Posts Tagged ‘W’

Wolfsong

April 26, 2019

Jenny held on tight as the sled rounded another bend in the trail. She checked her watch and saw that midnight was approaching. That checked out as it was very dark and she was pretty tired. The dogs looked like they could run forever and they probably could if Jenny let them. Still, Jenny thought that they should probably all get some rest even though none of the dogs looked like they wanted any. They pulled the sled along pretty fast considering the fresh snow on the trail. It had snowed that morning and it definitely showed. Eowyn, the lead dog, was probably finding the trail by smell alone and the other dogs and Jenny were just trusting that. She was so proud of the team for sticking together.

They crested a hill and Jenny caught sight of the cabin. She could tell that the dogs saw the cabin too because they sped up and ran harder toward it. Eowyn let out a little excited bark. Jenny reined in the team a little but really she was happy to let them expend that last bit of energy. They would probably be pretty antsy most of the night until they got going in the morning. As they got close, she threw on the sled brake and moved to unhitch the dogs so they could go about their business.

She went to the outhouse quickly to go about her own business and then came back to the cabin. She went to the back of the cabin and grabbed a bale of hay. She scattered it in front of the cabin so the dogs had something to sleep on. She pulled the rifle carefully from the sled and leaned it against the cabin. She went about starting a fire before feeding the dogs some frozen meat to gnaw on and grabbed herself an MRE. After she had eaten, she finally moved back to the sled to grab her guitar. She would never bring the guitar on an actual race but she was just going on a run to build team building.

She took a seat and started to play and sing. After a while. the dogs started to join in with the song. It was funny how the dogs would join in the song most of the time she played either out on the trail or back home. She originally thought they were complaining but over time, she felt they got the same thing out of it that Jenny did. It was good to sing together, relaxing after a hard day of travel.

She often wondered in moments like this at the trajectory her life had taken. She had originally gone to school for accounting years ago. Along the way, she had hit a wall and dropped out of college and then she had drifted. She had eventually ended up in Montana where she had volunteered at a kennel. From there she got a job as a handler for sled dogs and now she was a musher with a stake in the company. She could not have been happier if she planned it all. She especially enjoyed training the dogs but she lived for the races. The next race could never come soon enough.

In the middle of a verse, she thought that she had heard something out of place. She stopped singing and playing and the dogs stopped too with a little bit of confusion at the sudden stop. She saw their ears all prick up as she heard the baying and howling of wolves in the distance. She felt terror deep in her stomach and then felt its fingers creeping all over her body. She knew that she could not freeze so she forced herself to get up and grabbed the rifle. She had never fired it at a living thing but there was no time to think about that. She would protect her team and herself. This was the wild and normal rules were out the window.

There was a long silence as Jenny and the team watched the darkness for wolves. The wolves had gone silent as well which made Jenny even more nervous. It made it harder to track their movements. They could be anywhere. After a while of nothing happening, the dogs’ tension started to disappear. She watched them, knowing their senses were much better than hers and they would know danger earlier than she could. She trusted her team with all of her heart but she feared those wolves. Would they grow brave enough to charge in even with ten dogs and an open campfire? Anything was possible.

Finally, the silence was broken again by the wolves once again howling in the distance. It sounded like they had not moved after all. The dogs started to howl in response and Jenny found herself smiling at them. They were making friends while Jenny had been ready to face down enemies. She watched as the dogs howled at the wolves and then looked down as Eowyn drew closer. Eowyn nudged the fallen guitar and looked up at Jenny. Jenny slowly put the rifle down and picked the guitar up and started to play again. She started to sing with the wolves and the dogs and for a moment in time, they were all bonded together.

(This story is inspired by following Blair Braverman on twitter.  She is a musher for BraverMountain and she and her team competed in their first Iditarod this year.  She recently published a great essay for Outside Magazine which can be found here.)

(Written on 4/24/19)

Advertisements

Faith of the Raven Pt. 3

April 26, 2018

The woods had been infested with the undead and human thugs. Carania knew that with the Raven Queen’s boons she could probably save the day but there was time to be more efficient about it. So, it was time to do a little recruiting. Few things banded people together like dealing with the undead and Carania was counting on that. After examining her map, she decided to head back toward the town of Thorncatch that she had previously just passed through. She found the road again and made her way back to the town limits. Along the way, she discovered her horse Rhiannon wandering on the side of the road. She had thankfully fled when Carania had been shot and killed. Rhiannon was particularly happy when Carania approached.

