Conscription

‘Okay, be brave. There isn’t anything to worry about. You’re just going to do what all men do at your age,’ the woman said.
The teenager, only of sixteen years, was standing in his finest clothes, bought from the earnings of his poorly paid work of a baker’s assistant. They were some cheap boiled leathers and an almost stripped cotton shirt. His doublet, jacket, and trousers were all from different trades-persons, all with a different quality of leather. His shirt was bought from the local market, with trades-persons selling either stollen or used goods. In his case, they were both stollen and used, with an emphasis on the latter.
His mother had done her best to bring him up on her own in the slums of Mentior, but alas, it was time for her beloved only son to stretch his wings and fly. Or in his case, take up sword, and swing. She didn’t care that he was conscripting to the Plysterian army, she was proud of the noble thing he was doing, but worried. Worried about whether he would return from battle, when the inevitability of war finally arrived.
‘You’ll always be my little…brave little boy, who I adore. I loves you, I really do!’ She said, tears bursting from her eyes.
‘I know mother, I love you too. I promise I’ll return!’ He said in his newly formed, adolescent voice, the sign he had come of age.
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Take a seat in a bar

A man of short stature, pig ears, and a scruffy black beard sat at his table in the bar, alone. The only vacant table in the packed bar. Filled with a myriad of people; all casks full to the brim, with the extras spilled and dripping down their torsos. The scruffy bearded man sunk into the little armchair in the corner of the pub; his fat, labouring over the arms. He scratched his beard, as he usually did whenever he was thinking. Today had been a good day, he had got approval to expand his, already vast expansion, of fishing vessels, and now, almost, had full control of the sea around Napes Rock Head. What a dream it was, he thought. Soon he would be harvesting in all the profits of his vessels’ catch, and would bed down countless women, drunk on ale. He was living the dream of the fisheries.
He lifted his ale to his mouth, taking in a gulp his mouth couldn’t handle. The extras just dripped down and through his scruffy beard. He didn’t care. He’d just go and buy more, exquisite, expensive clothes from Mentior, Praevalidus, or even Toraes. The Cranes’ citadel. Soon he’d travel down there, down the spine, and to the east of Pravum, and buy his clothes. Bask in the riches of the citadel.
He took another gulp. He spilled it slightly when he heard the excited scream of a woman. A quirky smile appeared, and he continued drinking in solitude. At that point, the doorbell rung as two tall men, slim in stature, wearing nothing but ominous boiled black leathers. Slippery leathers, the scruffy bearded man thought, ‘what do eels want in this place?’ was his second thought.
Eels were given the name to the men that went around, collecting taxes, enforcing law and legislation when no man wouldn’t. Napes Rock Head had no Order of the Knights of Faraday to keep the peace. No army, no soldiers, just a bunch of folk who calmly, or not, went about their own business, or not, to make ends meat.
‘What can I do for you, gentlemen?’ The man with the scruffy beard said in a non-caring voice.
The eels took their seats opposite the bearded man, boxing him in his corner.
‘I can assure you, I have no quarrel with you gentlemen, nor have I committed a crime.’ He said quickly.
The eels looked at each other. ‘We never asked you whether you had committed a crime.’ The eel on the bearded man’s right said.
‘But a quarrel, now that’s an interesting concept.’
The bearded man started to sweat. It was the heat in the pub, yeah, the heat in the pub, he thought. He took another gulp. ‘As I said, I have no quarrel with you,’ he said nervously.
‘You come here often?’ The man on the left said.
The bearded man nodded.
‘Thrice, four times a week?’ The right eel said.
‘Yes, now I demand to know what you want with me?’
‘What do you know of the recent sinking of Mr Hobbler’s vessels?’
The bearded man swallowed a larger gulp of ale. ‘I know it happened. Terrible business that, terrible. Someone ought to find the person responsible. I know Mr Hobbler, personally, lovely man. Real genuine,’ he said quickly.
‘Well, we you know what happens with criminals around here. Especially frauds.’
The bearded man nodded, ‘oh, yes, yeah…that I do.’ He scratched his beard.
‘What with Mr Hobbler’s fleet gone, you must have almost full control of the sea around Napes Head Rock?’
The man nodded, putting on a sad look, but with a slight smille.
‘Mr Hobbler has requested that all mongers help him re-establish his business…and will repay handsomely, of course.’
‘I have helped Mr Hobbler many times, and this will be no different,’ the bearded man said, cheerfully, infuriated that he had to give up his time to help that pathetic excuse of a monger.
‘Would you like to come with us, Mr Kollop? After your drink of course.’
‘I don’t usually leave here until after my fifth.’
The left eel placed a dagger on the table. Recently sharpened, shining. The metal forged in mountains of Four Peaks Rock. They were not messing around. ‘I’m sure it will be exactly the same as when you return to the pub, Mr Kollop.’ The left eel said, eerily. ‘Unless, of course,’ the left eel fiddled with the dagger with the fingers on his right hand. The bearded man scratched his beard. ‘It’s burned down for personal gain, but you wouldn’t know anything about that, would you, Mr Kollop?’
Kollop swallowed, nervously. ‘No…I, wouldn’t, wouldn’t know anything  about that.’
‘Good, so you have no fear to come with us and help Mr Hobbler,’ the left eel said with a sinister smile, putting away his dagger inside his black leather jacket.

