A bit dormant lately. Not much going on, career-wise, as we are all buried ankles deep in coursework and other jolly things.
Will crawl out of my lair once things start happening!
A bit dormant lately. Not much going on, career-wise, as we are all buried ankles deep in coursework and other jolly things.
Will crawl out of my lair once things start happening!
A take on the sonnet to light up your winter gloom.
The Tale of Edgar the Liar
In a land o’er mountain, heavens cry
Snow so white on wooded vale;
There lived a man who’d always lie,
‘Midst villagers queer brewing whiskey and ale.
When he so deceivingly spoke,
And truth to him was but a whim,
He’d jest and lie or tell a joke,
Till score of friends was at its rim.
‘Edgar the Foul, weasel on the prowl,’
So went their song as Edgar strode by,
‘Digging his foxholes—hoots like the owl,’
‘Till Edgar went off and said his good-byes.
So one day Edgar went for a stroll,
Left home with the village cat for good measure
To forest green where he met a troll
To whom he gave the pet to keep as treasure.
‘Who are you?’ asked the weary troll;
In the green there were never guests,
‘Not pixie, gnome, nor elf of old,’
He thought he’d put Edgar to the test.
‘Why, I’m Rob Smith, you smelly oaf,’
Glared the liar with devilish hate—
A sense of pride o’er witty strophe,
Thus yet another mischievous trait.
‘Now,’ Edgar cried, ‘out of my way.’
And he looked at the troll with a smile:
‘A fatty like you could take all day,’
Its grin was full of anger and bile.
Stunned by a fly with such a sting
Far from village and merry home,
The troll gasped and scratched his chin,
Idly chewing his favourite bone.
‘By the green moss and stone,
You put my temper to test
Little fly, watch your tone
Or I shall lay you to rest!’
‘Ha,’ jeered Edgar, ‘guts like your head,
Full of lard and clear of a scheme;
Now end your quest—go back to bed;
Chase liars and flies in your dream.
The troll then roared and raised his fist:
‘Bastard of rats and bitch’s whelp,
Nothing will save you, not even mist;
Snow will laugh when you cry out for help!
That I shall do, and the ground will run red,
Entrails will flow and your bones will break;
And you will be wake when I slice you like bread:
Of the best meat I’ll bake me a cake.
The troll then dashed forth to fulfil his pledge;
Shouting and cursing and reaching for the meat,
Nearer and nearer to bright Forest’s Edge
He was hungry for something juicy to eat.
‘T was a chase like never before seen:
O’er woodland’s snowy glow,
Full with mockeries of the obscene,
Hurried a liar with troll in tow.
When Edgar, home, his warning he’d shout;
People gathered for laughter to sing—
Of his candour, they were all in doubt:
‘There goes Edgar the fool with a grin!’
Never taking Edgar for a boy of truth—
Hardly did they expect a troll for supper:
He’d been a liar from his light-hearted youth—
Stuffed and full, the beast the village did scupper.
Guilty of sorrow beyond scope
The woebegone man fell to his knees and cried;
For none, like him would cling to hope
If all his friends had either left him or died.
On looked the troll with heart of coal,
As misery turned liar to virtue, he’d reason,
Edgar who’d changed by heart and soul,
Perhaps should live to see another winter season.
Now lives Edgar alone but wise,
Forever he’s done with fibs and lies.
Time for a couple of short drafts–not much else to say at the moment, but may well be more later on. The stories begin as follows.
People of the Lion (World of Warcraft writing competition entry)
The autumn winds howled through the crevices of the valley, scented, like every year, of sweet Silverleaf and the sea. Anduin Wrynn watched from a distance as the colours of Stormwind unfurled atop its spires, billowing to the eerie melody whence the city derived its name. Its golden lion glistened in the sun and looked menacingly over the valley, as if to thwart any further attacks on the city. ‘Let Deathwing see us now,’ the prince cried, ‘let him see the tenacity of the Arathi bloodline wash over the lands, which he would have burn.’
His people would rise again; such was his pledge, and his burden.
Below his snow-white gryphon, scores of ropers, blacksmiths, stone carvers, and other masters of their trade made their way through the city. Woodcutters towed their lumber around the canal while grain shipments rolled in from Westfall. For once, the grain was free; and what grain it was: golden and full after a forgiving summer.
He looked west, and saw the ocean roll in the dying storm. Farther away, he could see how white sails covered the horizon. He blinked once, and they were gone. Were they ever there, he often wondered.
