It’s That Time Again….

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Well, Christmas is in the air. I’ve got the chills when I’m in bed, even covered up in all the layers, and there’s Christmas music playing through the house. It’s definitely obvious when your band director gives you Christmas music to practice.

My family has had many a Christmas tradition, and I think my favorite one is the yearly Candy Cake “Bark.” We line up on the floor, each with a bag of peppermints or candy canes and a hammer, and bark Christmas carols while crushing the mints. It’s been fun, and when we’re done we clean up while mom puts together the actual candy. It’s delicious 🙂

Speaking of Christmas, the real reason I decided to post this is because one of the most recurring songs is the Christmas Can-Can, by Straight No Chaser. It’s a really funny song by an awesome a Capella group. I recommend listening to it if you get the chance.

Merry (early) Christmas!

-Zeph

DarkHelmet

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Well, another server review here. DarkHelmet MC, or DHMC, is a Towny server with a bunch of awesome and custom plugins written by the owner, Viveleroi. Okay, now for the “official” review.

DHMC is a long time running (2+ years) minecraft server with Towny, ranks, and a lot of custom plugins written by the owner and admins/mods. The staff is really helpful, and they’ll answer anything you can ask them. The players will do so if they can. While the server has 500 slots, there are never more than 50 players on at one time. It makes it a great place for you to go if you want a small, tight knitted community.

Ranks… You start off as a “New” player. Grey title, minimal permissions, and only your wits and a rule book. You can ask to join a town, go out to the wild and start your own house (to be turned into a town at a later rank) or just explore spawn. Then comes Trusted (Trust title) where you get some more permissions, can make a residence (non-town protection), and do a few other things. Respected (Resp title) gives you /fly, auction permissions, and much more. Legendary (Lgnd title) gives you more permissions, and some other stuff. I don’t know all the details, but those are the ranks you can earn without donations. more info at http://www.dhmc.us 🙂

Overall, the server is awesome and well worth checking out. I’ve been on it for a little over a year, and I’ve loved it. They’re rather strict about griefing and that sort of thing, so don’t try it. Again, the website has more info than I can give here. It’s almost too much to take in all at once. Enjoy! And send me a message if you see me 🙂

-Zeph

The Riders, #6

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Wow, it’s been a while. Between lack of inspiration, real life problems, and Clash of Clans, I’ve been away from the writing for far too long. So, let me make it up to you with an extra long portion of the Riders, and a finish to what I consider to be Chapter 1 🙂 Much is revealed… and hidden. And boy, did this take a lot of planning. And a lot longer than I thought.

    Days turned to weeks, and weeks turned to months as the young dragon grew and grew. Soon he began to communicate with Ismira with actual words, his vocabulary expanding each day. He eventually started flying around, and showed off to Ismira as often as he could. You know, I need to give you a name… He mentally nodded to her, already thinking, secretly, of one himself. Ismira guessed a few, then felt something from him she hadn’t before: Amusement. She smiled to herself, then said, I think you already know what your name is, don’t you? The dragon sent her a mental nod. I do. Would you like to know? Ismira stamped her foot. Of course I do! The dragon chucked to himself. I’ll give you a hint. It’s Palodan. Ismira stopped stamping her foot and stared at her dragon. “Palodan…” she said, trying out the name. “It fits you. Regal purple and ready to save the world.” Palodan gave a small growl, which Ismira interpreted as a purr of affection.

    A few days later, Ismira got called to her parent’s room early in the morning. She rubbed the sleep from her eyes as her father explained why she had to go, but refrained from telling her where. When he finished, Roran turned to Katrina, who handed their daughter a pack they had finished filling the night before. “But where am I going? And how will I get there?” Kartina put her hand on Ismira’s shoulder. “You’ll be going to your uncle’s with Orik. He’s the dwarf king, and he needs to go talk to Uncle Eragon. You’ll be safe with him.” Ismira nodded, frightened a little by the prospect of travelling outside Alagaesia, even to see her uncle.

    Towards noon, Albriech came into the village, bringing news of the dwarves’ arrival. Ismira clung to her mother’s skirt, waiting in apprehension as Palodan circled the village, practicing his flying as he waited. A few minutes later, Orik and his band of dwarves – Roran counted no less than 6 in the vanguard – strode into the village. Roran chucked privately as he noted that Ismira seemed no more afraid of these dwarves than she did of her mother. That is, not at all. She’d find out differently later, he mused. He moved forward to greet the dwarves, and motioned for Ismira to come with him. She shuffled forward, intrigued but acting shy, and took her father’s hand. Palodan landed next to Ismira, showing off his still-growing body. His shoulder was level with Ismira’s head, and his wingspan was impressive as well. At the sight of Palodan, all present, except Roran, Ismira and Orik, backed up a few steps. Roran chuckled, and extended a hand to Orik, who then shook it and then looked to Ismira. “You’re a small one for a Rider. Guess I’ve got my work cut out for me, though.” Roran raised an eyebrow at the dwarf. “You’ll find Ismira’s more of a handful than you think, Orik. But don’t let that stop you. She’ll get along fine.” Orik nodded, and motioned his guards forward. “We’ll leave first thing in the morning. Let you all say your goodbyes. And, dragon, it’s been nice to meet you.” Palodan rumbled low in his throat, and Ismira relayed his thanks.
    
