My Villain and Reason

For those of you who follow me on Twitter ( @MegasTeque ) will know that yesterday was the day I began the formatting work on the Paperback Editions of Episode One: The Utopian Dream. Of course, there is nothing else I’d rather be doing right now other than working on Episode Two: Rise of The Black Doves, I am almost finished with Volume Four but have a long way to go in terms of its overall structure and connection with what comes after, hoping to get started on Volume Five as soon as possible and already it is surpassing its prequel in every way, not only from a storytelling perspective but a world building, character and more importantly a written perspective. The only thing it does not do to top The Utopian Dream is the size and scale of its battle sequences, Episode One had massive battles involving a clash of armies, Episode Two from what I can tell does not escalate the battlefront but will definitely amp up everything else. You guys are in for something special and brace yourselves for an ending that will leave you speechless and utterly destroyed! I will not sit here and lie to you though, but after close examination of my work, there are things you start to notice, things that you feel like you could improve upon or describe differently, fortunately, I am in a position to iron out a few errors before I undertake my next task which I plan to do for my readers benefit and my own peace of mind, I’ll get to that in a bit. My writing ability has greatly improved since I began the sequel, it improves every time I immerse myself in this world which is showing no sign of cooling down, in fact, it is expanding growing all the more intricate and beautifully complex, this is both a blessing and a curse because I am forever in a state of perfecting everything I pump out. The reason as to why I have put a hold on its progress is because I am looking to make that great leap from an online presence to physical one, moving from digital copies to books that you can see on the shelves. Honestly, I am not sure why I have not worked on this sooner! It has been almost a year since the Hardback Edition was released (03/09/2017), I already have all the necessary boxes checked, the main one being an ISBN (International Standard Book Number, I have ten bought and paid for) so this has been a long time coming. However, if you’ve seen my Hardback Edition, you’d probably feel what I feel but fight to deny, it is bloody intimidating, I mean you can do weights on this thing. From a sellers point of view, I know this will turn even the most open-minded of reader off so instead of jumping straight in and throwing the Hardback in your face, I’ve decided to take this opportunity to give retailers and keen readers options, bite-sized options. Not only will you be able to find Volumes 1-3 of The Ancestral Odyssey – The Utopian Dream on Kindle which will be fully updated by the time this is all done, but you will have the option to purchase the Hardback Edition from the shelf AND Volumes 1-3 on Paperback, with a newly designed front cover complete with all those niggling little errors erased. There will be a lot of work involved between now and then but I am hoping to be working on it for about a month, maybe a little longer depending on if I can afford a Graphic Designer to re-do the covers.

With all that said it has been a long while since I updated this Blog, honestly, I’ve found it hard to pick a topic recently, there are so many to choose from. I’ve been struggling to find time to write, creativity cannot just be called upon when desired or when it is convenient at the time when you are off work for example or have an evening to yourself free from all distractions, it does not work that way, unfortunately. You can spend hours and hours sometimes just reading in the dark until the sun comes up, re-reading your work to refresh yourself on where you are at with each and every character, what has to come next, keeping track of all those plot points and ideas I’ve come up with at every other hour of the day, jotted down in notebooks or on scrap pieces of paper not to mention the research that needs doing, studying other concepts, glancing at other people’s work and of course you cannot help but adjust the material you’ve already thought was worthy (‘Stories are not written, they are re-written’), editing the content where it needs to be edited, ironing out pesky errors and those bastard inconsistencies. It has been weeks since I wrote anything new and substantial, anything worthy of what The Ancestral Odyssey has to offer, that heavy epic fantasy book containing another world that is dragging me all the way toward the finish line whereas before, when I was writing Episode One: The Utopian Dream, I was pulling it all the way to the end! And what an endeavour that was, just the thought of getting each volume formatted for Kindle through Microsoft Word, creating the front covers in Photoshop, setting up my Amazon and Ingramspark Pages, getting my YouTube Channel up and running for the promotional content, the Twitter account and generally building my platform while making sure I am giving audiences something they have never read before, something that is different, that redefines itself, standing out among the others, gives me a headache. As stated on my Author Page found under my hilarious picture on ‘I am attempting to do the impossible.’ All this work is taking its toll, I won’t pretend that it is not, there are days where I am unable to function correctly because I am lost in my own head, muddling through thousands (yes, fucking thousands) of ideas, potential story arcs, character trends while flicking through beloved sequences which I’ve been itching to get to for a little over a decade, and generally figuring out how I can weave this project together under the law of my mythos. Even though my social life has taken a hit, my diet has degraded regardless of the fact I’ve gone pescatarian, it will be worth it, when that final sentence is written, when the story has come full circle and I am free to move onto Episode Three: Seeds of War, the only instalment which title in the series has never changed, I know I will relive the greatest feeling I’ve come to experience so far in life, the feeling of winning! The feeling of carving out a piece of myself and presenting it to the world in the way I choose. It can get on top of you, it can bog you down and at the worst of times make you question the path you have chosen, this doesn’t have to be in the world of writing but in whatever profession you’re passionate about. I’ve caught myself laying awake at night at 4 in the morning, soaking in that claustrophobic feeling that drapes over you like a heavy blanket, the thoughts of never finishing, the thoughts of doubt and failure. This next book, Rise, is scheduled for release in 2019, some of you may be thinking that is plenty of time, but it really isn’t when you consider the work that has been poured into this thing, when you have a central storyline depending on so many others around it to really hammer home this ending I’ve been babbling on about. I’ve bitten off far more than I can chew, and I am not sure about this anymore, I need more time, I need more resources and the ability to focus like I used to. I am not pulling the book anymore, it is pulling me!

Of all the topics open to me right now, I am not entirely sure why I picked to write-up on this one, there are a handful of others that require my attention or perhaps would be more interesting to read, one of which I am a little hesitant to publish, a lot of people will find my position on the subject unpopular, but that will be addressed at a later date. I guess I am at that point now where the wheels are turning, the cogs are moving and I cannot stop this train unless I crash it, whereas before I had the option to jump off at any time and chalk all this up to experience. Maybe my sporadic loss of focus is due to the fact that I have started something, and leaving it unfinished is something I simply cannot do; Have you ever been involved with something that you wonder how you got by without it? Have you ever found your calling, something that you know you were born to do and that there is no way in hell you were going to quit? This book, this story is demanding and not in the physical sense, but in the psychological. I’ve deleted pages before, even gone as far to delete chapters I’ve worked on for weeks because they weren’t serving the overall outcome of the story, every time I write something new I always learn something different or a challenge presents itself that needs tackling, and it’s beating me, at this rate I will not be releasing in 2019 but perhaps maybe we are looking at a late 2020 launch. Jesus when you say 2020 it doesn’t seem real and it scares me; Why does it scare me? Well, let me tell you a short but true story, about failure and my greatest opponent; I hope you enjoy ‘My Villain and Reason.’

I used to run. I used to be an athlete and specialized in the one hundred meter sprint, the two hundred meters, hurdles, long jump and high jump and I used to win, I used to always win, it was what I lived for at the time. In my earlier days, no one could stop me, there was no one I couldn’t beat. I seem to remember going toe to toe with boys a few years older than I was, because that was the only way my coaches could find me a challenge, they were wrong because I defeated them too with ease, like it was nothing, like I wasn’t even trying, and having gone through school being constantly hassled, forever belittled, bullied by assholes who’ve now wasted their golden years to drink, drugs and crime, I was told how useless and how hopeless I was by these people and so so many others, running was my only way of showing everyone that I meant something, even if I wasn’t competing against those who gave me a hard time, I pretended I was, I used this avenue as my release, the anger was my fuel and it never failed. Every time I stepped out onto that red track when I set foot on that solid white line alongside boys far bigger than me, stronger than me, who saw me as a weakling upon first glance, that desire to wipe their confident smug away by hammering them at their own game. Honestly, there hasn’t been a better sensation, seeing their faces of disbelief, seeing them crushed as I jogged off the track, I’d give anything to relive those moments. In those moments, however, I felt invincible, I felt like a superstar, someone with special abilities and to this day, I still get twinges of that power, rushes of that same explosive energy that hasn’t gone anywhere, I’ve just put them in reserve. Of course, back then I was very young, over-confident, arrogant and foolish, no one was a challenge there was no one I couldn’t beat back then, I simply had some growing up to do. Yes, I was eventually defeated, not by the first man who ended up smashing me in that one hundred meter sprint, not by the man who out jumped me both on the high jump and long jump, but it was I who stopped myself from continuing on. I killed that path I had set myself on and it wasn’t until years later I found my ability to create and write, though I remember the passion I once had for competing on the track, the will to win is a powerful one.

Only I can kill this project, the responsibility is my own, I’ve let myself kill other dreams before and it would be foolish if I said it can’t happen again. The same weakness still exists, the same fears and doubts that were present when I was an athlete to the person I’ve become, and it is the voice in my head, the shadow that attempts to convince me that a different path, a different calling would be wiser to pursue. If he wins, then I will rationalise, I will argue against those who try to tell me otherwise and will generally feel I am in the right, that is what the conscience is good at, in believing its own non-sense and so the cycle repeats, it won’t be until years perhaps decades later when I look back and say ‘I would give anything to go back and make a different choice.’ That’s the danger, that’s my villain, he doesn’t exist in someone else, he is not a body or a group, my villain is myself and always has been. I’ve talked about my career as an athlete being stomped on, but there are more paths my villain has been responsible in crushing, I used to play the piano, I was very good at it at one point until the guy inside convinced me to stop. There was a time when I wanted to draw and I’ll admit that hasn’t been entirely snuffed out, but the last time I sat down to draw anything was in the year of 2015.

There is a flip side to all this, a sort of silver lining, and it is this; Maybe, I’ve not met my villain, maybe I’ve yet to meet him and it is actually the voice of reason, I mean after all, he has brought me this far, he has guided me through my first book and is well on the way to seeing me through the next, I know that there is no way I could’ve been an athlete, a pianist, and an artist, maybe being a creative writer was the path I was meant to walk all along…Or I am talking absolute rubbish, I’ll let you decide. It’s been a pleasure to share, I wish you all the best of luck in your own journies and if you take anything away from this little article, I hope it’s a positive one, I hope it’s one that says that failure is not necessarily failure, but a nudge perhaps in the direction you truly are meant to be going in.

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The Fragmented World – Excerpt Five: EP2:TAO New Teaser Trailer

Part of me feels that I should have split this article up into two posts, logically it would have made more sense but because it is a relatively short excerpt from the new book; Rise of The Black Doves (which I hope to release next year, but don’t beat me up if its delayed, these things take an enormous amount of time), I figured I’d talk about the new trailer which has just been released and can be found using the links at the end of this post. Be sure to check it out, please tell me what you think, I hope you enjoy it and I do apologise to those of you who were expecting a live action trailer, I really..REALLY wanted a live trailer made this time around, such a shame it did not come together, but never the less this one is far better than the previous ones, it runs tingles down my spine. Anything from these trailers, paintings, pictures or references made about this series of books does not fail to excite me. There is one thing however, before I get started, something that I HAVE to address and it is the title of this next book. Originally it was going to be called The Ancestral Odyssey: Old Future, it was even referenced off the cuff by Braygon Augiene in the second act of The Utopian Dream, a sort of play on words that was to be followed on from, and it does work to some extent, it is fitting but its just plain boring, so something had to be done about it especially if the itch persists. Instead of taking the time out to properly think on a new title with a unique title, I decided to sell out (just a little bit) and give audiences something more traditional this time around, something they are used to. This is against everything I am about, I do realise this, I am going for material that feels fresh and this title does betray my principles. Before I knew it, I had edited the title in the manuscript, I had already come up with some nifty art works and have mentioned it previously as Rise of The Black Doves several times. It does after all work within the context of Episode Two, it’s not like a Blair Witch: Book of Shadows incident when there is no actual Book of Shadows in the movie, it’s perfect for the big reveal at the end in Volume Six, it just sounds like something that has been done thousands of times before. Anyway, it felt good to get that off my chest, moving on.

To give you a very brief idea of what went down with this trailer, let me start by saying I had everything set, it so very nearly was given the go ahead, I had the camera equipment provided by a seriously gifted film student, someone I wish all the luck and success to. I had a set prepared, accommodation for the over-night stay, a wonderful location full of old ruins, the screenplay and voice over was written and finalised, a selection of music was..I’ll admit still in the process of getting the go ahead but even if this section wasn’t finished on time, I have someone who can make themes fitting for the tone. I even had a drone ready and waiting to get some airborne shots, everything seemed to be going well and I was pumped for this, I had entered the frame of mind where you cannot pull yourself away from the project, my body was suffering, my day job was paying the price and my mentality too was nearing the precipice of madness, it was great! What I couldn’t get my hands on however and this is what killed it in the end unfortunately, was the most important piece to create the illusion, it was the props for the performer. What I needed was a suit of hard, silver armour, a kite shield preferably but any shape would have done when push comes to shove; Also a long sword and a helmet with a visor that had the ability to be lifted up to rest on the forehead, this piece was important. I spent a very long time searching the internet for potential leads, e-mailing people who were involved with theatre productions, film companies, armour hires all over the UK as far as Scotland, costume shops, people who do reenactments, I even spoke to a few people who were in the antique business just incase they had something lying around or hanging on their wall all in a desperate attempt to get a hold of these props. I had the opportunity to check out some old warehouses which was really cool, some may have contained what I was looking for on the off-chance, I was even negotiating a deal to hire out some of the breast plates, the greaves and the boots, but to cut a very long and very boring story short, I was unable to get a hold of the helmet and the sword without paying thousands of pounds for them, there is a lot of red tape when it comes to lending weapons. I know what you’re thinking and I did exactly that, I traded in the hard armour for leather gear instead, I lowered my standard, dropped the shield and replaced it with one of my Dads hand-made bows and arrows, but I could not get a helmet or a sword. I was so desperate, I gave my old place of work a call, I used to work at Carew Castle in Pembrokeshire, I remember they had plenty of old swords lying around the place, I even played with some, almost cut my friends thumb off while practising a routine, he still has never forgiven me for it, this was over fifteen years ago, but I was quickly shut down, they don’t lend any out, its forbidden. After contemplating robbery, at this point I was becoming bogged down with work, future plans and family issues, so I felt that this was the universe telling me something, maybe it is not the right time for a live action trailer just yet? Maybe Duncan (you plank), you should put it on the back burner and focus on something you CAN accomplish in the mean time, so that is exactly what I did, regretfully. I took a page out of Lethaniel’s book, I made the most of what I had, used what I could, made something big out of something small, rolled up my sleeves and got to work starting from scratch. This does not mean I am giving up, I WILL achieve what I am setting out to do, a live action trailer involving one of my characters and an entity he is faced with before the cut to black, backed with music, cool effects and a badass voice over from one of the main antagonists. This is just another lesson needed to be learned in the grand scheme of things. I see this failure as a gift, a gift of time, I have more time to plan it, prepare for it and to create something more refined while writing the actual book, of course.

The trailer in question, although it is not what I was originally going for, is still impressive for someone living and working off a futon with everything he owns contained in a travelling bag stuffed in the utility room, and is by far the best trailer yet in my growing collection of promotional material on YouTube. I am very pleased with it don’t get me wrong and even though I am the one in control of this project, its progression depends entirely on me. When I watch it, it does put a smile on my face, from the opening when you see a glimpse of the hustle and bustle of Xiondel City, to the rise of fire within the ash, but the best part I thought was the touch of music being played throughout, it’s haunting, unsettling like someone is stalking you, perfect when put into the context of the main focus of the book. I am very excited about this new book, the contrast between Episode One: The Utopian Dream and Episode Two: Rise of The Black Doves, is very clear, especially when you look at their themes, the tones and the obvious differences, the colour contrast displayed throughout for example is the biggest one. This next installment is definitely moving into new territory, as a writer this is very exciting for me because a whole new branch of this odyssey, a new era of this epic story is coming your way with new characters, new creatures, new languages, new magics/technologies, new locations, bigger and better battle sequences and new twists and turns which you will NOT see coming! When writing The Utopian Dream, I had to sometimes hold back, had to be very careful with what to reveal and when, sometimes having to cut out large segments to save for a later installment which was hard to do for a first timer. I remember having to keep a lid on certain things, but now I get to open the creative lid once more and dish out some fresh new material. Episode One was centred around the words of purpose, history and change, the colour ratio was that of mysterious shades of blue, and clean whites, where as Episode Two, I’ve gone for a more sinister look, one of reds and black that in my opinion, spells betrayal, malevolence and chaos which it certainly delivers especially toward the end of the second and third acts (Volumes five and six). It’s a nastier, darker and a far more twisted story than the last and I cannot wait to present it to you, I just need you guys to be a little patient. The ending, ooooh the ending I promise will leave you with your jaws on the floor, at least this is what I’m going for! Oliver Richards, the gent who assembled the teaser trailer and those before it, once again did a grand job of sewing the graphics, the stills, the sounds and texts together. The graphics that were mainly constructed by James Van Nguyen, the boys did a bang up job, thanks guys. I also need to thank my man Adriaan and Stacey in South Africa, who worked on the voice over, they really did put the effort in and stayed up at awkward hours to work with me, big thanks to you guys, it is very much appreciated.

