Crashing A Vampire Ball At Lowtide Mansion: Part 5

The many windows of the gothic mansion are curtained, blocking the late afternoon sun with thick midnight-blue canvass.

Colgrevance settles his horse as a dozen men from the Pale Crusade form up to either side. The soldiers plant shields and kneel, peeking over with helms on and heavy crossbows aimed at the tall doors of the ballroom’s entry. Their holy man stands before them, hands clasped, mumbling in Celestial until a white light glows through his palms. Behind, their leader slips on a helmet to seal plate armor fancy enough to rival Colgrevance’s and strides around humming hymns of the angel’s tongue.

“Tristen?” Colgrevance puts on his own helmet.

His armored peer pulls a greatsword off his back and rests it on his shoulder. “We’re ready. Where’s your wearebear?”

“Beorn’s fetching the big lout.”

https://www.zerochan.net/738616 Unknown Artist
zerochan.net, Unknown Artist

Tristen taps his breastplate and whispers a word. A white glow spreads across his suit, like moonlight shining through a metallic window.

Colgrevance drums his fingers on his saddle. “Messoack!”

“I am present.” The gray-skinned magician steps out of the shadows of the alley behind them.

“You sure you won’t lend me that bat ring? You and Jacob will be the only ones without a demigod to summon.” Continue reading Crashing A Vampire Ball At Lowtide Mansion: Part 5

Crashing A Vampire Ball At Lowtide Mansion: Part 4

Blood dries under the afternoon sun. Colgrevance tends to the wounds of his bandmates with bandages and potions.

They smile and thank him, but their eyes narrow at his pristine armor. Form-fitting full plate filled with mystic power, it protects him to the precipice of invincibility.

While his companions were cut, through cloth, leather, and steel, Colgrevance was never scratched. His assault upon Lowtide Mansion was bold, but with little personal risk.

He sits head-bowed on a bench outside Drunken Sea Tavern, the closest drinking establishment to the monster-controlled estate.

Solaris comes around the corner with a frothy mug of brew. “Taste this, Boss.”

Colgrevance waves it away. “Thank you, but—”

Voice deepening, she says, “Do it.”

Continue reading Crashing A Vampire Ball At Lowtide Mansion: Part 4

Spring Break bonding: Grow up, too fast and too slow

Grow Up, Too Fast And Too Slow

Grow up too fast or too slowAs father and son, Yuri and I bonded over Spring Break. It was a chance for us both to grow up a little.

A week at my parent’s house. We played. We fought. We learned.

Yuri zip-lined from tree to tree, stayed where John Wayne kept his guns, started reading my book, and got harassed online for the first time.

My only child, I don’t get a chance to redo, but maybe I can take some cues from my mom and dad. Continue reading Spring Break bonding: Grow up, too fast and too slow

Crashing A Vampire Ball At Lowtide Mansion: Part 3

Under a warm noon sun, Lowtide Mansion is more awkward than intimidating, a gothic structure with the moody style of a past age. Colgrevance gathers his raiders, four familiar and one fresh.

“We’ve rested, recovered, regrouped.” Colgrevance pats the top of a little blue man’s head. “And now we are informed. For those that don’t know, this is Kiv.”

“Kriv,” says the thigh-high man. “And, oh wow, can I tell you about vampires. They don’t like garlic, mirrors, running water, or puns done by miss-stake.”

Continue reading Crashing A Vampire Ball At Lowtide Mansion: Part 3

Crashing A Vampire Ball At Lowtide Mansion: Part 2

Bodies bleed. Some moan, most breathe, all are dressed in finery.

Colgrevance crouches over Beorn. A matching pair of shortswords stick out of the warrior’s gut. Blood leaks out like the sap of a tapped maple tree.

Clapping his gauntlets together, Colgrevance says in Celestial, “Stable.” The silver metal encasing his hands flickers a light green, and he uses its minor enchantment to stall the bulky half-elf’s bleed and ease his gasps.

“Sorry, I froze,” says Colgrevance. “I’ve never been caught by a hypnotic rune before.”

Continue reading Crashing A Vampire Ball At Lowtide Mansion: Part 2

Crashing A Vampire Ball At Lowtide Mansion: Part 1

The massive estate rises above the slums of Titantale city, a noble fortress guarding against the encroaching forest of leaning shacks and failing masonry. A light rain, steady throughout the night, has made knuckle-deep canals out of the alleyways leading to the mansion.

