SOLDIER—Free Book!

White Mesa Chronicles Book 1:

Fledgling militia officer Tommy Thaxton is used to scavenge missions in the ruined city. He’s not used to being in charge of his team of young men…but he can handle it. They all can handle it. It’s just a simple scavenge mission.

Until things go horribly wrong, and Tommy’s team finds themselves facing a full-scale gang attack – something their superiors never anticipated.

Now, getting home on schedule is the least of Tommy’s worries. Getting the entire team home alive is much more important.


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Dear Diary…Dedicated to Nori

Alert: May contain spoilers for the adventure “The Village of Homlette”

We reconvened after a week. When I got back into town, I found the others at the Welcome Wench. Apparently Mikael also spent a week “in nature,” sequestered in the Grove with Druid Master Geru – and they don’t talk about the “druidy” stuff they do.

Sounds like Ezekiel and Lydia hit the books all week – or rather, Ezekiel focused on his one book, while Lydia went to ask Master Bern questions at the tower.

She’s learned Continual Light – as well as some other cool things – so that’ll be helpful! Ezekiel has asked her to put light on our two shields.

Lydia asked me “How were the elves?” and Mikael mentioned that he actually learned Elvish, but hasn’t really had the chance to try it out yet.

I’m not sure it’s something I can articulate yet. I was really struck how they described everything – the forests, the creatures, the trees – as a gift from Ehlonna. It makes sense…and fosters a sense of gratitude.

Raven says the Lady Master Monk was heading to Orlane once she left here, so he was able to send a donation with her to the Temple of Merikka. He also says he knows how to fall twenty feet without getting hurt (he says it’s in the roll at the bottom) and made us all go outside to watch.

A young man came up to us while we were hanging out (apparently he’s the son of the village elder) and asked us if we would kindly come to a meeting at the elder’s house that evening.

That got Raven and Ezekiel talking about the situation. It was nice to bury ourselves in other concerns for a while, but now we have to remember why we’re here.

What were those weapons being stored for? There were far too many for the number of “bandits” we fought in the dungeon, but who else could be involved?

After Orlane, it’s even possible that some people in the town are “bad.” But it’s hard to tell…everyone knows that we took men-at-arms to the Moat-house, and brought back a huge load of weapons. After all, the shop-keeper questioned me about it.

(Speaking of him, Ezekiel and Lydia – and maybe Raven – also spent time getting all our treasure appraised and converted, so when the rest of us got back, they had our shares all divided. So I can rest easy that the presents I gave the elves and Elmo was money I was actually entitled to give away. Fair’s fair – he let me try out some of his gear part of the week, which was super cool.)

(Huh…”gifts” again…)

Anyway, we’ll head to the elder’s house after an early supper, and see what he has to say. I sure hope he approves of what we’ve been up to around here.

****

Well, we had a very interesting meeting at the elder’s house.

Sounds like the entire village council was there — Druid Geru, Brother Celmert, another Cleric of Cuthbert (who we figured out pretty quickly is Canon Turjon), Sir Rufus, Master Bern, Constable Fred Renton, Master Osler Gundigoot – innkeeper of the Welcome Wench – Mitch the Miller, and of course the village elder himself.

They told us they’ve done a lot of thinking after we caught that Drow Cleric in the Moat-house. They say they’re worried that things are stirring again – and even though none of them were personally on the scene when the Temple of Elemental Evil was broken and sealed, they don’t like the idea that someone might be trying to open it up…or even worse, has already done so.

They gave us some background on this whole thing, which was quite useful: apparently when the heroes and armies of Veluna, Verbobanc, and Furiundy came to smash the armies of monsters and humanoids who were swarming from the temple, they imprisoned the demoness responsible within the temple.

They also left a cryptic poem behind – I guess to give anyone who came afterward a hint for how to finish the job, if possible.

The elder is going to transcribe the poem and send us our own copy for reference, but here’s the gist:

Evil Demon Goddess (of Fungus) built the Temple and made a “Key” with her Evil Boyfriend. The Key is some sort of bridge (maybe?) but is made for destroying the Good.

When the Temple fell, the Demoness was left behind, and they broke their own Key (I think?).

The good guys hid the four pieces of the Key (and then there was something about sea – earth – fire – sky), to keep any bad guys from reassembling it and freeing the Demoness and her Bad Boyfriend.

So, there might be a way to reassemble the Key and use it to reach the Demoness and/or her Boyfriend and defeat them for realsies, but more likely they’d be unleashed which is why any mortal human followers they have would be wanting to hunt down the pieces of the Key (why the humans would want to follow a Demon-Deity, the poem didn’t say).

Ezekiel says I’ve got some parts wrong, but that’s close enough for now. He also says the Bad Boyfriend is probably someone so incredibly powerful and horrifying that we shouldn’t even be saying his name…you know, the one who’s super old, and has bound himself to the Prime Material Plane.

This all sounds very terrible – especially when Canon Turjon or someone speculated whether this demon-duo has an alliance with the Spider Goddess of the Drow.

However, the council told us all they’re really looking for us to do at this point is investigate the Temple (and pretty please tell them no one’s been messing around and trying to re-open it and free the Demoness).

There might even be more clues at the Temple about where to find the four pieces of the Key (although I agree with Mikael, that the only reason that makes sense for hunting the Key is so we can break one of the pieces and keep the Demon-Duo from ever using it again. Ezekiel asked “couldn’t they just make another one” and we pointed out that it took both of them to make the first one, and now the Demoness is locked up, and the Evil Boyfriend is Somewhere Else Not There).

Constable Renton said that “Elmo says we’ve been getting quite powerful,” so they’d all be grateful if we’d do this thing for them.

I think Ezekiel and I especially got a little bashful at that, since it’s always nice to hear that someone kinda big and scary thinks you might turn out all right.

Ezekiel kinda asked whether Elmo would want to come with us – but we all agreed that we’d made quite a splash by trucking all those weapons into town, and it might be smart for Elmo to not be too tight with us for a while.

One of them (I don’t remember who) said that if we thought we might need back-up, the blacksmith in Nulb might come with us for proper compensation.

(Fortunately the blacksmith is one of the people in Nulb who doesn’t hate us.)

Master Osler said that, ten years ago when this all went down, he’d reached as far as the outer walls of the Temple with the armies, but never set foot inside. However, he described the earthquakes and downpours and random fires that hit back in the “bad old days,” and I really hope we don’t have to face anything that dramatic.

Even Mikael looked upset when he heard about that. Upsetting nature, overturning balances, putting things in their wrong spots…that kind of thing. Chaotic Evil just ruins it for everybody else.

I can tell Ezekiel is pumped to put any up-starts back in their place. Sort of like that Spider-Goddess…if she must exist, she might have the decency to stay in the Under-Dark, where she belongs.

****

Good first day. Got up in time for Raven and Lydia to go buy us some more rations (since I think they’re the best bargainers among us) and Raven came back with some saddlebags for the horses, which is very smart of him.

We weren’t sure we were going to keep the two horses from the Moat-house, but so far it’s working out and I think it’s a really good idea. Ezekiel can ride one, which makes him go at a more reasonable pace, and Lydia is riding the other one, because she’s a girl (I guess).

We reached the campsite Elmo showed us so long ago. No sign of bugbears so far. Our hope is to go straight through Nulb and head for the Temple without running into trouble.

We did discuss whether or not to talk to the blacksmith at this time, but Ezekiel thinks we’ll just do some quiet reconnaissance to see if it’d be worth his time. After all, the HOPE – the pretty-please-just-tell-me hope – is that nothing is wrong and everything is fine and ship-shape and still locked up and abandoned.

I can taste it in the air…there’ll be frost tomorrow. Better than snow, which is about what we could hope for at this time of year.

I think Nori is teasing the horses (still no names agreed upon), but Raven is “meditating” so I can’t ask him for sure.

****

I can hardly believe all that’s happened.

When we started out this morning, mists rose from the Gnarly Forest, just visible beyond Nulb.

We made it through the town without clashing with anyone (still smells as bad as ever) and took the road that heads south-south-west out of town.

It was immediately evident that this road is much less used – there are some old wagon ruts, but what with the weeds and tracks in the mud, I’m pretty sure nothing but foot traffic has been down there recently. I couldn’t make a guess as to what that traffic is at this point.