The trailer should speak for itself, but I’ll run through some details to help clear up any confusion, that being said, I have been asked a question recently by a couple who have read the first book, who follow my work on this Blog which is super awesome. They asked what I meant when I said “This next episode takes you to other worlds” let me explain; The world in which you are familiar with in The Ancestral Odyssey, is called Equis, also known as The Surface World, it’s basically planet Earth just a far younger one. Then you have Lunas, which is talked about briefly in Episode One: The Utopian Dream, sometimes refered to as The Half World. Lunas is a spectral plane that exists behind Equis, it is a spirit world where the living cannot tread (although there are ways to breach this plane and enter, but that is a story for another time), a twilight realm inhabited by lost spectral’s, phantoms and horrific wraith’s, it is its own ghostly eco-system so to speak, a vibrant, majestic haunting, colourful world full of beauty and wonder, but it’s just as dangerous if not more so than Equis. The origins and purpose of Lunas is yet to be detailed in the books, I will be expanding upon it in this next episode ‘Rise,’ but for now, this is all the audience needs to know. Then there is another world that is fairly recent considering that Equis and Lunas have been with me since the very beginning, back in 2007. It’s called Limbo, but this name may change, it’s also known as The Fragmented World, a shattered dream world where only our seven Star Callers can tap into and visit for a limited amount of time. Depending on how hard my girls train at remaining inside, depends on how long they can stay but even for the most gifted of Star Callers, the time only stretches for a couple of hours max before the domain seeks to eradicate The Star Caller who has entered. Within the excerpt shared below, some of our main characters (MC’s) have become aware of a threat, a threat that is potentially more powerful than ALL of them combined, which is unheard of if you’ve read Episode One! No one is more powerful than a Star Caller, no one can out-match them in terms of Glyph (the magic) and yet they have detected the residue of a Glyph scent that is far deadlier than anything they have sampled before. On top of this issue, one of their own, Isolde Beatrix, one of the seven candidates has gone missing for an unknown reason, and they must come together to find out why?

Star Callers possess many impressive abilities, I’d like to introduce a few within each book but one that appears in Episode One is called Inner Peace, where The Star Caller enters a meditative, dream like state, but unlike usual meditation that we are all familiar with, Star Callers take this several steps further and delve deep inside themselves, able to visit their own subconscious realm, landing in a world existing in their minds. This world is called Limbo. What lives inside Limbo is a soul representation of ones self, something which I call a Counterpart. Have you ever wondered what creature you’d be if you weren’t born a Human? Of course you have, I certainly have because I’m insane, this is an idea I am playing with. My Star Callers, a class I absolutely adore, when faced with a dilemma, have the option to ask themselves on the deepest of levels to help them figure out the best course of action in which to take. So, this is what they do to try to solve the current predicament, they use the technique Inner Peace, they ‘land’ in Limbo, in a significant environment (portrayed as a sphere in the trailer) one of which they feel most at ease in, and journey through it to find their Counterpart, to ask it the necessary questions; What is this threat? Where is Isolde and why did she leave without any  word or warning?

For example, if this was real and I was a Star Caller (not possible because I am male), I could use Inner Peace, land in the dream world and find my Counterpart/Soul Representation, which I think would be a Squirrel or some kind of rodent and interact with him…You follow me?…Did I say I was insane by the way? I think I said that I was, I’m off my fucking rocker!

I hope you enjoy the fifth excerpt that describes the experience of one of my Star Callers visiting Limbo, as always it is going to be different when the book is released next year, I cannot help but evolve this story, rewrites are inevitable, this is just how things are, who knows it may not be recognisable upon publication, I can only take so much out of the creative jar before the lid must slam shut on my fingers. Please take note that this is just one small part of six Limbo visitations/dreams in a chapter titled; Landing in Limbo. I’ve had experience with dream sequences in the past but these ones I am particularly proud of. Feel free to let me know what you think and of the teaser trailer, but before I sign off, please note that this is just one very small section of one of many story lines in Episode Two. Be warned that this next installment is going to be darker, far more impactful and a lot more shocking than Episode One: The Utopian Dream, it’s ending I am still working through and processing because it won’t be what you expect. I am still figuring out all the angles, constructing how it happens, how it’s presented, how it all ties together while trying to remember to tell a more entertaining story than the last, one with better writing at the front of my mind. I am actually hesitant about going through with it because it’s a risk, people I don’t think will like it, people may be switched off by it and question whether to follow this story over to Episode Three: Seeds of War. I ramble, perhaps I’ll go into greater details in a later post. Happy hunting I’ll catch you later guys.


   Kayna’s eyes opened along with a heavy inhale and satisfying exhale of air. She had landed in Limbo, inside a dark space, laying within an iridescent cocoon as large as a coffin. Pressing both of her hands upon the curvature of the roof, the shell opened like a lid on a chest and sky light stung her one green and blue eye. A calm, deep blue sea surrounded her at all points of the compass, her shell boat swaying gently. A storm was adrift, hovering on the distant horizon, although it were miles upon miles away, calls of thunder echoed over to her seconds after bolts of lightning were observed. Kayna Antares Serisa the 29th Star Caller of Krondathia, had successfully used Inner Peace and took a look over the raft she stood in, into the sea beneath her. Putting a leg up, resting a foot onto the edge, Kayna’s eyes burst into colourful flames that corresponded with her iris shades, and she inhaled several large breaths of air before leaping off, diving into the cold waters. Kayna swam directly down as fast as she could, her legs kicking vigorously, her arms pulling back handfuls of water with every stroke. Eyes alive with light leaving a faint trail behind her, she swam deeper and deeper passing the point of no safe return. Her chest began to ache, fresh air was what her lungs needed but she did not retreat to the surface, she did not second guess herself while her survival instincts screamed at her desperately for renewal. With the last ounces of strength, Kayna released a pitch, a call only one would be able to hear this far down. Floating in the darkness, time running out, with moments left to spare a pocket of air a bubble of life surfaced from beneath her feet, encapsulating her, providing her with an atmosphere she could sustain herself in. Gasping “You know, for a moment there, I thought you’d be late” said Kayna, having gathered her breath, putting a finger to her brow stroking her curtains of dark hair aside, out of the spaces from her eyes. Something elegant and shapely swam around the bubble, a shadow melding in with the oceans deep blue, circling the Star Caller safe within the sanctity of her bubble which were slowly rising to the surface. “We need to figure out a better way to do this, next time can you not come to me?” asked Kayna, politely. “Storms coming, I must descend” said a floaty, nasally voice from somewhere behind her position. “I know, I saw it. Don’t worry, we still have time” Kayna answered, swerving around on the spot catching a glimpse of a flowing shape that disturbed the underwater canvas. The ocean fell silent, nothing but the poetry of water and then the haunting song of something massive and majestic hung in the space of sea. The eloquent calls, the musical words of whales soothed Kayna into relaxation, her eye lids fell enclosing her eyes, her mouth tort the subtlest of smiles. Kayna picked up the movements of the swimming Counterpart, merging on the boarders of the darkening depths and the lighter swathes of water. When lit under such sunlit ribbon swathes, her figure appeared to be of a humanly shape, head, arms the waist in the shape of that of an hourglass, beautiful and seductive as she glided through the ocean with her tail similar to that of a rainbow fish. Though when this creature encroached on the ridges of darkness her eloquence quickly receded, becoming encrusted with streamlined armour, her tail becoming part of an assassin sharks. Swimming toward Kayna, safe within her bubble, the Counterpart struck up a blend of rainbow and assassin features, it placed a soft, pale hand embolden in sharp coral structured armour and sang “Speak your truth” from under a menacing helmet that covering her eyes and top part of her head, yet exposing the lower half uncompromising the perfect nose and healthy, succulent lips. Kayna fit her hand onto the water nymphs and spoke her truth “Isolde Beatrix is still missing, her whereabouts unknown, an investigation will be undertaken soon. If you can bring anything to the shores of the forefront of my mind then please, bottle me a message and let it go into the appropriate current” pleaded Kayna, the water nymph curling round the bubble, her sharks tail sliding passed the Star Callers eyes. “If there were a message to bottle sweet Kayna, I’d deliver it myself” she said still circling the pocket of spherical air, running a clawed finger over its surface teasing to burst it, for time was escaping them. “So, you can’t tell me anything?” asked Kayna in disbelief, again having to twist around to catch the faceless water nymph “No profound message, no mystical words of wisdom like last time? I know you know something, even if it is not what I want to hear I’d prefer you’d say it” said Kayna, receiving a cold, faceless stare from the nymph outside “I ask for your memory on the matter; What do you recall?” questioned Kayna. The Counterpart pushed away from the bubble, and floated treading water in front of Kayna. “What was the last thing Isolde said to you, you were last of the six in her company, what did she say to us? Heed those words now, Kayna, trust them and Isolde’s path will cross with yours again” said the nymph, remaining still, turning more into a human as Kayna arose. “And the Spector?” asked the Star Caller, the bubble almost at the surface, the light getting stronger. “What of the Spector!?” cried Kayna, getting down onto her knees, staring down at her Counterpart smiling up at her “Tell me what it is, how to gain the advantage!?” The water nymphs armour had all but slipped away, the crustacean helmet she wore pulled away, sinking into her spine revealing hair similar to Kayna’s only it was far longer almost down to her knees, she swam up to the bubble, putting a very human hand upon the surface as it had done earlier. Kayna connected with it, mimicking the action “Stick close your sister and do not follow it” warned the nymph, as her finger grew an armoured claw, piercing the bubble before falling back into the murky depths, her rainbow fish tail molding into that of an assassin sharks. Kayna stood up as the cold sea water quickly flooded her round space. As the water level grew tall, her physicality disappeared along with its rising. Very quickly, she was nothing but a floating head struggling to find air before the sea enveloped her entirely, taking her away from Limbo, returning her to the blackness where she would regain consciousness, waking up to Equis.


Copyright © 2018 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 – Volumes 4-6.
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.

For a little something extra before I shoot off to grab a much-needed coffee, and when I say coffee I mean a pint of whiskey, a year or so ago I made bookmarks to promote Episode One: The Utopian Dream, this time around I am thinking about making postcards/art cards, similar to that of what you see in this articles image. All you have to do if you want one is drop me an E-mail using the contact information below, title your E-mail with your name followed by ‘Card,’ tell me your favourite animal or creature, leave a quote that is special to you and the address to where you want it sent. Don’t worry, everything is free of charge. I am pretty busy so don’t expect anything anytime soon, but I will be sure to work on them when in between my day job, blogging and creating new material. If the quote isn’t your own, if it was written by someone else, a poet, musician, writter or public speaker, then please leave the details so I can reference him or her. I do not wish to wake up with a law suit on my hands screaming plagiarism.

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(1) C.R.E.A.T.E. – Dark Rogues: A Story in Shadows

The Dark Rogues first make an appearance in the early chapters of Episode One: The Utopian Dream. They are mentioned here and there before revealing themselves mainly in Isabelle’s side of the story to begin with. Described by some to be rather unpleasant, untrustworthy, violent lawless bandits responsible for some pretty atrocious actions throughout Equis, but as you read further you’ll come to find that this is simply not quite the case, as is with a lot of other things scattered throughout the book. In Episode One: The Utopian Dream, you follow protagonists coming from the Norkron/Requorn side, those who live and serve the country of Krondathia, so the picture depicted is written from a bias stand point, its one-sided and our protagonists are not immune to this propaganda. We have Lethaniel, an over-confident Visarlian Knight and his hand-picked team who venture across Ledera in search of an important entourage. Then you have Isabelle, an insecure Star Caller of the same age in her spiritual quest to bring about utopia. They are set against a number of foes throughout their journeys, enemies such as Xavien’s crazed Blood Marauders on a demonic crusade to awaken an invinsible demonic entity, you have a Cursed Glyph Wielder, Miranda, with a vendetta against our Star Caller, Tearrius’s Mercenaries are hired hands promised enormous wealth upon victory over Krondathia and Dovidian Troopers, on the march in the defence of their country Ivulien. Some enemies take on a far more subtle yet sinister form, enemies like Calias Harken who uses economics and black-mail as his weapons of choice, and for a long time the audience is lead to believe that these Dark Rogues, are just another enemy that will have to be dealt with and defeated in time. Every fantasy book has them, don’t they? From Lord of the Rings (Strider) to Game of Thrones (Jaqen H’ghar) there is always that plucky young thief or the dark brooding figure under the hood that rarely makes an appearance, who questions our moral compass from time to time, who is able to make us laugh but at the same time demand a portion of our respect. They are enjoyable characters, who wouldn’t want them involved in a series such as this? Another few examples comes from the TV show Firefly, Malcom Reynolds and his crew of Brown Coats, and Peter Quill (Starlord) from Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy. Rogues are as essential to fantasy story telling in medieval AND sci-fi, they are as essential as magic I’d say, or in some cases, dragons and the raised dead. They are kind of run of the mill and what to anticipate when going into books such as mine or as in certain TV and films I’ve previously mentioned. Well, my book is not the exception in this regard, I do have a thief’s story wrapped up in here, one that I want to be brilliant as the series progresses. I too have always found rogues cool as hell, so cool even that I introduced The Dark Rogue class in the traditional way, a way that you’d tend to expect, but I’ve started to evolve the idea since then, taking this faction to somewhat extremes. Upon the release of Episode Two: Rise of The Black Doves (2019), you’ll see what I mean, not that they didn’t kick fucking ass toward the end of Episode One: The Utopian Dream, but it only gets better and better from here!

Welcome to the first in a new on-going mini series I have within this Blog called C.R.E.A.T.E. It stands for ‘Creativity evolved,’ ‘Redefining epic,’ ‘Endless possibility,’ ‘Ambition unlimited,’ ‘Thinking beyond,’ ‘Expanding minds.’ Here, I will be detailing some of my thought processes, delving in a little deeper to certain aspects of The Ancestral Odyssey that initially were not or have not yet been looked into as much as I have liked. Normally, all these ideas are trapped inside dozens of small black notebooks, used as reference for when I am creating new material. Because there are so many ideas spread over years and years in these notebooks in no particular order, I’ve gone through the trouble to filter out such ideas, scoured key parts of what I’ve had published in Book One that contributed to the making of one of my most favourite groups in the entire series. I’ve literally taken hundreds of notes and attempted to organise them and explain them in these next few paragraphs, giving you an idea of what goes into this part of the story. I will be doing this again with other topics, I would like to talk about the magic (Glyph) I created in the next one, the religion (Starillia), the languages (Dolopikdia, Englathin, Haphiarion), other factions (Vargan, The Balance, Cursed Ones, Unicorns Minions), main characters and secondaries, some of the creatures (Gantuuar, Tulkan, Chocian Titans, Vaurodile), big monsters (Runaic Giants, God Eaters, Gargolems) and so on, but these C.R.E.A.T.E. titles will include [SPOILERS] they may even reveal future plots and answers to some questions which are frequently raised. So keep your eyes open and I hope you enjoy the read.

The Dark Rogues – A Brief Introduction and Analysis: What started once as a small group of rebellious outcasts hiding in the black forests outside of Quaith, North of Xiondel City, are now one of the most formidable fighting forces the R.F (Requorn Forces) have at their disposal. Their disposability is put lightly however by the Commanders in charge of the Requorn armies, because Dark Rogues by definition, have no concrete allegiance to anyone, not to The Eldor of Krondathia, The Fawn of Damalesque, The Dovidian Circle in Ivulien or The Sovereign Watcher in Jureai. They have no country of their own, no home (Sentinel, an evolving base being the only exception) or land in which they permanently settle, nor do they have their own culture besides that of what they do best, typically this means espionage, stealth missions and raids.

Formed by two people, a young woman at the time named Catherine Quistel, often refered to by the others as Cat, and a man called Toula Winduece long before they officially joined with Krondathia during The Covenant War. They were once branded enemies of Equis, hated by all, used as a scapegoat for anything and everything that went wrong or not according to Government plans. They quickly picked up a negative reputation, a reputation which could only be quelled by falling into exile where they vowed to escape from and succeed in doing so by the end of Episode One. It was in exile where exiles found them however, victims of every corrupt system, they gathered and trained under the supervision of Catherine, the woman responsible for raising a wing of Dark Rogues under the insignia of the feline, and Toula, under his wing were of the owl. It wasnt long before their numbers grew, forever moving, forever fleeing, forever being hunted by the authorities or something worse. They had no choice but to travel the world, listening and learning from each and every landscape it had to offer, honing their skills as they went. In Book One, they are based inside Tthenadawn Forest, their camouflage, their gear, weapons and tactics have adapted around the forest where they drew their powers from. Able to blend in perfectly with their green surroundings, able to shoot webbed nets from bows and climb trees like they were ladders, The Dark Rogues adapted well and they learnt fast. When we meet them in Book Two, you’ll find their environment has shifted dramatically.

Slowly, over time, having been on the road for so long, they became something more from the utterances of the masses of people, from the propaganda of the Governments, they became a symbol that represented rebellion, outcasts signalling to those in high positions that not everyone was a slave nor is to its ideals, that they were people who weren’t afraid to put a halt on corruption, injustices and cruel misdeeds. The Dark Rogues make those in power afraid, because they can appear to hit anything and anyone hard and decisively.

