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2019.07.09 06:51 AldoBramChapter 1 of a Fantasy Novel It still in the works, I need critique on it and help on a way to end it
“Fight with pride. Fight with honor. Fight for justice, and we will win. '' A line of several hundred soldiers stand at attention, listening to their general atop his horse giving his usual final words of encouragement before a battle. An enormous beast of a Dragonborn, only three inches shy of seven feet, his jet black and ruby red scales paired with his bronze red chain mail which only adds to his size... and his fear factor. This beast of a man known as Mogar Braveheart, general of a traveling militia group known as The Phantom Soldiers. A proud and powerful group, known best for their ability to overthrow tyrannical local governments quickly and effectively. For a small price The Phantom Soldiers are helping the small city of Northpoint Port. Their locally elected mayor has begun implementing destructive and harmful policies destroying homes and displacing a large population of the city. Through a gathering of funds from these displaced citizens, for a price of 4000 gold pieces Mogar and his army will have this tyrant on his way to hell by the morning. He continues, “As many of you already know, We are not here to maim, rape, and pillage. Any soldier appearing to do so will be charged with treason and will be stripped of their status and kept with the prisoners”. His voice thundering amongst the soldiers. The time to strike was almost upon them and he rushed to finish his speech. “If this is done correctly we will receive our payment by nightfall. I trust that you all will not fail each other. Now... if you lot are ready, the time to strike is now. Ready your weapons and await my call”. As the soldiers ready for the call to attack. Their impatience and ambition was clearly shown as they said their prayers and said their final words to their mates. The general rides to the front of the pack readying his enormous Dragonbone greatsword, Netherwrath, shimmering with gold in the sunlight. He points it toward the city, “On my mark” he bellows. “ATTACK!”. The platoon charges across the bridge to the city. The village people of North Point cleared the main street and began a small ruckus towards the central hall where the mayor and his guard reside. As the Phantom’s draw closer, their small squad of mages blast the main gates with blazing balls of fire. Within seconds the giant gate crumbled and troops flooded the streets. The guards had heard them coming from beyond the gate, and had taken away their element of surprise. Readied just beyond the burning fallen gate, hundreds of their troops barricaded store fronts and prepared squadrons to combat the intruders, and from them guards of the city guard volleyed arrows at the usurpers. Phantom’s fell left and right, and Mogars shield, Spellbreaker, absorbed the shock of two glass tipped arrows, shattering broken glass into the flesh of his mount and he was thrown off of his horse. Flying across the air Mogar landed behind a barricade atop the soldiers in cover from the attacks. Mogars weight alone was enough to incapacitate them, so that he could regain his senses and ready his weapon. With one hand wielding Netherwrath and another holding Spellbreaker, he beckoned his enemies closer and slammed his sword into the shield as if to taunt the four soldiers who clearly feared him just by looking at his sheer size. Despite their fear, two lunged at Mogar who quickly side-stepped them pushing their backs as they passed him and sliced at their legs, slicing the slits in their armor protecting their achilles and watched them fall to the floor in agony. Using this momentum Mogar ran forward shield first and slammed one guard to the floor knocking him unconscious, simultaneously sticking out his arm to take the soldier next to him to the floor. However this last guard was much faster than Mogar expected, and quickly ducked which allowed him to get behind Mogar and stuck his sword to the sky and attempted to plunge the sword into Mogars back. With a quick roll Mogar narrowly dodged the strike, getting a small cut along the base of his neck. Mogar impressed with the guard’s speed, stood again and prepared for a fight. Planting his feet in the ground gripping Netherwrath with two hands now with Spellbreaker secured to his forearm, he swung towards his foe and despite the enemy only having a standard iron short sword, the guard was able to block the strike using raw strength. From here the two exchanged blows, going back and forth dodging and blocking blows. In the midst of battle Mogar began conversation, “You know soldier, if you make it out of this alive, we could really use a man like you on our side”. Mogar sidestepped the mans swing and tripped him to his knees. Its at this point Mogar finally got a good view of the man. A dark skinned human, possibly a Goliath-Human half breed, just over six feet, however not by much. Long brown hair peeking out from underneath his helmet, a muscular build and a tattoo of a black dragon snaking up his sword bearing arm. Mogar takes his opportunity and tackled the man to hold him down and barked at his men, “Over here boys, I’ve got a live one !”. Suddenly a rush of troops hurried over to shackle and take the man their general had just laid out. Mogar yelled out to them, “Hold him for me I want to see him when this is over”, and with that the general jumped back into the crowd and with that the push towards the main hall was in full swing. Mogar strikes down any man in his way, switching out Netherbane for his Dwarven steel warhammer Dawndrum. Any man, monster, or beast was not safe within the swinging range of Mogar and his hammer. As the militia moved forward the main hall was visibly being barricaded from within and the guard troops who hadn't been taken prisoner or killed, realized it was a losing fight. Suddenly a loud high pitched horn was sounded from atop the main hall, and a shout was heard. “Drop your weapons troops, we surrender, please we beg you stop this bloodbath.'' The general of North Point City Guard waved a white flag signalling defeat. The Phantom’s seized their fighting and began to take their prisoners. Mogar and his three lieutenants approached the main hall door, and attempted to open the door, it seemed as though the city-guard gave up but the mayor and his staff would still put up a fight. Mogar wiped the blood from Dawndrum, with a ripped shirt. “Ravok would you like to do the honors?”, Mogar beckoned to his second in command. A slender grey skinned Dark-Elf with deep blue eyes and silver hair, dressed in an all black robe emitting a dull blue energy from around the embroidered Phantom Soldiers insignia patch. Ravok Sersk, nodded respectfully and approached the barricade with hands behind his back. Uttering several incantations he raised his hands and the door was blown through the hall and slammed to the adjacent wall, and without flinching Ravok stepped aside as the debris flew out splintering into the armor of Mogar. Brushing off the splintered wood from his black scales, Mogar sheathed Dawndrum and fixed Spellbreaker to his back. Mogar looked around the seemingly empty town hall, when in the corner of his eye he spots movement from behind the bar within the common area. In a calm and collected walk Mogar strolled to the bar and pounded the bar with his fist. As he peered over the bar keep and saw a small olive-green Goblin, dressed in royal purple robes and a small crown atop his head. Along next to him were two more Goblins and a Kenku, all cowering in fear. Mogar reached over and grabbed the gold adorned Goblin naturally assuming this is the unruly mayor he was hired to get rid of, “You must be the infamous Surrub Gulk” Mogar growled at him. The other two of his lieutenants, went in behind him and grabbed the three colluders to shackle them. Holding him by his collar he carried the Goblin outside the main hall, where his soldiers and the towns people stood alike. “Surrub Gulk, you stand accused of robbery, murder, and high crimes against your people”, Mogar dropped the small Goblin into the ground, and stepped on his back to hold him in place. “With this sword and as the usurper of your throne, I summon you to death by my hand”. The Goblin choked out a few words in his native tongue. And concluded his last moments on this plane of existence. Mogar unsheathed Netherwrath pointing her to the sky, and with one swift movement he raised the greatsword above his head and brought it down on the Goblins neck. These types of ritualistic executions are common practice for the Phantom’s, despite being seen as barbaric in certain parts of High Point. Then finally with scattered applause, the siege of North Point Port was concluded. A new government would be established, within a week or so and the people of North Point Port would be free at last. With the end of all the Phantom’s sieges, a survey of all prisoners taken in battle is taken. They are offered a choice. Imprisonment, death, or a third option for those eligible, recruitment. What Mogar and his fellow recruiters looked for, was not only strong and intelligent, but willing to actually pledge to the Phantom cause. Of course the first prisoner examined was the guard that was able to go blow for blow with General Mogar. “Bring that guard around”, Mogar waves to the troops that are holding his prisoner. “The Human-Goliath, I was rolling with early in battle”. Mogar laughs and grabs the guard by his shackles and leads him to a clearing in the courtyard. The Phantom’s as apart of their payment were granted a free night stay in a local inn, the courtyard apart of the inn was being used by the Phantoms to count and survey their prisoners. “You know, I’ve heard a lot of great things about you” the guard sat on a stump of wood, and looked vacantly into the distant. His voice was slow and meticulous, it was clear he put careful thought into each word he said. “Of course you have, The Phantom Soldiers are present all over Romus,” Romus is the large central province of High Point, split into east and west, most typically the east is where the poorer cities are. “We siege cities like this one every week, we've been recognized by the Queen herself for the outstanding duty we do for the public”. “No, no, I’m not speaking of your militia, although quite impressive. I’m talking about you, General Mogar Braveheart of Bearfield. One of the greatest military minds of our generation, and possibly even history. And all at the ripe age of 35”. Mogar was confused, “What are you talking about, how do you know where I was raised?” “Word of your achievements have gotten around Mogar, your a highly sought after general in this day and age. Last I heard the Queen offered you a position in the royal guard, isn't that so?” The guard smiled smugly at his captor, he was in shackles but he was exactly where he wanted to be. “Who are you, cretin?” he said snarling at him. “I’m a friend, my name isn’t necessarily important, but you can call me Laren. I’ve come with an offer-”. “I’m not joining your army, or militia, or any other group of violence and hatred on this continent. I’ll tell you exactly what I told the damn queen, N-O”. “Alright, fair enough. You don’t want to abandon the strong force of power you’ve built here. I understand,” Mogar was visibly irritated, however Laren leaned in closer, “but just hear me out now, I am apart of a special group of people, who they are and what their name is unfortunately can’t be revealed to you now, and I realize how suspect it must seem to not divulge any information but bare with me. What my superiors want from you is not for you to be a general for an army, but to be apart of something greater than yourself, and move on from only helping the people of Romus, to helping all the people of High Point”. Laren’s hands were shuffling behind his back as he spoke. There was an audible sigh of irritation from Mogar, as he had heard this speech a million times before. “Look, soldier I’m not interested in joining any group or association—”. Laren cut him short, as he released his hands from the shackles, quickly he began again “You look uninterested. I’m sure you’ve heard this all before, and nothing about my offer catches your eye, but I want you to take this,” He pulled out a map from beneath his shirt, “Take this. Memorize it. Then burn it. Most importantly don’t tell anyone where you're going”. Laren tossed the map into Mogars lap, and as he stood he said “I’ll see you there”. And in a blink Laren vanished, leaving only the chains that bounded him, as they fell to the floor and clinked against each other. Mogar was stunned. Where did his prisoner go? How could he have vanished into thin air so easily without uttering a spell? What was he to do with this map? Mogar stood and analyzed the map. He held the map in his hands, feeling its leathery material against his bare hands. It was a map of High Point, with an enormous red X right in the north of Cosimez, a small lawless island north of Romus. This was not a place Mogar held in a very favorable light. However, Mogar was