Tuesday, October 13, 2015

My Audible review of The Talisman by Steven King/Peter Straub

For Jason's sake! That was epic!!

That was a well done quest book! Memorable characters and plausible scenarios make it great.

Frank Muller as always, gave a hilarious and perfect performance.

My only real gripe was that it was just a bit too long, other then that it was a more then satisfactory.

Jack and Wolf were a great team and I found myself really caring for both of them. 
It could be a suspenseful story and it had a lot of sub-plots and felt like there were many stories within the main one. I also think a big strength of this book is actually the simple save-his- mom plot. As much as it got off track at times, I never lost sight of the main quest and plot point which was always a breath of fresh air.

I appreciate the references in The Dark Tower to this and I'll have to reread where they talked about Jack Sawyer.

Also, the character Speedy reminded me a bit of Scatman Crothers ������

Sunday, December 28, 2014

The Ranger: Epilogue & Afterword


Weeks went by and The Ranger buried his old crewmen out of respect of their body's return to the land. He decided it was perhaps, time to move on from his tree haven and further explore the land he had come to call his new home.
He also wanted to honor the quest he originally accepted by King Adric. The Ranger took an oath. That oath was his word. His oath was his life and he would honor it. After the wreck he had to recover his mind, body and spirit. After this betrayal, would he ever be able to fully trust anyone again? Did he have sound judgment too? Was that his weakness? The Ranger contemplated these thoughts while looking over the deep blue sea. It met with the sky with almost no distinction. The waves rolled in over the green marine layer giving way to the white sandy beach.

* * *

He took the dead men's clothes and rags. He was also able to find a cloak in the storage of his ship.
He gandered once more the skeletal remains of his old vessel. Ah, the ship, although it had just made it to the island, he couldn't deem it fit for the sea. He did have it back though. It had come home.

* * *

After walking for some time, the jungle mysteriously transformed into a forest like it always had.
After some significant time deep into the mystic woods, he came upon some rich and meaty smells, he followed them and they eventually led him to a small town. Incredibly shocked and much to his surprise it was populated with all sorts of life; villager's and merchants!
Was this mysterious land part of a much bigger one? Not a lone island like originally surmised?
The Ranger pulled the hood of his cloak over his face. Were they friendly folk or a fearful lot? Only by entering the town and observing them would he know. Aside from finding his next clue about the King's daughter, what he was absolutely dying to know was, how was their ale?

* * *

On the beach, the mast of The Ranger's small rowboat still stuck up out of the dirt. The worn, wooden dragonhead grinned in defiance of it's destroyed body. The Ranger's people had believed these fantastic and dangerous creatures were gods which helped them sail fast and plunder great riches. A hooded giant figure approached the wood sculpture.
It outstretched its muscular green, scaly, forearm and placed its hand on it. A slight hiss could be heard.



What moved me to write such a fantastic tale of survival? Well, part of it was out of an urge to tell a realistic tale set in a sort of enchanted world. The Ranger is modeled out of two characters. One is out of my many days of gaming; the character was an ex-pirate who struggled to turn from his old ways and take on the more enlightened ways of The Ranger. I had created a whole backstory for him while playing D&D. The character had a preference for battle axes and wouldn’t take much guff from anybody.
Many years passed since those imaginative gaming days but the passion for role playing and that particular character never died. As I would drive back and forth to work, sometimes for hours on end, I would contemplate his adventures. What really was his story? He would be running through the woods in pursuit of someone or in a rush to save that someone in time. As I passed numerous forests on the road, my imagination wouldn’t leave me alone! The urge to tell an honest to goodness realistic fantasy story was bubbling though.
The second character that inspired me was The Man with No Name from Sergio Leone’s The Good The Bad and The Ugly. I had heard that fantasy films and stories are just westerns set during the middle ages. I found that idea fascinating! I thought, what if I sort of combined the spaghetti western with a fantasy world and a little bit of Rambo thrown in. The result is what you just read. There’s a definite tip of the hat to Sergio Leone, with some of the long pauses and looks between characters and also with The Ranger being the less then perfect anti-hero.
This story is meant to stand alone, but I intend to write at least two more. These stories will be part of a ongoing tale dealing with The Ranger and a mysterious beastly character. This monstrous character was heavily influenced and created my late friend Wayne Boyce.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Ranger - Chapter 9 - Wulfric

