Six of The Classixs

I always used to get upset when my parents took away the PlayStation, hid the valuable memory cards or locked away the joypads. I understand why they used to adopt these methods, they thought that I and my two brothers were wasting our time, missing out on all the things this world has to offer outside what we saw on the screen. To a degree they were right, I’ll be the first to admit that we sunk in more than our fair share on certain games, but on the contrary, my parents didn’t realise at the time that they were depriving me of truly amazing stories being told in a different format, a format that they had not the pleasure of experiencing when they were children. Now before you get angry, I understand that children need to be encouraged to go outside, I sigh when I see toddlers wanting to play with ipads and mobile phones rather than running around outside using their imaginations. I was one such child who used old car wheel hubs for shields, and fashioned sticks for make believe swords. I am not a parent, but if I had children, I would hold off for as long as possible before introducing my girl or boy to technology, but that is not to say I would not play child friendly console games with them, games like Crash Bandicoot, Jak and Daxter and Pandemonium.

If you are a regular reader of my work, you will know that I am a great lover of games and have played many during my thirty years on this planet. I was born in England, Hemel Hempstead and moved to Pembrokeshire in Wales where I studied art and earned a Graphic Communications degree at Glamorgan University. I am currently travelling Australia in a van, working from place to place after I spent six months exploring Europe in the latter half of 2015. If you’re new to this Blog, welcome, I am the author of The Ancestral Odyssey, an epic fantasy series which I hope will redefine its genre, breaking new grounds and setting a higher standard. First published onto Kindle in April 2016 with the Hardback to be released on the 03/09/2017. I could not be more excited to hear what people like you think and for what the future holds for this project. Links to all my work and art will be listed at the end of this post as with a new video I created, a video I just uploaded onto my Author Page and my YouTube Channel which I only use for promotional purposes, so there is no need to subscribe but feel free to leave a comment and hit that thumbs up button. This Blog is often used to reveal my process, to give those in similar situations help and advice in writing stories, but sometimes I like to delve off the tracks and talk about other things. For example, I reviewed Alien: Covenant not so long ago, I’ve talked about some experiences I’ve had dealing with editors and various artists and written about reasons for thinking the way I do.

This article will cover some of my favourite games and in turn, some of my inspirations. Of course, I could list dozens more games from other consoles other than the PlayStation, and I may do so in future posts if this one is successful, but for now I’ll stick to the PS1 (PlayStation) for now. These are just a fraction of the games I played as a youngster and have appreciated all the more as I’ve gotten older, understanding their adult themes, the relevance’s they have to real life and some of the witty jokes that only an adult can pick up. I won’t exactly be reviewing these games, this won’t be like my Alien: Covenant Review which went into a lot of detail, please check that out when you can, but I will be talking about their plots, why I love them so much, highlighting specific scenes which I will never forget and will also be explaining the things that I didn’t quite enjoy or the things that could have been done a bit differently. I will do my best to keep the spoilers to a minimum but I’ll notify you when a spoiler is coming up with (SPOILER START – SPOILER END). If you haven’t already, I could not recommend these titles enough, please please please if you can, purchase them, borrow them and sink some time into them because they are truly incredible experiences. I would also love to know what you think of them and what games you used to play in your youth. Now it is the time for you to make yourself a coffee or a tea, this post calls for one during reading. Once I publish this I am going to watch more of American Horror Story: Asylum, then move onto my favourite in the series, Coven, you gotta love a great witch story from time to time and this one is brilliant. Hope you enjoy this article and be sure to click the links. Let’s get started:-

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Medievil – You play as Sir Daniel Fortesque, a fallen Knight slain by the first arrow loosed by one of Sorcerer Zarok’s minions. Zarok was defeated shortly after the battle without your help, defeated but not caught. He escaped to continue his unholy work in complete secrecy, in a cave somewhere with a waterfall as door. Gallowmere experienced a time of peace, until the Sorcerer returned, armed with his dark magic. Using this dark magic, he raises an army of the dead and on his list of places to visit to acquire his force, is The Graveyard, in this graveyard houses a crypt, a crypt in where our hero has been buried, who is nothing but a one-eyed pile of bones in old clanking armour. This is where Medievil begins, when Zarok accidently raises his biggest enemy, and you (the player) takes control of Sir Dan, the would-be hero of Gallowmere. Once you gather your bearings, arm yourself with a handful of throwing daggers, a crappy copper shield, a sword and even your own arm, which can be pulled out of its socket and used as a hammer if that’s your thing, you leave the crypt not before learning a little bit about current events, from one of the gargoyles, heads in the wall who seem to know it all. You begin your exploration of the land of Gallowmere, starting off in the lion’s den, where the dead walk the grounds of The Graveyard and they aren’t friendly. I love this game, I first saw this game previewed on a demo disc at a friend’s house, and my first thoughts were “This is going to be hard ass game.” I was right when I first played it, it was bigger than I thought, more so than expected actually and early on I learned I was way out of my league. This game was not like Crash Bandicoot, Spyro The Dragon or Croc, this had a charming yet compelling theme to it, forever keeping me coming back for more even if I sucked at it, reminding me of Halloween, my favourite holiday. The cheesiness of the humour, the simplicity of the story and characters, the ghouls and monsters, the childish sound effects although brilliant, they were exaggerated. The puzzles were typical, tapping statues to point at and open creaking gates, gathering weathered rune stones to unlock doors, assembling farm yard machinery to do your bidding, it all starts out pretty straight forward but the difficulty progresses as your venture continued and the foes get ever more aggressive and harder to defeat unless armed with the correct weaponry, your sword only gets you so far. It becomes more elaborate and brain teasingly fun, often scary when faced with a bottomless pit or two big wolves who guard the exit to one of the levels you’ll tackle. Always one step behind Zarok as he wreaks havoc across the land you once protected, Sir Daniel is forever made fun of by the know it all gargoyles, unappreciated by the other heroes of the land and mocked by every enemy he encounters, and seeing as he lacks his jaw, his responses are usually short, sweet and repeated.

This game is fun, this game is colourful and full of wonder, taking you from graveyards, cathedrals, mansions, castles, pirate ships and labyrinths, it has so much to offer in the way of imagination. The music fits each level perfectly, whether you’re navigating through Scarecrow Fields avoiding the tall yellow grass in fear of what lurks inside, wandering through The Enchanted Forest housing spitting plants, poisonous frogs and if you get high enough, a massive eagle guarding treasure, or the Asylum loaded with hundreds of lunatics, the music sets the scene perfectly each time. Apart from the opening sequence where the camera angle takes you through the graveyard, where you meet a skeleton who helps you pick between starting a new game or continuing on from your last saved point, I could listen to The Crystal Caves theme for hours, it is so relaxing and mysterious compared to the other themes and is my personal favourite. Medievil has a variety of levels, a number of interesting characters and some interesting encounters with those who appeal to neither good nor bad. (SPOILER START) For example, early on in the game you run into a grotto, a witch’s lair where you learn about the old hags, from there it will be a while before you have the option to summon them. If you are a perfectionist, and have to finish games with a one hundred percent rating like I do, you will need to find talismans and dunk it into on one of the cauldrons you find tucked away in a couple of the later levels, they are and yet not what you’d expect from a witch. One shrinks you down to the size of an ant, where you’ll have to wander their tunnels till you meet the Queen, collecting amber along the way and freeing her fairy companions, who are just fat little lad like, adorable creatures with tiny wings barely able to support their round bodies, who sound hilarious when they speak, like a trucker stuck on helium gas. The other, is a Pumpkin Witch, who looks after the troublesome fruits. One Pumpkin however called the Pumpkin King, is draining life from the land around it, and it is up to you to hunt down its roots and slice them up before taking it on face to face (SPOILER END). This game, although fantastical and light hearted, is a challenge. (SPOILER START) At the end you are pitted against Zarok, who has with him an army of skeletons, if you have not earned your passage to a place called The Hall of Heroes, a settlement where all of Gallowmere’s finest have gathered after death, you will find that it becomes almost impossible to succeed. You need to destroy a number of Zarok’s monsters in each level to fill a Chalice that collects souls, these full Chalices are presented to a hero in the hall and he or she grants you new weapons, from bigger swords, shields which make you invincible if used correctly, crossbows that can shoot off corners, throwing spears and bows and arrows, all the heroes who grant you a weapon, come to your aid at the end to fight, the more heroes you have, the better your chances at defeating Zarok once and for all. (SPOILER END) Take head though, healing fountains that restore your life run dry if you use them too much, weapons, ammunition and armour repair costs and everything is abundant, I found myself unable to continue the adventure because I over used the resources, so it is a good idea to restart the level if you die too many times, preserving your valuable goods to use later on.

LOVES:- As if I haven’t praised this game enough, there are a few more things to say. This is a fantastic game, one that I play every so often for the nostalgia effects. The graphics however outdated, oddly enough in 2017, fit the look and feel of the game. I played Medievil Resurrection for the PSP a while back, expecting a better experience. Although it was much of the same story, with finer graphics, added content and an allotment of more to do, new weapons and equipment, something was missing, it didn’t quite grab me like the original did, it was too hard, too fiddly, there is a difference between challenging puzzles, to fiendishly tricky puzzles, and Resurrection hit that annoyance button all too often, to the point where I just gave up and never picked it up again. The original has something about it when I replay it now, a call back to when games were breaking new ground, and as an underrated game, Medievil (for me) was the first to incorporate all the things I know and love, about the weird, the wacky, the scary and the unknown rolled into one. The gargoyles giving you wisdom, the Witches quests, the heartbeat of the stained-glass demon, the tricks and the traps scattered throughout combined with a simple story of redemption, defines a great PS one adventure.

HATES:- With all the praise, there are a few things I dislike, and feel like they could be improved upon if ever remade. First thing that comes to mind is the repeated dialogue mainly springing from conversations in The Hall of Heroes, on more than one occasion they all repeat a sentence or two, the Centaur for example who grants you the bow and arrow, says the same thing three times each time you offer him a chalice. Dan often repeats himself in the same tone of voice as do some of the enemies, they just keep talking over themselves gets annoying. It is not exactly a big thing, it doesn’t offend me or put me off, it is a technicality limited by the games budget I presume. Another thing I disliked is the gap between bosses. Bosses in this game are great, there just aren’t enough of them in my opinion. Last of all, I wanted more. There was a sequel and I love it almost as much as I love the first game, but it moved on from Gallowmere and explored a world ahead of this one, moving away from classic swords and shields and playing around with gunpowder, although I have no gripes with this move, I feel like more could have been done with the world you are in.

Wild 9 – I first played this game after watching my little brother play it for a few hours after school. I remember coming home, making a tea as I always did, and wandering upstairs to where it was being played. Back in the day when we were kids, each game usually was bought as a group, games were expensive, twenty-pounds was loads of money and games ranged to about thirty to forty pounds. Wild 9, came out of nowhere for me and I was always intrigued by it, even though it wasn’t completed until years later, it deemed way too hard. I remember thinking about the main characters weapon, it’s technically not a weapon, I see it more like a tool, like with Isaac from Dead Space. Reminding me of Ghostbusters in a way, Wex, (the protagonists you play as) has some sort of robotic arm or tool fitted onto his shoulder leading all the way down to his hand. From this mechanical device, he can shoot a blue flame (it turns orange if it has had time to charge up) that has the ability to grip and lift objects like heavy boxes, pull on leavers, twist valves, hang onto ledges even restrain enemies. Once you grip an enemy with this arm extension, you can then throw him about, shacking items off of him, knocking him senseless till he explodes when you decide you’re done. If you are really evil, you’ll throw them into grinders, hold them over exposed furnaces, feed them to some of the most viscous creatures you encounter or slice their heads clean off, decapitating them with sharp propellers. As gross as it sounds, it really is a lot of fun to dispose of enemies this way. If missiles are collected you can launch them from your shoulder and hurl grenades if you choose wrecking anything in your path. It is interesting though, when you to run into an enemy who can block this blue grip or deflect your projectiles, it makes you think of other ways to defeat your foes. Wild 9, reminds me of a sci-fi comic book, it has that same kind of cartoon like graphics, vibrant colours, thick black lines surrounding whatever moves and is full of some really well done, classic comic book heroes and villains, especially the villains, overpowered, big and mean as fuck. When you start, you know little to nothing about Wex, I will go as far as you know fuck all about him and his captured allies, you are thrown into the thick of the battle on level one, dropped on board some kind of flying ship, bit like that final level of Sonic 2 where you square off against Silver Sonic at the end. Levels are large, full of puzzles, full of enemies and plenty to jump on and off from. The levels are also very diverse, the first few are your standard platformer, allowing you to get used to the controls and how it works, then you find yourself hopping onto a dog alien like thing and are charging at high speeds over swamps, across deserts and through forests, in hot pursuit of your target. Some of the time you leap off ledges so high that the level is all done in free fall, avoiding obstacles that come your way and evading what the enemy leaves behind in the narrow corridor, it’s insane. The music is also a noticeable treat, very rock and bass, very heavy and lets you feel like a badass. The bosses are wicked, one of my favourites is the one that rises from the flames, out of the ashes of the junk planet, he is big, he is huge, brutish and wants to crush you with mighty fists. Using your grip, missiles and grenades are not enough to take this fucker down, you have to break his fists until he is forced to use his head, then you finish him off…By destroying his head, but watch out, the gigantic severed head rolls with the tremors of the earth and can hurt you if not kill you if you’re low on health. If any of you have played Earth Worm Jim, Wild 9 is very similar, similar styles and imaginative characters for each level/planet you visit. It’s very diverse and gets very difficult toward the end when everything seems to want to kill you even the land.

Unfortunately, Wild 9 is the first and last entry. There are no more after this one, there is no Wild 8 or Wild 10, this is its own and seeing as it has been over fifteen years since its release, I very much doubt we’ll see anything more of Wild 9. This saddens me, because I love the worlds, I love the craziness and the array of foes, some mechanical, some natural and monstrous. Wex, the guy you play as, the man you know nothing about, relates to the cool and crazy side in us all, he has a sense of humour brought out in some of the things he says, he delivers a high-pitched scream whenever you leap off something extremely high, a scream of sheer enjoyment opposed to fear, he loves this kinda stuff you can tell. He says what most of us would say if we were to collect a gadget or charge up our weapons and adds a spin on it, such as my favourite phrase; “WEXELLENT!”

LOVES:- The music kicks fucking ass. The levels are so different. The bosses are tough as nails and are a real challenge to defeat, but what I particularly love about this game is its style. No matter what planet you are on, you know you are somewhere within the Wild 9 universe, and I’ve not seen anything like it, but also you are an alien Human, in a far, far away place surrounded by so much strange. Your gadgets and gizmos start out as powerful tools, you feel almost unstoppable in the beginning, but the further you get to reach the end, the stronger the enemies become, the more they laugh at your efforts and the more you have to use your intelligence, your wit and items sparingly to survive.

HATES:- Not that you need a protagonist in this case to carry a game, it would be cool if a little more backstory (I say a little when there is none) shit! Give us anything to do with Wex and his friends other than the needs to stop alien forces from destroying the Earth. Given Wex’s dialogue, which is nothing more than a few made up words and plucky sentences, I feel like on Wex’s to do list, saving the world be third or fourth one down. There is literally nothing said about him or any realistic motivations, even Super Mario had save Princess Peach on his list of tasks, as has Link from Zelda and Crash Bandicoot from…Crash Bandicoot. Maybe that is the point now that I think about it, maybe it is sometimes more fun to speculate than know everything, but having such a cool game, I’d write in more than what he got.

Oddworld: Abe’s Odyssey – Once a year, as a family, we used to visit my Grandparents house for a week in Lowestoft going from the most Westerly point to the most Easterly point of Britain in one long stint of driving. It was a long journey and I do miss those days especially when it rained as we drove through the night. Sometime in the week, was when my eldest brother bought a game, a game called Oddworld: Abe’s Odyssey. I read the entire manual over and over before I finally got the chance to actually play it about a week later. We couldn’t take our PlayStation to England so all I could do in this time was speculate and try to guess what this game was all about. When I stuck it on for the first time, I was awful at playing this game, I died, I died a lot. People complain that Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls was too hard, known for its death ratio, I say fuck that, try playing Oddworld for the first time my friends, it tops Dark Souls every time. Everything and I repeat EVERYTHING besides your own kind and there are times when even they are a potential threat, wants to shoot, eat, mince, drop or explode you. It’s brutal and weird and unfair and you’re so frail, so fragile, it does not take much to kill you, one bullet or a slip off the wrong ledge is more than enough to make you start over. Speaking of the protagonist, you play as thr weak and feeble, skinny blue guy called Abe, a slave, a floor waxer working in Rupture Farms, a failing meat factory on the continent of Mudos. Abe is a Mudokon, part of a peaceful and spiritual race unwilfully taken from their home lands and enslaved by the power hungry, greedy Glukkons, who employ an army of Sligs (big slug like creatures with mechanical pants to help them move) with automatic machine guns and grenade launchers, some can even fly like mini helicopters so there really is no hiding from them. Sligs can also command Slogs, their dogs trained to attack and kill you on a single command,“Get’em.” Obsessed with wealth and power, the Glukkons are the squid lookalikes guys in charge, the big bosses who run the show, which is where Mullok comes into it, he is the owner of Rupture Farms and is as quotes by Abe “The meanest boss in the world.” As Rupture Farms is on the way out, their profits falling due to the wild life turning up scarce, Mullok and his members of the board decide to turn their work force, the Mudokons, into Mudokon Pops, a tasty treat for all to enjoy. Upon learning about their evil plan, Abe decides to make a break for it, abandoning his work on the spot and begins his great escape (Oh how we all can relate to that like every single Monday morning.) The game starts as you’re being chased by a trigger happy Slig through the factory. There are ninety-nine Mudokons in the entire game that need to be rallied and rescued from the clutches of the Glukkons and their employ before you have to get yourself out.

From the word go, you know you’re in for something different, from the opening titles, to the menu screens to the dynamic of the game, where utilising the powers speech will ultimately save you and everything you care about. It is not exactly fast paced, although at times it can be rather intense when you’re being chased by something terrifying with more than two legs. You aren’t a big, powerful space marine, you aren’t loaded with muscles, have access to firearms or know hand to hand combat, you are naked in every sense of the word surrounded by remorseless killers in a maze of metal. For a Mudokon, a sympathetic, empathetic, sensitive species, you are hilariously outgunned and overpowered from the get go, and this is where it gets really interesting, you learn how to resist without the use of weapons, you go from this absolutely vulnerable, frail creature to something that the Glukkons become terrified of and you do all of this without any means of defence or force. Just that concept alone should be enough to raise curiosity to play through it, and learn how one can defeat such powers as the pathetic schmuk you are (if I butchered that spelling I do apologise.) This story ark does not happen right away, it takes a lot of time to learn your potential, you do not spend much time in Rupture Farms fleeing for you life, you find yourself in the stockyards bathed in moonlight, stockyards with live-stock hiding in the shadows. Seeing as it is night, you barely get a good look at the creatures of Mudos held up in pens, but you do know that they too aren’t friendly, they’re just as mean, just as aggressive as the Glukkons, Sligs, Greeters and anything else you find in the factories, at least this is how the wild life first comes across to Abe, dangerous, monstrous and volatile but really, they are misunderstood as scared as you are. They too are scheduled for the grinder, the creatures of Mudos are slowly going extinct, the Meeches, a strange crab like creature turned into Meech Munchies have already bitten the dust. The Paramites living in the forests are slowly being hunted down and ground up into Paramite Pies, along with the Scrabs, that are mulched down into delicious Scrab Cakes. Everything is at risk so long as the Glukkons are in charge. (SPOILER START) Once out of the stockyards, Abe is confronted with a full moon, the moons face has upon it the shape of his palm. As Abe gazes at this moon, trying to figure out what this all means, the rocks beneath his feet give way. After a long, awkward fall off the cliff, Abe partially wakes, confronted with Big Face standing over him, a Mudokon shaman of sorts with an oversized mask. It is here where Abe, mildly concussed, is shown a vision of Mudos, where the Paramites of the forests of Paramonia, the Scrabs of the deserts of Scrabania roam and live as free as the Mudokons, in a world free of corruption. When Abe finally comes too, Big Face is gone, leaving behind a drawing in the dirt at his feet that looks like the infinity symbol (SPOILER END). Still in confusion with what he must do, the sun rises and a place called The Mosaic Lines, an ancient temple built (from what I gather) by Abe’s ancestors, a temple that links the worlds of Paramonia and Scrabania together. Abe ventures inside and it is at this moment where I was quite literally blown away. Going into this game I had naively thought that it was going to remain black and grey, forever in the industrial world which the Glukkons built, that I was eventually going to find Mullok, destroy him after a few hardships and that would be that; I love being wrong sometimes, and I don’t think I have never been more wrong about a game before or since. A simple platformer, with a simplistic protagonist with a journey ahead of him, a journey that takes him from the land of industry, to the ancient temple of his ancestors, across the hot deserts, plunged deep into the forests where the journey ends and a rescue mission resumes, leading Abe back into the jaws of cogs and jagged metal, where the journey comes full circle, revealing a captivating ending depending on how you play. Oddworld: Abe’s Odyssey, coupled with its later part, Abe’s Exodus, is an experience which leaves you with a sense of awe and wonder, for not everything is explained, not all the mysteries are exposed and there is room for several, I repeat, several more instalments to this series.