intrigued. He had been invited and persuaded to join dozens of private militias and armies, even the Queen offered handsome payment but never before had they done so, so mysteriously the way Laren had done just then. The lack of information, for some reason peaked his interest more than any offer presented before. Mogar rose from his stump, clutching the map in his hands he rolled the leathery map and placed it under his breastplate, “If he wanted me to burn this there must be some valuable information at the X,” he thought to himself. As he walked past his troops interrogating the prisoners he announced “I trust you all will handle this accordingly, be ready to head back to basecamp at sunrise”. His troops stood and saluted, and Mogar excused himself into the inn. Navigating through the inn halls, he made his way to his room. Originally he had been granted the royal suite, but Mogar had never been a purveyor of the high class lifestyle. Instead he had granted one of his best and hardest working sergeants the night in the suite, and took her standard room for himself. In the room he removed his armor and weapons to be cleaned and polished before turning in for the night. His belongings had already been moved from the Phantom camp just outside North Point. After removing his blood-stained chain mail, he washed off some of the dirt and grime from the battle. He would later do a much more in depth bathing of himself but for now he would just remove the dirt and blood before getting the wound on his neck sutured and dressed. Putting on a simple cotton shirt and pants, Mogar was dressed for the celebration at the inns bar. Following a quick visit to the Phantom’s healer, Mogars neck wound was dressed accordingly and he was headed for the mess hall. As he entered the hall, he saw that his soldiers had beat him there and were already well on their way into their drunken stupor for the night. Waiting at the bar, was the Halfling man who had organized and gathered the funds to pay the Phantoms. A stout little red headed man with a long and bushy beard. “Your payment is in the wagon outside, I trust you have a safe place to keep it till you leave in the morning?”. Mogar waved over to some soldiers who were not quite fully inebriated yet. “We’ll move it into the courtyard with the prisoners for now, my men will keep it safe” Mogar spoke genuinely and softly. ”We appreciate the opportunity to have assisted you and your people”. “Oh it is us that cannot thank you enough, you’ve freed us from the tyrannical hold of that Goblin bastard”. The Halfling spoke quickly and had a high pitched voice for such a stout and burly man. He shook Mogar’s hand and hurriedly left the hall. Clearly he saw that with a group of drunken soldiers this hall was not the ideal place for a little man like him. “Barkeep,” Mogar waved his hand to attract the attention of the human behind the bar, “Would you get me a cup of your strongest ale please?” “I would be honored general”. The barkeep looked at Mogar with respect, and walked over to a tapped barrel and filled the cup with a dark purple liquid. “Menzo Lager, a blackberry lager from the Lapis province”. The human handed Mogar the cup. Mogar took a sip of the fizzy purple lager. “This will do sir, thank you barkeep. God be with you” Mogar nodded his head and sauntered to the mess hall tables filled with his soldiers. He went to each table sepaking with his soldiers greeting them and ensuring there are no lasting damages to any of his troops. Table to table laughing, talking, and reflecting. This was customary for Mogar to do after a battle. Mogars Dragonborn blood made it difficult to be inebriated, so when he drank it was for the purpose of camaraderie with his troops, and he had a lot of troops to greet and speak with. As he approached his last table of the night and he was almost four cups of ale in, this last table which had a clear atmosphere of tension which Mogar sensed as he approached. At the table was a pair of soldiers and a group of townspeople which were seemingly berating the two soldiers. A drunken slur could be heard as Mogar came closer“You scaley bastard, you don't belong in my town”. One of the townspeople was yelling at young troop. An Elvish man, High-Elf most likely. Looked to be a shop owner, tall, sleek, attempting to appear wealthy, however clearly struggling to get by from the tattered clothing visible from under his jewelry and expensive robes. “I’ve never trusted your kind, and I never will or so help me gods”. The man was shouting now. Aman, an emerald green Dragonborn, a full head of white hair with cold white eyes. Only 14 years old, and a new recruit in the Phantom Soldiers army. Clearly quite drunk himself, Aman’s eyes glowed white with rage as the drunken Elf continued to wail on him verbally. “Hide your wives and your children, the scaleys are here and no one is safe!”. As the Elf continued some of the townspeople accompanying him were trying to settle him down however it was to no avail. “Don’t touch me you bastards, this scaley thinks he can come into my city and act all high and mighty?” he spat on the floor as he spoke. Scaley is a derogatory slur used against both Dragonborn and Lizardfolk. Aman’s white eyes began to glow a dim green with his rage. The situation would have soon escalated had Mogar not stepped in. “Greetings sir, is everything all right here?” Mogar was being a polite as possible. Being a Dragonborn in certain parts of High Point was not only difficult but also dangerous. North Point Port was one of those places. “Oh ho ho. It’s the big bad general of these pissants. Nothing to see here Captain Scaley. Only problem is you and all your scaley troops need to get the hell out of this here town before I get up and remove you lot” The elf looked Mogar dead in his eyes and stood from his seat to get right up close and into Mogars face, he could smell the stench of alcohol on his breath, “Dead or alive”. Aman stood from his chair and reached for his axe sheathed at his hip. The troop with him, a young Kenku, whos hands began to glow red with fire. The townspeople began reaching for their swords, and it was clear blood was about to be shed. However, Mogar has been in situations like this before, not all are as grateful for the Phantoms service, the blinding force of ignorance prevents such realizations and can cloud judgement which will almost always lead to violence. Mogar shouted, “Alright now. That’s enough fun and games for tonight. I think it's best for us all to turn in don't you think private?” Mogar looked at Aman and growled “Soldier you remove your hand from your armament, or you’ll be thrown in the courtyard and have to sleep with the prisoners tonight”. The young Dragonborn did not break his line of sight on the Elf. He removed his hand from his sheath and reached for his cup. In one gulp the ale was finished and with that Aman and the Kenku retreated to their rooms. However the townspeople were still quite riled up, and were trying to calm down the Elf shopkeeper. “I think it would be best if this man went home for the night, it seems as though he’s had a little too much to drink tonight, and for the sake of the safety of my troops it’d be greatly appreciated if you all could assist him in returning home”. The townspeople grabbed the Elf by his arms and rushed quickly out of the inn. “God be with you” he shouted as they exited. Bloodshed had seemingly been successfully be averted With that final encounter, Mogar was about ready to call it a night. Mogar returned to the barkeep for the last time. “How much in total for the ales?” he reached for his belt pouch of gold prepared to draw a few pieces. “Oh nothing for you, General. Just the honor to serve you is payment enough for me sir”. The barkeep stood tall and saluted him, Mogar could see the respect in his eye and feel the gratuity of the Human and stood tall and saluted back. “At ease sir” Mogar smiled and removed his hand from its positioning that he knew oh so well. He drew four pieces of gold from his pouch and placed them on the car. “One for each cup of ale, save it for yourself, and buy something for your family. God be with you sir. Have a blessed night. '' Mogar nodded his head and left the bar, heading back to his room to bathe and wash his armor before finally turning in for the night. Mogar ran a bath within his room taking the water from several buckets and filling a tub that the massive Dragonborn struggled to fit into. As Mogar attempted to warm the water with the simple spell commonly used by novice alchemists and cooks to bring water to a rolling boil, he stumbled over his words and took more than a few attempts before finally getting it right. “Never was any good at Infernal” he whispered as he sat himself in the hot water. Thus beginning the nightly routine, after scrubbing clean of dirt and blood. Next came the duty of cleaning and polishing his armor and equipment. His bronze chainmail, was a gift from his hometown of Bearfield. Previously worn by the head general of the villages militia, and was enchanted to give the Bearfield mages to grant extreme speed to the owner. Mogar’s goto weapon the gold and dragonbone greatsword, Netherwrath, was forged in Lapis by a grateful blacksmith in a skyforge using the bones of the dragon the Phantoms had previously slayed and gold that Mogar had received as payment. Dragonbone is naturally enchanted to inflict the effects of whatever class of dragon, the bones were acquired from, on its victims. These bones being from a nether dragon, it granted the sword its namesake, as well as inflicting burns on its victims as well as vicious cuts caused from the sharpened gold blade. Mogar’s previous main armament was, Dawndrum, a Dwarven steel warhammer. Stolen from an Orcish war camp, that the Phantoms came across in their travels in the Nilands. Typically, Mogar would never srm himself with a stolen weapon, however these Orcs were planning an attack on a neighboring village and after Mogars prayers for justice to these war criminals, the warhammer was found outside his tent at dawn after the sound of war drums had woken up Mogar from his slumber. Being both Dwarven and Orcish descent, Mogar is unsure of any real incantations being placed on the hammer, however the immense strength felt when wielding, prompts Mogar to think a strength enhancing enchantment was smithed into the weapon. Mogars shield Spellbreaker is always difficult to clean due to constant scratches and imperfections left in the shield from when it was made. An all diamond shield, Spellbreaker was crafted and forged by Mogar in a feeble attempt at smithing during a trip to Goldstown, Lapis. Mogar is a strong and smart warrior, but not a very crafty smith. Imperfections, dents, and scratches litter the surface of the diamond shield. However, Mogar keeps it as a symbol of his humility and to remind him that there are things that even he cannot do. Luckily enough during the smithing process, an apprentice mage who had been casting enchantments on other weapons and equipment had accidentally casted a very unique spell that is yet to be replicated by any other mage. Through a combination of spells, the mage had enchanted a shield immune to magical attacks. This was discovered mid-battle and had broken a large fireball, which led to its name becoming Spellbreaker. Finally in Mogar’s arsenal of weapons and equipment are his black pearl gauntlets. Bought from a merchant in the capital, no special enchantments on them. However, Mogar never feels completely in uniform without these gauntlets on. The all black glistening material, reminds him of the scales of his family back home in Bearfield. He himself comes from a lineage of black Dragonborn, and these gauntlets are reminders to his family. After completing his inventory of weapons and equipment, Mogar laid himself in bed and began to pray. “May this rest be blessed. May you accept the souls of those who perished at my hand. May you forgive my trespasses. May my troops remain safe. Blessed be thy God”. As the sun rose slowly upon North Point Port, the sunlight seeped through Mogars open window filling the room with light. As Mogar began to stir awake, the shuffling of footsteps could be heard beyond his door. Knock, knock, knock. Mogar sat up in his bed whilst rubbing the sleep from his eyes. As he swung his monstrous feet from the bed to the floor, the boards creaked from his weight. He opened the door, to see one of his lieutenants, an enormous purple Orcish soldier and faithful follower of Ares. Kello Horrison, was a brutal and fierce fighter, known for slaughtering enemy armies single handedly and his soul trapping emerald scimitar, Riverkiller. This monster of a man, looked at the floor. “General”, he raised his head slowly and had a grave look in his eyes, “There’s been an incident”. The Orc paused and Mogar looked at his lieutenant with a look of worry. “The Elf from the bar last night… he’s been killed.” Kello sighed and paused once again, “it was by one of ours”. Mogar brought his hand to his head and sighed. “Aman wasn’t it”. Kello nodded his head. “What should we do sir?” The General sighed as fury built in his