                             CHAPTER 9

The Ranger moved and twirled into the dense bushes and foliage.
"C'mon Captain! Where are you hiding now coward? Said Wulfric."Come out! Let's finish this!"
The Ranger shot out of the bushes to the left of Wulfric and sliced his left hand which held the hand axe. The Ranger then swooped down and picked it up, immediately parrying with his dagger. This blocked
Wulfric's blow from above but not the front kick to the chest. The Wulf dove on to The Ranger with his knife in both hands pressing it down about an inch from his face.
"I want that damn treasure Captain!" Said Wulfric somewhat muffled as he struggled for the kill.
"I hope it was worth dyin' for Wulfie," The Ranger replied in a 
mocking tone.
Completely covered in dirt, they rolled around several times. The Ranger was now on top of Wulfric holding his axe on above his head. Wulfric grabbed a small rock on the ground and smashed it against The Ranger’s left side of of his head. He saws brief stars and felt brief intense pain, the next thing he knew Wulfric was on top of him.
The Ranger's refined hearing senses, perfected by Leto, could hear the heavy footsteps plodding through leaves and bushes. The large, brown beast had returned. He spotted the grizzly in the corner of his eye. Wulfric rose up, gleaming knife in hand ready for his killing stroke. He held The Ranger's right arm down keeping his silver bladed beauty at bay. He instantly kneed Wulfric in the groin. He moaned and this loosened his grip on The Ranger's right forearm.
The Ranger extended his arm high above his head, parallel with the ground, tightened his grip and with full force, gritting his teeth, plunged the axe deep into the left side of Wulfric's neck and collar bone. Crimson blood sprayed everywhere including all over The Ranger's face and body. A huge droplet of blood landed on his eye patch, giving him a seemingly round red pupil against the black cloth.
The Ranger wasn't sure if it was an instant kill. Wulf rose to his feet howling as he backed up a few steps. The distractions in the fighting made The Ranger forget about his giant spiked trap directly behind the villain. Just one more step backwards and his opponent would fall through the leafed foliage thinly disguised as leafed ground.
As much pain as Wulfric was in, The back of his heel felt the emptiness of the pit. He smiled at the blood eyed man and once again raised his right arm in a sure killing stroke.
Wulfric wasn't even able to lower it as the giant brown beast flanked and tackled him from left. It’s immense strength and weight of the enraged grizzly bear fell upon him. Finally, it had a real dinner to dine on. It had patiently waited for the victor, whether it be Wulfric or The Ranger. Some small part of it hoped it would be the one with the longer hair, the other had fed it a good fish days earlier. The long haired man drove his knife deep into the bear's chest but to no avail. The bear scraped and scratched into his chest and belly. It bit deep into his already blood spattered neck, cracking and shaking it. Wulfric's limp body followed suit.
"Captain! Captain!" Wulfric maniacally screamed, “not like this!”
The Ranger ignored his plea for help. He could not do anything about it anyway. The starved beast
had already killed Wulfric several moments ago and his mind didn't fully comprehend it yet. He had also, made a deal.
It was a non-verbal agreement between hunters. The bear let The Ranger go, as long as he stayed out of his way
next time. He had lived up to that promise.
The Ranger almost felt sorry for Wulf as he walked away exhausted. Wulfric made his choice just like the others. He was even worse because he infected some decent crewmen with his sea madness. His thought about his ship, in tatters, it was sea worthy no more much to his disgust. As for his trusty silver axe? It would find its way back to him after the bear finished its meal. It always did.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Ranger: Chapter 8 - On The Beach