LOVES:- The aura of mysticism about this game is incomparable. The music which is mainly mellow and atmospheric picking up so suddenly when danger presents itself, really gets your heart pumping. Better yet, at times it drowns out and you’re left with moments of nothing but the hum of insects, the blow of the wind or the clanking of the machinery used in Rupture Farms. I love the wonder, the unanswered questions revolving about the unexplored mysteries, mysteries surrounding the moon and Abe’s true destiny and untold powers. Where the gifts of the chant come from? The Mudokon ancestry and so on. I love that every screen is highly detailed, to the smallest of screws in the industrial areas, the graffiti sprayed onto meat barrels, the cave paintings smeared onto rocks to each piece of bark on each tree in the wilderness. This game is a piece of art, a lot of love has gone into this project and to demonstrate this, I highly recommend the book called ‘The Art of Oddworld,’ I will do my best to leave a link below because I bought my copy a very VERY long time ago and they were always going to be a limited offer, but please, do your best to find and review a copy, for in the book you’ll find everything from the smallest of doodles to the final concept pieces, beautifully coloured and rendered as if it were its own movie, it’s beautiful. As I think back on this game, I feel like I’ve lost my train of thought a bit, I guess the biggest love I have for Oddworld is its uniqueness, its early concepts of the fact that you are a small, weak, defenceless being in a violent, dangerous world full of incredibly thought out and well-designed creatures, which bare a shocking resemblance to our own world. The Glukkons represent the fat cats who run the oil companies and the billion-dollar corporations, the Sligs are there personal hitmen and mafia guys while the Mudokons represent the peaceful side of human nature. This is where the real power of relation to Abe comes from, you love the guy, you feel for the guy, you want him to succeed, and the more effort you put in to saving your fellow slaves, the more likely it is that they will rescue you in your darkest of hours. (SPOILER START) Yes, Oddworld introduced three different endings, something which I rarely see even nowadays. If you do your best to save your friends, they save you and as a treat, the developers let you look at some of the artwork as the credits role. If you let most of them die or leave them behind, those on the outside of Rupture Farms return the favour to you, leaving you at the hands of Mullok and his meat grinder. Then there is the fifty-fifty ending, it is neither good nor bad, it is unclear as to what happens to Abe if you’re granted this ending, but he is visited by a guardian angel speaking to him through a computer screen. You can only unlock this ending if you rescue half of the inmates, no more, no less (SPOILDER END).

HATES:- There is little to complain about when playing this game, though I feel like I’ve praised it enough, no game is perfect, no game is flawless and Oddworld is no exception. Biggest gripe I have with Abe’s Odyssey, is that Abe has always had the ability to chant. Chanting allows him to take over enemies with weak minds. Abe has little to no physical strength, but with his ability to chant and possess a Slig with a machine gun and a loyal Slog at his side, he can cause quite a bit of damage. What I do not like, is that not enough answers were given about this chant ability, and presented some pretty mind-numbing questions. If Abe has had this ability all along, then why has he not used it to get ahead before the Glukkons decide to chop up all the Mudokons for profit? Surely by now with this impressive talent he would have captured Rupture Farms through Mullok by now. To expand on that, Abe is spying on the entire board as they plan to destroy the Mudokons at the beginning of the game during the cut scene; Why did Abe not possess Mullok right then and there and reverse the order? Better yet; Why did he not possess a Slig, there was one with a gun nearby, why did he not possess him, march in on the meeting and waste Mullok and all of the board members? Things like this stand out for me and no one has EVER addressed this issue, not in Abe’s Exodus, Munch’s Odyssey or Strangers Wrath. If I were making Abe’s Odyssey, I would have had Abe escape Rupture Farms, fall off that cliff, bump into Big Face as he does originally and then upon his awakening, is he granted the chant ability. Other than that, I wouldn’t change a thing.       

Final Fantasy 7 – Everything said about this game (a term that I do not like to link to this title, ‘game,’ but will do so anyway for convenience sake) has been said time and time again. If you are wondering what Final Fantasy is? If you aren’t particularly familiar with the seventh game in the series which are unrelated in terms of the story, then you’re either about twelve years old glued to some incipit rubbish on your smart phone, or you’ve quite simply been living in a basement for the last twenty plus years. If that is the case, I am glad you’ve come outside, now go and immerse yourself with FF7 after you’ve breathed fresh air and tasted water, it will quite literally change your life and tell you a story like no other. Final Fantasy 7 has been hailed as one of the greatest RPG (Role Playing Game) achievements in history, it’s forever praised by fans, developers and those who work and write within the industry, and rightly so, it deserves the praise it gets, it demands respect for it was not only the first Final Fantasy to take that leap from 2D to 3D, but it was the first to appear on the PlayStation after its developers decided to break a long-lasting deal with Nintendo 64. A story of this magnitude simply could not run effectively on a Nintendo console, so in turn the leap was justified. When most games of the era including the ones I have previously mentioned, wrapped at around the eight-hour mark, FF7 on the other hand, eight hours in, was only just getting started I shit you not. This was unheard of back when it was released in 1997.

Before I continue any further, please do not hate me for the lack of attention I appear to be giving this game, the very reason I was able to write in great length about the games prior to FF7 was because they are so small, paling in comparison to the mighty FF7, which has a little over forty hours of story content to get through not to mention any of the many side quests and hidden treasures found scattered throughout. The back tracking to gain powerful items and weapons of course takes up a lot of time and some of the hardest enemies in the game are dropped as a reward after defeating them. For those of you who have played it thoroughly, Ruby and Emerald Weapon in my saved game, on my PS3 are still unbeaten. I came close to defeating Emerald and am confident that next time around I’ll beat him, but Ruby is almost impossible, his armour rating is through the roof my attacks barely registering. It is laughable going toe to toe against Ruby Weapon, situated in the deserts outside of Gold Saucer. Arguably, FF7 is around sixty hours long and I wish it was longer, I got so upset when I finished this game for the first time back when I was in my early teens, reaching the level forty mark. Having invested so much time into it, the characters had grown on me so much, that they felt real every time I sat down to play, it was incredibly exciting and unbelievably compelling around disc two.

FF7’s story goes from something rather narrow and straightforward, to something strangely complicated and thought provoking. Throwing you right into the action seconds after the introduction cut scene ends, you go from fighting Shinra, a corrupt and evil corporation that has figured out a way to draw the planets life force (Mako) out from the earth and turn it into energy to run its Cities and power its profits, to saving the very planet from both a physical and metaphysical Godlike force. You play as Cloud Strife, recruited by a rebel group called Avalanche lead by Barret Wallace, a man with a gun grafted onto his right arm, and battle your way into one of the Shinra Mako reactors to bomb it, disabling it permanently. The mission is a success after a boss battle against a giant red, mechanical guard scorpion, but the next mission leads to Cloud becoming separated from the group, and falls into the slums living in the shadow of the reactor. From here he meets Aeris, a somewhat innocent character who sells flowers, who does not seem to fit in with this violent world involving rebels and massive power houses, but later she becomes as important if not more important than anyone you ever encounter along the way. With the help of Aeris, you find your way back to Barret and Tifa Lockheart, Tifa, Clouds childhood friend, only to discover that your group Avalanche has suffered, losing three of its members in the fight against Shinra. After making an effective push back, you end up having to leave Midgar and thus the journey of self-discovery, one’s purpose and place in the world at war, begins. Each and every character that joins you along on the way has their own stories to tell and eventually play through, they have personal issues, hometowns, places you which helps broaden the character that you are investigating.

You wander empty grasslands, get trapped in the hot deserts, visit truly wondrous locations of might and magic, places even the most creative of people would struggle to comprehend with. Thick forests, snow plains and nightmarish realms where the biggest and toughest of enemies await you, need to be uncovered. The journey is long, thrilling, compelling, difficult, tragic and tiresome, but it is the love for the characters involved that keeps you pushing on, you really get the feeling that you are one with the group, that your decisions matter and every task you complete gets you one step closer to your end goal. Cloud Strife, to this day is still one of my favourite leads, I’ll go as far to say, maybe he is indeed my favourite of all, his iconic Buster Sword is legendary among the gaming community, his insane blonde/yellow spikey hair style is iconic, and his purple-ish mercenary attire leaves an instant nostalgic effect on me, as do most of the other characters you get a chance to play as, but Cloud, being the true main protagonist, does indeed have the most thought provoking past, the most interesting story and best character arc, especially when you emerge from the Lifestream, an energy that courses around the planet, full of memory and power. Cloud is my favourite, which is strange for me because I always tend to empathise with secondary characters, though Final Fantasy 7 has plenty for everyone. For instance, we have Yuffie Kisaragi, both hilarious, annoying and deadly rolled into one, I would expect nothing else from a sixteen-year old ninja obsessed with the gil (Money) in your pocket and materia (the source of your powers to fight your enemies). Cid Highwind, pilot of the airship he named after himself, becoming available to you at the end of disc two, is an ambitious man who yearns to travel into space, having come so close in his earlier days he has a drive for exploration. Tifa Lockheart, she is one of the people I have a soft spot for in FF7. Always calm, always understanding, bright, level headed and optimistic who adds a slither of romance between herself and Cloud, especially when Aeris Gainsborough, an ancient, a descendant from a people with extraordinary power charged with planet protection, who attempts from time to time to make her move onto the blonde haired unstoppable badass with the giant sword. There is Barret Wallace, who comes from a coal mining town, overruled and eventually exterminated by Shinra for business reasons. In the process of this, he not only loses his right hand, but he loses his best friend who you do track down, and give him what he wants, death. Nanaki, son of Seto, also known as RedXIII by the mad scientist Hojo, a fierce feline who can live for hundreds of years, a human life being a mere blip in his existence, struggles with the legacy of his parents in particularly his father, brandished a coward by those in Cosmo Canyon (my favourite location next to The Forgotten Temple) but in truth a true, heroic warrior who sacrificed his life in the caves below, for the safety of those who live above. Vincent Valentine, formerly a Turk, a mob, who is cursed with immortality, taking on vampiric like traits who’s past ties into Sephiroths lineage. We also have Cait Sith, a character with the most powerful limit break moves in the game if you get lucky. He is a Mog like creature who rides on a friendly gambling machine from the Gold Saucer (Las Vegas in the FF world). All have reasons for joining the journey, all are met at different points during the game, and toward the end, they are fully established, fully realised and understood, they become one with group and after what, sixty hours of play time, you find yourself generally invested, at least I did anyway and most others did too, otherwise it would not have been as successful as it is today, and is STILL being talked about, there is also a remake in the making nearly twenty years on. I will not even begin to get into to all the spin offs and the movie, Final Fantast 7: Advent Children, which blew my mind in every sense of the word. Only issue I had with it, was that it served the fans, and did not exactly help those who hadn’t played the game to understand the plot; But how could it? How could a two-hour movie sum up the enormity of events in the prequel.

There may come a time when I talk in depth about this story, those of you who have played and seen the movie, will know that I have just scratched the surface with the level of detail and intricacy, I am kinda kicking myself because I really want to go on and on, but I do have two more games to talk about and a love and hate section to write up all in the space of an hour, so forgive me for washing over some of the highlights, forgive me for not going into spoilers at this moment, because I need to move on. If you really want a review, if I get enough e-mails or Tweets perhaps, I’ll do it.

LOVES:- See the above. To be a little more specific though, I love the diversity of the characters, how each and every one is so different but shares similar interests. I love the writing, although at times now in 2017 is a bit outdated, I still love the interaction between Yuffie and the group, the dynamic between Barret and Cloud, how they really do not see eye to eye to begin with, but over time they start to understand one another. I love Tifa Lockheart, her kindness, her optimism and strength to overcome obstacles, she really acts as the emotional centre, when all hell is breaking loose, you can depend on her to think rationally and cool heated moments down. I guess the characters make it for me, above the game play, above the spells, creatures and villains, I love the team assembled over the time playing. Another thing which I have not given enough credit to is the music composed by Nobuo Uematsu. The themes to convey urgency, stealth, fight, love and tragedy, never fails to hit the mark especially at the end of disc one within The Forgotten City, (SPOILER START) when you not only lose one of the key characters, but when you fight a powerful entity in the wake of the lose (SPOILER END).

HATES:- Yes, as hard as it is to believe, there are a few problems I have with this game and its story, with emphasis on the word ‘problems’ because there aren’t that many, I had to really reach in order to find them, so here they are. I did not like going through hell and back to gain a characters most powerful weapon, only to find out that the item was weak in some areas or only held a few slots to store your materia. The most powerful weapon for a character should not be in debate with the weapon you had prior because there are pros and cons, it should be the best for a reason, no competition. I did not like the lack of clues in some areas of the game, for instance, when trying to obtain Alexander, a powerful summon materia, you have to track it down in Northern territories where it is seriously snowy, icy and windy. Not only is navigation up there hard as nails but the materia (to my knowledge) does not light up, you have to press ‘O’ on a specific patch of land, pardon my French but there is a FUCK load of land to press a button on. A few more clues here and there would make it way more enjoyable. I also found myself struggling with the Wall Market in Sector 7 Slums, the bit where you are supposed to infiltrate Don Corneo’s mansion to rescue Tifa. I spent an unhealthy amount of time trying to figure out what the fuck I had to do, to get through those bloody doors. If it were me, I’d use my Buster Sword and powers, I’d fuck up anyone who stood in my way, infiltrate, rescue Tifa (not that she actually needs rescuing because she is not a witless cretin), pull her out of there and get back on track with destroying Shinra, but you cannot do it that way. Instead you have to go through the arduous task of gaining entry, by doing a number of mind numbing tasks to get a key to a nearby club called The Honey Bee Inn, where you’ll get the items necessary to dress Cloud up as a woman, and sneaking in that way because they only accept women – Excuse me, logic bomb coming up, aren’t you essentially a terrorist, didn’t you just bust into a Mako Reactor, murder a load of soldiers in the process and potentially kill innocence lives living beneath the structure? Who gives a fuck about a few sleazy assholes who use and abuse women on a daily basis, fuck being sneaky in this instance raid the place, Cloud and Aeris could have taken them out with one hand behind their back. Please remember before you call me a retard, I played this game at the time when there was no internet, I had to figure things out on my own.

Legacy of Kain – This is not the first time I have spoken about Legacy of Kain: Soulreaver. I talked a great deal about it in a previous article called ‘Fangs in The Roots’ be sure to check out that post because this game has been a big inspiration in my own work and I have no shame in admitting that. With that being said, I’ll quickly outline the premise of this title and move on to what I love and hate about this amazing game.

The backstory to Legacy of Kain is incredible, I’ll go as far to say it is as intricate and as beautiful as some of the great fantasy epics of today. You play as Raziel, part of the Sarafan Brotherhood, the Sarafan are human vampire hunters locked in a viscous war again the vampires. This war stretches back to the earliest known period of time (I think, there is a lot too this game). Raziel is eventually killed by a vampire along with his five younger brothers; Dumah, Rehab, Zephon, Melchiah and Turel, and buried in the tomb. (SPOILDER START) The vampire who kills human Raziel was actually the Soulreaver Raziel, for Raziel in Legacy of Kain: Soulreaver 2, stumbles upon Moebius the time streamers devices, and is sent him back in time as the angel of death, and dispatches the Sarafan Brotherhood himself (SPOILDER END). It is here when Kain, raises you from the dead to serve as his vampire soldiers, clansman who take control of Nosgoth, and powerless to stop its fall into decay. Seeing as vampires do not age, they still evolve, Raziel, evolves faster than Kain, somewhat surpassing him by growing beautiful bat wings. Kain, rips them out by the bone and has you thrown into the Lake of the Dead, where the water destroys you. You awake to find yourself at the mercy of something called The Elder God, who tasks you to settle your dispute with Kain and all of your brethren, those who assisted Kain in damning you to the void.

And so, the game begins. Your body is wrecked, torn apart and tortured over time by the waters of the dead, but even at your weakest you are seriously strong when you emerge, able to lift boulders and enormous objects as if they were nothing. Your wings though ruined are not without purpose, you can take hold of them as you leap great distances and glide a little further. You can shift between material and spectral plains meaning death itself is powerless to kill you. If your physical body is destroyed you return to the spirit world where you hunt the souls of the dead, consume them to regain your strength and when able, return to the physical world. You have claws which you can use to scale cliff faces and deal damage with. Combine your strength with your claws you can throw your grotesque foes that litter the world huge distances, fling them onto jagged spikes, off of tall cliffs, onto fires and into lakes where they drown or melt. Raziel is merciless, ruthless, full of anger, fuelled by revenge and still so young, over time you obtain more abilities that grant you powers over the elements, you can learn to light up the night with an orb of sunlight, not sure if you know, but vampires HATE sunlight. You can learn to overcome your weakness for water and can soon submerge yourself fully and swim through the depths of the world of Nosgoth. One by one, you hunt down your brethren, each with their own fortresses and territories that have rotted in the time you’ve been dead on the bottom of the lake. You travel across the lands to find those that damned you, you’ll find yourself in the Drowned Abbey, a seriously dangerous temple because at this point in the story, water is lethal to touch, yet you have to venture through a sunken city, to find one of your brothers, Rehab. Raziel will have to brave The Silenced Cathedral, where spider like horrors of Zephon will hunt you if detected. You’ll have to raid tombs, graveyards, work your way through desolate castles where the snows fall and the beasts grow large, Dumah. The adventure is perilous, horrifying, wondrous and satisfying when you drain the soul of one of your deformed brothers who still hates you with a passion. Upon each brother you consume, Raziel becomes even more powerful, the more power you acquire the more likely it will be that you’ll reign victorious over Kain when toe to toe, the most dangerous villain in the entire series, who is waiting for you at the end of the world.

Seeking revenge on your brothers is only a small part of what this game has to offer, it is more about uncovering history, making sense of what happened in your absence and discovering the true meaning of one’s destiny and the fate of Nosgoth. Killing your brothers and hunting Kain slowly pales in comparison with what is to come, and what is to come is an enemy stronger than both vampire and humans combined, they called the hylden and are revealed in full in the fifth instalment called Legacy of Kain: Defiance, where you play as both Raziel AND Kain, utilising their own individual dark gifts. Eventually you fight one another, playing as Kain, then as Raziel in a truly epic duel of the anti-heroes. It is wicked stuff, highly recommend this series.

LOVES:- The world of Nosgoth itself. The incredible introduction cut scene which has withstood the test of time and still holds up today against most next gen games. If I can find the right vid, because there have been other editions which change the tone, I’ll see if I can link the intro scene below for you to see for yourself, it is THAT good.

I love the gothic atmospheric feel of the architecture, the nightmarish creatures scattered in both the material and spiritual worlds. The anger and jealousy that festers within each one of your brother’s hearts, they being twisted both mentally and physically beyond recognition sets up the tension. Having to rely more using your wit to battle and overcome each one opposed to your physical prowess, is exhilarating and epic, reminding me of the game Half-Life, if you’ve played the first in the series, you’ll know that the boss fights are not as simple as point and shoot or hack and slash, you need to fight with intelligence and use the environment around you to assist. The dark undertone of music, the Shakespearean styed dialogue and the protagonist/antagonist character you play as, the Soulreaver, the angel of death, Raziel. You could not play as a bigger badass, fuck God of War, fuck Devil May Cry (although I do like Dante in the first game), Raziel, is a highly evolved vampire who could spit on said other anti-heroes, especially when armed with his wraith blade.

HATES:- Similar to the complaints I have with FF7, Legacy of Kain: Soulreaver is worse in that regard, giving you little to nothing in the way of clues. Each area you visit, each realm you adventure through requires you to solve an array of different puzzles, some you cannot work through without the necessary skills, skills you can only obtain by completing tasks set for you on the other side of Nosgoth. You need to fight off a number of monsters, monsters which again can over power you if you have not the required powers. You need to sometimes fade in and out of the spectral realms where the landscapes can change dramatically if you’re standing in the right places. From a third person perspective, and no linear set path for you to follow, you can find yourself wandering around for hours with no clue as to what the fuck you’re meant to be doing. You can be struggling for so long in fact that it gets horrifically boring, causing you to turn off and perhaps never play again. Finding certain glyphs to boost health, and relics to unlock abilities can become almost impossible without the aid of a simple guide and even still, with a guide at hand, you can follow it correctly but the game is subject to glitches. You may very well solve a puzzle, but because of the glitch you’ll be left stranded, tearing your eye balls out trying to figure out what went wrong, or why a certain thing is not working, It’s mind frazzling.

Silent Hill – You play as a man named Harry Mason, a man who loses control of his car along the route to a town called Silent Hill. When you wake, your daughter who was safely strapped in the back seat is missing. Leaving the safety of your car on the road, you go out toward Silent Hill to look for her in the hauntingly thick, grey mist.

It is that simple, it is a simple yet effective premise which instantly engages the player, starting you off with a series of questions; Where is your daughter Cheryl? What happened to Silent Hill? How do you escape this nightmare? A father loses his child and is on a journey with coming to terms with the fact that he may never see her again, that in itself is more frightening than any entity or creature it reveals. It is easy to see Silent Hill as another monster game, but in actual fact, it is not. It preys on the things we ALL fear and mixes it up with a horrifying story, story of cults and archaic rituals performed by the insane residents of the town. You start off on the outskirts, the further you venture in the more depraved it gets. The game has good pacing and does not normally through blood and gore in your face all at once, it is subtle at times which adds to the growing dread. At one point you are in a school, thinking that your daughter may be hiding in one of the classrooms. As you explore and start to obtain clues as to what happened you’ll hear the swing of a locker or the groans of a cat…It is this kind of shit that screws with my head, not knowing where said noises came from nor what actually made the noise really does a number on your imagination. Silent Hill understands (as does the game Amnesia: The Dark Descent) that not showing you the threat, is scarier than showing it, and it pulls this off incredibly well to the point where you have nothing but a lighter, wandering down into the basement of an insane asylum in the pitch black armed with nothing but a bit of wood with a nail in it…It is fantastic yet so fucking disturbing. The story uncovers the events in such a way that you seem to forget why you are there in the first place, it becomes more about the town, rather than yourself and your own endeavour with your daughter. Although, you do get answers, you do eventually uncover the truth about Cheryl and every other character you meet along the way who are stuck in the same traumatic nightmare as you. Depending on how you play, does affect the outcome of some of these characters and effects your fate, it being good or bad, depending on how you play, what you do and where you go, changes the final scenes to suit. I never did it, but if you play in a certain way, you can obtain the ending where aliens come down and abduct you. I think this was a silly thing the developers put in for those who play in a bizarre fashion, but the fact that this game has multiple different endings adds to replay value. I only finished the game once, no way I am going back, it is way too real for me in spite of the graphics today looking like a child assembled it with Lego. There is one scene however SO COOL that I will leave it below, it is a spoiler, so if you haven’t played this game…Go and play it before you click the link.