mind. “Round up the soldiers. We leave at midday, and do it quietly. Am I understood?” “Yes sir, and the boy?” Mogar shook his head, “Bring him to me... In shackles” The army gathered just beyond the walls of the city. An entire army geared and prepared for the trek back to the basecamp just north of the Kings Towers Mountains. Mogar sat atop his steed surveying his troops as they prepped for the journey home. A small group led by lieutenant Horrison walked through the crowd of soldiers. A low ranking sergeant and the last of five captains along with all three lieutenants led a shackled and bloodied emerald green Dragonborn and brought him to the foot of Mogar, as he sat atop his horse. His eyes peeked through the slits in his helmet as he looked out above the heads of his soldiers, past them the town that soon forgot the good work of the Lord, and will only remember the death of one of their innocents, at the blade of a soldier. Now, Mogar would have to make a choice. The act of drunken decision making, against a hateful and equally drunken force, a young boy making a stupid decision and now he’d have to suffer the consequences. Getting dragged along, Aman was pushed to his knees before the mighty general. Mogar looked down on the prisoner, sadness and disappointment in his eyes. As he swung his leg over his horse and landed on the ground Aman shuddered in fear, he’s realized his mistakes and he knows a punishment is coming. Aman’s head is to the floor with his shoulders hunched, his despair was obvious. Mogar removed his helmet and set it next to the shackled soldier. Mogar ordered his private to stand. He looked at the boys face. He attempted to keep his composure out of respect, but tears streamed down his face, afraid of the repercussions of his actions. Mogar readied himself and sipped water from his canteen, preparing his voice to speak to his soldiers. “Troops of the Phantom Soldiers, we are meant to be pillars of generosity and kinship in every community we come into. Let it be a small city like North Point Port, or a metropolis like Kings Keep, we act in the name of the Lord, and attempt to do our best by the people who have sacrificed so much, so that we may help them in their time of need. "
Next During the middle of the twenty first century, humans truly took to the stars. Despite having pierced the black veil a century before hand, it was on the twenty second of June, 2063, when their classification went from terrestrial based life to a space faring species with the colonization of the fourth planet in the Sol system. There on Mars, they discovered a Relic. An ancient ship, not much larger than one of our fighters, was discovered. Most of the computer system was destroyed on ‘impact’, but certain systems were almost entirely intact, most notably, the primary thruster systems, the power generator, and an ancient alcubierre-white drive. It took them another sentry, and countless failed trials, before they were able to replicate this tech. In this time, they sent countless probes out to neighboring systems, with a focus on Tau Ceti, the Centauri system, and Sirius. Before they fully replicated the A-W drive, they used their expanded knowledge to create torch drives, allowing for relatively timely colonization of all three systems. At the end of the twenty second century, contact was made with a neighboring species. This interaction was slightly against the romanticized stories humans had thought first contact would be. There was no opening salvo of fire from highly advanced aggressors, that would come later. Nor was this species some ground hugging species, having not broken free of their cradles atmosphere yet. They were at the same point of evolution as the humans. Experiencing a technological boom at the discovery of an ancient artefact within their own system, and cautiously expanding outwards. Contact was first made using radio waves. The closest points between the two was a mere 15 light years. They were close neighbors indeed. Needless to say, they were humans first target once they had achieved ftl travel. As it were, the aliens were the first to unlock that potential, and arrived at Sirius. They called themselves the Vairne. Humans, now referred to as Terrans, and the Vairne were surprisingly similar. Both had a similar bipedal form, social structure, and lust for knowledge. While humans descended from tree living apes, the Vairne were descended from an ape analogue that was as much aquatic as it was terrestrial. As such, they lacked the raw upper body strength that humans had, but had much stronger lower body strength to accommodate swimming, along with being slightly shorter on average, due to a ten percent higher gravity. While humans had body hair, the Vairne had an outer layer of skin similar to scales. Surprisingly, both atmospheres where highly similar, although Earth had a higher concentration of oxygen. All this meant that Vairne and Terrans could easily co-habilitate on the same planets. After the expected confusion of first contact, both species got along well. They shared technical achievements, advances in biology, and any sort of knowledge that could be useful or interesting to the other. Within one hundred years time, the two species united to form the Republic. No name was added, as there was no other species that had yet appeared. Philosophers wondered if it was possibly due to them being the first species to be space faring. The only hole in this theory was the well placed wrecks of ancient ships within each system. To be human now meant to be sapient, it didn’t factor into whether you were Terran or Vairne. There was still backwater planets who viewed the other race as inferior for whatever reason, but such pockets of backwardness had always existed at some level on both planets. On August second, twenty three oh one, human time, contact was made again. A war fleet had warped into existence on one of their outer colonies of Achenar. At this time, the Republic was a sphere of stars roughly three hundred lightyears in diameter. Within hours, Achenar was silenced. All attempts to communicate with the new comers failed, as they showed no sign of even receiving any sort of external communications. The Republic had no war fleets, just a small force to discourage pirating, yet valiantly they rose to the occasion against these enemies. Within an hour, the Republic fleet was destroyed. The enemy was named Carrion, for the destruction they left in their path. Their ships were impossibly advanced, using tech the Republic was only beginning to conceptualize. Carrions look to be massive creatures of flesh and armor. Standing over ten feet tall, three massive legs arranged like a tripod. Four arms, one set right below the other. However, as best as the Republic’s Xenobiologists can tell, they originate from a low G planet, as they have a very low density compared to Terrans and Vairne. Immediately, ship yards started pushing out the most high tech warships they could manage, and the economy shifted to a focus on a defensive war against an advanced enemy. While the Carrions rarely took prisoners, those they did were never heard nor seen from again. I used to be a fine specimen within the Republic. I look down at my frail arms, which now resemble my late grandfather. He was a wily old man. Uprooted his wife and children ages ago, and set out for the outer colonies. He found luck there, and was able to raise a strong family. Ulrik Tordson West, of Achenar. Father to Wyrd Ulrikson West, first of Achenar, then once he turned twenty one, of Ukaf. There, Wyrd West of Ukaf found his wife, and together, they raised a son. Named in honor of his wife’s grandfather, Arthur Wyrdson West, of Ukaf. I was born on Ukaf, a typical agriculture planet. Over half of the planet was low, gently rolling grasslands. Along the equator and at the poles was a collection of small seas, and at the temperate latitudes were ridges of hills and mountains. But a life of a farmer wasn’t exciting enough for me, and so on my twenty first birthday I left for a more central world, Kellos. There I lived, working in the massive industrial complexes that covered what wasn’t filled with an urban sprawl. The attacks of August second sent shockwaves through the entire Republic. Multitudes of people, both Terran and Vairne, threw themselves at the recruitment centers. Everyone knew someone who was related to someone that had some connection to Achenar it seemed. Everyone had dreams of piloting a fighter, laying down twin streams of fire on the massive xeno warships. Or of controlling a turret battery, the steady thump of fired projectiles as you mercilessly punished the alien fighters, turning them into scrap. Or if you showed physical strength, being a shock trooper and reclaiming lost worlds. Being fired from the belly of a ship at orbital bombardment speeds in little more than a set of power armor in a metal coffin, a rifle to your left, and a radio to your right. Maybe a sniper if you had sharp eyesight. Sitting high and protected, an anti material rifle to punch through the thick armor of ground troops. Cool and calmly making tallies on the wall next to you for each downed xeno, then laughing with your sniper buddies at the bar about today's tally. Those were the thoughts dancing through my mind as I filled out my paperwork and took my evaluation tests. I would go do my part for the republic, become a badass for a few years, then return home with a hefty paycheck, the vengeance for my grandfather, and become a local celebrity. That’s what the recruiters told me. By the time I found out I was to be piloting freight barges to the front line, it was too late to turn back. I’d be spending five years of my life to bring supplies to the troops at the front. If I was lucky, I might even see the flaming wreck of the previous fight. Even then, I hadn’t realized I was being lied to still. Things can’t burn in space. And this was a losing fight. To be sent to the front was a death sentence, I was lucky to supposedly see no action. I shouldn’t have seen action. I was far behind the front. It was six months into my deployment, a typical resupply run. Last port was the requisitions facility on Vega Crana 5. Half my tonnage of structural repairs, the other half medical supplies. I ran down the sequence of procedures before dropping out of warp, taking a pull of my nicstik. The beautiful but boring view of the star was suddenly replaced by a tangle of ships. The ship I was meant to unload at, R.S. Viceroy’s Mark, was a broken wreck, but still attempting to limp away while smaller support vessels attempted to draw fire. The more organically shaped ship of the Carrion aggressor pursued, having tasted blood. After a brief coms contact, I was told to abandon ship, eject into an escape pod and await pick up from a fleeing ship. I acknowledged my orders, then pointed my slow, but heavy ship at the bridge of the attacking ship. I slowly throttled up, edging my ship as fast as she would go. Too fast, and the forces would tear my cargo, and the majority of my mass, away from my center of thrust. Had I kept an eye on my local radar, I would’ve seen all friendly support vessels vanish one by one, either abandoning the carrier and warping to safety, or either destroyed and turned into rubble. It was too late for me to stop, all my thoughts consumed by distance, speed, delta V, and time to impact. Seconds before I was to impact, I hit the eject button. Walls slammed down the tiny cockpit, followed by a hiss of pressurized air as the pilots seat jettisoned away from the doomed craft. I whooped in glee from the adrenaline rush, watching my impromptu 50 ton missile stay directly on target. Twenty yards from the bridge of the ship, a wall of blue spread out from where my ship was, smearing it like a bug would smear against my car. A beam of energy shot from the belly of the menace, slicing the Viceroy cleanly in half. The alien unleashed a barrage of all sorts, energy beams, projectiles, missiles, on the crippled ship. I didn’t need my computer to tell me all hands lost. Soon a small ship, the size of a large fighter, came towards me, then dragged me to the mothership. I didn’t go quietly. I may not have had a rifle with me, but I did have my standard issue sidearm, a small plasma repeater and a spare energy cell. But even with that, I couldn’t take over an entire alien flagship. With my weapon spent and my body broken, I was taken into captivity. Every time my body healed, I threw myself at them. Sometimes it was just my fists and my fury. More often I had a sharp rock I found deep in the Mines. If I was lucky, I was given a tool that was far more lethal. After the second time I wiped out the local security depot, they learned not to give me a sharp or heavy tool. And so I went from work camp to work camp. If I worked hard, which didn’t happen often, I got enough food to have the energy to fight the next day. If I was lazy or disobeyed, which happened far more than often, I got another beating for supper. I’m surprised by my own resilience. Whatever they did to me, it only made me stronger. With every bruise I got, the fire within me burned all the