IWSG – February 2020

First Month participating in IWSG. This month’s immediate:

Has a single photograph or murals ever impressed a narrative? What was it and did you end it?

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So, first month participating and I virtually forgot. I am ineffective. Actually, I’m. Now it is previous my mattress time on a college night time and I am sitting in mattress with my laptop computer on my knees and a persistent cat on my chest purring into my face and making it troublesome to see the keys on the keyboard. There’s additionally my different cat sitting on the tip of the mattress plotting some form of jealous revenge as a result of he desires to be sitting right here however he will not share along with his brother and he will not combat him off both. He simply sulks as a substitute. Oh the drama.!!

Fortunately, I’ve a cheat plan, which is simply in addition to I am undecided how for much longer I can maintain straining my neck. Has a single photograph or murals ever impressed a narrative? The reply is sure, and I’ve a previous publish from fairly some time again with a brief story and the piece of artwork work that impressed it.

In the event you did not learn it first time spherical, get pleasure from 🙂


doomed%2B %2Barlene%2BLazareva - IWSG - February 2020

And so this was the way it was to finish. There was to be no fairytale romance for me; no using off into the sundown with the person I cherished. As a substitute right here I used to be, certain and ready for demise. His blood churned with the water that surrounded me, like smoke in open air – solely this was crimson. It danced within the currents, taunting me and reminding me of its intentions. It was calling on the waves; calling to any prepared to hear; any that was prepared to result in my demise. I prayed that none would come, however I knew it was inevitable. The odor of blood on the open currents carried for miles. One thing can be coming quickly to reply these calls.

I closed my eyes in opposition to the swaying sight in entrance of me. I didn’t wish to look upon the horrific scene anymore. It wrenched at my damaged coronary heart. I felt the light shift of the sand in opposition to my tail, a distinction in comparison with the tough really feel of the iron anchor in opposition to my again. Each little motion prompted it to grate in opposition to my pores and skin, and I ought to have been reeling in ache however my sorrow numbed me to it. As a substitute I had no selection however to accepted it – and wait.

I recalled the occasions that introduced me to this example, this last hour. That they had began off so promising, and I used to be hopeful that there was going to be a cheerful ending. I didn’t know the way it was going work, however I knew we’d be collectively. Then issues went fallacious. We have been caught and we have been punished – by each our folks.

Man and mermaids have been forbidden to satisfy.

At the very least that was the legislation underneath the waves – a legislation that I selected to disobey. However it wasn’t my intention. I couldn’t simply keep again and watch as nature claimed the lifetime of this man. He had been thrown overboard from the galleon ship that he crewed throughout a storm. He would have died had I not taken maintain of him and carried him again to shore. As I lay on the sand watching over him, I had no thought what was occurring to his ship. I didn’t know that the storm was to assert it, that the seas have been going to pull it down and state it as its personal. How might I?

I used to be too preoccupied staring on the man I had simply rescued, mesmerized by his magnificence and innocence. And when he opened his eyes and stared upon me, we have been each hooked.

I knew it was fallacious, however my coronary heart couldn’t deny what I felt. My love for him continued to develop, and he felt precisely the identical. We’d meet in a close-by cove the place nobody ventured, and we’d share our love – however sooner or later we have been caught, and our relationship wasn’t simply frowned upon, it was revolted in opposition to. His folks have been sickened and claimed that it had been me who had taken down their ship. I had been the reason for all these deaths, although I saved one and was nowhere close to the ship when it went down.

They sentenced my like to demise.

Horrified, I sought assist from my very own, hoping that they might assist, that they might in some way rescue him, however they shunned me. Our legislation of by no means assembly with man was due to this precise situation. Males believed mermaids to be a nasty omen, and due to their beliefs, they have been merciless and chilly hearted. They believed me that I had nothing to do with the taking down of their ship, however my being there at the moment was unhealthy luck.

They wouldn’t assist, and so they turned me away.

Ultimately I had no selection however to return and attempt to plead with the boys, however they selected to make use of me for instance as a substitute. They needed to ship a message beneath the waves that they weren’t folks to toy with. If we took lives, then so would they. The place their beliefs got here from, I didn’t know, and I actually didn’t perceive. We had by no means damage anybody, however nonetheless I discovered myself captive and introduced again out to sea. I used to be pressured in opposition to their anchor and certain, the crew jeering and taunting. My love might solely cry as he watched, his eyes telling me how sorry he was.

After which the anchor was dropped overboard.

What they hoped to realize with this, I didn’t know. Didn’t they perceive that I couldn’t drown? That I lived in these salty waters? However as I registered the splash above me, I knew what they meant to do.

Wanting up I noticed as my love, certain and tied to iron weights, sunk to the seabed earlier than me. He withered in opposition to his ties, the oxygen in his lungs operating out, and I screamed and fought in opposition to my very own ties, wanting to assist him, wanting to forestall him from downing.

However I couldn’t assist.

I watched with disgrace as he stopped transferring and stared at me one final time, after which as he died earlier than my eyes. I had wept then, cried and wailed. I fought some extra in opposition to the rope that certain me to the anchor, however I couldn’t transfer.

My coronary heart was damaged.

After which I observed the blood.

I understood then how they have been desiring to kill me. That they had slit my loves arms, wanting his blood to be taken by the encircling currents. They needed to name the beasts that lurked within the deep, needed them to odor the blood and include starvation of their minds. They needed to have our flesh ripped from our very bones. And me being tied to the anchor, I couldn’t disguise. However then why would I? I had misplaced the one individual I cherished, been shunned from my very folks due to it, and I couldn’t dwell with the grief and guilt that it had been I who had accomplished this to him, I who had prompted his demise.

No, I made a decision. Let the boys win. Let the beasts come.

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Sep 13, Grand Remembrances

Today is Grandparents Day in the United States. Being a Grand is a special honor. I feel very blessed that my wife and I have two grandchildren. We were able to visit them today. Yes, we are still being cautious with the coronavirus, but we also find it very difficult to not see them when they live so close. So today we did drop by to visit Jacob (age 10) and Sophia (age 7) along with their parents. We brought donuts and caught up with them. Our grandchildren are still pretty young and this is a precious time in their lives – and ours!

I wish I had known my grandparents better. We never lived in the same place. Dad was a career Air Force pilot, so we moved around a lot. But we did get to see them once in a while when they would visit us, or we them.

A Plague of Giants

There are five known magical ‘kennings’ or types: air, water, fire, earth, and plants. Each nation specializes in of these kennings, and the magic influences the society. There’s a big pitfall with this diversity of ability and locale–not everyone gets along.

Enter the Hathrim giants, or ‘lavaborn’ whose kenning is fire. Where they live the trees that fuel their fire are long gone, but the giants are definitely not welcome anywhere else. They’re big, they’re violent, and they’re ruthless. When a volcano erupts and they are forced to evacuate, they take the opportunity to relocate. They don’t care that it’s in a place where they aren’t wanted.

I first read Kevin Hearne’s Iron Druid books and loved them (also the quirky The Tales of Pell), so was curious about this new venture, starting with A PLAGUE OF GIANTS. Think Avatar: The Last Airbender meets Jim Butcher’s Codex Alera series. Elemental magic, a variety of races, different lands. And it’s all thrown at you from page one.

But this story is told a little differently. It starts at the end of the war, after a difficult victory, and a bard with earth kenning uses his magic to re-tell the story of the war to a city of refugees. And it’s this movement back and forth in time and between key players in this war that we get a singularly grand view of the war as a whole. Hearne uses this method to great effect.

There are so many interesting characters in this book that I can’t cover them all here. Often in books like this such a large cast of ‘main’ character can make the storytelling suffer, especially since they don’t have a lot of interaction with each other for the first 3/4 of the book–but it doesn’t suffer, thankfully. And the characterization is good enough, despite these short bursts, that by the end we understand these people and care about what happens to them.

If there were a main character it would be Dervan, a historian who is assigned to record (also spy on?) the bard’s stories. He finds himself caught up in machinations he feels unfit to survive. Fintan is the bard from another country, who at first is rather mysterious and his true personality is hidden by the stories he tells; it takes a while to understand him. Gorin Mogen is the leader of the Hathrim giants who decide to find a new land to settle. He’s hard to like, but as far as villains go, you understand his motivations and he can be even a little convincing. There’s Abhi, the son of hunters, who decides hunting isn’t the life for him–and unexpectedly finds himself on a quest for the sixth kenning. And Gondel Vedd, a scholar of linguistics who finds himself tasked with finding a way to communicate with a race of giants never seen before (definitely not Hathrim) and stumbles onto a mystery no one could have guessed: there may be a seventh kenning.

There are other characters, but what makes them all interesting is that they’re regular people (well, maybe not Gorin Mogen or the viceroy–he’s a piece of work) who become heroes in their own little ways, whether it’s the teenage girl who isn’t afraid to share vital information, to the scholars who suddenly find how crucial their minds are to the survival of a nation, to the humble public servants who find bravery when they need it most. This is a story of loss, love, redemption, courage, unity, and overcoming despair to not give up. All very human experiences by simple people who do extraordinary things.

Hearne’s worldbuilding is engaging. He doesn’t bottle feed you, at first it feels like drinking from a hydrant, but then you settle in and pick up things along the way. Then he shows you stuff with a punch to the gut. This is no fluffy world with simple magic without price. All the magic has a price, and more often than not it leads you straight to death’s door. For most people just the seeking of the magic will kill you. I particularly enjoyed the scenes with Ahbi and his discovery of the sixth kenning and everything associated with it. But giants? I mean, really? It isn’t bad enough fighting people who can control fire that you have to add that they’re twice the size of normal people? For Hearne if it’s war, the stakes are pretty high, and it gets ugly.

The benefit of the storytelling style is that the book, despite its length, moves along steadily (Hearne is no novice, here). The bits of story lead you along without annoying cliffhangers (mostly), and I never got bored with the switch between characters. It was easy to move between them, and they were recognizable enough that I got lost or confused. The end of the novel felt a little abrupt, but I guess that has more to do with I was ready for the story to continue, despite the exiting climax.

If you’re looking for epic fantasy with fun storytelling and clever worldbuilding, check out A PLAGUE OF GIANTS.

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The Artwork Of Gary Choo

Gary Choo is a concept artist/illustrator based in Singapore. I’ve know Gary for a good many years ( 17, actually ), working together in animation studios in Singapore like Silicon Illusions and Lucasfilm. Gary currently runs an art team at Mighty Bear Games, but when time allows he also draws covers for Marvel comics, and they’re amazing –

The Art Of Gary Choo
The Art Of Gary Choo
The Art Of Gary Choo
The Art Of Gary Choo
The Art Of Gary Choo

To see more of Gary’s work or to engage him for freelance work, head down to his ArtStation.

The post The Art Of Gary Choo appeared first on Halcyon Realms – Art Book Reviews – Anime, Manga, Film, Photography.