled tautly over its bones. With its bones pushing out against its skin, its complexion the ash gray of death, and its eyes pushed back deep into their sockets, the Weendigo looked like a gaunt skeleton recently disinterred from the grave. What lips it had were tattered and bloody [....] Unclean and suffering from suppurations of the flesh, the Weendigo gave off a strange and eerie odor of decay and decomposition, of death and corruption.

At the same time, Wendigos were embodiments of gluttony, greed, and excess: never satisfied after killing and consuming one person, they were constantly searching for new victims. In some traditions, humans who became overpowered by greed could turn into Wendigos; the Wendigo myth thus served as a method of encouraging cooperation and moderation.[8]

Among the Ojibwe, Eastern Cree, Westmain Swampy Cree, Naskapi, and Innu, Wendigos were said to be giants, many times larger than human beings (a characteristic absent from the Wendigo myth in the other Algonquian cultures).[9] Whenever a Wendigo ate another person, it would grow in proportion to the meal it had just eaten, so that it could never be full.[10] Wendigos were therefore simultaneously constantly gorging themselves and emaciated from starvation.

[edit] Human Wendigos

All cultures in which the Wendigo myth appeared shared the belief that human beings could turn into Wendigos if they ever resorted to cannibalism[2] or, alternatively, become possessed by the demonic spirit of a Wendigo, often in a dream. Once transformed, a person would become violent and obsessed with eating human flesh. The most frequent cause of transformation into a Wendigo was if a person had resorted to cannibalism, consuming the body of another human in order to keep from starving to death during a time of extreme hardship or famine.[11]

Among northern Algonquian cultures, cannibalism, even to save one's own life, was viewed as a serious taboo; the proper response to famine was suicide or resignation to death.[12] On one level, the Wendigo myth thus worked as a deterrent and a warning against resorting to cannibalism; those who did would become Wendigo monsters themselves.

[edit] Wendigo ceremony

Among the Assiniboine, the Cree and the Ojibwe, a satirical ceremonial dance was originally performed during times of famine to reinforce the seriousness of the Wendigo taboo. The ceremonial dance, known as a wiindigookaanzhimowin in Ojibwe and today performed as part of the last day activities of the Sun Dance, involves wearing a mask and dancing about the drum backwards.[13] The last known Wendigo Ceremony conducted in the United States was at Lake Windigo of Star Island of Cass Lake, located within the Leech Lake Indian Reservation in northern Minnesota.[14]

[edit] Wendigo psychosis

The term "Wendigo psychosis" (also spelled many other ways, including "Windigo psychosis" and "Witiko psychosis") refers to a condition in which sufferers developed an insatiable desire to eat human flesh even when other food sources were readily available,[15] often as a result of prior famine cannibalism.[16] Wendigo psychosis has traditionally been identified by Western psychologists as a culture-bound syndrome, though there is a debate over the existence of phenomenon as a genuine disorder. The theory was popular primarily among psychologists in the early 1900s, and may have resulted from a misinterpretation of northern Algonquian myths and culture.[17]

In accounts of Wendigo psychosis, members of the aboriginal communities in which it existed believed that cases literally involved individuals turning into Wendigos. Such individuals generally recognized these symptoms as meaning that they were turning into Wendigos, and often requested to be executed before they could harm others.[18] The most common response when someone began suffering from Wendigo psychosis was curing attempts by traditional native healers or Western doctors. In the unusual cases where these attempts failed, and the Wendigo began either to threaten those around them or to act violently or anti-socially, they were then generally executed.[19] Cases of Wendigo psychosis, though evidently real, were relatively rare, and it was even rarer for them to actually culminate in the execution of the sufferer.[19]

One of the more famous cases of Wendigo psychosis involved a Plains Cree trapper from Alberta, named Swift Runner.[20][21] During the winter of 1878, Swift Runner and his family were starving, and his eldest son died. Twenty-five miles away from emergency food supplies at a Hudson's Bay Company post, Swift Runner butchered and ate his wife and five remaining children.[22] Given that he resorted to cannibalism so near to food supplies, and that he killed and consumed the remains of all those present, it was revealed that Swift Runner's was not a case of pure cannibalism as a last resort to avoid starvation, but rather of a man suffering from Wendigo psychosis.[22] He eventually confessed and was executed by authorities at Fort Saskatchewan.[23] Another well-known case involving Wendigo psychosis was that of Jack Fiddler, an Oji-Cree chief and shaman known for his powers at defeating Wendigos. In some cases this entailed euthanizing people suffering from Wendigo psychosis; as a result, in 1907, Fiddler and his brother Joseph were arrested by the Canadian authorities for murder. Jack committed suicide, but Joseph was tried and sentenced to life in prison. He was ultimately granted a pardon, but died three days later in jail before receiving the news of this pardon.[24]

Fascination with Wendigo psychosis among Western ethnographers, psychologists, and anthropologists led to a hotly debated controversy in the 1980s over the historicity of this phenomenon. Some researchers argued that Wendigo psychosis was essentially a fabrication, the result of naïve anthropologists taking stories related to them at face value.[25][17] Others have pointed to a number of credible eyewitness accounts, both by Algonquians and by Westerners, as evidence that Wendigo psychosis was a factual historical phenomenon.[26]

The frequency of Wendigo psychosis cases decreased sharply in the 20th century as Boreal Algonquian people came in to greater and greater contact with Western ideologies and more sedentary, less rural lifestyles.[3] While there is some substantive evidence to suggest that Wendigo psychosis did exist, a number of questions concerning the condition remain unanswered, and there is continuing debate over its nature, significance, and prevalence.

[edit] References in popular culture

While Wendigos have been referred to in literature for many decades (most notably in Algernon Blackwood's 1910 story "The Wendigo," which introduced the legend to horror fiction,[27] and in Stephen King's novel Pet Sematary[28]), recently they have become something of a stock character in horror and fantasy films and television, along the lines of werewolves and vampires, usually bearing very little resemblance to the Algonquian spirit. Appearances include the movies Wendigo[29] and Ravenous, and in episodes of the television series Blood Ties[30], Charmed[31], Supernatural[32], Haven[33] and others.

They also appear as characters in a number of computer and video games, including Final Fantasy,[34] The Legend of Dragoon,[35] and the Warcraft Universe,[36] as well as role-playing games such as Dungeons & Dragons.[37] Additionally, there is a Marvel Comics character known as "Wendigo".

They are referenced in music as well: the Cree singer-songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie's song "The Priests Of The Golden Bull" asserts that the "money junkies" of the world are Wendigos.[38]

[edit] See also

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