Monday, October 20, 2014

The Ranger: Chapters 4 and 5

                                                                  CHAPTER 4

        The pointed spears were sharpened and ready. He made sure that any loose spears were firmly planted in the ground.
        The Ranger pulled himself out of the hole. He walked out next to the covered death pit. The cover was made of long tree branches crossed together in a kind of grid, tied together with vines. He threw a few more green leaves on the camouflaged floor to blend it in with the brown and green ground.
        Next, he went to check his deadfall. He had mixed results with his snares so he decided to make one for a bigger game. He managed to harness every bit of his considerable strength to move a massive four foot tall boulder from the fringes of the dense jungle forest. He rolled it in place and found a big enough branch to barely hold it up. On the branch he
placed bait, in this instance he choose mice and squirrels, the larger game would usually pounce or move the bait enough to bring down the branch and the huge stone upon it's head.
        His food, while still evasive at times became much easier to trap as the days went by. His skills with his spear, axe and bow also improved ten-fold.

                                                                         CHAPTER 5
                                                                   THE TREE TOWN
       
    As the days progressed, The Ranger became more and more aware of his surroundings and which routes would lead him back to his home camp in the tree forest. For a while he put visual aids on the path back to his isolated home. These consisted
of yellow flower pedals that he stuck on the trees, along the route using sticky tree sap. Later he memorized the route and eventually the shortcuts to each path.
        Leto had taught him long ago; at first, go the way you know, then make a quick shortcut.
        Although he had no sense of danger at the time he felt the need for shortcuts anyway, if not for efficiency, then for the peace of mind. He was a Ranger and it was in his code to be prepared no matter the situation. He marked a time tree near his home. Home, he thought, what was that anyway? Was anyplace truly home for him after all these years? Yes, home to him was where ever he chose to call his home at the time. He thought about giving up marking the tree. Why bother? He didn't expect to get rescued and wasn't even trying to. His Ranger skills allowed him to live off the land, especially after training with Leto all those years ago. With his training he could even live somewhat comfortably, totally confident of his skills with hunting and fishing. The mission, however, had popped back into his mind. He gave the king his word that he would find the stolen treasure and rescue his daughter from the thieves that stole her as well. It wasn't in the ranger code to live up to his word but he felt it should be because sometimes your word ensured your survival. For now he had to concentrate his efforts and thoughts on claiming this region of land from the animals and elements. This would give him the clarity of thought he desperately needed right now. He needed to his mind to be clear and reflect on the events of the betrayal that had unfolded and why. He had to construct his one man tree town.


                                                                      *        *        *

        Over the course of these long days he had constructed and carved out a hidden doorway in several large trees. The trunk of them were about as wide as two to three men side by side. Inside the opening he carved out a stairway spiraling up to an opening at the top of the large tree. He was proud of this transportation project, it took him many sums and moons to complete. At the top of the opening he carved out he had constructed a planked rope bridge using thick carved wood from the forest. They were tied together with jungle vine which the environment had enough of. It wasn't the sturdiest bridge and he fell through once or twice but this would force him to re-examine his knots and make the bridge even stronger. His lite diet made his weight less of an issue as well. Truly this was a bridge made just for him, no one else would dare walk on it. He had built a bridge system. At least two of them reached back to interconnect with the trees. At each treetop he would leave at least one weapon, a spear at one, bow and arrow at another. At the ground floor he had constructed a system of several traps for catching and slaying food.
        He had dug out a deep pit at the bottom and placed many wooden spikes at the floor. These waited to skewer the next big game animal foolish enough to fall through the leafed camouflaged pit, providing he didn't himself. The Ranger had also created new pulley system out of the pit. It would pull him out by yanking down on the vine rope attached to a thick tough branch above. He had to test it several times because of his weight and the possible weight of the big game he would
hold in his arms.
    He also spent much of him time building several snares and big game traps outside the perimeter of his home base camp. One of these snares was simple but used for bigger game then rabbits.
    A lasso of vine rope sat blended into the ground. The  rope ran up a small tree, sticking out of that was a hooked wooden anchor that hooked into the tree branch of this small tree. If the lasso was pulled, the anchor would easily come off and release the tension of the large tree branch above and pulling its target into the air leaving it dangling and vulnerable.
        Another one of his favorite death traps, the death seat, involved a massive huge rock supported by two thick sticks camouflaged near the back of it. These two branches supported its immense weight. Under the shadow of this rock a large or small animal would rest underneath it as protection from the sun. Holding up the stone bottom was a small stick with a long vine rope looped around it. The pressure from the weight above would shove the stick forward pulling the rest of the rope above it and in turn pulling out the two branch supports where the two rocks met.
    The Ranger's hope was that the top rock would fall after the two sticks were pulled out from it, instantly killing or at least pinning the large game underneath.
    He understood this snare had a high percentage of failure
but the reward of a deer or elk as a food source afterwards would be worth it.