LOVES:- The atmosphere is dripping with tension and pure horror. I literally find it hard to think of a franchise within the same genre that compares to this one (Silent Hill 1 and 2). From the eerie shadows in the mist, the ash falling from the dead sky, the dreaded siren sounding for when it goes dark, to the deep psychology mind fucks this game plays with you along the way through abandoned schools, sewers, hospitals and sub basements. Silent Hill is a puzzle solver, it is a survival horror, it is a psychological traumatic story for those serious about scary games. Anyone who hasn’t played through this title or its equally compelling sequel, I feel the need to point it out at some stage that it is a must. Yes, there are horrors out there that are truly terrifying, like Amnesia: The Dark Descent for PC. Alone in the Dark, for PS1, AvP (1999) for PC and Alien Isolation for the next gen consoles released late 2015, Silent Hill is always in my opinion the backbone of ever horror game released today. I hate the movie franchise for this game, they could not have got it more wrong. Regardless of how good it looked, it was a treat to visualise in the cinema or on Blu-Ray on a banging TV, but what they fucked up on was the marketing. In spite of what you may think, Silent Hill is not a monster freak show, it plays this card really well, but the true horror stems from real life tragedies and the journey to recovery one’s self or the fall into madness and endless despair. Silent Hill takes the worse-case scenarios from real life and puts a nightmarish twist on it. Looking at the characters of Harry and James from the first two games in the series, Harry loses his daughter and spends the game reluctantly accepting the fact that she is gone forever. James loses his wife to an awful illness, and travels back to the places where they shared times of love and joy. These two scenarios are prevalent in reality, these scenarios can happen to us and that is a terrifying notion. This is where Silent Hill draws its terror from and I both love it and am disturbed by it.

HATES:- There are no real hates for this game other than the gameplay is a bit shoddy, when you find yourself backed into a corner armed with a shitty pistol loaded with a handful of bullets you scrounged from behind a dumpster, and you need to make the shots count, most of the time you’ll fumble and miss, it is frustrating because ammunition is seriously scarce. You can argue that you do not play as soldiers or men of experience with firearms, so they would be pretty terrible at aiming, I can accept that, but this is a game after all, a little more accuracy from time to time and it would be golden. Another minor complaint comes with the locked doors, there are times when you are trying to get through locked doors or in need of finding keys, all the while in your immediate inventory you are carrying around crowbars, planks of wood, needles, guns and other cumbersome bits and pieces, pieces you could surely use to break down the door without the use of a key. I know what you are going to say, I am aware that it would be a pretty poor game if you could just barge through a door at will, but this kind of thing stands out for me. If I come across a locked door I badly needed to get through and there was a crowbar in the corner USE THAT! Not to mention the monsters in pursuit of you are really, really brutal and so horrifically freaky, do you honestly think that a wooden door would get in my way of escape, from a dead, faceless nurse wielding surgical knives…I rest my case, fuck the doors, be like the guy in Red Faction.

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I hope enjoyed this article, please check out some of my other articles in this Blog, be sure to have tea with you, my Blogs go best with a brew at hand and your favourite music being played in the background. Obviously I have other favourites, so many in fact on the a multitude of platforms that I am feeling the urge to write another set of these for the PS2 or the Xbox. Here are a few honourable mentions of childhood games I played on my classic PS1:-

Metal Gear Solid.

Rayman.

Pandemonium.

Final Fantasy 8

Spyro the Dragon.

Crash Bandicoot.

Red Alert: Command and Conquer.

Fear Effect.

In Cold Blood.

Resident Evil.

Theme Hospital.

Populous the Beginning.

Alone in The Dark.

Final Fantasy 9.

Heart of Darkness.

Worms.

KKND Krossfire.

That is it for now. As usual all the links to my own work will be listed below, along with all the links I promised to share with you within the article. If you have had any experience with these titles, similar ones to that of mine or perhaps can lend another perspective on the game, be sure to let me know via e-mail. If you have any topics you’d like to see covered one day, give it a mention and I’ll add my two cents on the matter.

The Hardback Edition of The Ancestral Odyssey: The Utopian Dream, will be released on the 03/09/2017 I cannot be more excited about this, it has been a long time coming. A Kindle Edtion is available if that is your thing, bear in mind you’ll have to purchase or borrow it Volume by Volume, but it is the exact same to what will be released on Sunday. Enjoy the rest of your day, I wish you the best in all that you wish to achieve. I am gonna see if I can watch American Horror Story: Freak Show now I’ve finished Season Three, Coven last night and still it is my favourite, a lot of people feel Asylum is the best so far and although I do not object to this, I love Asylum to, Coven I found was far more entertaining for me, I didn’t wander off in my own head while watching. It was far more compelling especially when the Seven Wonders was introduced and that deity, the voodoo Papa guy was introduced, I forget his name. One thing I didn’t like with Coven however, was the lack of a black cat. You do see a cat roll up in the intro credits and you do see one running around the hallways on the very last episode, but why they could not have had a little side story with a black cat, who maybe has been living in that house for centuries, who has seen more than all the withes combined. Perhaps the cat could have a scene with each witch and would interact with them differently. I don’t know, but that was main issue with it, when I think of witches I almost immediately think of black cats. Food for thought, thanks for reading.

Hardback Release Day: 03/09/2017

Author Page and Amazon Store – https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B01JMZ2BE6

E-mail – taotome@outlook.com

Twitter – @MegasTeque

YouTube/Promotional Work – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-nc_VEmC27AIz6pP51UVkQ?view_as=subscriber

Some of the links provided may disappear, you can always find them yourself if you tap what you are looking for specifically into YouTube or on another search engine. I do not own ANY of the videos linked below nor do I own the images stuck together in this articles image. They belong to the developers and the creators of the games.

Medievil: The Crystal Caves theme – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tifnGu62R98

Abe’s Moon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ondfiwhy-30

Art of Oddworld: http://www.ballisticpublishing.com/books/oddworld/

Final Fantasy 7 / Aeris’s Theme: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fIqKWLkm2-g

Legacy of Kain: Soulreaver Introduction: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lFiLNc46jAM

Silent Hill / Lisa scene SPOILER and Graphic Content: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LJHP4MK9CtY

Silent Hill 2 Trailer E3. Graphic Content: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=21s45Yel5VM

D.W.Gill

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The Red Dance Partner – Excerpt Four

I know I said I would not post any more excerpts, I am aware that it is unwise to post too much material online, however this is not an excerpt of Episode Two, this piece comes from one of my favourite scenes in Episode One – The Utopian Dream.

This scene depicts our female protagonist, Isabelle Verano, having successfully star called, pulling one of the twelve Celestial’s from their plane into ours in front of a few of the High Councillors of Virtue, within one of the Glyph Domes, places where Glyph Wielders practise and perfect their unreal abilities. Believe me when I say, I could talk for days if not weeks about this story and all of its finer details, but alas, I have the image above and the excerpt below for that, so I will not draw out this article with my baggy interpretations, I’ll let you view it the way you like and listen to the feedback, if any. In saying that, I did learn something that I should have learnt a long time ago the other day, it was when I was trying to describe my vision to Mr Sucevic, I was smothering him in details which is not a good thing. Instead of giving him room for his own ideas, I overloaded him with mine, which is unwise. It is unwise because one can learn from other creative people, you can find inspiration and you can grow from simply talking and listening to others. Of course there are some instances where things HAVE to be done in the way you want in relevance to the story. My advice to all those in my or similar positions is, let other people be creative to, let them have their own input and be sure to consider the good ideas. I do believe I have a very vivid imagination, I like to think that I know this story inside and out, that I know ALL of those little details, though when it came to describing this scene before work commenced, when it came to voicing it, sketching it and plotting out where everything had to be, admittedly I was left scratching my chin, left in a trance slowly going cross eyed. It is harder than you might think. After several attempts, a handful of late night conversations, plenty of e-mails and a bucket load of coffee, Bojan and I finally caught the look we were going for and we got the work done. Hard work pays off; Once you learn that success depends on what you put in, that determination and dedication is absolutely key, nothing becomes impossible to achieve and doors begin to open.

As always, if you like this Blog, my work, or have any suggestions for topics you’d like to see covered, do not hesitate to get in touch using the information at the end. Big thank you to all those that are following me on Twitter, never thought I’d ever reach over two hundred followers, it is very much appreciated. Huge thank you to everyone who is downloading The Utopian Dream onto their Kindles, I am donating all the money made to a charity involving the regrowth of lost forests here in Australia.

I hope you enjoy the excerpt, please be aware that the Chapter 14 – The Red Dance Partner, is large and contains more than just Isabelle’s story, it has been cut up accordingly to describe the star calling scenes only and not the others that obviously appear in the full story. Be sure to have an excellent day, please consider a purchase of my work or to refer it to someone who loves epic fantasy. PEACE OUT!

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Isabelle’s door was opened by a guard. She ordered him away and stepped inside the room, where the sensual scent of pearls hung in the air. A little light had been lit for her in each corner of the tidy room. She raised her hand a little and twisted it around, the warm candle light in the room brightening with the action of her wrist, the flames glowing stronger. She lifted off her top and draped the fabric over the back of a chair. The image of herself in the mirror stared at her as she approached the large square wardrobe. She gently let the door swing open and placed her hand inside the space, feeling the shimmering touch of her beautiful, fiery red dress. Carefully she released it from the hook and hugged it against her chest. Pandora sat on the nearby desk watching her mistress with those haunting green eyes, reflecting the candle flames.

“Isabelle, it’s time. Are you ready, my lady?” called a voice from behind the door. She turned to the mirror, looking deep within herself and spoke very confidently.

“Yes, I’m ready.” Hearing the footsteps drift away, further down the corridor, she continued in little more than a whisper: “Are you ready, my dear High Councillors of Virtue?” The candles extinguished themselves, their lone flames drowned out one by one until the room fell into darkness. Isabelle’s iridescent, green eyes were the only light in the sheer darkness, like icy, emerald ponds in a desert of black.

The High Councillors of Virtue had been true to their word and granted Isabelle the rest of the day off, though what they failed to understand was that she had not been relaxing during this supposed free time. The Chosen had been psyching herself up, mentally preparing for the Star Call that was to take place. Five of the twelve rulers of Xiondel City stood in a perfectly round, stone chamber; this was where people would practise with the glyph pearls that emitted Omnio energy. The gentlemen gathered around the round wide, central stage. The chamber, carved from black and bronze rock, was very dark inside. A few candles melted away in the far corners of the chamber, along with a single fire, angrily devouring its fuel of wood and oil, burning brightly, its flames vaulting out high. The basin from which the fierce flames leapt, ringed with spines and sharp teeth metal edges, sat directly opposite the stage and gave Yespin a vague clue as to which Celestial Isabelle would be Star Calling that night. She had, after all, been in and out of the room all day, preparing it for the arrival of the demi-God, making the area presentable and perfect. The chamber was fit for at least a hundred people, though at the moment it held only five men. Taktard and Darlo stood whispering together near their front row seats. Julias was also seated on one of the flat, stone chairs closest to the stage, which were in fact more like sets of steps leading higher and higher toward the top of the rocky room. The chatter quickly quietened down to silence. Cillian, High Councillor Charity, sat down in front of Yespin and leant back to him, asking:

“Did she tell you which Celestial will be visiting us this evening?”

“No, I left that decision up to her. I am confident in her wisdom. She has never made a wrong move in the past. In fact she rarely makes any sort of mistake.”

“We all make mistakes, Yespin, however small, we all make them, even Star Callers. I don’t believe you when you say that this woman is perfect.”

“You doubt her, don’t you?”

“I don’t doubt her abilities as the Chosen. I’ve seen her power first hand before, just like you, and it is most impressive, magnificent even.”

“So what’s troubling you, Charity?” asked the Councillor of Truth.

“I don’t see her spreading her wealth among the desperate, those without homes and families, those without shelter or protection of any kind. I guess it takes no power at all to give. These Celestials are powerful, but I don’t see them making things better in people’s everyday lives; it’s not the Gods that help, it’s the people caring for one another that make the differences, just as you said earlier. You were right.” Yespin nodded his head slowly; he always had a counter argument and Cillian sighed upon hearing it.

“As High Councillor Charity, only you can talk this way. Your argument is fair enough, but in truth it was indeed the Celestial Souls that delivered us from chaos and gave us a path. If it hadn’t have been for the first Chosen, Regina Corah – the one who Hallow had predicted would come, would bring us Starillia and awaken the twelve – our world would be a very different place and neither you nor I would exist. Maybe, one day, men will change and all of this will be forgotten, nothing but forgotten scrolls and writings on buried walls. For now, Cillian, embrace our peace and be thankful for it. We will witness a spectacle tonight that many would pay handsomely for. And do not be so naïve as to say that Isabelle does not spread her wealth, for she does, each and every day.”

“Where does the money go?” Cillian questioned, squinting his eyes, keeping his voice down to a whisper.

“Isabelle is always looking for answers, so most of it goes to education and to the works in Fevoriel; there are many buried temples and tombs in those lands, which may hold answers about our predecessors. Some of her gold funds Livale, on the borders of Tthenadawn Forest, where artefacts lost throughout the timeline of history are being uncovered on a daily basis. Old Druidic objects are the most common; you should go to the museums every once in a while and see for yourself, my boy. Her generosity has also helped to fund major developments in Xiondel, her donations have been most appreciated, and she keeps little for herself. I cannot believe you didn’t know of her contributions to… Charity.” Cillian sat quietly, put firmly in his place.

“Why is this the first I have learnt of this?” Yespin smiled.

“Isabelle doesn’t make her donations public; she doesn’t feel the need to do so, but we know it is her. She has already won the people’s love simply by spending time among them as often as she can. She has easily surpassed the popularity of Freya through her work with education. Each Star Caller has excelled in comparison with her predecessor, of course, but no one has ever been better than Regina, and I mean no one; she was the greatest who EVER lived…” Yespin sat upright and stopped talking mid-speech, something which Cillian noticed.

“What is it?”

“I get the feeling she does too much for the public and not enough for herself; it’s one thing to be selfless and another thing to be neglectful. Sometimes I get the feeling that Isabelle is growing weaker.” Cillian looked back at the stage in thought; he had more arguments left in him, but now was not the right time to express them, that time would come in due course. The other Councillors sat down and awaited the Star Caller, for it was time for the performance to begin. The chamber sank into utter silence, a lonely moth fluttering past the tall, double doors as they opened as one, creaking painfully on their tight, stiff hinges.

The Star Caller stepped inside, suited in a new, ethereal style, majestic for the Councillors of Xiondel to behold. Her golden hair was tied up in a top knot; along her arms were wonderful wrist bracelets and rings decorated her fingers. She walked with incredible grace toward the centre of the round stage, her black, high-heeled boots sending echoes throughout the chamber. The Councillors let their eyes wash over her in awe. As she climbed the stage, she had never felt so in charge of a situation. The Celestial she was about to call upon whispered words into her ear, thanking her in advance for the invitation to another dimension. A gentle breeze breathed over the fire burning in the big, silver basin and wafted the lit candles huddled together in the corners. Isabelle’s thin, teasingly revealing, ruby red dress hung off her shoulders and trailed behind her like a ghostly shadow. With all eyes on her, she stood in the centre of the chamber, holding her long-staff close to her side, focusing her thoughts into the act she had practised repeatedly for years. She breathed deeply. Her chest moved in and out, in and out, as she built up the energy needed to perform. It had been a while since she had called upon this particular Celestial Soul.

The soft whispering of the High Councillors quickly gave way to absolute silence. The ritual was about to begin. Isabelle closed her purple tinted eyelids, hiding her green irises, and raised her head, lifted up her arm and flicked her hand to the side. The double iron doors slammed shut with a deafening thud, extinguishing every flame in the room in a heartbeat. From the darkness rose an amber light, like that of a summer’s sunset. She remained in the centre of the stage, arm held high and relaxed, feet close together. She performed her swaying, snakelike actions in a simplistic but beautiful way, all the while keeping her eyes closed. Lowering her hand down close to her thigh she wove together delicate steps, yet still not moving from the raised platform. Slowly she raised the long staff in her right hand in rhythm with the flow of soft music coming from somewhere in the chamber. Isabelle Finally the Star Caller left her spot and danced gracefully and leisurely around, lifting her legs up high, twirling around. The gentlemen watching the ritual were shocked; none had known she was so flexible, able to bend her back so far. She always kept her balance as she danced around, completely absorbed in the steady music, gradually growing faster and faster, building to a climax. She shut herself off from everything around her, from the entire world of Equis and all her worries, crossing in and out of the realm of the ethereal, the realm where her Celestial waited patiently, surrounded by darkness and a heavy, blue mist. The drifting lilt of the music was her only guide now. Isabelle moved like a river meandering around a rock, straightening her staff and sliding her curves around it like a boa constricting its helpless prey. Her face remained calm, her mind focused on the ritual, but her body appeared to be on moving by itself without any conscious input. Her eyes still remained closed, the glyph within dictating her movements. This was one of twelve rituals she had practised and perfected. She made her way back to the centre of the stage with a fine leap and dropped into a crouched position with her long staff stretched out vertically. The ruby red dress eventually caught up with her and began to settle around her feet, so light that it floated down to the ground life a feather in a breeze. Not a sound could be heard from the councilmen in the room, who were silently boiling over with joy and anticipation. But where was the Celestial? The candles sparked and the small flames grew tall, expanding into pillars of light.

Suddenly, the basin of fire burst with a blinding flash! A bright light dazzled everyone except Isabelle, whose eyes only now opened, for this was the tricky part of the performance. Her eyelids shot open, revealing her fiery, glimmering, emerald irises. She arose, coming back to life and exploding into an aggressive, raging dance. She spun as viciously as an angry tornado in an open field. She tapped her feet and turned her legs on the spot, all the while twirling around, releasing her limbs into a series of spiralling kicks, constantly circling the stage. Her arms made use of her staff, which spun and swung, ripping through the air over her head. Isabelle ran around the edge of the stage, taking bigger and bigger strides as she went, a gleam of green from her eyes trailing after her. Picking up speed, she dove into a forward roll and flipped herself into the air! The councillors gasped at the height and danger of the move, at the thought of the consequences of a single, grave mistake. She moved like fire in the wind, the beauty of her leaps almost inhuman. The dress that trailed after her seemed to turn and move by itself, acting as her inanimate dance partner. The Star Caller leapt into the air and rolled into a ball, landing on her feet, slamming her great long staff into a hole at the far end of the stage. The staff stood vertical and the soft melody stopped with a thundering thud. A slower tune arose from the shadows, the candles glowing blood-red this time, and the basin of fire emitting its pulsating flames again. The fire ascended like a cyclone, curling and coiling up, only to plummet like a waterfall, splashing back down into the basin of searing heat. The lovely melody floated and crept into the ears of the observers. Isabelle had gripped the attention of her audience, she would have to die to break their attention now; none of them could physically look away from the spectacle. She paced around the staff seductively, exposing her thighs, giving the gawping Councillors a treat. As the melody grew ever quieter, she grabbed the tip of the staff where the clouded, lilac orb was indented and tried to pull something out. The music grew to a crescendo and the Chosen leapt into a series of back flips, coming to a stop in the centre of the stage. The palm of her outstretched hand convulsed with the effort of trying to pull something from the orb. As the magical sphere reacted, so did the basin of fire; something was trying to come through. The Councillors could just about make out a string of web, a trail of mist running from her hand to the orb. The web then shattered as Isabelle made her final pull! She lost concentration for a fraction of a second as she noticed something beyond Yespin; in the shadows of the chamber was a sixth onlooker! An uninvited and unwelcome guest. When she got to the long staff she pulled it out of the hole; this was her tool, her weapon, more powerful than a mere sword and a far greater defence than any shield, it was a part of her and had been since she received it from Freya as a child. There were a number of different staffs; an apprentice would choose her own when the time was right. Isabelle twisted herself on the spot, the melody repeating itself in time with her steps and leaps. The music told a story, though there were no sheets to read from, the unseen musicians had long since become one with their instruments, just like the Chosen was one with her glyph. She was in control of how long the music would play; indeed there was no set time for the ritual, rather it depended on how long it took her to accomplish. With a deep breath she turned and javelined the staff high into the air. Time slowed down, the men watching on as the staff fell through the air into another groove at the opposite end of the stage. The end landed perfectly in the hole and steadied itself, only wobbling ever so slightly. Her dress sank to her sides as a gust of wind blew in from behind her. A brief pause moment of peace followed as she stood completely still, head held up high and eyes closed delicately. Thin green slits shone through the gap. Was the ritual over? the men wondered to themselves.

Yespin managed to fill his lungs with air and release some words just as Isabelle burst into flames, the fire engulfing her entirely. Darlo shouted out in horror:

“VERANO!” but was held back by Taktard. The fire reared up and roared, loud and angry! A few of the Councillors looked at each other in panic; was this a horrible accident or part of the ritual? Yespin could just barely see the Chosen, apparently encased safely inside the blazing shell, standing normally, arms at her sides. His heart rate calmed as he saw that she was in no danger. He could see her mouth moving through the breaks in the flames; she was talking to someone – or something. What was she saying? The inferno gave way, opening up like a flower in the warmth of spring and then whisked itself away, disappearing into the air along with the flowing notes of the accompanying melody. Suddenly, all was quiet and still. Isabelle toppled onto her front, using her finger tips as balance, her red dress once again falling to the floor, only this time… Nothing happened. The girl looked exhausted. The Councillors sat there, stunned; even Cillian looked uncomfortable in his seat, he had not seen anything like that before. Darlo sat down, a bit embarrassed about his outburst earlier, hoping that the others wouldn’t make fun of him later over drinks. Yespin stood slowly, realising the ritual was over, and called out to Isabelle, now getting back to her feet.

“A fine display, young Isabelle,” he praised. “That was rather more than what we expected, I’m sure. I bow my head to you, Lady Verano. But where is the Celestial Soul? Why didn’t it come?” Isabelle spoke with the disembodied voice in her mind, the voice only she could hear.