Turning eastwards, he watched how the greenwood stretched on for miles, until, he knew, somewhere in the distance it dwindled and came to a halt before the slopes of the Redridge mountains. If Stormwind was the fists of the kingdom, then Elwynn forest was its beating heart; its villages and queer folk representing the pleasant life his people had always sought. Between the swaying trees he caught glimpses of the Lion’s Pride Inn where it stood at the center of Goldshire, merry puffs of smoke rising from its chimney. Instinctively, his eyes were drawn to the many places he so often visited as a child, strangely enough only a mere few years ago. This, he knew, was the land he would die to defend, like his ancestors before him.
Rivalry (Weekly writing task for University)
The morning rose ill-boding and dreary over the grounds, and where the sun had yet to peep through, wisps of mist still clung on to the deeper hollows. The otherwise so bucolic setting seemed lost on me, as I stepped out of my carriage and inspected the scene, followed by my man-servant. I had regretted the arrangement all night, and all day before, but prudence alone couldn’t hold back my sense of honour, the presence of which now vexed me tremendously.
I had learned from Mrs Perkins to watch out for the crows. If there were any around, it was an ill omen, and I should seek to cancel my commitment at once, and if I could not, then three cloves of garlic should do it.
‘Gentlemen. Let’s be done with it quickly, shall we. I have a table at the—what is the matter with you Trollop, seen an apparition have you?’ Then he laughed like a bulldog, Mr Dennett, our connoisseur. No one laughed with him. No one noticed him. Present were also Lord Beckett and his own man-servant.
‘We all know the rules; ten steps each—no less! Should any man raise his muzzle—or, God forbid—fire, before his opponent is facing him, then his first shot shall be forfeit, or in the case of the ungentlemanly shot finding its target, be stripped of all his honour and declared the loser. Remember, always, there’s nothing we value higher than our—‘
‘O Shit!’ I cried, my eyes fixed on a crow that had just settled near Mr Dennett’s boot.
‘Honour,’ Mr Dennet filled in, looking at me, along with the rest of the company, as if I were properly unlettered. ‘Sorry,’ I added, but kept up my attempt of assassinating the crow by staring at it.
‘Very well. Gentlemen, make ready,’ our connoisseur declared.
A Love Story (Weekly writing task for University)
It is the second week of April in Mr Chapman’s tidy little garden, which means a great deal of things. First, there is no longer the need for a coat, so our gaffer is kneeling in the soil under some large rhododendron or azalea. Then there is also that crispness in the air, pierced only by sparse sunshine. Buds protrude from naked branches, while robins and blue tits are joined by black caps and larks in their delightful chorus. More importantly, Cole Porter fills the air from an old gramophone record of Mrs Chapman’s—its tones rasp from a lifetime of appreciation.
Mrs Chapman, preferring the indoors, fiddles a pot-flower and watches her husband through the window. ‘Arthur, are you wearing your good pants in the soil again? Artie do you hear me?’
A moment passes. ‘Hay,’ Arthur calls out, ‘what is it? I say what is it, Beatrice?’
She stands by the wide open door and continues. ‘I wish you wouldn’t wear those pants in the garden—there are the neighbours again. Oh, think of how you present yourself for once Arthur Chapman.’
He gets up, groaning, and approaches the door with the wife inside. ‘Are you at the cherry again? Be bliss and fetch me a glass of water, it’s the heat again,’ he says, wiping his sweaty forehead with his handkerchief.
That’s it, folks! Enjoy.
Blog’s back up. Hopefully it will live on this time round. First out: an extract from a new short story, set in the Warcraft-universe.
The iron clad door swung open and crashed into the wall. A flock of three or four thievish and hungry sparrows were alarmed and took flight out through the window, followed closely by the prince, who closed it shut. Sparse rays of evening sun still breached the darkness, but it was private. A serene fire burned under the mantelpiece.
“Sit, please,” he politely requested, and motioned to a chair by the wall with the window in it. Beside it stood a small, but sturdy table, and another chair; like its twin it was neatly decorated with the royal crest and a red satin pillow.
Humbled, weary, old. Wilford’s comfort had been for a decade limited to a thin bed of hay on a cold stone floor, and the jailer’s whip. Now, standing in the private quarters of a prince, being offered satin chairs and pleasantries, he could barely keep dry. He sat, and let the world off his shoulders for a while.