Only few can potentially become a Dark Rogue given the right circumstances and interactions with certain people, people who are typically Dark Rogues themselves or those who may know where they may be congregating, but the latter is next to impossible due to the fact that Dark Rogues only really have time for and communicate with others of the same class, no one knows where they’ll be, no one knows what their agenda is, secrecy is key, strict business between rogues, between their own as usual, because there is no time to waste. The recruiting process is complicated, complex, life threatening, life changing and hard, the hardest part is of course being able to get an audience with a Dark Rogue because usually as previously stated, they are extremely hard to find and if you happen to meet one they could be in between jobs, caught off guard (highly unlikely) or worse, you ARE part of the job! People who end up as Dark Rogues are usually those who are bright, victims of the current system or those in very desperate situations that crave a path to walk, a desire for change not only from within themselves, but a change in the way the world works. These men and women are brought in, looked after and analysed before anything more happens and should they be initiated, there is the training that follows. Potential Dark Rogues fit for the field must be able to complete a series of intense trials which can last years, trials which test the mind and the body, they also need to demonstrate a level of independent thought and intelligence, meaning no placid drones or imbeciles can be part of the faction. Size and strength is also not an issue, where as most would think of rogues as light and nimble, and a lot of them are indeed this way, Night Panthers of Tthenadawn Forest can grow as large and as heavy as a grown man, yet these creature are easily able to strike a fatal blow upon unsuspecting targets without them even noticing their approach, so even the big guys who you wouldn’t think of being masters of stealth, can be trained in such ways. Similarly to The Honour Guards of Krondathia, training never really ceases, you are constantly learning, forever the student, passing on knowledge to others below or above you, but unlike Honour Guards, Dark Rogues cater to the individual in question, not everyone is of the exact same build or of the same mental capacity, they are seen as unique which isn’t beaten out of them when turning them into soldiers, but uniqueness it’s nurtured, carefully taken into account and acted upon in order to use the person to the best of their abilities, to place them where they are best suited for assignments. For those who aren’t fit for active, physical duty out in the wilds or bustling Cities, must still undergo other forms of dynamic training, diverse training which can at times prove more difficult than the active trials, for they may need to be able to infiltrate and perhaps manipulate certain industries from behind closed doors without being detected. You need to be able to cover your tracks, work another agenda while being perceived by others, to be just another employee. The more eyes and thinking minds undercover makes for options to open up should anything devastating happen to those working out in the field, both types work together, scratching each others backs.

There is a certain saying in the book, a saying uttered by The Dark Rogues picked up in their training, and it’s; “Do not depend on luck, it won’t last.” Another one is said by the populace of Norkrons before they side with The Dark Rogues, it’s; “If you think you’ve seen a Dark Rogue then you haven’t seen a Dark Rogue” because at this point in the story, before The Utopian Dream, Dark Rogues are thought to be extinct, but in truth there practise has become so advanced that no one has spotted them or thought to have spotted one for years. Not only are they smart, competent and capable, these guys do not fuck around, they always have two or three back-up plans should anything go wrong or the unexpected happen, they are always prepared, there is no situation (typically) that they walk into where they do not have the upper hand. Dark Rogues are witty, wonderful actors, can lie brilliantly, able to walk the walk and talk the talk if the situation calls for it. The idea is to have already won the conflict, to stack the odds in their favour before making an appearance. They can depend on one another when together, if separated they are just as deadly and if on the off-chance they find themselves cornered, it’s more than likely they have someone on the inside, working toward their release or searching for a given window of opportunity for him or her to escape.

When these forces of physical strength, espionage and stealth meet with the same forces who oversee what goes on inside behind closed doors of the offices and court systems, you have an adversary that can and will if pushed, cause some serious damage to legions if not whole countries without even having to set foot on a battlefield or take a knife to anyone. Sometimes refered to as Drogues, they have mastered the art of survival in almost any environment and can handle any type of weapon, melee, projectile, shield or otherwise with confidence, employing their own individual style nurtured from the beginning. Catherine, urges that each Dark Rogue has to be a one man army and Toula see’s that they can also fight together as a group. Within Sentinel, their forever evolving base which was once a single supply carriage that grew into a convoy of carriages, eventually transforming into a massive moving HQ. Among their ranks who work therein are inventors, armourers, builders and the most competent rogues in Equis, working with their own, improving themselves in every single way, keeping up with the rate of which the world is advancing, improvising on how to be as lethal and as cunning as possible. Governing themselves in both great numbers by Catherine and Toula, and on an individual basis, able to work with company or in solitude, they are their own backbone, their own group and some are their own family having been estranged from blood relatives or worse, suffered at the hands of tragedy. Embodying unique tactics that even the master thieves of Equis and the deadliest of assassins find impossible to track or replicate, The Dark Rogues are indeed a force NOT to be reckoned with or worse underestimated, they may well be the one who is cooking your dinner, cleaning your sheets, teaching your children in school, paving the footpaths you’re walking on or someone deciding where your defending armies are to go and when. Few in numbers, stretching to a few hundred or so compared to the hundred thousand strong of Krondathian or Dovidian armies, Dark Rogues are tiny, almost insignificant when up next to these power houses, but have more capability and skill than most soldiers, Captain, Commanders and Generals combined. As Catherine so eloquently puts “Bring your armies, send your legions, present your battalions in all their shinning glory, all can be undone by the handful of Dark Rogues you see at my side, and the many who you don’t see behind you.” 

The Dark Rogues – Creating the Ultimate Rogue: It is all well and good to describe The Dark Rogue as I have done in the last few paragraphs, it’s easy to do that in fact and I hope it comes across in my first book and books to follow, that’s the real trick, to show and not tell. Explaining what they can and can’t do and believe me, they DO have weaknesses, interesting weaknesses that I will get into later that comes with a SPOILER (you’ve been warned), they aren’t indestructible, but being a master thief who can crack almost any lock in a matter of minutes, someone who can evade others with ease, infiltrate any institution and wield a wide variety of weapons with skill and efficiency, these abilities as impressive as they are, are only skin deep. What actually makes The Dark Rogues stand out from the other factions is clued to in their very name, in the word ‘Dark,’ what I mean by this (besides it sounding cool) is that they have not only mastered their physical selves, but they have learned how to think for themselves, figured out how to be independent beings and embrace who they are, this makes them powerful and hard to beat when in comparison with say a Regular soldier, from one of the main countries, who has learnt just a few methods in attack and defence, lacking any individual style at all making them easy to manuever around. They are also empathetic, even though it almost never comes across in Episode One: The Utopian Dream, they do have a very Human side to them expressed in the quiet moments. I wrote one not so long ago actually which will be appearing in Episode Two: Rise of The Black Doves, a side that could be used against them should it come out, like a super hero revealing his identity or exposing his kryptonite. Drogues keep what is precious to them secret where their enemies are not in a position to exploit. Dark Rogues are in touch with reality and reality is bleak, reality is depressing, scary, sad and somewhat hopeless when you analyse the Human condition, and the forces set against us on every level. The powers that tyrants hold, a dagger can fix in the night, a mass raid is useful to disarm opponents in the night before a battle, but ultimately it’s as effective as pulling out a weed in a wild overgrown field. As individuals, you have very little power to really change things for the better (with the exception of a few I will highlight in later posts), as a group you may make a temporary dent in the predicament that Humans have found themselves in, but again it’s not enough to alter how WE are, our crocked nature! Dark Rogues do not run with the crowds, they do not bow to society if the majority of society has been twisted to fit a Governments acceleration to profit, they react to injustice and do not respond in kind. They call out hypocrisy, stand up for the little guy, sort to eradicate evil and ABSOLUTELY refuse to follow those who work inward, who threaten freedom and persist on poisoning Equis with toxic ideals that stain future generations. This is what makes my Dark Rogues more than just a thief in the shadows, they can destroy you in more ways than you can count, but will exact their power only when it is necessary, they know how to use it and more importantly know when NOT to use it. What frustrates my rogues more than anything, is not the fact that they are constantly travelling, always on the run sleeping with one eye open, unable to settle and have a regular life as Riagel Tyorn explains to Lethaniel toward the end of The Utopian Dream, is that they have to bear witness to populations of people be brainwashed into a way of thinking, whether it be through religion or propaganda, if people are robbed of their own thoughts only to benefit those who are in leadership, hurts them. The Dark Rogues are people, men and women who have opened their/or had their eyes opened for them, educated themselves, learned to detect corruption and fight against it with every bone in their body, this is what drives them, not the rewards of bringing justice to fucked up people even though that is a smug fringe benefit of theirs, but to see balance restored to those who have no voice is something they feel like they must do because no one else will, and should they somehow be victorious at the end of this story, if they achieve their impossible goal, if things go sour, if they had to side with you for a period of time but then you decided to indulge in misdeeds, you can bet that the Drogues would be out to set things straight allied in the past of not, it is not about being friends, the cause they fight is much larger than that, hence the term, Dark Rogues, hence why the leaders hate them, fear them and will do and say anything to stop them! And they are succeeding.

Weaknesses of The Dark Rogues {CONTAINS SPOILER}: Like with all great protagonists they are somewhat hollow without a great antagonist to oppose them. If you’re a follower of this Blog or have read the first book The Utopian Dream, you’ll know that I love the ‘bad’ guys, they bring to the table another view-point, another side to your world, one where you may even find yourself agreeing with to a degree. They are as important as the ‘good’ guys and are absolutely essential to pretty much any story out there, find me a book or a film where the protagonist does not come into contact with some adversary and e-mail me using the link below, I’d be very interested to see what is shared. So, a well thought out antagonist will bring a required depth to the story, and it must be worked on as much as the characters you want to see come out on top. It’s true, we all have a dark side to us, we all have an opposite, a yin and a yang inside our heads and it is important to explore or at least listen to both sides, especially when writing, because you have the freedom to really delve deep, rummage around and examine what you find. You’re probably wondering after all I’ve said about The Dark Rogues up to this point, what could they possibly be vulnerable to? Well, there are forces out there which I have not yet mentioned not even hinted at, beings that look upon my Drogues and laugh, it’s hard to believe but it’s true. What antagonists you have read about so far (if you’re a reader) are nothing with what I have in store for you and The Dark Rogues, struggle. They face extermination, they find themselves outnumbered, outmatched both physically and mentally, they lose, lose and lose until they are driven to the brink of utter defeat, they may yet be defeated after a certain Episode because this is what The Ancestral Odyssey is all about, I do not embrace happy endings, I do not want to follow mainstream story telling and leave everyone with a smile on their face, I want to do something different and that does not mean telling a story where everyone dies, but things that you will not be accustomed to, things that will leave you thinking about what happened and this sometimes means accepting defeat on some levels.

As you know, Cat and Toula brought rise to The Dark Rogues, they worked together swiftly, bringing together groups of wonderfully gifted, free thinking people, training them, organising them yet allowing them to hold onto themselves and not become mere drones. Catherine Quistel and Toula Winduece hold two sides of the coin, they are seen as liberators, heroes, and also incredible threats not only to leaders but something far worse. There are many races in Equis, so many spread throughout its history, from Imps, Druids, Driads, Sirens and Vampires, some are gone forever only to be found in books, extinct, never to return, some are thriving, well and truly set into the world of Equis, but some are lost in time, driven to the backs of everyone’s memory turning into nothing more than passing thoughts. One such race are a race similar to that of Human beings, with similar builds only a little stronger and bigger with a more resilient thicker skin and immunity to many diseases we are not. Similar brain capacity only a little more intellectual and a thirst to absorb and learn more, they live a lot longer, the oldest being two-hundred and fifty years of age. They have the ability to adapt to their environments or change it if needs be without mass destruction, this race is called, Vargan. {SPOILER} Okay, this is where I properly give away some finer details, it’s an idea that will likely change over time, it is something still deep in the works and needs more time and energy poured into it before it is ready but regardless, if you do not want to know, stop reading now! – Vargan, taught Catherine everything they knew when she were found as an outcast, they brought her in, taught her how to survive in hostile environments, how to think, how to fight, how to turn ones power into their undoing. They made her and she adopted the Vargan way and traditions. Catherine embodied their ways of stealth, silence, strategy and survival to get the better of them and she did so beautifully. After a traumatic ordeal where she had to fully utilise these learned techniques in a place she were alien to, having to fully embrace such a train of thought which saved her, she returned to her Vargan allies, those who missed her as a family would, she being their one and only Human friend, the only one they could trust. Young Catherine learned that the Vargan were to make a strike against her own kind, a strike that would cripple the major countries of Krondathia and Ivulien, setting them back decades of peace and prosperity. She was to be included in this strike, to lead part of the strategy even engage with people on the front lines, but she silently disagreed with the move and made a choice that changed her relationship with the Vargan forever, a decision which would echo and cause Vargan to hate the Human species more so than they already did. She betrayed them, and brought light their plan, their whereabouts revealed to the Human forces who were able to scatter the Vargan to the far corners of the world. Once it was over, and the battle which would be better described as a slaughter and Catherines betrayal made famous, she ran, disappeared along with what was left of the Vargan, only this time she were to rise once more with her own brood, those she refers to as her children, or her cats, a wing of Dark Rogues which have embraced her way and methods. The Vargan never returned, but only a fool would think of them as gone, they are still here and it is only a matter of time before they seek vengeance upon Catherine Quistel, Toula Winduece and all those who march under the banner of the conjoined face of the feline and the owl.

Right on, I think I’ve covered what needs to be covered, I hope you’ve liked what you’ve read and have a clear picture painted about what I think a rogue should be, if not, let’s see YOU come up with something better you jerk!…Just kidding…But please remember that all of this, The Dark Rogue story is still only a small part of what The Ancestral Odyssey has to offer, there is so much more to it and I will cover more in this C.R.E.A.T.E. series. If you’ve read Episode One: The Utopian Dream and liked what you read about them, look forward to Episode Two: Rise of The Black Doves, because their universe is greatly expanded upon and you even finally meet Catherine Quistel, after chapters of teasing about her, she does make an appearance and has a scene where she shows off her impressive abilities. Catherine, is actually inspired by a real person in my life, my old boss in fact, of course my old boss is remarkable and she would never betray those who call her family, but her fire, her persona alone was enough for me to breathe life into the Cat Quistel that appears in my second book. I hope she is reading this actually, her response will likely be a fantastic one!

This article taught me something, it is showed me that it is extremely difficult to put into words something you’ve been working on for years, it took a while to write and edit down and part of me wants to go back and re-work in some other pretty cool ideas or talk about some of the best characters that have sprung from The Dark Rogues. I could have made this post twice as long, but after having re-read it a few times I feel like this is adequate to digest. So, thank you for reading, have a great day, and be sure to check into the YouTube channel very soon, to see the new Teaser Trailer for the next book which I hope to release next year. PEACE!


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Extra Segment: What began as two mere side characters, a duo in fact who were not meant to show up very much at all, who were only meant to have a page or two each to their names in every other volume of the series, have slowly become two of my favourite characters in the entire odyssey. They’re a couple of Dark Rogues who make their appearance in Episode One: The Utopian Dream, they have a rich back story but it’s over shadowed by the main plots of Isabelle Verano and Lethaniel Presian, however they will have a significant portion dedicated too them in Episode Two, I plan to share more about them and detail their characters more so, because I have a lot in store for them. Their names are; Riagel Tyorn and Draygo Dumear. Having adopted two very different fighting styles, Draygo who wields knives and daggers, relying on his swift dexterity, his unchallengeable speed and agility to see him through danger; Riagel, taking up skills with polearms and heavier weapons based around his incredible strength and supreme power which has never failed him, these two going head to head is interesting but to see them teamed up is even more entertaining. Starting out as rivals in their earlier days, a story arc I can only refer to at this point; When their leaders pitted them against one another, they found a bond, a bond they did not want to admit to until betrayed by those who promised to have their and everyone elses best interests at heart. Having bested each other multiple times but unable to end one another, even after Draygo put one of his knives through Riagel’s hand, even after Riagel launched Draygo through a wall with his bare hands moments before delivering a punch no one has recovered from until Draygo, after several pretty violent encounters, they broke away from their rigid principles when laying battered, bruised, bleeding and defeated in a ditch, it was in this moment where they decided to form an alliance which was responsible for sewing their friendship together and leading them into a Dark Rogue path, and it is from this point you know them, decades later. They are an unbreakable force not to be meddled with sharing the same ideals, employing a good moral compass and a taste for fairness, justice and intelligence. They provide the story with some of the comic relief, they steer some of the most interesting story lines I have or are witness to them, they are involved in some of the most epic of battles I have when they both take on an army of six-hundred strong and are victorious, they also present to my audience my meaning of loyalty and friendship. These two keep the audience guessing, their foes in the book and my readers will forever be wondering as to whether or not the pair actually meant to do half the shit they do, if they are just plain lucky, geniuses or are making it up as they go along, it’s fun to guess. Because they are Dark Rogues, their outfits evolve over time with whatever environment they find themselves in, at first they are suited in forest gear, you will see them embellish desert livery soon in the following book, details I look forward to writing. Their chosen weapons sort of remain the same throughout, Draygo using daggers and projectile weapons, Riagel and his polearm with two formidable settings, although they may upgrade or become fond of other tools as they progress. Both have strengths and weaknesses, both suffer through tragedy, great tragedy infact that only strengthens their friendship and respect for one another. They usually share their story lines but there are occasions when their paths split, and they find themselves alone without one another to fall back on. I love these guys and I look forward to continue their stories in Episode Two: Rise of The Black Doves, where they are met with a character, their first real antagonist called, The Biomechanic, a fiendish being who weaves together organic material to build his own grotesque warrior puppets, a being who Draygo nicknames, Steve. This story ends when Steve builds an opponent, something fans of Episode One will key to that even Riagel and Draygo struggle with. When daggers and polearms don’t work, new tactics must be used to ensure their survival. Their continuation starts off in the deserts of Sand where they raid a lost underground structure containing an ancient threat that destroyed The Driads in ancient times, but this leads them back to Tthenadawn Forest in an attempt to find The Silken Spirit, a former Dark Rogue named Chloe Augustine, who decided to take a different path to the one they’re on after a traumatic ordeal, who has crucial knowledge involving the dealings in the hot unforgiving wastelands of the North. Riagel meets up with Catherine Quistel, the badass leader who possesses abilities that are able to top anything this pair can muster together, within their fortress of Sentinel, where they engage in a conversation involving the future of The Dark Rogues. Riagel also looks to Master Frost, the engineer who provides the faction with the best gear and weaponry they can get their hands on. We also meet other Drogues, Stephan and Roland, guys who share in their interests but never always agree or see eye to eye. Lots to come, lots to read and reveal and I cannot wait to make progress with this story in shadows.