We reached the Temple grounds by late morning…and right away we knew why everyone treats this place with such horror. Why just its mere presence would leech evil and chaos into the surrounding landscape.

The Temple is surrounded by a wall about twenty feet high and maybe thirty feet thick. It’s broken down in places and filled with holes from siege engines…but it’s still a massive structure that seems to loom over the surroundings.

Even the trees are skeletal and shriveled. You’d assume they’re all dead, except that they still haven’t fallen over in the wind and rain.

The shrubs are twisted, blacked…overgrown mounds of dark weeds and grey stone cover the ground. The very grass is disgusting. Here and there, we spotted skulls and bones of humans and humanoids, bleached by the elements. I’m just glad the horses didn’t bolt right there.

And yet, with all that decay and unhealthiness, huge black ravens wheeled far above us. I wondered at the time what they could be hunting in this wasteland.

Ezekiel pointed out the remains of a tower at the other end of the wall, and we started toward it…but the wall was longer than we had first assumed, and we must have gone a mile to travel from one corner to the other.

Right away, we spotted two black birds that looked like crows or ravens, perched on top of the tower and staring down at us. Ezekiel thought there was something unnaturally about them, like they were an illusion, or like they were something else pretending to be ravens.

Mikael took a look at them, and said that, yes, they certainly appeared to be ravens.

They weren’t the only weird thing about this place. I at least had started to catch dark things moving in the corners of my vision – except that, when I tried to look at them, there was nothing there.

When I mentioned it, the others seemed to know what I was talking about…but no one seemed really confident about what was going on.

Raven climbed up the wall, and pointed out that some of the breaks would let us climb through pretty easily – only we’d have to leave the horses on the outside.

I wasn’t very comfortable about that, but we decided to leave Nori on guard, since she was so good at that. Wow. She sure was pretty good at that…

So we picketed the horses (although if I was a horse I wouldn’t want to eat that vegetation) and climbed through the wall after Raven.

As soon as we did so the two ravens on top of the tower started cawing loudly – which of course I’ve learned is probably a warning signal. But I didn’t know who or what they were warning, so it didn’t do me much good knowing that.

The courtyard beyond the wall is absolutely trashed and overgrown. Every weed has thorns, or burrs, or stinks like dog, or looks (and feels) like poison oak.

And that’s not even mentioning the Temple itself. At least, I assume that huge building was the Temple…it looked –

[rough sketch, scratched out]

I can’t even begin to describe. It’s like it has a shape that doesn’t belong on our plane of existence. I’m dreading when we actually have to go that far.

But we had our hands full where we were.

We started by examining the tower on the north-east corner of the wall, since Ezekiel thought it would be a good vantage point – and also didn’t want to leave an unexplored space at our back where something could sneak up on us.

The ravens on top were still carrying on, so I pulled my shield around and got ready. Arrow slits framed the doorway, and I didn’t trust the blackness beyond.

Ezekiel and Mikael tried peaking in the arrow slits, with the help of Ezekiel’s newly-lit shield, but they couldn’t see anything useful.

The door itself was at the top of a stoop of shallow steps, and chained heavily on the outside. Raven examined the chains, and said he doesn’t think (in his professional opinion) that they had been handled for a long time.

That was good enough for me – since we’re not here to break into everything and kill everything, after all, but just to find evidence of anybody else trying to break in. We’ll see if Ezekiel is satisfied with that.

Anyway, next Raven tried climbing the tower, but before he reached the top those two obnoxious birds pounced on him, and he had to slide back down again (and, all right, his monk-ish roll at the bottom was pretty cool).

The raven-birds came after us, and Mikael smashed one so hard with his staff that it bounced against the wall of the tower.

I brought my bow up and winged it, while Ezekiel called out, “These might not be real birds – but if they are, Animal Friendship would work on them!”

And that was perfect, because we’d just been talking about how Mikael could tame another animal friend if he wanted to, and how it might be smart for him to find a bigger creature than Nori as the monsters we were fighting kept getting bigger.

Poor Nori…

Well, Mikael called out to the second bird, and it came and perched on an outcropping of wall near him and listened to him with its head cocked.

The other bird tried to dive-bomb his head, but I took it out with another arrow, and then we all stood and watched him convince the bird to be his friend.

I guess we were all kinda amazed to see it happen. I’m not sure exactly what he was saying to it, but finally it started rubbing its head against his shoulder and cooing.

Makes me kinda jealous, actually.

Well, I pulled my arrows out of its brother, and Raven went to climb the tower again to try to get a good view of our surroundings.

If we had only known…

He had barely climbed onto the top when he leaped dramatically off again…followed by a black swarm of wings exploding into the air.

Raven kicked himself off the side of the tower and rolled into the middle of us as a cloud of raven-birds dropped down toward us, claws extended.

It really was a dramatic moment. Lydia agrees with me.

While I launched some more arrows into the birds, Lydia threw an egg into the air and said, “Boom!” Green smoke – or maybe more like a green cloud – filled the air…but fortunately, it didn’t drift down to where we were.

I shot a bird through the throat and ducked to avoid the birds raining out of the sky.

One of the birds who apparently didn’t breathe in the stink went for Mikael’s new pet, and I was worried for a little bit that if she went flying around to counter-attack, I couldn’t tell that she wasn’t an enemy bird.

Ezekiel, of course, figured out that if he attacked the birds gagging and fluttering on the ground, he could avoid that problem, and he went stomping back and forth with his mace.

Raven stabbed a bird through with his spear…but don’t think they’re delicate little things. Lydia got a pretty vicious gash from one of them – and after all, their wingspans are like six feet across! They may be real animals, but they’re certainly not like the ravens you might find in your back garden. They’re twisted somehow.

They’re huge, and vicious, and determined.

I kept dropping them with arrows, but not nearly fast enough. Mikael lost a big chunk of skin to one, and they seemed to think Ezekiel looked especially juicy (or threatening) and wouldn’t leave him alone.

Then, my bow slipped from my hands, so I drew my sword to save time. Maybe Raven had a similar idea, because I saw him punching at the birds with his bare hands.

I caught a glimpse of Ezekiel, dropped to the ground, but before I could worry I also saw Mikael reaching out toward him, chanting his Heal Light Wounds spell.

The stunned birds were just pulling themselves together and launching into the air again when Lydia pulled out a SECOND egg and threw it up after them.

One of the birds started coughing and dropped to the ground right in front of me…it looked to me like its back was broken by that.

Just as well for me, because when I tried to swing my sword, I felt it hit something…maybe a bone, maybe a rock. I didn’t really have time to check…the balance was off, so I shoved it into the scabbard and snatched my bow up.

I heard scrabbling on the stone wall, and caught a glimpse through the cloud of angry birds of Nori, pouncing to the attack. She must have heard us fighting, and come to defend her Best Friend.

What if she hadn’t? What indeed? Well, we can never really know how these things “would have” gone. That’s what Alpheus used to say…that you can’t waste too much living in the “would haves.”

An arrow bounced off the wall of the tower and tried to hit me in the face (but didn’t). Just about then, I ran out of arrows, and while I was dumping out my backpack for my spare bundle, I saw Ezekiel quaffing a potion and Lydia swinging at a bird with her silver dagger. (She totally pierced it through the rib cage and sent it spinning into the weeds, twitching. So glad she’s on our side, if you know what I mean.)

I started snatching arrows from the ground, and caught a glimpse of Mikael smashing a bird to the ground with his staff.

Lydia said some words, and a horse appeared out of nowhere, and she sent it running. There were only one or two birds left at this point, and they started chasing after the horse.

You’d think it’d be easy to track after something just going in circles, but obviously it wasn’t since Raven and I both missed, and Mikael and Lydia had to work together to put the last enemies down.

Finally, all the bad birds were dead. Lydia’s horse trotted over to her, and disappeared.

Ezekiel staggered forward, bleeding from several places, and told us to clear out…looking mad enough to eat his own mace.

Raven says he tried to unlock the chains outside the tower, as a refuge from the attacking birds, but he couldn’t get it undone. He says he’s glad, though, since he heard something laughing from inside while we were fighting.

I hustled to get my party members back over the wall…although Mikael took a little longer than the others.

