Friday, August 31, 2012

Letter Thirty-Five

This is the real thing.


I have heard of late that your two conniving cunivinn uncles have sent letters latturs that cover me over with jibes and insults. It is just like them to take advantage addvantuj of me while imprisoned through false workings (likely to be the work of you idiot relative Scaligar skailigurr) in this stinking hovel of a residence.
I assure you once again agann I am NOT insane, your twin barf bags of uncles’ anklls are just trying to undermine ungdermyne HOW IS YOU BUTTERFLY? IS IT NICE AND PINK OR BAD AND YELLOWL my stature in the dragonish draggnich courts.
I can see why they are attempting this folly folie. Their stature is quite laughable compared to my esteemed place.
Now, continuing with your mentoring munterrinn.
First, continue konttynew chewing large bones of your kills, especially toe and/or finger joints, which make excellent flossies.
Second, I demand you stomp out this immature benevolent bunevoulant phase and come back to treading the rightful path, RRRRRRRRRRRRRRAMPAGING!!!!!
Eat them all! Kill Them All! Hoard them all! That’s MY motto mottttue. Though I once tried it on a bet with unsavory results.
Thirdly, you must at once purchase Ferret Bile Mouth Freshener and have huvvv it EVERY morning before you go on rampage. It is the best for breathing in the faces of damsels damnzuls in distress. You wouldn’t BELIEVE the screaming. It makes my heart lighter even thinking about it.
Fourthly, you must avoid Flight Lag, a well-known ailment alminnt that strikes young dragons frequently and painfully. It has many effects, including iynklewding retching, stomach stumak aches, uncomfortable flatulence flatalenzz and cramps. So to avoid this side effect you must marinate one of your severed toes in vinegar in a solid silver cauldron kuldrung at the night of the half moon while beating on conga drums, whistling the Drake National Anthem and squashing ten and a half frogs.
Daunting donntingg though it may be, to make it work strongly it would be best to also ten seconds afterward avterword don a cloak of canary feathers, boil a pot of eel spleens and dingo beaks and then eat them, perfect cure. Works EVERY TIME!   
Oh, by the by! Have you EVER met my mie good friend Blizzdiblundikuss Flyseencompast? He is the best pal. I share my cell with him. Though I didn’t notice him until my third day, he just seemed to pop out at me. He hye and I have long conversations converzashuns except he keeps a strangely stony and rock hard silence. He also has a beautiful beeutyfol pattern on his wings that look exactly like the cracks on our walls walzz.
Your STILL DEFINITELY NOT AILING FROM THAT BLIGGADIGADASH THING, awesome, powerful, all-powerful, power draining, Incredible, fearful, ferocious, terrible, fear inducing, imposing, omnipotent, clear minded, outspoken, infamous, wel speld, overbearing, great, clairvoyant, humble and modest uncle

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Weekend Disaster Post: Dandy Arrest

Article by Rip Van Wheelzoff

Yesterday afternoon, a suspicious character by the name of Yankee Doodle rode into town on a donkey, heralding the beginning of a day of carnage for the inhabitants of the city into which he rode on a donkey as a herald of chaos to the law-abiding citizens of the area who saw him enter the area on a donkey with a shifty look that marked him as bad news.
         Dandy proceeded to enter the nearest pet-store and buy several dozen large birds, paying up front in cash. He then plucked every one of these birds, placed the feathers one at a time in his hat and transformed them into small, vicious monkeys.
         There followed the heralded day of carnage as Doodle led the legion of monkeys (who were subject to his every whim by telepathic connection) to bleed the town dry of all valuables. The primate thugs ransacked the town led by the malicious dictatorship of Dandy who urged them on to greater mischief which included but was not limited to burgling every house, office building, hotel and gas station for miles, robbing the town’s only bank and holding the patrons hostage in the vaults.
         This done, they moved on to demolish several blocks of buildings to make room for a palace for their king, Dandy.
         Fortunately, the authorities managed to lure the dictator’s donkey steed into a trap with several bushels of thistles and wheat and by doing so, captured its rider. Dandy was forced to call off his army’s attack on the town and was led into the police office with his monkey minions shackled in a mile long line behind him, singing “Swing low, Sweet Chariot” to anyone who would listen.
         In answer to an agent of the press’s question of why he had made this attack on the townsfolk, Dandy replied, “well, what would you have done in my position? I have the power to turn feathers into monkeys that do whatever I tell them! I wasn’t going to waste it on helping people for crying out loud.”
The police have since gone over criminal records kept by neighboring towns and found that Dandy has attacked several other settlements in similar manners, building up a sizable fortune in stolen cash. He had not built a palace for himself in any of these towns, them being too small, but had overthrown all forms of government and justice in them with the help of his Simian horde.
Now that the overlord is captured, it is safe for repairs to be made to these demolished towns and they are being carried out even now.
Three days after his arrest, the man known as Yankee Doodle Dandy was tried in the county courthouse and convicted on several counts, robbery, destruction of property, littering etc. He was sentenced to life in prison until further notice.
The Post

Monday, August 20, 2012

Book Review: "The Other Book" by Philip Womack

I borrowed a book from the library recently, only because of its title. It was The Other Book, by Philip Womack. I was judging the book by its cover, something that I shamelessly do all the time. I didn't know if it would be any good or not yet, but it intrigued me, so I tried it.
The book was very good, to be honest, and the writing style truly magnificent. The descriptive quality that the author had put into every sentence made me awestruck. I couldn't put it down. In every chapter it seemed that there was some tight situation that the main character had to wriggle out of, in nearly every chapter a dark plot twist. The Other Book was a good read, I think. The style in which it was written makes it worthwhile. The storyline was interesting, but it was, in the end, the luscious and vivid style that made the book a good read.