A Quiet Place – Reviewed

A Quiet Place was directed by John Krasinski, a new horror movie where the Human race is under threat from an almost unstoppable race of nightmarish creatures that use sound to hunt with. Anything above a whisper and you are literally risking your own life and the lives of all those around you from a brutal death, so staying quiet, keeping as silent as possible at all times is key to survival. The film stars John himself as Lee Abbot, Emily Blunt as Evelyn Abbot (who is also John Krasinki’s wife) and three children, who must endure living in a noise free environment for as long as it takes, until they or someone else finds a tool or perhaps a weapon that can combat these creatures that are lurking pretty much everywhere! Everyone involved gives wonderful performances but the two that stand out the most in my opinion are the obvious choices, John and Emily are brilliant throughout and because they are together in real life they share genuine chemistry so you do find yourself caring about them right from the start, at least I did, something which is hard to achieve in horror films these days. Please be warned I will be giving {SPOILERS} in this review so if you haven’t seen it please stop reading, click off this page and go see it in theatres, I only saw it once, it was a few weeks ago so if I say anything incorrect, let me know so I can re-evaluate. I highly recommend seeing this film in the cinema actually because you simply cannot recreate the same atmosphere you get at home than what you can experience in a respectable cinema, some films you can but with this one specifically, I think you need to have the benefits of the best surround sound possible, you’ll know what I mean when you’re watching it, when a noise is made after twenty minutes of silence, you really are alerted to it and scared by it. With that being said, I will not only be talking about this film but I will also share some of my own ideas that I think would have made the film just a little bit better from a creative stand point, because there are problems with this movie, problems which took some enjoyment from it but we’ll get into those later, so please, grab yourself a drink and I hope you enjoy my review of; A Quiet Place.

The film starts out with a lone family searching for supplies in an abandoned town somewhere in America. You don’t exactly know what has taken place other than a catastrophe, the film doesn’t share much details with you on that front, it leaves room for a lot of speculation and guessing on the audiences part. Newspaper cuttings, old radio transmissions, flyers, posters, graffiti sprayed on the walls and other hints can be spotted throughout the movie which can help you piece together a story of what went on, but besides that, the film allows you to do most of the work yourself, which is both a good and bad thing, we’ll also come to that later; All you know is that something has invaded, something is wiping Humans out to the point of extinction, we don’t know where they came from? Why they are doing it or if the creatures are natural, unnatural or alien? But this family has done a somewhat good job of surviving up until one of the little children gets a hold of a toy spacecraft which emits a sound loud enough to attract one of the creatures from the woods nearby. This leads to the first and most shocking death in the movie, the child is taken and torn to pieces by one of these creatures right before the eyes of the parents and the remaining two children. Lee (the father) didn’t just stand-by however, he did his best to save his child but he is too late. The film does do a great job of setting up these monsters, they are big, they are scary, incredibly strong, grotesque yet weirdly beautiful to look at when you see them, but there really is no bullshit surrounding them and this is what I enjoyed most, if you make a noise loud enough there is no messing around, no second chances, they’ll hear you, they come for you and they kill you without any difficulty, you cannot fight them, you cannot get in their way, the idea is hammered home right at the start, you stay quiet and this opening scene makes the rules very clear. This movie isn’t focused on the monsters, its main focus is the characters, it reminds me of such films like The Village directed by M.Night Shyamalan which was marketed as a monster horror movie but was actually a love story and a really good one at that, with its attention on the two main protagonists. It also reminded me of 10 Cloverfield Lane, yes it was a monster movie but you rarely get to see the creatures, it’s more to do with those surviving the situation. Another one is Signs, Signs is one of my favourite monster movies, about an alien invasion, but instead of taking the Independence Day route of huge epic aerial battles and cities being wiped out, it homes in on one family, and that strategy of film making in itself is far more effective to scare audiences and build tension. Not that Independence Day is bad, I actually love that film, it has some of the best movie quotes to date in my opinion and is a real feel good film, shame about the sequel but the first is still great.

The film does keep track of the dates and for the life of me I cannot remember them, another viewing is definitely required on Blu-Ray, but a little time has gone by before we meet the family again since the loss. Lee has grown a pretty impressive beard, a beard I am so not jealous of, you get to see their farm on which they live, a place I would love to retire to, it feels warm, lived in and peaceful. You learn more about Evelyn’s character who has fallen pregnant and the two siblings, Regan Abott the elder sister who is deaf played by Millicent Simmons, and Marcus Abott, the younger brother played by Noah Jupe. You get to see how this family has managed to survive, you learn how they eat/cook in silence, no cutlery for one or any plates, how they get around by laying pathways of sand, what they do for entertainment and how they plan to bring up a newborn baby in this dangerous environment. Some of it is very neat and clever although I would have liked to have seen more of these ideas for a while longer. As I said before, each of the actors give wonderful performances, especially Millicent Simmons who as matter of fact is actually deaf in real life, she brings something new to the table and not once did I ever think I was watching actors reading lines from a script or being stage directed, so I give it high marks in that department. The film genuinely looks great, you get some nice scenes, scenes like when Lee takes his son to a waterfall, a place where they can talk at a normal tone of voice due to the rush of water next to them, they can shout and scream as much as they want which is refreshing after seeing them mute for the majority of the film, that part was cool. After the waterfall the father and son find a house, they also find the body of an elderly woman, stood over by an elderly man, this is one of my favourite parts of the film, you quickly get another cruel lesson dished out to you. Obviously the woman was attacked by one of the creatures, and the man close by has lost the will to live, you can tell he has been silent for so fucking long and is tired of it, you can see the pain, the anger, the frustration and sadness in his face. Lee, attempts to ask him to keep quiet by gesturing a silent signal, but it is hopeless, so he grabs his son and just runs as fast as he can while the elderly guy screams as loud as he can, attracting not one but two of the monsters that make short work of him. This scene is great because you hear them approaching, you see a glimpse of them, you see that they are big and terrifying but you don’t see so much that it spoils the picture your imagination has been painting. There is a great scene with Lee and Evelyn in the basement of the house when they are listening to music together through headphones and dancing to it, I thought that was a very sweet moment, putting things into perspective of how important talking is, you see them convey in other ways. It also makes you realise how important making noise it, these characters can’t shout at one another when they are angry nor can they laugh, so all this emotion is trapped within them, it must be torture to live in such a time. Now that I think about it after weeks of seeing it, the best bits do involve Lee, there is a scene where he is sitting on top of one of his granary silo’s, he lights a fire up there at sundown and in the distance, you see other towns, plantations or houses who are also surviving in similar ways. It kind of reminded me of Lord of the Rings, the beacon scene in Return of the King, where they light fires to signal each other for help, it broadens the world ever so slightly. Of course, I can go on picking out scenes and moments in this film that I love, I’ve covered what I like about it and I look forward to seeing another John Krasinski movie, he is a very creative guy and he did a fine job with this movie. However; As much as I liked it, there is plenty I didn’t like or just thought it could have been done a bit better, but before I head into one of my usual epic rants that you are all used to by now, I’m gonna rate it before you get the wrong idea, I give A Quiet Place a fair: 6/10.

Right, some of these digs are not necessarily point deductions, nothing in this film is horrible, offensive or poorly done (say for maybe one scene), far from it, but after a few digs here and there, after a handful of unanswered questions that leaves you scratching your pathetic excuse for a beard next to John’s awesome glorious man face hair, after lack of certain details and ideas that if I had been given the chance to execute, I would have done it differently which I think could have made the film a lot better, in my opinion. All of these nit-picks combine, moulding into problems which was the reason I rated this movie just above an average one.

-How? First thing that comes to mind is the electricity, you need a generator to grant power to run the heat, the lights and a lot of the equipment. From my knowledge, generators require fuel and are very industrial loud devices, they being more than enough to lure in an army of these creatures. You don’t necessarily need an explanation to this, it is just me being picky I think, but to me the devil is in the details and it’s the little things that stand out. This movie is all about noise or the lack of noise, had a scene been included or a mere sentence perhaps, anything to explain where the generator was, if it were underground, if it were in a sound proof shed somewhere or maybe they had another method of getting their power, from a renewable source maybe (yay for environmentally friendly sources)? This could have added to the movie’s realistic side.

-Unnecessary Device. Toward the end, Evelyn is faced off with one of these creatures toe to toe, and she shoots it in the head with a pump-action shotgun, while at the start you see a piece of writing written on a white board that says something alone the lines of; ‘What is their weakness?’ or ‘Find a weakness.’ I cannot quite remember exactly what it says but the camera lingers over this sentence for a while, long enough for you to get the feeling that they are indeed looking for one. A weakness IS discovered by the end but is less effective than say a blast from a shotgun, making the discovery a bit redundant. Here is an idea, set an alarm clock off in the woods, wait for the monsters to show up and blast them with the guns you’ve salvaged, it only takes one shotgun shell and there are plenty of weapons in America right, it is kinda their thing? Eventually the monsters will stop appearing, problem solved. That would not make for a great film though ha!

-Less is more. A big gripe I had with it and most monster flicks these days, is the fact that you see too much of the creatures. Signs was great, really great when all you get is little snaps of the aliens. The scene when the alien scout is in the corn field (there is also a cornfield in Quiet Place) is just excellent! When Graham played by Mel Gibson spots one on the roof when he is putting his daughter back to bed, is frightening, all you see is a shadow but it works, it works up until the end when you get a full body shot, when all you needed was that reflection from the TV screen, or quick snaps of Merrill battering it with a baseball bat. The Descent, directed by Neil Marshall, which is about a group of thrill seekers, the movie plays on the ideas of madness, claustrophobia, loss and darkness is fantastic, when all you get is glimpses of this unknown terror lurking in the caves below, but after a while you get close-ups, you get full body shots and fight scenes in pools of blood that go on and on and on. Don’t get me wrong, I still love The Descent, especially when I watch it with someone else and they are new to it, but the more you see the less scary it tends to be. This was one of the reasons why Alien (1979) is so tremendously effective, not only was it made at the perfect time in our history, but the director Sir Ridley Scott, understood what the scariest aspect of the creature was, and that wasn’t its sheer size, its strength, what it wanted to do to you or its hideous appearance, but it was actually the audiences own imaginations. Not knowing what you saw, not knowing where it is..HOLY SHIT this method of film making is wicked. Most people I speak to about The Babadook, released in 2014, directed by Jennifer Kent, is a great movie, but people are disappointed because they didn’t see much of the creature, this is a good thing, leaving room for your imagination to do the work. Not only in films but in games as well, this way of working around suspense is key, Alone in the Dark released in 2001 springs to mind, if you’ve played through it I have this to say; The Laboratory..Jesus hell that part is terrifying, and of course, one of my favourite horror games is Amnesia: The Dark Descent, where you barely see anything, where it took me a year to finish because it is so unbelievably stressful. A Quiet Place is no different, glimpses is all you need but the more the film goes on for, the more you see and the less scary and suspenseful it becomes. Bit of a shame because the camera work does tease you.

-Another baby…Really? At the beginning, the family loses the youngest member in what could be the worst possible way. I cannot actually think of anything worse after paying it some thought, I challenge you guys to find something more horrific because I can’t. It is a great scene though, not only does it set the rules for this film but it shows the danger, the brutality and the unforgiving relentlessness of the monsters. Again, I am unsure of how much time has gone by since the incident, I’ll have to watch it again but it seems too soon to be having another baby, Lee and Evelyn already have two! A baby is one of the most loudest, neediest things I can think of, not exactly something suited to the environment they are in. I found myself thinking and feel free to disagree with me on this but; Isn’t two children enough? Do you really want to go through it all again at the risk of everyone under the same roof? However, this does lead to a birthing scene in the film which is done very well, Evelyn slips into the bathtub after treading on a nail, trying to escape a creature that has entered the house. The red light bulbs are lit around the farm which I presume means danger, or breach in the farm, it isn’t explained, but Lee sees this on his return and sends one of his children to light up some fireworks stashed on the edge of the premises near a tractor I think, in doing so, the noise of explosives draws the creature away from Evelyn who is finally allowed to scream, granting her the time needed to give birth. It is very well done, it was intense, Emily Blunt could not have given a better performance here, but me, being the dick I am was thinking, “Another child, are you serious?” If not for the birthing sequence, perhaps we could have had something else in place, another type of action sequence or maybe more character development. Maybe we could have involved the other houses nearby, introduce a few other survivors, who knows. Perhaps we could have had a scene where Lee and Evelyn go and investigate one of these other places after Lee sees that they fail to light their fires atop one of the silos. Maybe we could have added to the threat level, the fear of being discovered by the creatures, how easy it is for them to take over a household when one their neighbours makes just a little too much noise. Another idea I had to do with the surrounding survivors, was it would have been cool if every time Lee goes up to light his fire, that fewer and fewer lights appear each time, and eventually it is only him and his family left in the area, giving the sense of they are next! We could have seen him getting ready for an attack, we could have speculated that these creatures were actually thinking or had figured out a way to find us without the use of sound, in my opinion it would have built upon the premise and raised the level of tension. Now, if say Lee and Evelyn lost their ONLY child in the opening sequence, not only would it have been far more impactful and devastating, but the desire to have another one would be understandable and would make a lot more sense.

-The Granary Scene! I was bored by it and just wanted it to end…It sucked, it took me out of the moment, there was no suspense but fortunately there was only like ten minutes left. If you’ve seen the film then you know what I am talking about. You’ve spent more or less the whole movie in the utter most silence, you know that anything above normal talking is a really bad idea, and yet the children find themselves inside one of the granaries, the metal door is banging off its hinges, they are wading around struggling to stay above the grains, they are literally ringing the dinner bell! Surely there would be hundreds of the fuckers having made that much noise but no, the creature turns into a fully fledged idiot and conveniently fails to do what it does best, this is when the movie loses credibility for me, it goes from having my respect, being very suspenseful, to something out of any cheesy horror movie. In a weird way it reminded me of that dumb scene in Jurassic Park: The Lost World, where Kelly, the young gymnast calls to the Velociraptor (described as being smarter than Humans) while she is swinging on this poll, and right before it attacks Ian Malcolm, played by Jeff Goldblum, she kicks it off the ledge out of the window and onto a spike. The scene is then ended by a quirky line that is meant to add some ironic humour when all it really does is make me think “Ugh lame.” Of course these scenes are totally different to one another but I got that same sinking feeling like I was watching just another horror film, one not to be taken that seriously anymore. Instead you could have replaced it with a scene that could have used other survivors, or you could have given Lee and Evelyn more to do because they were the best pieces of this film. The children, although they were great, I found them more and more annoying especially toward the end. Come to think of it, the kids in ALL the Jurassic Park movies took me out of the moment. In the first Purge movie I think we all can agree, that if there were no kids it would have been a lot better. Kids in movies are just freaking annoying I guess, but that is not to say it cannot be done well, look at Sixth Sense, look at Aliens, look at Babadook, watch War of the Worlds, it can be done. Sadly, the kids in A Quiet Place are mostly good, but the scenes which I found a bit silly, did involve the two children.

That’s about it I guess, I’ll have to see it again, one viewing isn’t enough. Feel free to correct me if I’ve been wrong on anything, if you disagree or if you agree, a link to my E-mail is listed. My opinion will most likely change over time and I’ll probably want to add to or re-evaluate this review in the future, as I have wanted to revisit my review on Alien: Covenant, if you want to read that article it can be found on this site, for your convenience I’ll leave a link to it below. Overall, I liked this movie, I think it was well shot, well acted, it looked great, it felt lived in, was believable for the most part and refreshed my faith in horrors. As you have been made aware of, not everything I thought was brilliant, there are problems but they do not taint this film to the point of no return, if only thye had perhaps went into a little more detail here and there it could have been a lot more enjoyable. I want to see John Krasinski act again, I want him to make more films, he is a very talented guy, love him in The Office, but his best achievement I think was his ability to hook audiences from the very get go, to have a cinema in complete silence was an absolute treat. 6/10 Thank you for reading.