Friday, October 17, 2014

The Ranger: Chapter 3 - The Bear

                                                                     CHAPTER 3
                                                                      THE BEAR

        The Ranger had taken the same time to sharpen some spears for his daily fishing routine. It was a beautifully magical sunny day. He entered the water, stepping onto the small rocks. The shallow part of the river was almost perfectly clear.
    It stemmed from a short waterfall to his left. The waves and fish continued downstream past him and skipped into the air and down another waterfall to his right. Over the white misty edge of that waterfall. Several small fishes could be seen jumping through the watery edge and into a huge fanged mouth.     Its jaws snapped down onto one fish, only catching air. The rest of the fish were just a little too fast and agile for the bear's claws.
        After several failed attempts at spearing many silver and multi-covered fish, The Ranger looked down the river to spot the huge brown grizzly bear fishing as well. Although The Ranger was a good distance away from it he stood ready.
    At least he had a weapon to defend himself he thought. The Ranger continued to strike at the fish standing ankle deep in shallow water. He peered down at the bear again, The huge beast didn't seem to notice him...
    As soon as The Ranger looked back down he saw a plump fish oblivious of the predator above it, slowly making its way down the stream. The Ranger swung his spear quickly down into the top of the fish. He brought it up, thankful for his first wet wiggling meal of the day. The corner of his mouth curled up. The mighty brown bear roared at him. It was angry the Ranger had
intruded into its food bank. He decided to use this precious energy source and invest it to make a friend. He threw the wagging fish at the bear's jaws. It consumed the fish in just a few snaps. The Ranger smiled, stood his ground and continued to jab his pointed spear into the glistening water.
        Back at his home camp he put a few more logs and sticks on the fire after cutting them up with his axe. After cooking the bright silver fish on a skewer, he finished his last bite. Reinvigorated he knew he couldn't rest long...

                                                                      *        *        *
    The Ranger knew he had to keep moving, improving his shelter. He knew the key to this would be in layers. Hacking away at several branches that provided huge fan-like leaves as a canopy he gathered a dozen wide green leafs that would act as a patches to his roof.
    After some struggle wrapping the leaf patches into place, he cut down some thicker branches to build a better bed. By placing the long wood branches next to each other he was able to, at the very least, get him off the ground. He used the remaining vines used to fix his roof and wrapped them around the top, middle and bottom of the row of logs, tightly securing them together. He also replaced the original mossy bedding with new moss.
    He also had to get moving on a new set of snares and traps. The more traps, the greater his means of survival. He searched for huge rocks that could serve as even bigger death traps for the unfortunate critter that decided to take the bait and activate the switch. After finding two he cut up some more branches to keep the heavy stone balanced.