                             CHAPTER 8

The Ranger was carrying three large branches when he sensed a change in the wind, after that he heard sounds that could be interpreted as voices. "But all the way out here though?" The Ranger thought.
He instantly dropped the sticks where he was and ran to the coastline. As he made his way to the coastline his eyes widened in amazement. It was his ship! It was a ghost of its former self, weathered, holed and worn. It resembled a ghost ship, come to think of it, his ship had always looked kind of like that. Yep, it was definitely his ship. She had come back to him much like his trusty silver axe always had. The ship was part of him except for the hand-picked vermin that now infested it like a sick disease.
He overheard their voices and he hid behind a tree waiting for the right moment to reveal himself.
Wulfric, Edward and William came down the ropes over the bow of the deck.
"Alright, let's spread out a bit. He could be here, but let's not announce our presence." Said a cautious Wulfric.
A bit too late for that, The Ranger thought briefly.
"He could take us all out with one axe throw." Said William.
"Might even take less then that," The Ranger said. The three of them whipped their
heads around immediately.
The Ranger stood with his back to the tree line facing his treacherous foes.
"Well, it looks like you survived Captn'" Said Wulfric.
"Good observation" said The Eye-Patched Man, with his arms crossed in front of his chest, leaning
against a palm tree. "You're gonna wish I didn't."
The three men turned towards the voice with their hands holding their crossbows and daggers.
They stood facing him for what seemed like a lifetime. Each one waiting for the other to draw
their weapon. Who would be first?
William was the first to throw his dagger, Edward soon followed firing off an arrow from his crossbow.
The Ranger quickly bent backwards as the arrow zoomed past his chest by only a few hairs. He straightened up and
bashed the dagger out of the way with his axe.
He grinned, confident in his trained and honed reflexes. "My turn!" He quickly shouted then brought back his right hand then launched the silver blade forward. William ducked the spinning blade and it found it's bloody home in the chest of the man behind him. Fountains of blood spurted from his chest.
"Get him!" Wulfric shouted, pointing his short sword at The Ranger, their old captain.
The Mutton-Chopped Man sprang into the jungle-forest immediately jumping over the tall grass.
The remaining three chased after him. Edward stopped for an instant to ponder his actions, the jungle was immensely dense,then he ran through the tall grass.
All was going to The Ranger's plan.