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I’m Moving to Japan

This feels like de ja vu, just then when I typed in the title and began writing this post, I could have sworn I had done this before at another time in another life maybe. I’ve always wanted to see Japan, always wanted to visit it and I am not entirely sure why? Maybe it is because I’m a country boy, maybe it is because I’ve always been drawn to places where there are little to no people. A trip to Scotland, where I visited the island of Raasay has been one of the best get aways I have ever had, I remember a time when I was wandering the wilderness, it wasn’t like the woodlands in Wales, it wasn’t anything like forests in England..No, this one was far more wild, with carpets of green moss blanketing the woodland surfaces, masking huge round rocks, climbing up tree trunks and housing all sorts of mammals and insects. Plant life was everywhere, there was no path to walk or any sign of a straight line, it was picturesque, the way nature had intended things to be, balanced yet in ordered chaos. Before I left this green wonderland however, I spotted in the distance, coming out from the forest, a stag with huge antlers. For a moment I froze, eyes locked onto a creature I had never seen in real life before. The stag eventually moved on but was followed by another three beautiful stags! It was an incredible moment, a moment I’ll never forget, but at the time I did not appreciate the visit or this sighting whole heartedly, because I was a rebellious little seventeen year old who knew everything about the world and how it worked..We’ve all been there right? Unless you are not seventeen yet in which case you’re probably staring into your phone right now rather than reading this or God forbid a book of somekind, but over time, as you get older, such memories forge themselves into diamonds – Even throughout Europe I always felt at ease when sleeping in the forests or atop mountains where there were no people around other than the one or few I was travelling with. I’ve always been one to love my space and bask in the silence, but something must have happened to shift my perspective on things, because now I am aiming to go to one of the most busiest places on the planet, Japan. Compared to my previous few posts this one will be relatively short, but here are my reasons for wanting to work and live in the country of Japan. Enjoy.

  • I cannot stay in the UK; As much as I love the island which I consider to be my home, as much as I love the house and environment I grew up in, it is not the place I want to spend my entire life. I truly, have some priceless memories there, it has been kind to me and I will die there, but I am alive, I still have plenty to do, to see, to experience. I cannot live out my life there nor on this island. I may be a late bloomer when it comes to this travelling game, but I am embracing the change and going for it.
  • I’ve spent the majority of my time seeking space and evading large clusters of people; Perhaps it is time one tries a different approach. One of the lessons I’ve learned over the last few years is that when you step out of your comfort zone, as hard as it might be, you grow extensively from it and create fond memories to look back on. What with the Japanese culture, the language barrier and the giant population, I wonder who I will be facing in the mirror in a few years time.
  • I’ve always wanted to go to Japan; This would be the second time I’ve said this but when I was younger, all the magic I experienced, all the cool shit that I was exposed to in games, films and other artistic platforms, most of them came from Japan. I kind of built up a place in my head of what it was like there, a technologically advanced, sci-fi culture and although this may be stretching it just a little bit, it isn’t that far from the truth, they have always been a few steps ahead of us. Whenever we hear about the next big idea, or the latest break through in science, it would be a fair bet that it came from the minds in Japan.
  • I want a challenge; It is going to be hard, it is going to be expensive. I’ve paid for the visa, all I need do now is fill out the application forms, liaise with the embassy so we can establish what it is I’ll actually be doing for money over there, sort out accommodation and book a plane ticket. Given the amount of rent I am paying in Oxford, taking into account living expenditures and tallying it up next to my earnings, this will be difficult if I want to be out of here by June, but it is achievable. I can do it, it is just going to be hard. Even if I do not make it out by June, I’ll find a way, but I can pass this test even if it means working extra and doing a lot more over time.
  • I’ve never had my own place before; Besides that of my dorm in the first year of University which I loved, I’ve never lived alone, I’ve lived like a student for the majority of my life and even though there is nothing wrong with that (what with the expense of accommodation these days) living this way is very freeing, it is easy and the responsibility is shared among the others I live with, the others being my two brothers and Dave. The idea to live in my own space again is a very appealing idea, and from what I’ve been told, in Japan they build up, so it is likely I’ll be given a killer view. This is exciting.
  • The fantasy genre is taking off; I really should do my research before I type this up, but I have a shower to take and work later this afternoon, and my hair takes a long..Long while to dry, so I’ll be brief. I was sent a link which I’ll search for on my messenger feed this evening, the link was about epic fantasy novels growing in popularity overseas, anyone who has a book in this genre is urged to get it translated into Chinese, Japanese or both, because success has come to some and can come of it with mine. Please, if anyone can correct me or help with any information regarding this, feel free to use the contact links below.
  • I have no idea what I am in for; People will do more to avoid pain than they will to gain pleasure. In a similar way it is fear of the unknown that stops most people in their tracks to do the things they really want to do. They convince themselves that they cannot achieve whatever it is they want, whether it be circumstances, pointing the finger or blaming, and although they may win the battle, they lose the war by keeping themselves in a state of comfort and the familiar. Over time this longing for change, the feeling of unfulfillment resides and grows. This feeling in months if not years to come, after doing the same old thing day after day, working the same job, seeing the exact same people, following the same routine, will turn into regret and resentfulness within themselves, realising that the pointed finger has turned onto them. I literally have no idea what to expect! How I will handle this!? If I will have the necessary funds!? What I’ll be doing and where I’ll end up!? This is fucking scary but even scarier than that, is looking back in years to come, and regretting not having taken the risk. Find me a great story where our hero or heroine, walks into adversary, confident of victory? You are the star of your own epic story, who are you going to be?

That is all I can think of at this moment in time, I am sure I’ll think of a load more reasons throughout the day. As I said, I am aiming to move at the end of June 2018 or in the first half of July before my birthday. I still have a few more forms to fill out, accommodation to research, a job to find and a plane ticket to buy at the end of it all, but all of this will be worth the struggle, the hassle and stress when I look out my window to a view I simply have not seen before. If anyone reading this can send me any relevant information, please do so using the links provided, it will be greatly appreciated. If anyone wants to help this lonely writer along with his travels, you can always purchase my book ‘The Ancestral Odyssey: The Utopian Dream,’ on Hardback or if you’d like it on Kindle you can buy it from the exact same place, just be sure you purchase Volume One. If you are not interested in my books but still want to help, then you can always just write me a cheque or send me a briefcase full of money, either way I’d be open to it.

Thank you for reading, and I hope at the very least this inspires you to not let fear and doubt overpower your decisions, decisions that can change your life for the better even though it may not feel that way at the time. You only live once and living your life on repeat is not living at all, it is merely existing. I quote William Wallace from the movie Braveheart, the Scotsman who fought for his country’s freedom and independence; ‘Every man dies, not every man really lives.’ Do something you do not think you can do, go somewhere you’ve always wanted to go, take that job or work towards that job you’ve always wanted; And yes I am no great example, I am far from achieving my own goals and at times I do not take my own advice, but what I do know is that nothing will change if you just sit there, you’ll only resent yourself in the future. I’ve made the choice to go to Japan after my options were made clear, I’ve made the choice to continue writing Episode Two and there will come a time when I’ll be faced with another set of choices, one of those choices will be to do nothing. Do you think I’ll take that choice?


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For me – What is Love?

Since publication, I’ve entered into a new domain..Sort of..I’ve had to manage and maintain an online presence, it has been a pleasure at times, not so much at others, I’ve had to be sure to thoroughly revise absolutely everything I’ve put out there because people are reading and watching, and I’ve learnt how to take criticism of ALL kinds. I believe and have said before that there is no such thing as negative criticism, if someone does not like your work, fine, if someone loves your work, fine, if someone has something constructive to say, then you can only benefit from that, it depends what is said, and how you take it but the worst thing you can do is not act or continue to repeat mistakes that have been pointed out to you prior, but I digress. In doing this, I’ve slowly woken up to the fact that this project isn’t just a sketch on the back of a receipt, it’s not a College project or a manuscript anymore, it is something that has grown up, transformed, something that has evolved once it graduated from drafts, into a Kindle and into a Hardback, and people are reading, a lot of people are reading in fact and it is one of the best feelings in the world, I get messages almost everyday from those who are following. Most who read are in fact friends, mutual friends and family, I love waking up to positive messages from people I’ve not spoken to in ages, or getting the odd few throughout the day that brightens my day at work. It is very touching and I thank all of you for taking an interest and the time to contact me. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, your time spent reading my stuff is greatly appreciated. There is a wide percentage however who are reading whom I’ve never met before, who are complete strangers. Most people so far like it, if not love the work I’ve put out, I haven’t really received anything negative other than the odd seriously sensitive person who thinks it is too violent or certain scenes are too graphic, I do take this into consideration none the less, but when people read, they like to be transported into that world not of our own, and it is my job as a writer to paint the most vivid picture possible to ease the transition, and if it so happens I am talking about a battle sequence involving men with sharp melee weapons, the results are not going to be pretty, are they? You can also flip the script here and describe a sex scene between two characters, there are people out there who are perfectly fine with swords entering bodies, but not okay with a males piece entering a female. In these situations you just have to let that sort of thing slide and just carry on with the work, because no matter what you do, you cannot please everyone. There is an age restriction on the book, there is adult content, do not let your children read if you are a parent or guardian, and please if you have a complaint, be sure that it is a genuine concern and not something silly like the sex scenes are too graphic. I actually re-read such scenes as few as they are and they are not exactly that explicit, more suggestive than anything and romantic. I am proud of them and would not ever change them. Never the less, a few weeks ago I got a call, a call from a young girl, I think her name was Emily or Emma, I forget the signal was pretty weak, and she said she had been reading Episode One – The Utopian Dream. One of the first things I said to her was ‘Are you old enough to be reading? The book is more for grown ups.’ She said very little about herself, but what she did want to talk to me about was something I’d never talked of before. She loved my main protagonist, Isabelle, she enjoyed the love story between Isabelle and the Dark Rogue, Teo Liolas. She seemed more interested in the relationship dynamics than anything else I had written about, she even suggested I write less epic fantasy and more love stories; This got me thinking about this next post. It’s February, Valentines Day is round the corner, hence I thought I’d talk about something a little meaningful and pretty complicated, a topic that embraces so much.

I’ve been writing on this Blog for over a year now, it is actually coming up to two years since I opened it, time seriously does fly, it is crazy! Yesterday I was a twenty-four year old, working up a story, going to the cinema once a week with my best friend Fenix and occasionally going out with all sorts of people doing ill-advised things, things that usually involved a high cliff, a rough sea below it and that wonderful thing called gravity to take control. Now, I am thirty, I’ve seen so much more of the world since, my skills in story structure, my creativity has tripled, I am working on so much and my views on life, self-growth and wisdom have broadened, and people still call me a baby, it’s great. I’ve written about so many topics since this Blog opened though, the subjects mainly centred around my book work of course, but I’ve varied it from time to time to talk about other things, such as life goals, favourite video games, films and books. I’ve responded to other Blog posts, revealed excerpts of the current project, shared encounters I’ve had with companies, the most recent one being the scam artists Voyage Media. I’ve talked about a few of my adventures but not once have I EVER talked about one of the most powerful human emotions we can experience..Love..I will not say it is THE most powerful emotion out there, it certainly ranks within the top three without a doubt, and it is so very important to try to understand and recognise..No, I will leave you to guess which feeling IS the most potent or at least the one which I think is the most powerful within a human being till the very end of this post. Yes, the idea is to keep you reading till the end, come on if I was not familiar with this simple anticipation tactic I wouldn’t be very good at what I do, and I want to be the best at this fantasy story game. I am not going to deny it and I believe I can be one of the best, I believe anyone can be the best at what they do if they are determined enough and try, using their passion, their strength, even if it just for a brief moment in time you cannot stop doing what you feel like you are here to do, you cannot give up, you have to keep fighting and overcome whatever barriers get in your way in order to reach your goals, to be the best person you can be. Not only will I talk about love and what it means to me, but I will share with you a few pieces of music that helps stir up this emotion in me, they are best heard with headphones, in a quiet room without interruptions. These are tracks special to me, and I hope you will be able to relate. Let me know what you think of them using the contact info below, I’d love to hear your thoughts on them and on what I share with you in this article; If you’d like to share with me which emotion resonates the strongest inside you, please get in touch, tell me why I am wrong perhaps, but for now, let’s get on with; ‘For Me – What is Love?’ I’ll also dive a little into Valentines Day, talk about relationships and share my own quirkiness that I hope you find interesting.

Before I’ve even started, already I’ve hit a wall and gone a bit cross-eyed. Where does one even begin to answer this question? How can one actually put this feeling of love into words? It encompasses so much, it is unreal! I guess, after a lot of coffee and thought, staring up at the ceiling, gazing dreamily into my stuffed Imp (my soft toy) I figured the best place to start is to define it. I checked the dictionary and it says:-

Love – Noun

  1. A strong feeling of affection.
  2. A great interest or pleasure in something.       

Love – Verb

  1. Feel deep affection or sexual love for someone. 

Of course, the definitions go on and on in extensive detail, so much detail in fact that if I had shared them all, it would have filled up a whole A4 page, but the noun and verb written above sums it up pretty accurately for most to understand, in as few words as possible. Don’t worry, I am not going to sit here and write you up a clinical evaluation on such a universal feeling, although Rick Sanchez from Rick and Morty makes a pretty funny assessment of it in Season One, Episode 6 – Love Potion, one of my favourite episodes of this genius cartoon. I hope to not bore you with other people’s written definitions revolving around logic and reason, because love is a little divorced from these two words in the first place, we’ve all caught ourselves in a crazy position acting on loves impulses and thought; “What the hell are you doing?” or “This is insane!” It makes us behave in very strange ways, sometimes makes us say and do foolish things, it can get us into trouble, cause us to act daft, irrational and at times just plain stupid, but it also can have the opposite effect. Love can focus us, it can get behind the wheel and drive us, give us a strength we never thought we had, enabling us to do extraordinary things and perform heart warming gestures. Just after writing the last few sentences it has made me re-evaluate what I had initially wanted to say, and I’ve had to go back and re-do this post. Realise that love is just..Strange..Effecting each and every one of us in vastly different ways and I do not need to tell you that every person you meet, and happen to see along your great human journey is different, different to everyone else due to a HUGE amount of factors! There are many ways to love, many different forms of love and they do vary; For example, I love my parents, I love my hat, my Imp and I also love a handful of my friends, the wording is the same but the meaning attached to each sentence is different. I do not love my hat in the same way I love Imp or my Mum and Dad, I do not love my friends in the same way I love my nephew who turns four this year, or someone I am intimate with. So there are indeed many forms in which this emotion takes. I am going to write about what I think love is however, what I think it means from my perspective, from a straight males perspective, a man in love with a woman. If you happen to be a woman who is interested in women or if you are a gay man who loves other men, this article also relates to you, but because I am lazy, I am not going to change the pronouns around okay, you’ll have to do that part yourself when they fail to pop up because as I said, I am a bit lazy, I type quickly and have a lot of things to do today. I believe whole heartedly that love expressed between gay people is the same love expressed between straight couples, that is the way I have always seen things. If anyone disagrees with this, then you can disagree, you are free to do so, although I do not share this way of thinking and suggest you think about changing your psychology. I strongly suggest you talk to gay couples, listen to them and you will see that what they say, what they share with their significant others, is no different to how a man cares for his woman or a woman cares for her man. With all that aside, this is what love means to me. Enjoy.

Love is indefinable, it is something no one word can properly define, something that science cannot measure and value or maths can put a number on, it’s an expression, a human emotion. It is a connection, a unique feeling deep within you, an invisible bond you build and share between you and your partner. One way to describe the feeling is, that it feels like going home or returning to the familiar, at least that is part of it, there is so much it entails it would be impossible to list them all, it can appear in a smile, the simplest of gestures, a kiss or even a light touch. Another way to put it is; It’s an attachment, an attachment that can bend, sway, rise, fall and can sadly in some circumstances, break. I’ve felt and experienced my fair share of success’ and failures and believe me when I say, there are positives that can be found within the negatives. You can grow from unpleasant experiences and from loss and even if it does not feel it at the time, you will rise to be more than what you were after a loss, a better version of yourself so to speak. For those of you who are young, and have not experienced the strains and pulls of this bewildering emotion, I can tell you that it can hurt, it can hurt beyond any pain you have ever felt. You can suffer in ways that you cannot imagine, its torture in some moments, but please, do not let this deter you, if it hurts so much, if you are in pain over a great loss, it is a reflection of how much you cared, it means you are capable of loving someone, in some ways what you are experiencing in the moment is a poetic tragedy, a beautiful sadness, and this sadness comes with life and the human experience. What I mean when I say this; Is that nothing will motivate you more when you are loveless, it will hurt, it will make you ill, it will fill you with all sorts of negative emotions and you’ll literally feel like death, but like a caterpillar hides and withers away, it eventually emerges from its cocoon into something far greater than it once was, grows wings, develops colour and takes flight, in time so shall you. It is okay to feel depressed, it is okay to feel angry and to punch a hole in the wall risking the bones in your hand, do what you need to do to heal from a loss, but do not bury it, because it won’t go anywhere, it will only manifest and grow like a sickness, you have to let it out. There is a saying out there, ‘It is better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all.’ What really matters though is what comes along with love’s connection, and what you’d give to hold onto that connection, because what comes with being human is the knowledge that we are all organic, sadly we all will die someday, the lights will go out, and our experiences while alive on this beautiful planet are finite. With this in mind, ask yourselves this question; What is the most precious thing you can give someone else? Have a think before you read on … If your answer was a diamond ring, the new XboxOne console, a mountain of chocolate, a bottle of whiskey or a Pony, I am sorry but you’re wrong (although the new XboxOne would be great). No, the greatest gift you can give someone else, is the gift of your time. Our time here is valuable, spend it with the right person, spend it with someone who wants you around, who gets excited to be with you, who shares and embraces your interests, who would do anything to make you smile, who would not only look after you when things are getting you down, but someone who looks after and takes care of themselves.