hotter. Down in the mines, or out in the fields, or deep within the factories, I never saw another human, Terran or Vairne. There was plenty of other xenos, far too many to remember or count, all looking to be forced labour same as me. None shared my will to fight, which seemed strangle to me. All Terrans and Vairne had a zest for freedom. These people who worked next to me seemed resigned to their fate. First they looked sadly on my attempts to rebel, then in shock. They never rose a hand to help me. I thought all this over as I lay in my ‘bed’. Nothing more than a sheet of fabric stretched tight over a metal frame, raised a few inches above the floor in my current prison. I hadn’t been released for work this morning. Instead I watched as the guards rounded up those around me. My thoughts are disrupted as a short, grey alien grabs the bars to my cage, shouting at me in a strange, high pitched voice. I jump up, onto the balls of my feet. My hands curl into fists, ready to defend myself. The small creature hesitates for a moment, shocked by my reactions, before he resumes. A guard notices, and lumbers towards him. With a short, panicked look behind him, he yells once more, rattling my cage. The guard wraps a single meaty hand around around him, yanking him free with a sickening pop. He cries out in pain as the guard carries him away. I doubt I’ll see him again to try and figure out what he meant. I’ve learnt that his kind quickly dies from shock from even a joint dislocation. I sit back down on my cot, awaiting whatever fate is in store for me. I rest my forehead against the tips of my fingers, a position I hadn’t held since I was a child. There I sit, trying to remember the verses my grandfather taught me. The words to appeal to the gods. It’s fruitless. A plate is slid through the gate in my door. I get up, cautious. Looking around, I see nothing but a single guard outside the door, eyeing me with caution. I smile, knowing I’m still a threat to single guards such as it. I dart up, grabbing the plate, before returning to my cot just as quick. The grey paste looks like a liquid soap, small white pellets embedded within the paste. It smells much the same, the too sharp tang of hand sanitizer. I force it down hungrily, enjoying every drop from the meal, my eyes closed. It had been four days since I last ate. If I focus really hard, and ignore the taste and smell, the texture vaguely resembles oatmeal that's a few months past expiration, cooked with too little water, then had milk that was close to spoiling mixed in with it. I look up at the guard, then push the plate towards the door with a kick. Two more guards walk into the hallway, standing outside my cell. I eye them nervously, unsure what they wanted. Before when I was transferred between camps, it was always at night. They moved me during my allocated resting period, then put me to work immediately in the morning. This is different. What seems to be a day off, a meal when I should be working, and three guards that look nervous, if they actually have emotions. Have the powers be decided I’m not worth the trouble? Perhaps the meal was a way of trying to make things right, assuming they have morals. A last meal maybe. I look up at the trio of guards. I cough, clearing my throat hoping it won’t crack. “You know, back home, when someone is given his last meal he get’s to choose what he wants. I don’t want this goopy grey shit” They look between themselves, the center one unlocking my door. I hope ma and pa are alright. I think of my little brother. My gods he could be annoying at times, but I miss him. The thought of him makes me chuckle. “I want an uber-which. Got that, or do I need to spell it out for you thickheaded, muscle bound, jar heads? Two slices of bread. Put some peanut butter on one, and an ancient earth delicacy called Nutella on the other. Nice and thick, just smother it.” Peanut allergy. I’ll be damned if I’m going out on their terms. I’d rather choke to death on my own constricted airways then let them kill me in whatever they think is humane. The one unlocking my door opens it, grunting at me to get out. I get up, retreating to the furthest corner from them. “I’m not going with you, I’m not gonna be slaughtered like a lamb!” My voice rises in tone slightly as I start panicking. The two guards left reach behind themselves, each picking up an oversized riot shield and and a stun button. They march into the cell, holding at the door. They brandish the batons, sharp blue bolts of power crackling along the shafts. The leftmost one starts taking hesitant steps towards me, hiding behind the wall of a shield, peering out through the slit for his eyes. I’m afraid, I admit to myself, being stuck in this cell with two ten foot monsters in here with me. I exhale. If I want to survive for even a little longer, I need to fight. And if I want to fight, I need to be confident. An ancient quote comes to mind. “I’m not stuck in here with you, you’re stuck in here with me!” I shout, my words falling unintelligibly on their ears. The first one swings at me. Adrenaline and norepinephrine flood my system, and I leap to the side. I land hard on my shoulder, within reach of the foot of my cot. I reach down, hoping it’s close enough. Weeks ago, I hid a small, sharp shard of metal. It was magnetic, so I stuck it under my cot. My hand finds it, and I spring to with my weapon in hand. The first guard is still turning, so I close with it as fast as I can. I grip hard on my shiv as I raise it above my head, already feeling it cut into my skin. I swing down, jabbing it in the bunch arm muscle holding the baton. It roars, releasing one of his hands. I rip it sideways, flaying open a section of muscle. The guard whips around, swinging his shield to bash me. I skip back, my back literally against the wall. I fake lunging for his injured side, then move the opposite. I quickly get behind him. My shiv has already cut into my hand, and small trickles of blood are making me lose my grip. I change how I’m holding it, cutting open new wounds. I jab at his second right arm, embedding it as deep as I can before I let go. I swing at his wrist, breaking his hold on the baton. It clatters to the floor, and I lunge for it, going prone on my stomach. The guard slams his shield down on my back, winding me. I gasp for breath as I stretch. He roars in my face, flecks of spittle landing on my neck. He lifts the shield for a moment, and I use the opportunity to scoot forward a few inches. I close my hand around the grip of the baton, triumphant. I roll out of the just as he slams the shield down where I was. I struggle to my feet, my breath just coming back. White specks fly in my vision, and black creeps in at the edges. I fight it, pushing off the wall. I hold the oversized baton in both hands as I swing at the guard in a rage. He hides behind his shield, circling around me. A small part of me is cautious, telling me to not fall for that. I try and figure out why he’s leading me like this before I remember with a start that I just exposed my back to the second guard. I hesitate for a second as I try and fix my situation, my arms extended above me holding the baton. The second guard takes advantage of this, whipping his active baton into my back. My muscles contract and relax as the electricity arcs through me. I drop the baton, spasming for a few seconds before I drop to the ground. I struggle to my hands and knees as he strikes me again. I fight through the pain, ordering my muscles to hold. I kneel, watching as the first guard picks up his baton again, blue blood dripping down his arms. He baton crackles menacingly in his hands as I stagger to me feet. I only have time to glare angrily up at a very pissed off alien nearly twice my height before I take another swing to my legs. My left legs collapses after a wet pop at the knee, the muscles shaking angrily as I fall. The side of my head smacks hard on the cold, hard stone of the floor as I black out. My head, back, and left knee throbs. I crack open my eyes, the bright light assaulting my eyes. Is this Valhalla? I did die in combat. There’s a few odd voices, conversing in the pidgin language that’s developed in the prisons I’ve been in. Still in hell. One particular seems to be giving orders. The one I can see is a vividly blue avian, tending to my leg. A pair of purple slimy hands holds my thigh in place, and I can feel the avian grab just below my knee. I know what’s coming next, and without any painkillers, this will be painful. A gentle voice that reminds me of my mother’s whispers in my ear “Hush now Terran, relax or this will be much more painful”. I mumble, trying to push them off me. I can fix it myself I try telling them. More hands hold me down, more than I can count or resist. I lay there, bracing myself for it. A sudden jerk, a rush of feeling below my left knee, and then an overwhelming pain. I black out, my body shutting down for more repairs. I gently come to laying in a cot. The pain from my body is still there, but not as overwhelming. I can open my eyes and see. An inmate that looks like a cross between an octopus and a chimp sits at a bench watching me. He speaks with a glubbing sound, like he’s not used to speaking with air. He uses the pidgin speak. “Awake, yes?” a pause, then “Injuries are how?” I decode what he meant as my brain makes sense out of the broken phrasing. “Yes awake. Injuries are…” I pause as I search for an applicable word “Sustain. You heal?” “Me heal” he, I assume a he, gestures at my entire body with one of his multitude of tentacles. “Joint twist bad, loose was. In now. Reverse of front, heat over, over contract, of pull. Salve on, heat over no longer.” He taps his head. “Open bad, much of deep. Inside liquid outside. Bring together close, tied shut. Inside shell-armor-shield-bone, know not. How dead not? Too, gripping appendage-tentacle open, close with no me addition? Add of brown scale, create more inside liquid, more brown scale. Not aware.” I nod, processing all that he said. Dislocated knee, which they popped back into place. My back was burnt and the muscles were pulled. They put on some sort of paste which helped heal it. My head and hand were cut deep. I think he stitched it? I’m not sure where he would’ve gotten supplies. My hand healed before he got to it. He cleared off the scabs, making it bleed again. Thank the gods he left it after that. I point to myself “Human. I refer me Human. You refer me Human. We refer us Human” The tentacle ape nods, pointing at me. “You designate human. Is what?” “Is strong. Body of self much heal. Inside shell-armor-shield-bone of high structural integrity. Still of containing thought. No worry. You of medicine?” “Of before-time. Was Is of teach heal. Then, Captors of kill home, me take. Me here help” Time to settle another nagging question. “Where here of being to?” “Here of kill. Ring, others, fight, kill, win? Eat. Lose? I not of am ability of help” “Where that of being to?” I want to know how far I am from home. I ignore almost all of his previous answer, clutching hope that I can find an escape. “Comprehension. Apology. Only leave death. Far gone” I’m silent for a long time. I may die without hearing my native tongue again. Without seeing another human. Or even having a burger, or that seafood dish the Vairne are so fond of. I look at him again, one more question. “Who of speak native tongue? When of loose joint twist bad, then of action right joint twist bad correct, hear of speak me. Who say?” “No say. First you. No other Yuemen” He stretches the unfamiliar word out. “Captor come, two time dark-light cycle. Let heal. Rest. Eat? Gain. Captor come, you fight. Live, more two time dark-light cycle. More fight. You now all fight” He gets up and leaves me with my thoughts. In two days time, I must fight for… Something. Sweat breaks out on my forehead in anticipation for what’s to come. What am I fighting, more captors? I stand up, wobbly on my feet. I limp, keeping as much weight off my left foot. These cells are more open, allowing the prisoners to mingle with each other. In the center seems to be a mess hall of sorts with different height tables and chairs. I sit on the bench on the other side of where the tentacle monster sat to avoid the little puddle he left. I break into a cold sweat. What faceless horrors do they have yet to surprise me with? A/N: Hey all, long time lurker, first time poster, all that yadaya you typically see. After having about a two year hiatus from writing, I started writing little blurbs like the italicized bit up top. Most of them were very HFY themed, but this one really called to me, so I decided to spruce it up a bit, and expand on it. This will be a story set in a universe I’m going to be building for a few other stories. Planning on roughly ten chapters, but it could be longer or shorter. I’ve got the rough skeleton put together, but we’ll see how it develops. Let me know what you think. In particular, I’d like feedback on the pidgin language, the overall flow of things, and the writing style itself since It’s been two years since I’ve posted anything I wrote online. Thanks for the read, and I hope this isn’t too cliched.
2017.06.18 17:18 feedredditHappy Father’s Day -- JAY SEKULOW: Trump is not under investigation -- Scalise update -- WHITE HOUSE week ahead -- KNOWING MARK CORALLO – SCHUMER’s first big test -- WEEKEND READS – RODAY/MARRE wedding pool report
Happy Father’s Day -- JAY SEKULOW: Trump is not under investigation -- Scalise update -- WHITE HOUSE week ahead -- KNOWING MARK CORALLO – SCHUMER’s first big test -- WEEKEND READS – RODAY/MARRE wedding pool report by [email protected] (Daniel Lippman) via POLITICO - TOP Stories URL: http://ift.tt/2soWHWP Good Sunday morning. HAPPY FATHER’S DAY! SPEAKER PAUL RYAN discusses what he’s learning as a father as his kids approach their teenage years. http://bit.ly/2rJIO3F FIRST IN PLAYBOOK -- Speaker Paul Ryan spent the weekend at the Homestead in Virginia for his annual “Team Ryan” summer outing. His message to K Streeters and donors: the Republican agenda is on track. The Wisconsin Republican laid out his preferred timeline for Obamacare repeal bill, saying that it will be done by mid-summer and tax reform will be completed by the end of the year. Ryan said that he expected the Senate to pass their health care bill before the July 4 recess and that would give House Republicans the rest of July to take action. Ryan said he has been talking to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell daily. Ryan also was bullish on infrastructure, telling the group that a series of infrastructure bills will be passed by the end of the year. SPOTTED: Chris Russell, Bob Wood, Chris Giblin, David Tamasi, Richard Hunt, Ray Berman, Ed Kutler and Nicole Gustafson. STATEMENTS FROM PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP FROM CAMP DAVID -- @realDonaldTrump at 6:38 a.m.: “The MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN agenda is doing very well despite the distraction of the Witch Hunt. Many new jobs, high business enthusiasm,..” … at 6:46 a.m.: “...massive regulation cuts, 36 new legislative bills signed, great new S.C.Justice, and Infrastructure, Healthcare and Tax Cuts in works!” …at 7:02 a.m.: “The new Rasmussen Poll, one of the most accurate in the 2016 Election, just out with a Trump 50% Approval Rating.That’s higher than O’s #’s!” -- @kylegriffin1: “For reference (spot the outlier): Gallup 38 … Economist/YouGov 42 … Reuters/Ipsos 40 … PPP 41 … Quinnipiac 34 … Rasmussen 50” TAKE NOTE: Trump had just one surrogate on the Sunday shows: a member of his legal team. Not one Cabinet secretary or adviser talking about policy or politics. SUNDAY BEST, PART I -- JAY SEKULOW tells CHUCK TODD on NBC’S “MEET THE PRESS” that the president isn’t under investigation -- TODD: “The president tweeted earlier this week, ‘I am being investigated for firing the F.B.I. director by the man who told me to fire the F.B.I. director. Witch hunt.’ So let me start with this. When did the president become aware that he was officially under investigation by the special counsel?” SEKULOW: “The president is not under investigation by the special counsel. The tweet from the president was in response to the five anonymous sources that were purportedly leaking information to The Washington Post about a potential investigation of the president. But the president, as James Comey said in his testimony and as we know as of today, the president has not been and is not under investigation.” -- MARCO RUBIO to JAKE TAPPER on CNN’s “STATE OF THE UNION” -- TAPPER: “Some of your Senate colleagues, as you know, are concerned that President Trump is preparing to fire Mueller or Mueller and Rosenstein. How would you react if he did?” RUBIO: “Well, first of all, that’s not going to happen. I don’t believe it’s going to happen. And here’s what I would say. The best thing that could happen for the president, and the country, is a full and credible investigation. I really, truly believe that. If we want to put all this behind us, let’s find out what happened, let’s put it out there, and let’s not undermine the credibility of the investigation. And so my view on it is that’s the best thing that could happen for the president and for the country, and I believe ultimately that’s what will happen, irrespective of all the other stuff that’s going on out there.” -- SEKULOW GETS TESTY under sharp questioning from Chris Wallace on "Fox News Sunday": "I do not appreciate you putting words in my mouth, when I've been crystal clear that the president is not and has not been under investigation." SOME HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE PRESIDENT’S WEEK -- MONDAY: Trump has Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela and his wife to the White House. He will participate in an American Technology Council roundtable at 5 p.m. WEDNESDAY: The president is going to Iowa. THURSDAY: The Congressional picnic. THE BIG SUNDAY READ -- NYT, A1 -- “How Michael Flynn’s Disdain for Limits Led to a Legal Quagmire,” by Nick Confessore, Matt Rosenberg and Danny Hakim: “Mr. Flynn decided that the military’s loss would be his gain: He would parlay his contacts, his disdain for conventional bureaucracy, and his intelligence career battling Al Qaeda into a lucrative business advising cybersecurity firms and other government contractors. Over the next two years he would sign on as a consultant to nearly two dozen companies, while carving out a niche as a sought-after author and speaker -- and ultimately becoming a top adviser to President Trump. “‘I’ve always had that entrepreneurial spirit,’ Mr. Flynn said in an interview in October 2015. In the military, he added, ‘I learned that following the way you’re supposed to do things isn’t always the way to accomplish a task.’ But instead of lofting him into the upper ranks of Beltway bandits, where some other top soldiers have landed, his foray into consulting has become a legal and political quagmire, driven by the same disdain for boundaries that once propelled his rise in the military.” http://nyti.ms/2sDrCkx SCALISE UPDATE -- “Hospital says Scalise showing ‘signs of improvement’ after additional surgery,” by Rebecca Morin: “[House] Majority Whip Steve Scalise is showing ‘signs of improvement’ and is ‘speaking with his loved ones’ following an additional surgery, according to an update provided by MedStar Washington Hospital Center on Saturday. The hospital also downgraded his condition from critical to serious. “‘Congressman Steve Scalise is in serious condition. He underwent another surgery today, but continues to show signs of improvement,’ according to a statement from the hospital, courtesy of the Scalise family. ‘He is more responsive, and is speaking with his loved ones. The Scalise family greatly appreciates the outpouring of thoughts and prayers.’” http://politi.co/2tBoHG5 -- TEAM SCALISE’s video from Thursday’s Congressional baseball game http://bit.ly/2rsXeGe FROM TYSON LOBBYIST MATT MIKA’S FAMILY: “We want to thank the team at George Washington University Hospital for their world-class care, and we continue to be grateful beyond words for the heroic actions of the U.S. Capitol Police this week. In addition, the positive thoughts, prayers and words of encouragement from across the nation have meant the world to Matt and to all of us. “Matt has undergone additional surgery and his physicians have reported positive results. Matt will remain in the ICU through at least this weekend. He continues to communicate with us through notes, and even signed the game ball for the Congressional Baseball Game. Matt especially valued the professionalism of the officers of the Capitol Police, and would appreciate contributions to the Capitol Police Memorial Fund, one of the designated charities at Thursday night’s ballgame. “While we know there will be difficult and challenging days ahead for Matt and our family, the physicians and specialists at Matt’s side expect a full recovery. This will be our final update pending Matt’s discharge from the hospital. We again ask for your understanding and respect of our family’s privacy.” FOR YOUR RADAR -- “Navy stops search for 7 missing sailors after bodies found,” by AP’s Mari Yamaguchi in Yokosuka, Japan: “The search for seven U.S. Navy sailors missing after their destroyer collided with a container ship off Japan was called off Sunday after several bodies were found in the ship’s flooded compartments, including sleeping quarters. Vice Adm. Joseph Aucoin, the commander of the Navy’s 7th Fleet, described the damage and flooding as extensive, including a big puncture under the waterline. The crew had to fight to keep the ship afloat, he said, and the ship’s captain is lucky to have survived.” http://apne.ws/2sGAXc0 BLAST FROM THE PAST -- KNOWING MARK CORALLO: “Meet the man managing Trump’s biggest crisis yet,” by Eliana Johnson, Josh Dawsey, and Josh Gerstein: “Veteran GOP operative Mark Corallo is known for accepting tough crisis-management cases, but even he wasn’t daredevil enough to accept the job an embattled President Trump considered him for last month: White House communications director. Instead, Corallo chose to stay outside the building, becoming the top spokesman for Trump’s personal lawyer Marc Kasowitz. “In his new role, he finds himself handling the White House’s defense against independent counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian interference in the presidential election, which has expanded to include inquiry into whether Trump himself tried to obstruct the investigation. Corallo had never met Trump or Kasowitz before taking the job but is now routinely in the West Wing several times a week, strategizing with a temperamental and media-obsessed president who sees himself as his own best spokesman. “‘I think I will be more help to the president on the outside than I would have been on the inside,’ Corallo told POLITICO.” With cameos from Karl Rove, David Ayres and Ed McFaddenhttp://politi.co/2seOZjF -- FLASHBACK: Corallo speaking to Isaac Dovere in May about Trump staff: “They’re hostages.” http://politi.co/2rKcOMS SCHUMER’S FIRST BIG TEST -- “Democrats to step up attacks on GOP’s Obamacare repeal effort,” by Burgess Everett: “Democratic senators are planning to hold the Senate floor until at least midnight on Monday to thrash Senate Republicans for refusing to hold committee hearings on their health-care overhaul, according to several people familiar with the plan. The round of speeches is being organized by Sens. Patty Murray of Washington state and Brian Schatz of Hawaii. “But on the more weighty question of whether to object to the GOP’s committee hearings or refusing to allow routine business in the Senate regarding nomination votes or uncontroversial matters, the party has made no final decision. While the party's liberal wing is demanding that Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York and his team shut the Senate down, Schumer has made no decision and often tries to forge consensus in his caucus before executing party strategy. “Though several sources on the party’s left believe Schumer may be open to the idea, Democratic leaders have been resistant to procedural obstruction thus far. They