The Captain Loves Fresh Maple Syrup (And Other Such Random Facts)


I had quite a bit of fun writing all my vocabulary sentences last month, so here I am again to plague you with ridiculous tidbits about the beloved crew of Captain Timberwolf. (Note: He has had multiple crews, as I may have mentioned in another post – a crew of squirrels some amount of years ago, and currently, a human crew.)

Root Word: ag             Meaning: to do

Though Captain Timberwolf had nothing on his agenda except “gloat among glittery hordes of stolen booty”, he claimed he was busy in order to avoid seeing his rival, Captain Kincade.

No one is sure what exactly Captain Timberwolf did to agitate the lovely Captain Kincade quite so much; but then again, knowing Timberwolf, he was likely just being himself.

Terrified that agents of rival pirate captains would attack him in his sleep, Captain Timberwolf made sure that there were squirrel guards patrolling the ship every night.

Captain Timberwolf had very little agricultural experience, having spent 39 of his 45 years on the sea, but his crew of squirrels had plenty of knowledge in that area (especially on the farming of nuts.)

Root Word: sat            Meaning: enough

Even after copious raids on mansions and palaces bordering the sea, Captain Timberwolf’s lust for fresh Canadian maple syrup was not satisfied.

One pirate’s insatiable desire to pet one of the squirrels from Captain Timberwolf’s crew led to his contraction of squirrelvy, the rodent counterpart of the better known scurvy.

Unfortunately, there were not enough squirrels for Captain Timberwolf to sate his desire for a crew composed entirely of the cuddly little buggers.

The squirrels may have looked scrawny, saturated in salt water as they were, but they were more than capable of taking pirates down with their sick squirrel-fu skills.

Root Word: chron     Meaning: time

Timberwolf’s present crew, in chronological order of when he acquired them, is composed of the following eight characters: Red, Algreve, the brothers Silas and Danny, Gunnar, Angel, Maldir, and finally, the newbie, Theo.

It was a tragedy when the pirate with several chronic illnesses was abandoned on the deserted island.

Theo was the one chosen to chronicle the events surrounding Captain Timberwolf’s disappearance, as the only others who wanted to do so – Gunnar and Danny – were denied the honor on account of Gunnar being illiterate and Danny tending to throw in his own made up words.

There was synchronized screaming from the crew when Captain Timberwolf announced that they would be doing team bonding activities.

Root Word: mal        Meaning: bad or evil

Red felt that he was being watched, and he turned around to find a baby crocodile, newly hatched from its egg, staring at him maliciously.

The rest of the crew happened to fall ill to a vicious malady on the day of Silas’ ship-wide shopping spree.

Algreve hadn’t gotten sick in ages, so when he finally caught a cold, he claimed it was a malignant disease slowly sapping the life out of him.

Silas gave his younger brother a malevolent glare when Danny tracked mud onto the Persian rug in the captain’s cabin.

Root Word: para       Meaning: alongside or beside

Theo told stories of many strange creatures, but his favorite was the shapeshifter – it was a paradox, something that could always be counted on to change.

Algreve’s attempt to steer the dinghy parallel to the main vessel resulted in a gaping hole in the cargo hold.

To dissuade pirates from abandoning ship, every captain made sure to tell parables about carnivorous snakes who would devour disloyal sailors.

Theo, as the ship’s storyteller, told tales of paranormal events that left several of his crewmates shivering, though it was quite hot outside.




I’m not posting art today. Instead, here’s a poem! I’m not that good at writing poems, and this one is way too fake-deep, but I’m working to become better.

My friends, I know,

Are the only ones I



Then, why do I

Always feel so



But at home, I have “friends”

Who can never



And they’ll stay,

Guarding my



The saddest thing

About all of this must



The only way to escape




Is to hold “those friends”

Who mean the world to



Though, they are just

Reflections on a


Hannah, 9th grade



The Gruesome Cycle, Part 2. By Yasadu De Silva


Here is the second short part of a story I made, based on the setting, Deathworld. The premise of Deathworld is an alternate history world that diverges at around 1940, and the present time is at around 2010.  In it, both the Nazis and the Soviet Union invade North America, Europe, and Asia. Deathworld involves a lot of magic and supernatural forces. In Deathworld, the war has lasted until the present time. If you would like to see the first part, click here.