Because our time is so limited, this goes to reason as to why I encourage EVERYONE to do away with what others ‘think’ you should do! (Yes, it’s ranting time!) I am here to tell you that you do NOT need to be married by the age of twenty-five! Marriage is nothing more than a contract that allows the Government into your relationship anyway, but that is a rant for another time. You do NOT need to go to University in order to be successful! You do NOT need to have a fast car, wealth or a banging career to make a lasting impression! You do NOT need any of that, all you need is a brain in your head and a tongue in your mouth, do the things that you want to do, do something that inspires you, that elevates you, that encapsulates who you are as a person and share it with the world, be proud of it…Or…Keep it to yourself if that is what makes you happy, not everything needs to be made public. For all of you who are alone today or have been alone for a long time, trust me when I say, you do NOT need to have a boyfriend or a girlfriend in order to be happy, this could not be so far from the truth. Being alone can strengthen you in more ways than you can imagine, being able to depend on no-one but yourself is admirable. Embracing your own independence is not something everyone can do, in fact not many can handle it and chase after partners, but it is a sign of power and to my mind is the sexiest thing someone can put on display, independence. In spite of what you ladies may think of us guys, it is not I repeat it is NOT just about a good set of legs, a sweet-smelling perfume, colourful eyes and a figure shaped similarly to an hour-glass all fitted nicely inside a red silk dress, no, it is actually all about behaviour, positive personality traits and how you carry it and how you express it. Empathy, compassion, humour without complete humiliation, intelligence, witt, ambition…Embrace these things, let them shine for no one but yourself and others will notice. Love is about giving, love is about being playful and having fun. Loving someone else is more to do with sharing your happiness together, if you get into a relationship while miserable within yourself, that other person may stick with you for a little while, you may start out just fine because being with someone is exciting, but sooner or later you are going to need to fall back onto yourself and your own life, and if you were unhappy to begin with, nothing your partner can do will relieve that feeling, and she may leave you because without even knowing it, you have become so dependant on them as a source of happiness, you’ll suffocate them for affection, you’ll come across as needy and this is not a desirable thing. In short, you have to be content within yourself first, you have to be fine by yourself first before you even think about building a life with someone else, because building a life with another human being is not always going to be sunshine and rainbows, it is hard, it is so very hard dealing with your own issues let alone another set. Along the way, you will not only be given gifts of joy, happiness and pleasurable times but you WILL stagger and fall from time to time, you will feel waves of sadness and unhappiness and depending on the man or woman you have chosen (and you must choose them everyday) they will help pick you up, they will stick by you, they will help you through thick and thin, they will communicate with you, and they will respect you. You cannot love someone without respecting them, you simply cannot lose self-respect, it is as vital as trust in one another. Do not go into this thinking that they will always be there for you, they are not your mother or elder sister, they will help you but you must be able to help yourself if your love will survive the test of time.

Love can sometimes be about the bigger picture, sometimes you’ll find yourself in a situation with someone where you both have those same feelings for one another, but the circumstances just won’t allow it to bloom into something more, this is a sad situation to be in because it is almost like fate won’t have you together. Some of you are probably wondering what circumstances? Well, what if you love a girl who is in a family who hates yours for whatever reason? What if they don’t like you for some bizarre reason and do all they can to stop you two connecting? What happens if you are separated by continents? What if one of you has strong religious convictions? Now, this is where I need to be careful with what I say because if a woman loves you, and if you really love her, then religious convictions, friends, family, distance and whatever else you may want to throw between them, none of that matters, seriously it doesn’t matter! In spite of what the majority will tell you, this is false! I believe that if the feelings are well and truly there, if they are genuine, then you’d both do everything within your power to be together, this is what makes love beautiful, people will fight for it and overcome great barriers to achieve it. I say this because I do honestly believe it AND because I’ve experienced it and witnessed it happen elsewhere, I know that there is something more to it than what Rick Sanchez says, no disrespect Rick. If you are not willing to break the mould, if you are not feeling that urgency, that drive to see her face again, to touch her again, to laugh with her and to just be with her in the present moment again, then the feelings are either not there, they haven’t been given enough time to properly develop, or it quite simply isn’t meant to be. For those of you who do not know what I am talking about or cannot relate to this, just you wait, just wait til you meet that one person out of the billions out there who doesn’t just flip your entire world, but makes it better. That is part of what love is I think, it doesn’t quite make sense, it does warp your own reality and makes you do crazy, spontaneous sometimes even uncomfortable things, but as I said, it is not always sunshine and rainbows, sometimes it is messy, sometimes it is weird and challenging and in the moment you won’t see this, but when you look back in months or years to come, I promise you that those frowns you pulled WILL be replaced with insistent smiling.

A common misconception of love really does test you and reveals who you are as a person underneath. This misconception can take you back to square one, it can reverse everything that you thought you knew about love and cause you to re-think your concepts of what love is – And that is the ability to just let her go…I know, you just said “What?” Give me a chance to explain – The ultimate act of love is contradictory to what most people (and the media) may think, most people hang on for dear life especially when going through a break-up a divorce or a separation of any kind. It is in these moments of panic, fear and stress where our true feelings and real self are revealed. Some people refuse to accept the situation, refuse to move on, they lose all empathy for the other person and turn inward, going against everything that what love stands for. They cling on, they call, they txt, they send endless e-mails and letters all in a desperate attempt to re-connect with that person, while they ignore what their ex-partner needs, disregarding what SHE wants at this moment in time. If for example, someone breaks up with you, or if you were the one who ended things and want them back and she rejects you, you have to respect that, you have to walk away and let her be. I am not saying you should not fight for that relationship, you need to do what you can within reason and understanding your situation, because every situation is different. If you’re in love with her then you will inevitably do what you can to hold on, but you need to know when to stop, you cannot manipulate or force reality to be anything other than what it is – If you do that then you will suffer and worse, she will see through what you are trying to pull and it won’t end well, for she will lose all respect for you and no one can love someone else without respecting them. If you pursue or try to force things to happen in your favour, you’re done, you need to cut that shit out instantly because that is not what love is, in fact it is the complete opposite, you aren’t pursuing them because you really love them, you are chasing them to sooth your own anxiety and this is in part a very selfish act. In doing this you will make yourself sick, you will make yourself crazy and you’ll ruin everything you built with her over the time you were together, forever tainting all of those wonderful memories you made.

Love is not about making anyone do anything; In the beginning you did not make her want you, in the beginning you did not force anything or at least I hope you didn’t because they are awful foundations on which to build a loving relationship. I imagine things happened naturally and slowly progressed as it should, and now it is over you’ve lost the connection and will employ every and all irrational strategies to try to get your way, to sooth that sense of fear, and as tempting as this may be, nothing you do when in this line of thought will work, you need to remain in control of yourself, you need to keep your calm and hold yourself together as best you can. I understand, I really do, it can be hard, the feeling of losing someone, being separated from someone you love is like death and it dates back to when we were small babies, if our care givers left us alone for an extended amount of time, we’d die because we needed them to survive; Anxiety is the urge to DO something to prevent death, so when you are going through a break up, all these old feelings boils up releasing those same anxious feelings, and this causes us to do irrational things, usually in the form of hounding your ex partner to the point of insanity. I get it, I really do, I’ve been there, I’ve done it, I’ve regretted it and apologised for it, but come on, you’re not a baby anymore, kicking and screaming throwing a tantrum is not going to help your situation, it is only going to make it worse. You’re an adult now, you are not going to die without her, let the feeling beat you up for a while, and it will win everyday for a long time, until you catch it off guard one day and knock IT to the floor instead. This is where the phrase ‘turning a corner’ comes from and you should not be afraid of it, even if you still love that person and want things to be different, you gotta get on with things.

Letting someone be happy without you; Letting them be free, living the life they want to live without you, and falling in love with someone else in turn shows that you DO love her, because love isn’t just about you, understand that it is about her also, about her needs, ambitions, her goals and desires, and as hard as this is to hear/read, as hard as this pill is to swallow, if she wants to end things with you or if your relationship breaks down, if you truly love her, you should want her to go off, to be and to do, she is an adult too, and if the situation were reversed, you’d want her to respect your decision. Now, if you happen to be someone in a similar situation to those I’ve just described, who say has displayed manipulative tactics to try to win her back, don’t worry, I was guilty of it too years and years ago, I’ve done some batshit things in previous relationships, things that make absolutely no sense causing me to laugh at myself for doing them at times, but the key thing to remember is that I took those experiences, learned from them and decided to never do that shit again, and life has improved since. Instead, when in those dire moments of loss and doubt, give yourself time alone, be angry, be depressed, be upset, do what you have to in order to rise above it, realise that you are worth something, that you still have so much to offer someone, that you can still live a wonderful life. Also, be happy for her (Unless she did something horrific, like cheat with multiple people or make tea by putting the tea bag in with milk, then fuck her off completely and never look back), the fact that she is still out there, doing things, experiencing things, growing as a person, meeting new and interesting people, living her life, this should bring a smile to your face, and you should also remember to live your life too, you must carry on with your own interests, your own goals and dreams that are centred within your being. This is something you should have been doing even when you were with her, getting into a relationship does not mean you stop being yourself, she accepted who you were, just as you accepted who she was in the start, so it is important you always maintain your own individuality, this independence that makes you, you and unique. Independence is super sexy, a seriously attractive feature.

A little tip, more for the guys but it can apply for women too, and it is about flirting. I’ve seen so many relationships end because typically the guy, cannot handle her flirting with other men at say the club or at a party where you are present, and I feel the need to address this because you can categorise such behaviour under jealous and neediness, the two ingredients that are the main causes for break ups; Women flirt okay, get that into your head, they do it a lot of the time and it fills them with empowerment and a sense of joy, it comes natural to them and no girl I’ve ever met, does not, not want to engage in it from time to time. Obviously kissing and suggestive touching isn’t flirting, unless you are in an open relationship then you need to communicate a few things to your partner, but when it is just harmless talking and laughing with other guys, this is absolutely 100% fine. I suggest guys, that you accept that this is what women do and understand that when she flirts, it does not mean she is going to jump into bed with the guy (or girl) in the next hour, it does not mean she is not thinking of you, because in actual fact she is, and because most guys freak out and get all butt hurt when they see this, in turn losing their emotional self-control, this causes a lot of problems; When you do the opposite however and just hang back, you are displaying confidence and self-worth, why don’t you flirt with the girl standing next to you, your partner will see this, and if you have that bond there, that attachment, that trust, she won’t only see you as more of a catch, but the fact that other women find you desirable makes her love you more. It works both ways but men in my experience, from what I’ve read and seen, exhibit jealousy more than women. So, let your partner flirt with the opposite sex or even the same-sex for that matter to establish a stronger connection with one another. To me, seeing my woman flirt is actually seriously attractive, again the trust needs to be there whole heartily, but when you’ve established this bond and an understanding with one another, seeing her strut her stuff across the dance floor or at any social gathering, seeing all those guys drewling over her should not be seen as a bad thing, it should not cause jealousy or raise any kind of concern, instead I see it as an empowerment, I love seeing the woman I am with flirt with other guys because I know she is safe in her natural element, it is nice to see she is such a catch, it is nice to know that other guys are jealous of our relationship and if nothing else, it makes my partner feel great; Why would you deny this pleasure from her? If it is what she wants to do, let her do it, meet up at the end of the night and laugh about it, compare pick up lines just have fun with the girl who you’re with. Love is playful and fun, it is not serious.

Another thing I’ve heard being flung around especially around Valentines Day which I have participated in, but generally speaking I’ve not really bought into, are sentences like “I need you” or “You complete me.” Lines like this sound sweet on the surface, they sound rather comforting and warm and loving but in truth, they are a little off to me. I don’t know about you but if a woman were to say to me that she ‘Needed me’ that she ‘Couldn’t live without me’, I’d be a little concerned and rather turned off. To me, things like this are a red flag as with all the ambiguous quotes you see floating around on social media, some are quite nice, not all of them are cringy, but most make me want to hide under the stairs and lock the door. If such or similar quotes fit your dynamic, if they speak to you and your partner, then more power to you, share them, send them, speak them, I don’t have a problem with it, but for me, emotional strength is appealing, independence is appealing, kindness, compassion, someone able to see through marketing gimmicks, able to think for herself, to do her thing, someone who is able to be fine WITHOUT me, this is important! Who would want someone who depended on you for a good life? A more attractive prospect would be to be with someone you grow with, someone who doesn’t require you in her life but CHOOSES to be there, so you can learn from one another, even clash with..Yes, arguing is not always a negative thing, actually you could consider it healthy to argue, bicker and disagree from time to time, it would be pretty boring if you agreed on everything, hearing someone else’s opinions and their own points of view regardless if they line up with your own, is interesting, have fun with it, question them learn from them. Simply just talking about things over a coffee or chatting while driving in a car should be moments you look forward to. I’d rather have a woman write on a card something like ‘I don’t need you, I desire you’ or ‘Lets not just grow together in this pot, lets grow in many pots’ or ‘Don’t do anything on Valentines Day, be a slob with me in bed instead.’ These are just a few funny examples I listed quite literally off the top of my head, the idea though is that as vacuous as Valentines Day is, making an effort is not a bad thing, I’d agree by doing something is better than nothing, but do something that is unique to you two, do something that is special to you and your partner, refer to how you two met, think about a special moment you shared, list a few of her favourite things, things she loves and maybe even dislikes, going against the grain, being a bit unromantic can actually be quite sweet and humourous, but be sure you know what you’re doing, you don’t want to have the opposite reaction to what you’re going for. If red roses, love hearts, chocolates and big teddy bears are what you two click over, then Valentines Day is pretty convenient, but for most of us, for those who live in the real world who have partners who do not eat up what is thrown in front of them, do something to match your partners individual traits, make her feel special in her own unique way.     

I’ve talked a little on relationships in this post, I’ve thrown in my views on Valentines Day, pointed out some do’s and dont’s in my book of passion, even ventured into the shallow waters of anxiety territory. Maybe I’ll follow-up on this article with another that goes a bit more in-depth with these things, but this has been centred around love. Funny, even after writing all this I still feel like I’ve explained and revealed absolutely nothing, maybe the links below will help, music and visuals can help stir up this emotion. So before I close, before I reveal what emotion is more prominent than love and why (yes I’ve not forgotten about that), I would like to share with you a few scenarios and situations that I feel can say ‘I love you’ without you actually saying it, these are things that should apply throughout the year, not just on one day. Because I am a guy, this is suited more for guys in relationships, but it still works for women and same-sex couples, we are all human at the end of the day, I mean I am only assuming all who are reading this are human, I have met a few cyborgs in my life and cold calculating machines, but on with the scenarios:-

1) If your woman comes home, tired, frustrated, pissed off; Listening to what she has to say is all you need do, don’t try to fix her problems, you wouldn’t like that, just listen to her, contribute but don’t lecture, sometimes venting can be good.

2) If it is a particularly cold night, if you are lucky enough to have a fireplace, chop some wood up, buy some coal and light the fire, keeping her warm at night speaks volumes.

3) Making her a cup of coffee or a tea without her asking for it is always a lovely gesture. Being aware that it has been a while since her last drink or bite to eat and then meeting her needs without her politely asking, this is amazing.

4) Being proactive around the house, like hoovering, being sure things are neat and tidy before she comes home can only be positive. If she has the following day off, if it is the end of the week, running her a bath for when she gets in or simply getting dinner started will be greatly appreciated.

5) Whatever she is doing, it doesn’t matter what (unless she is driving a car or piloting a helicopter), giving her a spontaneous hug or a soft touch she is familiar with, says a lot. You can just be passing each other in the hallway, but brushing up near her or a slight caress on her hand is a nice way to say ‘thinking of you’ without saying anything.

6) Handing her a glass of wine, getting behind her and just massaging her shoulders and neck…I cannot stress this one enough. Learn how to massage, learn a few techniques preferably from a pro, this will benefit both you and your partner, I promise you.

