Archive for July, 2015

Shield of the Ishim Pt. 2

July 6, 2015

Ishim Shield

“Do you hear that skittering sound again?” Maya asked, tugging lightly on the goggles resting on her brown leather mask. She still kept close to China so she wasn’t crushed by the gravity spell surrounding them. It had been an hour since they had started searching for a nasty intruder at the old Belvedere Hotel but there was nothing but skittering noises so far. This was not the usual hunt an Ishim faced these days. Normally the supernatural creatures leapt out and attacked pretty quickly so it was strange to have to try and follow their prey through the hotel like they had so far.

“The ballroom this time.” China whispered from behind that perfect porcelain mask. “At least there’s open ground there. Less chance of it getting away this time. Let’s go.”

China turned with a flip of her long gray hair and walked confidently but carefully toward the ballroom which forced Maya to stick close once again. They were surrounded by a chorus of creaking floor boards which was completely unnerving. Maya looked to her right and watched a spindly dining room chair get crushed under the weight of the spell. She felt confident that the gravity spell China was conjuring would protect them from physical attack by slowing or smooshing their attacker. At least, that was the theory.

If the spell covered physical threats, Maya carried various totems and charms that protected her from magical attacks. She had no idea what the great China Gray was relying on but the woman seemed confident so it was hard to be too concerned for her. Maya was still having a hard time figuring out China’s age with all of the contradictory evidence. Gray possesed confidence and wisdom like an elder and she was taller. However, she also lacked patience and moved far too easily for an elder. After all, most elders were too heavily injured to move like they used to.

They rounded the corner and pulled open the big double doors under the plaque that said this was the ballroom. They pushed open a second set of double doors just a few feet inside. The ballroom must have been really spectacular in its day. There was plenty of intricately carved woodwork still on the walls and empty bronze rods where drapes must have hung. A lot of the tarnished brass light fixtures were still there but a lot of them were dangling off the walls by thick wires.

Maya swung her torch around and focused the beam of light with a force of will. There were a few ruined chairs that were quickly flattened around them along with some partially collapsed tables. She thought she saw something twinkle on the floor so she focused the light there next to investigate. She gasped and clutched her torch tighter and she could almost feel China tense up next to her even though the other woman was silent.

There on the floor, draped over a shattered chandelier, there was a dragon the size of a Clydesdale. It was dead and there could be no doubt. There was a cut the length of Maya’s forearm in its neck and two clean puncture wounds in its torso. It had definitely breathed its last breath ass it was statue still with one wine-colored eye open and unfocused. pointing vaguely torward the ceiling.

“Did somebody complete the job for us?” Maya asked, the thought of an elder not taking them seriously brought on a hot flush of anger that she knew turned her skin reddish pink. Thankfully, her face was covered by the mask.

“It looks that way, doesn’t it?” China responded bitterly. Her voice was filled with annoyance once again but this time Maya felt she wasn’t the cause. For once, she felt more kinship with this stiff, by-the-book woman. She also guessed that she was not an elder because this absolutely did not happen to elders.

Suddenly, a blood red symbol flared to life on the wall where somebody had carved it through the wallpaper and into the wood beyond. Maya didn’t recognize the symbol but while they were staring, blood red words ignited above it.

‘The Ishim Will Die’ They said.

Maya and China looked at each other. “What does that-” Maya started but did not finish her sentence. Dozens of brown, shiny beetles the size of small puppies exploded from every vent in the room. They surrounded by nasty little insects that let out horrible shrieking noises like crickets from Hell. Maya raised her torch and once again she was interrupted as China already had something in mind.

It was one of those series of moments that slows down so that you can see every detail. The beetles leapt at them as one, brandishing pincers as sharp as daggers. China yelled out what sounded like “Unleash!” and a bright flash of light spread from the epicenter of the gravity spell they were standing in. In an instant Maya felt forces push her and China up off the ground. Around them it was if a giant mallet slammed down into the floor, wooden floor planks and beetles and everything went flying. Then China went limp and Maya reached out for her as they started to tumble into the darkness of the basement.

Flag-Waving Part 2

July 4, 2015

It is July 4th which is Independence Day in the United States of America even though our armies didn’t officially win independence until September. It’s harder to have barbecues in September though or at least it was back when I was in school. Anyway, we won our independence and fought hard to defend it. I just realize I keep writing “we” as if I was there or had some direct connection to the events. I don’t but that’s the way being a citizen of a country makes you feel.  You take pride in success and feel embarrassment for failure.

I thought I would take the time on today of all days to revisit a post I made back in April about the overrun of American flags in our country. I love our country’s flag. I love the freedom it represents and the power to (hopefully) do the right thing. I just get upset when people use their patriotism as a status symbol.