I found him kneeling by Nori. He said he’d used Cure Light Wounds on her, and she still wasn’t moving. His new raven friend (says her name is Corbi) was also pretty badly hurt, but he’s got her wrapped up in bandages to keep the bleeding down and the breaks contained, and so far she’s still breathing.

We couldn’t say the same for Nori…especially since she’s, y’know, a spider, and they don’t breathe the same way. It felt wrong to just leave her there, after all she’d done for us, but we didn’t want to spend too much time there, and frankly I had my hands full helping Ezekiel across the broken wall.

I would have said Ezekiel was the worst hurt, since he actually lost consciousness once, but I’m not sure. Raven did his best to walk normally, but he did sway a little.

I asked Lydia if Mikael could ride with her, and of course she said yes, so I was able to get them through Nulb all right without having to stop for anyone.

I was kinda scared we were going to have trouble, since as we came up on the town square we saw flames rising. The smithy was on fire, and a huge crowd was gathered around it, but we managed to skirt the crowd and move on, minding our own business. (After all, it wasn’t our business…and we were in no condition to give help, even if it was needed. I can only imagine how badly a fire could spread in a ramshackle place like Nulb.) I hope everything works out all right…

When we finally reached the campsite, Ezekiel explained one of the reasons he looked like he was trying to eat his own teeth. Apparently the potion he drank was supposed to be for “Animal Control” (which for obvious reasons would have been Super Helpful), but apparently it was for FISH only (I’m not sure how he knows this, and he doesn’t look in the mood to tell me).

I feel much better now that I’ve got them all back to our campsite here. Frankly, none of the guys look fit to swing a weapon for any length of time, and Lydia has blood on her head-scarf, though she’s trying to not make a big deal about it.

I have a scratch or two here and there, but this poison oak is what’s going to drive me out of my mind.

It’s only afternoon, but we’ll have to stop and rest. In fact, we’ll probably have to go back to Homlette…to buy me more arrows, if for no other reason. I’m so glad I had a reserve supply, but I’ve never had to crack into them before.

I’ll be really mad if my short sword was damaged. It’s the magic short sword we got for fighting the dwarves, and has been super useful.

Well, maybe I can figure out some base defenses – like a barrier of sharp sticks – so I can keep watch and we can not get killed by bugbears in the night.

Ezekiel is poking the fire and growling about how he couldn’t even hit birds that are literally flopping on the ground.

But, you know what, if Ezekiel has taught me anything, it’s that you can’t blame your deity just because things didn’t go the way you wanted them to.

Nori was a great spider. She was a wonderful gift to us. She died engaged in battle for the defense of her master.

And if Corbi’s brothers and sisters are anything to go by, she will be a great gift to our party, as well. She does look kinda cute and pathetic bundled up beside Mikael.

All the humans are still alive, and that is also a gift. I do not intend to squander it.


Find the previous entry here.

To read the start of the Homlette adventure, go here.

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Friendship—Casualty of LGBT Agenda

Friendship—Casualty of LGBT Agenda

Friendship is about so many things.

Having fun doing the same things. Encouraging each other to be better than we are. Feeling safe with one another.

It’s not mutually exclusive with Romantic Love…but it’s something special, distinct, and different than Romantic Love.

Which is why, when I saw several works of fiction dirtying this platonic ideal, I had make a stand.

Can’t a girl have a friend who’s also a girl? Can’t two guys feel a brotherly bond – and nothing more complicated? Do these authors have to boil everything down to sex – sex –sex?

And if they do…what a sad, tiny world they must live in. In fact…a world without Friendship.

Blake and Yang: The Fall of RWBY

Anime-inspired web series

Friendship—Casualty of LGBT Agenda — Kimia Wood

Image credit: YouTube

Blake and Yang are chosen by their school’s “random” selection to be partners and teammates.

They fight alongside each other, and go through the destruction of their entire school and the splitting of their team. Then, after separately dealing with their baggage and growing their characters, they reassemble with their battle-sisters to kick butt.

And that’s where Season 5 ends.

As someone who hasn’t watched further, I’m only going off the fan art and YouTube comments…but apparently the writers messed with them.

Yeah. If the fan art is to be believed, they went and shipped these two ladies.

Which destroys a beautiful friendship.

Yang is loud, bright, and forceful. Blake is secretive, angsty, and wrestling with guilt…yet she’s also very driven.

Together, they…er… Well, Yang applied her “Protective Older Sister” mentality to Blake, which funneled into a neat “your team is your family”/best friends motif.

Why on earth would you spoil that by sexualizing it?

A big part of Yang’s character is her fierce devotion to her kid sister Ruby, and so when she extends that to the other members of their battle team, it just makes their girl-dynamic that much better.

It’s like they’re all sisters, dig? Which is so sweet! Sisters, kicking butt together…y’know?

Wait…do you not have siblings you would totally die for? How sad…

Not all relationships have to be sexualized!

I’m not just mad because Blake already had a perfectly serviceable boy chasing after her, giving her back-up whenever she needed it, showing her unconditional support, and challenging her in ways that developed her character past her mental blocks.

That was a beautiful dynamic…no less for the fact that this boy never got so much as a peck on the cheek.

Maybe he felt that way about Blake…maybe he didn’t. But he didn’t need to make it about himself for him to help her. His affection was aimed at giving her what she really needed…not what she wanted.

What does changing the tone of Blake’s friendship with Yang give her?

No idea. I’m not watching the show anymore. And I won’t, because I don’t need my mature, kick-butt, mutually supportive sister-tribe corrupted with the need to be “edgy” – like everyone else.

The Sunday Philosophy Club

NovelFriendship—Casualty of LGBT Agenda — Kimia Wood

So I’ve been reading this pretty tepid cozy mystery where Middle-Aged Spinster sees Gorgeous Young Man fall to his death (by accident?).

She pokes her nose into the situation and interviews the young man’s flatmates – another boy and a girl.

Spinster Lady then talks with the male roommate alone, and asks if he “misses” the dead guy.

When the roommate admits that, yes, he “misses” his guy roommate — Spinster Lady immediately confirms her suspicious that these two guys were having a thing.

Not only that, but since she secretly witnessed the roommate guy slipping out of the girl’s room naked, she now labels Roommate Guy as not just homosexual, but bisexual.

In other words, he has no standards whatsoever.

Because of course friendship is dead and if you’re even vaguely unhappy that someone who shared your rent is dead, that means you were sleeping together.

I have no idea if Middle-Aged Spinster is correct (although she’s been pretty smug about all her freudian assumptions towards other people so far; she’s the protagonist; and their sexual habits haven’t had any bearing on the plot so far). However, whether she’s right or not, the author put that in there.

Dude. Are you kidding me?

Why? What’s the point?

(Okay, if the dead guy was murdered because of this sordid love triangle, I might have to publish a retraction…but I haven’t finished the book yet.)

Can’t two guys just be friends? Whether or not there’s a girl involved, whatever happened to a casual, affectionate respect for the people you see every day (coworkers, neighbors, roommates, classmates).

Does every relationship have to be boiled down to sex?

Silly me. I forget that Spinster Lady has a philosophy degree and thinks Freud was right. In which case, yes, I guess everything does have to boil down to sex.

How boring.

Onward: To Bravely Progress (Or Not)

Movie

Friendship—Casualty of LGBT Agenda — Kimia Wood

The two brother leads. Sad I had to clarify that. Image credit: WNG.org

According to its review in WORLD Magazine, Disney-Pixar’s latest movie Onward has a gay character. Apparently there’s been a lot of marketing about it and stuff.

And, again going off the WORLD article (since I haven’t seen the movie myself), this is the situation that paints the character as gay:

A female police officer says, “My girlfriend’s daughter got me pulling my hair out.”

Well, except in the Russian version, where she says “my partner’s daughter.”

I believe Honest Trailers calls this a “blink-and-you’ll-miss-it” gay character.

Dude. Really?

Friendship—Casualty of LGBT Agenda — Kimia Wood

See?! This is how gals talk! Image credit: YouTube

First off…you’ve never heard a woman say, “I’m going to the mall with my girlfriends”?

This is how girls talk sometimes. It’s a means of emphasizing that this is girl time, which is important to us.

Boys go out for “man time,” too, but I don’t think they call it “guy time.” They don’t think about the same things we do.

Wave good-bye to simple friendship.