                                                                    *        *        *

    The Ranger started to dig a pit that would be perfect for a dead fall. The amount of work digging would take at least half of the day to complete so he decided just to start on it and dig a bit more each day so he could conserve his energy for another weapon to create.
    He went back to his camp and looked at his spears that he painfully crafted. He had a handful of vine in his right hand. He picked up one of his small spears and wrapped the green string looping it around the top and tying it in a special tight knot he learned while sailing with his crew. He did the same to the bottom pulling the strong vine up while keeping tension and pressure on the branch while is sat on the huge stone in front of him.
    It took just the right amount of pressure to make his new bow without snapping it. Leto had trained him well in the art of bow making.

                                                          *                 *                 *

He finally had a decent bow but needed arrows. He had to hurry, there was only so much daylight left. He got to work immediately, quickly hacking off a few more limbs from the surrounding trees. The Ranger used his axe to sharpen the branches into sharp points.
        The Ranger tapped the top of his finger on the arrow, it drew a small drop of crimson blood. The corner of his mouth angled up again.
        He loaded the arrow onto the sliced groove at the back of its base. He spotted a green leaf hanging down from a little tree. Instantly he let go of the back of the arrow.
It pinned a leaf to the front of the tree bark.
        It was good to know that his aim was still true.

                        *        *        *

        Later that night, after throwing a few more sticks and logs on the fire. The Ranger slept in his newly repaired shelter.
    He growled and yelled a few times as his head moved right to left. The images in his head flashed on and off through blackness. He was on his ship. He held up his hands, they
    were covered in blood. The blood was all over his crew mates as they lay dead on the deck floor. He yelled in sorrow and anger, looking up at the five floating red-robed wizards. These men, however cruel they may had been to him were the closest thing he had to family. The wizards looked down as to pity him. He was almost nude and he didn't have any weapons so he used only one, his savage rage. He went into an enraged frenzy growling and yelling in defiance. The leader of The Red Wizards was in the middle of the floating group. He shot out a dark pointed object from his hands. It headed straight at The Savage's face.
        The Ranger held his hands to his eye patch, while still asleep, covering it as if he
was in intense pain.

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Ranger: Chapter 2

(continued from chapter 1)

Certainly, the stick trick had been the hardest thing he had done on the island thus far. His arms were exhausted from rubbing the sticks together profusely, he was parched and needed water soon. As he lowered the burning stick into the pit, he smothered it into the dry leaves and kindling. For a moment there was nothing, then a light smoke flew out of the wooden pile lighting up a red glow. His hard work had paid off but he knew he couldn't rest yet. He had to keep moving and gather things for shelter.
    He journeyed back to the salvageable parts of his small wooden boat. The front part of the boat was in shambles. The back was still usable. The rounded bottom part of the boat was cracked in half. He dragged the bottom of the boat with his formidable strength, his back was towards the tree line. He let out an intense exhale as he dropped it on the ground. The Ranger hacked down a few more thick branches. In his arms gathered some large tree leafs and put them on top of the branches.
    After he dropped the leaves and branches on the ground he instinctively turned his head hearing some rustling behind him. He slightly smiled. He knew the dense jungle-like forest was full of life; deer, fox and various other furry creatures. He would eat well tonight.
    The Ranger tilted the boat onto its side, planting the thick branches under the rim of the elevated boat. On the ground he laid down various green leaves and Old Man's Beard green moss leaving a kind of leaf bed.
   
                                                             *        *        *

    The Ranger noticed night was coming fast and he didn't have much time to finish his shelter. He threw a few more thick branches on the blazing, smoldering fire and walked back to the shambled boat to retrieve his rope. Sometimes when he thought about rope he thought about his old mentor.

    He was a sort of small, tan, bald-headed man. Old, the wrinkles on his were definitely present but they weren't excessive. The Pirate suspected he was older then his actual years.
    "Savage!...Savage!..." said Leto. The Pirate was panting, exhausted and he stopped and turned to Leto. "Free your bounds!" He shouted.
    The Pirate looked down at the thick rope around his wrists. He pulled and rolled his hands and wrists in circular motions. He pulled and struggled again but to no avail. He growled.
    "Savage! Use the blades in your mouth for more then just crushing them together." Scolded Leto.
    The pirate looked at his mentor puzzled for a moment, then he looked down at the roped bounds and immediately bit down into the rope. Munching and slicing through the rope with his teeth. At least this method stood a better chance against the rope then using his hands. He frantically chewed away at the bounds but even at that pace it was taking a long time.
    Leto swept at The Pirate's feet with a long wooden spear. He fell on his back and shot Leto a mean glance as he struggled with his rope bounds.
    "The enemy won't wait for you!" Leto pulled out his sword and swung downwards towards The Pirates face. The Pirate held up his chewed bounds to block the swing. The sword cut deep into the rope. It didn't snap but he instantly took advantage of the blade by trapping the blade between his wrists and twisting the rope around the blade and now The Pirate had possession of the weapon. He held up the sabre as if to strike Leto. "Good, you finally learned to make your circumstances work for your benefit. Now we use the rope for our shelter," said Leto.

                                                                   *        *        *

    The Ranger's mind snapped back to the present. There was only about eight feet of rope left but it was more then enough. Looping the rope over his shoulder, he made his way back to his quick shelter. He looped the rope around the two Y shaped tree branches holding up the roof of the tent, part of the torn canopy from his boat folded over the rope. The canopy was incredibly wet as it just started to dry above the fire.
    Night time was quickly approaching. He was rapidly running out of energy and needed to rest, but he know that if he slept now he would miss out on any chance of food early the next day.
Missing that early food source would cripple his energy level that we would need.

                                                                  *         *        *

    He had to at least set up a dead fall or two before the day ended. He pushed through his exhaustion and found several heavy rocks. He first placed them at the corners of the tent holding the canopy firmly to the ground. He was so tired that even this process made this arms drag.
    He felt heavy and light headed at the same time. He shook his head keeping his wits about him, he searched in the low light for a couple of short sticks that could support a foot long rock. After running, his hands clumsily felt through the dirt and rocks he found one that could possibly support the weight of a deadly huge rock. He found a place near a small hole in the ground to place his deadly trap. The huge rock he found barely sat still on the stick. He adjusted the for balance and realized his chances of catching small prey were low since he had no bait. His eyelids weighed heavily upon his face. His head nodded a couple of times. He needed sleep immediately. The Ranger got to barely got to his feet and staggered the encampment. Darkness was now upon him as he lost his balance and fell to the ground. He almost crawled to the fire but mustered the last of his energy reserves to get back to his knees. He would sleep more comfortably then the night before! He crawled to him modest camp entrance and collapsed into the opening headfirst almost caving in the tent with his feet.
    As his world went black he remembered the enduring face of Leto smiling at him for another successful day of survival completed.


                                                                  CHAPTER 2

    The Ranger awoke to the sounds of birds chirping. Daylight shined through the trees. The Ranger slowly got to his feet and checked his leather boots for any deadly creature that may have been dwelling in them. The shelter had survived the first night, but there was still room for improvement.
It rained for a spell overnight. The rain had fallen through the holes but only spilt on his chest and legs. He cursed himself for not setting up at proper container to collect the water. He quickly sucked up the water droplets on his chest and arms. This tiny bit of water was already helping.
        He got to his feet and sluggishly looked at the wet vegetation all around him and sucked more water from the the nearest green palm leaf. He then tore off the huge leaf and folded it into a cup. He took some of the rope line from his ship's mast, poked a few small holes into the top edges of the fragile palm leaf and carefully threaded the line through the holes. He had made a very crude and simple container for water. It would not last him more then a day or two but at least it was something to place the rainwater in for now. He planned on upgrading the container by using tree bark later. For now he had to gather as much water and save enough for later before
the sun would dry up his wet haven of liquid life.
        He picked up his trusty axe which gleamed under the sunlight. It was hidden under some moss on purpose. The Ranger would never allow an enemy to find his weapon and kill him in his sleep. Not that there was anyone on the island he thought but he did it out his combative instincts.
        He loved having his hand axe with him again and it reminded him that he wasn't truly alone, his silver ally was with him. It would assist him in living in
anyway it could.
       
                                                                  *        *        *
       
        The Ranger was hungry and knew it was now time to hunt. This had never been a problem, especially since Leto instructed him in the ways of the hunt many years ago. He looked forward to checking his small dead fall traps first. Maybe a small mouse or other editable creature would be lying there waiting for him to cook it.
    The first trap he checked, the rock was lying on the ground. Something had activated it, but whatever it was it succeeded evading death. Feeling a little disappointed but unsurprised, The Ranger set forth for his second option, making another weapon. He had to use his nearest resource for this and the forest trees were plentiful here. Thank the gods he had his sharp silver friend.
       
                                                                 *        *        *

        There were plenty of branches to choose from. He found one and immediately hacked if off with the blade of his axe. He was thankful that the edge wasn't dulled yet. He sharpened the branch into a sharp point. He also chopped down several others and took them back bundled in his arms to home camp. It was safe to have extra hunting weapons in case he lost one or damaged it. They could also be used for another trap to catch prey.
        After some hard shaves and some burning in his right arm he tossed the spear into the air and caught it. He did this to test the weight and grip, but mostly for the pleasant sense of completeness, it gave him satisfaction.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The Ranger Chapter 1

Prologue


Black clouds rolled through the sky dropping wet pellets. As violent gigantic waves mirrored the clouds, a small wooden boat defiantly sailed through the peaks and valleys of the dark sea.
The Lone Man in the boat was in silhouette as he struggled to keep his tiny ship level. His arms had given up on him ages ago and he knew it was useless
to keep rowing through the beastly storm. The only thing he could do, is defiantly sit down in his boat, and hold the sides of his vessel as a tower-like wave approached him. All was black.

Chapter 1

Pieces of The Ranger's boat were scattered throughout the shore of the new land he slept on. The waves continued to slowly pour in, reflecting
the light of the yellow sun. His boat stuck out of the sand. The head of the mast resembled a dragon's head, it stuck out at a slanted angle. It seemed to jut out and pierce the clouds, almost as if it were billowing smoke from its fiery breath.
The Ranger suddenly awoke on the shore, face down, then face up as he coughed out sea water.
The mutton-chopped man donned an eye-patch over his right eye.
It covered an injury that occurred during a tragic battle aboard a ship and under mysterious circumstances, circumstances not even he remembered.
He lost consciousness before it happened.
He looked around, hardly believing his fate. What were the chances he would make it into shore the previous night? He assumed the gods were keeping him alive for some purpose unknown to him.
Immediately he sat up as the sun basked down on him. Although he was exhausted and a little bruised he knew he had to get to work immediately to stay alive.
Survival, he had learned, was not something he could take his time with. He knew the benefits of fast preparation, water, a quick basic shelter and
fire. Luckily, materials for fire had been instantaneous. He found a small hole in the ground. He quickly used a stick to check for life.
It was his code, The Ranger's code, not to destroy an animals home and certainly not while it was in it. He examined the outside of the hole and hadn't seen any footsteps. The lair had been abandoned long ago. He placed some dry leaves and dry sticks in it.
The Ranger stopped to look at the vast treeline the island had to offer. The gods were blessing
him indeed. Suddenly, his body jolted as he remembered something. Was it there? Did he still have it?
The Ranger immediately ran to his boat, now in total shambles. He frantically looked around for the thing that had served him for many years. He spotted
the gleaming, silver hand axe under a few of the boat's torn floorboards. It seemed to call for him through the wooden debris.
The weapon had been dear to him over the years, it wasn't passed down from family because he didn't have much of one.
From a very young age, he was put to work on a ship almost like a slave.
This silver weapon was given to him by Leto, his mentor of long ago. He had taught him the ways of The Ranger and helped him give up the ways of the savage.
The Ranger didn't waste time. He cut down small branches and gathered more kindling. It was nice to have his axe back, it was not only an invaluable extension of his arm, but he also considered it an extension of himself. Once he gathered all of his materials together he dropped them into the small hole and prepared the fire.
It was never easy, even for the most experienced Ranger to start a fire.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Casino Royal Quick Review