    When the dwarves departed, for the inn, Roran turned to his daughter. “Ismira, you know what you’ll be doing, correct?” Ismira nodded, and clambered up Palodan’s back. Roran remembered something, and told Ismira to wait there. He ran into his house and searched under his bed for the single gift Eragon had sent in case this happened. He returned to Ismira and Palodan with Eragon’s first saddle. Strapping it on as he had seen Eragon do not too long ago, he gave one final gift to his daughter. “I’m going to miss you. Travel well.” Ismira nodded, and Palodan took to the air, giving Ismira her first flight. He circled for a moment then went off towards the rendesvous point to wait for the dwarves.

******

The Shade settled into the darkness of Du Weldenvarden, waiting for a victim. His heightened senses detected someone coming through the darkness. Silently, he stalked his prey. Spyro heard a simple crack in the silence, and immediately knew something or someone was following him. He vaulted into the trees, and searched the ground for the intruder. As soon as he saw the blazing red hair, three thoughts occured to him. First, what was a Shade doing in the forest? Second, a suspicion as to who the Shade was grew stronger. Finally, unbidden, Spyro considered the posibility of enlisting the Shade’s help to aid his ambitions. Spyo dropped back to the ground, landing lightly on his feet, with no sound, and tapped the Shade’s shoulder, weapon at the ready. The Shade whirled around to see an elf with a sword to his heart. Spyro pushed the weapon closer, and the Shade squirmed. “You look familiar. I know I was only very young when I heard the stories, but I have to be sure.” The Shade nodded, and spoke. His voice, Spyro noted, was like honey, and hard to ignore. “Yes. We are Durza, and we have returned.”

 

All Names, locations and characters (with the exception of those outside Alagaesia and Ismira’s dragon) (c) Christopher Paolini

The Riders, #5

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Well, well. Look’s like Carvahall’s got another rider sprung from it. For now, it’s just slow going, but wait till I get warmed up 🙂

Part 5, for your enjoyment.

 

    Ismira stroked her new friend as her mother and father conferred in the other room. She still felt strange, and a silvery mark had developed on her palm where she had touched the dragon. Tentatively, she shut her eyes and ventured out into the unknown land that lay before here, deep inside her mind. A presense pushed it’s way in, sending emotions of ravenous hunger. Unbidden, one of Uncle Eragon’s tales came to mind, of the first time he had made contact with his dragon. Retreating to her own mind, she opened her eyes and left her dragon where it lay, and went towards the door her parents had shut to conferr behind.
    She knocked on the door, and the talking behind it ceased. “Yes, honey?” Katrina asked. Ismira looked at her mother closely. Her eyes were red, and Roran was in the corner, a jug of something in his hand. “I think my dragon is hungry. Do we have anything to feed it with?” Roran set the bottle down on the little table. “Let’s take it over to Horst’s. I bet he has some meat for it.” Ismira nodded, then ran out of the room to get her dragon.
    The little purple dragon clambered eagerly onto her shoulders when Ismira extended her arm. She giggled again and headed out to her parents. The nudge of hunger, from the dragon, she assumed, returned, and she chided it softly. “We’re going to get food, friend. Just wait.” Gradually, the nudges slowed and then ceased all together, but Ismira could tell it was still hungry. They arrived at Horst’s home, which doubled as the butcher’s shop and the blacksmith. “Hello, Horst,” Ismira said, showing off her dragon.
    Horst smiled at her, then looked to her parents. “The dragon’s hungry, apparently. Just a little meat, till we see how hungry it really is.” Horst nodded and cut down a slab of meat from the rack, slicing it into little pieces. “Here, Ismira. Hold the meat.” Ismira accepted the food from Horst, then looked at the dragon, who was eyeing the meat in Ismira’s hand like it was a feast. Ismira gave him a nudge with her mind, surprising herself and the dragon, and it snapped up a couple pieces of the meat. Chewing contentedly, it continued to eat as Ismira giggled and her parents talked with Horst about a regular feeding schedule.

Characters, names, and locations (except Ismira’s dragon and locations outside Alagaesia) (c) Christopher Paolini

The Riders, #4

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Here comes the fun stuff! Boy, do I have an adventure planned. I can’t wait to get it all out on the “paper” (my computer), but I’ll have to. Now, longer parts will be more common, just for the sake of my own sanity and willingness to get it out to you guys (and girls).

 

Roran ran his hand through his beard. “Why us? Aren’t there more human establishments you could bring it first?” Katrina stood by his side, holding Ismira’s hand. The man shook his head. “It’s been through every part of Alagaesia except yours. Can we line everyone up to touch it?” Roran sighed, then motioned to the inn behind them. “It’ll take a while. Make yourselves at home.” The men nodded in creepy unision and entered the inn. Roran relaxed his stance a little and hugged his wife and daughter. “I’d better go warn everyone. Go inside, I’ll call you when we’re ready.”