I admit it’s a kinda ambiguous statement. Why is she watching her girlfriend’s daughter? Baby-sitting? I know someone who adopted her best friend’s kids when the friend died of cancer…is that the situation?

But that’s the world they’ve given us…everything ambiguous must be interpreted their way. No one gets the “benefit of the doubt.”

Obviously, the progressives at Disney wanted to get as much “edgy” milage as they could out of it…which is why they bothered to change the wording for Russia (a more conservative market).

But again…this character is a police officer. Her “partner” could mean a spouse, or her partner on the force. Is she babysitting the child of some other police officer?

What does any of this have to do with the plot?

(Hint: nothing, I’m pretty sure!)

“Just Friends” Means Nothing Now!

It’s a staple of the romance genre. She’s says, “Oh, we’re just friends.”

Her girlfriends point out, “He ran across town in the rain to buy you an umbrella. You mentioned you like a certain band, and he bought you tickets. He got you flowers ‘just because.’ He wants to meet your friends and your parents –”

And She rolls her eyes and laughs derisively and says, “We’re just friends.”

It’s right up there with “her being inexplicably jealous of any woman in his life for no good reason” as a dead give-away that they’re heading for togetherness.

Friendship—Casualty of LGBT Agenda — Kimia Wood

Me and my brother — YES REALLY WE’RE RELATED STOP YOUR SUGGESTIVE LAUGHTER

There’s gotta be some safe ground, though, right? Like ACTUAL friendship?

No. Actual friendship is dead.

A man and woman can never interact without the specter of SEX hanging over them.

It’s rough, but that’s the fact of it. Every relationship you have with the opposite sex needs safe-guards in place to keep you both honest and safe.

You owe it to the other person, and to yourself, to never let your guard down…except within the secure fortress of marriage. Even if you both behave yourselves and have nothing but inspiring, uplifting, platonic interactions – you don’t want to give outsiders a lever for false accusations.

But now, not even relationships with people of the same gender are safe.

A girl can’t just have a really good friend that she gets emotional and mental support from, and depends on for advice and back-up.

A guy can’t have his friend who does “man stuff” with him – like fishing, gaming, hunting, etc. – and who won’t take his baloney-sauce but forces him to become better.

Apparently nobody has work friends anymore, or is on good terms with their neighbors, or has someone to just chill with.

No. Now everything is about sex.

Everything must be a lame, one-dimensional reduction of human interactions. A hug is not just a hug…it means you’re a thing, now. Y’all can’t be Just Friends.

And it makes me sad for all of us.


Featured image is me and my mom. And we’re best friends.


Friendship—Casualty of LGBT Agenda — Kimia WoodKimia Wood currently lives somewhere in the American Midwest with her family…including the brother people mistake for her boyfriend. Because sibling-love is dead, too, you weirdos.

She’s bracing for the collapse of society by knitting, baking, writing, hobby-farming, and reading as much Twitter as possible before the web goes dark.Friendship—Casualty of LGBT Agenda — Kimia Wood

Subscribe to the mailing list for a FREE e-copy of her post-apocalyptic adventure novella Soldier…where a whole bunch of guys have honest-to-goodness friendships! You’ll also receive periodic updates on her latest reading and writing adventures.

Dear Diary…complications, and complicated things

Alert: May contain spoilers for the adventure “The Village of Homlette”

Let’s just say it’s been a crazy couple days.

Let’s see. We were in the dungeon, and the evil Drow cleric was disarmed, dis-armored, bound, gagged, and blind-folded (can you tell he made us nervous?).

We searched the dead bandits and their living quarters…we recovered a decent amount of money, and I found that one of the lieutenants had been using a long bow. (Y’know, a long bow that wasn’t BROKEN – so that’s mine now.)

We catalogued the weapons, and discovered the armory that had been moved from upstairs was here…so that’s a big relief. I’d hate to have to track down another secret base.

There was also plenty of brandy, weak wine, salted meat, and other dry foods…so I had plenty to make dinner with.

Elmo and Lydia helped themselves to a couple of the couches in the cleric’s room (where there were also dishes of treats and other things).

Ezekiel took off his magic chain-mail of Merikka – that he’s been wearing since we cleaned up that mess in Orlane – and offered it to me – since he figures he’ll be better protected wearing this black plate armor. I hope he covers up the spider somehow, unless we make it clear it’s Nori now.

Well, I saw no reason not to upgrade to Ezekiel’s chainmail. Also, my poor old shield doesn’t have Continual Light on it anymore, so there’s no reason for me to prefer it over the magical shield.

Ezekiel gave Mikael the cleric’s staff that hit Elmo so hard, and when Mikael cast Detect Magic he confirmed that it is indeed magical (so are the plate armor and the phylactery, but not the cleric’s mace or the black opal he was wearing).

Ezekiel and Lydia examined the phylactery, and they think it’s something to do with paralysis – Ezekiel thinks it’s a very rare artifact called a Phylactery of Action that protects from paralysis…and I figured, “just so long as it doesn’t cause paralysis.”

Ezekiel also asked Spugnoir about the little spat with Lydia, but all he would say is that there was fighting, and he was scared, and then Lydia burned him, and as he was running away Raven grabbed him and slammed him.

Well, we’ll see…

I barricaded the door at the south end of the corridor with a table and barrel, and so while there were some sounds in the night, nothing bothered us.

When Raven woke us all up at the end of his watch, we got up and considered how we would get all this junk out of there.

Oh, yes! The “bandits” had two light horses in a stable off their main room, so we could use them to carry at least some of the stuff.

Mikael cast his Heal Light Wounds spells, which got some of us feeling more like ourselves, and then (after much discussion) Mikael, Raven, and I went out the door to examine the grate and see if we could raise it, since we certainly couldn’t get the horses up the ladder, and we weren’t sure how else we would get out.

Well…

No sooner had we stepped into the outer passage, than I was sure I smelled the outdoors…mud and plants and that indescribable quality that speaks of outdoor spaces.

So we turned to the east – down the corridor we hadn’t been before – and within 400 feet it had sloped up enough to emerge among boulders and weeds. I could see the sky through the tree-branches above our heads.

Raven climbed a tree and said he could just see the Moat-house building off to the west, which meant we should be able to find the road pretty easily. In fact, this was probably the entrance the cult actually used, which would explain why the main floor of the Moat-house still looked so uninhabited.

We briefly discussed pretending that we had worked long and hard at the grate first, but I figured that would make us sound more stupid than we actually were.

Anyway, with that worry out of the way, we returned to our companions and started preparing to load as many of the weapons on the horses as we could. It was still early enough in the morning, we figured we could make it as far as the tower, and then return with a cart and maybe some men-at-arms to clear out the rest of the armory before nightfall.

Well, I was right in the middle of figuring that out when Elmo was shaking me awake.

According the Lydia and Mikael, Ezekiel had just un-gagged the Drow to give him a drink of water. Spugnoir cast a spell, and suddenly everyone else fell asleep – except the Drow cleric, who also said something in a strange language.

Mikael ordered Nori to “catch” Spugnoir, so she wrapped him up in spiderweb while Lydia woke up Ezekiel and Elmo (who were the other people in the cleric’s room at the time).

Ezekiel checked the Drow cleric, and found him not breathing, with no heartbeat.

“Oh, very funny,” said Ezekiel. “There’s a Cleric spell called Feign Death.” And he dragged him out so we could load him onto one of the horses.

So we finally set out – Raven carrying Spugnoir, after Ezekiel had taken away the scroll we got from the crayfish’s lair (that just sounds odd). Apparently Spugnoir had been carrying the scroll, but Ezekiel says Lydia can have it now.

I still can’t figure out Spugnoir. If he was afraid of being attacked in the dungeon, why put his party to sleep? If he wanted to help the Drow cleric escape, why do it there – when the cleric was wounded and bound, and might not escape being put to sleep – and they would still have to get out to the road to escape?

Eh, it’s not my problem anymore. Lydia and Mikael (and Nori of course) didn’t fall for it, and they’re out of our hands now.

We reached the fort in pretty good time, only three hours, and we waited at the future site of the gatehouse while one of the men there sent for Sir Rufus.

We’d put one of the decorative rugs over the cleric, so no suspicious characters could just casually see he was there, and Ezekiel gave Rufus a peek from under the rug.