Letter Thirty-Four

My dear Smok,
It has come to my attention that Gargazath is about to be abducted and taken to a sanatorium, where his mental health will be treated. What joy I feel! I personally signed up to be a member of the team that captures him! Since he knows my face, I am not on stakeout duty, but I will help with the actual abduction.
Could you tell Semithino to go die in a hole? He has been very rude as of late.
Now, off the subject of your other uncles. I BEG—BEG!—OF YOU, PLEASE DO NOT BECOME A BENEVOLENT DRAGON!!!
There are only so many times a dragon can turn from his true destiny. And yours is to be a traditional great dragon, your moral struggles forever embedded in legend as a lesson to young wayward dragons. You could be famous! Famous, I tell you! You could conquer the whole world, be the next Belligast the Bold!
You could have sway over all provinces, all dragons, all men! You could be SUPREME OVERLORD OF ALL AWESOMENESS!
I, of course, would be your very favored advisor-in-chief, with all the riches I ask for. Don’t worry; I wouldn’t ask for very much, in proportion to your grandeur.
Semithino has hold of your mind now, though; I am afraid that you must break the connection that has linked his mind to yours, or else you will be doomed!
What is fifty-three times seventy-eight?
-Your serpentine uncle,

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Weekend Disaster Post

Pixie/Gnome Trench War: Several hundred human lawns have been emptied of all their seemingly inanimate garden gnomes; pixie-hollows and devotee frequented shrines have emptied of the thousands of Faery Folk. Some would explain this as “Vacation” or “urgent family business”. Poppycock I say, from a live video feed that has reached the post we now know that a Pixie/Gnome Trench War has begun in the Valley of the Noxious Winds. More information on Page 2:
The Fabled Page 2:
“From my vantage point on the valley’s cliff I have a perfect view of the proceedings. They are remarkably dishonorable. I see several cases of pinching, hair pulling and judiciously placed elbows to the stomach, navel and other painful body parts.”
“Well, it looks like the Pixies are on a winning role currently, Zig Zagh Quank, the pixie general has Barto Burztbelt in a headlock and playing “Got your conk” over and over again (I love that game), and the pixie tide certainly appears to be overwhelming the burly Gnome defenses, which currently consist of two collapsing towers and a burning fence.”
“But, on the other hand, the Gnomes’ catapult is beginning the wreak havoc in the fragile ranks of bloodthirsty pixies, sending a series of flaming sod squares, boulders and boxer-wrapped teapots (They ran out of oily rags you see).”
“And Burztbelt has rallied his forces, he’s hiking up his snapped belt and sending ranks of Gnomes…Up HERE? What the?! Run for your life Sam, they’ve got crayons!”
Here ends the live feed, Jon and Sam were found the next day bound and gagged with broken crayons surrounding them and several rude proclamations scrawled on their clothes and bonds.
According to them, the Gnomes managed to escape and the pixies burned the defenses completely and took control of the Valley of the Noxious Winds. No loss there.
Sleep well,
The Post

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Letter Thirty-Three

My Dearest Nephew,
I have just received the joyous news! You have finally changed your ways and become a benevolent dragon at long last. I have dreamed of this day for weeks now.
After your previous rampage and then your bit a malevolent dragon, it will not be easy to put yourself back in the good graces of both the townsfolk of the surrounding villages and the monarchs of Aolia. If you’re not careful there will be a price on your head before the day is out, if there is not one already thanks to your previous actions that is. It might be best to tell them all that you had been enchanted or perhaps black-mailed by another dragon into causing so much havoc, a little fibbing never did any townsfolk too much ill.
Now, about your lair. I apologize that I have not been able to mentor you all that well in the past few weeks, but I was concerned about your chosen profession at that time. A pool of water at the center of your cave would give a nice effect, but just plain water would not do it quite right. I would advise taking a few fairy lanterns and placing them at the bottom of the pool to create a glow emanating from the water. Failing that, mixing large amounts of flammable liquid into the water works wonderfully as not only does it shimmer with many different colors, but will be quite fantastic to look at when touched by flames. I have found that all visitors to my cave are shocked and amazed at this display of fire. Even though it is a stylish touch, such pools can create copious amounts of smoke, so find a way to filter the stuff out of your cave or you might die of smoke inhalation.
I have heard from a good friend of mine that incense pots hanging from the ceiling of one’s cave is all the rage nowadays so, you might want o try that.
On the subject of your uncle Gargazath. I have heard of no improvement in his case and several dragons from the Institute for the Prevention of Death by Draconian Disease are now watching him at all times to find an excuse to finally bring him in. they should not have to wait too long, knowing your uncle it’s a surprise really that he has managed to stay out of a mental institute of some sort or another for al these years.
Your humble and very pleased servant, mentor and uncle,

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Letter Thirty-Two

This will surprise you greatly, but I was encumbered enkumbrrd the night before last by a group of dragons from that stupid stopeed madhouse. If it had not been for the earliness of the hour, they would not have been able to squash me under three mattresses matrezzs, knock me silly, then shackle me to a board and drag me... No, they wouldn’t woodent have been able to.
I also recognized your conniving uncle mixed in with the crowd of slobbering malcontents who bush-wacked booshwakd me. I recognized him souly because he was the one who sat atop thhe mattresses while I was claped in irons, the vile toad! If I Iye ever get my hands on him, I’ll flay him fro his very skin!
Well, after I was unjustly taken dragged from my cave, they hauled and bumbed and banged me ALL 8 miles to the stupid sanitarium sannitoriumm.
Then they flung my battered body into eentw a tiny cell with rusty bars protecting the window.
Three days I was left there! THREE! LONG! SMELLY! HORRIBLE DAYS!! Then at last they came to the door to give me some food and drink. I attempted to escape ezgap but in my extremely weakened state they merely cracked me on the head with a cudgel and left me seething.
And after 2 more days, they had the gall to hammer a plaque onto my door stating—and I quote kwot—Gargazath the Permanently Unstable Until Further notice!
I shall say no more, but I will continue kontinew to correspond with you; however many things Scaligar & Semithino attempt to do to undermine my glorious prestige presstije.
You’re STILL DEFINITELY NOT INSANE, awesome, powerful, Incredible, fearful, ferocious, terrible, fear inducing, omnipotent, clear minded, outspoken, infamous, wel speld, overbearing, great, clairvoyant, humble and modest uncle