Moving too slow to splash, Colgrevance steps to where his alley meets street. He sniffles and settles a hood over his lantern before placing it in front of a crouching bald man wearing simple clothes.

“Jacob.” Colgrevance shifts his shield from back to forearm and broadsword from hip to hand. “Are you feeling heroic?”

“Always.” The bald man contorts into a stretch worthy of a circus act.
Continue reading Crashing A Vampire Ball At Lowtide Mansion: Part 1

Black Ships Before Dawn

The full-body armor is simple as diamond. No horns or decorative swirls distract from its function. It exists to protect, not to entertain.

Colgrevance wipes gore out of a groove in his greaves. A bandmate splattered zombie on him the day before, and it’s taken the paladin all night to clean the cursed ichor from his gear.

He yawns, mouth staying open as his head bobs. “Wish I had a proper squire.”

A guardswoman pops her head into the tavern’s common room. “Sir, there’s three black ships sailing in to dock.”

“How long until dawn?” Colgrevance slips a heavy shield onto his left arm and picks up a longsword with his right. “How close are the ships?”

Shouts echo outside.

“Minutes maybe.” She fingers her spear. “And the ships are here.”
Continue reading Black Ships Before Dawn

Old Man Jiu-Jitsu And Why My Boy Won’t Hit You

Jiu-Jitsu Disciplined Me & My Son

Jiu-Jitsu with my son, YuriAs a martial art, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu stands apart. It requires live matches as a regular part of training and provides solutions to fights that won’t end in civil lawsuits.

Many physical disciplines have a host of benefits beyond their main focus. Yoga offers more than stretching. Boxing offers more than punching.

Jiu-Jitsu offers a robust package within a playful wrapping and shared by a tight-nit community of old souls.

It is a challenge in time, money, pain, and injury, but for both my son and I, it has been a worthwhile year at Renzo Gracie Academy, Portland.

Why do something that hurts?

Quote from my Gi's neck
“Fighting is the best thing a man can have in his soul.” -Renzo Gracie’s words on my gi’s collar.

I am lazy.

It’s easy for me to lose a day, a week, a year doing nothing I can take pride in.

There is always the easy path away from challenges. In another life, I’d be alone and drifting, avoiding pain and purpose.

Every time I ride my bicycle to Jiu-Jitsu class, I think about quitting.

Continue reading Old Man Jiu-Jitsu And Why My Boy Won’t Hit You

Role-Playing Online: For Writers

Role-Playing Helps Stories Matter

Yuri role-playing as a warrior for hire.I love small groups socializing with story telling.

Role-playing games take this into the realm of collaboration, and such mutual efforts have survived transference to the virtual tabletop.

A fantastic resource for writers:

Nothing tests a novel’s fantasy setting like having a dozen people bouncing around inside it with characters they’ve created and control.

Role-playing is the jiu-jitsu of storytelling.

It’s all about live situations where players constantly challenge themselves and others in a simulated life or death struggle… by rolling.

Roll20 only requires a browser for role-playing

Monster of a role-playing map. Made at http://donjon.bin.sh/.My current book, Ranger of Path, is based on a role-playing campaign I created and game mastered over a decade ago.

Now it has come full circle, and I’ve created a new campaign based on this book.

Go where the people are.

It’s true with politics, writing, and role-playing. I need to engage people to be successful. Hence, a website is the easiest path to initiate as it utilizes what people already use.

Continue reading Role-Playing Online: For Writers

Carolina Reaper Pepper Made Treasured Tears

Eating The Hottest Pepper

Sliced Reaper, little Ghost Pepper, and half a HabaneroFor enjoyment: Only eat a Reaper Pepper mixed into a recipe. Tuna sandwiches and chili both work well.

For a challenge: Eat something first and have stomach medicine on hand. A whole pepper or that One Chip is good for laughs, but there is no good reason to feel heartburn afterwords.

Schadenfreude: My son’s shaky cam

Yuri treasures my tears. This doesn’t make him a monster, but he is a hunter. From nerf gun wars to jiu jitsu I’m setting up outlets for this aggression so he doesn’t skin me in my sleep, and gains self control for school.

My wife and I disagree about him taking joy in another’s agony. Whether a pepper, a choke, or a soft dart in the eye, I take the pain with a father’s pride.

He’s eight and half-way through third grade, and I see more of myself in him every day.

Continue reading Carolina Reaper Pepper Made Treasured Tears