believe blocking unrelated matters could shift the spotlight from Republicans' secretive process to Democratic obstruction. And it could set expectations high among the party's base that Democrats can stop the repeal, when in reality if Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has the votes the party will be powerless to stop him.” http://politi.co/2seOyWF -- IT’S WORTH NOTING: Since assuming the top Senate leadership job after the 2016 election, Schumer has made it his leadership style to govern by consensus. Depending on how the Obamacare repeal effort plays out, this could be test for how he’ll appease his frustrated left flank while not overplaying his hand. THE JUICE … -- Community Catalyst Action Fund is launching a seven-figure TV and radio ad buy targeting Republican senators in Alaska, Maine, Nevada and West Virginia on Obamacare repeal. The TV ads, produced by GMMB, will run for the next two weeks and feature a mother whose son has chronic asthma and requires frequent trips to the doctor. The radio ad, also produced by GMMB, and digital ad component are part of the “Keep Care at Home” campaign, which is focused on Medicaid cuts, and will also include events in each state. The TV adshttp://bit.ly/2tglz3j … The radio adhttp://bit.ly/2seKt4W THE LATEST IN GEORGIA -- TOO CLOSE TO CALL: “Georgia special election hurtles toward nail-biting finish,” by Steven Shepard: “As the most expensive House race in history rushes toward the finish line Tuesday, the latest public polls are unanimous: The Georgia special election between Democrat Jon Ossoff and Republican Karen Handel is too close to call. The race for the suburban Atlanta seat, closely watched for clues about the shape of the 2018 midterm elections, appears to be within a few percentage points — with perhaps the slightest edge to Ossoff, the 30-year-old Democrat seeking to wrest away a traditionally Republican seat in the first major election of Donald Trump’s presidency. … The current state of play: Of the six public polls conducted in June, Ossoff leads in five of them — and hits the 50-percent mark in each of the five — with the fifth showing a tie.” http://politi.co/2rt57uY -- NYT's ALEX BURNS and JONATHAN MARTIN: "High-Stakes Referendum on Trump Takes Shape in a Georgia Special Election"http://nyti.ms/2rEqr50 SUNDAY BEST, PART II -- JOHN DICKERSON speaks to SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FLA.) on CBS’S FACE THE NATION -- DICKERSON: “The president has called the investigations a witch hunt. What’s your opinion of that?” RUBIO: “Well, I know he feels very strongly about it. My advice to the president is what I communicated publicly. The way I’ve tried to communicate to everyone on this issue. And that is this. It is in the best interest of the president and the country to have a full investigation. If I were the president, I would be welcoming this investigation. I would ask that it be thorough and completed expeditiously and be very cooperative with it. That’s what ultimately I anticipate they will do. That’s in the best interest of the president. I really believe that. I think it’s in the best interest of our country that we have a full-scale investigation that looks at everything so that we can move forward.” DICKERSON: “So regardless of what you may think about James Comey’s firing as FBI director, you think it should be investigated?” RUBIO: “Well, I just think it’s important to answer questions. Because otherwise, if people have any doubts, it undermines confidence in our system of government, in our elections, in our leaders. As I said, the best thing that can happen for the president and for America is that we have a full-scale investigation that is credible, that it reaches its conclusion one way or the other so that we can move on. But at the same time be knowledgeable. We have to know everything the Russians did and how they did it so that we can prevent this from happening in the future.” RUBIO talks with CHUCK TODD on NBC’s “MEET THE PRESS” -- TODD: “The more the administration tries to soften the sanctions in the House, at any point, do you understand, if some people see that as circumstantial evidence in this probe?” RUBIO: “I could understand how some people would make that argument. I could also tell you though that I personally believe that at the core of the resistance is not the president. And I don’t think the president himself has a problem with additional sanctions on Russia. I think the concern actually comes from the State Department and for the following reason: they argue that they are trying to get the Russians to be more cooperative on a number of fronts and that this could set us back. It's a legitimate argument, I’ve thought about it, I don't agree with it. And you saw the majority of my colleagues didn’t agree with it this week.” POWER PLAYBOOKER – DAVID PETRAEUS to PBS NewsHour’s Judy Woodruff on why Americans should support staying engaged in Afghanistan: “This is a generational struggle. This is not something that is going to be won in a few years. We’re not going to take a hill, plant the flag and go home to a victory parade. We need to be there for the long haul but in a way that’s sustainable. You know we’ve been in Korea for 65-plus years because there’s an important national interest for that. We were in Europe for a very long period of time, still there of course, and actually with a renewed emphasis given Russia’s aggressive actions.” Videohttp://bit.ly/2rF21IN THE BIG QUESTION AHEAD OF TRUMP’S TECH SUMMIT -- “CEOs Have Access to Trump, but Do They Have Clout?,” by WSJ’s Vanessa Fuhrmans and Peter Nicholas: “When tech industry executives gather at the White House Monday, brainstorming ways to modernize government will be on the agenda. But on display will be President Donald Trump’s evolving relationship with America’s corporate chieftains. Some 300 business leaders have met with Mr. Trump since he took office promising the nation’s top executives a direct line to the Oval Office and a chance to shape economic policy. “The discussions have helped the president project an image of CEO-in-chief as he awaits a major legislative victory and have given CEOs a voice in initiatives like the administration’s push to expand apprenticeship programs. But corporate leaders are learning about the limits of their clout. Hopes for an overhaul of the corporate-tax code this year are fading, some executives and corporate lobbyists say, as the White House and lawmakers struggle to reach consensus on a plan that could get through Congress. Mr. Trump’s move to quit the Paris climate accord has been a stinging lesson for some that White House face time doesn’t always translate into influence.” http://on.wsj.com/2rEUp8V WHAT K STREET IS READING -- “Republicans debating remedies for corporate tax avoidance,” by Reuters’ David Morgan: “President Donald Trump and Republican leaders in Congress will soon confront a complex challenge for tax reform: how to limit U.S. corporate tax avoidance schemes that take advantage of low tax rates in foreign countries. Congressional and administration staff have begun to examine options to address profit-shifting schemes that include so-called transfer pricing, earnings stripping and tax inversions. A decision on how to handle these in tax legislation could come before Congress leaves town for its one-week July 4 recess on June 29, officials and lobbyists said.” http://reut.rs/2seHWaU WAPO’S ABBY PHILLIP -- “Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke rescinds acceptance of Homeland Security post”: “‘Late Friday, Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke Jr. formally notified Secretary of Homeland Security John F. Kelly that he had rescinded his acceptance of the agency’s offer to join DHS as an assistant secretary,’ said Craig Peterson, an adviser to Clarke. ‘Sheriff Clarke is 100 percent committed to the success of President Trump and believes his skills could be better utilized to promote the president’s agenda in a more aggressive role.’” http://wapo.st/2sDJaNA MORE ON MEGYN KELLY -- “Unedited Putin Interview Reveals A Missed Opportunity For Megyn Kelly and America,” by Yashar Ali in HuffPost: “As Megyn Kelly and NBC News face a firestorm over her interview with InfoWars’ Alex Jones, unedited footage from her recent interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin shows a nervous Kelly who asked the authoritarian leader softball questions and failed to hold him accountable on key topics. Most troubling, Kelly devoted precious time in her short interview to a question that led one former CIA Russia analyst to say that it sounded as if Putin had written the question himself. “In the full, unedited discussion, obtained by HuffPost, Kelly repeatedly fails to interrupt the Russian president while he rambles in his responses. She also asks Putin questions he can easily dispute. The last question Kelly asked Putin, which was not aired, was startling in its pandering. ‘We have been here in St. Petersburg for about a week now. And virtually every person we have met on the street says what they respect about you is they feel that you have returned dignity to Russia, that you’ve returned Russia to a place of respect. You’ve been in the leadership of this country for 17 years now. Has it taken any sort of personal toll on you?’” http://bit.ly/2rsxPwo MEDIAWATCH -- “The Danger of Ignoring Alex Jones,” by Charles J. Skyes in the NYT: “When Mr. Jones was merely a marginal figure on the paranoid right, the case could plausibly be made that he was better left in obscurity. But now that, at least according to Mr. Jones, the president of the United States has praised him and thanked him for the role he played in his election victory, it’s too late to make that argument. We can’t keep ignoring the fringe. We have to expose it.” http://nyti.ms/2rsZ61q … Charlie Sykes is an MSNBC contributor TV TONIGHT -- MSNBC will air a special edition of “The Point with Ari Melber” at 5 p.m. for the 45th anniversary of the Watergate break in. The show features Tom Brokaw, Dick Cavett, former Watergate special prosecutors and never-before-seen documents from the Justice Department’s Watergate Special Prosecution Force. BONUS GREAT WEEKEND READS, curated by Daniel Lippman: --“Young Men Are Playing Video Games Instead of Getting Jobs. That's OK. (For Now),” by Peter Suderman in Reason in the July 2017: “A military shooter might offer a simulation of being a crack special forces soldier. A racing game might simulate learning to handle a performance sports car. It’s a simulation of being an expert. It’s a way to fulfil a fantasy. That fantasy is one of work, purpose, and social and professional success.” http://bit.ly/2twpXdC --“Can Democrats Fix the Party?” by Rolling Stone’s Tim Dickinson: “Trump’s victory exposed the party establishment as utterly broken – now Dems hope to rebuild in time for a 2018 comeback.” http://rol.st/2rAh2eF --“What Makes a Glass House the Ideal Home for a Communist Gynecologist,” by Cody Delistraty in JStor: “The windows in the waiting area are high, allowing