New Fantasy Times: Powerful Blades

Ever hear of Flameslayer? A great, two-handed, black blade, quenched in dragon’s blood and of unbreakable steel. It, or so the legends claimed, was the only sword which could pierce the scales of the great fire drake, Garagon. The only small problem being Garagon killed the first hero who came after him, then kept the sword to pick his teeth; apparently it was the only piece which wouldn’t snap in two when he dug out slivers of bones between those great incisors of his…but that’s irrelevant.

1The point was, there was only one blade which could kill him and he had it in his possession. Predictably, he grew cocky, and a cocky dragon is not something you want to meet. Worse, though also predictably, he killed every hero who came against him (a surprising amount, given his reputation and Flameslayer’s legend). In the end, it was a woodsman from the next village in Garagon’s route of terror and flame which brought the vile creature to a well-deserved death. And the man accomplished the deed with a magic axe.

What I’m trying to say here is magical swords are greatly overrated, despite rule 107 in the Hero Handbook stating one must find, make, capture, or otherwise obtain a weapon of great power and strength. (Please note, for the record, that it says ‘weapon’ not sword.) Swords all very well in their own time and place, but where are all the legends about magical spears, axes, daggers, and bows?

Whatever you interest in magical blades, be it questing for a dragon, rescuing a captured maiden, or perhaps saving your land from annihilation, there are a few things you might want to consider before drawing the first magical sword you come across.

Firstly, do you need a sword? If you’re going to be in heavy battle, a sword might be a good idea. Of course, invincible armor or undentable shields might be an even better tactic; it really depends on your skill with the blade.

But if you’re going to be leading raiders or assassins, there are other choices which, though less flashy, might stand you in better stead. Ever heard of daggers which are invisible to your enemy? Knives which always hit their marks? Crossbow bolts which you can anchor on a target and let fly no matter how far or how many walls your foe might be behind? Magical bows or arrows which always hit their target are a little more common, but even these have a far greater range than is generally recorded, such as releasing arrows which will remain invisible until a set time before striking down your foe. All of these weapons could very well be a better choice for a quiet operation.

Spears and javelins which return to your hand after thrown, however, are making a rebound. Yes, I really said that. But axes are probably among the greatest of the underrated magical weapons. Strong, hard hitting, able to hew down several enemies at a blow; if you’re going after a giant or even a dragon, you might want to check these out.

Secondly, what fashion of weapon do you want? While it might be harder to rally warriors around a plain blade with a leather bound grip, going to battle with with gold and jewels encrusting your hilt isn’t the best of ideas. Besides it tending to slip as your hand grows sweaty, it will also mark you out as an important foe to your enemies, no matter your true rank. Plus you’ll have trouble from robbers at every other inn during peacetime. Also, it will cause unnecessary emotional turmoil when it comes time to grime up the hilt so it won’t glint in the moonlight on some secret mission and betray your whole company. Balance and strength comes first, then beauty. And while beauty is admirable, it should be in moderation.

Thirdly, do you need a magical weapon at all? Despite being common rallying items, soldiers respect their leader for the man he is, not for weapon he carries. Though more difficult with a mortal blade, tasks which only a magical weapon can complete are becoming extremely rare. There are many cases when a magical weapon might be more of a hindrance than a help, wrapping up the bearer’s attention when they ought to be focused on a comrade, not retrieving their sword.

And finally, if you do buy yourself a magical blade, be very wary of terms and conditions. They always apply. If there are vague prophecies attached, steer clear. If someone is trying to give you a magical blade at no cost, steer very clear…the blade is probably stolen and won’t protect you from those coming to retrieve it. Check to see if the magical qualities have a time limit or a quantity limit; one-dragon swords, for example, are becoming quite common in the market places of Niverteen. Finally make sure you know the name of your blade and can pronounce it right. The weapons tend to be on the sensitive side when it comes to such things. They’ll rarely turn against you but, if ignored, they very well might ignore you back; not a good thing in the heat of battle.

Above all, never place all your faith and hope in a magical weapon. Remember, they are a tool for you to do a task; quite often a good tool, granted, but they are not the only way you can succeed. And it is not what men will rally to and foes will flee from (well, except in rare cases like the Flaming Whiplash…now that was a sword worth writing about). A magical weapon is only that, a magical weapon.

But you; you are the hero.

Have any questions, legends, or trending cliches you’d like Kirin Quillblade to address? Please comment below; he promises to at least read what you have to say between his realm leaper’s missions, even if he holds the rights to choose what to write about and what to ignore.