Ismira sat on her mother’s lap, looking up into her eyes. “Mommy, what were those guys here for?” Katrina smiled and combed Ismira’s hair back. “Uncle Eragon wants another Dragon Rider, to help him. Those men have an egg for us to touch and see who it’s going to be.” Ismira’s eyes lit up. “Maybe it’ll be you or daddy!” Katrina laughed. “Not likely. We’re a little old to be starting out as Riders. Still, we’ll be trying.” She smiled at her daughter, who was bouncing around the room, waiting for her father to come and get them. Roran popped his head in a few minutes later and said, “Alright, we’re ready. Let’s go.”

Ismira held her father’s hand as the men held the egg out before each person in the line. She watched as Baldur,  Albriech, Horst and the rest of Carvahall and Palancar valley touched the egg for a few seconds, then retreated, disappointed. Eventually, the egg came to Katrina and Roran. Ismira had to stand on tiptoes to see the egg, which was a deep purple in color. She marveled at it for a moment while her parents touched the egg. Then it was her turn. She reached up and touched the egg, marvelling at the color, when it rocked under her hand. The silence from the entire line was noticable as cracks appeared in the shining surface of the stone. Katrina gasped as a tiny purple dragon poked its head out of the egg.

Ismira was fascinated by the dragon. “Mommy, can I pet it?” Katrina nodded, her face pale as the sand. Ismira put her hand to the dragon’s head, and felt an icy pain shoot through her body, paralyzing her. Inside her head, something changed as barriers lifted from her mind. Finally, the pain lifted and a collective breath was released as Ismira continued petting the dragon as if nothing happened. Yawning, it crawled up her arm and curled around her shoulders. Ismira giggled and continued stroking the dragon as it slept. The men collected the shards of the egg, wrapped them up and left without another word.

All characters, names, and places (c) Christopher Paolini

The Riders, #3

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Well, here’s the final “introduction” part. Time to get down to those plot points I spent a half-hour thinking of and 10 minutes writing down. Here we goooo!

Orik stroked his beard, pondering this hard question. “There is no reason not to bring them over, but the eggs left for us have still not hatched. Shouldn’t they hatch, and for whom?” In the mirror, Arya shifted uncomfortably. “I know not. Perhaps… Perhaps we should send both to Palancar Valley, and see if any of Roran Stronghammer’s domain are worthy.” Orik nodded, a frown forming on his face. “We need to talk to Eragon, the two of us, very soon. When do you leave to gather another egg?” Arya stepped out of the mirror’s view for a moment, then returned. “In a month, after we at least hatch one of the eggs.” Orik nodded.
“Perhaps it will not be too late then.”

Nasuada sighed. “Orrin, how many times do I have to say this. I trust Arya and Eragon’s judgement. The dwarves and Urgals had no luck with the two eggs. I agree that sending them to Carvahall, the only place they haven’t been, is a good idea.” Orrin threw his hands up. “I still think it is a bad idea. I’ll follow your judgement, my queen, but I disagree with the decision.”
“I know, Orrin. I know.”

Ismira ran up to Roran. “Look what uncle Eragon sent me!” She held up the shard of purple stone proudly. Roran smiled, proud as only a father could be. “That’s nice, honey. Now, can you go get your mother? There are a few men here to see us.” Ismira nodded, and ran to get her mother.

Characters, names and locations (c) Christopher Paolini.

The Riders, Part 2

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Well, I can’t write as often as I’d like (for a lot of real life reasons, and a few more inhibiting technological ones), so these’ll be more sporadic than I thought. I’m still trying, and rereading the books to try to give it something of a background. More character intros here, and after part 3 the real fun’s going to begin.

Eragon stared out at his small, motley band of hatchlings, then back to Saphira. We taught them well, no? he said to her, and to Glaedr, who awoke from his trance to give a mental nod. Indeed. Now all that’s left is for them to choose mates, and produce the next generation of dragons and Riders. Eragon nodded this time. Saphira voiced a concern that they all shared. But what about getting the Riders to the eggs? Or the eggs to the Riders? Eragon nodded knowingly.
That is up to Arya.

Arya clapped her hands, sending the meeting into a frenzy of paper, elves and tension. She closed her eyes. “I should warn you, Arya drottingu. To send men to the dragons is dangerous, but to bring the dragons here would be worse, no matter what Eragon-elda thinks.” Daethdr kneeled in front of the wooden throne Arya was perched upon. “Daethdr-vodr, you know as well as I do that there is no other choice. Eragon knew it when he left Alagaesia. Now begone! I need the time alone.” As Daethdr left, Arya shifted in her seat, ever so slightly, and felt her dragon come out of his slumber. We must hurry, for I feel unrest in the world, and it is not certain why. She nodded.
Yes, we will.

 

Characters, names and locations (c) Christopher Paolini.