The two of them stood outside of the gate of the one manor at Thorncatch which Carania assumed housed the Thorncatch family. Most villages and cities in Eloria were built around and named after the noble families that lived there. However, the gate was fastened shut and there was not a bit of movement in the place no matter how long Carania banged on the gate and yelled. Admitting defeat, she headed to the only tavern in town which bore the name of The Grasshopper. Carania pushed her way inside and pulled her hood down and shook her hair free. The first thing she was confronted with was the warmth and smoke from a fire. The second thing she noticed that there was a bird in the rafters and it was a raven.

Carania stared dumbfounded at the bird and it turned its head to stare back at her as it cawed. Strangely, she saw intelligence in the birds’ eyes. Of course, she knew that ravens were intelligent birds in their own right but there was something more in those shiny, obsidian eyes. She looked down at her hand which had the symbol of the raven on it and then back at the actual raven. It was too much to just be a coincidence, right?

“I could draw you a picture,” a voice said. “before she pecks out your eyes for looking at her funny.”

Carania tore her eyes away from the bird and looked toward the source of the voice. “You see it too?” She asked. She thought maybe the Raven Queen had sent the raven as a sign.

“Of course I see it too and she’s a her not an it,” the young man said. “Her name is Grim, short for Grimalkin.”

“Wait,” Carania said. “isn’t that just a generic term for a cat? That’s a bird.” She gestured at Grim as she said it as if it was not an obvious statement.

“Very smart. She is my familiar,” the young man said. “Which means she can change. We all change. She was a cat when I first summoned her but she changed along the way.” Carania sensed there was more meaning here than the words conveyed but she felt it was not the time to probe that particular subject.

“Sorry for assuming so much about tour familiar,” Carania said. “So you must be proficient in magic then? Oh! My name is Carania Garion. What’s your name?”

The young man took a drag off of the herb he had been smoking and smiled. “Sure, why not? My name is Arne and yes I am a wizard.”

“Arne what?” Carania asked.

“Simply Arne,” he said with a hard look that said ‘drop the subject’. “What’s your deal, Carania Garion?”

“I’m a paladin of the Raven Queen and I came here to ask the Thorncatch family for help in hunting the necromancer in the woods near here,” Carania said.

There was a silence during which Grim cawed and Arne took another drag from his herb and then he blew the smoke out slowly. “That was pretty direct,” he said. “I like that. It’s refreshingly honest. Unfortunately, Thorncatch Manor is all closed down. Lord and Lady Thorncatch left one day to travel and never came back. Tough luck there.”

“I suppose I could attempt the hunt on my own,” Carania said. “but I was told to get help where I could get it.”

“Told? Is there coin in it then?” Arne asked. “I could be convinced to help for the promise of a challenge and sufficient pay.”

“Well,” Carania said as she thought hard about that. “it is sort of a holy mission but I bet that the necromancer will have some gold that you’re free to have a share of.”

“A holy mission?” Arne asked. “I’m not so sure about all of that. Don’t get me wrong. I am experienced but I am not a holy person and I have never been on a holy mission before.”

A dwarf sitting at a table alone spoke up. “You’ve never been on a holy mission? Truly? It’s a little bit like sailing with the wind at your back. Somebody out there wants you to succeed. My name’s Galath Windham and I’m a cleric of Pelor. I’m definitely available to help you on your quest.”

“Just like that?” Arne asked. “I guess my share just shrank, huh?” He stubbed out the burning herb he had been smoking on the surface of the bar. It was not the most polite thing to do but Carania did not see any member of the staff about to yell at the wizard and Carania was not about to ruin a chance by scolding him herself.

Carania turned back to face Arne. “So you’ve let go of your reservations then? You’ll join me as well?” She smiled at the young man who paused and made a face like he had been tricked.

“Like I said,” Arne said. “I enjoy a good challenge and it’s been a long time since one came along. You came here looking for help and you’re going to get it.”

“Thank you,” Carania said. “I seem to have lucked out in Thorncatch afterall.”

“I take it from your statement that you have taken me up on my offer of help as well?” Galath asked. “Will an elf take help from a dwarf?”