Join the Legend Seekers for monthly stories about the realm leapers and fantasy time-travelers, Kirin and Elena. Click here to sign up

Caption Challenge – March 2016 #4

Caption Challenge Time! (Make sure you read the instructions because I’m adding something new this time.) First, as always, here is last week’s collage:

cd2b58c8719de922f422d23f86f4dfff

And…the winner is Fereleth, Carrier of Light: “So… this is supposed to be like some sort of vision test or something?” A followup is Corissa, Maiden of Praise: “Why?” “-Because you’re the one that’s driving and I’m not ready to die yet!”

And now for this week’s collage:

0b41db62e940fe22b29f03bc461a66aa

All right, I’ve seen this idea before and thought it might be cool to try here. So, for one of your entries you can post a caption like normal, but for the second entry, I want to try something called a Six Word Story. It’s just what it sounds like, six words which tell a story that could go with the picture like: ‘He paid silver. I paid blood.’ So it’s like a caption, but a bit harder. But I’m sure you’re all up to it. 😉

On Saturday I’ll pick a winning caption and I’ll post it next Monday along with the name of the winner and the next caption challenge.

Prompt Book and Risen Review

Picture prompts on Pinterest are all very well and good, and I love them, but there’s something about having a hard copy of about anything. That’s why, when I got a coupon for a free photo book from Shutterfly, I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it. I collected my favorite prompts and organized them together into my very own writing prompt book.

pic

I love the photo book and hope to make more in the future, focusing on settings, quotes, random pictures…the possibilities are nearly endless.

Secondly, I went and saw Risen at the theaters last week. The movie is about the events surrounding Jesus’s death and resurrection. The main character, Roman Tribune, it tasked with finding the body of Jesus which has vanished, and with quelling the unrest which could be caused by those who claim Jesus has risen.

Risen-Movie-745x460

Things I liked:

It was very well made; the setting, acting and costuming were excellent.

When touching on things recounted in the Bible, the movie was very accurate; there are a few minor details which aren’t quite exact, but it follows very well.

Things I didn’t care for:

 The first part of the movie was excellent but, about 2/3s though, I felt the story dropped slightly. And the ending, while not bad, didn’t have the power which it could have had.

No one ever goes into why Jesus died. He’s just risen from the dead; considering the topic of the movie, they could have added much more of the salvation message just as a matter of history.

I didn’t care for the actor who played Jesus (though this is more of my own opinion than anything against him). His acting was good, but it seemed like the directors were trying to make him look like a normal man of that age (with a beard and all) but also softer or more pretty…and the two didn’t go well together.

Other:

Though not gruesome in detail, due to the thematic material I’d suggest paternal opinion before showing this movie to young children.

Conclusion:

I loved the first part of the movie, and I loved the main character. I think the ending could have been much better, but it wasn’t bad and I’d give this movie 4 stars out of 5. I’d recommend it as a cool idea of what could have happened, but don’t expect to be drawing strong religious inspiration from this movie.

Call Name: Golden Sapphire

dragon

Area 7A: Sector 3C

1154 hours

Golden Sapphire, be alerted, Black Fury has been spotted heading east by northeast towards your sector. ETA 30 seconds. Repeat, Black Fury has breached Silver Ruby and is flying low. He must not be allowed access to the core. Repeat, he must be stopped. ETA 20 seconds. Golden Sapphire –

“Golden Sapphire reporting in,” Zevlina’s pulse quickened but she lifted the silver wristlet holding a humming crystal to her lips even as she slapped her boots against her dragon’s sleek blue sides. “Golden Sapphire reporting in. Heading to east. Will not allow Black Fury further access.”

Golden Sapphire, be alerted, a lancer is in your vicinity. He’ll lend his aid.

“Wonderful,” Zevlina muttered to herself, turning Sapphire’s head toward the breach and swaying easily as the beast wove though the gold-lit trunks.

Golden Sapphire, be alerted, a lancer –

“Got it.” Zevlina cut the voice off. A lancer indeed. Of all the numerous arrogants, lancers were by far the worse. And if it happened to be Quivlan…

A high shriek echoed through the air and Zevlina shifted her own javelin as her mount burst into a clearing. The deadly black figure of the Black Fury twisted it’s slender body upward, it’s wings flaring then folding as it spun towards her. Quivlan darted under Sapphire, angling his lance towards the Black Fury and Zevlina lifted her wrist to her mouth one last time, clenching her own lance ad the shimmering black skin of the dragon filled her sight.

“Command, be advised, we have found the Black Fury.”

Caption Challenge – March 2016 #3

Caption Challenge Time! First, as always, here is last week’s winner:

e1b9293b1ffe0966771453be1d25a22c

And…the winner is Anne of Lothlorien: “The problem was, slave traders didn’t usually acknowledge self-sacrificial promises from close brothers.” A close followup is Writefury’s “And I keep my promises. Though that puts me in a distinct minority in this company.”