* * *

The Ranger was already twenty yards away. He knew the jungle-forest very well after these many days. He yanked at his weighted camouflaged pulley lift and it hoisted him into the air, shooting him straight up as the giant stone next to it fell straight down. On the wooden platform where his make-shift long bow had been waiting for him, he grabbed it and knelt behind the brown branched railing. He thought for a moment, He could just let them get lost and let the jungle naturally take them, slowly devouring them with thirst and hunger. He could let them eventually kill and eat each other.
He decided against it, why let nature take away his fun of the kill? No, he would be merciful and play the part of death himself since He made the mistake of trusting them. He incorrectly misread their characters. He most now undo the mistake he allowed into this world, then he would give them back to the land. They would be Corrected and hopefully purified for the gods and land to re-use in a better way. She would use them to feed the animals and rejoin the soil.
His anger wouldn't allow it anyway, he needed to let his festering rage out of its cage. The whole process of picking them off would be a definite test of his skills, especially after being shipwrecked for many, many, days and weeks. After many days of boredom and solitude, this would be very fun for him. He was also curious to see if his man-sized snares would work.
Suddenly, he spotted William noisily brushing the thick grass and brush out of the way.
The Ranger then loaded an arrow onto the vine bow string. He then put the deadly bow and arrow down to just watch William slowly activate the stick trigger on the ground holding an green looped lasso.
He stomped on the trigger as he heard some rustling in the distance.
The loop tightened around William's ankle and hoisted the rest of his body about five feet in the air.
The Ranger descended from his rope vine and stealthily approached him weaving in and out of the dense vegetation until he finally faced his upside down ex-crew mate face to face.
"Why'd ya do it Willy?" The angry Ranger questioned.
"Captain look! Wulfric’s forcing me to kill ya. I didn't want to do it!"
The Ranger stood a foot away from him as he searched William's face for the truth in his words and found none, only panic grasping for any explanation that would do.
The Ranger's face tightened and he clenched his teeth as the dagger quickly slid across William’s neck. Blood sprayed onto his face. Willy seemed to speak as the crimson liquid rand down from his neck. He thought the traitor mouthed the words sorry, but he couldn't be sure, nor did he care. They were all way beyond sorry.
The Ranger sheathed his dagger."Too bad Willy, you were a decent row man."
He crouched and crept off to his next position.
Edward, in the meantime, had taken it upon himself to climb halfway up a tree. He brought his old telescope to scan for any traces of his former Captain. All he saw was green leaves and a few colorful birds perched on an odd branch. He didn't have time to sight see weird exotic birdies.
Frustrated and already tired, he descended the tree and spotted some shade and a place to rest.
A smooth rock seemed out of place among the grass away from the trees and gigantic rock wall. The wall itself seemed to move backwards, suddenly Edward saw a huge shadow grow over the ground as a huge rock fell off the top of the wall crushing Ed instantly.
The Ranger watched the whole action from a safe distance camouflaged in tree leaves around his head and shoulders. He stood up and looked at his mantrap in awe because he thought that out of all the traps this one would work the least. He approached Edward with his bow and arrow in hand.
Edward's torso was partially splayed out above the edge of the massive stone. Blood ran out of his mouth. The Ranger looked down at his eyes with a trace of remorse. Edward was instantly dead but to The Ranger Edward had always been the one to easily roped into bad situations like this. During his time on The Ranger's ship Wulfric and the others would always talk Ed into doing something for their own amusement. Whether that was a foolish school boy prank played on another crewman or a task that no one wanted to perform. Ed was the man to be suckered into doing in it. He feared that this was the reason Edward laid there bloody. Yes, part of him felt remorse for the trap could have killed the man that conned him into this doomed quest.
The Ranger shook his head, but wasn't Ed a man? Even naive men as slow as he, were able to make decisions. For those who weren’t quick, surely they can still think with their hearts? Hadn't Ed's heart warned him against this action? Was Ed so slow as to not listen to his heart? Perhaps yes, but in the end the Ranger had to reconcile that he picked him to be a crewman on his ship. It was his poor decision to take such a man upon their king blessed venture. The Ranger now felt guilt picking such a man for his crew. This all fueled The Ranger's anger even more towards Wulfric.

* * *

Wulfric chopped through the dense jungle. The green leaves seemed to grab at his arms. Still Wulfric hacked them off as he vigorously, with The Ranger's axe, left to right. Already, his axe was on his way back to him.
Wulfric swore at the effort it took to clear the jungle. His arms were like heavy weights pulling themselves down. Wulfric's anger alone allowed him to clear the final leaves. Finally, the jungle cleared and gave way to tree branches, grass and stones. The jungle had, to his amazement, transformed seemingly into a forest.
Wulfric used his heavy breath to scream for The Captain. He screamed out of exhaustion and frustration. The Ranger put him through. He didn't understand why the jungle had cleared into a forest clearing, but he was too angry to care. "Captainnn!!!!!!" Wulfric yelled into the air. His arms were wide, axe in hand. "Let's finish this!"
For several moments there was absolute silence, then the trees shook, branches snapped. He looked all around him not
knowing the direction he would come from. He heard light feet hit the ground behind him.
The Eye Patched Man tossed the rope vine behind him. It seemed to spiral but up into the trees, running home to a high branch. He and Wulfric locked eyes, their eyebrows smashed together in intense anger and concentration.