There was a flag that was draped over my Great Uncle’s coffin. It was given to us because as kids we often went down to Georgia to visit him and his brother who both served in World War II. This flag actually means something. In fact, it means a lot of things to a lot of people. So when I complain about American flags everywhere I am not talking about this sort of thing. I come from the city that birthed our National Anthem which is a loving tribute to our country’s flag. It was written during a time when our country was fighting to keep its independence.

To summarize: I should probably not be so uptight about it. Happy 4th of July!

I have two other flag issues to talk about, both of which probably date this post.

The Gay Pride Flag

The Supreme Court has finally made a decision that allows same sex marriage throughout the country. This is a great victory and, in my opinion, joins a long list of civil rights victories that should have happened long before they actually happened. There is still a lot of work to do on the civil rights front and the equal rights front and there will always be people who stand in front of progress.

One of those people came up to me yesterday and claimed that 10,000 people signed a petition to replace our country’s flag with the gay pride flag. Really? People are actually still falling for these fake news stories? Awesome. A lot of us are really excited about the Supreme Court victory but we’re not about to go overboard. Statistically the homophobic and intolerant philosophies that cause people to buy into something like this are disappearing.

Confederate Flags

Another news story that will date this post is that all over the southeastern part of the USA, governments are taking down confederate flags. A (hopefully) minor part of the population is reacting to this with anger. This completely and utterly bewilders me.

The confederate flag is part of a dark period in history called the American Civil War. It represents a country that briefly existed due to differences in policy from the United States government. We could argue for hours over what those differences were but the rebellion failed and the US went through a rough period of reconstruction that led to both halves reforming into one country. Therefore, the nation it represents hasn’t existed for over one hundred years.

My mother’s side of the family is from South Carolina and, to our great embarassment, a confederate flag hung at the capital building for a long time. Whatever the flag originally represented, at some point it began to represent racism. This is the interpretation that I grew up with due to my mom’s experiences growing up in the south and the flag’s association with slavery and later the KKK. A distant family member recently told me that they believe that the confederate flag should be left alone because it symbolizes heritage and history. However, this person has also used the N word unironically and in anger so it is hard for me to take this argument seriously.

So why cling to a national flag of a long dead country? A country in a region that statistically did not believe in equal rights and fought any progress in that area. It’s really hard for me to believe that the reason isn’t racism. I don’t see the confederate flag as a positive symbol at all. I agree that it should not be flown on government land as it has nothing to do with who we are today. At least, it has nothing to do with who I want to be.

Media Update 7/2/2015

July 2, 2015

I still haven’t really seen anything new and exciting. The summer is a bad time for me as I feel the heat and humidity take a lot out of me. I really do want to see Jurassic World and Inside Out and hopefully I will catch them during the long weekend. Strangely I’m also looking forward to Terminator Genisys a little because at least they’re trying something new. I also really like Ahnold and I want to see how he is returning to two different iconic roles from the Terminator franchise. It’s just that lately on the weekend I want to just lounge around and keep cool instead of venturing out and seeing movies. It’s also taken a toll on my writing though part of that is trying to birth a new Tabletop character for a new campaign.

Anyway, let’s talk some entertainment.

Rennaisance Rumble: Battle Stations

Wow, second week in a row talking about live performance. It’s also been a while since I talked about pro-wrestling so this really feels right. I went down to College Park last Sunday morning and, although I was a little sleepy from getting up early on a weekend, I met my brother Alex and his girlfriend in a dance studio. In the middle of the studio was a structure that always brings excitement to my core. It was a wrestling ring. Sure it was a crappy wrestling ring but it looked serviceable and it definitely did its job.

We were there to see a workshop performance for a pro-wrestling class taught by a friend of my brother’s. Right away I was totally into it as we were greeted by fun characters and a story line involving good guys taking on a small but evil empire. The whole thing couldn’t have been much longer than an hour but there was five or six short matches to showcase the trainees’ talents. We saw characters like Midnyte Karny, Meg Sam, The Man Who Feels No Pain, Simond “Mega Diamond” and “Paisan of Pain” Giuseppe… I’m sorry but I don’t remember all their names.

We cheered for babyfaces and booed heels and cringed at some very impressive bumps and some decent selling. Considering it was after twelve hours of training, I was very impressed. We also got to see some pre-taped promos which were amusing. Nobody was exactly setting the world on fire but with some more training there were definitely diamonds to might have been picked from the rough. The important thing is that everybody had heart, stayed safe and there was actually a lot of funny dialogue that kept the event moving. I look forward to seeing more from this company.

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