“He is here. He is before you. Behold the pure fire.” A few droplets of sweat ran down her forehead, streaks of loose hair had escaped and dangled down in front of her exhausted face. Vapour evaporated off her shoulders and the pores in her neck. She took a long, deep breath of air, noticing the moth dying on the floor, its wings burning, sizzling away. She pointed to the basin, her finger glowing with golden rings, and then relaxed her arm to her side. Her eyes, still emanating green, were more interested in the moth, roasting to death on the floor. Yespin stepped down from the seating area and on to the stage, feeling a sudden rush of heat as he approached. The closer he got, the more difficult it became to walk, as if he was passing through a hot mist. Still he edged toward the basin.

“Careful!” warned Isabelle, “Be slow with your movements, Yespin. Do not touch anything or you will burn up in an instant.” She picked up the little moth in her hands, enclosing it in her palm. Yespin peered inside the smoking basin and saw charred rock and a dying fire. He glared again at Isabelle, who stood still on the stage, her back to him as she cradled the moth. Once again he inspected the basin; the dying fire was starting to find life once again, so he stepped away, a little startled by what he had seen inside. Darlo shouted impatiently:

“WHICH CELESTIAL?!” This outburst did not sit well with the Soul that made the journey to the human plain. From the basin behind Yespin a thick, yellow stream of fire arose, lighting the entire chamber brightly with pulsating, white light. A wide column, a rising stream of burning, golden flames grew large wings from its sides, closely followed by a tail of pure, intense heat and light. Once again Isabelle spoke the ethereal tongue only the Celestials could hear and understand:

“The Phoenix? You’ve always adored this form.” The men in the room knew nothing of the conversation, only the gigantic, flaming figure that had just materialised before their eyes. “Maybe something a little smaller if you don’t mind, my sunlight son?” she requested of the Demi-God. The fire left its wings behind and transformed into a large serpent, coiling around the curved wall of the chamber. Isabelle faced the Councillors and spoke aloud, this time in the common tongue: “BEHOLD… THE PURE FIRE… ARIES! CELESTIAL OF WAR!” The serpent, made entirely of a controlled inferno, slithered around the chamber, around Isabelle. “May I?” she asked, and the Celestial agreed, allowing her to touch him. The flames burned purple as she gently stroked, the radiant heat having no apparent impact on her. Aries was her friend after all; he would never harm the Chosen. The Celestial leapt up into the air and crashed down in the centre of the stage, now taking on yet another form. It now trotted in the form of a ram, with long pointed horns and a whipping, crackling tail, though once more made entirely of fire. The ram moved around slowly, staring at the council members, one at a time. The Councillors stared back, restrained by fear and confusion. Isabelle strolled over, her palms together and knelt down in front of Aries. The two exchanged whispers which the men could neither hear nor understand. Aries then galloped away from her, taking flight, turning into a fiery comet and launching itself into the heart of a tiny candle flame in the corner of the room. The Councillors had forgotten to breathe while in the presence of Aries, and managed to contain themselves until the last of the smoke cleared away. Isabelle opened her hands and the moth crawled out on to her fingers and fluttered away, fully healed, blessed with the full use of its wings once again. She watched it fly away, and then looked down to the Councillors, still struck motionless in awe. She gave them a look like nothing had happened. Her irises paled back to their normal colour, the glyph surges she had used to allow her to perform the ritual ran dying down. Her heart beat normally again after several long intakes of air. “Hmph!” She muttered, picking up her trusty staff, pulling it out from the groove in the stage and bounding down the stone stairs, wiping the sweat off her brow, flicking the droplets away.

The High Councillors had left and the doors had shut tight. Isabelle removed her hair net and let her curls fall over her shoulders. She could have sworn she had seen someone in the shadows while she was performing, so she now returned to the scene to investigate. She listened carefully for quite some time, for a noise or the shuffle of fabric, yet nothing came to her ears. Was there another presence in the room? She sensed movement in the surrounding darkness. Whatever it was it had not been infused with glyph, otherwise she would have picked up the scent. She had no reason to be afraid; she was the Chosen, a great Star Caller with immense amounts of power at her fingertips. Why then was she so reluctant to venture into the darkness? As she left the chamber, she instructed the guard outside to lock the door, and not let anyone inside.

“Yes, milady,” the guard said, bowing his head. She was joined in the hallway by her Glyph Wielders who escorted her back to her room in the Palace of Norisis.

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Copyright © 2017 by D.W.Gill
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means, including recording, photocopying or other electronic or mechanical methods without the prior written and signed permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other non-commercial uses permitted by copyright law.
All rights reserved. Published by Taoteque Publishing.
Tha Ancestral Odyssey: The Utopian Dream – Volumes 1-3.
Written by D.W.Gill.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or people living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

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I hope you enjoyed the fourth excerpt, I certainly did enjoy writing and re-reading it, it is a wonderful scene in my opinion giving you the first real look of one of the majestic twelve Celestial’s. Once again, working with the artist Bojan Sucevic was a delight, he is one of the most professional people I have ever worked with and I shall do so again, we have one more concept we’d like to tackle, so stay tuned for that because it is going to be a good one. To see his artwork prior to this post, it can be found in an article of mine called ‘Edge of The Black,’ the painting is called ‘Ruins of Imrondel City,’ I hope you check that out when you have time to spare. Also, please please please check out some of Bojan’s work on Deviant Art, it is nothing short of pure brilliance, one of the reasons I chose him in fact was because he cares so deeply about his craft. All links and contact info is displayed below for your convenience.

Before I sign off this article, I believe I owe you ALL an apology. I had hoped to have a Hardback Edition available for purchase on the 07/07/2017, but then due to the work load and a house move, release day was pushed back to the 09/08/2017. After issues arising with the layout of the front cover, having revised a proof copy costing me more than a pretty cent, The Ancestral Odyssey: The Utopian Dream – Volumes 1-3 will hopefully be made available for your reading pleasure, on the 03/09/2017 … If you prefer Kindles, the book has been broken up into three Volumes and can be easily downloaded digitally from The Amazon Store. If you enjoy my work and would like to see more of it, please e-mail me to show your appreciation and if you like, suggest a topic/question of your choice and I’ll consider talking about it in my next Blog post. Thank you.

E-Mail – taotome@outlook.com

Twitter – @MegasTeque

Amazon Store – https://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B01JMZ2BE6

Bojan Sucevic’s Page – http://sucevicbojan.deviantart.com/

Tree Regrowth Charity – https://cncf.com.au/catalogue/uncategorised/donate-a-native-tree/

D.W.Gill

A Letter To The Doubters

Writing this has been hard. I have gone through three drafts within the last hour trying to formulate what it is I ACTUALLY want to address. This usually does not happen, usually I have a somewhat clear idea of what I would like to write about before I sit down and start. Usually I’ve spent a good few days researching or pondering over my next subject, while at work as I pick avocado’s out from the tops of trees, while drinking tea outside my cabin or listening to some music in my office, which currently is a white van, a van falling apart that I park outside a library under a lanky tree where I receive somewhat good internet connection. Eventually, I figured out where I was going wrong with this post, the issue was not with the content but finding a good place to start, more of understanding what NOT to say rather than what TOO say. Once I figured out how to open this letter, it all just fell into place. I had a blast writing this just so you know, it was a complete joy, filled with relief and a small percent of smugness (I am Human after all). So, here is a letter addressed to all those people who doubted me, to all those who gave me a hard time, who laughed as I explained what it was I wanted to do, who held me back, made fun of and even attempted to bully me out of this choice, this letter is for you.

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To the haters

It hasn’t been easy pursuing this life, the life of a writer. I still struggle with whether or not this is my profession, even after a decade of writing I feel as if I can do more. There is so much out there that I do not know, things I will never be able to get a grasp of no matter how hard I try, no matter how much time I sink in to whatever it may be, there will always be something else to experience, and I have no shame in admitting this, I will never be the best, the idea I guess is to try your hand is as much as possible and just see what happens. What I have accomplished has its flaws but I can at least make a feeble attempt to try and fail knowing I gave it my all. What I have read, what I have seen some writers accomplish in my thirty years on this planet (that’s right, I hit thirty a few weeks ago) is quite simply beyond words, pardon the pun, it was intentional. From your perspective, it may look like we (writers) or I, am just sitting down in one spot procrastinating, indulging in laziness watching the world go by using my writing as an excuse to not do anything while others, people like yourself do all the work. Watching a writer work is mind boggling to most people, it is not like watching someone who works with paint in a studio for example, where you can see the change upon the canvas happen right before your eyes and transform within a single sitting, it is not like watching a footballer practise on a field or a dancer perfect a technique in the mirror … No, what we do takes time, what we do requires a skill set that you have no compression of, a virtue that most people in this busy world have lost, it’s called patience.

Patience is key when you write, without it you are not a writer, you can’t be without the ability to wait, usually this means waiting on others, but sometimes it is just to give your work that time needed to grow, and it will only grow with the work/time you put in. Of course, there are other things that one needs in order to write a book, such as endurance, not of the body but of the mind, you need to be able to write when you are not feeling it, you need to be able capture those feelings that are detrimental to our health, feel them authentically and do your best to convey them onto that bloody page. In fact (going off topic a little) a way to cure writers block IS to write instead of staring endlessly into the white, even garbage can be polished, neatened up and turned into something useful. One of the worst things I had to do when on my journey through my first book, was to carry on with the story during a failing relationship, it sounds cliché but it is true, it felt like I was moving on without her, facing the world without someone at my side. This is a very real feeling and it will test you, because writing is a relationship in-itself, a relationship that needs nurturing, needs a lot of one’s time, thought and care. It will be up to you with whether or not you provide these things. It may seem at first that this is a one-way street but I do promise you that the work you put in is rewarded ten-fold, if not more so if you love what you do, and I certainly love what I do.

You need faith. Faith is an excuse people use when there is no evidence to provide, this is much the case with writing. From a personal experience, I knew I had a story deep down inside, locked away somewhere behind a number of doors, yet all I had at the time was my ability to voice such ideas, to describe such places and detail instances, usually this was a clash between a protagonist and an antagonist. However, no matter how well I could describe these images and feelings in my head, this is indeed a low form of evidence in the eyes of many and comes across as just cheap talk, especially when the person you’re talking to begins to yawn or check their watch or worse insults your intelligence. When this happens, I ignore the insults but know that I need to do more to engage my audience. So, faith is required, faith in yourself and in your story that you wish to build, voice and share. Should you lack this vital quality, you’ll soon stumble, you’ll soon fall and be buried over the countless obstacles that are heading your way and cemented over with your own conscience verifying that your feat is ‘impossible to achieve’ when actually all it needs is you.

You need solitude, you cannot write at a party or in the company of others, if you can, if that is how you play this game, then by all mean go nuts, you can do something I cannot, though I prefer to be alone, with candle light, tea and in the company of a cat sleeping on a radiator nearby or on a printer I never use. From an early age (7) I’ve always had a need for loneliness, often yearned for it especially when I moved to the City of Oxfordshire. The first thing I noticed upon arrival to this amazing City was the unrelenting noise from man and machine, both equally annoying and both extremely efficient at drowning out the thoughts of my story, thoughts which get me by and hold together what little sanity I have.

You need trust, trust in your ability to learn especially when it comes to the formatting and marketing stages. Often, I’ve found myself in a position where I had absolutely no idea how to do something, it can leave you feeling lost, witless and a bit hopeless. It can be daunting and make you feel more alone than usual, like being lost at sea but further adrift than you initially thought…And you’ve just put a hole in your lifeboat…And there are sharks around you…There is only one thing you can do in this situation, you must trust yourself to learn new skills and to learn them fast because even your own patience has its limits. Trust yourself to do the work and not let it linger, trust yourself to pick yourself up after being knocked down, be ready for this to happen because it will happen a great deal. You also need to trust in the fact that you may not have all the answers right away, but you know you’ll find them, eventually if you trust in your process.

There are a truck load of other abilities you need, abilities that you’ll pick up on along the way such as vision, passion, motivation. Some abilities you’ll wrestle with and have to acquire through hard work and research. There are too many to list in this letter but I feel like I’ve highlighted the main ones besides one which I will talk about toward the end, because it is the most important, but before I do that I must not forget, I need to address you, the doubters.

With such abilities needed in order to create something beautiful, on top of ALL those things I’ve listed, creators have to deal with the haters, doubters who bring with them bundles of negativity who cannot help but fling it your way. As if trying to write a consistent, complex story is hard enough we have to deal with the small percentage who try to rip us apart at any given opportunity. Not cool. There are those that lift us up, more people I have found have lifted me up rather than attempted to drag me down but oddly enough it is the enemy that has the most impact on your self-esteem. I do not know why this is; Why is it that we listen more to those who hurt us rather than those that want us to succeed? If anyone can help me answer this question, I am open to your speculations. This is where things get a little bit interesting and amusing, because if you’re reading this, if by any chance you were one of the ones who doubted me, whether you were at school, college or a university acquaintance, a literary agent or a representative of a publishing house with more money than God! Then it is with great pleasure to announce that I have written a book, the book that never should have been published according to you. It’s an epic/fantasy book which is presented in the way I want it to be presented, told in the way I want it to be told and this is only the beginning, the beginning of something which I hope will redefine what epic fantasy is. Episode One – The Ancestral Odyssey: The Utopian Dream, was broken apart for those who love Kindles, I recently made my final update to them, they can be found on The Amazon Store, but also there is a remarkable Hardback Edition if you prefer to hold something physical, a book of Episode One in its entirety. To all those people who said this book, this Ancestral Odyssey could never be done, it’s impossible, that I was embarking on something that simply could not happen, that would and could never ever be published into print, I say to you, you’re wrong, you were so wrong. It is with great satisfaction that I write this letter, the feeling is uncanny. After all the doubt, the hate, the ridicule, I did it.

You know it really does something to you on a psychological level, when you spend a great portion of your life (over ten years in my case and longer in some others) pouring your energy into something, working so unbelievably hard on a project that is essentially the best you can be, the start of a path that you simply cannot falter from, something that is all you can be, a driven purpose that sees you through everything through thick and thin, gets you out of bed in the morning, gets you through that shift in a dead end job which pays like shit and is wasting your abilities. I hope you know what I mean when I say it gives you a joy that nothing can compare to, and then you’re told within a sentence long e-mail (probably automated) that it is ‘Not good enough’ or ‘We have more than enough clients’ or worse no response at all, that this is more than devastating. This is mainly directed at Literary Agents and Publishing Houses, most of you know how to do your job but you don’t know what it’s like to be a creator. Now, I am not saying that all work must be published and marketed, I am not saying that all work sent your way is worthy of more than hour of your time, I am sure you are professionals and have worked hard to get where you are today, but what comes across to us (the people submitting to you) is a complete lack of interest, a disregard of passion and an absence of even a shred of empathy. I know what you’re thinking, I know exactly what you’re thinking I do not even feel the need to spell it out, but you are the ones responsible for crushing the hopes, dreams and aspirations of thousands, people who may at the time not be good enough, and just need a push in the right direction instead of a shitty, heartless, automated e-mail saying ‘Nah.’ You are not here to offer support, I understand that you are paid to do a job and would not jeopardize your position, but in my opinion, from my experiences something has to change. I was several years into this project before I even thought about making my first submission, so upon my first rejection there was no way in hell that I was about to close my laptop and pack it in, I kept trying and trying and I did it all over again and developed a thick skin, thicker than yours no doubt, unless you know what it’s like to have invested the majority of your years into writing, but there are thousands if not millions of people who do not have a thick skin, who have not had the time to develop a layer of armour. These people could be in seriously shitty situations, a kid for example living under the roof of a broken household, a person a pay cheque away from living on the streets, someone who is at the end of their rope and their work is literally the only thing that is holding them together. Before you say anything, let me repeat, I am not saying you publish their work out of sympathy, but instead of not replying at all or sending that one lined e-mail saying ‘No, try somewhere else’ perhaps a few lines of encouragement, maybe a slight push in the right direction..ANYTHING..Is better than what you’re doing. You may be responsible for creating the next J.K Rowling (Remember her? The woman who was rejected seventeen times who is now in a position who could buy a planet, remember her?) or George R.R Martin, Jane Austin, Phillip Pullman and A.C Grayling.

The funny thing is I could be Traditionally Published by now, I could be well into my second possibly even third book, but instead I am just embarking on my second, due to the fact that I’ve spent so much time trying to convince you that what I am doing means something worthy of thirty minutes of your time. That’s right, I rejected an offer and it was in that moment when I learned that if I was going to get anywhere I would have to do it myself. I am not going to go into much detail but long story short, I was accepted and I was in that moment another being oozing happiness, but (there’s always a but) there had to be a compromise. In order to see my work on the shelf I would have to shorten the work by half which would eradicate the story and call for massive changes. I rejected the offer on the spot and tried elsewhere. After a few more months of further rejections, getting the same old tedious responses which at this point, did not feel like a thump to the delicate areas and instead bounced off of me like they were nothing, I decided not to waste my time anymore. I decided to make this happen myself.

You’d think that the story ends there, but it doesn’t, turns out that Self-Publishing is indeed harder to work through than Traditional Publishing (from what I’ve heard and read). With Traditional Publishing, you hand over your approved work to your Literary Agent, who passes it onto the appropriate Publishing House who goes ahead and edits, proofreads, spell checks, grammar checks, prints, binds, distributes and markets your work. Self-Publishers have to do all of that by themselves. I know what you’re asking; Why Self-Publish in the first place? – Simple, apart from reasons I have previously talked about, I cannot stress how hard it is to get the attention of a suit in an office, but after you hand over your work for them to handle, it no longer belongs to you, it is now a shared project. Not only are you bound by a contract but you no longer have full control over your work, you do not get to decide what content stays in, what and how much comes out, what your front cover should look like, when it is to be released and for how much and so on and so on. It can also take years to be released after the contract is signed. Sure, the work load is far less when you Traditional Publish but the trade-off is a hand over of power. Last thing I want to see is someone else who lacks originality, life experience and boldness fucking with my work, catering to the safest options for selling purposes. I know what is best for this project and the thought of me being overruled, forced to sell out and have my work misrepresented is something I will not allow. I’d rather start from square one than to see it turn into some money milking machine for a bunch of suits. I know that this is jumping the gun a little, it is unlikely my work will EVER be at such a crossroads, but just for the record, this is how I feel about it. If an offer is ever available to me, I’d rather keep my integrity than to flush it away.

In truth, to everyone who put up walls and barriers, from Literary Agencies, Publishing Houses and negative personal encounters, I thank you, for every obstacle you’ve thrown my way, for every hindrance you’ve caused I’ve overcome it time and time again. If not for you this book, this story would never have grown into what it is today, if not for you I would never have refined my techniques to create the best story it can be, and as much as I’d like to say ‘I told you so’ as much as I would like to indulge in the lowest form of childish mockery, I will not however tempting it may be, because unlike the people who drag others down, I want to lift people up, just like the people who helped me get where I am today. I’d rather see success come from each and every one of you because as I said within the back leaf of my first book, The Ancestral Odyssey: The Utopian Dream, ‘People are capable of so much’ it would be a shame to see people’s individual talents go to waste. So instead of putting up barriers for you, I wish you the best, I’ll even help you overcome some hurdles if you know me personally or not, you know how to get in touch.

I’ve talked briefly about the ins and outs of publishing and how difficult it can be. I have listed off a few key abilities needed in order to be a writer from my perspective. I’ve ranted and raved about the doubters and offered a little advice here and there, but I did promise you that I’d mention what THE most important ingredient to writing is especially of this calibre, and as cheesy as it sounds, it’s love, love for your story and the characters and world that you’ve created. Love for your work at times can feel like it’s dwindling, certain to go out in the times of writers block, in the times of lack of motivation and in the times where life gets in the way. All these things will hinder the love you have but if it’s true, you’ll always find a way to get back to it, even if you have to push yourself into the page, that love will drive you forward. It did me and it’s carrying me into Episode Two. Thank you for reading

Duncan

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Announcement

The book is now on sale. I really hope you decide to give me a chance. You can either pick it up as a Hardback Edition on the 09/08/2017 OR you can get it on Kindle in colour, because the Hardback had to have been in black in white. Please be aware that if you decide to purchase it digitally, you can only get it piece by piece in three individual Volumes, a beginning, middle and an end. As we’re on my Kindle Editions, they have been available for a little over a year now, well the first Volume has anyway, being released in April 2016, but all the money made from digital downloads will be donated to a tree re-growth charity here in Australia. Anyone can donate, I hope that you do. From reading their site which is also linked below, $3.75 plants a tree. Please consider a purchase, if this book is not for you then please, a share to someone else who may be interested will of course be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

E-Mail – taotome@outlook.com

Twitter – @MegasTeque

Charity – https://cncf.com.au/catalogue/uncategorised/donate-a-native-tree/

Kindle Edition – https://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B01JMZ2BE6

Hardback Edition – (Available 09/08/2017)

 

D.W.Gill

Alien: Covenant – Reviewed

Since the release of Alien: Covenant in May 2017, the internet has exploded with nerd talk. Questions, explanations and theories being flung around all over the place by loyal fans of the franchise, people like me who have been with it when it was just a trilogy, and those who are relatively new to these films who are half expecting fucking Predators to show up, I wish I was joking about that but sadly, there are people out there who confuse these franchises. Criticisms of all kinds, intelligent and not so intelligent are being raised, some people even pulling out their dusty old comics, novelisations, even referring to some of the mindless games we’ve seen being pumped out over the years just to make a point about that this new instalment is not a great one. People are showing this new film love and people are expressing their deep hatred toward it, just as it was like shortly after the release of the science fiction masterpiece, which is Prometheus, back in 2012, a film which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Alien has had a bad wrap for such a long time, so long in fact that a lot of people have given up with it and I do not blame them, with nothing but terrible adaptation after another it is hard to stay true, each one being more insulting than the last (Alien: Resurrection. Aliens: Colonial Marines. AvP and AvP Requiem). The Alien franchise was losing credibility, sadly falling far from grace, but that special day did finally arrive when Sir Ridley Scott announced his return to redeem the films that he started so long ago, and at that moment, everyone who loved Alien, everyone who had held onto their faith..’Came’..at the exact same time. Whether you were driving when you heard the news, walking to work, riding a bike, whizzing around on a roller coaster, relaxing in the bath, reading or cuddling a cat, it was a thunderous moment, one that we all remember as the day that we knew for sure, that we were going to see a good Alien movie returning to the big screen. Before you throw any abuse my way or turn off from what I am about to say because of my earlier statement about Prometheus being a masterpiece, let me just say that the movie is far from perfect, containing a few odd decisions here and there, some pretty silly moments which made me feel smarter than a biologist and a geologist combined (you know what I am talking about) and left the audiences with ‘Why?’ on their minds, which is interesting because people from the older generations remember leaving Alien thinking; ‘What?’ It is important to note that even the mighty Alien, the original that was going to be called Star Beast, was written off by critics of the time as useless upon its release, and received its fair share of scrutiny, as was Prometheus and now Alien: Covenant. Getting back to Prometheus though, overall it was a huge success doing what the best sci-fi movies do and that’s asking the big questions similar to what Star Trek does from time to time, you know the questions, the ones we’ve been asking since we formed our own independent thoughts; Where did we come from? Why are we here? And, Is there a God?…Although we may not get solid answers from this movie, I can at least appreciate what it is attempting to do by exploring some of these ideas and then throwing Xenomorph’s into the mix, a premise I like and am very interested in. Prometheus granted us the first movie of a prequel trilogy which will eventually leave off at the classic sci-fi horror we all know and cherish as Alien, made in 1979, directed by Sir Ridley Scott, one of the best directors working today, a visionary, a man who goes all out to create worlds, using as little green and blue screen as possible, building everything from scratch. Prometheus was a movie loaded with an insane amount of hype coupled with some INCREDIBLE trailers and sweet TV spots, some of the best I’ve ever seen of matter of fact. I can sit and watch one of the trailers and feel emotionally drained and satisfied by the end, they are that good, go and watch them right now, they are easily found on YouTube, I’m not kidding, go!