“Hmm,” Carania said. “I suppose I have little choice.” Galath looked a bit disappointed at that but then Carania smiled. “Aside from that, I have no bigotry in my heart. All who oppose undeath are welcome.”

“That’s definitely in my job description,” Galath said. “I’ll fight by your side.”

“And I’ll fight a little behind the both of you where I hopefully won’t get hurt,” Arne said.

“That’s fair enough,” Carania said. “Sleep well because we ride out at dawn.”

Why I Love Pro-Wrestling: Catchphrases NXT Edition

April 27, 2017

WILPW

The W slot was always going to be an edition of Why I Love Pro-Wrestling which is a regular feature here on the Wolf of Words. I have been thinking lately of how I connect to the business of sports entertainment and how it can inspire me. Most inspiring to me lately is World Wrestling Entertainment’s NXT show. It has always had a fresh and refreshing energy to it and the performers have gimmicks that are really fun to watch. So I started thinking about slogans (most of them on t-shirts) and I applied them to my own life.


#DIY – Nobody Will Do it For You

Setting aside the funny notion of having a tag team named “Do It Yourself”, I really like the energy of this team. Lately, in my life I have really started doing things for myself because they do not lie, nobody can make your life better than you can. I have a new job and I am about to graduate from my second stint in college. Obviously, DIY does not just mean actually going it alone. It is an energy where you initiate and act in a proactive manner. Also, I feel a little bit of myself reflected in the team composition of DIY. Tomasso Ciampa is known as the “Psycho Killer” while I have had a history of anger problems that I have largely gotten a handle on. Johnny Gargano is a talented, happy go lucky guy which I think is a big part of the other side of my personality.


“The Perfect 10” Tye Dillinger – The Numbers Don’t Lie

A little while back, Tye Dillinger started calling himself “The Perfect 10” and the crowd ate it up. He is also correct about the numbers not lying. Lately, when I start to doubt myself while I am applying to jobs, I start to think about my numbers. I have a 4.0 grade average in Legal Studies. The numbers don’t lie. I am good this. My self-doubt has to take a back seat to the reality that I have worked my tail off showing how suited I am to my new profession. Beyond the slogan, Tye Dillinger is a guy who has been around the company for years, always trying to catch a break. Recently, he finally made it to the main roster. That is inspiring. To watch somebody work and work and finally succeed gives me hope that eventually, I will get where I want to be.


American Alpha – Ready, Willing, and Gable

Goofy pun on Chad Gable’s name aside, I really like this simple slogan. That is what we all want to be, prepared for what lies ahead with the energy to do what needs to be done. Lately, I have been hitting the challenges in my way hard and it is paying off. I feel proud in knowing that while I am not the best, I am a hard worker who does right in the end. It is one of the most positive slogans in the WWE right now and it works because they are a really positive team. I always hope I can work with people as well as Jason Jordan and Chad Gable seem to. I try and sometimes I succeed.


Finn Balor – Summon the Demon

The anger problem I mentioned came from what felt like a deep well of rage that I could feel deep inside of me. You never really get rid of that. That is where “summoning the demon” comes in. As Finn Balor explains, the demon inside of you can have good uses. When I am doing a physical chore and I feel like I am at the end of the rope, focusing the anger in a constructive way really helps. Letting that anger lance through my brain when I am out of it and tired makes for better concentration as long as I keep it reined in. There are positive ways you can focus your anger if you only try.

Why I Love Pro-Wrestling: Lucha Underground

April 27, 2016

WILPW

So I am really into professional wrestling (though I still feel uncomfortable about that term). I mean, that much should be clear by now, right? There are tons of editions just like this one on this blog and all of them are titled Why I Love Pro-Wrestling except for the one that is jokingly exchanges the word ‘love’ for ‘hate’. I grew up watching and I fell in love with the wild storylines and larger than life characters. I imagined myself with entrance music and pyro and I actually still do to psych myself up for stuff. I still write promos as they pop into my head (see earlier this month). In the comfort of my home, I recite New Day and Enzo and Cass promos along with the crowds at the arena. I watch NXT and pay-per-views with my WWE Network subscription. I think it’s safe to say that I am a fan.