Monday, August 13, 2012

Letter Thirty-One

My dear Smok,
         It has come to my attention most displeasingly that you have announced your conversion to Semithino’s ways once more. Did you not go through that phase already? Just before you settled upon the path of Gargazath, you seemed to follow that way. I thought it displeased you.
         I beg of you, do not follow Semithino into his traps. He has sway over your mind now. Mind control, I tell you! Mind control! You haven’t been doing enough math, have you? What’s thirty-seven thousand minus eight hundred ninety-six? It’s obvious! Thirty-eight million, nine hundred sixty-eight thousand, four hundred fifty-three and two hundred eighty-nine tenths!
         I hear Gargazath has contracted Terminal something or other, and I am very pleased and not surprised in the slightest. What I am surprised at is how he survived so long without contracting the disease sooner.
         Now, I’ve noticed that your cave décor has fallen behind style. Have you killed any knights recently? If so, hang their heads in your false entrance (I trust you have a false entrance; I would be very disappointed if you didn’t) to create that wonderful smell of rotting flesh and rusting armor that everyone loves, especially invading knights and damsels in distress.
         Now, further into your false entrance. You should construct some image of yourself which stabs fear into the heart of the very bravest human, preferably mounted on some sort of fake hoard, like mine!
         In your real entrance you should have a few femurs scattered willy-nilly to create an impression of fashionable barbarity. A pool of shimmering water would be nice, but mix in a few drops of goats’ blood to give it a nice bloodstained effect. Your bed should be comprised of the softest materials available, such as sheeps’ wool, seaweed, or leaves.
         I sincerely hope you change your mind, Smok.
         -Your serpentine uncle,

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Letter Thirty

My Dearest Nephew,
I hear that your partnership with Burgrath has ended. Thank heaven! That dragon would have been a horrible influence on you and if you had stayed in contatc with him you might never become a benevolent dragon as I am still hoping you will be some day. That scar he left you with should serve as reminder not to become involved with dragons such as him.
      On a rather more satisfying note, I have managed to convince your uncle Scaligar to return my journal. I am afraid that I was forced to resort to violent measures to do this and he will be recovering from our negotiations for a while as well as repairing his cave.
      Although it is nothing that concerns you yourself, at least not imeidately, I believe that your uncle Gargazath has contracted a disease known to us dragons as “Terminal Blagardazash”. It is a mind-numbing virus that works at a dragon’s concious thought centers until they are all but gone. What makes it even more dangerous is that our main source of information on this particular disease comes from a dragon who had been suffering from it for over thirty years before writing his notes on it. He was known as Bilbog the mentally unstable and potentially dangerous, but Murf to his friends of which their were two, three of which he had invented himself to keep himself company. 
Your uncle is in quite a bad position and I believe that our best course of action would be to get him to a secure facility before he does something serious.
      Your humble servant, mentor and uncle,

Letter Twenty-Nine

I have come upon the information informashun that Burgrath Riptail stabbed you in the back down in Urway while on your immature Scaligar-induced soft rampage, and I cannot say anything but I told you so, brickheaded relative.
I expressly recall warning you not to team up with the likes of Burgrath Riptale, or any other sort of serpent surpant like him.
I myself learned not to trust any dragon when I was around your age, when I had teamed up with Sanatath the Immense (then known as Sanath the Skinny) and worked up quite a rampage in the adjoining towns of Arrknight, Baknom, Trevilh and Tipidyss.
But after my tenth rampage alongside Sanatath the twig-bodied, pea-brained weiner attacked me from behind, sat on me, and gorred me with his cursed spiked tail.
But; I paid payyd him back!
The next night I snuck into the Vitriolic Slug Pub, and while Sanatath was draped over the counter, wasted by gold beer, I booted and bumped and beat him to within an inch a hundredth of an inch of his pigish mortality.
He is now overweight, obese, and quite FAT. Or at least that’s what he told me in a friendly letter what I heard from a source unnamed.
Well, nephew Smok. I hope that this particular incident will have cleared your mind of any biased notions slipped in by your twin idiot ucles.
You’re DEFINITELY NOT INSANE, Incredible, fearful, ferocious, terrible, fear inducing, omnipotent, clear minded, outspoken, infamous, wel speld, overbearing, great, clairvoyant, humble and modest uncle

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Weekend Disaster Post
Marshwiggle Protesting:
Three nights ago after taxes rose a further ten silver Nerkits a large mob of forlorn Marshwiggles showed up outside the duke’s castle carrying numerous protests signs accumulated over the last few days proclaiming sentiments such as BOO TO THE DUKE! and  GET BENT TAX MAN!
The head of the protestors is a Marshwiggle rebel known to local law enforcement as the Hooded Huddleglum. He has lead several anti-government activities in recent years, and has done serious damage to several banks, tax offices, and pubs (the last being while he was in a state of drinking frenzy).
He is rumored to be making pacts with gremlin clans, so that they can sabotage the duke’s fortifications, defenses, and computer modems. While the duke is unfortified, defenseless, and disconnected from his beloved computer games, the Hooded Huddleglum can strike a great blow and get great deals in protest signs, toilet paper, and duct tape, whilst sending a team of gnome thieves to steal the duke’s coffee beans (a dire blow indeed!).
Over time his rampant protesting and frankly flamboyant taste in sabotage has collected him a great number of Marshwiggle acolytes who are so loyal to him that they will even smile in his presence.
Local Faerie Law Enforcement has attempted to apparently no avail to pin down the mysterious protester’s hideout. They have tried the Sewers, his Penthouse, the cupboard under the stairs, and the three local alcohol installments.
The Hooded Huddleglum’s methods are dark, sinister, and potentially devastating to the breakfast supplies of any place he has targeted. Droves of muffins go missing each day, piles of pancakes are victimized in the alleyways, towers of waffles are mugged in the kitchen, etc..
This is a serious terrorist threat. The military of Myth may be soon involved, and the long-named nation of Azertionamibreckia has volunteered troops to assist with this deadly crisis. Without coffee beans the Duke will not be able to get up for a month at least!
Truly, this is a dire, dangerous, disastrous, dizzying, deadly, devilish, dorky disaster.
By Sir Owze S. Cumingdon

Letter Twenty-Eight

My dear Smok,
It has come to my attention that, with my helpful advice and wise counsel,  you have thoroughly terrificated Urway, and I am truly sorry that your friendship with Burgrath has come to a rather disappointing, grinding halt.
As I read in your letter, Burgrath was displeased by my high form of art, the gorilla war form, and, impatient by cause of bloodlust, he left you with some ear-damaging insults and a scar to remember him by. I am very sorry for you, and offer my condolences. But, as you will remember, I did warn you not to team up with Burgrath. The sniveling brute was such an idiot that he couldn’t string two sentences together, much less assault the grand city of Urway with you. I told you to team up with a different dragon. Yes, Arnecht Longfang would have been the perfect match. But you just ignored me, rushing headlong into danger and despair. You might as well have teamed up with your uncle Gargazath! Gargazath, I tell you! The stinking, thickheaded, birdbrained moron Gargazath! The impudent senseless knave Gargazath! The brutish brute of brutishness, Gargazath! You get the idea.
I must say, that was a fine job at Urway, even if you lost your partner. Your fame has begun to spread, and you are slowly jellificating your way closer to greatness. By the time you’re my age, you will be the greatest dragon the world has ever known (unless of course you listen to the likes of Gargazath and Semithino)!
By the way, I returned Semithino his journal, not after he broke into my cave and gave me a good thrashing, but after he cajoled me with uncounted letters to do so. But, don’t plan on making visits anytime soon, because my cave is still a mess (from all his letters, not his violent temper). I need to renovate.
How are your parents faring?
-Your serpentine uncle,

Friday, August 10, 2012

Letter Twenty-Seven

My Dearest Nephew,
Word has reached my ears that you continue on your path as a Western dragon. While this is not so bad as your recent stint as a rampager, it is still a horrible way to live, making misery for the villages all around you. Your uncle Scaligar’s instruction on how to spread your name far and wide involves far too much bloodshed. It would be far better to make yourself known by way of some act of great kindness.
While I am on the subject of your uncle, I would like to say that I do not have powers of hypnosis and that I would like my missing journal back. Powers of hypnosis are far more common in the Southern regions as a matter of fact (I know this because I have had experience with such dragons) and not in the East, as your uncle has been leading you to believe. We Easterners rely mainly on our elemental powers, which stem from a pearl that we carry with us always.
It is strange now that I think about it that a dragon’s power flows from a stone more often than not. While the pearl of an Eastern dragon cannot be defined as a stone, it is close enough for my theory. Arcane dragons’ powers flow from a stone the type of which depending on the dragon in question while the will of Western and Northern dragons lies in a stone known as the dragon’s heart. A dragon cannot be truly killed unless its heart is destroyed and its soul will reside in the knight that attempts to kill them and will over time change said warrior into a dragon and take over his will. Any creature that holds this stone has complete and utter control over the dragon in every way.
Eastern and southern dragons’ force of will does not rely on a stone fortunately, yet another advantage of being one such creature.
Once again I must say that I would like my journal back and also warn both of your uncles that if they ever set foot in my cave again with the intent of stealing one of my possessions I will show them the true power of an Eastern dragon.
Your humble servant, mentor and uncle,

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Letter Twenty-Six

Lately I have come upon the information through situations that I assure you did not involve mugging the postal dragon, I found that your blasted uncle Scaligar sent you a letter requesting that you begin learning Math. MATH! The bane of the true dragon, no self-respecting dragon would stand for that.
Such was my righteous anger that I at once returned to my cave, devised a devious plan, then flew on silent wings to your math-loving uncles residence to teach him a much needed lesson on the true dragonish ways.

. .

Here follows my account of the unfortunate and frankly embarrassing adventure at your blasted uncle’s cave. And I must insist that you do not publish this or tell it to any of my more esteemed acquaintances.

. .

I reached Scaligar’s cave soon- -my wings being the faultless, streamlined implements that they are- -and crept inside.
My plans had been to drop a bookshelf on top of him, but upon investigating his stingy lair, I realized he did not possess any bookshelves!
But after further searching, I found that your foolish uncle possesses strewn on his floor the tools to make a good sturdy bookshelf.
It took me perhaps an hour to build the shelf beside his bed, but as I was finishing, and hammering in the final nail, your cursed uncle awoke and pushed the heavy bookshelf over on ME!
Thereafter your puny, excuse-for-an-honorable-dragon proceeded to attack my defenseless person.
The fight that raged on after that was mostly one-sided due to my injured state, and contained many dishonorable moments in which you uncle stuffed boards down my throat, and leapt up & down on my back.
After this, he had the GALL to drag me to his stinking, smelly, unkempt cave-mouth and hurled me from it!
I need not record my journey back to my lair, it being the long and pained crawl that it was.
But now that I am back, I will not rest until BOTH of your insolent, sniveling uncles begs my forgiveness, and I have given them the thrashing they so richly deserve.
But for the moment, I must rest, and scheme.

Your seething Uncle,

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Letter Twenty-Five

My dear Smok,
It has come to my attention that you sought out Burgrath, and that he took your visit very well. Using all such strategies as I advised you, you swayed him over to your cause with extreme poise and cunning.
I am very pleased. I hope that you continue in the way which I instruct you, ignoring the poisoned words of your other two uncles, Gargazath and Semithino. I hope that you pay close attention to my advice and disregard theirs. However, it would be helpful if you read their opinions and kept them in your regular correspondence so that you might know their minds and anticipate any cunning rises to power they might attempt. And do not forget to strengthen your mind against Semithino’s hypnosis!
Here is a list of brain exercises to strengthen your mind and discipline it. Resisting the wiles of a trained and experienced hypnotist like Semithino will not be easy, but these will help if it ever comes to a war of the minds.
Firstly, you must take care to notice EVERYTHING! When you are not burning down towns and villages, spending a good half hour contemplating a simple object is an excellent way to sharpen your consciousness. Also, alternate between staring full-on and glancing at it through your peripheral vision. According to Semithino’s own methods (which I found through perfectly legal means, for he wrote these down in a private journal of his which I happened to come across in a perfectly well-meaning manner) the peripheral vision represents the subconscious, the least defended part of the brain. Strengthen your peripheral awareness and you will strengthen your subconscious against attack.
Next, do a lot of math. I know this sounds all terribly civilized and wrong for a dragon, but it may very well be your best defense against the mind master Semithino, the sniveling rotter! The little fiend! I want my ear back from that little brainless brat of a—
Anyway, as I was saying, lots of math. It will be useful. I don’t know how or why but apparently it is.
Lastly, always keep correspondence with smart individuals: your uncle Gargazath is NOT in this category of dragon. Keep tabs on him, but don’t rely much on his advice. Listen to smart dragons, such as, well, I hate to sound conceited, but, me.
Concerning Burgrath. I am glad you have gained his favor. Now, you two must make an attack on a larger settlement, such as a city. Hopefully, it is a city with decent-sized walls, a militia, and lots of huge buildings to burn. Might I suggest Urway? With two dragons assaulting the city, they won’t stand a chance. But remember, attack with calculated fanfare. Kill a few people, knock down a few towers, burn a few barns, but do not completely wipe out Urway. Make attacks regularly, lasting three minutes, every hour or so, all through the night. That’s called “gorilla warfare”. I learned about it from my own mentor. I have no idea why it’s named after gorillas, so please don’t ask. The two of you swooping in will make quite the spectacle, and since Urway is a large city, your fame will surely spread.
Your serpentine uncle,

Monday, August 6, 2012

Where there’s a 


By Russell Gilt

Logan Renan lay on his bunk in the dark, thinking. Logan was very good at thinking, it was essential in his line of work of you didn’t think when you were a Bane, you were liable to be found strewn over several counties when the night was out. He was thinking about his work, being a Bane that is and what it meant to him. For those few who do not know what a Bane is, allow me to clarify. However, before I explain them, you must learn of the Nocturnes.
Nocturnes”, as they are collectively known by the day-life are the Liken-throats and the Vampira, or Werewolves and Vampires to give them their common name. Human fables and tall-tales from across the world involve the Nocturnes, but for a while, nobody aside from lunatics and the few who knew the truth, believed that these creatures truly existed. They had their own world, the Regnum Nocturnus, and were for the most part content to stay there save for the occasional restless Moon-child or Blood-born. But then, a few years ago the Nocturnes’ supply of food in their world began to run low and more and more of them began entering our dimension to feed. And so the Banes were formed; an organization of genetically-enhanced soldiers, capable of protecting the humans from the Nocturnes.
Logan lifted his right arm into the air and stared at the tattoo, barely visible in the darkness of the dorm that stood out black against his skin, a gothic cross upheld by a battling wolf and bat. Below the insignia was a curling scroll with the words U.S. Bane inscribed in black ink on the skin. The tattoo was both symbolic and practical for a Bane. It marked them as one of the Corps, but it was also extremely useful when battling the Bloodborn as the cross would sear their flesh upon contact. The tattoo also covered the small scar that marked the place where the syringe had entered Logan’s arm and injected the serum into his bloodstream, the serum that was the only thing that gave the Banes a fighting chance against the Nocturnes, the serum that made them three times stronger faster and more resilient to injury than the average man.
Logan lowered his arm and thought about his team. There was Finn, their sharpshooter, able to hit anything from polar bear to a peanut at incredible distances. He was fifteen and small for his age, a wiry boy with a dark complexion who had originally come from Russia. He was not one for long-winded speeches preferring instead to cut straight to the heart of the matter or indeed shoot the heart of the matter as he often did.
Then there was Aaron, their communicator. He was not the incredible computer wizard that you hear about in stories who can do anything with computers. He was just as good at computers as any other communicator on the base, which meant very good but still only as good as was mentally possible. He was sixteen and was built like a bamboo tree, tall and lanky, looking like he would fall over at any moment.
After him was Vanessa, their explosives technician. She had blue eyes and red hair, a somewhat startling combination. There was almost no structure in the world that she couldn’t blow sky high if she wanted to. She was only fourteen.
Then of course there was Logan, the leader and strategist. His hair was of a reddish-brown and his eyes were plain brown. He was fifteen years old and almost as tall as Aaron. He could use explosives, computers and firearms to a certain degree, but I was nowhere near as good with them as the other three were. Still, he was a vital part of the team. All of the teams required a leader, someone to rally behind. It was a rank to be proud of.
The base was never still. There was always a call for help with the Nocturnes and so the teams were constantly being sent out to deal with them.
They slept when we could between calls to be ready for our next assignment. Logan had been asleep for a short while but had been woken by thoughts of his occupation as he often was. There was no feeling of guilt when he killed a Vampire; they were undead and their very existence was crime against nature. Werewolves were more of a problem to the conscience. They were still people most of the time, only becoming beasts once a month. Mainly they tried to cage Werewolves and get them back to the base where they could be kept away from people. But there were the times when there was no choice. When the Werewolf had to be killed before it killed you or worse yet, some of the human population. Logan did not relish these instances.
Logan shook these thoughts from his head, rolled over, and fell asleep.
Logan awoke to the buzzing of his alarm. He reached up and switched off the earpiece then sat up in his bunk and indulged in a swift stretch. He slept on the upper bunk above Aaron. Across from their bunk was Finn who slept on the lower bunk of an identical bunk bed. The barracks were full of such beds, all black with tuff mattresses and green blankets.
The walls, floor and ceiling were white and there was but one door leading out into the rest of the base. There were windows along one wall as there were in every part of the base in case of a Vampire attack. Morning sunlight streamed through them, illuminating the groggy faces of boys of all ages waking up.
Logan pulled on his grey team leader’s uniform, emblazoned with a red duplicate of the tattoo on his fore-arm, dropped from his bunk, and stood at attention.
Team 17, fall in!” he bellowed at his teammates who had been awoken by their own alarms. They leapt into positions behind Logan.
All over the room, other teams were falling into formation. The girls’ barracks were right beside ours so Logan’s team was not complete yet. They would have to pick Vanessa up from the other barracks on their way to the mess hall.
Once all of the teams were formed up, they marched out into the hallway in order by number. The girls were coming out into the hallway when they got there, and Vanessa quickly joined Logan’s team, completing the group.
Soon all of the teams were complete and formed up into ranks at which point they all set off marching down the hallway to the mess. The hall was blank white with a few doors leading off to various rooms and lit by electric strip-lights on the ceiling. The sound of four-dozen pairs of boots marching along the hallway echoed off the walls, but no recruit made a sound aside from that.
They arrived at the doors to the mess hall only minutes later. They were large, stainless-steel doors that swung open as we got closer to them, revealing the mess hall. It was an expansive white room with high ceilings, electric lighting and bullet-proof glass doors leading out into the outdoor training arena. The doors were glass for the same reason that every room in the building had a window: the Banes organization could not risk a group of Vampires getting into the place and moving through the rooms unhindered by sunlight. There were hardly any underground rooms in the facility and the few that were had mirrored tunnels reaching down to them to bring sunlight in. at night time, the base relied on its mechanized anti-Nocturne security which was some of the best in the world.
Stainless-steel tables lined the center of the mess hall and along one walk ran the serving area where food would be dished out to the hungry recruits as they passed by.
The ranks of teams marched into the mess hall and began filing along one wall towards the serving area, picking up steel platters, cups and silverware from a long table as they went. The silverware was laced with real silver, expensive but necessary in case of a Werewolf attack.
At the serving area carrots, beans and a serving of meat of some sort were dished out onto all of the recruits’ platters. None of the food was exactly restaurant quality, but it was not meant to be enjoyed so much as to be eaten, kind of like zucchini.
Once their cups were filled with coffee, the teams split off from the line and moved off to the tables. Aaron, Finn, Vanessa and Logan sat down at a table with a dozen other recruits. No tables were private in the mess hall; there were just too many teams for that.
The mess soon filled with chatter as the teams talked about what the coming day might hold. Teams were never called out to take care of either Vampires or Werewolves during the daylight hours as neither of the breeds could act anytime other than night. No, they would be called out tonight to take care of threats. Last night had been a rest for the section of the bas where Logan and his team slept.
There were four sections, each with a girls’ and boys’ barracks. Eradication duties were done in rotation giving the duties to the teams in two of the sections for one night so as to give the other two teams time to rest before their night of duty. Today Logan’s team would be resting mostly with the occasional wakeup call for training or meals.
Logan took a swig of coffee and began to eat. He only had a certain amount of time to finish his breakfast before he and his team had to leave for training.
“Logan!” Finn called, raising his voice to be heard over the background noise of the mess hall, “do you know where we’ll be going tonight?”
Logan shook his head calling back to him, “the office hasn’t told me yet, we’ll have to wait till tonight to find out.”
Sometimes the management of the base would give the team leader information as to where they would be sending him that night before hand, but not always.
Soon Logan’s earpiece buzzed, informing him that breakfast was over.
Mealtime is over you three!” he called to Finn, Aaron and Vanessa, rising from his seat as he did.
All over the hall, people rose from their seats. Most were finished with their food, but there were a few unfortunates who had to leave half of their meal uneaten.
The teams formed up into ranks again and marched towards the glass doors that led out into the arena. As they passed through the doors, they stacked their trays on a small table off to the side. They would be collected later on by the cooks and cleaned for the afternoon’s meal.
The teams tramped out into the dirt-floored training arena. High stone walls surrounded the place, their tops surmounted with silver-laced razor-wire smeared with a combination of garlic paste and holy-water. Placed at strategic points about the walls were sensor triggered crossbows that fired silver-tipped bolts that would inject a tablespoon of garlic-paste into anything they penetrated. The sensors were trained to activate the crossbows when any type of Nocturne broke their beams which were set on a random pattern that left nothing but the tiniest opening and could not be predicted.
The walls were lined with black and white 2D paper targets. There were many different types, bats, wolves, rats and humans all in varying sizes. Weapon racks stood all around the arena. Sunlight gleamed on the blades of various medieval weapons and shone with a dull luster along the black metal of the firearms.
The training started off with exercises, limbering up for the more exerting tasks presented by the arena. Then the teams shot at the targets for a while before moving on to hand-to-hand combat. Vanessa paired up with Finn, leaving Logan to spar Aaron.
The two boys circled each other, preparing for the attack. A few years back, when they had first entered the corps there might have been some posturing here, but now there was only silence between the two friends as they prepared for their opponent’s first strike. Logan knew from experience to never underestimate Aaron’s capability to thrash him in a fight. Though he was tall and lanky, he used these attributes to his advantage, employing a wind-milling fighting style that, while it seemed at first glance to be erratic and off-balanced, was completely controlled. Fortunately, Logan was no slouch when it came to hand-to-hand combat.
He waited for Aaron to make the first move. He came in with a swinging right which, while powerful, Logan recognized as a feint. Aaron let his punch swing him around and then dropped into his real attack, collapsing into a crouch and coming in low with one long leg lashing out to sweep Logan’s own from beneath him.
Logan hopped over his leg and swatted him in the back with a kick of his own, pushing him over. Aaron rolled into a standing position and turned to face Logan. They began circling again.
This time around, Logan made the first move, coming in with a flurry of quick, powerful punches. Aaron dodged them all and then came back with both arms swinging, spinning his body. Logan dodged the first of these blows but the second one caught him below the ear. The force of the blow would have been sufficient to break a man’s jaw.
An ordinary man’s jaw, that is.
But Logan was anything but ordinary.
He was Bane.
The blow hurt, but Logan had faced pain in numerous forms and knew how to stand it.
Nice shot,” He commented to Aaron, rubbing his jaw, “but you’ll have to do better than that.”
Logan was awoken from his sleep by the beeping of his earpiece. It was the sound that meant it was his team’s turn to go out on the hunt.
It was by now somewhere around 500 hours military time according to his watch, early enough in the night so that they could get to the place where a Nocturne had been reported early and be there waiting for the Vampire to arrive. It would be a Vampire Logan knew because he and every other recruit on base had studied the lunar phases chart so much that he all but had it tattooed on the backs of his eyelids and therefore knew that there would not be a full-moon for a few more days yet.
Logan had slept in his uniform so as to save himself the trouble of dressing when he was woken.
He dropped soundlessly from his bunk, doing his best not to disturb the other teams in the dorm. They needed their rest; they would soon be called out on hunts of their own.
Finn and Aaron were already awake thanks to their own earpieces and they left the dorm to meet Vanessa who was waiting in the hallway.
The four companions then set off along the hallway in single-file, stopping at one of the doors and entering through it into the armory.
The room was brightly lit by electric lights just like all the other rooms in the base. The window in the ceiling that led in sunlight during the daylight hours was now dark, revealing only a circle of star-spangled night sky. The electric light shone on the blades, barrels and lenses of the many weapons hung along the walls of the room.
The weapons in the room were divided into two categories, depending on what manner of Nocturne they were designed to destroy. Along one wall hung the weapons used when fighting a Vampire, steel stakes, garlic pellets, holy-water, etc.
Along the other wall were weapons effective only against the Liken-throats. Among these items were silver-knives, silver loaded firearms and other weapons both modern and medieval laced with the metal so deadly to the children of the moon.
Choose your weapons fast, people,” Logan said in hushed tones despite their obvious solitude as he consulted his wrist-watch, “we have to be on the helipad in two minutes max.”
The team went about their business in silence, first getting suited up in combat-fatigues of an opaque material unable to reflect light and then retrieving the weapons most suited to their own hunting styles.
Finn, being a gunman first and foremost, chose a shotgun and a sniper rifle, neither of which would actually kill a Nocturne but would certainly give them pause to think about the bog hole now showing in their chest. He also chose two spray-bottles, one loaded with garlic juice, the other with heated vinegar both of which would cause a vampire extreme pain and would eventually kill it. What most people didn’t understand was that while garlic was effective against Vampires, so was vinegar as it was a substance with a powerful enough taste to remind a Vampire of the life it had once had.
Aaron chose a steel cattle-prod/quarter-staff greased with garlic and a crossbow with holy-water smeared bolts.
Vanessa’s chosen weapons were a squirt-gun loaded with vinegar, two knives smelling strongly of garlic and vinegar and a couple of garlic grenades.
Logan picked out two dart-guns whose projectiles were filled with a mix of garlic juice, Holy-water and vinegar, as well as a cattle-prod capable of frying a grown man that would distract a Nocturne long enough to pull the trigger on one of the handguns.
The team would divide the explosives Vanessa needed among us so as not to slow her down with an overload of baggage. They carried no crosses, they did not need to. Their tattoos would work just as well as any cross on Vampire.
The team left the armory and headed through the base to the doors leading out onto the helipad. When they stepped through the doors the whup whup whup of the waiting helicopter filled their ears and the wind whipped their hair about. The helipad was empty aside from the Blackhawk in front of the team. The rotors where already spinning, thrashing the air around it.
The door slid open and Logan, Vanessa, Aaron and Finn clambered inside. The pilot did not speak as he lifted off, concentrating on the controls of the aircraft. The team sat, two on each side of the copter, checking their weapons and mentally preparing themselves for the hunt ahead of them.
Logan had been on trips like these hundreds of times in his past years in the service, but it was always, always the same. The thought of willingly coming into contact with such creatures as Nocturnes seemed madness and the only way he could make himself do it was by thinking of the people the undead would poison if not disposed of.
People will die and become one of these creatures if the Vampires are not destroyed, Logan thought to himself, snapping the magazine back into his handgun, I have an obligation to these people, no matter how afraid I am of it.
We’re nearing the drop zone!” the pilot called back to Logan and his team, “get your parachutes ready!”
Aaron, Finn, Vanessa and Logan all strapped on their parachutes, and stood waiting. They had been flying for about twenty minutes now and Logan’s stomach was filled with fear mixing nauseatingly with the thrill of the hunt.
The pilot had briefed the team on their mission during the flight. A boy named Felix Freon living at number 107 on Baker Street had been getting weak spells for a while now. Two red scars had been found on his neck upon inspection and the base had sent Logan and his team in to take care of the Vampire as he would undoubtedly return to drain the boy further. They would have to wait for the Vampire to arrive and then finish him off before he got to Felix.
“We’re over the drop zone now!” the pilot called. Logan moved over to the door and hauled it open with his team right behind him. The distance to the ground was dizzying. Logan knew that with Bane endurance the impact of the fall itself would not kill him, but his heart would explode long before he hit the ground if he jumped without a chute. Far below on earth he could see a small town spread out, lights shining in the darkness.
Without a moment’s hesitation, Logan leapt from the aircraft. The air whipped past him as he plummeted downwards and he could feel his heart rate rising. He waited until he was close enough to earth and then pulled his chute. He heard the ruffle and snap of the canvass as it unfurled and then the wrench as it radically slowed his descent.
When he reached the earth, Logan detached his chute and left it in the grass. He drew both handguns and swiveled in a slow circle, checking the surroundings for possible threats as the other three made their own landings behind him and detached their chutes.
Satisfied that there was no immediate threat in the area, Logan turned to his team, already armed and motioned for them to follow him.