So much surrounded this movie before its release, what with the big human heads in giant rooms; Where would it be set? What was inside all those canisters? What is the deal with the mural on the wall that kind of looks like an Alien Queen or the Deacon alien that pops up at the end, it literally pops up before the film cuts to black; And, how the iconic Xenomorph came to be? Anyone who was a fan of the original Alien Trilogy which started over thirty years ago, continued in 1986 with James Cameron’s, Aliens (one of the greatest movies of all time) and finally ended in 1990 with David Finchers, Alien3, was now even more of a fan, the franchise being given a breath of fresh air. For those who weren’t or had never paid it much attention until now, quickly got on board and participated with all the talk and I could see why, because it just looked extraordinary with so many quotable lines just from a simple teaser trailer. As for myself, I’ve been with this franchise since I was a youngster, I saw it when I was too young and nothing, nothing has ever come close to re-creating the claustrophobic terror of Alien aboard the mining ship Nostromo or exceeded the intensity of James Cameron’s, Aliens. I’ve always been fascinated and terrified at the same time of the creature itself, designed by H.R Giger and the universe he depicted as a whole, it is indeed unsettling in a sexual, biomechanical sort of way. If you’ve seen some of the artistry in museums or in books, you cannot ignore the beautiful and yet nightmarish style it has, everything looks alive and sinister even within the somewhat empty corridors, something looks like it is lurking around in the darkness. It is obvious by now if you’ve read this far, that I have always held these movies with high renown which is one of the reasons why I felt it time to write a review about the latest release, but I am currently travelling, working from place to place, from farm to farm and do not have the luxury of a nice big TV, a sofa and most importantly, some quiet time.

For those of you who are new to this Blog, this is not the first time I’ve written about the Alien series. If you scroll back through my articles you will see a post entitled ‘Alien – Why it is so Incredible,’ forgive me for the lack of creativity in regards to the title, I know I can do better, I think I was a bit hungover at the time of writing it and just haven’t been bothered to go back and change it to something more suitable, but within that post you will see why I love this franchise, why I find it so immersive and why I feel (even post Alien: Covenant) that it is the best out there today. Feel free to challenge me on this but I do feel strongly that it is more meaningful than Michael Bay’s hollow Transformers, which took a sharp slip it never recovered from since Revenge of the Fallen, and I personally really want it to stop especially after The Last Knight which has been reviewed extremely well by Red Letter Media. The amount of money poured into such movies that deliver nothing but a brilliant firework show has become boring and uninteresting. Prometheus and Alien: Covenant is superior in every way to the new Star Wars movie, The Force Awakens, a direct copy and paste job of A New Hope, riddled with questionable directions, further ruining the ethos of the legendary franchise, almost as terrible as it’s very own prequel trilogy. Please don’t get me started on Phantom Menace and Attack of The Clones, please don’t because the wounds still hurt and before you begin to wonder, the answer is no, I have not seen the trailer for The Last Jedi, I do not care for it anymore. Alien is just as exciting as Marvels and DC’s comic book adaptations which are at the end of the day, fun filled light hearted family films for all to enjoy without much thinking required. Alien is something else, it always was and always will be, requiring audiences to think for themselves and to encourage people to go looking for answers rather than feeding you everything you need to know. Simply put, depending on what you bring to the table will help you understand them, it has worked for me in my experience and continues to do so. So, check out that earlier Blog when you’ve got time and please tell me what you think about it. There is an article prior to that one, called ‘Why I am done with Star Wars’ explaining as to why I will not be following the Star War movies from now on, and have decided to just stick with the original trilogy, which I do still love and admire, The Empire Strikes Back being THE best of the three in my opinion. Also, just so you know this will be my first ever movie review, doing something a little different to what I usually do. Understand that this Blog has been geared up to offer people who are interested, a behind the scenes look into my own projects, which I will touch upon briefly after I rip apart this movie. I have an up and coming post which I am seriously looking forward to, so if you like fantasy epics taken to a whole new level, be sure to check back soon and see what I have in store.

In this review, I will be mainly talking about Alien: Covenant, but I will veer off here and there when needs be to talk about the others, so SPOILER warning if you haven’t seen them already. I suggest before reading that you watch Prometheus, Alien: Covenant, Alien, Aliens and Alien3. If you can, play Alien: Isolation, the first-person survival horror game for PS4, PC and the XboxOne. It is well worth a play through, best enjoyed sitting in a dark room, with headphones in and phone off, as you take control of Amanda Ripley, who is searching for her long, lost mother, the famous Ellen Ripley. By no means is this a poor game like a lot of the others are before it which focuses its gameplay on action elements, it is genuinely scary, challenging and an extremely detailed experience, beautifully capturing the universe of the original Alien film, providing you with almost everything you will come to expect when faced with the perfect organism, as it stalks you throughout the wrecked Sevastapol Station, “Your home away from home.” I’ll leave a link to the launch trailer below as with a trailer from Prometheus and Alien: Covenant. Once you have indulged in these movies and played the game, come back and check out this review, only then will we be on the same page and less confusion will entail.

As I said earlier I’ve seen a lot of lovers and a lot of haters circling this movie like hungry sharks and a lot of people who are just floating around in the middle (like jelly fish) just asking questions while scratching their heads without actually looking closer, but don’t worry, I’m here to answer some of the most meaningful questions this movie has to offer. Share with me your own opinions and theories as to where this is all going and I hope you enjoy what I have to say, if not, just tell me to go fuck myself, I’ll probably laugh then get a little bit sad. Hopefully I’ll be able to cover most of if not all the topics, at the end of the day everyone is entitled to their own opinion, my goal here is to just present an angle of approach that you’ve maybe not thought of before, maybe I can convert a few haters and perhaps even get the lovers to love it even more. Whether you agree or disagree with me by the end of this review, that is fine. I’ve only watched the movie once, bear that in mind, I usually do not judge a movie fully until I see it’s DvD/Blu-Ray release where at times extra footage is included, so enough bullshit…LET’S GET THIS SORTED!

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_Positives_

-To get this started let’s cover what I thought was great about this movie. I think the fact that Sir Ridley Scott directed it, is overall a good thing, we’ve seen what other directors have done to this franchise and let’s be honest, besides James Cameron and David Fincher (yes, I liked Alien3, I will get into that later), they have ruined some of the key aspects of Alien and spoiled what it had originally going for it. So Ridley, I feel is still the best choice to steer these movies and I very much hope that he directs Alien: Awakening, rumoured to be the third and likely the final movie we get before it links up to our beloved original Alien. If asked; Who else would be a good choice to direct an Alien film, I’d either go for James Cameron or Neill Blomkamp. Niell was in line to do an Alien5 movie, carrying on after Aliens and ignoring Alien3 and Alien Resurrection.

-Like with Prometheus this movie is very symbolic, from the nail hanging from Daniel’s neck which represents suffering, to the themes of ‘In order to create one must first destroy,’ sacrificial rituals, transformation, quoting a poem written by Percy Bysshe Shelly, about Ozymandius the Egyptian Pharaoh, King of Kings. David even quotes Milton, a famous line from Paradise Lost feeding in a clue to the structure of these movies, ‘Better to reign in Hell than to serve in Heaven.’ Originally the film was going to be called Paradise Lost, but because they wanted to market this film as a real Alien movie, in fear of the backlash 20th Century Fox received after Prometheus, it was changed to Alien: Covenant. Personally, I prefer the title Paradise Lost, but the latter is still just as good, especially when the movie ended. Even the title ‘Covenant,’ refers to the Old Testament of the Bible, where God made agreements with Humanity, specifically Noah, Abraham, and Moses, contracts where he requires certain conducts from us, his fallen creations. I repeat, this movie is loaded, LOADED with references coming from a historical and biblical nature, even the famous systems appearing in Prometheus and Alien, LV-426 and LV-223, are actually Bible passages that tie in nicely with the essence of Alien. I suggest you check the passages out when you have time, they are seriously scary reads but intriguing none the less. I am not a religious man in any sense, in fact I am a head strong Atheist, but even I find The Bible interesting as a piece of literature, containing everything from beautiful scriptures to nightmarish texts and all the grey areas in between. Elizabeth Shaw’s character for example played by the astounding Noomi Repace in Prometheus, is baron, unable to bear children/create life, this gives food for thought about the whole virgin Mary, Mary being impregnated by God/David, leading to Shaw somewhat being the mother of the Xenomorphs. The ideas of an Engineer visiting us 2000 years ago could be where we got the whole Jesus mythos from, remember we do not have the original copy of The Bible, so it very well could (however unlikely) describe Jesus as being an eight-foot tall albino Humanoid, which we eventually killed, pissing off the Engineer race, deeming us worthy of destruction. That is a very brief over-view of why the Engineers want to do destroy us after creating us, because we’re barbaric, ruthless and fallen creations in their eyes. Religious theme is prevalent throughout this series, both its prequels and its sequels and is ingrained into Alien: Covenant as well, which I think gives the movie weight, depth, is thought provoking and pretty damn cool at the same time, bringing to the screen a holy and disturbing edge. Some people are not bothered with this aspect of the film and I can understand why, you do have to look a little deeper to find and understand these themes and although they add more to the story, they do not exactly encroach on your overall enjoyment, they are just something else to consider and I love it when movie makers do this. With that being said, some of my favourite movies, Silence, Devil’s Advocate, Hacksaw Ridge and Constantine are very religious based.

-Another thing I think EVERYONE can agree on is the general look of the movie, whether you love it or hate it with a passion, these two prequel films cannot be denied their gorgeous good looks. Truly mesmerising, wonderfully captured from the opening shots to the close, where the Covenant ship is heading off into blackness. It looks incredible and most other movies simply pale in comparison. It is actually hard now to watch other movies that do not share the same professionalism, for Ridley has indeed raised the bar in this regard.

-It was nice to hear the late Jerry Goldsmiths theme once again, played at the beginning of the movie as the titles slowly appeared, this brought a smile to my face because his score is particularly eerie, actually listening to it now at this very moment in the dark as I write this review and even though I’ve heard it so many times before, it never fails to send chills up my spine, sometimes I get the urge to just to check behind me.

-The acting was top notch, everyone did an phenomenal job. Never once did I feel like I was watching actors, I always felt like I was watching a real crew aboard a colony ship. The only actor I felt a bit iffy about when going in was Tennessee, played by Danny McBride. Danny McBride usually is cast to play comedic roles and he does a fantastic job in each and every one he is in, my favourite being Rico in Hotrod with Andy Samberg, if you’ve not seen that movie, for the love of God what are you doing!? It is hilarious, go and watch it because it’s comic gold. Anyway, McBride surprised me in this movie, all my concerns were quickly washed away within his very first scene, he was a pleasure to watch and although he did come across as the comic relief, when tragedy hit and it hits hard, I felt for him. Michael Fassbender however stole it, he is arguably the best thing in this movie and its prequel Prometheus, playing both David and Walter, A.I constructs built by The Weyland Yutani Corporation. Walter being a newer model of David, an upgrade, possessing less Human traits revolving around their safe guarding and line of duty, while David, the android once aboard the Prometheus now fiddling with specimen’s on a desolate planet, is a curious creator, the true villain of the story and such a good villain for this franchise I believe. Here you have a never ageing, forever learning, intelligent, strong, psychotic machine that is literally playing God, having the best of both worlds of a mortal and immortal man. The concept of an A.I with Human traits that turns out to be far more dangerous than Walter ever could, who lacks said traits, is in itself an interesting idea, the more Human a machine is, the more cautious one should be, brilliant. Catherine Waterson was also very good as Daniels but oddly enough, my favourite character in this movie was none of the above, it was Faris, the pilot played by Amy Seimetz. I found myself drawn to her in every scene she was in, she was kinda funny and I genuinely was rooting for her when the intensity starts and things start exploding out of peoples backs and throats. A very good actress and I’ll keep my eyes open for her in future roles.

-The idea to have couples, boyfriends and girlfriends, husbands and wives I thought was a little different. True people have complained that they did not know who was with who, but I was able to follow who was paired with who. This idea gives the death scenes which are wonderfully gory (need I mention the back-bursting scene) a lot more weight. Whenever someone is killed off it is not just another character, it is someone’s loved one.

-I liked the creatures. This kinda goes without saying, this is a fucking Alien movie after all, the creatures are the key selling point of this franchise and they looked as always remarkable. From the eggs, the new dust spawns and Neomorphs to the facehuggers and the actual Xenomorph. You could say this goes under the category of a great looking movie, which was my third point made, but there is a difference in my opinion between shooting the environments and the way characters interact, to the beasties themselves. So, I give the aliens a mighty thumbs up, when the Neomorph stares at one of the female characters for an uncomfortably long amount of time before deciding to literally bite her head off. The bit where Daniels and Tennessee are in the engineering room and the Xenomorph takes a little while to walk in on two feet standing upright, in a similar way to how a Human would. The more Human it behaved, the scarier it became just like in Alien 1979. The first alien kill made, where it leaps from the ceiling onto an unsuspecting guy made me sit upright in my seat, showing off the sheer power of the Xenomorph, tearing into him like he wasn’t even there, like his strength meant absolutely nothing, these Xeno’s are strong and can overpower, outwit and outmatch anything it comes across.

-The ending was satisfying as it was horrifying. Walter and David being the same model of android, look identical. During the end of Act Two of the film, David and Walter fight. Walter being slightly superior, gets the upper hand on David, but loses. We do not know what happens to Walter, but it is safe to assume he is destroyed by David, because David replaces himself as Walter, tricking the survivors into thinking he is Walter, easily stealing his way aboard the landing craft which eventually returns to the Covenant ship. I doubt we will see Walter in the next instalment, perhaps we will see what happened to him on the DvD/Blu-Ray release, but David puts Tennessee and Daniels (the last two survivors) to sleep, but before Daniels is out, it is revealed that Walter is in fact David. In the opening of the movie, we see Walter checking over the Covenant ship, being sure to look after the main crew and the 2000 colonists locked in cryo-sleep, awaiting their arrival to the new planet, a planet better than earth for colonisation. David visits this area, coughs up facehugger embryo’s, places them in with Human embryo’s and seals the shelf, strolling between thousands of Human’s oblivious and powerless to do anything about what he intends to do, and after watching the movie, we get a pretty good idea as to what David has in mind with his hosts.

_Negatives_

-Now that we’ve covered the positives, let’s talk negatives, the things I did not like about Alien: Covenant. I’ll start with something I found incredibly disappointing to begin with, but as I thought about it, it kinda grew on me after the viewing and began to make a lot more sense over time. I am talking of course about James Franco’s remarkably short appearance in the film, and when I say short I mean his screen time is only a matter of seconds. When I heard about his casting to be the Captain of the ship Covenant, I could not help but call up a friend of mine (another die-hard fan of the franchise) and talk to her about James Franco appearing in an Alien movie. He is one of my favourite actors, he has proven himself time and time over that he can pull off a variety of roles, from incredibly serious and desperate (127 Hours) to hysterically silly (Pineapple Express). Similar to Danny McBride, Franco is a delightful screen presence, we all know what he brings to the table and what he is capable of and after viewing the Youtube clip called Last Summer, where Franco is given a scene before they enter cryo-sleep, I was even more pumped to see how he would deal with the dreaded Xenomorphs. I have no doubt in my mind that he would have given a performance to rival Michael Fassbender’s. He also appears in a deleted scene with Catherine Waterson where they are in their apartment talking about the log cabin they want to build on the new world, not sure why both Last Supper and this deleted apartment scene were edited out of the final reel but I do hope they will be restored within the home release. What we got in the cinema was a second of Franco in cryo-sleep opening his eyes before he burns up into a crisp, then the grieving Daniels views an old video of him later on, climbing a mountain…That is it, that is all we got from James fucking Franco! I was so annoyed. However, it works to an advantage. As I said earlier, we all know Franco, even though we never actually saw his character properly fleshed out we all love James Franco, so when we see him burn we almost instantly feel a connection, a connection that cannot be obtained if they had just cast an extra called Bob. It also allows us to feel sympathy for Daniels right off the bat, her future on this new world now is a little pointless without him, she’d be alone surrounded by people building lives together.

-I praised how this movie and the creatures looked, and although I am not going back on what I’ve said, I am going to bring up a problem we all have picked up on, and that’s the use of CGI. For those of you who do not know what CGI stands for, it means Computer Generated Imagery. The CGI was brilliant, I applaud those who must have worked tirelessly on the creature, however it took me and a lot of others out of the story at times because we all knew we were seeing something that wasn’t there. We all know the alien is not real (thank fuck), we all know that this is a sci-fi horror show, but our minds want to be tricked, we want to believe what we are watching but couldn’t quite get there BECAUSE of the over use of computer imagery. If they had just pulled the old alien costume out from Twentieth Century Fox’s attic, that I believe would have had more of an effect than a creature that did not appear on set.

-It wasn’t scary. This is one of my biggest gripes with the movie and Prometheus for that matter which knocked it down a point for me, it just wasn’t scary, not in the slightest, I slept easy that same night where with the older Alien Trilogy, each film took a week of sleep from me, Alien and Aliens being the biggest culprits. Yes, you can argue I was much younger back then, but I remember leaving the film REC and Sunshine, afterwards I remember feeling a little disturbed … The main reason as to why everyone, literally EVERYONE found this creature so terrifying, was due to the fact that you barely saw it. During Alien, Aliens and even for the most part of Alien3, you only see glimpses of the Xenomorph, it only appears in full view for short periods of time and even then the lighting is usually dark.

_____

I guess that covers it from my end, agree or disagree, those are my current thoughts, opinion will likely change after a second and third viewing, but at this moment, this is how I feel. Some of the main complaints I’ve heard and read about other to what I’ve listed above, I shall answer now.

Q.1) Why didn’t the crew of The Covenant wear helmets?

Q.2) Why did David kill off the Engineers?

Q.3) Why did David kill Elizabeth Shaw?

Q.4) What happened to the Juggernaut ship that David docked with on the planet?

Q.5) What happened to Walter?

Q.6) Why did the Xenomorph mimic David?

Q.7) Is Alien still an alien due to the fact that David created them!

These are the most common questions which keep jumping out at me. I’ll do my best to answer them. If you have any questions outside of the ones I have found, or are not satisfied, please feel free to contact me on the E-Mail provided below with the question written in the Subject bar.

A.1) The film (from what I remember) does a lot to deter the reason to use helmets. There are a few conversations in the movie where this new planet, has an atmosphere and its climate is cleaner than Earth’s. In any other film with a given conversation between two characters, I feel like people would just accept it, but seeing as this movie franchise is huge, people are more than critical toward its content, critical to the point where they seem to forget that it is just a movie here for our entertainment, it does not need to be 100% accurate all the time.  Another thing to add, is that each and every take costs money, this includes the ones that end up on the cutting room floor, due to previous problems that occurred while filming Prometheus, problems like bothering the actors, inhibiting movement and offsetting the camera, to avoid this hassle I can understand why Ridley went with the choice to scrap helmets. Although it is not the decision I would have made, I do not think Alien: Covenant loses points because he chose otherwise. Also, do you know what I find even weirder? Trailers were released months prior to its release, and we all saw the crew stepping out of the landing craft and finding wheat, no one, I repeat NO ONE as far as I could see leaving comments, were complaining about the lack of head gear, it wasn’t until after the film was released, where audiences started to lose their shit.

A.2) I’ve thought about this question a lot, and in all honesty, I do not know why David bombed them with the black substance from aboard his ship, I can only speculate. This has pissed many people off because it was one of THE main reasons why most of us went into Alien: Covenant in the first place, to learn what Humanity did or not do to make the Engineers want to destroy us. Maybe it has something to do with the creation destroying its creators, it could be linked in with the poem written by Percy, or there could be some other view point as to why he did what he did, maybe he is just a broken android, maybe Ridley is still leading it somewhere. If I were to write Alien: Covenant, I would have answered it within this instalment, but alas, I am not writing the Alien franchise…Yet.