“Wine?” offered the prince, and uncorked his finest: the twenty-two year old Northshire Merlot. At the uttermost approval of his guest, he placed the entire bottle on the table along with two glasses, before pacing over to the door and shutting it firmly.
“Now, let’s talk.”
Smacking contentedly with his lips after a good gulp of wine, the messenger nodded. In his bliss, he had already half-forgotten his errand.
Brush in left hand, pinpointed between the index finger and thumb. Palette neatly placed on right hand side of tripod easel, filled with pastel colour of seven nuances. Spring colours, her favourites. “Now, at it,” she chirped, and gently pressed her brush to the canvas. Suddenly the door flung open, and the line she had begun went askew.
“What ho Emily!” the untimely visitor announced, not at all aware of his crime against the arts.
“Archibald!” she gasped. “Look what you have done to my wonderful still life!”
“Ah, doing arts are we?” The well dressed fellow smiled and trotted over to the young lady to have a closer look at the painting. “My, you are quite the paintist!” he exhorted, “But you better watch out, lest you make that Manet fellow envious!”
“I’m an artist, Archie—an artist! Painter sounds so… unbourgeoisie!” She turned back to the canvas.
“Now, I need to focus if I am to be the next Manet… Monet, his name is Monet.” Soon the colours flew once again across the canvas and took the form of a field of perennials in bloom.
Unmoved by the Lady’s remark, Archibald motioned towards the sofa. “Mind if I…”
“Not at all,” she snapped.
He sat with legs crossed, and watched her paint, looked around at numerous paintings decorating the walls, hastily got bored, and turned back to her. “You know, I saw something funny on my way here.”
“Did you, now?” The brush did not stop. “Well, yes. It was mostly bizarre. You know that Alistair chap down the road… squeamish fellow—blushes like a peony every time a girl is near?”
Her ears sharpened. Joyfully, Archibald noticed her reaction, and pressed on.
“I met him on my way here, carrying a large bouquet of lilies. Apparently he was on his way hither.”
The brush dropped to the floor. Bingo.
Emily started from the stool, tipping palette and everything. “No, no, no! Oh no! This cannot be. Are you sure? Don’t lie to me Archie.”
He put his feet on the table, and leaned back with a smile. “Oh, yes. Quite sure.”
First of all, I am thrilled to announce that my gaming rig will be at my side once more starting tomorrow eve, which is brilliant. I haven’t fully been able to game much since I got here, but that is about to change. Rest assured.
Not much to say about Blizzcon really. Bit of a let down. Half the convention was spent throwing out vague hints about a new mmo announcement, but there was none. The main news of the weekend would be that the fifth Diablo 3 class will be a Demon Hunter, I suppose. I look forward to those, although I am quite sad that no real armor class will be in the game. Barbarians, Witchdoctors, Demon hunters, Monks, and Wizards. Meh.
Finally, here’s my writing piece of the week. Like every week, we have to write a thousand words over the course of a few days, and with all the other coursework going on there isn’t much time to re-read or improve a text once it is finished. Bear that in mind, will you?
‘Listen to the songs of the forest. Can you hear them?’
‘Them! Them, for heaven’s sake, the birds singing from the trees. Listen.’
‘Ah yes, I hear. How many are there, do you think?’
‘What, how many birds?’
‘Oh I don’t know. Probably millions. Perhaps even billions.’
‘I assure you, I do not.’
‘A billion birds in Brimwall Woods? They hardly stretch for ten miles!’
‘Oh, you mean in Brimwall? Well that’s a whole other story, then.’
‘Well how many birds do you think there are in Brimwall?’
‘Well, I don’t…’
A loud crumbling sound echoed across the woods, and the sky lit up sharply for a blink of an eye. Then the heavens opened up, and rain started pouring. The many birds took refuge under the branches soaked by rain, but their song continued as before—if slightly muffled.
‘Well there you are, John. There are no birds in the woods. None. Zip,’ Francis shouted over the density of the rain gushing over the forest. They got up from their seats atop a grassy knoll overlooking the forest from its glen, and ran towards the shelter of the trees. Once beneath the green roof of Brimwall Woods, the rain was hardly noticeable. Leaving the sky behind, the humidity in the air was at once melded with the fumes of the forest, giving a most peculiar feeling of things not quite being what they would seem. They walked for a bit, until they found an unusually dense and broad fir, a monarch among its peers. There they sat and huddled with their backs to the trunk, listening to the dripping water as it quenched the thirst of the forest.