I can’t tell if Sir Rufus was surprised to see a Drow Cleric of Lolth show up on his doorstep or not.

But he did let us bring our comatose cleric and our load of weapons up to the tower, where he called out Bern (apparently he’s a “Most Worshipful Mage”) and asked him to cast dispel magic.

Well, Master Bern did, while some of the men there helped unload the weapons which we were turning over to them (not like we could use that many, after all).

When Master Bern was done with his spell, the Drow still didn’t seem to have a pulse, but Ezekiel suggested they lock him up securely just in case.

We also turned Spugnoir over to them. There was a lot of discussion about that – putting us to sleep is pretty rude, even if you could call his fight with Lydia a “terrible misunderstanding” – and we decided that we definitely didn’t want him talking about what was going on at the Moat-house. So Sir Rufus agreed to lock him up for a while, after confiscating his spell-book.

Ezekiel also asked for a cart to go retrieve the rest of the weapons before anyone else got there, and Sir Rufus 1) not only gave us a cart, but 2) four mounted men-at-arms to assist us, and 3) horses for all of us.

I guess that’s what happens when you have actual resources!!

With so much help, it didn’t take long at all to get the rest of the armory safely into the hands of Rufus, and then Elmo went home – after agreeing to return with us to the dungeon tomorrow. Ezekiel and Mikael have some kind of scheme to get past the grate, and we don’t want to put off getting through there too long, just in case there are more prisoners to be rescued or anything pressing like that.

Our return to the Welcome Wench was a little dramatic.

As we approached, we noticed a huge scythe leaning by the door. Raven examined it, and found the blade covered with agricultural scenes from different seasons – he said the depictions of harvest were especially well done.

And right there, he announced that whoever this guy was, he liked him.

Well, we went inside, and looked for a table. The early-afternoon crowd seemed especially heavy to me, but two people especially stood out.

One was a woman in the robes of Merikka with bobbed black hair.

She was sitting with a dwarf in plate armor – and it was kind of hard to miss him, because he started yelling at Lydia to take off her veil. Apparently he’d heard about a party like us – with a funny-looking cleric and the “ugliest girl you ever saw” (he said it, I didn’t, because of course he’s never seen Lydia’s fire-finger up close, if you know what I mean).

Ezekiel went over to talk to him (because of course), and the dwarf said he’s “Doug Rocksinmysox,” and he was hunting for Ezekiel Sentinel because some gnome in Veluna thought he’d be interested in this strange book they found.

Apparently Mr. Rocksinmysox (Raven couldn’t keep a straight face) was mining in the CrystalMysts, and unearthed this book in the middle of a silver vein. It’s a big leather book with clasps and strange writing…Mikael and Lydia both said they don’t even recognize the script.

Rocksinmysox said he’d throw in an arcane scroll in a case – Lydia got very excited, and says it’s Comprehend Languages – for 4,500 gold.

Well, of course I was thinking 1) this dwarf we’ve never heard of is 2) trying to sell us a book he “dug out of a silver vein” for the sum of 3) three times what I spent at my first Ranger school.

But Ezekiel was already rubbing his hands together and bouncing up and down, so I guess I’ll let him spend his share of the treasure as he sees fit. After all, we’ve recovered quite a lot…we’ll have to appraise the jewelry we got from the “bandits,” a silver serving set and a box of unguent we took from the cleric’s room, etc. but I’m not worried about that.

Mr. Osler is still giving us room on the house. I guess Fernok of Ferd was really annoying to him.

Oh, Raven says the lady monk just earned the title “Master” in Greyhawk, and she’ll be staying in town long enough he’s hoping to get in some training with her.

****

In the morning, Ezekiel and Mikael headed to the river to find some clay. I took the opportunity to go buy some more torches, since without our shining shields I wanted to make sure we had plenty of light.

The shopkeep was pretty talkative…he said he’d heard of our triumphant return with an armory-worth of weapons. I told him we found some “bad guys” that we killed…

He didn’t seem to have strong opinions about right and wrong, and I agreed that it’s not very practical to ask about the alignment of everybody who comes through your shop…but still, everyone has to have standards of some kind.

I wonder where the battle lines are drawn in Homlette…

Using our two new horses, we made pretty good time back to the Moat-house. I had hung a decorative rug by the entrance of the sloping passage, so it was a synch to find.

We had to leave the horses shortly afterwards, which slowed us down quite a lot. Ezekiel is super slow in his new armor – and even after Raven loaned him the Boots of Speed, he and I were still the slowest people in the party.

Well, we made it to the grate without encountering anything (although I thought I heard moaning off in the distance…undead?), and Mikael plastered his clay along the stone to the side of the grate and cast a spell.

Gotta say, it looked pretty cool. The stone actually…warped? shifted? changed shape?…anyway, it moved away from the grate just far enough that we could all squeeze past – even Ezekiel in his plate armor.

We followed this narrow corridor up to a secret door, and when Raven opened it, we found the tiny room with the twisting staircase – and the second secret door that opened into the ogre’s room (I hope some giant snake or something eats it soon, ’cause it’s really starting to reek).

I wasn’t sure why anyone would gate off this passage…Ezekiel had a theory, but I’m not sure I understand it.

Anyway, at least we’ve determined there’s nobody here waiting to be rescued.

We also made a sweep through the crypt again, and Elmo says there’s been nothing “with a body” in there since we were last there. Even Ezekiel agrees that ghosts are not our business, so we returned to town – taking a few of the nicer-looking rugs and furniture and other fancies from the Drow cleric’s room.

We got back to town just after sunset, so we’ll have to wait until tomorrow to get our gems appraised and figure out who gets what treasure.

On the whole, though, it’s good to have something actually completed and accomplished.

****

As soon as he had his share of the cash, Ezekiel couldn’t wait to rush down to the bar and buy his new book.

He brought it – and the scroll – back up to our rooms, where Lydia said the scroll had five copies of the same spell on it…and she wanted to “try” to copy it into her spell-book before reading it for Ezekiel. (I wasn’t sure why she had to “try” to copy it, but maybe when the letters spin and flash in strange ways, even Magic Users have trouble.)

So the book is called “The Music of the Holy Ones,” and it talks about “Eru” – the “One” – the “Father of All” – who created the Holy Ones by thinking about them and taught them to sing together.

And they sang, and they sang changing music…and the Father of All listened to them.

Seems like there was a problem of some kind – some of the Holy Ones kept changing up the music, and confusing the others so that they stopped singing…in fact, there were three “storms” of music where the one called Mighty started up a totally different kind of music, and then the Father of All raised his hand, and the music changed in a way they didn’t expect.

There was something about an Immortal Fire, too…I didn’t catch all of it, and when Ezekiel tried to explain it to me I couldn’t really make out his notes. But he says he thinks it’s like what Mr. Prettypebbles (of Veluna) read to us out of the Book of All Gods…where all the gods were bowing down to something too bright to see.

Ezie and Lydia are going to go over it at least once more this week, and he’s going to try to take more complete notes. Lydia said that, even with the Comprehend Languages spell, she had trouble communicating what the book said into Common Speech.

Ezekiel is just so…passionate. He’s over at a table now, with a mug of ale and his “letters” that he’s always writing, but never mailing. Maybe I don’t quite get it, but there’s something about the fire in his eyes…

It makes me think of Mother, talking about Ehlonna. And it makes me wish I had been paying attention better when I was that age.

Elmo says he wants to take me into the forest to “show me some things.” He didn’t specify if “things” means footprints, or fighting moves.

I might as well, though. Ezekiel, obviously, is wrapped up in his studies, and Raven was last seen heading for the back yard with the lady monk.

Mikael mentioned he’d like to go ask Druid Master Geru some questions, and Lydia asked if she could go with him on her way to the tower. Says she’s got some questions for Master Bern.

Elmo says he knows where to find some elves, too…and he says they aren’t nearly so intimidating in person as they are in theory. Especially once he tells them that I serve Ehlenestra, too…Ehlonna as we would call her.

It might be nice to leave this cult business behind for a few days, and focus on some other things. I definitely need to do some bow drills again.


Find the previous entry here.

Find the start of the Homlette adventure here.

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Dear Diary…we do amazing stuff (no thanks to my bow)

Alert: May contain spoilers for the adventure “The Village of Homlette”

We dropped off the mule-cart at the elder’s house on our way into town.