7) Taking her out at random provided her schedule is clear. Don’t tell her where you’re going, just say to her, ‘We are going out in a few hours, be ready.’ The dating does not stop when you’re in a relationship you know, you have to keep romancing her every once in a while.

8) Learning when to shut the fuck up, this definitely applies to both parties. There is a great scene in the film Pulp Fiction, when Vincent and Mia share a silence together, then Mia (played amazingly by Uma Thurman) says something that could not be further from the truth. I’ll leave a link below at the end of this article, check it out because I think we all can agree with what she says.

9) Leave her alone. Guess what guys, she doesn’t want you around all the time, be okay with when she tells you to bugger off, use this time and don’t feel afraid to tell her to remove herself from your presence when you want some space, but the idea is to be able to read the vibe in the room, and act accordingly without the words ever leaving her lips. We all want peace and quiet sometimes, plus the space will make one think of you.

10) Have your own life. Yes fellas, the world does not revolve around her, if you do not have your own passion or ambition in life, your own goal, what exactly are you actually striving toward? She probably has things on the side that she is fascinated in, when you are done talking about those things at the table what do you contribute? Think about that one.

These are just a few things that I think will help benefit you and your partners romantic lives, of course I could write dozens more but I need to go to bed, it is 4am here and I have work soon. Just remember that there is no rule book for this sort of thing, no manual or instruction sheet, you gotta do things for her because you want to do them, not because you think you’ll get something in return, that defeats the purpose of caring in the first place, it is unconditional. For me, providing love for someone I am intimate with, is something that grows the connection and strengthens your bond which is what you want if you want it to last.

Love in such a way that allows the other to feel free, when they are with you and when they are no longer romantically invested with you. No one wants to be held down, no one wants to be told what to do, how to dress, how to act, how to behave, who they can or cannot hang out with and when, what to eat, what to drink, what career or passion they should pursue, this is not a healthy way to be around your partner or with anyone. I see so many guys coercing their girlfriends into doing what suits them…For fuck sake you love this person!? You trust this person!? You share a bond with this person!? You are intimate with this person? Then why in the hell would you want to cage her!? Let her be free and independent, let her be who she is and show it as often as possible. She will shine when you embrace this psychology, she will smile from ear to ear at times when you eradicate any neediness you have or jealous tendencies that linger inside you, she will see the good in you and love you in ways that make you feel like a mountain. There is a lot we can experience in this life, but one of the best feelings in the world is having her love. With her in your corner, you will be the best person you can be and the world will see this.

(1) Malukah – Reignite –

(2) Malukah – Frozen Sleep –

(3) Halo4 – Original Soundtrack – Green and Blue –

(4) Tron Legacy – Original Soundtrack – Father and Son –

(5) The Village – Original Soundtrack – What Are You Asking Me –

(6) Titanic – Original Soundtrack by James Horner – Unable to Stay, Unwilling to Leave (This music goes best with the actual scene involved. Whenever I think of what love is, this scene truly expresses it – )

(7) The Amazing Spiderman 2 – Original Soundtrack: Phosphorescent – Songs for Zula –

8) Paul Wagner – Little Ditty –

9) Final Fantasy X Tidus and Yuna Scene –

10) Pure Shores – All Saints – The Beach

Mia’s Profound Speech –


I guess you want to know which emotion is more powerful than love right? This is the moment you’ve all been waiting for I can tell, and screw you if you skipped to the end just to see this message, I took a lot of time to write this article up and to get it out there before Valentines Day, so I hope you’re happy (Just kidding)…It’s hope…Hope is more powerful than love and I’ll explain why I think that. People can survive without love for a partner, you may be missing a side to ones self but we can evidently get by when we have little to none in our lives. Some people in my circle of friends actually have been without love for years and years, and they are indeed very happy, thriving if I am being totally honest. We cannot get by or survive without any hope, I challenge anyone reading this to find me the man or woman who is completely hopeless. You won’t find them because they do not exist. Hope is the reason why we dig deep during the darkest of times because we know how precious and how valuable it is to survive, it is the reason why we scrounge for a mere drop of hope in the most horrid of situations, because even just a little bit of hope, the tiniest amount can influence the biggest and hardest of decisions. Hope is something we find everyday without realising it, it is what gets us up in the morning, it’s what keeps us fighting when we are at our lowest, keeps us waiting and ticking over day after day for something to happen if we are stuck in a low point. It is when we know for a fact that there is no hope where we really do lose it. Love is powerful, yes, and it can be responsible for some pretty incredible moments in life, moments you will treasure forever and just as equally it can drive you crazy and bring around sorrow even humiliation, and hope is behind both scenarios. When you find yourself at the end of a divorce for example, when there is no love coming your way from anyone, you will get by, it will be hard but you can work through it and hope will be the driving cause, hope that someone more suited for you will love you in the future that makes you leave your house, hope keeps you working toward something you are passionate about, makes you go out when you really do not want to on the off-chance to meet someone special; This is a mild example I know you who is reading can probably come up with something better but it’s true. To get a bit deeper, let’s pretend someone close to you is seriously ill, and the doctors say that there is no hope for him or for her to pull through, terrible situation, love for that person will assist with the fight, you will do all you can to make them as comfortable as possible, although the fight in all parties would be gone. Whereas, if the doctor says “There is a small chance they’ll pull through but it’s unlikely” that small chance does not just become a ‘small chance,’ it blows up and changes the game entirely, and you keep on fighting and holding onto that hope for as long as possible. This is why I feel hope is the stronger of the two emotions. Tell me why I am wrong, tell me what emotion resonates within you the most, I’d like to hear what you have to say.

“Deprive someone of love and they can still flourish finding hidden strengths. Drain someone of all hope and you’ll drain them of the very essences of what makes them, them.”  – D.W.Gill


To The Ancestral Odyssey –

Promotional Trailers and Material –

E-mail –

D.W.Gill’s Twitter – @MegasTeque

Malukah’s Twitter – @malukah

Malukah’s Website –

*I do not own any of the links I’ve shared in this article, they belong to their respective owners and talented creators.

“What people call love is just a chemical reaction that compels animals to breed. It hits hard and then it slowly fades, leaving you stranded in a failing marriage. I did it your parents are going to do it, break the cycle Morty, rise above, focus on science.” – Rick Sanchez – Rick and Morty.


Favourite Female Fembots

A little while ago, on the 31/08/2017, I wrote an article called ‘Six of the Classixs.’ It was a list about some of my favourite classic PS1 games, games that I adored when I was growing up. The list consisted of Medievil, Wild 9, Final Fantasy VII, Silent Hill, Legacy of Kain: Soulreaver and Oddworld. They are truly fantastic games and if you do get the chance, if you have the opportunity in the future I suggest you give them a play one evening. I do understand that it is hard to play such classics nowadays, it can be a mighty hassle obtaining the know how, what with the progression of viewing technology times really have changed, but like with old books and old movies, there is a wonderful sense of nostalgia found in reliving some of your childhood memories. Not that there is anything wrong with that article but I saw that all of the protagonists in those games were males. This triggered this post, I found myself thinking about lady characters found in video games, hence the birth of this article, ‘Favourite Female Fembots.’ I’ll be focusing on female’s found in games, I’ll be fair and list off six. Make yourself a pot (tea) and I hope you enjoy. There will be a few spoilers unfortunately, so look out for the warnings.

Jill Valentine / Resident Evil and Resident Evil Rebirth:-  I first played Resident Evil back in the mid to late 90s when survival horror had never really been done before, and this game was responsible for making the franchise into what it is today. Whether you like it or hate it (I hate it for reasons I’ll get into) you cannot deny it has been massively successful. I personally do not know anyone who doesn’t know of Resident Evil. I am focusing not on the god awful movie franchise that this game spawned one too many of but more on the games, which I do still enjoy, even though they have moved away from survival horror puzzle games, where you have to conserve your ammunition, use your wits and unravel a mystery surrounding the area you are investigating, and transformed into a run of the mill generic third person action adventure shoot’em up..No, I am focusing on the very first game brought out in 1996 and re-released for the Nintendo GameCube in 2002 (which is possibly the best remake ever made in my opinion) where this franchise was new, exciting and very scary. If you’ve played Resident Evil you’ll know the scene when you encounter your first zombie eating one of your team mates, it peers over its shoulder, looks at you and proceeds to tear you to pieces, when me and a friend of mine first played this game, it took us hours literally hours to work up the courage to run round the corner, see it and run away again it was that intense and has engrained in me priceless memories of joy and I won’t even get into the scenes when you encounter the giant mutated snake in the attic, the great white shark in the aquarium under the guardhouse, and when you return to the mansion after exploring the gardens to find the dreaded hunters wandering the halls that can kill you instantly by taking your head off. Fuck I need to learn to control my rambling, let’s talk about the character I used to have a minor obsession with as a kid, a character I still love playing as today, Jill Valentine who has had many voice actresses over the years, but I’ll be talking about  Heidi Anderson, the woman who voiced her in the particular game, Resident Evil: Rebirth, the remake of the 1996 version to the PS1, whose voice for Jill is unknown. Jill Valentine is a member of a special police unit called S.T.A.R.S (Special Tactics And Rescue Service). She is part of Alpha Team and is dispatched to locate the whereabouts of Bravo Team, who went missing during one of their missions in the forests surrounding Raccoon City. Upon discovering the fate of the team, Jill and her companions find themselves in similar dire circumstances, fleeing from a threat into a great mansion linked to the Umbrella Corporation, an incredibly influential, powerful hungry company with their hands sunk into everything, especially medical, military and pharmaceutical organisations. The game starts once you’ve entered the mansion, and you’re all in pretty strung out shape, one of your companions was torn to pieces before you fled and another, is missing. Resident Evil games are renowned for having cheesy dialogue, even in the remake, the 2002 edition for the GameCube where they improved EVERYTHING, turning tacky, mediocre graphics into what can easily be mistaken for reality, Resident Evil would not be Resident Evil without a few cringey lines thrown in there from time to time. If you’ve played it then you probably have a few you can quote off the top of your head, mine is the ‘Jill sandwich’ sentence, so shit. Even though the game is long, very long if you do not what know what you’re doing, there are only a handful of cut scenes and moments of characterisation, but Jill comes across as the most genuine of the group or at least she does for me, you can argue that Chris Redfield is a genuine person but I found playing as him is boring and uninteresting. Jill cares deeply for her teams well-being feeling waves of sorrow whenever one of them dies or is found dead. She expresses anger when foul play is afoot but does not deal with it in the way most people would, in a hail of bullets and manly aggression, instead she is smart about it, able to obtain her answers while always listening to what the perpetrator has to say once she has the upper hand. This tells me that she is a very trusting, decent human being even when she is not rocking her amazing S.T.A.R.S blue uniform, blue being her signature colour. Able to utilise a lock pick which is incredibly handy and take initiative when the shit hits the fan, I like Jill Valentine and every time she appears in the later games I am always giving her my full attention. She truly shines in Resident Evil 3, when she is separated from her group and has to escape armies of zombies while teamed up with Mercenaries. Resident Evil Rebirth is a game I play once a year every year, a game where I can sit back, exercise my brain, enjoy incredible graphics and an easy to follow storyline put together by Capcom. Before I move on I must say I loath the character of Jill portrayed in the films which could not be so far removed from the character I’ve described, a trusting, intelligent, fair and capable woman who looks good in uniform. Reasons as to why I dislike the franchise is because of the movies, apart from the first one which was a pass, they completely trash what Resident Evil is, especially Jill’s character, she is nothing like she is in the games but the complete opposite, which is a shame.

Tifa Lockheart / Final Fantasy VII:-  Final Fantasy VII is one of the greatest games if not THE greatest game ever made, disagree with me if you wish but you cannot ignore the enormous fan following, the dedicated team behind it who recently scrapped the remake which was in development for a number of years because Tetsuya Nomura, the creator of FF7 wasn’t happy with the way it was turning out, this tells me that he and his crew care more about the quality of the project than racking in the profits, this is unusual in this day and age because MOST companies especially EA, centre themselves around profits. I do not even like to call it a game (but I will out of convenience) because it is not like any others out there. Other Final Fantasy games have come close to re-creating the epic worlds, the drama, the battles and bonds between certain characters which we all can relate to. Final Fantasy VIII for example which is on par with its prequel is an extraordinary game, it has some incredible moments and wicked characters but in my opinion, Final Fantasy VII takes the gold each and every time. I played VII back in 1997 and didn’t/couldn’t finish it till a few years later because I was so young and didn’t quite know what I was embarking upon, it didn’t feel like any other game I had played before, nor did I understand relationships between people, the complex story and the underlining story of what was really going on. It was a mature game and I was immature at the time, so after many failed attempts to get through the first eight hours, I put it aside and came back to it when I was ready. This must have instilled in me respect for FF7, it was always THAT game I stayed away from until I knew I was ready, the grown up game, the hard game that no one could do. Like I said, it wasn’t till years later after its release when I hunkered down and really REALLY got into it feeling like an adventure in itself just to beat the first few bosses or figure out some of the puzzles. The story truly touches upon a variety of emotions if not all of them, it made me genuinely angry in some cases because the good guys did not always win, characters die and some enemies kick the shit out of you no matter what you do. Each character from the group you journey with has a different contribution to make to the plot, giving you the chance to connect with and identify with their own unique personality and individual struggle. I’ve written a little about FF7 in my article ‘Six of the Classixs,’ Cloud Strife is the protagonist and a great one at that indeed (he is my hero, you may know him as the guy with spiky hair and a MASSIVE buster sword), but he is nothing without those that follow him, his companions and friends, Tifa Lockheart being the main one. I don’t think you could have Cloud in a lone game and use him effectively without Tifa to back him up, and the same goes for Tifa, you gotta have them both in each others lives to bring out their true selves. Tifa Lockheart, you could say was my first female role model, the first female who inspired me and got me interested in how the opposite sex behaves, some of you are laughing right now, and that is understandable, I wasn’t your usual youngling, but if given the choice I would not change this way of growing up, I know for a fact it has helped me understand women, helped me handle situations that occur in real life, this game shaped me and I’ve had an awesome life because of it. Besides my Mother of course (who is the best mother in the world and school girls who I just ignored because most of them were cold and uninteresting) Tifa opened a door in my mind for me, as I played and played and played I found myself giving a shit about her, drawn to her story more so than the others, she acts as the voice of reason, she is always calm, always optimistic, always focused on the positive and shows real, raw human emotion. Tifa’s character taught me that a woman’s emotions mean everything to them, that you should always take them seriously, that you should listen to them and not simply just hear them. When Cloud and some of the others bury their pain upon the death of characters, Tifa openly expresses them. This does not mean she is an over emotional, super sensitive crying little baby, far fucking from it, Tifa can take a hit, she can fight brilliantly and beautifully, she has some of the most satisfying and colourful combat moves in the game, she has some of THE best scenes, scenes which have made me tear up and also shouted out ‘YES!’ After saying all this, understand that Tifa is just one character in this masterpiece of a game and easily earns a place on this list. For those of you who are wondering, yes, I loved Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, the only flaw I could find with the film was that it catered more to the fans, if you watched the film without having the nostalgia of the game, then you probably would still be impressed with the fights and the CGI, but the story and the empathy for the characters would be lost on you because you have not had the 40+ hours of game time before hand to back it up, but I loved it. I loved it so much it still gives me tingles when thinking about it, especially when Barret shows up with a new gunarm, when Yuffie drops in by parachute, Cid flying in with a spear screaming, the final fight between Cloud and Kadaj, I could talk about this for years, literally years and yes of course, Tifa made an appearance, we got to hear her voice for the first time by actress Rachael Leigh Cook who looks remarkably like Tifa. She has a new outfit, we get to see her in action, we have a moment between herself and Cloud, fuck I love FF7. I’ll leave one of the first trailer to the film and the game below, please check it out when you’re done.