A.3) This is a tricky one, one that I should really answer when I’ve seen the extended cut, but there has been some speculation as to whether Elizabeth Shaw had actually fully recovered from her removal operation in Prometheus (which is a freaking badass scene), and she died from her surgery during the trip from LV-223 to Paradise. There is the possibility that David murdered her to use in his experiments. I think that Elizabeth died in her sleep; Why do I think this? Because throughout the movie, David shows real Human emotion whenever Elizabeth is mentioned, he comes across as being genuinely upset by her death. There is a snippet on YouTube, where you actually see Elizabeth putting David back together, and spending time with him as they travel through space. I do not think David destroyed her, in a twisted way, he uses her body to help create the Xenomorph specimen which answer the question as to why he loves the specimen, because it is a shadow of Elizabeth Shaw, the only person to show him real kindness.

A.4) If you are confused with what the Juggernaut ship is, it is the docking station on Paradise (considering that this is the planet Paradise) that David connects with before he bombs the planet. This question was posed to me almost immediately when I left the theatre and I feel I was one of few who was able to spot the crashed Juggernaut in the distance when Covenant’s landing craft set down on the planet.

A.5) Walter…He be scrap. I mean I do not know exactly what happened because you do not see him die, the film needed to be that way for the shock reveal at the end, but it is safe to assume that he is not coming back. Even if he was still functioning; How would he get off the planet? How would he be able to find the Covenant in the vastness of space? Is he really that important to the story? Walter is gone. We may see a flashback in the next movie but I really do not see why we’ll need it.

A.6) When the Captain of the Covenant has a gun pointed at the Neomorph, it seems to be looking at David, something seems to be going on between them, like when a man stares into the eyes of a predator in the wild there is at times, more to it than just acting on instincts. Xenomorphs aren’t stupid from what we have learned throughout this franchise, it is fair to say that Neomorphs (being more animalistic than biomechanical) share the same trait, so I’d say it is curious. More likely, David is not edible, he is made from metal, wires, android fluids and artificially grown flesh, he would not register the same as a Human being so curiosity would be a fair answer to this question. A friend of mine also reminded me that dogs, horses, cats and other creatures can sometimes sense the presence of danger or when it is unwelcome, David was not coming across as threatening, he remained calm and collected, so there could have been a mutual understanding here, before the Captain wastes it. This whole scene, tells me that the creatures think, they are perhaps not just killing machines. When the Xeno is birthed from Kane in Alien 1979, have you ever wondered what would happen if the crew treated it as if it was loved, instead of pulling a knife out and screaming? Maybe, we could have seen something else, but because the Xeno was threatened, it forever saw the space truckers as a threat and persisted on killing them when we wandered in on its territory. Fast backward to Alien: Covenant, David smiles at the creature when it chest bursts, he admires it and performs a simple hand gesture that the Protomorph sees and mimics, recognising that this is its only way to establish communication. There is a part of me that wants to think that perhaps there is a glimpse of Shaw inside, but that is just me and it makes no sense, but I cannot help but wonder, because it is all genetic, are there traces of memory that have crossed over?

A.7) If it wasn’t the unanswered question of as to; Why the Engineers wanted to destroy us? that pissed you off, then this IS what down-rated movie for you. So many people are finding the term Alien, meaningless now, because it is not Alien, because David created them. David did not create the Xenomorph, I repeat, he did not create the Xenomorph, he had a hand in perfecting it, this explains its biomechanical structure inspired by H.R Giger’s work. Remember the mural in Prometheus? This suggests that Xenomorphs existed or have come around before us; How did David create them when this mural existed long before his own creation? It’s possible that they are still out there, it is possible that the black substance which is organic, leads to an eventuality, the perfect organism. Let’s look at the meaning of the word Xenomorph, one of the definitions is ‘Without its own form,’ the creature needs other hosts, it needs other genetic material to grow from, manipulate and perfect, this embodies the very meaning of the word, Alien, it still is an Alien in every sense of the word! To top it off, remember the end of Prometheus? What comes bursting out of the Engineer chest in Vickers’s life pod? Something that people are referring to as, the Deacon, an under-developed form of a Xenomorph, and all this happened without the help of David, although he did unknowingly at the time, set things in motion by spiking Charley Holloways drink with a drop of the black substance, I believe because of the mural which is key, that a species exists that resembles the Xenomorph, the Neomorph sort of portrays this species before its perfection. David is also referred to as perfectly created, it is not unreasonable to think that he desires to create something more outstanding than himself.

That answers all the most asked questions I think, I hope I’ve straightened a few things out within this review. If you are unsatisfied with what I have had to say and would like to share a thought or two, feel free to use the links provided below and I will do my best to respond asap. I suppose you would like to know why I like Alien3 now? Not a popular movie and the most disliked in the trilogy. The reasons why I like it are as follows and I will not go into the details regarding the studios interference with the director David Fincher, who was under the thumb by Twentieth Century Fox and not given 100% control which he should have been given from the start. No, the reasons why I like Alien3 is that it does what Aliens did and more as matter of fact! It introduces a new type of Xenomorph, exploring how it works from a genetic level. In Alien we were introduced to a drone, in Aliens we got to explore the hive and saw the Queen, depending on which version of Alien3 you watch it either comes from a dog or a cow. Ripley has also been impregnated during cryosleep, we see the Alien behave differently around her, it even goes as far as protecting her, providing us with one of THE coolest movie posters of all time, where the Alien’s forehead is pressed up against Ripley’s and the two jaws are readying to take her head off, but we know that it would never do that, it would never destroy its own future. We see a new set of circumstances differing vastly from the previous movies, introducing us to the prisoners, the worst of the worst people you could ever find. Funny how in Alien it was space truckers, in Aliens it was marines and in Alien3 it is convicts, none provide the Xeno with much of a challenge, as pointed out by Newt in Aliens “It won’t make any difference” she was not wrong, no matter what the Xeno is up against it always wins. Alien3 is set on a new planet, Fury 161, a planet with a lot of dead technology. As for Ripley we see a new side to her, we see her softer side with one of my favourite characters Dr Clemen’s played by Charles Dance, a man with a dark past who chooses to remain on this planet, feeling like he belongs there for what he has done. Ripley, is his glimpse into the possibility of a future beyond, but this notion is quickly destroyed when the Xenomorph drops down from the ceiling and splits his skull in two. I like how David Fincher expands of the themes of religion and he does this masterfully well, by tying the burial scene in with the birth scene of the Xenomorph, the dialogue of Dylan goes “From within each seed is the promise of a flower, a new life, a new beginning” then the dog/cow literally explodes and a new creature is born. I love this scene however brutal and combined with the music, the music that is in-keeping with the tones of the movie, really does a remarkable job of giving you the feel of holiness and un-holiness. Alien3 is also gory as fuck and it is rumoured that the gore was toned down before release, it is bloody, brutal, gritty and the sound effects really tear into you, especially when the Alien rips through throats and gnaws on bones, so good. The scene where Ripley goes looking for it in the basements, still gives me the chills, reminding me of when the Colonial Marines go into the atmosphere processor, except Ripley is alone, without weapons and impregnated. There are of course things I do not like about this movie, it is a bit funny with the pacing and the CGI has not aged very well. The biggest complaint is that Hicks and Newt had no screen time other than a flash of their remains in their cryo-tubes. As much as I love these characters it did not bothered me too much, this is how the Alien films go, they aren’t fair, they are dark, unfair and cruel, plus I was too young to understand at the time so it washes over me, leaving me with the question; “I wonder if they had lived?” and “Is Alien5 still on the cards?” The main thing that I like about Alien3 was the general atmosphere, it is in touch with what makes the creature scary and is utilised with both CGI and real costumes. These are my opinions and I could list off a fuck load more positives and negatives but at the end of the day, it ends the trilogy nicely, it does not rip off the previous two, it does new things with the material and provides more growth for the creature and Ripley before they both perish in molten rock…Spoiler alert.

Overall Verdict – Alien: Covenant is enjoyable. It will be unfair to give it a solid grade without seeing it again from the comfort of my own home, but if pushed I’ll give it a 6/10 It does not come close to the original Alien nor compares to Aliens and I feel even Alien3 comes out on top. This does not mean it is a drop in the franchise, it is worthy indeed and holds the series afloat. I look forward to the sequel, Alien Awakening, and am interested in how this ties into 1979’s Alien. There are some serisouly great scenes in here, it is visually stunning, the level of detail is sick and I still would never want to ever go toe to toe with a Xenomorph. Zombies-Fine. Mutants-Okay. Machines-Find the off switch. People-Be smart. Xenomorph-I am not playing anymore…Alien: Covenant has its positives but is dragged down with some of its writing, but above all it simply is not scary, it failed to answer some questions hanging over from Prometheus, often when something is answered two more issues pop up and are brought into question bringing in more frustration than wonder. The film does not give enough screen time to each cast member which makes them sort of expendable, where as in each Alien movie before this one, I genuinely cared for the characters and feared for their safety. The biggest issue I personally have is YOU SEE TOO MUCH OF THE CREATURE IN CGI! Less CGI, more skinny guys and gals in suits.

Well, that was my review guys, hope you enjoyed. All my contact information and details about my own project is listed below, I also included the scenes we did not get a chance to see in theatres but will hopefully be included in the extended cut. Enjoy the rest of your day.

E-Mail – taotome@outlook.com

Twitter – @MegasTeque

My Work – https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B01JMZ2BE6

Prometheus Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=34cEo0VhfGE

Alien: Covenant Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=svnAD0TApb8

Elizabeth Shaw Clip – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XeMVrnYNwus

Last Supper James Franco Clip – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OuU5YwMx1EI

Obviously, Ridley’s work is his own, I do not own such material, I could be so lucky. Enjoy and please consider checking out my work, worked hard on this project. Thanks.

D.W.Gill

 

Edge of The Black

It has been nearly fifteen years since I started my writing journey. Come October, I would have spent the majority of my life working on building this world, creating everything therein, from the characters, the locations, the terrains, the creatures, the languages, the mythology and lore but more importantly, constructing a complex and entertaining story which encapsulates Human emotions and as many different situations and scenarios as possible, both good, bad and everything in between on a huge and small scale. Looking back when I started, I had absolutely no idea how it would grow, what it would become and what the world would look like as time went by, I was new to this game but felt compelled to start at the very bottom and work my way up, just to see what would happen, glimpsing here and there into my imagination, struggling to build, all the time asking the question; Is this worth it? The answer to that question is, yes, absolutely YES! I worked off my own experiences and what I saw around me for inspiration and help to fill the gaps. I remember a time where I did not have this story, where I did not know the characters, but even then, found myself thinking of stories, continuing other people’s visions that finished, wondering what would happen afterwards, some call this brain training of a kind but I had no idea what I was training myself for, I just kept thinking about things which had ultimately no consequence, I kept escaping, kept creating things in the black space of my mind. My world was once a bleak and baron place, it was nothing but a void I could walk around quite freely in with nothing around me in all directions. All I had there was a candle which gave minimal light, but as I wrote, as I began to record my creations and nurture them, instead of letting them go and forgetting them, things started to happen, the ideas began to set. Every time I came back to this space, I’d find something new here and there, a plant growing in the distance, a tree perhaps, some ruins of a structure nearby, a strange creature would make an appearance every so often, one that I had sketched out and designed months ago. I’d begin to feel temperatures, I’d hear water running and the wind blowing. Unfortunately, I could not be in this place all the time or as much as I wanted to, life has a way of getting in the way of what I truly want to do. I’ve been through my fair share, getting sick, working in dead end jobs, failing relationships, travelling and so on. Sometimes I’d spend large amounts of time away from this place and it would be strange returning after a long absence, but do you know what? Every time I’d come back for a lengthy visit or just a brief one, the blackness would be ever so slightly faded, the landscape would be busier, there would be a little bit more each and every time. The colours were less black and white and more embodied with vibrance. Gradually, as the years ticked by, the world began to build itself without my presence, things would just fall into place and I’d no longer need a candle to light the way, for the sun would rise and fall, the stars would shine and the inhabitants were alive. I’d be able to visit the Cities as large if not larger than our own, I’d be able to see what was in the sky above the clouds, delve into the core of the earth, swim out to the oceans and walk on the sea bed among the reefs. This place is no longer dark, this place is real for me and it is only expanding. The black is still there I cannot deny, and still dwarfs that of which I’ve built so far. Standing on the edge of the black is scary, especially as it recedes like the tides. I still have no idea what it will unveil, what is out there yet to be discovered, but the more I write, the more I uncover, and it’s always exciting.

When I review this work, and believe me I review it often, I see things that may need changing, may need altering in some way, but some things have been in my thoughts for so long that they do not need adjusting anymore, one such scene is depicted here, in this Blogs display picture. My skills at drawing and Graphic Design have served me well, I’ve designed pretty much everything at this point, going to University was worth it, it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. However, there are some things I will not be able to do unless a great amount of time is spent poured into the craft, time that I simply do not have. So I set out to find myself an artist who shared the same passion and love of creation as me. I put out a job opportunity online describing what I wanted, giving a very brief overview of the project and awaited a response. Within hours of putting out the job, dozens of artists from all over the world were interested, sending me some of their best works, selling themselves as best they could, I was flattered that so many were willing to help. Some, as talented as they were did not read the job description and were simply not what I was looking for so I passed them. Others were a little more on point but were more fantastical than what I was after, and again as awesome as some of the work presented to me was, the overall tone was off, I wanted a concept artist who could capture both a realistic and fantasy element, which contained the best of both worlds. After a lot of time searching through each and every artist even talking to a few of them in the early hours, I stumbled across one in particular who appeared on screen but hours later, disappeared from the list of those interested. Luckily, I remembered a link to his page on Deviant Art (I’ll leave the link below) and I went ahead and checked it out. Almost immediately, after viewing one of his first pieces, I knew that this was my guy, not only did he have the necessary skills, but he had that sense of tone, the element of fantasy mixing it well with realism within the artwork. It was just what I was looking for, so I dropped him a message. Turns out that he was indeed interested, a big project such as mine was what he was looking for, but due to an overloaded schedule, illness and while being in the process of perfecting his craft, he had to decline. Fair enough I thought, there must be someone else out there who could do what I was looking for, but after weeks of searching and vetting others, my list was running short.

I began to go off the idea, maybe it wasn’t the right time for this work to be depicted by another artist, maybe I should be focusing more on writing Episode Two. On a whim, I messaged the artist again, hoping his schedule had loosened, hoping he would re-consider. Not expecting a reply back, at least not for quite some time, I carried on as usual, going to work every day, writing bits and pieces as often as I could, filling notebooks, saving money and visiting the black now and then. Then, out the blue, an e-mail from the artist himself, not only had he agreed to illustrate the three concepts but he sent me a better sketch of what I had originally done. Overjoyed, we got right to work, I fed him my vision and he carefully illustrated, assembled and coloured it. The final version is what you see above in the picture, and I think it is masterfully done. This brings me back to the black, what you see here is part of my world, ironically it is a picture of destruction, not hopeful creation, but we can expect two more of these by the artist named Bojan, all the way from Serbia, and this is the first concept we’ve completed. It is called ‘The Ancestral Odyssey – Ruins of Imrondel.’ For those of you who have read Episode One – The Utopian Dream, which is available on Kindle soon to be on Paperback from Amazon, this illustration depicts the opening, Chapter One – And So It Ends and appears again in Chapter Fifty One – The Precipice. Bojan has done a remarkable job with the use of light, going from a beautiful sun set, a view of majesty and descends into darkness and chaos, giving the viewer and reader a sense of how the book unfolds. The character in the corner is one of two protagonists, I will not spoil anything for I hope you are curious enough by now to learn more, to find out what happens next.

As I said, this is the first of three illustrations/concepts to come, it IS important to the first book, a close representation of the very first scene you read. I’ve yet to talk to Bojan about the second piece which will likely portray the female protagonist (Isabelle, whose voice can be heard in the teaser trailers), standing before one of the mighty Celestials in another key moment in the story. I very much look forward to seeing how this next concept is handled. I hope you’ve enjoyed this article, I hope like the artwork because I most certainly do. When I settle down in one place I do plan to hang this on my wall in a fabulous frame. Please, please please visit Bojan’s page and drop him a kind message. The amount of time he puts into his work is phenomenal, one of the reasons I chose him over the rest was because of the fact he favours the worthiness of his craft over anything else, plus all creatives know that a kind word here and there, is more valuable than a bit of temporary weight in your wallet. Also, please consider a purchase of my book ‘The Ancestral Odyssey: The Utopian Dream.’ At the moment it is only available on Kindle devices but a Paperback will be release soon in July, August at the very latest. Check out Bojan’s and my pages, add me on Twitter, drop me an E-mail, all links can be found below. Thank you so much for reading and I’ll see you very soon for an Alien: Covenant Review. Peace!

D.W.Gill’s Author Page – https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B01JMZ2BE6

Bojan Sucevic’s Deviant Art Page – http://sucevicbojan.deviantart.com/

E-Mail – taotome@outlook.com

Twitter – @MegasTeque

Promotional Trailers and Radio Clip – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-nc_VEmC27AIz6pP51UVkQ

D.W.Gill

Colliding Minds – Excerpt Three

Before I share with you my final excerpt of Episode Two – Rise of The Black Doves, I wish to express my deepest sympathy for the families and friends who’ve lost loved ones due to the Manchester bombing a few days ago. My thoughts are with you all, what happened was a terrible, unforgivable tragedy. I hope everyone who is suffering is able to pull through over the coming weeks and months to show these terrorist groups that we will not hand them our terror, that we are stronger and more resilient than they ever will be. RIP to those who are no longer with us, you will not be forgotten.

Also, RIP Sir Roger Moore, to hear of his passing was upsetting and I’ll always remember him for his role as the legendary, 007. When I return to the UK I’ll be sure to watch a selection of his films that I’ve not seen as tribute to this fine actor.

This will be the third and final excerpt I share with you on my Blog. Although the previous two were a success and you guys and gals seemed to really enjoy them, I feel like this is enough to keep you all eager for Episode Two’s release, which has unfortunately been pushed back from a June-July launch day to an unspecified time at this point. As like with the other excerpts which I hope you check out after this one if you haven’t already, content is very likely to change over time during the writing process, but I assure you that all three excerpts will appear in the final draft. This segment has been condensed for your own enjoyment but please be aware that it has been spread over the course of a chapter in the book, mixed up among other character story lines.

Feel free to E-Mail me, tell me what you think and so fourth, follow me on Twitter and be sure to consider purchasing Episode One on Kindle from the Amazon Store. A Paperback Edition is in this works, the moment I get the final edit back from my editor it will be formatted and up for sale asap, I could not anticipate this any more than I already do, it is beyond exciting. Also, a concept artist will have a rendition of the opening scene in Episode One ready by the end of next month, maybe sooner if we’re lucky, I am looking forward to seeing his interpretation of this epic story through a painting.

Contact links will be provided below as always. I pulled the image of the Ying Yang off of Google, it does not belong to me but I cannot name drop the artist or his or her website because there is none to be found, it’s a fantastic image and works well for the context of this scene. I hope you enjoy one of my favourite moments in Episode Two – Rise of The Black Doves. Grab yourself a coffee before you immerse yourself once more, in the world of Equis.