I came in during the mid-nineties and while I have adapted to changes well, my experience has been perpetually old school. I was late to the party on ECW and ROH. I gave up on TNA at some point. I still have yet to see a single New Japan match even though I’ve been told how good they are. I know what I like and I tend to stick with it even when the WWE has lulls and I am barely paying attention. Still, every so often something comes along that is a shock to my system. Something that is new and exciting and clever and I cannot help but like it even when I thought I would hate it. Case in point: Wrestling Society X. WSX was a promotion put together for an MTV television show. The production value was high and so was the level of talent. The fictional story of the show was that it was a secret society that put on matches in a large bunker. If you blinked, you missed this surprisingly entertaining show.

Flash forward to earlier this year when I am enjoying WWE but I am just in the right mood to want to experience something else in addition. I was listening to my favorite sports entertainment podcast (The Rough House) and Christoff was raving about something called Lucha Underground. Of course, I had heard the word ‘Lucha’ before. There had been Rey Mysterio for a long while, Chris Jericho talked about it in his first autobiography and more recently the Lucha Dragons are a thing in WWE. So I hopped to it and decided to check this thing out through On Demand and YouTube. I was not quite prepared for what I was going to see but I guess I should have known better.

In Mexico, luchadors are like superheroes. They wear masks, are extremely athletic and their performance style encourages a lot of leaping and flying through the air. A little bit of that style can even be seen in North American performers like Chris Jericho, Sami Zayn and Seth Rollins among others. The in-ring action on the show is very wild and crazy. The psychology of the matches is very different from the WWE. In the grand scheme of things, wins and losses do not matter as much. You could go on a losing streak and still conceivably get a shot at a championship belt. It is the big matches where wins and losses matter. Matches are more to show that each luchador has fighting spirit and amazing abilities. It is a little startling to watch for the first time but, like watching a new tv show after a Law and Order marathon, it is refreshing.

All of that is really great but what really surprised me was the storytelling. The storytelling is completely off the rails and crazy and it is one of the top reasons why I have latched onto Lucha Underground. The WWE has a certain level of reality that we all accept. It is a scripted show but within that script, we accept that these are normal human beings who are paid to beat the tar out of each other. The shows are promoted and backed by several corporations working in harmony. In Lucha Underground, the fiction is that a criminal named Dario Cueto runs a lucha temple out of a warehouse in Boyle Heights. He runs the temple according to some obscure Aztec traditions and  that includes the use of actual magic. The in-ring action is woven together into a story using backstage vignettes which are shot like a movie and have an intricate, out of this world story. I mean, the thing is produced by Robert Rodriguez so you know there’s a lot of effort behind it.

The show has a lot of stars you might be familiar with if you’re a pro-wrestling fan. Among them are John Morrison, Rey Mysterio, Alberto Del Rio, Chavo Guerrero, Justin Gabriel and Vampiro. Some of them are working under different names. In addition, there are a ton of people who were new to me like Prince Puma, Pentagon Jr., Mil Muertes, Fenix and many more. All of these performers are taking on new and interesting roles. There is Aerostar, a man who might be a time traveler or robot. He is friends with Drago who is a dragon who has taken human form. There are two undercover cops who have gone undercover as wrestlers to bust Dario Cueto. There is Mil Muertes who is probably undead and comes back stronger each time he is defeated. Half the performers are mystical descendants of Aztec tribes. It sounds wacky but I love it. You just have to let go and enjoy the story as it comes right out of left field.

Why I Love Pro-Wrestling: Tag Teams

April 27, 2015

WILPW

Tag Team wrestling is an interesting concept. Normal bouts in sports entertainment are efforts to prove who the best competitor is. That’s one reason we get mad when the heel cheats. He won not because he’s the best competitor but because he’s lucky and intelligent. Tag Team wrestling changes the dynamic by making it about the team and not the individual. It also changes the way a match is built. Suddenly there are four people involved in the match and conditioning and timing changes. You have to showcase all four people pretty evenly to be successful which means all four guys should be interesting. This has failed in the past but it has also succeeded spectacularly. In fact, some of my favorite matches have been tag team matches.

So let’s look at a few successful tag teams and look at what type they represent and my theory on why they were popular. Just as a note, I’m going to be using male terms a lot because tag teams are used infrequently in women’s competition.