‘Imagine what uproar there must have been when there were no cakes for tea, yesterday,’ John said with a contemplative tone. ‘It’s the first time we have been late for teatime, you know.’
Francis inhaled the fresh scent of summer’s rain mixed with pine, earth, and a more subtle hint of mushroom. ‘Hmm… This place is growing on me. I could get used to this. But how on Earth did we get here?’ he asked, looking befuddled.
‘That goes beyond me. You are the one who is always taking notice of everything—surely if anyone knew what happened to us, it ought to be you,’ said John, his eyes focused elsewhere. ‘What a lovely little mushroom, and it has feet, too.’
‘Come again? Did you just say a mushroom had feet?’ Francis asked, questioning the well-being of his friend. ‘Call me ill-advised, goosey, or even unlettered, but last I looked, mushrooms did not stroll around, John.’
John looked up, slightly befuddled. ‘Walking mushrooms? Are you mad?’
‘What do you mean, am I mad? You’re the one going around making hysterical claims of seeing things that aren’t real!’ Francis sneered.
‘I never said I saw a mushroom walk, Francis. I merely pointed out it has got legs. See for yourself,’ said John, and pointed towards a cluster of oddly-shaped mushrooms sticking up from the ground near the large tree, partly concealed by a slouching branch full of fir needles and cones.
Chanterelles, Boletus, Russula, fly agarics and dozens of bizarre and unnamed mushrooms formed a most peculiar collection in a display of color and form.
‘No, no, no. Those are stalks, John, not feet. All mushrooms have them,’ said Francis laughing, amused by his own wit.
‘That’s hardly funny. I know what I saw,’ John pressed, and as he did, a large chanterelle in the back suddenly seemed to move, if slightly. ‘Look! Surely, you must have seen that.’
‘Oh I wouldn’t look too much into it. There are many mushrooms, and the eye is easily deceived. Besides, have you not felt that hypnotizing atmosphere lingering about ever since we got here? It is doing things to our minds, sure enough as you see walking mushrooms and I have a sudden urge for liquorices.
‘I wish you wouldn’t tease me, Francis. I am going over to that mushroom right now, and I will bring back handsome evidence,’ John frowned and got to his feet. He didn’t get far, however, before a scene most strange played out: the odd little mushroom shivered to his knees by the sight of the approaching colossus, and not being able to bear the stress any longer he revealed his cover and sprinted towards the thickets, screaming for all he was worth. All the while, John felt ill by the sudden encroaching greenness of the forest. The rain had stopped, and standing up to fully observe his surroundings for the first time, he was taken aback by it all. How the luminous fern shrubs nearby lit up the foreground of the dark green trees, which stood tall and dense, easily mistaken for an army of trolls or giants. Gossamer hung between branches and glistened with drops of water from the recent rain. Looking up, he could barely make out a blue sky, struggling for air between the tree tops, with sparse rays of dim sunlight penetrating the roof of the forest.
The momentum was interrupted by a loud cracking noise sounding from behind, accompanied by a startled shriek from Francis, who abruptly covered his mouth in shame of his estrogenic outburst. Another cracking noise and branches began to shiver. Wood churned, twisted, and twitched.
Whispers seemed to emanate from the tree itself, but neither of the two friends bothered to stay and find out, and they were already some two hundred meters away in sprint.
‘What on Earth is it with this place?’ Francis shouted over his panting breath, as he hopped over snares, stumbled on roots, and dodged branches.
‘I don’t know good heavens I don’t know! Just keep running, Francis!’
As they dashed into the deep sanctums of the forest, little did they know that their acquaintance with the oddities of Brimwall Woods had only just begun.
I’ve been in London for almost an entire month, and I’m finally getting settled in properly.
Writing weekly 1000 word texts for the Creative Writing modules, designing game rules for the board game Ur, making concept art for my own conceptual MMO, all the while I try to keep up with my reading and personal writing.
Going great so far!
This Monday, the winners of Blizzard’s annual global Writing Contest will be announced, and whether I win or not I shall try to post the full 7500 word story here so you may read it at last.
Oh, and Blizzcon is held next weekend, which means I will be watching it via live stream online with some course buddies, and then write how I feel about it on the blog. I expect news on SC2, Diablo 3, and hopefully a new MMO.
Lastly, I have pre-ordered WoW: Cataclysm Collector’s Edition, and I will thoroughly go through all the content of the box with you, and on top of that write a lengthy review of the game itself.