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     Denzel neared the opened doors of the auditorium, before he entered he rest his board up next to the wall and placed his premade roll up in his front coat pocket to be lit and enjoyed later. Inside the light was very faint, a round portion of the roof could be lifted by the use of levers inside to manage temperatures and light, but currently this round hatch was not in use, and was shut tight. The hall sunk low, down toward a grand centre stage with thick wooden floor boards. Ringed around the stage were widening rows of seats behind conjoined work surfaces, on a usual day, these rings would be full of attendants of Gaia, to listen and to learn from well-educated lecturers and teachers. Upon this wooden stage was a black chalk board. Half of what was written upon it had been recently wiped away with a duster, but something decipherable remained written upon it, something profound. Professor Atheriax was on the stage, sitting on a tall stool behind a high rectangle table reading from a notebook. He wore black lecturing robes over a dark green expensive waist coat, his tie was purple, his shoes were polished, his appearance in general was smart and very neat, a man of the modern age. Denzel found a pair of small brass binoculars attached to a thin rod lying on one of the seats close by. These must have been left behind by a student. He looked through the lenses and read what was on the chalk board. Taking away the binoculars from his eyes, he begun the calculations in his head, dividing up the numbers, reducing their meaning into singularities until he was left with one, the answer. Denzel knocked on the door with one hand twice, putting the lenses back onto the seat. Master Professor Caleb Atheriax, swiveled around on his stool and looked up, squinting his eyes and smiled at the arrival of his guest. Denzel stood still, waiting for a further invitation. This was Caleb’s building after all, one of his workplaces, it would be rude to just stroll on in after arriving so late. “Denzel Suade! How nice of you to come. I thought you might not make it. You have a tendency to be pre-occupied with other matters, mostly work related I assume. I respect that. It’s always good to see a man caring about his occupation as much as I do, whatever it may be” said Caleb, closing the notebook, putting it onto his desk and pushing it away from himself “Please, come in, take a seat.” Denzel began to descend the stairs that split the ringed rows of seats that lead down to the hall, he did this in no hurry for a calculation were still taking place in his head. “Caleb Atheriax, as do you have a tendency to show devotion to your work? It’s an admirable feature I like to see in someone, unfortunately lacking in most people I meet” Caleb put his hands together and rest his back up on his wooden stool “I think there is a Master Professor in there somewhere, but I’ll excuse you.” Denzel sided a smile to this statement and then drew his attention to the chalk board. Caleb could see that his eyes were taking a keen interest in it “That code, written upon your board” said Denzel. “It pre-dates our origins and has its own historical life to draw on” Caleb explained, secretly thrilled that Denzel could engage with him in conversation about it. “Indeed, it predates our own origins by a significant amount of time, seven millennia I’d say was accurate. Wouldn’t you agree?” asked Denzel, hands behind his back, gradually getting nearer. Caleb agreed, dipping his head the one time. Denzel got back to studying the board “This is not a phrase, it’s what some people call a hybrid equation, more than rare” said Denzel being everything Caleb had expected “A combination of highly advanced mathematical numerals whisked in with ancient philosophy, blended with chemistry and biology all written in a language from an extinct predeceasing race, existing seven thousand years ago, seven and a half more accurately speaking. Interesting” said Denzel, studying the code as quickly as he could, it speaking to him on a level he had not encountered before, at least some of it did, worryingly, other pieces of the riddle were fuzzy, out of focus for his mind to make sense of, but they would soon be deciphered and made visible if he kept pace with his mental calculations. “If the hybrid speaks to you Denzel, I’ll have to give you a prize, a prize of the century” said Caleb. Denzel’s attention left the board and fixed itself on to Caleb’s much older, wiser face. The Professor still had all of his hair, though there were signs of greying at the roots near his temples, he looked good for his elderly age, he wasn’t skinny or ill, he could walk perfectly well with pride, jog even put on a run if he wished “Welcome to my auditorium Mr Suade, treat this as if it were your study area, during closed hours of course.” Denzel looked around the auditorium while he strolled steadily down the steps, his footsteps echoing around this rich lecturing hall. “It’s impressive, a fine work place indeed. I’m envious of your achievements and jealous of the many places you’ve visited that I have yet to” he praised genuinely, chin held up high. “As am I Mr Suade, as am I. I’ve heard about you and what you wish to accomplish, I wish you the best of luck it being such a tricky subject to fathom, one of the hardest, the human mind” said Caleb “But not impossible to unlock.” “Thank you, sir” replied Denzel. “I’ve been following your progress as best I can Denzel, but I’m a busy man as you know” Denzel nodded as he neared the stage, eyes occasionally drifting to and from the board, hiding his concern for he had not one singularity yet, but dozens and counting building upon one another “Tell me, how is the postal service coming? I hear it can get particularly hectic around this time of year” “It’s manageable, so long as everyone does their part things get done on time, but no one can help unforeseeable mishaps” Denzel answered. “I see. I had a package that was late yesterday, the contents of which were rather important to me. I felt like dropping by your establishment to make an enquiry but I never got round to it. Do not worry, I will not lodge a complaint, the package arrived safely a day afterward, no harm done” Denzel did not reply to this, he just pouted his lips and nodded “Are you pressed for time or do you have a moment to spare?” “I have a moment Caleb, but I won’t be staying long” “Care for a refreshment while we talk?” Caleb offered. “Very much so. What are you serving?” asked Denzel. Caleb invited Denzel on to the stage and lifted up a metal flask from his leather bag resting at the side of his feet “Ground coffee all the way from the tops of mountains in Pura, nearby one of your friend’s estates, The Glazed Vineyards, I only settle for the very best. I hope you do not mind, it’s quite strong and does not contain any sweetener” “Divine, I take it the same way.” Caleb popped the lid and poured a little into two cups, one for himself and one for his guest “Before I forget, you must congratulate Nielata for me next time you see her, I hear she has been granted the rank of High Councillor” Denzel could not help but look at the chalk board, he hesitated to make his response on time which threw him off and the Master Professor caught on, while handing him the cup of hot coffee. “Still trying to figure it out I see?” he asked “It’s a head scratcher I must admit” “Yes, she was named High Councillor Charity after Cillian Landris’s demise. I hope she is ready for the responsibilities that entail, we all do, for her sake” “As do I. I respect those Denzel who rise for great responsibility, to be all that they are, especially in this day and age of, uncertainty. We need good people to see us through these trying times” said Caleb, with his noticeable cultured voice, coming from an older Norkron time in history, while Denzel’s was youthful, similar to a Norkron accent yet not as proper, like he used to speak as any common Requorn but had adapted to the accent of old. After Denzel took the coffee with one hand, Master Caleb held out his hand for a proper greeting. Denzel chose not to see the friendly gesture and instead took a sip of the hot drink and sat down still in admiration of the hybrid equation. Caleb recoiled his hand and closed it, not taking it personally. He turned and sat back down onto his stool, opposing Denzel.

     Master Caleb had a sip of hot coffee, holding the warm cup close to his face with both hands, smelling the rising heat of the dark bitter aroma. Denzel sat opposite, in a laid back slouched position, one hand was deep inside his pocket the other rested around the handle of his cup. His mind, his veiled, inquisitive nature in free flow, forming three trails of thought. One trail was here, present, acting in the moment, taking note of everything the Professor said and did. Another trail was analyzing what little there was to be analyzed in the auditorium, every detail from the scuffs on the chalk board, the cracks in the table, to the clothes the Professor wore, he saw. And finally, the last trail was soaking up more and more of his focus by the minute. It was of course, attempting to find the solution to the hybrid equation. Every move Caleb made, every gesture, remark and facial emotion expressed, Denzel did more than just see it, but he sampled it, had predicted the actions that had not happened yet and dismissed it as if it were as easy and as thoughtless as breathing. He called this practice of his, the foresight waltz. All the while he had to make sure to behave casually and not get lost in his trance, should he overthink, the hesitation could last as long as a noticeable three seconds. “I’ve read your papers, thoroughly. Your studies are explained so eloquently. I have someone in my services, someone I think you may wish to talk to about publishing your work, the first step toward the success you rightly deserve” said Caleb. “Success is subjective, Professor” “Quite right. Living here can become difficult, you’ve probably noticed it during your many tours of the City. Your publication can afford you more comfortable lodgings, a view perhaps and buy you the time to try and perfect what you have built. I can make this happen, if you’d like?” polite were Caleb’s words, kind were his intentions toward Denzel, yet the young lad squinted, crunching his face. Something about what Caleb had just said, Denzel didn’t quite agree with. “Try, and perfect?” he questioned “My work can be understood by any thinking man or woman of the City, anyone who has grown up with a proper education should be able to grasp the practice and what I’ve described therein. Those who decide to read my material are advised in the earliest pages that this requires your full attention, no half-measured amount will do, not in this field of psychology” “But no one knows you’ve written a book, it is only available to a handful of people” said Caleb. “I have other works that take up much of my time, works that have been plaquing me for a troublesome amount of time, two years, eleven months and sixteen days to be precise, and I’d like to be done with it, perhaps then there will be time to see the work I’ve produced be copied and put into libraries for all to read, but for now I’m busy” said Denzel. Caleb smiled and replied “I understood your work, I enjoyed it, but until it’s been put into play, until your practices show promising results in the field, how can I or anyone else for that matter be sure that it works?” Denzel took a heavy breath “I’m undertaking the task as we speak, the field is this room, my field is here, now and everywhere Professor” Caleb’s green eyes met Denzel’s wood brown ones. Caleb looked like he wanted to correct him, but he kept his words saved for a more appropriate time “I will be the one who decides whether or not my methods work, not you or one of your…Students, under your employ. Apologies if I sound rude but I like to speak my mind.” Caleb placed his cup down on the table and said “What you plan to unravel is a bold exercise, to detect choices, reactions and possibilities before the subject is even aware of them themselves. Persons, subjects vary so much, the mind is a diverse and extreme place. I warn you, if you venture inside the heads of your enemies or friends, you may not like what you find” “Let’s stick with enemies for now” said Denzel. “You play a very dangerous game” replied Caleb. “Fortune is often the great reward when paying for it with chests of boldness” said Denzel. “It’s never been done before, this is why I believe in you Denzel, I like how you’ve ignored all your peer’s advice after your graduations, and not hesitated to dive straight into the big leagues of education, but I am left wondering with the question on the tip of my tongue; Why? What set you on this path and what it is you want to actually achieve here?” Denzel took a sip from his coffee cup and savored the taste, dark and bitter “Why don’t you say what you came here to say, Denzel Suade? You said you like to speak your mind. Please do not waste any more of my time” asked Caleb, putting his hands together, awaiting the response of his guest. Denzel stood after the calculations in his head finished their mental arithmetic’s that found him one of many singularities. This one would have to do for now because he knew his presence was becoming unwelcome and awkward. He put his back to the Professor and answered “Upon the board, I’ve noticed your hybrid equation has no ending, just a suggestion, it has no solution. No result is within sight” taking out a pouch of tobacco folded in a brown bag, he started to roll himself up a smoke “This in turn means that either we are both indulging in things we do not fully understand, our knowledge is wrong and will at some point take a drastic turn for better or more than likely, for the worse. Or, this option being far more likely must I add, the code is in fact incomplete, it being part of a much larger equation” Denzel licked the paper, sealing the roll and placed it on the table, he then moved close to the chalk board, standing before it, ready to tackle the problem with what answer he had concluded. He necked his coffee “I’m sorry, may I?” Denzel asked placing the cup down, holding out his hand. Caleb handed him the duster. Denzel erased some of the numerals and smeared out a part of an abbreviation. He carefully re-arranged the equation to how it should have been, using the chalk to fill in the gaps, tweaking a couple of the symbols. Eventually, after a brief period of reorganizing the puzzle, he stepped away, put the chalk on the rim of the board and dusted his hands off, grinning at Caleb. “There, the equation now is not a hybrid but a singular, something we are more familiar with, something we can perhaps put to good use. It has meaning and an answer. It’s easily understandable if you take note of the first few sections” Denzel used his hands to point out what he meant “Here and just here, they must coincide to level out the spikes in radical spontaneity as suffered before, another word, a far simpler word for the spikes is, chaos.” Caleb scratched his chin as he listened “The numbers helpfully direct you to the biology and by that route they lead you to the chemistry. The chemistry is then broken down into easily devised proportions, anyone with a basic knowledge should be able to figure out what this string of code means and, well there you have it, the meaning” “And what does it mean, Denzel?” Caleb knew, he just wanted to hear Denzel say it. “These components Caleb, this equation derived from the prior is a code for…Life” answered Denzel, picking up his roll and popping it in his mouth “Unlike your hybrid which has a variation of endings, endings I could only begin to calculate telling a disturbing and unsettling unfinished story, mine results in hope with the promise of life, rejuvenation and continuation. The ending is the most impressive piece, the ending among the gaps and mathematic poetry is, ingenious.” Caleb gave Denzel an applause “Well done” his thin smile lifted up on to one side of his face. The Professor pulled from his bag a very small box and arose. Coming closer to Denzel, he pulled from inside this box a collection of finely cut sticks and a square sheet of rough sandy paper, he struck the end of one of these sticks along the paper and the end of the stick lit up into a single yellow flame, Denzel leant forward, allowing Caleb to light up his roll and inhaled the smoky, smooth taste of tobacco. Caleb placed the little box on the table and distanced himself from his young guest, exhaling a cloud of smoke. “Very well done indeed Denzel” Caleb picked up his coat hanging from the back of his stool, he felt it time for him to leave “I expected nothing less from you” he said throwing his coat over his shoulders. Denzel was just getting comfortable within this man’s presence and now he wanted to leave! “I trust you will show yourself out, forgive me but I have a meeting I must attend to and I do not want to be late” said Caleb, packing up his few belongings, heading for the steps of the stage. As he placed a foot upon the first step Denzel spoke out to him “I’ve chosen my prize.” Caleb turned as did Denzel, restarting the calculations in his head. “I beg your pardon?” questioned Caleb. “Your hybrid equation spoke to me, I suspect you didn’t think it would. Not only did I see through it but I re-arranged it into something practical and useful” “You over credit yourself but, I will do as I said, name your prize” Caleb was quick to cut to the chase. “How about a little honesty, Professor? Remove the veil of lies that protects you from those who think you a friend, clear the shroud of deceit that keeps you safely away from Krondathian justice and drop the mask which shadows your creative genius, and expose to me what lies beneath, your true maniacal nature with an endless appetite for destruction” “You confuse me with someone else” said Caleb. “Then show me?” “Should I do that, Denzel Suade, I believe you’d flee. The side you see now is the only barrier preventing tragedy from befalling on you and everyone you see around you. The notion of your very existence gives me purpose, fills me with warmth of joy that there is at least one person out there, who speaks my language. What pleasure can be gained if we remove you from the field so soon?” asked Caleb. Denzel puffed out some thick smoke and stepped through it as he replied “Tease your subjects Caleb, by all means play them with your games and trickery for you’d win, each and every time. Attempt thus so with me and you’d lose. You’ve picked your battles wisely up to now, and now that you’ve stirred my curiosity like dangling string over a feline, I will attempt to unravel your devises” warned Denzel. “Ah, so the boy detective finally reveals himself at last. You are not here out of common courtesy are you? You are here out of self-gain, am I correct?” asked Caleb, stepping back upon the stage. “Correct” answered Denzel. “Well now that my mask has fallen, it’s time to remove yours. How may I be of service to you Mr Suade?” “Tell me what happened to my father? Last I heard from him he was under your instruction, I have the letter tucked away safe and memorised, its dated two years, eleven months and sixteen days ago” Denzel demanded, taking the roll up out of his mouth after a brief drag. “Like father like son, always asking one too many questions and, venturing into domains you really shouldn’t go. Your father is dead Mr Suade. Do as we all must do and accept that our guardians will die.” “I accept the fact that all guardians die, what I do not accept however is when they are taken before their time. As have many others been lost under your employ, their deaths written off as accidents or unforeseeable incidents, brave sacrifices all for the pursuit of a great cause” “A cause, which will lift our race above any other” “People dyeing is a tragedy Caleb, people dying for a cause they are unaware of is a disgrace. The natural order has been cheated, if what you say is true and my father was slain by yourself or one of your cronies, I will go looking for the evidences, will follow your bread crumb trail all around the world if I have to, and present the evidences I find to the Night Guard head officer in the City, Lance I believe is his name, Fredrick Lance or perhaps I’ll raise a discussion with General Lethaniel Presian himself, he has a knack for slicing up troublemakers, wouldn’t you agree? Of course, you could save me the trouble, make it easy for yourself, and tell me what events occurred and where he is? Should you tell me, I will do you the honour and postpone the chase. Choose wisely, Professor, because whether you like it or not, your days of freedom, your puppets of New Xiondel, will not remain yours for long” said Denzel, repositioning the roll in his mouth. There was a pause between them. Caleb realised that he had long lost Denzel as a potential Student and work partner. Both knew where they stood, the line between them was clear and permanent. “You think that I have not been challenged before, that I have worked without resistance? You disappoint me Denzel with your fragile hollow threats and lose sight of the bigger picture, a picture that ascends far beyond anything you can comprehend. I know this because you failed to see the hybrid for what it is” Denzel did not respond, he held on to a grim expression as Caleb continued “You remind me of your father, you have his strength. He died tragically, keeled over after inhaling highly toxic spoors from the Seizurelock Plant. You are familiar with this particular organism and how it feeds, I assume? We left him where he fell to sleep peacefully within the cove” Denzel could not know if Caleb was speaking the truth but he did know about the Seizurelock Plants, one of the deadliest plants in Equis, getting too close to this plants scent can induce a coma, falling into a flower bed results in death, a very slow death while the plants ingest you through the soil from which they grow, draining all nutrients that reside inside a body. Denzel’s eyes filled and his jaw tightened, he avoided Caleb’s face and looked back at the equation on the chalk board “Feel free to report me to Presian, I can speak a word and he is easily misdirected, like a loyal dog I speak to him as would I be if on his level, it’s humiliating for someone like me. As for the Night Guard Officer, just be aware that it’s thanks to me that they act as our security force at night, they keep us safe from the unlawful, safe from those who want what you have, they watch over the innocent and…The sick, as they sleep in their beds. You have your mother’s eyes, did you know?” Denzel froze, twisted his head and glared at Caleb’s grinning face “Am I right in thinking this will be our last meeting Mr Suade?” asked Caleb, succeeding in getting his warning across. “You’ve done much for this City in which I and my family are thankful for. You have powers surpassing my own and the backing of the law, you think this is enough but I bare you fair warning before you harm anyone else, from one morale Human being to another immoral man cursed with lunacy. Threaten those close to me again and I assure you with a confidence you’ve lost with the tick of time, that not your Night Guard, not those you pay in the shadows for protection or the law itself, will stop me from bringing destruction down upon you” Denzel pressed the end of the roll up on the rim of the board and took his leave, jogging up the stairway between the seats of the auditorium. “Watch yourself out there Denzel, I may need your help toward the end” Caleb called, smearing out the ending of the life equation with his left hand and chalked in what was originally in place, transforming it back into its hybrid complex.

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Copyright © 2017 by D.W.Gill
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means, including recording, photocopying or other electronic or mechanical methods without the prior written and signed permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other non-commercial uses permitted by copyright law.
All rights reserved. Published by Taoteque Publishing.
Tha Ancestral Odyssey: Rise of The Black Doves – Volume Four. Written by D.W.Gill.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or people living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

E-Mail – taotome@outlook.com

Twitter – @MegasTeque

Author Page – https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B01JMZ2BE6

D.W.Gill

A World In Jeopardy – Excerpt Two

It’s been a seriously busy month, what with farm work and your daily nit picky pain in the ass kinda stuff, it all builds up an up and then you realise something when you finally get a chance to pause, that you haven’t actually got anything of real substance done and still have a shed load of boring shit that still needs attending to before you can actually focus on writing new content – And that sucks, because life is seriously short, so short even that I fear I will not finish the entirety of this project before it is my turn to die, I want to have something before my time is up, something that will last longer than the cells inside that keep me ticking. Little bleak I am aware to start off this post but screw it life can be cold sometimes, deal with it because we have no choice. Truth be told I have made some few advancements with the book work, both one and two, I even made a list before I sat down to write this article just to remind myself what it is I’ve done. Once I’ve convinced you that I am not a lazy fucktoid, I’ll hit you with another segment of Episode Two – Rise of The Black Doves, a segment that I am proud of and gives you another angle on what I am going for with The Ancestral Odyssey. Epic does not do this story justice, I need a new word.

-I went over my front cover for the Paperback Edition. I gave it a new texture instead of just plain black. I cleaned up the central symbol and created a neat dreamcatcher which I used for this articles picture. Before you ask, YES, it is relevant to Episode One – The Utopian Dream, and once you read it, you should be able to see the relevance, if not then God help you my friend. Plus it looks kinda cool for the back cover of the book.

-I’ve given Episode One, Kindle Editions an update. I went through hell to format the three Volumes..TWICE! Because there was a problem involved with the set up, but if you check them out after reading this post on Amazon, you’ll see that they look far superior to their older versions, their is a slight clipping of the world map unfortunately but I literally cannot fix that problem, it looks great on Kindle devices but on the ‘Look Inside’ feature on Amazon it is ever so slightly clipped, if anyone can e-mail me on how to sort this, I will love you forever and probably marry you if you’re part of the female race. I really spent a long time on the formatting, I cannot stress that enough, I didn’t eat, I didn’t sleep I couldn’t think about anything else other than getting it done, anyone who has formatted before using Word, Calibre and Kindle Previewer will understand the pain/stress and I will use the word trauma in this instance, because if you love a project as much as I love this one, you want to give it the best chance it has to thrive, so please, check it out, consider a purchase or share it with someone who you think will like this stuff, it will be greatly appreciated. I’ll leave all necessary links at the bottom of this post.

-A few months ago I got in touch with an artist I had my eye on and proposed to him a project. The project was to paint three important scenes that occur in The Utopian Dream. I would describe them and even then sketch them myself if needs be, and he would either agree or disagree to do the work. He declined. Among analysing hundreds of other artists from all over the world, none of them (as talented as they were) had the particular style I was looking for, not like the artist I had asked initially from Serbia. So, I messaged him again, just to see if he would re-consider…Yesterday, out of the blue, he sent me a sketch, a first draft of the first scene I described and it looked..Incredible. After re-establishing contact, after a quick back and fourth, he is on board with the project. Soon I’ll be able to show you visual imagery from a professional artist depicting three scenes in Episode One, and I could not be anymore excited about this.

-This last note is a little detail, but worth mentioning. During this last month, I have filled a notebook to the brim of ideas for future instalments and some of them will take this story to a level not even I thought it was capable of and it scares me to think about what else it can do or go, its crazy. I wrote about the importance of carrying a notebook around with you at all times if you are an aspiring or a full time writer. Check out my post ‘The Notebook’ for an interesting read, I think it was my second post on WordPress.

Okay, I think that brings us up to date, thank you for reading up to this point. Now, here is another segment of Episode Two – Rise of The Black Doves that I promised, I really hope you enjoy it. I received a lot of positive feedback from my last article entitled Witch’s Awakening, a segment which reveals one of my favourite characters from Equis’s dark historical period called Mythorigin (Equis is the name of my world if you didn’t already know). Again, links to my work are all listed at the bottom, do not hesitate to share or get in touch, responses may be late because I work a fair bit and internet while travelling is scarce. Please bear in mind that this segment is scattered among others in between, there will be things you understand, some things have been covered in previous chapters, and of course this is only an unedited first draft, so go easy on me if you see any errors, there are a few spoilers that have overlapped from the first book, you’ve been warned. Thank you, and again I hope you enjoy.

RIP Chris Cornell – Love Audioslave, loved your work and will dedicate this day to listening to your songs. Thoughts are with you and your family today. You will be missed.

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     Lars lead Glenn out of The Oakening and through the bustling brown and grey streets of the City, loaded with rivers of citizens flowing through the sectors, looking for food and things to buy from the open markets. Glenn, attempted to make small talk as they went, Lars was almost unresponsive, he had always been a little distant recently and moodier than usual. Eventually the pair came to the familiar sight of The Firehand Yard, the base which was their home. Occasionally, the members referred to The Firehand Yard as The Yellow. The reason for this odd nick name came from a few sources, one being The Firehand uniform and armour, it was stripped or patched with pale yellow dyes. The second being that their insignia of two, crossed long barrel rifles in front of a simplistically painted, silhouette of the orbed Requorn emblem shielded with plates, had too been tinted with flecks of a yellow shade. Glenn and Lars had engaged in light conversation along the way, to do with the operation at hand, they had talked about Gabriel, his men and what they thought they would find at the archaeological site, but neither Lars nor Glenn knew much about the details, so the discussion was short lived. Lars was a professional mechanic, a former Mek in Lysander’s pod, he specialised in the black power bombs and worked on various types of armour to withstand such blasts, he also had a good understanding of dismantling and building Human traps. Hayden was the weapon specialist, the offence of the squad. Raquel was the navigations expert, she was the one who could read the land, hunt and track down targets. Jake and Glenn were the scouts, the support, the assistance, as green as grass. Lysander was the Captain, who had shown exceptional skills in leadership, and Elone was the Sergeant, a man who seemed to inherit all the skills of both pods. As Glenn’s position required no special skills, Lars and Glenn had little to talk about, having only shared a handful of very brief conversations and had engaged in banter from time to time when in training. “I’m sorry I left The Yellow, I only just slipped out to catch up with Denzel” said Glenn. “You think you’re the only one with a life outside duty? You think you’re the only one who does not miss the company of friends and family?” asked Lars. “No” sulked Glenn. “Right, now imagine if you worked in a market, in a restaurant or on one of your farms in Pura, and an employee hit you with ‘I only just’? You wouldn’t be amused, would you?” asked Lars. “No” repeated Glenn. “Good, then we understand each other” suggested Lars. “Of course we do” said Glenn. “Oh, come on Glenn, don’t bend over backwards so easily, you have a spine, a pretty sturdy one last time I checked. Bite back once in a while, show some balls” Glenn creased “Not literally. It’s sometimes best to be bluntly honest and say ‘fuck the rules,’ it’s what the Sargent looks for in his recruits, it’s probably why there are so few of us” “Is that so?” asked Glenn. “I’m here aren’t I, besides, we’ve all done it, soldiers aren’t mindless drones, always remember that Glenn” advised Lars “Lysander does not wish to see you because you broke perimeter, the operation is still on standby, you can relax” said Lars, tapping Glenn on the back as they neared the home office of The Firehand unit. Lysander’s office was located on the top floor of a fancy wooden house close to the Armoury Warehouse, a house that didn’t look like it belonged in The Yellow and not amongst the military base for it was not geared up for defence or offence in any way, it was just a large wooden, white house in need of a lick of fresh paint. It had three grand floors, a triangular roof, a wide patio and some abandoned stables next door. The grand old manor portrayed a cultured complexion, built in a time when citizens identified themselves as Norkron and not Requorn. This was where Lysander, Elone and Gabriel lived and managed their Pods from, a place renovated for important work, as well as the occasional late night celebration. Lars left Glenn at the foot of the hill that the manor was built upon and made for the bunker, hoping no one else has snuck off in his absence. Glenn flicked up his collar and strolled up the brown path cutting through the faded grass alone. Jogging up the wooden steps, his boots treading over the floor boards of the patio, he knocked on the double doors creating an interesting beat. No answer, so he did it again accept this time he saved the rhyming beat. When no answer came, he put his hand on the door knob and he tried opening it, but couldn’t. Eventually, he used both hands but still couldn’t open it! Placing his hands on his hips, containing his frustration not wanting to look as if he were trying to break in, he tried again, gently. The brass door knob was very loose, it required a strong twist and a shoulder shove to actually get it open! Stepping inside the hinges creaked painfully and loudly as he entered. At the far end of the square hall directly in front of him, were some steps leading up to the second floor and from there the steps split into two paths in opposite directions leading to floor three. The hall was not cluttered with decoration, there were few colourful vase’s balancing upon tall wooden stems in the corners under a thin layer of dust, a few comfortable looking but tattered sofas pressed up next to the walls and candle stems scattered all over the place. There was a lonely table and a handful of chairs nearby that looked as if it had never been used before, these too were collecting dust, it had been a while since this place had seen its famous late night parties, Glenn remembered seeing adults drinking and merry making here when he was a child, where hundreds of people gathered to enjoy the foods, the drinks, the fires that people sat around. On the ground floor, to Glenn’s left was a Western door and to his right was an Eastern door, above these doors perched stone gargoyles. The demonic reptilian creature fixed above the Western passageway was suited up in heavy armour, brandishing two chunky gauntlets that could be removed and utilized if one were so inclined. The other on the Eastern side, held in his palms a hollow spherical, whirlwind of swirling stone, inside this sphere was room to light a candle or place an orb, but currently it was empty. The creature was the same as the other but this one wore draping robes instead of metal armour. What these creatures actually represented, Glenn did not know but they triggered a time in his life when he feared them, thought them looking at him as he moved across the room that no one appeared to be using, everything must have been happening upstairs in the rooms above, in the libraries and offices of the old dusty manor. Glenn ascended the steps, treading on a faded carpet running his fingers up along the cold banister. Lysander was likely on the third floor where he worked with Elone. It wasn’t long before Glenn found the Captains office, after navigating a couple of narrow corridors and ascending another set of steps lit with the sun light coming through tall windows. Knocking on the door, mimicking his favourite beat from earlier Lysander said “Enter” from within, and Glenn twisted the door handle but like with the front door, it wouldn’t open. Several seconds passed by as Glenn wiggled the handle around growing all the more frantic as time passed, having to put a shoulder to it, bursting in with Lysander’s eyes staring up at him from head to toe behind his large busy desk loaded with files, documents and reports. “There is a definite problem with the doors of this place” said Glenn, scratching the back of his head. “That I can see, no one ever enters my office anymore they just kinda fly in as you did so gracefully. You gotta lift the handle up, then push it in and twist” said Lysander. “Twist, lift, push, yeah I got it” said Glenn hesitantly. “No, you lift, push and twist” Lysander repeated. “Lift, push and twist, right” “You have a problem with old Norkron doors, Glenn?” asked Lysander. “No, not at all, guess I am just used to the traditional twist and push routine” “Took me a while to figure it out too, first night here I thought I’d locked myself in, spent a good part of an hour resisting the urge to blasting it open with my SG” said Lysander, breaking into a smile, tucking some papers away within a drawer of his desk. Glenn laughed, remembering the time he saw Lysander’s SG in action, blowing one of the thirty-footer dummies on the firing range in half “Your scatter gun would have decimated the entire door off and part of the wall if you let that thing off in here. For a secondary side-arm capable of shredding armour, I’m curious to know what your primary weapon is” said Glenn, giving a Firehand salute. “Here’s a hint Mr Straff, it’s not a long barrel rifle or a trinity pin pointer” said Lysander. “Is it a twin barrel? Or a modified standard issue model three perhaps?” asked Glenn. “It’s something still in development, I won’t be bringing it with me when our operation is given the go ahead, it still needs field testing first, but hopefully one day you’ll see it” said Lysander. “You wanted to see me Cap?” asked Glenn. “At ease soldier, at ease. Sit down” said Lysander, walking around his desk, offering Glenn a drink, but he refused. The Captain then offered his guest a tin of his rolling weed, flicking it open but again, Glenn refused this luxury. “Ah yes I forgot, you’re the weird one of the group” said Lysander, taking in a final drag on his roll up, sitting back down behind his desk, stubbing the remains out on a silver, metallic ash tray “You’re the one who does not drink, does not smoke, only eats vegetables grown from his own patch and rarely comes out to play at night, is this true?” “Most of it is, yes” said Glenn, wondering where this was going “I eat meat on occasion, better to use it rather than let it go to waste, food is important, smoking and drinking isn’t” said Glenn. “Tell me why?” asked Lysander. “I’ve never felt the need to hasten my inevitable demise. Smoking does absolutely nothing for you and drinking although a little more beneficial, wastes zeal, destroys the body, the mind and wakes you up in the morning with the feelings of regret and the need to issue sincere apologies to his friends and society as a whole” answered Glenn “I can do without those things” “Well said, and what about the other thing?” asked Lysander. “Other thing, sir?” questioned Glenn, not understanding. “You’re twenty-four, nearly twenty-five, right?” “Right” “And you’re not interested in women?” Glenn rolled his eyes and said “No, I love women. Are you torturing me because I said I wouldn’t forget about this meeting, and then forgot about it sir? Because if it is, I apologise” “No, not at all Glenn no at all, I am curious. I and all the others are curious about you and why it is you serve as a Firehand, as you may have noticed, it is a very select group of hand-picked individuals, one that Elone himself is proud of” “I did notice that, sir. I am glad to be here” “Why do you think you were chosen Glenn?” questioned Lysander. “Someone had to be I guess, I’m not sure. Perhaps on the day of final trials I scored the highest from the other Regular candidates I was grouped with. That’s how it usually works” said Glenn. The Captain, tucked some of his long hair behind his ear after pulling out from his desk a document “Yes, that is how it works, but when it comes to you, I’m sorry, but this is simply not the case. On the day of trials Glenn, you under-performed in all sections of the tests. Evaluations conducted by Sargent Elone show” and Lysander began to read from segments of the file “Physical prowess, fail. Not by much you still scored highly but not enough to make the cut. Practical capability, fail. You are not the fastest nor the best marksman not by a long shot, excuse the usage of words but this is what the tests indicate, you scored a mere fifty on the shooting range and a terrible thirty during the raid exam. You needed a ninety in both tests to pass, minimum. Psychological analysis also shows failure but this goes way under the line to the point where it gets a little curious. Emotionally unstable due to eventful childhood trauma, subject rejects all notions of authority, reliability and precision when exposed to large quantities of the common element water” Lysander could not help to take a look at Glenn, from head to toe before he continued to read the results “Glenn Straff, Regular, number twelve fourteen is not to be approved for Firehand duty and should be re-evaluated in order to continue service in the Requorn forces. Advised he be stripped of uniform and be presented other avenues of career. What can I say other than I am confused, you failed all three modules, the most important one poorly, you have an unresolved case of a traumatic experience that effects your emotions and it’s been deemed unwise for you to even hold a sword, what am I to make of this?” Lysander closed the folder and placed it on his desk, pushing it aside. Glenn remained still, not saying a word, hoping Lysander would fill in the silence, but he didn’t, he just stared at the youngster sitting opposite, as curious as a cat eyeing up some loose string. “So, so what am I doing here?” asked Glenn. “Ah, wrong again, the question is not what, but is why” Lysander pointed out. “Then, why am I here?” asked Glenn.

     Glenn held his hand gently over his mouth, seeing the sincerity in Lysander’s eyes, he could only muster one question “This makes no sense Captain, if I am under qualified how was I even approved for service?” asked Glenn. “Elone and I were the ones who looked over your results along with a hundred others that day, and we both agreed to send you back to your Regular squad, to recommence your training if you wished. It was Isaac who approved you, Isaac who gave you the go ahead even with the knowledge of your failures” replied Lysander. “He takes precedent over yourself and Elone?” “He does indeed Glenn, he does indeed” said Lysander, looking upon Glenn with suspicion. “Where do we go from here?” asked Glenn. “Now that depends on you” said Lysander, pointing at Glenn “Elone and I are under orders from our superior who wants you to stay, even if that means endangering your fellow Firehands, myself and the Sergeant, our word has been over-ruled. You however still have a choice, either you stay or you take what was recommended to you at the end of these results” and Lysander dropped a finger onto the closed document “If you choose to leave, you will be discharged from the Pod and sent back to your old squad in the Regular unit, they miss you I hear, you showed real leadership qualities, qualities which have gotten you far. You will still be able to retake the Firehand trials, but there is a very long waiting list, could be a few years before you’re considered again” Lysander could tell by Glenn’s expression, that he didn’t like the situation he was in, who would? “Or you could stay, and keep the one-eyed Isaac happy. Choice is yours” he finished, sitting back, folding his arms. “What would you recommend Captain?” asked Glenn. “I’d leave” said Lysander, without a moment’s hesitation. “And throw away years of my life, just like that” argued Glenn, clicking his fingers. “Consider the alternative, you could get everyone in the Pod and yourself killed” said Lysander, returning the room to silence for a while with a sobering thought. “Well, this is the most uncomfortable situation I’ve ever been in” said Glenn. “Then count yourself as a lucky man, but we both know that that isn’t true, you’ve seen worse” and Lysander received a dark, glooming look from Glenn, his past flashing before his eyes, the desperation, the screaming revisiting him, fuelling him with hatred “I hate to break it to you Glenn, but what happened to you in your earlier days happens every day in Equis ten-fold. As Requorns, we hope to put a stop to it, but it’s hard, there is more evil than we can handle, bad outweighs the good. Do you even know what’s out there? Do you even have the slightest idea of what is actually happening?” Glenn was shocked at the question having not expected such treatment from Lysander, like he was a rookie going into his first Firehand exam or going through the traditional tough man spiel on the first day of joining The Regulars. Glenn was new, but not that new to this business. “Of course, I know what is happening sir. Victory, over The Dovidian Covenant was never officially declared. The Covenant War is over but the catalysts are still at large. I do not know their names but certain individuals were not caught or killed after the battle at Korthak Bridge, where The Honour Guards fell and have remained elusive. So long as these dangerous men are not deemed dead, they are dangerous, influential and can potentially rise against us again” said Glenn, impressing Lysander with his answer. “Well said Glenn, but you only got it half right” said Lysander, standing up, putting both hands on his hips as he strolled around his office. “What am I missing?” asked Glenn and Lysander, sighed, rubbing his forehead. “For twenty-years we’ve been preparing for their return, for twenty years we’ve been gathering as much strength as we can to ensure we can resist and survive what’s coming, but like before, it’s not going to be enough.” “Who’s coming, Captain?” asked Glenn, looking to his right at Lysander, taking his time in refilling his glass with amber liquid. “We have only bits and pieces of information, every day we receive more and the evidence continues to build. I’d appreciate it if you kept this and what I’ am telling you, to yourself, until I deem it fit to brief the others” and Glenn nodded, agreeing to the discretion. Lysander did not return to his seat, instead he leant up next to the wall in his office “To start with there is man who leads a group called The Long Coats, not many are aware of his existence but he was working against the Norkrons during the war. It wasn’t until The Minister of Cuether, Jeffery Vou, clarified a report in collaboration with our former Dark Rogue allies, that we confirmed that this man was the one who funded The Dovidian Covenant’s campaign, threatening Vou and many others like him at the time, with destruction and brutal torture, unless they handed over their wealth. His real name no one knows, but recent whispers call him Lord. Lord is rumoured to wield a spear twelve and a half meters in length with extreme proficiency, not a man you should fuck with at any cost unless loaded up with a trinity pin pointer, and that’s not even the scariest thing about him, he has not only at his disposal a highly disciplined merciless army, but his closest ally is a reptilian human being named Caiman, someone with the strength and resilience of three men, someone with the senses of an adept predator. Caiman was raised by Lord, he is a hunter who rides upon the back of a vaurodile” “A vaurodile? You mean those ten-foot-long crocodiles that live-in swamps! How is that even possible?” asked Glenn, having to interrupt the Captain, unable to create a clear picture in his head. “We don’t know exactly Glenn, but Caiman or someone else with a profound knowledge of cross breeding species, has somehow bred out what few weaknesses they have and created a highly-evolved organism, a beast with all its strengths growing to large proportions with no weaknesses. Lords men use the bullet proof scaled armour that grows off these creatures as protection. This new type of vaurodile, can stand, run, climb and understand human commands. Its once hind legs that were short and stumpy, have been bred to be longer, built for running, able to hold twice its weight, naturally these creatures have no predators. These beasts eat more than just deer, their nature has changed, now they eat people and horses, another cannibalistic army similar to The Blood Marauders lead by Xavien, the Demon Man spotted heading into the far North, into the desert dunes of Sand where sand sharks grow massive. Apparently, Xavien is following some kind of ancient demonic ritual linking in with Driad history, one of blood lust that will awaken something called Saphuries, The Blood Angel that killed death” “Driad’s sir?” questioned Glenn, unfamiliar with this extinct race. “The Driad’s, as history goes, did not stop Saphuries, but they trapped it within a vault of rock somewhere within the North, but the damage had already been done, and the species died out years later, unable to undo what Saphuries had done” Glenn, Lysander and other historians could only speculate what had happened in the aftermath of the battle “These men are not to be underestimated nor their faith be doubted, Xavien is evidence of this demonic power which is growing, people are saying he cannot bleed, that blades cannot harm him, and he’s lost what it means to be human” Lysander sat back down, taking the bottle with him, Glenn placed his hand over his empty glass signifying that he didn’t want any of the drink, but Lysander poured the drink over his hand anyway “Real mature Captain” said Glenn. “You’ll need it because that’s just the start of it, not only are we up against brawn but we are facing an enemy with intellect and patience. Xavien is digging, and this source comes from a reliable pair who participated in the battle at Korthak Bridge. They say Xavien is pulling Chrocian Titans out of their slumber, the largest known land dwellers on the planet, for siege purposes most likely” said Lysander, sitting back down behind his desk. “Who are the pair who gave you this information?” asked Glenn. “Riagel Tyorn and Draygo Dumear, two of our best” said Lysander. “We’ve faced impossible odds before and come out on top, we can do the same here, we aren’t exactly sitting still, we are making advancements as well” said Glenn. “Ever heard of the Harphiar?” asked Lysander, as he buttoned up his loose sleeves, it didn’t look like Glenn knew much about them either and shook his head “Harpies have been sighted on the Western coasts of Klaw, at first there were pockets of them, handfuls of these scrawny, cowardly winged, bat like people who specialise in ranged assaults, but now there are hundreds of them, thousands of them nesting on the cliff faces and they are not dull witted, they are building something, something of vast proportions. More come every day Glenn, they even have established leaders in their ranks, a King and a Queen who have no love of humans. Scouts of theirs have been sighted all over the place, the last one was sighted around the backwater town of Harloth. You want some proof? This arrived two weeks ago, from Noble Tharas Yinn and Minister Yarith, the letter carries both their signatures” and Lysander let go of the letter, letting it fall down in front of Glenn “These Harphiar unlike us, are not wasteful, when they claim a kill they use the corpse. A man’s skin if stretched can provide shelter for a tent did you know? His eyes are a delicacy to eat from what I’ve heard. His bones can be chiselled into scaffolding poles for shelters and fitted as spear and arrow heads. His meat can be used to lure in fish or larger aquatic life forms such as ophidians that love the taste of us and the Harphiar are showing interest in, you know those twenty-foot long serpents that have been known to eat fully grown sharks when desperate? What the Harphiar plan to do with them I have no idea but I am aware that they are gathering schools of these serpents in pens, fuck knows why but it cannot be just a hobby of theirs. Something tells me that they do not plan to be dangling off the cliffs forever. Sooner or later, they are going to start moving inland within the hundreds of thousands and the first thing that ANYONE does before an invasion, is to scout ahead, to evaluate the situation to make sure it’s safe for the rest of them” said Lysander, taking a drink rather casually. Glenn finished reading the short letter, it was written with a fine, educated hand and the words expressed real concern. A fleeting moment of weakness tempted him to reach for his glass and join the Captain in the drinking. “We too are aerial with our Dragora Flyers, I saw one fly over a few days ago, I think it was Zard for the dragoon was armoured, equipped with an air pike” said Glenn. “Aye, but our dragora are lacking in numbers, they are extremely difficult to tame and cannot remain airborne for long periods of time nor can they ascend as high as one of these harpies. We have a hundred or so, sending a hundred dragora to engage with a hundred thousand Harpies would be a slaughter” said Lysander. “Even so, who’s to say Lord and the King of the Harpies are allied? Unless they join forces, we do have the strength to repel them” said Glenn. “Armies with common interests, never fail to find one another, great distances may separate them but word spreads fast in Equis” said Lysander, tapping his fingers on the table. “That’s not all is there?” asked Glenn, noting Lysander’s face, wiped with grim concern for the future. “Jureai is in chaos. The country never recovered after The Covenant War. The last large scale conflict we waged against them was nigh on twenty-years-ago. We killed their Chieftain Kronix at Rivers Finn, and what remained of his Salarthian Clan fled further North into their country. We ended the campaign there” “Why couldn’t we follow?” asked Glenn. “From what I’ve been told, we had not the numbers, the strength or had the equipment to pursue. Now, The Chimera Order is broken, all of its Chieftains dead and the clans are all but decimated, their way of life destroyed thanks to the savagery of the barbaric Salarthian’s who are without a Sovereign Watcher, have ripped their country apart. In terms of ingenuity and weaponry, we do outmatch them, but they never stray far from their borders, they know that they maintain the home field advantage while in Jureai, they know the land and can tolerate the heat whereas we are suited to cooler climates. They command over tens of thousands of warriors and a battalion of ptriva striders, if they decide to go to war, they could win a war should they find proper leadership” said Lysander, who leant forward and said “War is coming.” Once again, the office returned to silence, until Glenn broke it, deciding not to drink after all “This is your way of dissuading me? After all that, you expect me to just put down my rifle and let the Pod go out into the fray without me?” “I could’ve gone on but no Glenn, you misunderstand, what I am simply saying is that whether you like it or not, you WILL get your chance to fight. Picking up a sword or an LBR will be necessary when the storm hits. We will need men like you when the time comes, I’ll even send you a letter personally if you like before you and your brothers are drafted for the front lines where you will not be coming back from, but for now, while you have time, let another take your place, and go home, return to Pura where you’re from, work on the farm under the sun, find a woman and experience a life before Equis turns to shit” advised Lysander, sliding a release document, a quill and an ink pot toward him. Glenn took the pen, and stared at the dotted line. Dipping the pen into the ink pot he placed the tip of the pen onto the paper, staining it with a mark and held it there. “I can’t do it Captain” he said, and put the pen down. Lysander pulled the paper back and slid it into the document. “I’m going to keep these papers together, in case you change your mind” said Lysander, tapping them on the surface of the table. Glenn had made up his mind, there was nothing left to say, so he stood up, flicking up his collar “I just hope we can figure out what possessed Isaac to approve someone who isn’t fit for service, before it’s too late” said Lysander, who’s friendly tone had taken a dive into deep disappointment. Glenn saluted regardless, and left The Firehand Manor.

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Copyright © 2017 by D.W.Gill
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means, including recording, photocopying or other electronic or mechanical methods without the prior written and signed permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other non-commercial uses permitted by copyright law.
All rights reserved. Published by Taoteque Publishing.
Tha Ancestral Odyssey: Rise of The Black Doves – Volume Four. Written by D.W.Gill.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or people living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

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D.W.Gill