The Motorcity Machineguns

Alex Shelley and Chris Sabin are two guys from Detroit who came up in the business around the same time and (from all appearances) are two guys who had worked together a lot before they were officially a team. These guys knew each other’s rhythms and timing and they absolutely killed it in the ring. They started as heroes who repped their hometown of Detroit by pointing to their hands (think about it) and defeating their opponents. Later the two became arrogant heels while still performing awesome moves. The two worked together so well because they were technically sound and knew each other so well. Some other great tag teams that knew each other well were Edge and Christian, AJ Styles and Christopher Daniels, The Mega Powers and the Thrillseekers.

Team Extreme

Sometimes tag teams are closer than two guys who have worked together for a long while. Sometimes they’re actually family. Matt and Jeff Hardy are two brothers who are very close in age and both of them loved Pro-Wrestling. They happened to break into mainstream wrestling just when hardcore wrestling was becoming huge at the same time as a resurgence in tag team wrestling. The two created a lot of tag team wrestling innovations and helped to turn the whole concept of a tag team on its ear. They also sacrificed their bodies to make it in the business and fans definitely respected them for that back in the nineties. Unfortunately both have hit hard times off and on due to drug problems and such but we’ll always remember the team that I refuse to call the Hardy Boyz. Some of these sort of great tag teams are The Rhodes Dynasty, Owen Hart and The British Bulldog, The Briscoe Brothers, The Young Bucks and Harlem Heat.


Beer Money

Sometimes instead of taking two guys who know each other well, you throw together two guys who aren’t doing anything at the time. Sometimes the promoter just hopes to fill a spot for the night and sometimes they’re hoping to throw crap and have it actually stick to the wall. James Storm and Robert Roode did not have much to do with each other. Storm had been in America’s Most Wanted but was now a hard drinking cowboy. Robert Roode had started a rich guy gimmick after Team Canada disbanded. So the TNA writers threw the two of them together in a move that baffled a lot of fans. The two of them defied all odds and worked on meshing their styles together. They made compromises and Robert Roode became less sophisticated and James Storm became more driven. Some other tag teams like this were The Rockers, The Timesplitters, Chris Jericho and Big Show and Miz and Morrison.


The Shield

Sometimes tag teams seem to succeed because everybody designs it that way. Everybody involved moves heaven and earth for the team to be a cohesive unit, almost a brand. The Shield appeared out of nowhere to aid CM Punk in keeping his championship during a PPV. However, they trained together before that at what is now known as NXT. To the average viewer (myself included) the three had come out of nowhere and acted as a cohesive and dominant unit. They dressed alike, they acted as one and they seemed extremely coordinated. Eventually, they slowly formed personalities of their own in preparation for them disbanding but they gained fan and notoriety by being a trained tactical unit. Some other tag teams like this are MNM, The Major Brothers, London and Kendrick, The Road Warriors, The Hart Foundation and the Four Horsemen.


Team Hell No

Some teams just don’t make sense on paper. Some teams it’s funny to see two people who cannot possibly get along enter into a team together. At one point, Kane was hated and feared as Hell’s Favorite Demon. Not only was he a Big Red Machine but he was the Undertaker’s brother and a supernatural force to be reckoned with. Daniel Bryan was a young and exciting wrestler who had won the world title and then lost it, becoming embittered with the fans and angry with his fellow performers. The solution? Send them both to anger management therapy. Eventually part of their therapy was to team up together and despite their intense hatred of each other, they were successful. Some other great teams in this vein were The Rock ‘n Sock Connection, MVP and Matt Hardy, Raven and Tommy Dreamer, Goldust and Booker T, The Two Man Power Trip and the Corporate Ministry.


Adventures of a MathBrat

Random Things I Find Energy To Blog About

Boccob's Blessed Blog

A gaming blog with an emphasis on D&D 5e

wolfenoot.wordpress.com/

No Hate Only Snootboops

As Told By Carly

The Ramblings of a Geek Girl

kalpanaawrites

poetry, fiction, essays

Beyond the Flow

A Survivor's Philosophy of Life

Silvia Writes

Life is a story. Might as well write it.

An Artist’s Path

Art, Poetry, Spirituality & Whimsy

The Bloggess

Bizarre thoughts from author Jenny Lawson - Like Mother Teresa, only better.

Silence Killed The Dinosaurs

Comics, Stories, Dinosaurs, Cats

Daily (w)rite

For lovers of reading, writing, travel, humanity

The Empire of Carane

Where fiction comes to life

DMing With Charisma

Stories, Reviews and Opinions!

%d bloggers like this: