Ignis Hirundus, more commonly known as the “Fire Swallower”, is a type of flower found on the island of Kebakaran. As its name suggests, this unique plant absorbs fire and lava to grow. First starting out as a large pod, it needs copious amounts of fire and lava to emerge from its shell. Once it does, it blooms into a flower with white petals that have red flame-like edgings. It is quite common for dwellers of Kebakaran to place these unique flora on the outside of their fields; protecting their crops and homes from a potential disaster. The long stigmas that stick out glow brightly in the night; giving the onlooker a sight to behold. This plant can grow as large as a house and has a unique defense mechanism. Merely touching this plant will burn the individual. Pursuing further will cause the flower to spit up fire or, in extreme cases, lava. If you see this flower out in the wild, it is best not to touch.
More commonly known as the Mind Controller mushroom, this bright blue glowing fungus grows naturally in the land of Floresta in the region known as Bosque. Creatures foolish enough to try and harm this fungus will find their minds going hazy. By approaching the mushroom with any kind of intent to harm it, the blue fungus will release a cloud of spores. When inhaled, it is able to control the minds of its victims. Usually, the attacker is ordered to march blindly in one direction until the effects wear off. On occasion, the mushroom will cause the subject to attack itself or even in extreme cases, kill itself. It is interesting to note that if given the right nutrients and environment, this unique fungus will form an attachment with another creature.
The other day I stopped for a moment and thought about why I am pursuing this path. Why go for a dream where the odds are against me? Shouldn’t I choose the safer and more assured course? The answer is… it has always been a part of me. For a while, I had pursued to become a teacher. As I went through this process, I ended up taking a course called something like Mythical Interpretation. At the time, I was taking six different classes and working. Some point among my busy schedule, I had forgotten to do an assignment. It was to make our own myths based off of classic fairy tales such as Sleeping Beauty. In a rush, a slung together a story and turned in the project. Two days later she kept me after class. Straight out, she said that this was not my best work and that I could do better. Giving me an extra week, I spent it in a creative fever; connecting to a part of me I thought I had thrown away. The time came as I presented my much better work to her. A smile fell on her face as she asked if she could keep it to show to her future classes and asked if I ever thought of becoming a writer. At the time, I kind of laughed it off; my anxiety over taking my desire. Years later I found myself back into creative fevers as I found myself again.
The main reason why I write is to feel like myself; every fiber of my being feels electrified as words form stories. This sentiment I have never quite felt before and it calls me to follow the path less taken. I want to hear people enjoy my stories and share with the friends in the adventure; to hear them say who their favorite character is or what kind of creature they would want to be in the world of Magitotum. Get stopped by someone who has read it and asked questions about how the story was formed and why I chose to write it in that way. Free up my schedule to write for the rest of my days while traveling on book tours to new place I though I would never see. That is the life for me. All the while sharing it with my beloved and my family. Have them enjoy being a part of that life with me. Honestly, part of what ever money I would happen to earn would be going towards my wedding, making me even more motivated to find that right agent and then publisher. So, my purpose? To be a great story teller, a fantastic husband, a dependable friend, a strong son, a bodacious brother, a helpful grandson, and to be the greatest version of myself for not only myself, but for those around me.
Man does it hurt when one hits the wall. At first, confusion is what hits the brain. Slowly, it begins to realize that your path has been blocked. What do you do? Plan a whole new direction? A sensible choice by all means, but that would take longer and change the path you already carved. Turn around and give up? Never. It means one did not have any convictions to stand on in the first place. My answer will always be to break through it. Barriers are put in place to make us stronger; to really commit to our dreams.
Recently, I have had several family members be in and out of the hospital. My thoughts became absorbed on these factors; understandable on all accounts and is something all of you have faced in your own lives. However, I still apologize for neglecting to post the last couple of weeks. There is some good news from my absence. I have found an new drive to write queries letters like no tomorrow along with some ideas of increasing my chances. Hopefully this will yield the results I have been yearning for and an agent will come my way. I will be reporting in soon with another story or some news; which ever comes first.
In truth, I was not expecting to be taking another trip to New York City so soon, but I was given tickets to see Lion King on Broadway by my father which I could not pass up. Along with some other expenses being paid for such as some spending money and gas; the latter which my brother paid for, the trip was relatively inexpensive. The first day heading down we survived the traffic and craziness of getting into New York City. This time around we stayed on the Upper West Side near Harlem. Different from Midtown in two very distinct ways. One, traffic was not bad in the least. Honestly, it was much like Manchester in New Hampshire; still city traffic but without the intensity of a river full of rushing salmon. Another difference was this time around I heard a lot of English instead of a mix of foreign languages. I must say it was very interesting to see that different parts of New York City have different traits and characteristics. Any who, back to the journey as we found ourselves at the hotel, the Marrakech. A nice and cozy hotel with interior inspired by North African designs, it offers a fair prices for a room to stay for the oncoming nights. We did not have much time to explore for we had an escape room to rush to. With minutes to spare, we arrived at Hoodwinked and found that we would be the only two doing the room. Perfect considering how well my fiancee and I work together. The name of the room was called the Spirit of Harlem where our late uncle had left us a fortune to find. So many puzzles of varying cleverness left us with laughs, face palms, and admiration while we cleared the room with ten minutes to spare. It wish not to reveal any of said clever puzzles, but I will say that I had seen some riddles there that I had not seen elsewhere. After our narrow escape, we headed to something I was looking forward to, a jazz club. Now you must understand that I do not know New York very well and at first I did not realize where this club was establish. It was not until we had gone inside of Minton’s Playhouse that it hit me that we were going to listen to jazz in Harlem. For those of you unfamiliar with the significance, jazz was born in this region. Mark that off my bucket list as we enjoyed the band playing and the fine food in front of us. I enjoyed a New York Steak with garlic mashed that was absolutely delicious. French fries were ordered to partake in as the band played and I spoiled myself by getting a brownie ala mode. At one point in the evening, I looked over to my fiancee who, like myself, was asked by the club to wear something nice for the evening. I do not think I could accurately describe how beautiful she looked to me that night with the candle light flickering next to us. After enjoying the creative, bouncy, and smooth sounds of the bands last set, we headed back to our hotel for a nice long rest.
A quick nights sleep led to the next day as our stomachs rumbled. Guess we knew what we were doing first that morning. The previous night, my fiancee had seen a bagel place called Broadway Bagel that she wanted to try. What a great choice. A little crunchy on the outside while fluffy on the inside, so divine. With our stomachs satisfied, we began our journey to the American Museum of Natural History. So many floors of knowledge that we barely were able to complete. I found it quite interesting to learn of other people’s cultures from around the world. Of course the dinosaurs on the top floor were really cool as well. Once we were done taking our mini trip around history, we decided to head to the highlight of our trip. But before getting to that, our stomachs once again needed our attention. We took a quick stop at a place called Angelo’s pizza, not really knowing what the place. Oh my were we surprised. It just so happened they did brick oven pizza that is so well done we mowed through a whole pizza in five minutes. It was absolutely delightful with a sweet marina made in house and stringy mozzarella cheese. The crust was perfectly crisped that complimented the rest of the ingredients. It was soon time for the show as we took our seats in the theater. Without spoiling anything I will simply say it was amazing. From blending classic African music styles to pop culture jokes and references, it was truly a most enjoyable show. My favorite part by far was when Rafiki sings “He Lives in You”. Such a mystical and touching moment as the theater is filled with lights, voices, and feeling as every word is song with such purpose. Truly, it was one of those moments I shall never forget. After the wonderful performance, we headed back to the hotel on the subway. I commend New York on having one of the smoothest subway systems I have ever traveled. It was easy to pay, hop on, hop off, and come out right next to our hotel.
Alas, the last day came and we had only time to grab food before leaving this land of NYC. Pretty good diner food at a place called Broadway Diner that was a pleasant start to our day. The ride home was smooth, until we hit Connecticut where two lanes tried to merge to one. Narrowly avoided a multi-car accident as two lanes turned to one. After that we arrived home just fine with our memories firmly set in our minds. Trips to see the Big Apple again are already in motion. We want to explore multiple parts of the city, but every time seeing a show on Broadway. For now, I hope you enjoyed my telling of my adventure and the rest of what you might find on my site.
In the kingdom of Berne, it came to past that the only daughter of the noble King Iomair came of age to claim her birthright. Preparations were made while the father and his daughter, who had locks of gold, met in secret to discuss the trials that lay ahead of her.
“This trial will not be easy my child.” Stated the king cautiously. “Not even I can know the details of the perils that await you. It is decided by the people who have placed their trust for you to rule as their future queen. In this way, you will have an unwavering faith from those you have sworn to protect. That does not mean that they will go easy on you. I have been told that they even enlisted the help of some of our high priests to ensure that you are thoroughly tested. Take heart my dear Goldilocks and know that I support you from afar.”
“I will my father and I will make you proud. There is nothing that will deter me from achieving that which I have trained for all my life. No more words for now, let me go forth to prove my worth to the people that will follow me.” Eagerly responded Goldilocks.
The man moved to the side as he followed his confident daughter out the door, feeling nothing but pride. They were met with cheers as the royal duo paraded down the streets to a great maze. The two looked at wonder at the greenery that stood before them. Not even the night before did this stand where it grew now. It was clear to the royalty that the people wanted to ensure their future.
As they stood flabbergasted, a priestess dressed in a white dress approached them. Upon her head she wore a ring of flowers and a golden belt carved with knots that sat around her waist. Across her skin were painted marks that faintly glowed.
She addressed them, “Hail King Iomair and his daughter Princess Goldilocks. I sincerely hope that you succeed today your highness. Allow me to explain the rules of this trial. You can bring within the maze a sword, shield, flint, hammer, wrappings, and a pot. There are three trials you must overcome before seeing the end. Only then will you be allowed to exit the maze, otherwise the vines will keep you closed in. Here are you supplies, now venture forth and may you find victory!”
Goldilocks nodded before raising her fist to her people. A cry of support came from them as they watched their princess cross the threshold and into her trial. As the priestess said, the vines closed the entrance behind her while the warrior shrugged at the mist that creeped and darkened her view. She feared not what lie ahead of her. Carefully, she followed the winding ways until coming to a clearing. To her surprise, she found stuck on top of a high tower a full size adult bear. It growled and snarled at the intruder but had no means to reach her. Vainly, it pawed at her from the edge of its platform before reeling back in fear of falling from such a height. The princess smirked at the ferocious creature before passing the tower. She only stopped when she heard a whining coming from behind her. Hopelessness was beset in the creature’s eyes as she felt a pang of pity hit her heart. Looking around, she found rubbles of wood and nails scattered about. One nail after another she constructed a great staircase to reach the beast. At first, the princess put her shield up and sword pointed at the bear. She was certain the creature would attack her at first sight, but she was soon surprised as the bruin walked gently towards her and nuzzled into her neck. Patting the great animal on the head she continued her journey, followed closely by the male bear.
Together the duo moved ever down past what seemed like miles of vine until again they came to a clearing. This time their lay in the middle of the plain a female bear. It slowly began to arise only to fall in a faint. A growl emanated from the creature but not from its mouth. The poor bear had been starved to the point of exhaustion. In her mind, the princess ridiculed the treatment her people had given the creatures as she pulled out her pot. Growing close by were stalks of wheat of which Goldilocks broke down to grains. Next, she went to a nearby pool of water and filled the pot. A mixture began to brew as she threw the grain in with the boiling water and spurtled the meal. To finish, she picked from her armor bits of sea salt that had fallen off the salted pork she had eaten earlier in the day. Once the food was ready, she placed the pot in front of the great female. With what seemed like gratitude, the bear gobbled down the meal spilling it everywhere. It was only mere moments before it got back on its feet and cuddled into the male bear. A sweet sight even for the abrasive princess. The creature duo began crying out into the open ear and then listened. Curious, Goldilocks listened too as she could hear a faint cry. It seemed the bear couple had heard it too for they barreled through the walls of the maze. Closely following behind, the warrior could hardly keep up. Finally, the two in front of her stopped and gave a sad sound. There in a bed was a cub with two of its legs broken by human hands. The parents watched over snuggled into their cub as they tried to comfort their offspring. An anger whirled inside the warrior, someone was going to pay for this when the trial had ended. Grabbing the bandages and ripping two legs from the bed, she made a support cast for the young creature. It seemed to help as it stumbled onto its feet and leaned on its parents. The warrior smiled seeing the three together as she continued onward, followed closely by her three new friends.
Only an oak tree lay in front of the groups escape toward beams of light. They made their way toward the exit before the land began to shake. The tree came to life as it swatted its limbs at the intruders. Fearing for the cub, the warrior caused her new friends to retreat behind a nearby wall of the maze. Over and over in her head she tried to think of a way to get around the creature but could not find an option. At last she cried to the gods to help her against this new foe. Her prayer was answered as a beam of light shone in front of her. The bears bowed at her coming as the goddess Artio stood before them. Quickly, the princess followed suit but was brought to her feet by the deity.
“Arise my child. You have not faltered yet in this trial; so why should you start now? I have chosen you to teach a lesson to the mortals of this realm to respect nature; something they sorely lack. This I know you can achieve for you are my daughter through the King Iomair, who kept it secret to protect you from harm and prodigious. With these, you will not only be able to communicate with these great creatures, but instantly heal any of their injuries. These are called the Wheat of Leigheas and any leftover you will be able to grow more of, but only by your own hands. Now go, claim your birthright so that you may impart my will against these mortals.”
Quickly, the warrior gave some wheat to each of the bears as each was strengthened and healed of any affliction. The adult male talked for the three as he looked toward the princess.
“My thanks from myself and my family for helping us in our time of need. Those vile humans know not of natures true intention; only how to warp it for their own plans. For now, let us focus at the task at hand. Our bite can easily break that tree to bits if we do so in the correct locations.”
Goldilocks thought for a moment before answering, “If we take out its roots it will have no life to continue upon. Follow my lead and we will attain freedom only together.”
The creatures nodded as the princess led them into the fray. Limbs and branches swatted at the group as they ducked the onslaught. One such swing almost took out the warrior if it were not for the youngest bear breaking the limb in two. Goldilocks used this to jump up from its back and strike the tree at its core. Of course, the creature seemed almost unfazed until it came toppling down from the two parents that had torn off the roots from the trunk. The battle being won, the new friends set forth towards the exit. A rain of cheers came from the crowd before it came to terrified screams. No one had expected her to return with those beasts, they wanted her to let them die.
Loudly, Goldilocks screamed, “Who is responsible for this?! Who dare disrespects these magnificent creatures?! Speak now and I may just spare you.”
No one dared to utter even a whisper. It was only broken when shocked murmurs spread once they heard bear noises erupt from their own princess. The murmurs turned to screams as thirteen men were dragged to the stage by the great bears. With a single slash of her blade, Goldilocks beheaded the disgraceful men. Then she looked toward the crowd and shouted.
“Let them be an example of what happens when one decides to disrespect nature itself. Under my rule we will attain peace with the land around us, healing it from the wounds we have inflicted upon it. For I, Goldilocks, Daughter of King Iomair and the goddess Artio, will not stand for anything less. Go now and release any wild animals you chose to tease in your homes and help saplings grow to mighty trees.”
Both scared and admired at the strength of their new queen, the villagers did as they were told. Next the warrior turned onto the priestess who stopped her with her words.
“Hold great queen. I am not your enemy in this cause, for I too serve the gods, more specifically the god Gwydion. You see, it was I that set the final obstacle, unbeknownst to the villagers that now lay dead at your feet. My lord wanted me to test you to see if you could live up to the name of your mother, the great goddess Artio. This you have succeeded and more for you could have only gotten past the mighty oak with the help of all three. I look forward to seeing how you transform this kingdom.”
With that the priestess of the trickster god vanished in a puff of mist, cackling before fading away. King Iomair was delighted at his daughter’s success and bestowed upon her his crown. The next few years were a form of transition as the human town soon grew side by side with nature. Bears were not uncommon to see walking beside the citizens and helping them with their day to day activities. All the while Goldilocks remained upon the thrown knowing that some day that her and the alliance of the bears, would be put to the test.
A new year has begun as the world moves ever forward; to what is the question and the concern for most. Every year we hope for the best as we set for ourselves goals, or most call them New Year’s resolutions. Sure it is easy to say what we would like to change in the coming year, but the trick is to stick with it. Never backing down from the challenge of how it interrupts our normal habits. So I say to you, engrave it in your mind. Make yourself even better than who you are now, but do not let it discourage you if it is not achieved. Change is not easy for us as humans; after all we are creatures of habit. With that said, I wish you all a happy new year and a belated happy holidays.
As for myself, my new years resolution is to finish two different writing projects and get an agent. The first being the second book of my Scales series, Shimmer of Scales. The first leg of the journey in this one is proving to be the longest and most thought consuming part of the whole book. Although, the most complicated parts to write end up being the greatest parts in the story. After that, I am assuming the rest of the book will flow easy. Then again, my characters do have a mind of their own and shape the tale to their own path. Second project to be completed would be a collection of short stories. Including such fairy tale classics of Sleeping Beauty and Little Red Riding Hood told in a hero’s epic journey. You may have seen a few snippets of such stories on my site under the samples category. The agent part of this resolution will be the difficult part. I am not very good at selling myself as a person; proving to be a thorn when writing cover letters and apply for jobs as well. Slowly, I am learning on how to show myself and skill within a one page letter and will get that agent this year.
Finally, I wanted to talk about my holiday with you all. Many Christmas parties came to be as I bent my work schedule to fit them all. It may just have made me a zombie during work, but it was well worth it. Christmas day I spent the morning with my family opening presents that we bought each other before going to town on playing games. So many were given this holiday as we spent time trying them all. These included but were not limited to Villainous, Crib Wars, You Are A Liar, Utter Nonsense, and so many more that we have not even gotten to. Utter Nonsense ended up hilarious as I heard for the first time and hopefully not the last, my Pepere rap. I laughed so hard at how creative he made it. Another funny one was You Are A Liar. For some reason my family seemed to think that I would always lie. Although they were correct half the time, it still proved to be a fun time. I think my favorite out of all the games given was Villainous. This was a gift I gave my fiancee since we are both Disney lovers. After two hours of figuring the game out and coming up with strategies, we were really enjoying it. Since then we both have played every character and now striving to win as every one of them. So far, it is tied at three wins each. We eagerly await the expansion packs that are said to come out after voting is complete.
Happy Holidays to all. May you find happiness and warmth around you from those you love and hold dear. Cherish them as the new year begins and continue to form new bonds to tie this broken world together.