Ezekiel examined the vials he recovered from the ghoul tunnels – seven of them were sealed with the symbol of St. Cuthbert, and seemed to contain something clear, like holy water. The eighth one bore the symbol of Fultus, and the liquid inside seemed more glittery with shades of dark. Ezekiel thought it might be “Invisibility to Undead.”

Oh, and he thinks the scroll might be “Protection from Undead.” Ghouls pick ironic items to hoard.

We decided to return the vials of St. Cuthbert to the church, and Ezekiel dragged me along because he thought the cleric might heal me. Continue reading

I Wanna Be a Genos-Christian

I Wanna Be a Genos-Christian

I already wrote about why Genos (from One Punch Man) is totally adorable…but he’s more than that.

He’s given me a mental image of what a true Christ-follower should be. Here’s why I want to be a Christian the way Genos is a “Saitaman.”

ALERT: Spoilers for One Punch Man Season 1

ONE “Sign” Makes Genos a “True Believer”

Genos and Saitama meet under rather unusual circumstances. Genos is in a heated battle with Mosquito-Girl, when Saitama makes an un-stately entrance and saves his bacon…with one slap.

And from that moment – from the moment Saitama splatters the bad gal over the landscape with a single hit – Genos is sold.

Taken. A “true believer.” Totally devoted and completely determined.

One single display of Saitama’s prowess is enough to convince Genos that whoever this weirdo is, whatever he is, this is the teacher he needs.

And Saitama isn’t even God!

I’m reminded of an incident in Mark 5, where a man is so full of demons that they call themselves “Legion.” Well, Jesus deals with them with about as much effort as Saitama giving Mosquito-Girl the “bad girl” smack…and the freed man begs to go with him.

Jesus tells him “no,” and orders him to spread the word to his friends and family.

I Wanna Be a Genos-Christian — Kimia Wood

Why would I doubt my Alpha?

The rescued man…wait for it…ACTUALLY OBEYS.

All he saw was one amazing act. And since he was possessed by demons in the middle of it, one could argue about how much of the performance he actually witnessed.

But that was enough. He was sold…taken…blown away…totally devoted.

Devoted enough to obey.

I can also think of a more uncomfortable parallel.

It’s when the disciples are crossing the lake with Jesus, and a terrible storm blows up. They freak out until Jesus wakes up and tells the elements to shush…whereupon they really freak out.

And Jesus says:

“Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” (Mark 4:40 ESV)

Still? You still have no faith?

After all the disciples had seen – the blind receive sight, the deaf hear, the lame walk, the demons banished – they still don’t see…they still don’t trust.

And that hits pretty close to home.

He Knows Saitama Is On a Different Level

Genos says so in so many words after he and Saitama have a training bout.

Genos can obliterate cliffs and skyscrapers with his firepower.

Saitama pulls his punch…and the air-blast flattens a section of coastal cliff.

Genos knows he will never reach Saitama’s level…ever. But he’s okay with that, and still wants to be around him.

How easily we forget this about God!

Even in the church, we can sometimes act like God is just a “big guy.” Sure, He’s the biggest grown-up in a room of little kids…but deep down, He’s just stronger than we are –

Nope! His defining feature is His very nature is fundamentally different from us. We are created — He is un-created. We exist in time — He invented time. We are spirit tied to matter — He is spirit…but in the person of Jesus He “put on” matter to better interact with us.

Gah! God is just so amazing! And so different from me – thank goodness. But don’t take my word for it…passages like Isaiah 6, Ezekiel 1, and Revelation 1 & 4-5 will give a good picture of how “different” He really is!

Genos Enters Saitama’s Life and Won’t Leave

Saitama is kind of put off by this, to be honest. He finds Genos’ stalking to be a little creepy.

But Genos’ perseverance is inspiring. He’s so determined to get the strength Saitama has that he humbles himself, puts himself under Saitama’s authority, and throws himself into studying Saitama.

He won’t let anything or anyone get in the way of him getting closer to Saitama…which sounds kinda creepy when you say it like that, but think of it in the context of Phil. 3:12-14.

God calls us to perseverance, too.

Great chunks of the New Testament are spent telling Christians, “Be strong! Stand firm! Keep at it!”

It’s hard. There are many enemies. In fact, we carry our own enemy around with us – called the Old Man.

I Wanna Be A Genos-Christian — Kimia Wood

Heh heh…”drink” up more Jesus…! Image credit

But Jesus is worth it! Run to win the prize. Don’t settle for a participation trophy…throw yourself into God’s hands 100%, do what He asked you to do, and focus on drinking up more of Him.

With God, the prize is way, way better than superhuman strength. It’s eternal life!

Genos Hangs on His Master’s Every Word

Genos spends his free time writing down what Saitama has taught him and sketching out his master’s “training regime.” (He also washes the dishes and cleans the bathroom and stuff like that. Matt. 20:26, eh?)

No matter what Saitama says – even if he’s just making it up on the fly – Genos hangs on his every word and trusts him implicitly.

Now compare that to how we treat God!

I’m reminded of Paul of Tarsus, whose personal correspondence with his protégé Timothy is included in Scripture…because he just couldn’t keep himself from bursting out in these theological ecstasies.

And because all of his life, his work, and everything he wanted to say to his dear friend was wrapped up in their “mutual Friend” and Master – Jesus Christ the Promised Servant-King.

*resolves to read Bible more*

Do you still have no faith?

How many times has God come through for me? How many prayers has He answered?

Remember the broken washing machines He’s paid for…the friends He has protected…the hate and fear He has removed from my heart.

How many times must He hold my hand while I walk past the lions before I will remember He will never leave me? That He is stronger than my enemies?

When will I get to the place where He says it – and that is enough for me? Where I treat His word like gravity…unassailable, inevitable, steadfast, self-evident?

Genos Wants His Master “Built Up”—Not Himself

I Wanna Be a Genos-Christian — Kimia Wood

Image credit: One Punch Man Wiki

The public doesn’t really understand or appreciate Saitama (sound familiar?). But while the Hero Association and the public have promoted Genos and praised him and assigned him a place of standing, that’s never important to Genos.

Not as important as building up his master.

Heh – when Saitama gets hate-mail, Genos goes full-on “I will find whoever did this” mode!

But it’s not just that he wants to defend his master’s name…he actually likes to see Saitama succeed.

When Genos is defeated by the giant meteor – and by the monster the Deep Sea King – then Saitama shows up. And even though Genos is lying in a pool of his own melted parts, missing his arms (it’s okay – he’s a cyborg), Genos gets this tiny little smile.

As though to say:

Wait ’til you see this…that’s my master!

Yes! I never get tired of seeing him at work!

It’s all going to be okay now…that’s the boss-man!

Chills!

And Saitama isn’t even God!

Do I go out of my way to defend my Master’s honor? True, He doesn’t need my help, and He told me to “speak the truth with all gentleness” – but do I bother to worry about it?

When I meet someone who doesn’t know Him…or when my washing machine breaks…or when I find something in myself that shouldn’t be there…I should say:

Yes! Now I get to watch Master at work.

All right, Master. Make me Your tool and do Your work!

Breathe. Master is here. I wonder what amazing thing He’s going to make out of this?

And I should definitely remember Mark 8:33 – don’t correct the Master (unless you want to get called “Satan”).

He Wants To Be Like His Master

In the beginning, Genos follows Saitama around because he’s strong, and Genos wants to be strong, too.

(Maybe like a new Christian who’s just here because Hell sounded really bad.)

But the more he hangs out with Saitama, the more determined he is to be like him. Even when he realizes he will never reach Saitama’s level, he sticks around. He wants to be near Saitama’s awesome-ness.

And when Saitama demonstrates his heroism – helping out just because people need help – Genos recognizes that this self-sacrificial quality is something he wants to cultivate in himself, as well.

I want to be like Jesus!

I Wanna Be a Genos-Christian — Kimia Wood

Image credit: Pixabay

I know I will never be all-knowing, un-created, and eternal like my Sensei…but He told be to “be perfect,” like He is perfect (Matt. 5:48), and so I embrace the working of His Holy Spirit that makes me more like Him!