And now for this week’s caption:

cd2b58c8719de922f422d23f86f4dfff

Comment below with a one line caption for the prompt. You can post up to two entries. On Saturday I’ll pick a winning caption and I’ll post it next Monday along with the name of the winner and the next caption challenge.

Legend Seekers

Hello, everyone. I’m back online! Not that it means much, since this week’s posts came out as scheduled (I love that schedule button) but it’s nice to be back connected with the world again…or whatever. 😉

Anyhow, today I’m pleased to formally announce the formation of the Legend Seekers!

newsletter header

The Legend Seekers consist of everyone signed up to my newsletter or, as it is now called, my monthly Legend Seekers electronic missive. My newly formatted missive now contains a monthly report from the New Fantasy Times, written by the realm leaper Kirin, important facts you should know if caught away into another realm, and Elena’s thoughts on fantasy histories as well as fragments she’s found in her travels. You can find out more about them on my new Legend Seeker’s Page.

Now, most of the information is included in the Legend Seeker’s section of this blog…except for one top secret page. This page recounts various adventures about Kirin and Elena which, for one reason or another, have never been revealed to the public. And the link to this realm leapers’ secret blog is shared with every new Legend Seeker!

For those who were formerly signed up to the Writing in the Light Readers newsletter, you’ll receive your first missive at the end of this month. For everyone else…well, new Legend Seekers are always welcome. 🙂

Join the Legend Seekers today!

How I Wrote a Novella in One Week

Since I wrote a novella in one week, I decided I’d get as much mileage out of the feat as I could and write a blog post about it as well; both how I did it, and how you can do it too. 🙂

2016-11-3--22-49-10

Preparation:

In the week leading up to writing my novella, I looked up names, planned out characters, and outlined the story. It wasn’t perfect; there was a character who appeared halfway though and I didn’t figure out the climax until the day before writing it, and even then I changed it while writing. But having an outline to work from, and knowing what is supposed to happen next, is a great help while trying to write a bunch at one time.

Secondly, I cleared my list for that week of everything which didn’t need to be done. No extra writing. No Greek. No extra reading. I’d mainly just school, hat knitting, and normal chores to do.

Finally, resolution. I was determined to get the novella done in a week and I prepared my mind accordingly. If I’d went into it half hearted, only partly wanting to do it, I’d have stopped a few days in. One must have the resolution of the will and mind, not just of the desire of the heart, to accomplish something like this…unless, of course, you absolutely love writing and would sit down and write thousands of words in a day if you could.

Progress:

On the weekend before starting the novella, I’d actually written the first 2000 words to get myself into the tone of the story and make sure I knew the characters’ voices. This also gave me some cushion room if I couldn’t make my 5000 word quota one day (cushion room which, though I didn’t end up using, is mentally relaxing to have). Since my last novella was around 23,000 words, I was expecting this story to run in the 20,000s as well and so I knew 5000 words a day for five days would land me near, if not on the end. Saturday was set aside for any wrapping up which might need to be accomplished.

Monday went well. The story flowed pretty smoothly and I finished my 5000 words by late afternoon. But halfway through Tuesday, I’d fallen back on will-power rather than desire. I’d resolved to write the novella in a week, and write it in a week I would, regardless of mental weariness. There were several things which helped me during my writing, especially during the afternoons of that week.

The first item was headphones and music. The music helped keep me focused and it blocked out noise from the rest of house…at least some of it.

Secondly, I only wrote in 500 word sections. 500 words is a natural break, at least for me, and I’d write 500 words before breakfast, then another 500 during cleanup and another later on. After each section, I’d look on social media sites or go walk around or read a chapter in a book; something to give my mind a break. I also had minor goals during the day, such as writing 2500 words before lunch.

Also, I kept in mind that it was a rough draft. Though I wrote as well as I could, I didn’t worry about going back and polishing up unless something important needed to be changed.

Finally, I’d reward myself when finished with the day’s writing, whether it was with chocolate or simply relaxing and letting myself forget about all writing for the rest of the evening.

Payoff:

Besides having the rough draft of a novella complete in one week instead of a month? That, it and of itself, is a great reason to do this, but there is more. Writing a novella this quickly shows you what you can do. Even if you don’t intend to write that quickly on a normal basis, you know you can if you want to. It’s a challenge, but it will strengthen you as a writer and as a person, preparing you for greater challenges which lie ahead.