Monday, November 17, 2014

The Ranger: Chapter 7 - The Bear Returns

                             CHAPTER 7
                         THE BEAR RETURNS

He pulled the axe from the tree bark, the echo still ringing in his memory. Almost immediately afterward he heard a loud growl from the bear about forty trees south of him.
The Ranger had only hunted just enough for himself and hadn't been greedy. Leto had taught him the laws of the land, the laws of the forest. The same laws of the birds and the animals on the ground. Never take more then you need, whether that be firewood, shelter or food.
The large beast hadn't been exactly starving as of late but The Ranger had been a lot more successful with his diligent hard work. It seemed to him that the bear was jealous.
Could this be the answer?
He walked to the nearest tree which held his nearest weapons. His hand-axe was fastened in his vine belt.
He wanted something with a longer reach so it would reduce his chances of an injury.
The bear spotted The Ranger from a distance. He hadn't picked up his wooden missile yet.
The great brown moving mountain slowly approached him. At a few bushes distance it stopped and their eyes locked.
There was a long pause as they waited for each other to move.
The Ranger thought, to hell with it, it's now or never. The beast growled as The Ranger quickly picked up the spear and braced himself behind it. The grizzly bear stood on it's hind legs. The Ranger allowed it to show off as this towering mass growled with its lips sneering.
Let'em vent and get it off his chest but let'em know if he tries to take me down, he'll have a fight on his hands he The bear swiped at the pointed thick stick..
Anger stirred in The Ranger and he poked back(imagining if the bear had flanked him, it would be out of his front sight and
there would be no hope).
This enraged the great brown bear further as the its long white mouth daggers were unsheathed.
The Ranger didn't really want to kill it but if he was pushed enough he would no doubt would let The Bear be free of its frustrations.
       I'll let him get it off his chest, he thought, but I'll let'em know if he tries to take me down he'll have a fight on his hands.
The bear swiped at the pointed thick stick. Anger stirred in The Ranger and he poked back.
To the distant right, deep in the woods, The Ranger spotted a deer. His keen senses had been perfected during
his training with Leto. Always observe your surroundings even under heavy stress and distraction.
The Ranger strategically moved himself so he was between the deer and the bear.
The deer was perfectly still, ready to bolt at a moments notice.
The Ranger stabbed at the bear a few more times. It moved around his spear. He raised the axe from his belt
and raised it in the air. The deer quickly pranced off. The large brown beast spotted it out of the corners of it’s eyes and ran after it. The Ranger took some deep breaths. "I hope you get'em. For both our sakes" Said The Ranger. He picked up his spear and walked back to his tree hut.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Ranger: Chapter 6 - The Betrayal

                           THE BETRAYAL
It was a rocky, wavy night on The Captain's great wooden ship. The light inside the cabin was lit by only two candles among the five crewmen. At this time The Captain had been sleeping in his quarters.
The men spoke in whispers. Wulfric, The Captain's right hand man led the discussion.
"He's holding our on us!" Wulfric said, trying hard not to raise his voice. He's gonna take the treasure for himself and when he's done with our little adventure he'll dump us, giving us only a few gold pieces."
"How do ya know? He's holding out on us? He's been right about everything so far..." replied William.
"I'll be damned if I just get a few coins after this. Bullocks!”
Edward punctuated after propping himself off the wall.
Wulfric re-established his argument, “He was a pirate, he sailed with
The Frederic’s, we can't trust him in matters of gold and payment. He also intends to take the king's daughter for his own. Maybe make her his wife." Said Wulfric.
"Heh, I would too!" Replied Edward. “The king's daughter is fair indeed!”
William shot Edward a slight scowl."The king hired him, he trusted him." Said Edward.
"The king's a fool. He hired him because he knows the seas in this part of the world, from his days as a pirate." Said Wulfric. "He also hired him because he used to be a thug."
"He knew he was a Ranger though," William countered.
"A sneaky thug," Wulfric re-countered. "I say we take the ship now while
we're very close to our treasure."