He is patient, and kind, and forgiving, and merciful, and just, and wise, and self-sacrificial, and humble, and generous, and –

And I want to be all those things, too. (See Luke 6:39-40)

BECAUSE JESUS IS SO AWESOME I JUST WANT SOME OF HIS AWESOME ON ME.

From Now On, I Want To Be a Genos-Christian

I hope that, now you know what it means, you want to be one, too!

Genos is not perfect – and Saitama is not God – but I’m grateful to have one more illustration to refer back to.

Maybe it seems like a child’s drawing, but it reminds me who I want to be when I grow up.

“Imitate me as I imitate Christ.”


I Wanna Be A Genos-Christian — Kimia WoodKimia Wood grew up under an aspiring author, so spinning words and weaving plots is in her blood.

She currently lives somewhere in the American Midwest with her family – including the brother people mistake for her boyfriend…bracing for the collapse of society by baking, knitting, writing, hobby-farming, and reading as much Twitter as possible before the web goes dark.

Subscribe to the mailing list for a FREE e-copy of her post-apocalyptic adventure novella Soldier! You’ll also receive periodic updates on her latest reading and writing adventures.

Dear Diary…it takes all of us

Alert: May contain spoilers for the adventure “The Village of Homlette”

Ezekiel talked with the rescued prisoners some more on our way back to town. He figured out that the tiny elven cloak we found in the ogre’s bedding must belong to the gnome, so he returned it to him.

Apparently gnolls have been bothering the gnomes, so Mr. Prettypebbles went to spy on them…but they caught him. He couldn’t give us any hints about other hide-outs the gnolls might have, and he says the gnolls weren’t wearing the “burning eye”…so they might not even be directly related to the cult we’re hunting.

We put them up in rooms at the Welcome Wench, which is only fair since Mr. Osler is still holding rooms for us “on the house” thanks to Lydia scaring off Fernok of Ferd. Continue reading

“Unavowed”

Unavowed would probably be rated “R” for the language alone…not to mention the gore, disturbing subject matter, low-resolution nudity, and the off-screen sexual encounter (involving the “main character”!).

But…er…we liked it. It’s 100% a game for ADULTS…but if you’re looking for a roller coaster of emotions (that streaks from creepy yuck to aww lol), deep moral dilemmas, and a twisty, turny story full of amazing characters and gut-punches – then you might be the audience for Unavowed."Unavowed" — Kimia Wood

One year ago, a demon possessed you; forcing you to tear a trail of bloodshed through New York City. Your salvation finally comes in the form of the Unavowed – an ancient society dedicated to stopping evil.

You are free, but your world is in tatters. You have no home, no friends, and are wanted by the police. Your old life is gone, but perhaps you can start a new one. Join the ranks of the Unavowed, and fight against the oncoming darkness.

Continue reading

Disgourgement of Art

If, in the following note, I have used poetic language, it is because of the cascading radial beams I observe in the beauty around me. Please understand that I have attempted to capture the over-abundance of this life-force, and do not wish my meaning to be obscured by lofty ambitions of prettiness.

You are an Artist. This is why I speak to you. I am an artist. Note the distinction. Some may mock at your works – image, sound, building of words – but I do not intend to. I merely intend to send forth the clarion call of warning that echoes in my being – that echoes in the universe – and pass on the scent of danger that I have caught from your work.

Yes, your work — seeing as it is separate from you, I do not despair of you – nor of it, please note. There is only a pathway to Death – not Death itself (if you are reading this!). I do not even say that the work in itself is evil (not in this fashion) but only that – if taken wrongly – can cause death…like medicine, or water, or sunshine.

One final preface: I have addressed you as “Child” because that is my affection for you…as an anxious mother bending for her child, eager to see the young ones follow in her footsteps, but afraid that by misunderstanding her example – and her instruction – they shall be misled and end up far away.

(Not that I am your model, you understand – in art, in work, or in other areas — but I strive for the glories I wish for you, and so am your fellow-worker, a fellow-artist (not Artist), and consequently concerned (read: terrified and sick with longing) for my brothers, my sisters, my BFFs…my children.)

Oh, Art. How I sicken of it.

Now, now, Child – I myself “do art”. But Art is a sucking of vapid desire that cannot be met outside of Faithful and True.

Take music. I sing, dance, feel the rhythm of the melody echo in my membranes with the cry of the cords that animate creation. Think me immune to the swell? I feel, too. But I do not worship it, any more than I worship the sun. Any more than I worship the crackling, biting, rhythmic flow of power that courses through the machines as the lifeblood of the digital world.

I have seen them: the ones who take Music (as Art) and cling to it as though with the patterns of sound – waft and wave – they could unmake and remake the very cords of humanity. They mistake the beauty – the Art – for Who put it there…and that is Deadly.

You see, I do not say that these things cannot be sanctified, but to suppose them to be holy of their own nature is to confuse the flow with the source, to confuse this beauty and this pic-line to the soul with Holy Holy Holy (being His name).

Oh Fool of my fellowship, oh Child of my family-blood, how I long to gather you as a sheepdog gathers sheep – and will you flee?

And now, what is art?

Do you not know that all time and space, all matter and every point of being, even language and thought itself, is directed toward this: worship? What you worship: in that lies Everything.

Art. Beauty. Paint and stone and words words words, and notes in harmonious sequence. What do they make? Beauteous Child, do not clutch gravel thinking them stars. You know Eternity stares at you whenever you close your eyes. And to step forward to meet the Eternal One, or recoil backward out of His grasp, has been the whole aim of mankind.

We all have our ways. Whatever we make with these clarion calls to the soul of Man, it will not go unrecorded. (There are “books”, you know, for that purpose. Rev. 20:12) And here again, with worship in mind, we find imitation the simplest tool in our hands. What, surely you know how Story has been used before! Do I presume to create new worlds, or do I hope – with what I weave – to capture the vibrating cord of Creation that echoes backward and forward and in every particle of the universe the eternal call of worship to the source: Holy, Holy (thus His name).

So you see we all chant back but one refrain — all our speech has one end, to speak Faithful and True.

Reach for the Eternal One, and all Eternity shall be yours to explore, along the paths of radiant joy that pierce the outermost shadows.

Disgourgement of Art — Kimia Wood

The Light pierces the Darkness; Image from ArtStation.com

What is Art?

A picture, a statue, a concept, a form, a beauty, an abiding, a pretty thing, a cry from the soul of Man.

No, no, some say. My Art is not this…not a stylized beauty, an Object, a thing of crude matter to cheat the haggard, clutching fingers of entropy. It is passing, like our lives. We stare in the face our own mortality.

This man does not build a statue…he builds an “event.” What are his tools? Steel, plastic, cloth, earth, people, words. Time and place. The hearts and souls of men. It is not art…it is interaction, relationship, human spirit, human energy, experience. He draws pictures, he spends money, thousands of lives are touched, someone takes a picture, and they call it Art.

“A matter of days,” he says. “A matter of days, and it’s gone. I take it down.” Flirting with his own unraveling, this event mimics the vaporization of his own humanity. “I did it!” he says. “I have created Art; I tore down my child with my own hands.” The Art is the idea, the memory, the fusion of human energies. “My name shall abide.”

Disgourgement of Art — Kimia Wood

The Gates; Image from Wikipedia

They grasp for the immortal. They think an idea will not die. Granite crumbles, bronze ferments, wood and paper melt, but the words, the concepts, the memories of millions…how can they die, in the hearts and souls of men? It shall abide.

Folly. The thoughts of men evaporate before the morning dew is birthed. How can your name abide in the minds of men, the outcry of your soul in their hearts? It is but a shadow, a mist. The emotions, the thoughts, the dream will fade faster than the grass.

What is Art? Can it be a form, a thing, a holding-in-the-hand?

Some have sought everlastingness in this…a stone, a page, a piece of glass.

Imagine a youth. His master calls, and he comes, strips, and stands in position, waiting to be turned into stone. The master works, and then he cries, “I have made beauty. — I have signed my name on a page. — Now I shall abide.”

Disgourgement of Art — Kimia Wood

Image courtesy of Jörg Bittner Unna/Wikipedia

Men see the statue. They enjoy its form, and the work lives on. They cherish it and care for it, and it goes on into the centuries to follow.