Back at uni

Some of you (or none) may have noticed my absence from blogging recently (looking at my activity for September and October is just shameful). That is because of the title of this post. Third year is the biggest year for me, academically, so I’m focusing all my efforts into my dissertation and degree. I will try and do at least a Prompt a week, but for now, I will be going on a sabbatical until further notice from in-depth, intricate, and meticulous posts. This is the same thing for the book, but it gives me time to read a lot more, and develop more ideas!

I have a reading week in November, so watch this space for some updates!

See you soon everyone!

Pete

The great Salix

As Isaac rode through the Lyntherian Forest, he spotted the Great Salix; a sacred tree to those born and raised in Praevalidus, especially the Fermatas. The Great Salix was something else, growing to a massive height, then the weight of the branches flattening the top, creating a curtain around the trunk. It provided a homely and safe environment for any traveller. Their thick branches with spearhead leaves blocked out the rain, making a lovely dry patch of lushest green. The spearhead leaf was the leaf on the Fermata sigil, hugging the Great shield and sword of the Imperium, and Irax; the Dragon God of War and Peace.
It was believed, that during the Guardian Age, when the Dragon Gods ruled the land and sky, that they flew to find the Great Salix, mate, and raise their young within the vicinity of the curtain branches.
‘So lovely and majestic,’ thought Isaac. Being one with nature, raising your young in the comfort of nature. So calming.

Arrival at Mountain Fall

It had been a long enough journey for the cavalcade, especially for the simple soldiers that were alert all day, everyday. Ever since the mighty cavalcade left Praevalidus to head to Mentior, the soldiers and Guards protected the myriad of horses, carriages, advisors, and leaders. It ached their minds, and ached more that they still had another four-hundred miles to go until they reached the capital.
In-between Aromania and the cavalcade stood the Dythe Mountains. Monstrous, mighty, something that only the gods could create, thought a soldier, too tired to admire the grand yet bleak architecture of South Mountain Fall.
She wondered what North Mountain Fall was like, compared to the southern city. She didn’t really know what to come them. Were they cities or gates? They had big gates that separated Ice Passage from the north and south, and that was the whole reason for the construction of the…things. Gate cities, she would call them.
Or were they strongholds?

Post summer update

As most of you have realised, I haven’t posted anything related to the book this summer, and there are quite a few reasons. The main being time. With work for money to have at uni taking most of the time, dissertation processing, and cycling. Most of my efforts on the pc are focused on my dissertation, which takes priority. Trying to squeeze in blog and book writing is a struggle, and with an exhausted mind, would rather wait until I have the mind and motivation to do a good rather than bad job writing, taking the pressure off editing. With blog writing, it’s even more of a squeeze! I do miss doing the daily prompts, but again, my time on the computer is data processing, which takes priority over everything!
So please, hold fast, and bare with me until I’m back at uni, and things are a bit less chaotic.
Pete

The Limits to Growth – book review: ‘We can thus say with some confidence that, under the assumption of no major change in the present system, population and industrial growth will certainly stop within the next century, at the least’

In my mind, there are two kinds of horror in this world. There is the fictional, grotesque horror stories, with over the top blood and gore, where the suspense kicks in, your heart pounding while sitting on the edge of your seat (my favourite is Alien). And there is the true horror stories. Like this book, ‘The Limits to Growth’.

I was supposed to read this for a module called, Global Challenges, in the first semester of my second year (see how far behind I am). When it was first published, it was brutally criticised, saying it was unrealistic and untrue. But since its first publishing (1972), many of the things predicted, have turned out to be true.

The sub-title for this horror story is ‘A report for The CLUB OF ROME’s project on the predicament of mankind’, which predicts what the limits to growth are for humanity. It was a scientific investigation, led by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which took into account these variables (population, resources, food, time, technology economics, you name it) to produce a world model of how the amount of these variables changed from 1900 to 2100, in coordination to growth.

Several models were produced, all showing clear and comprehensive results, but also horrifying results (thus, the horror story). It’s a very readable book, and doesn’t require substantial knowledge about maths and science. Condensed into a small, 200 page book, with rather large writing, the authors clearly explain the models that they produced, and what they mean in terms of humanity’s future.