Waves of thousands of Red Army infantry charged down the hill. Behind them, a legion of tanks churned the mud as they rushed forward. The force meeting them was composed of occult terrors: demon-human hybrids, along with a line of conscript cannon-fodder. The demons tore into the Red Army like a meat-cleaver through butter. But for every one soldier they ripped through, 10 took their place. The front line of tanks smashed into the demons, crushing them and blowing them apart.  Yatsev’s tank was in that front line. He lifted a shell into the main gun. “Krylov, aim straight ahead. Vitaliy, full speed. Zhukov, eliminate any grenadiers.” “Understood” they chorused together. The gun boomed, and the shell tore through the demon-hybrid ahead.  As the Soviet line crushed the enemy, Yatsev began to feel like this was too easy. He was right.  Up ahead, in front of a mass of soldiers, a large hulking shape, built like a man, but with horns and claws, was summoned up. Thousands of bullets ripped through the thing, but it kept going.  Its claws sheared through 10 men at a time.  Yatsev heaved another shell into the gun. “Krylov, fire! Zharkov, aim for the monstrosity!” Yatsev opened the hatch and peered out. He could see a contingent of 5 tanks break off and go around the flank. “Krylov, another one. Bring its attention here!” The demon turned toward the direction of Yatsev’s tank, and took one step forward. Suddenly, the five tanks that peeled off slammed into the side of the demon. Yatsev could see the forms of the crew jump out. Just as they made it out, the tanks exploded.


Thank you for reading this,

Yasadu De Silva

Story Number One: The Fire and Shadow Inn


Now, Nicky Reynolds was just your average city rat. He did have a few special qualities, though: unerring common sense, stubbornness only equaled by an enraged cave troll, and a sense for magic that saved his life approximately sixteen times, even before he was kicked out of the orphanage.

His common sense prompted him to tell his trade-titan father that he should move all his investments out of sugar before war broke out in the Canelzke Islands. When his father didn’t listen, Nicky’s stubbornness took him to his mother, who moved all her shares out of sugar. And when he sensed magic outside his father’s window one rainy day in April, he took his mother and ran before the assassins sent to kill his father got them too.

That was when his mother sat him down and explained her plans. She’d start up an inn in the middle of the city with some of her money and Nicky would go to an orphanage.

But why? Nicky asked.

Because, Nicky, back when I was Polly Wharf-rat and not Patricia Reynolds, I learned how to be tough and relentless. Now, you can already be relentless. But you can’t be tough. So go learn how to be tough.

Nicky did learn to be tough. It helped him in the orphanage, where a quarter of the kids had magic and swanned around like they owned the world, the work was hard, boring and endless, and the kids sleeping next to him were an ifrit who breathed fire when she snored and an unendingly hyperactive pixie. Toughness also helped him wage prank war against the magical kids who ran the place, with the covert assistance of Connor, a mischievous selkie who helped him fill the sirens’ beds with seaweed in return for his shower time. By the time he was kicked out, he ran the place. And Nicky found that not only did he like being tough, he knew how to handle people. If a werewolf needed to find a silver-free place to transform, he could do that. But if they only wanted to talk about their problems, he could do that too.

When Nicky staged his “accident” after three years in the orphanage, a lot of people were surprised. The ifrit Nita, who had claimed the position of Nicky Reynolds’ Trusted Lieutenant, took over with only a little fuss, while Connor and the sirens had a few more questions about how to keep the inspector off their backs. The orphanage director was not a factor in Nicky’s equation, as he’d sent her off on an archaeological expedition to Old Sehherika.

But Nicky, with a suspiciously “broken” leg and a lot of new friends – but he’d never call them that, they were allies, stop looking at me like that, Mother – went to the three-year-old Fire and Shadow Inn.  And that’s when Nicky sprung his bombshell – he wanted to hire Connor and Nita from the orphanage.

Oh, Nicky, his mother said exasperatedly while she dumped out the dishwater. I’ve already hired them.