Soon they reached the village and were moving silently through the streets, skirting the ones where houses had lights on, until they reached 107 Baker Street. Logan, Vanessa, Finn and Aaron set up a perimeter around the house and began the wait. The Vampire would not be able to get into the house without them seeing him.
After four hours of waiting, when the sun was just a distant memory and the moon shone in the star-sprinkled sky, the Nocturne finally showed himself.
A figure, just barely visible in the moonlight, began moving through the street, up the sidewalk and towards the house. Logan could tell by the peculiarly smooth movements and pale skin that shone in the moonlight that this was their quarry.
Logan waited for it to get close enough and then acted, giving a high-pitched whistle to signal the others and bursting from his hiding place as he did.
Logan fired off two shots at the Vampire. He dodged both and ran. Logan gave chase as did Aaron, Finn and Vanessa. Logan’s legs pumped beneath him as he sped after the Nocturne. He led the four Banes towards a church which was odd Logan thought. Why would a Vampire run to a place which stood for everything he wasn’t? Then Logan realized as he altered his course that he was no running to the church itself, but for the graveyard behind it.
He leapt the fence and ran off among the gravestones. Logan paused, contemplating his next move. Graveyards were a Vampire’s home turf; it would be dangerous to follow him in there. On the other hand, he was on a mission and had been charged with bringing the Vampire down. He looked at the other three and they nodded. They leapt upwards and cleared the fence easily.
Logan motioned for them to spread out and they did, scanning the graveyard, weapons raised. Suddenly there was a howl, not of pain but more like a call. Logan cursed under his breath; the Vampire was calling for help. They would have to finish him off quick. Logan motioned for the other three to close in on the area where the call had come from as he did so himself.
We moved in slowly, weapons at the ready. Logan saw a flicker of movement ahead of him in the darkness and fired off three shots. He heard two impacts and I cry of pain from the darkness.
Logan raced forward, both guns still raised in case of any tricks from the Nocturne.
He found the Vampire writhing around in the grass, limbs thrashing and fingers scrabbling at the dirt. There were two darts protruding from his chest and they were almost empty of the liquids deadly to the Vampire. He was still alive though he wouldn’t be for long with the amount of garlic and Holy water in the darts. He looked about fifteen, with stark white skin and red lips. Logan felt a flash of sorrow for the boy he had once been.
When he saw Logan and his team he smiled, inch-long fangs showing as he did.
Your hours are numbered, Nightstalkers,” he assured them, his voice inhumanly smooth, “You will not survive the night. The others are coming and they will kill you all.”
Not likely, Unholy,” Logan said, and stamped the darts further into his chest. With a groan, the Vampire ceased to move. He could not die per-se as he was not alive in the first place.
We’d better get out of-” Logan began, but then I saw the figures moving through the fog.
Nine of them.
Logan cursed again; this Vampire had had too many friends.
The Nocturnes did not waste time laughing or telling the team just how dead we were, but simply charged.
Logan spoke a prayer under his breath as he began firing off shots at the figures in the darkness.
Before long, six of the nine Vampires were down thanks to Finn’s accuracy and Vanessa’s garlic grenades, but three still stood, fighting like the unholy creatures they were. One of the Vampires leapt on Logan and slammed him to the ground. He tagged him with his cattle-prod and saw his body convulse as the electricity shot through him, but he ripped the weapon from Logan’s hand and grinned.
“Your soul is mine, Nightstalker, prepare to become one of the very creatures you once hunted,” he said, opening his mouth to a humanly impossible size.
Yeah right, eat cross unholy!” Logan said, and jammed his forearm against the Nocturne’s face. He screamed and let go of Logan as the cross on his tattoo burned his flesh leaving a smoking mark where it had touched him.
Logan stood, looking around him. The other two Vampires were both dead, having been taken care of by Finn, Aaron and Vanessa.
Logan looked down at the Vampire writhing at his feet and motioned to Finn who tossed him a pistol. Logan shot the Vampire three times and he ceased convulsing.
The sun was rising now, and the bodies of the Vampires all around them were crumpling into dust as their age caught up with them in the dawn’s orange light.
Logan let out a deep breath. There would be more of them, there always were. But when they came, he and his team would be there. Their hunt was over…for the moment.