I won’t spoil it for you, as you can probably guess, the odds aren’t looking great (especially in the most realistic model). Although the authors try and install some optimism into the equation, you can’t get the feeling that when they wrote this book, it was a horror story to shake the world, and would affect every single one of us. Even the most optimistic model doesn’t look so great for humanity’s future.

One thing, when you read this book, you have to take in all the other variables that you can’t measure. Such as societal response to change. Which is stated many times, just to show how subject these future models can be.

The book is filled with quotes that’ll make your heart pound harder than any book or movie that intends to make you scared; since this is the real life scenario, and not fiction. ‘If man’s energy needs are someday supplied by nuclear power instead of fossil fuels, this increase in atmospheric CO2 will eventually cease, one hopes before it has had any measurable ecological or climatological effect.’

Look outside, look on the internet, look at the stories you see. The optimism of that quote makes you realise what situation we’re in.

In terms of how it’s written, since it’s an old book, it uses heavily masculine terms, which does make you cringe a bit, but not as much as the content itself. It’s very readable, and like I said, doesn’t require you to have qualifications in maths or science. The results and graphs are very comprehensible, which makes reading the book even more horrifying, since you understand them!

If you care about the environment, care about humanity, care about the future generations and the wrong in this world, this book is a must read, and will put everything in perspective; and that is something you can’t rate.

The art of magi

Within the bowels of the Praevalidus Stronghold, Nade Darus stood in the main hall of the Tower of Mages. A tall, spiralling tower, opposite the Guards’ Tower. Within the tower existed a myriad of papers, books, and alchemy, with the power to do good and evil.
Nade Anton Darus, the most esteemed and respected mage in Pravum, established the School of Mages. Anton stood on next to the wall with a large portrait window that looked down onto the rest of the Stronghold. His expression was blank. It usually was when he thought about his past. He arrived a long time ago, when he was only a small child, only of five or six years of age. The times he spent learning the art of magi, performing a trance to understand how to find the epitome of peace and tranquillity, and to find the easiest routes into peoples’ minds.
He was proud of what he created, endorsed by the Nade Commander of Praevalidus at the time, before Isaac’s grandfather died. Anton wanted to find and help people who had the same experiences and indications of becoming a mage.

Red of roses

Rulie, one of the cranes in Praevalidus, sat herself down at her desk. She sighed from tiredness, and pushed her black hair back, which, usually, gently graced the tops of her shoulders. Her crane’s robes cuddled her body, keeping her cosy in the cool evening.
She’d been out in the wilderness all day, collecting oils and sap and water from various flowers on the edge of the Lyntherian Forests.
Cranes often made their own ointments and medicines from the local wilderness. Luckily, for Rulie and the other cranes in Praevalidus, the Lyntherian Forests provided ample amounts of plants used for medicine.
Rulie had picked all she needed to create large amounts of medicine, particularly red of roses, an ointment mixed with oils from the reddest and prickliest of roses and sap from oak trees. Used as an antiseptic and painkiller for deadly viruses and external wounds.
Rulie remembered the time she first mixed a red of roses ointment. Back when she was a child, during a plague of Waters’ Kiss, she ran to the fields outside Smoking Mouth, and found the most vibrant plant, and used its oil to help her sickened brother.

‘A Game of Thrones’ – does what it says on the tin. ‘It’s like an elaborate model, every thing has a place, and all those things create a masterpiece. ‘

I know that many people have posted reviews about this fantastic high-fantasy novel. I don’t need to give a little synopsis about what the book is about, we all know. What I’m going to talk about is the style of writing.

I’ve mostly read books where the narrator is telling the story, rather from the perspective of the characters. The meticulous style of writing ensures that you have a vivid view of what is happening in the scene, and what the character is thinking at the time. You really understand the beliefs and values of the characters, and how they feel at the time, what their thoughts are.

In most books, you get a simple, ‘he/she was sad about such and such’, whereas, in ‘A Game of Thrones’, it’s nothing like that. It’s more, ‘she/he couldn’t stop thinking about such and such, but there was so much going on around him/her, that she/he couldn’t stop and think about…’. It’s this style of writing that really gets me going and motivated to write my book, and that’s  sometimes, all you need to punch through a writer’s block.

The story and world puts my writing into context. Everything, from medicine to the names of castles, to places in Westeros and the beliefs of the people, is so well thought out, it’s like an elaborate model, every thing has a place, and all those things create a masterpiece.

I’m really looking forward to get stuck into the next one, even though I know what happens, reading ‘Game of Thrones’ puts everything into a completely new perspective, a more meaningful one!

4.6/5

The next review will be a book that’s something that, most likely, non of you will have ever heard of or read. It is a book that will change the way we see things in society and mankind, and will probably change your life…forever.