Disgourgement of Art — Kimia Wood

Vincent van Gogh; d. 29 July 1890 (aged 37); And the worms ate his flesh…

What of the youth? His master finishes, he walks away, and his flesh dissolves into earth. And his master? Can he abide in a name, in a form? In his hand-children, even in his own mirror image? No…the worms eat his flesh.

“I have made beauty.” “I have made Art.” “I have made a concept, a vision, a dream, a human thing.”

Meaning. By which they reach for eternity. What abides? Meaning. Purpose soars into the ages beyond, while the aimless dissipates as the vapor that creates it.

Fie! I say, this crumbling snatch at the immortal. This grasping for the eternal, the timeless.

Look.

See. What do we see?

Tree…mathematical formula…star…cat…galaxy, physics, newborn’s hand…I don’t just see beauty. I see the beauty of God.

Give him your soul, and he will give you life. Clutch it to your breast, in greedy fear and hesitation, and you will die for all eternity.

What joy, what love, is mine!

What bubbling of life in my soul! What can I do – what will express this other-worldly life?

I find color in my hand. I reach out…what does it touch? No matter… I look at a tree. At first, I get a sketch. But soon, I get a form, a drawing, a painting, a sculpture, an image of beauty. Not reaching for time, for life, for myself…forming a mirror image of His hands as they craft delight and beauty and thought.

What is the heart and soul of man?

Reach for the Eternal One, and He will lift you up.


Originally written 2016. Dedicated to my dear friends who have mistaken the means for the end…I hope you learn to see.

Disgourgement of Art — Kimia WoodKimia Wood currently lives somewhere in the American Midwest with her family, including the brother people mistake for her boyfriend.

She’s bracing for the collapse of society by knitting, baking, writing, hobby-farming, and reading as much Twitter as possible before the web goes dark.

Subscribe to the mailing list for a FREE e-copy of her post-apocalyptic adventure novella Soldier! You’ll also receive occasional updates on her latest reading and writing adventures.

Last Ten Books That Gave Me a Book Hangover

Last Ten Books That Gave Me a Book Hangover — Kimia Wood

Image credit: InfinityPublishing

Today’s theme for Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl) is “The Last Ten Books That Gave Me a Book Hangover” (submitted by Deanna @ A Novel Glimpse).

Fortunately, I’ve been recording the books I read for the last couple of years…so here are the books I loved recently and recommend to everyone!

1—The Benedict Option

Rod Dreher

Everyone should read this book. Right now.

It’s about living as a Christian in a world that’s hostile to Christ, and the very fact that the author’s background is different than mine (Catholic-inspired Orthodox) challenged my preconceived notions and made me think more deeply about how I can live intentionally for Christ in my everyday life.

Yeah, read it!

AmazonKoboIndieBound

2—Good News for a Change

Matt MikalatosLast Ten Books That Gave Me a Book Hangover — Kimia Wood

If you only read one book on evangelism – ever – read this one! I’ve read it twice now, and the down-to-earth advice and practical perspective both challenge me and comfort me that it doesn’t have to be this hard.

Everybody likes good news, right? And Jesus is the best news of all! Just…translating that for other people can be a bit difficult.

Amazon — Barnes & Noble — the Book Depository — KoboIndieBound

3—Ice Station Zebra

Alistair MacLean

This book starts out kinda slow…but it sure picks up!

If you aren’t yet afraid of the North Pole, this book will fix that…and also make you afraid of submarines and all the different ways both of these things can kill you.

An unreliable narrator, a conspiracy mystery, and a glorious climax all join in to make this a fantastic story!

AmazonKoboIndieBound

4—The Guns of Navarone

Alistair MacLean

When I finally read this, I said, “Why have I been putting this off?!”

Alistair MacLean delivers action, tension, and fun every single time…and this gripping story of a specialist team on a high-stakes secret mission in World War II is no exception! (It’s also a little gut-wrenching!)

AmazonKobo

5—Vessels of Honor

Virginia MyersLast Ten Books That Gave Me a Book Hangover — Kimia Wood

Writing spiritual themes into fiction is so very hard.

It’s easier if the entire story is centered around “what does it mean to live the Christian life?”

Vessels of Honor is the best example I’ve ever seen of Christians living in a fallen world and struggling through as best they can. The members of this church are broken, sinful, hurting…adulterers, idol worshippers, liars. And yet that’s all of us…and God calls us to extend His grace to all of them, whether or not they will accept it.

AmazonBarnes & NobleAbeBooksKobo

6—A Sidekick’s Tale

Elisabeth Grace FoleyLast Ten Books That Gave Me a Book Hangover — Kimia Wood

Moving to the lighter side, this short story is for anyone even remotely interested in Westerns, great sidekicks, family feuds, slapstick, lightweight romance, and wry humor.

Amazon — Barnes & Noble — Kobo — the Book Depository

7—The Screwtape Letters

C.S. Lewis

C.S. Lewis’ classic about the elder devil coaching his tempter-in-training nephew is so much more meaningful once you’ve experienced the other side – the Christian walk – first-hand…the struggling, the painful growth, the periods of bland coasting, etc.

Lewis’ portrayal of blind, self-consuming evil is also spot on…which is why That Hideous Strength is still my favorite novel of all time.

8—Ivanhoe

Sir Walter ScottLast Ten Books That Gave Me a Book Hangover — Kimia Wood

This is a classic. Therefore slow and boring, right?

Only the beginning! Once the stage is properly set, we launch right into the pithy dialogue between the different fascinating characters…and explore through their actions the classist, racist, superstitious, and foreign mindsets of these 12th century Brits.

Plus there are fight scenes and lots of derring-do! Try it out.

9—The Hand of Oberon (Chronicles of Amber)

Roger ZelaznyLast Ten Books That Gave Me a Book Hangover — Kimia Wood

This is part of the Chronicles of Amber (which everyone should read BTW) and I gobbled it up because it’s part murder mystery. (Also features a royal family of like 14 princes and princesses, all split into factions and maybe possibly going to kill each other!)

10—The Book of Were-Wolves

Sabin Baring-Gould

This was a fascinating examination of around-the-world myths surrounding the were-wolf, and their historical context (and basis).

It’s also a horrifying exploration of human evil.

Project Gutenberg (free ebooks—check copyright laws in your own country) — Amazon (free ebook) — Amazon (paperback) — Barnes&Noble (paperback) — Kobo — Book Depository

Honorable Mention: Nomad of the Emirates

E.B. Dawson
Last Ten Books That Gave Me a Book Hangover — Kimia Wood

Finally: an alien story written from a third-culture kid’s perspective.

I kept mentioning this story to my dad, since he’s a missionary kid with a home that no longer exists…and it’s so hard to get Americans to understand the world from a broader frame of reference.

If you want to experience some of that broader frame of reference, try this book.

AmazonBarnes&NobleKobo — the Book Depository — IndieBound

Honorable Mention: The Body in the Library

Agatha Christie

Agatha Christie is dependable for a good mystery “buzz.” This is one where I was so sure I had solved it…and then the twist hit me and I said, “That’s so clever how did I not see that!”

AmazonKoboIndieBound


Last Ten Books That Gave Me a Book Hangover — Kimia WoodKimia Wood lives somewhere in the American Midwest with her family…including the brother people mistake for her boyfriend.

She’s currently bracing for the collapse of society by knitting, baking, writing, hobby-farming, and reading as much Twitter as possible before the web goes dark.

Subscribe to the mailing list for a FREE e-copy of her post-apocalyptic adventure novella Solider! You’ll also receive occasional updates on her latest reading and writing adventures.

Dear Diary…the fighter is ACTUALLY useful (and also we ACTUALLY accomplish things!)

Alert: May contain spoilers for the adventure “The Village of Homlette”

After a rest, we decided the day was still young, and we had a fair amount of the fortress to still explore.

We started with the passages at the south end of the great hall. There’s a staircase to the upper floors, but it’s so coated with dust and crushed stone I doubt anyone’s been up there for a long time – even if they could. Ezekiel made it to a landing partway up, but he said it was so full of debris and rubble there was no going further.

We investigated several rooms along the corridor there – Raven checking the doors for traps as we went. The first room had arrow slits facing the entrance-courtyard and lots of broken furniture.

Ezekiel was determined to find something, and dug behind a cabinet against the wall until he found a broadsword of good manufacture. It’s not really my speed, so we wrapped it in some of the cloth lying around and stuck it in the bag of holding. Continue reading