                                * * *

The winds picked up severely at the ending of Wulfric's plan.
The boat rocked and rocked as thunder and lightning rumbled and flashed over the dark wavy sea.
The Captain suddenly woke from his slumber and was impressed to find his men at their positions trying to manage
control of the boat under the violent dark storm. Wulfric moved the steering wheel left to right.
"Wulf, give me the wheel," said The Captain starting to approach Wulfric. He slowly turned around and looked
at him from across the deck. "...no..." replied Wulfic, smiling.
The Captain could feel the vibe shift against him. He looked at their faces. The men stared back. The Captain put his hand besides his dagger which resided on his hip. "Fellas, you picked a hell of a night for a mutiny..."
The Captain then fought his way through the flying fists, on his wobbly ship, making his way to the captain's
quarters. He head-butted a crew member and kicked another one in the gut.
At this point the whole ship was fighting with itself during the wild storm. A couple men were
thrown overboard as the boat swayed up and down. The Captain dodged a dagger as it sunk into
the rim of the wooden doorway. He didn't even have time to realize the proximity of the projectile. He quickly
spotted his silver hand axe on the wall, it seemed to call out to him. He immediately grabbed it. The
ship shifted up and dropped him backwards. He knocked his head hard against the cabin wall almost blacking out.
He was incredibly dizzy as he slowly got to his feet. Only five of the crewmen were left now.
The Captain witnessed the steering wheel spinning, in front of it Wulfric stood facing The Captain. They shot hard stares at each other from across the deck. The Wulf stood with his dagger ready and The Captain stood with his axe in his right hand.
They stared at each other for what seemed several minutes but in reality was only a few grains of
sand, falling down the bottom of an hourglass. Suddenly, the wind knocked the whole crew to their feet.
The Captain was knocked to the side of the boat. This time he blacked out quickly once or twice amid the
chaos. He had to find the strength to get to his feet. His arms pulled his body up by the railing and looked down at the small row boat on the side of the mother ship. It was securely held in place by a few ropes.
The large boat rocked and swayed as one of the crewmen grabbed The Captain, but the momentum of the boat's swaying threw both of them overboard. The Captain fell and hooked his axe onto the ledge
of the ship which held the small one-person vessel.
One crewman splashed into the dark turbulent sea below.
He hooked his right arm around the ledge of the small boat. He used the rest of his limited strength to hook his right leg onto the ledge, then the rest of his body.
He couldn't rest yet though, the cold water at the bottom of the vessel kept him from taking possibly his last nap. He managed to pry his axe from the wooden ledge.
Would he ride out the storm, hiding in the attached boat and then make his stealthy return to the top? Taking bloody revenge on the crew that betrayed him?
Would he reclaim his ship and mission? Or would he brave the seas alone? A wanderer on the open sea, therefore cutting his losses.
As he pondered this he quickly thought of his mentor's advice on revenge.
Although revenge had been a common attitude and way of life among his fellow pirates, Leto had taught him a new way, a better way.
"To revenge is easy but to forgive is hard and forgiving oneself even harder! However,this forgiveness benefits yourself for the greater good. To give back to the greater good is to give back to the forests, the trees and the entire world.” These were Leto's words which he must now live by, The Ranger’s code. His decision was made. The boat was probably doomed anyway.
She had taken on too much water.
He decided to cut the rope in the rear of the rocking row boat.
This meant he had to time the rocking perfectly with the release of the front rope that held it in place.
He waited and on the upswing he snapped the front rope with the sharp weapon,then on the second downswing he forcefully jerked the boat halfway off the main vessel’s platform, careful not to go
all the way and immediately capsize. One the next downswing he jerked again successfully shoving the boat onto the top of the violent waves. He had done it! The rowboat had separated itself from the
The Captain put his head down for a moments rest. However, as soon as he did a crewman, burst out of the water with a dagger in his mouth. His hand was on the railing of the one man rowboat. His face showed
that he had no intention of sharing the ride.
The last of The Captain's adrenaline gave its final burst as his deadly hand axe descended onto the man's hand, causing blood to squirt out in all directions. Echo's of the yell could still be heard in
The Ranger's head.

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.