And besides, how cool is it to say that you wrote a novella in one week, completing over half of NaNoWriMo in a quarter of the time? 🙂

MASTERSOFTHESOUND.COM

Caption Challenge – March 2016 #2

Caption Challenge Time! First, as always, here is last week’s winner:

d9a9758ea733f94367a67fb48f92acf3

I’m going to stop saying there were lots of really good captions, because there always are. But today the winner is Liv K. Fisher, “But didn’t you realize what a blessing your power would be? All those women, children, men… We could’ve saved them.” A close followup is BlueJay’s ‘Like…that’s ever stopped you before?!?’

And now for this week’s caption; one of my all-time favorites:

e1b9293b1ffe0966771453be1d25a22c

Comment below with a one line caption for the prompt. You can post up to two entries. On Saturday I’ll pick a winning caption and I’ll post it next Monday along with the name of the winner and the next caption challenge.

Off the Radar

A quick note to let you all know I’m going to be off internet for a few days; maybe most of this week. There are a few scheduled posts which will still come out, but if I don’t reply to e-mails or posts, that is why. : )

‘Get to know me’ Tag…and major revisions

Thanks for tagging me for the ‘get to know me’ tag, Ivy Rose.

But first, an update on The Final Clash. This allegorical fantasy WIP is currently 142,000 words long. I’d been hoping, on my next correction, to work it down to at least 140,000 words but, besides that, I thought I was almost done with the book.

Then I got some feedback from a beta reader and I realized something; the second half of the book wasn’t nearly as good as the first half. The main reason is that I wrote the first half first as one book, with twists and a solid plot. And then I added the second half and, even though the story continued fairly well, there weren’t too many more twists. It was pretty predictable and less intense. It was something I’d suspected for awhile, but I guess I’d hoped it wasn’t too bad and was trying to ignore the problem. It’s a bad habit I have which I really need to get out of.

Anyhow, my friend’s comments convinced me I couldn’t ignore the problem any longer and so I sat down and figured out how to restructure the second half of the novel. While the basic train of events will remain the same, the theme of the story will be enlarged, there will be more suffering (on Ethaniel’s part) and a quicker pace to the story as a whole. Oh, and there will be a few more deaths. Sorry, I realize that sounds awful, but it’s the truth and it will make the story much better. (And no, Jagger doesn’t die; I’ve spared him.) Anyhow, I don’t know when this novel will be done but, when it is, it will be much deeper and stronger than it is now.

4da2886752d0ac9413154b6dbfbc1f46

And now, for the promised tag:

TagPost2-2-300x224

~Vital Stats~

Name: Hope Ann Schmidt

Nicknames: Hope, Hopey, Hoho (from a younger sibling as they were learning to talk)

Place of Birth: Boone, Iowa

~Firsts~

Best friend: My sister, Joy. We’re two years apart, tell each other everything (or just about), and enjoy doing all kinds of things together.

Award: Hmm…I won a few ribbons in open class at a county fair once, but I honestly can’t remember what they were for.

Sport: Rollerblading…or perhaps speed-reading?

Real holiday: Philadelphia and the Atlantic Ocean when I was about three or four years old.

Concert: The Moody Symphonic Band

~Favorites~

Film: Ooo, hard one. Prince of Persia is a really good movie. I also love Lord of the Rings. And currently Goosebumps is a new favorite.

TV show: BBC Sherlock, and Once Upon A Time.

Color: A dark green; also silver and royal blue.

Song: Hard one; my favorite song changes every so often. But I currently really like ‘Into the West’, ‘Once Upon a December’, and ‘Hero’.

Restaurant: Culvers!

Books: Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien and the Eyes of E’veria series by Serena Chase.

~Currently~

Feeling: Wonderful!

Single or taken: Does it matter, really? How about waiting but perfectly content?

Eating: Nothing. Why would I be eating and typing?

Watching: My computer screen…and Goosebumps. ; )

Wearing: Shirt, skirt, leggings, and Tennis shoes.

 ~Future~

Want Children: Yes, if that is what God has planned.

Want to be married: Again, yes, Lord willing.

Careers in mind: Wordsmith, creator of worlds, crafter of legends…basically an authoress.

Where you want to live: Ok, so there’s this secluded castle in the middle of a forest, by a deep blue lake, on the foothills of some faraway mountains…or, just somewhere in the country is fine.

~Do You Believe In~

God: Absolutely; how could everything have just appeared so perfectly without God?

Miracles: Yes.

Love at first sight: Nope; attraction or infatuation, yes, but not true love. At least not at first.

Ghosts: No.

Aliens: No.

Heaven: YES!

Hell: Yes.

Kissing on the first Date: Only if that first date happens to be after marriage.

Yourself: Umm, yes. Why wouldn’t I? 😉

 

~~~

Did you enjoy this? No, I absolutely hated it! That’s why I did it! Well, what did you expect me to say? 😉

 

I’m now I’m tagging Joy at Elegance at Home.