light to enter, but also arranged so that infertile women waiting for the doctor weren’t forced to see the Dalsace children playing in the backyard.” http://bit.ly/2syDZhU --“The Ideal Iceland May Only Exist in Your Mind,” by Taffy Brodesser-Akner in Afar magazine: “But you can, and should, still go in search of it.” http://bit.ly/2tBnmzi --“Vatican tailors, cobblers try to adapt to Francis’s ‘papal athleisure,’” by Claire Giangravè in Cruxnow: “Pope Francis’s emphasis on simplicity and frugality is a hit all around the world, but it’s produced just a bit of backlash among fashion-conscious Italians, including an exclusive club of tailors and shoemakers who outfit pontiffs -- some of whom are a little nostalgic for the days when being pope also meant dressing to the nines.” http://bit.ly/2sBCccz --“The Fake Hermit,” by Natalia Portinari in piaui: “Thomas [Pynchon] was very thin and very handsome, like a Romeo kind of guy. He was like an Italian lover, very, very sexy. He wasn’t interested in money. He had a very dry sense of humor, so that’s why we got along so well. He never hurt my feelings. He tried to be a hippie, but it wasn’t easy for him. He was a hard worker.” http://bit.ly/2roGnnU --“What Duck Sex Reveals about Human Nature,” by Johann Grolle in Der Spiegel: “Copulation in most birds is achieved by a cloacal kiss, just an apposition of orifices. This is the essential reason why birds are so beautiful. Since they have the freedom of choice, females exhibit aesthetic preferences. And, as a result of these preferences, males developed amazingly elaborate ornaments.” http://bit.ly/2sC9W9A --“How the U.S. Triggered a Massacre in Mexico,” by ProPublica’s Ginger Thompson, co-published in NatGeo: “There’s no missing the signs that something unspeakable happened. Entire blocks lie in ruins. In March 2011 gunmen from the Zetas cartel swept through like a flash flood, demolishing homes and businesses and kidnapping and killing dozens, possibly hundreds, of men, women and children. The destruction and disappearances went on in fits and starts for weeks.” http://bit.ly/2sHUo43 --“If Israel were smart,” by Sara Roy on Gaza in the London Review of Books: “[A]lmost half the labour force [do not] any means to earn a living. Unemployment – especially youth unemployment – is the defining feature of life. It now hovers around 42 per cent (it has been higher), but for young people (between the ages of 15 and 29) it stands at 60 per cent. Everyone is consumed by the need to find a job or some way of earning money. ‘Salaries control people’s minds,’ one resident said.” http://bit.ly/2roQAR5 --“Philip Roth’s Newark,” by Steven Malanga in City Journal: “The city at its peak and in its decline are the novelist’s two greatest characters.” http://bit.ly/2sa9tu0 (h/t ALDaily.com) --“‘A reckoning for our species’: the philosopher prophet of the Anthropocene,” by Alex Blasdel in The Guardian: “Timothy Morton wants humanity to give up some of its core beliefs, from the fantasy that we can control the planet to the notion that we are ‘above’ other beings. His ideas might sound weird, but they’re catching on.” http://bit.ly/2rF51QB (h/t Longform.org) --“What It Would Really Take To Sink A Modern Aircraft Carrier,” by Robert Farley in Jalopnik: “Even a supersonic cruise missile can take twenty minutes to reach its target area at maximum range, and a carrier maneuvering at high speed can move ten miles in the same period of time. A massive aircraft carrier can move surprisingly fast for something weighing over 100,000 tons, with a top speed of more than 30 knots, or about 35 miles an hour, which is what you get when you go for nuclear power.” http://bit.ly/2roV3Dy --“After Oranges,” by Wyatt Williams in Oxford American, discussing “Oranges,” by John McPhee: “Fifty years later, Oranges reads as an agile survey of world history, a vivid period piece of changing American foodways, and an early classic by a master just beginning to find his form ... Today, no one is quite sure if Florida’s oranges will survive” http://bit.ly/2tbvwPw (h/t TheBrowser.com) WEEKEND WEDDINGS – Zack Roday, press secretary for Team Ryan, and Alleigh Marre, who does press for HHS, got married on Saturday with the ceremony and reception at Rust Manor House in Leesburg, Virginia. The bride came down the aisle to “At Last,” and the wedding was officiated by Zack’s childhood friend and Best Man Ben Horwitz. The couple met on Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign in Wisconsin. Picshttp://bit.ly/2sHijAK ... http://bit.ly/2rEL5Cb ... http://bit.ly/2sE16r1 --SPOTTED: Gov. Scott and Tonette Walker, Matt Gorman and Annie Clark, Jesse Hunt and Kim Kaiser, Ian and Elsie Prior, Chris and Andrea Grant, Jake Kastan, Kevin Seifert, Betsy Ankney, Eli Miller, Jason Heath, Alexandra Clark and Scott Dillie, Bryant Avondoglio and Ellie Krust. --“Cathryn Clüver, Tom Ashbrook”– N.Y. Times: “The bride, 41, is the founding executive director of the Future of Diplomacy Project at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School. She graduated from Brown and received a master’s in European studies from the London School of Economics and a master’s in public administration from the Harvard Kennedy School. ... The groom, 61, is the host of the NPR talk show ‘On Point,’ a daily program produced at WBUR in Boston. He graduated from Yale. He is the author of ‘The Leap,’ which chronicles his time as an internet entrepreneur, after a career as a journalist.” With pichttp://nyti.ms/2soxxYq – “Stephanie Sy, David Ariosto”: “Ms. Sy, 40, is a New York-based special on-air news correspondent for PBS and the host of Carnegie Council’s ‘Ethics Matter’ interview series, a public affairs program that is shown periodically on PBS. She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania. ... On June 26, Mr. Ariosto, 36, will begin working as a supervising producer of ‘All Things Considered,’ the NPR news program. He graduated from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and received a master’s degree in public policy from George Mason University. ... The couple met in June 2015, at Al Jazeera America, where the bride was a news anchor and the groom an on-air reporter.” With pichttp://nyti.ms/2sMcBgR --“Sara Randazzo, Christopher Kirkham”: “The bride, 31, is a legal reporter at The Wall Street Journal in Los Angeles. She graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles. ... The groom, 33, is also a reporter at The Journal in Los Angeles, covering the casino and hotel industries. He graduated from Northwestern, where he also received his master’s degree in journalism. ... The couple were introduced through mutual friends in New York in November 2011.” With pichttp://nyti.ms/2seYvDG SPOTTED at the going-away party last night (with a live band) in DC for Paul Wood and Ruth Sherlock, who is leaving in two weeks to become NPR’s new Beirut correspondent (she was previously U.S. editor at The Telegraph): Susannah Cunningham, Merrit Kennedy, Susannah Wellford, Thomas Gibbons-Neff, Emily Lenzner, Suzanne Kianpour, John Hudson, Nihal Krishan, Vivek Jain, Matt Rosenberg, Karoun Demirjian, Diaa Hadid, Athena Jones, Karen Attiah. BIRTHDAYS: Dina Powell ... WaPo’s Fred Barbash … Charlie Herman … Joanne Lipman, chief content officer at Gannett and editor in chief of USA Today … Niall Stanage, WH columnist at The Hill, is 43 ... David Wood (Mr. Beth Frerking), Pulitzer winner ... Kate Knudson ... Rep. Jerry McNerney (D-Calif.) is 66 ... Rep. Paul Tonko (D-NY) is 68 ... Nick Johnston, editor at Axios, is 4-0 (h/t Bill McQuillen) … Megan Mitchell ... Bipartisan Senate alumni birthday: former Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WVa.) is 8-0 and former Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) is 67 ... David Drucker, senior political correspondent at Washington Examiner, is 46 ... Romney alum John Whitman, now press secretary for Texas Gov. Greg Abbott ... HFA alum John McCarthy, COS for Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-Penn.), (h/ts Fran Holuba, Anastasia Dellaccio and Ben Chang) ... Millie Harmon Meyers, public affairs at the U.S. Mission to the UN (h/t Ben) ... Geri M. Joseph is 94 ... Kenneth Lipper is 76 ... Blair Effron is 55 (h/ts Jewish Insider) ... DOT alum Ajashu Thomas ... Clare Bresnahan, executive director of She Should Run (h/t Jill Bader) ... Politico Europe’s Blanca Renedo is 29 ... Kevin Landrigan, legendary New Hampshire political correspondent ... HFA and GSG alum Chris Allen ... Bob Scutari ... ... Will Kinzel, managing director of gov’t affairs at Delta ... Jennifer Carignan ... Politico’s Claire Okrongly and Shannon Rafferty ... LifeZette’s Jim Stinson (h/t Jon Conradi) ... BuzzFeed’s Mary Ann Georgantopoulos ... Bert Gomez, Univision’s SVP of federal and state gov’t relations... Tom Readmond ... Michael Van Der Galien ... former Hardballer Jeremy Bronson, now creator of “The Mayor,” airing this fall on ABC ... former CNNer Meryl Conant Governski, now an associate at Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP ... Zach Wilkes … Jason Kello ... Daniel Epstein is 33 ... Levi Drake ... Max Stahl is 3-0 ... Lisa Barron ... AJ Goodman ... Ron Rosenblith ... Dick Mark ... Debbie Shore (h/ts Teresa Vilmain) ... country singer Blake Shelton is 41 (h/t Kurt Bardella) ... Sir Paul McCartney is 75 ... Dizzy Reed (Guns N’ Roses) is 54 (h/ts AP)
The following was a background story for a player character of mine (the Kellosi were originally created as part of his background, but have since been incorporated into my own world). I present it in the hope it will provide additional inspiration regarding the Kellosi people presented in Part 1. They ranged across the hilltop, four score strong, Brothers and Sisters all: men women and loyal mounts. Concealed by the trees and downwind, they watched the orc raiding party passing in the gulley below with no fear. Along the line a horse whickered quietly, eagerly. Galhaeon, ever raring at the bit. Rider Daley leaned down to pat Galhaeon's brown neck. Under his helm, Daley would be grinning. Keital smiled too, and stroked Mierennon's silvery mane. He looked to his right where his elder brother Jeital sat atop rust-coloured Branhalad, and on the other side of Jeital their father sat astride the broad dark back of Gunhirad. Darral Hanmet-Rider was approaching the twilight of his years but was still a powerful man who cut an intimidating figure atop his monstrously huge stallion. He was clad in his alharan mail, a mastery crafted suit he had commissioned and imported at great personal cost. Jeital was looking toward his younger brother and their eyes met. A nod passed between them. Then Darral raised his spear. It was time. Along the line, men sounded the drums of war. Keital was one of them. They beat the drums slowly, rhythmically, to announce their presence. Then ever faster, to announce their charge. The horses began to move. Keital dropped his drum, the instrument falling to the limits of the strap hooked to it, resting against the saddlebag on Mierrenon's right flank. He drew