Sniper Wolf / Metal Gear Solid:- I don’t think there is a gamer alive or even a friend of a gamer as matter of fact, who does not know or rate Metal Gear Solid as absolutely fucking amazing. Like with FF7, referred to as a big boy game, Metal Gear Solid (MGS) too was within the same leagues when I was growing up, this being the first real tactical espionage game I have ever played and still is the best in my opinion, maybe not mechanics wise but still is the best overall when it comes to story, characters and a number of scenes that really makes one think, about war, the cost of war, the technology and the very real threat of nuclear devastation. Sorry Splinter Cell, my apologies Thief, you are very good, but just not quite on the same level as MGS1 or MGS2. As I was thinking about how to break down this stroke of genius stealth/action game, I realised I had to focus on the first installment released in September 1998, and not the sequels that follow, because they are all so good, all so worthy to write about. I’ve only gotten as far as MGS3: Snake Eater and touched upon MGS:Acid for the PsP back in my University days, but beyond that, I’ve not gone any further with the series, when I really should because I do love this universe that Hideo Kojima has created, he being the director and project leader of MGS, a guy I’ve watched being interviewed and read about in a handful of gaming magazines. He is easily one of the most creative people I know of and I am always intrigued with whatever project he is working on or is involved with…cough cough Silent Hill 5 cough cough…Anyway, let’s get back to MGS shall we, and lets talk about my favourite character from among the terrorist group called Foxhound, who a collection of very unique villains set against you (Solid Snake) the protagonist. They are all just as brilliant, just as fleshed out and are as interesting as she is, the difference between Sniper Wolf and the rest however comes from one particular scene which I will describe and will be revealing some spoilers, so if you’ve not played it and do not want it spoiled, skip ahead, skip ahead to Miss Regina below from Dino Crisis, and then jump back to this one when you’re ready. {SPOILER START} Wolf is an assassin, Foxhounds best sniper, silent, deadly but funnily enough, empathetic. Leading up tp the scene where you puncture one of her lungs with a PSG1 bullet, defeating her in her own game, you are lead to believe that she is this merciless killing machine, one who lacks all empathy toward others, who will kill anyone who opposes her, bereft of an ounce of compassion. To a degree she is all of these things, she even (depending on how you play) kills one of your team mates, Meryl, picking her off, keeping her incapacitated just so she can get to you. It is a memorable scene indeed where you are but a few feet away from Meryl, unable to do help or do anything because Sniper Wolf is waiting, waiting for you to reveal yourself so she can pick you off. After this encounter, Sniper Wolf disappears for a while and reveals herself later in a location which gives her maximum advantage over you, within a snow field during a blizzard where there is next to no cover. You have to utilise your own sniping skills, search for her through your scope, and kill her before she kills you. This boss battle stands out not because of what takes place during, but what takes place after, when Sniper Wolf who’s real name is never revealed, dying before your feet. With moments left to live, struggling to breath, she tells Snake (you) her tragic story before you put a bullet between her eyes, a bullet she asks for, finishing the job. During her last few moments, you learn that Wolf is not an evil woman, she was made the way she was by war inflicted upon her and her family by the Governments of the world responsible for the deaths of each and every one of her family members. Gunfire, sirens and screams were her lullabies, everyday she preyed just to make it through the day, for she was always hunted, stalked and living in fear. I like to think that when Wolf became a sniper, she not only took revenge on the world by joining Foxhound, but found revenge on the people who killed her loved ones. It is not mentioned much in the game, but apparently she held a relationship with one of the key characters, Otacon who arrives the moment she dies, while her wolves are howling in the distance, as she asks for a death she has been waiting for, longing for, and Solid Snake gives it too her {SPOILER END} By this point, all Snake needs to do is destroy the final threat which wraps the game up, Wolf being the penultimate boss, it being the most emotional, the most moving scene in the game and gives our protagonist a new perspective, making Snake a little more human, especially when he relates to her, talking to her educating her a bit about wolves and dogs, referring to them both as dogs of war. Not only does MGS provide an incredible story, amazing characters, brilliant dialogue and special moments, but it educates you on a great number of many things, things you would not expect to find in a game. I love MGS1, I love this scene and I love Sniper Wolf voiced by Tasia Valenza, a killer yes, but an honourable killer who does not kill for sport, but desires justice in the broken world, but above all peace.

Regina / Dino Crisis:- Another game developed by Capcom, Dino Crisis released July 1999. It’s about a science base that goes quiet and a rescue team code-named S.O.R.T (Secret Operation Raid Team) is dispatched to figure out what went wrong, to investigate what happened to the scientists. The team consists of five members, Rick, Gail, Cooper and the red-head Regina. Each team member has a special ability, Cooper handles communication, Rick is the computer genius while Gail and Regina specialise in weapons, her agility and quick judgement are and always will be her best defence. Dino Crisis when looked at is nothing new and original, you could quite easily replace the dinosaurs that roam the corridors with mutants or zombies and it would not really impact the story, all it would take to alter would be a few lines here and there and boom, you could rename it Zombie Crisis or Mutant Crisis or Giant Fish Head Pizza Men Crisis, you get what I mean. There is nothing special about it story wise, it is slow-paced to begin with, the graphics are okay for the time, the puzzles are either frightfully easy or mind-numbing, there is nothing in between. It has a few nice little touches that its cousin Resident Evil did not have, like you can become injured and leave a blood trail that attract Raptors, and weakens you over time if not bandaged. You can mix up poison and tranquilizer darts instead of using up bullets and you can make a variety of health packs turning yourself into more of a medic than a weapons expert. The guns may I add are limited, all you get are three, a pistol, a shotgun and a grenade launcher, all of which can be upgraded and modified depending on how well you play and how thorough you are, but when you come off games like Resident Evil 1 and 2 and things like Devil May Cry which was going to be Resident Evil 4 at one point until Capcom decided otherwise, returning to just three guns is a bit..meh..Bet you are wondering how Regina made it onto the list and I promise you it has nothing to do with the red hair…Well maybe it does just a little, always like the colour red. No, the reason why Regina is here is because no one else had played or seemed to be playing Dino Crisis at the time, it wasn’t as successful as Resident Evil, none of my friends were talking about it, my brothers weren’t that interested, so when I picked it up one winters evening and decided to give it a go, I felt a little attached to it, like it was my game, my little project. I found myself wanting to play it properly, I wanted to unlock all the secrets and all the endings, because there are multiple paths you can take that lead to different cut scenes and outcomes. Remember, I grew up in a time without the internet, I could not just tap into YouTube a puzzle code or Google a guide, no, kids like me back then had to figure things out for ourselves, and I did, I became extremely frustrated but was rewarded greatly when I cracked certain obstacles and was able to advance further, and I did all this alone, with Regina as my heroine. I loved the outfit S.O.R.T wore, especially Regina’s, hers was slightly different to the boys in ways you probably already have guessed, she looks the part. I enjoyed guiding her through the game, I looked forward to how she would react in certain situations and admired her ability to make peace, she created a balance between Rick and Gail who clash all the time, she being like the middle sister of the two. That’s how I feel about Regina, in an odd way that is how she comes across, as an elder sister who knows what to do, knows how to behave and adapt quickly, works well with others, she can be aggressive when threatened but under that is a chilled out, grounded, funny chick. I like Regina, and when I saw the trailer to Dino Crisis 2 years later, I could not believe how badass she looked, and just like Dino Crisis 1, I rinsed through the sequel, continuing Regina’s story, only I was more invested like I knew her on a sibling kind of level. It is a shame that Dino Crisis 3 took the series into a whole other direction, as far as I know Regina is not in it, I did not like the game mechanics or the way it played, the idea of Dinosaurs in space comes across as a bit silly, so I could not take it seriously to begin with, and it just didn’t feel like Dino Crisis, this however could all be washed away with Regina’s presence, voiced wonderfully well by Stephanie Morgenstern. If a character in a not so great game, can compelle you to continue with a not so great series, it means you have a pretty great character, one worth investing in. Oh and if any of you know Regina’s last name, hit me up because I only know her as Regina. It’s probably something wicked as well.

Cortana / Halo:-  I think I have reached full nerd, I actually think I have levelled up in Class Nerd department, a bright light just engulfed around me and I dinged, not only that but other nerds came up to me and said ‘Congratz.’ When you find yourself talking about Cortana on your own Blog you know something has gone wrong somewhere in life hahaha! That is the first and last time I will write ‘haha’ on this Blog by the way, you have my promise lol…Jesus fuck what is wrong with me!?…Cortana is from the Halo series, she did not start off as a helper button on your PC desktop, that I assure you. Halo is a series that began with the launch of the original Xbox in November 15 2001. There are only a handful of titles that make it or get close to Halo’s success, Gears of War being one of them and currently the only one I can think of exclusive to Microsoft off the top of my head, which was released around the same time as Halo, probably a little later if I think back, Gears of War is amazing I must add. Whether you like or hate Halo, you cannot ignore the impact it has had on the gaming world, being one of if not THE most successful game of all time and for good reason, the reason being is that it is good, it is really really REALLY good. It’s not a game without flaws because it definitely has some, more springing up with the release of the remastered edition than with the original I hate to say, although I do enjoy both editions, I do find myself coming back to them nd playing through a few levels. Without going too far off topic, I must say that I am not interested in Halo’s multiplayer…I know crosshairs have just lined up on my forehead, and a warrant for my capture dead or alive has just been issued, I am well aware that Halo’s multiplayer community is massive, but I have no interest in it. Multiplayer first person shooters to my mind is COD’s and Battlefront departments, Halo is where I get my story on and is the main reason I play it, for the characters created by Bungie who later sold the project after its third installment, handing it over to 343 Industries who have released two titles so far, Halo4 and Halo5: Guardians which I felt was a disappointment, a failure in its marketing and an unbelievable ending, leaving you with not a sense of awe but a sense of ‘No, that simply would not happen,’ but again I digress and want to talk about Cortana, a character I thoroughly enjoy and am eager to learn more about when Halo6 is released. Cortana is state of the art artificial intelligence, created through human DNA by an incredible scientist named Halsey. Cortana appears mainly through holograms and on monitor screens, she talks to you through a head-piece inside your helmet when you’re exploring the many planets and space ships you visit both alien and human, but as the series progresses you often see her as blue and beautiful A.I female construct. However, in Halo4, you glimpse her as a regular sized woman, where she appears to rescue you, its a great scene and hits those emotional cords pretty well. So why is Cortana on this list, how can a machine representation, compare to a human representation? The answer to this is where the real power of Halo comes through, again it is the reason I follow this series. Yes, it is spectacular game with a lot of battles, cool guns, wicked monsters and some truly amazing visuals, but the real power lies between the connection shared between your character, mainly a Spartan 117, a brilliant soldier whose name is John, and the A.I Cortana. At first when I was very young I’ll admit that I did not find this relationship very compelling, and I wasn’t very invested in these two, holding the popular belief that Cortana was just a robot, nothing more than just a collection of digits and programs to suit certain situations, which she is but she becomes something more, a true humanitarian who has more soul than most of the real people. It wasn’t until the ending of Halo2 and the beginning of Halo3 where I started to really care where this was going, and when Halo4 hits, you are (at least I was) totally invested in these characters. While talking about Cortana, let’s talk a little about the Spartan, code 117, John, because together they compliment each other in more ways than I initially thought. Spartans, generation one especially are part machine, in order for them to be the best of the best soldiers in the UNSC’s (United Nations Space Command) armed forces, they need to be integrated with technologies, technologies that cannot be removed once joined. The technology added to them improves performances significantly but lowers their ability to feel, the less humane they are the better soldiers they are, or so the theory goes, compassion and empathy have no place in war. John, is different, he has been told that he is broken, yet he is the one that Cortana chooses to stay with, he is the only one left alive after from his platoon that was wiped out by alien forces known as The Covenant. John’s companions often refer to him as a machine, a cyborg and by some he is considered inhuman, until he is paired up with Cortana, an A.I able to bring out his buried humanity over the series. With each installment their bond grows stronger, they rely on one another and help one another parted or not, becoming this unstoppable force in the Halo universe, a force that ensures the survival of humans and earth. The banter between them is also enjoyable, Cortana has a great sense of humour, voiced wonderfully well by actress Jen Taylor. Cortana is obviously incredibly intelligent, can hack into any system, can open up any area and unlock any door for John, so he can then maximise and utilise his own skill sets, for which usually revolve around guns, grenades, sniper rifles and rocket launchers. The dynamic between these two is something I find fascinating, Cortana showing more emotion than many if not all other character in the entire series, and SHE was the one who was built, and John being a cold, calculating soldier learning how to feel his emotions again just by being exposed to Cortana’s personality. It is an interesting set up, one that the more you think about grows on you making more sense. Halo4 finishes it off for me, which earns Cortana a place on this list. I am of course talking about ‘that’ scene, their final scene together where all is revealed. It’s inspiring when you’ve come so far, and us Halo fans are rewarded with an actual face to face, toe to toe meeting with Cortana, you can tell, even though John’s face is hidden behind a Spartan helmet, you know he is breaking inside, knowing that their journey must end. I remember it being slightly surreal, I always believed that nothing could come between them. It is followed a little later by a moment John has with one of his friends, Officer Lasky who meets him on the bridge of the spaceship called Infinity. The conversation they have is short, almost one-sided because John does not talk much, but it validates some of what Cortana had said to John throughout the Halo series, Officer Lasky leaves you alone on the bridge, and you miss her, an A.I. It’s awesome.

Olympia Vale / Halo5: Guardians:- I know, another Halo game has found its way in and I bet those of you who are into games as much as I am, are a bit shocked to see Spartan-Olympia Vale from Halo5: Guardians, voiced by Laura Bailey found in this list when there are so many others out there worthy of a spot, but I’ll do my best to explain why it is I like her so much. I really do not feel like going into too much detail with Halo5: Guardians because honestly, it is not a great game, visually it is absolutely stunning with text-book controls, a wonderful soundtrack and is filled with some incredibly enjoyable moments, the opening sequence for example is mind-blowing! But it lacks so much in story and logic it puts a palm to my face. This game had SO much going for it, I mean the hype was unreal, I was pumped for it and avoided the internet until it was finished. Finally we see our protagonist, Master Chief, Spartan-John 117 going up against a truly worthy adversary, an antagonist who you get to play as for a large portion of the game worthy of the franchise, a Spartan hunter who wears sapphire blue armour named Commander Locke. Finally we get to see more of John’s old team mates and are introduced to his group, and Locke’s group they being a newer generation of Spartans, one of them called Buck, an ODST (Orbital Drop Shock Trooper) voiced by Nathan Fillion, he played the captain in the film Serenity and Firefly if you are wondering. who he is. Already you get the feeling of the old and wise going up against the bold and new, this always has being an interesting dynamic of mine so Halo5: BRING IT ON! We were to see a hunt across the galaxy and an epic battle between green (John) and blue (Locke), what we got was something else, all the brilliant trailers that lead to this final moment, all the build up and suspense of the hunt to the mystery of John’s mission that forces him to go rogue, wasn’t in it and if it was, it was a washed over quickly and replaced with a different set up, not the one we were ALL hyped for. I will not spoil anything here because you probably already know what went down, and just like with Star Wars Episode One: The Phantom Menace, it likely still hurts to revisit. This is about Miss Vale, not about me ripping into one of my favourite franchises. That being said, there are a few gems hidden in this game, and when I say a few I mean a handful, Vale being one of them. There are a lot of characters and besides from the main ones, those we have known about for a long while, Vale to my mind is the only new one who stands out, regardless of the fact she gets very little screen time, sorry Nathan/Buck, but it’s true, she was the only one who added to the story, the only one who had an interesting background especially when the villain was cycling through each character highlighting some of their flaws and weaknesses. When it came to Olympia, the villain hints at her diplomatic understanding, her advisory role which is learned mid-way through the game and her troubled upbringing involving her parents separating. Unfortunately, you cannot just play the game and learn all there is to know about Vale, this is in part one of the main problems with Halo5: Guardians, it relies too much on the pre-existing lore for characterisation and plot understanding to get by without actually having to go into detail, you are expected to just know because if you play Halo, you must have read the books, you must have a deep knowledge of this universe by now right? No! I have not read any of the books, I shouldn’t have to in order to be given well-rounded characters that I can relate to in a game, that is the job of the writing team and Halo5 I am sorry to say, does not score very high marks for good writing, I mentioned the opening sequence being amazing, which it is, but go back and watch it, find it on YouTube or play it again and listen to what Buck says about God…It makes no sense. I know what you’re thinking, like with films, games only have so much time for characterisation, and because there are so many, it would have taken hours for us to characterise them all and the more time you spend on something the less time you have to focus on what we all want from a Halo game, it’s story. This problem can be averted, for example, I knew nothing about John in Halo1, he didn’t say much or do much besides follow Cortana’s lead and blow stuff up, but I was still able to grasp what kind of guy he was and by the end when he was flying away in the Long-Short-Fighter, you knew a little about him and left you intrigued, you could tell he was a brilliant soldier who gave a shit about his men, and had a sad history with others like him just from a few uttered lines. In Halo5 you weren’t given much of anything and the same goes for Vale, but what you DID get from Vale’s scenes however minimal and her few lines, was in my opinion the most intriguing and interesting, she being the lesser character made of cardboard by the end than the others, leaving me wanting to know more about her. Of course, there is the most obvious point as to why I like her, it’s her beautiful red armour (told you I have a thing for red) and her aesthetic, she actually looks a bit like a friend of mine, a girl I used to work with which is pretty awesome. Vale regularly uses SMG’s, this type of weapon is something I go for, she also employes tactics similar to Black Widow from The Avengers, to out manuever her opponents with speed and athleticism, she’s very impressive. I’ll leave a link where you can learn more about her below. Maybe, because this game was such a let down, the positives shine even brighter and I have clung onto them a little too tightly. 343 industries are planning to make a sequel to this game, and there is just enough in it I guess to keep it afloat and my appetite wet, but I would be lying if I said I was really excited about it, we’ll just have to wait and see.

Well, that is my list for some of my top six favourite female characters in games. I am proud of this list and it would be wrong for me to say that these characters have not motivated me, taught me and inspired me, because they have greatly, I am always intrigued if they pop up in a remake or happen to appear in other games because they all have left a mark on me. Thank you for reading and I hope to see you in the next one, bye for now.

Amazon Page to The Ancestral Odyssey –

YouTube Page –

Twitter – @MegasTeque

Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Trailer 2004 –

Olympia Vale Bio –