Having just recently watched Casino Royal (The Daniel Craig version) I was amazed about how much the screenwriters adapted from the book.
Bond is especially chatty in this, which I thought was interesting. This is an introspective Bond, who isn't proud of his license to kill which he was qualified for due to his combative experience during WW2. I'm surprised they never integrated his military background into the movies.
It makes perfect sense that he was a soldier, now that they mention it it makes perfect sense that he would have all of those deadly skills.
Anyway, I'm keeping this short. This is a pretty good first story of the series even if there isn't much action in it. The characterization is great. The last line of the story made it into the movie and it's great!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Wolves of the Calla

I've just finished The Wolves of the Calla. It's the fourth book in The Dark Tower series by Steven King. It picks up with the three characters (or four characters if you count their pet Oui) finding their way to a desert-like town town called Calla? They run into Callahan a kind who's a
kind of drifter.
He talks to them about the town he lives in & about their dire situation. The town is having a problem with their young children getting kidnapped. Roland (the leader) & the rest of the team are reluctant to help & get involved in their war.
Once they get to the town they discover that the town's children are being sacrificed to these things called
'The Wolves' raiders on horseback with lightsabres for weapons and wolf masks on their faces. Roland & the team agree to help the town in exchange for access to a cave where they can time travel in hidden doorways back to NYC in which they can continue their quest to find the
Dark Tower.
What I liked about this book of the series is that they have a bunch of new phrases that come with the new town that they're helping; "Say thank ya'" and "Thank ya sai" are two phrases that hilariously persist along with the number 19. It's a number that pops up numerous times in this book series, so much so that it's been popping up in my own life in the last few weeks, eerie.
Probably the best thing about the book, that stands out, is Callahan's 'origin story. He comes from Eddie Dean's NYC but a slightly different version of it. He worked in a homeless shelter & as a priest that lost his faith and has become a drunk. He ends up befriending a fellow social worker who he refers to as "fucking beautiful." he falls for this guy but there's a problem, vampires that invaded the town, much like the Wolves have in Calla.
They show up at a bar where Callahan's friend is drinking. One of the vampires ends up feeding on him. Callahan fends them off & kills them. During this time "Someone Save My Life Tonight" is playing. This song is the theme of the book, much like Velcro Fly by
ZZ Top which kept popping up in the last book, "The Wastelands." The phrase, someone Save My Life Tonight comes up almost as much as the number 19 does.
The climatic showdown with the Wolves, while short, is well planned and well executed.
King never ceased to amaze me with
The momentum and page turning rhythm of the story. There's plenty of material in each book & most of it is perfect engaging storytelling. I think the book excels when it sticks to the main characters: Roland, Eddie, Susannah & Jake. In Wizard and Glass I felt Roland's story was a bit too long even with the late great Frank Muller narrating.
It really stinks that Frank couldn't narrate the rest of the series and it just breaks my heart how he passed. I really like King's speech at the end where he talks about the effect Frank Muller had on his writing the rest of the series. Frank had a unique gift at creating a variety of distinct voices. Long days and pleasant nights in heaven Frank. You re-inspired my imagination. Thank ya, sai.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Great Courses

I've listened to some fantastic audio books lately! I've listened to one of
The Great Courses, the one on ancient myths. In this course the lecturer talks about major mythic figures from Gilgamesh, Achilles to even Davy Crocket! It's been interesting to learn about the stories in greater detail and the truths behind them. The truths are the lessons about life told through stories. Even true stories can be exagerrated and turned into myth.

Chapter 1 of The Ranger is about finished. I'm excited to share the first chapter of the awesome story. I like where it's leading . It's also got me excited about writing again, especially short stories.