his rapier, a fine weapon of alharan make, a gift from his father, and joined the charge. The Riders took the steep incline of the gulley at reckless speeds, but not one horse in forty missed their step. Below, the orcs had hastily formed a battle line, but it was foolish, very foolish. The thundering downhill charge of the Riders would shatter their line, and their bones. Keital raised his voice in song, heart swelling with pride and joy as he rode to fight for the defense of his homeland. Suddenly he was upon them, riding full pelt toward the braced spear of an orc warrior. Gently he tapped Mierennon's flanks, though he had no need to. Mierennon knew what to do. Still several metres from the bottom of the gulley the silver-grey stallion kicked from the earth, launching himself and his Rider up, above the spear and its wielder. They wheeled upon landing, just in time for Keital to block a jab from the orc's spear with his buckler. He urged Mierennon forward and struck out with his rapier, the blade glancing off the brute's crude helmet. The orc dropped his spear, reaching to the nocked sword at his waist. He never pulled it free. He fell forward instead, The green-fletched arrow of a Rider buried in his back. Keital glanced around. The orc line was as broken as he predicted. Many were dead. Yet those who remained thought fiercely, and even with their losses numbers were on the monster's side. They swarmed around Keital's Brothers and Sisters, attempting to pin them in and bring them down. He heard a heart-rending equine shriek, and knew at least one life would be mourned that night. An orc berserker charged from his left, spittle-flecked jaw wide in a bestial roar of challenge, axe held high. Keital spurred Mierennon toward his foe. At the last he veered right and the orc missed his swing. With practised precision Keital struck with his rapier as they passed, the blade cutting the orc's jugular. Keital was blooded. 'KELLOS!' He shouted, and the call was taken up from all sides. Spurring Mierennon onward, Keital rejoined the fray. That night, there were nine dead to honour. Four Riders, five mounts. Keital sat with Jeital, and together they grieved. Darral Hanmet-Rider, their invincible and indomitable hero, their father, was among the dead. He had died on the poisoned, filth-smeared shortblade of an orc skirmisher. There had been no need to avenge him. When he was found, Darral still had his hands around the creature's throat. When the ritual began, Keital was first to take up his drum and beat the path of the dead. Jeital had claimed the right to light the pyre, and no one had disputed either of their claims. Their father had been the Lord of Kellos. Jeital touched torch to pyre, and Keital drummed. Slow. Steady. A regular rhythm, a simple marker, intended to guide the spirits of the deceased straight and true to their place in the Heavens. He drummed, on and on, and now others joined to honour their siblings, their fathers, their sons. His eyes never strayed from the pyre. The night after their party returned to Kellona there was a feast. The people grieved, but they celebrated in honour of those gone, so they could be remembered as once they lived. The Kellosi drank and sang and fought and loved. And while they did so the greatest among them met in the Lord's Hall. The elders were there, and the wise women. As a mark of respect, so were Darral's sons and his wife. 'It must be Jeital,' claimed Erith Guyal-Elder, 'he is wise enough, and strong, and old enough. He has inherited the lands of his father, his arms and armour. He has inherited Gunhirad, strongest of all our herd. No one will dispute his claim.' 'You are not wrong, Guyal-Elder,' replied Aya Andal-Matron, 'but you are forgetting. We Kellosi do not have royal lines. Darral Hanmet was our Lord because he had the qualities to be so. His successor must be the best of us.' 'And Jeital has the best qualities,' commented Tirin Wylder-Elder, 'he must not be excluded because he is of Darral's blood, just as others must not be dismissed for possessing it not. All Kellosi are you are equal in this right, but I say Jeital is not equal in his suitability. He is an eminent candidate.' 'Here, here!' Guyal-Elder harrumphed. 'I do not dispute Jeital's qualifications,' Andal-Matron placated, 'but does Jeital merit the whole of your consideration because he is first born? This is another conceit of the alharan and has no place in Kellos.' The council erupted into hubbub. Jeital shifted. Keital's eyes flicked around the table, catching Andal-Matron's gaze. She smiled toothlessly. 'How quick you forget,' she cut through the chatter, 'that there is a marked man among you. A man chosen by the spirits themselves for greatness.' All eyes turned to Keital. He stared at Andal-Matron, unblinking. 'It is my Brother Mierennon who bears a mark, Andal-Matron,' he said. 'I'm afraid she is right, boy,' commented Urdin Yulla-Speaker, 'Mierennon bears the mark of Salahtin, yes, but remember – unlike the other Riders you did not choose your horse, your bonded Brother. Mierennon chose you. In so doing, he marked you. Yours may not be visible boy, but yes you are marked. You are ulhar, just like Lothar of legend. You are a spirit rider. 'Keital is ulhar,' Guyal-Elder interjected, 'on this we all agree. This makes him a champion, but it does not necessarily make him our next Lord.' Andal-Matron sat forward in her seat, her expression unreadable. 'Let me speak to his other qualities.' 'Do not!' cried Keital's mother, Liara Hanmet-Matron, 'Keital cannot be a candidate.' Andal-Matron continued, unconcerned. 'Keital Hanmet-Rider is also a strong warrior with a wise head.' 'Not the equal of his brother!' Wylder-Elder snapped. 'Perhaps not,' Andal-Matron said agreeably, 'but not far off for all that. He is also better travelled, more learned in the ways of the alharan. It was Keital and not his brother who volunteered for trading missions beyond our borders.' Wylder-Elder's lip curled, and Guyal-Elder sneered. 'You would pick him because he is practically alharan? The ways of non-Kellosi have no part in our own traditions!' 'Then you are a fool, Guyal-Elder. The alharan exist, and they are out there beyond our borders. We needs must have a ruler who can treat with them. A Lord who knows their ways.' 'I know enough,' Jeital said defensively. He looks uncomfortable, harried. Keital felt great sympathy. He wasn't comfortable with the conversation's current direction either. 'Earlier you spoke of Jeital's inheritance of Gunhirad. Gunhirad is indeed the strongest horse in our herd, but he will never bond with Jeital. In any case, Jeital is already bonded to Branhalad. But as we discussed, Keital has Mierennon, the smartest of the herd, and marked besides. Lands and possession mark Jeital for respect, but wealth has never been an essential quality in a Lord of Kellos.' The men and women around the table stirred. Even Wylder-Elder seemed thoughtful. Some looked at Keital, some at Andal-Matron, and only a few at Jeital. Andal-Matron had won. Keital glanced at his brother, who seemed barely able to contain his anger. He knew what he must do. 'I have no wish to be Lord of Kellos,' he said to Andal-Matron, 'if the title must go to one of Darral Hanmet's sons, let it pass to my brother.' Jeital looked at him with undisguised surprise. He wasn't the only one at the table. 'You realise what you've done?' Keital's mother hissed, though it wasn't clear whether she directed the words at her son or Andal-Matron, 'do you realise what you've done?' Keital realised. He realised only too well. After all, he had always been the son who actually enjoyed her stories. It was he who sat with her and listened to the history and legends of the Kellosi while Jeital preferred to sport with the other boys his age, or chase after women. Keital knew the story of Drogin and Rynar, two Riders who competed for the Lordship. Drogin had a clear claim, but it was Rynar who was the people's hero. Rynar was ulhar. Drogin was made Lord but the decision was widely disputed. As long as Rynar remained in Kellos, he caused unrest and threatened Drogin's rule. And so Rynar went into exile. Keital faced Hanmet-Matron, face a mask of sorrow. 'I'm sorry mother.' Two horsemen approached the southern border of Kellos along the earth track that passed for the Rider's Road, the only established trade route between other lands and the town of Kellona. A stone marker showed where Kellosi territories ended and the rest of the wide world began. It was here that Jeital and Keital stopped. They dismounted, allowing Mierennon and Branhalad to wander a short distance from the trail and graze. There was silence between them, then they embraced as brothers one final time. They did not rush the parting, for when they did one would be a Lord and the other an exile. 'Do not come back, brother,' Jeital said as he crushed Keital close, 'do not make this harder.' He sounded close to tears. Keital had to swallow back his own grief before replying: 'I will not my brother,' he replied, then pulled himself away. 'I will not, Lord-Rider.' Keital turned away and summoned Mierennon with a whistle. As they rode off to unknown horizons, he never once looked back.
2011.12.10 15:57 kerinsMatch thread: Celtic vs. Hearts
Final Score: Celtic 1-0 Hearts 71' - Goal - Victor Wanyama - Video 88' - Hearts penalty saved by Fraser Forster - Video Scottish Premier League Celtic vs. Hearts Kick-Off: 12:45 GMT Venue: Celtic Park, Glasgow Ref: Calum Murray Radio:
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Tyyliniekka LIVE: Kello käy -testilähetys 13.5.2020
Tyyliniekka LIVE: Kello käy - vieraana Mikko Lindfors ... Want to watch this again later? ... Sen näet kelloalan tuoreimpien uutisten ja viikon teeman kera tiistaina kello 19 Tyyliniekan Youtube ... Want to watch this again later? Sign in to add this video to a playlist. Sign in. More. Report. ... KELLO LIVE: Haacaaluu Hundeessaa - Duration: 43:49. Kello Media 440 views. New; NORA - Artistii Abdii Nuuressaa fi Aadde Iftuu Kabbadee /Marii Dhimma Hawaasummaa irratti gageefame. - Duration: 1:00:13. Kello Media 163 views Watch the official live performance of 'iD' by Michael Patrick Kelly now! You can get your copy of 'iD Live' here: https://mpk.lnk.to/iD_live Visit Micha... Horologia-kelloyhteisölle esitetty suora testilähetys, joka striimattiin Blue Screen 404:n studiolta 13.5.2020. Tyyliniekka LIVE: Kello käy -ohjelmaa esitetään 2. kesäkuuta alkaen joka ... Streamed live on Jun 23, 2020 Kello käy -ohjelmassa kerrotaan viikon tärkeimmät kelloalan uutiset ja pureudutaan viikon teemaan. Ohjelman päättää viikon vieraan haastattelu. Watch Live with Kelly and Ryan on weekday mornings! Go to https://kellyandryan.com/ for local time and channel. Kello käy -ohjelmassa kerrotaan viikon tärkeimmät kelloalan uutiset ja pureudutaan viikon teemaan. Ohjelman kruunaa viikon vieras, joka on tällä hetkellä Suo... 0713737378 mageth ekka set wela htya baduwak.manussaya panagoda camp 1 inne.gama godagma habarakada. - Duration: 1:10. kaligu Deshappriya 521,469 views