So Connor, with his magical good looks and charming wit, ran the bar, while Nita waited tables and doubled as the bouncer, and Nicky added up the finances. His mother did the cooking. When the nixie twins showed up and wanted jobs, Nicky put them on table-waiting/bouncing duty and moved Nita to the kitchen where she whipped up tasty, sinus-clearing spicy food.

Eventually, some of the other orphanage kids showed up – werewolves (bouncers), vampires (wait staff), ogres (cooks, actually). They were never turned away.

One day, due to the largely magical staff, the clientele of the Fire and Shadow started to become more magical too, with hags with platters of raw liver, fairies playing politics, and itches discussing the latest fireproofed cloaks. Nicky’s mother knew they’d made it when the High Warlock and his friends in the magical city guard began showing up every week, and retired, leaving Nicky the inn.

The Fire and Shadow, Nicky’s baby and the magical community’s crown jewel of clandestine information, would also become the starting point of the Dragon Rebellion.

Well, I’ll tell you that one tomorrow night.

Lunar New Year Drawing + Tips for Young Artists.

Chuc mung nam moi! That’s Vietnamese for “Happy New Year”, even though this post probably won’t be posted exactly on Lunar New Year. I am Vietnamese, so lunar new year is a huge part of my culture. My family comes together, and we eat delicious food like banh chung (Vietnamese sticky rice cake), and play fun games. After dinner, we do “li xi”, where the children wish adults a happy new year (in Vietnamese), and the children get red envelopes with money in them. In joy of this celebration, I drew a picture of two characters, Noiz & Koujaku, from one of my favorite anime, DRAMAtical Murder. This piece took about five hours. I really loved drawing it, because I’ve never drawn these types of clothes before, and it was a great, new experience for me. Isn’t it ironic that I’m drawing Japanese outfits when I’m Vietnamese? In general, there are a lot of things I want to fix about this drawing. I was running low on time, so I couldn’t add as many highlights as I wanted to, and I didn’t have time to change the line color, so the line art looks really harsh. I also want to fix Koujaku’s nose. Enough, with my self-critiquing. Even though I know I’m not an expert at drawing, I wanted to share some tips for young artists, like me, who are just starting out.

  1. Don’t compare yourself to others! A big reason why people don’t even want to try drawing is because they think “Oh, I’ll never be as good as…” So what? Even if you think you won’t be as good as them, you should still try. You should set yourself to your own standards, and even if it isn’t that good, be confident. Be confident in your abilities, and tell yourself “I will get better, I will get better”. My old art was really, really bad, but I kept improving because I believed in myself.
  2. Find inspiration. A lack of inspiration really stinks when you want to draw. Instead of sitting down and waiting for it to come to you, go look for it! Some ways you can look for inspiration include looking at nature, exchanging ideas, getting your own art critiqued, or, my personal favorite, thinking about your favorite characters in funny scenarios. After getting inspiration, drawing should come easier.
  3. Learn the basics. Go watch some YouTube videos about anatomy. Read tutorials on color theory. This part of drawing isn’t fun, but it is a fundamental of learning to draw. You should learn a broad range of art information as well. I, sadly, did not do that. My weak points are definitely drawing animals and architecture. When I started out, I only focused on drawing people. This is why you should start out learning many things.
  4. Practice! Practice! Practice!!!!!! I know every artist tells you this, but it is true!! The only way to get better is by practicing. Like sports and school, practicing your skills is so incredibly crucial. I am so impatient, and I even explained how frustrating I was in my last post. However, as I also said in my last post, improvement comes over time, so you have to learn some discipline and work hard. Right now, I’m still practicing to get better.

I really do hope you liked this post and try to use the tips I gave. I would love for more young people to discover the fun of drawing! Thank you so much for reading through this long, boring thing. Bye bye for now! Try to save some time for drawing in your agenda this lunar year.

Hannah, 9th grade

sunrise, in the key of lonely


I love when the sunrise isn’t just average

cotton candy pastels are a dime a dozen now

and Technicolor sunrise is a bit too bright for me


I much prefer:

pale and luminous light on the film of water

left clinging to the ground after a rain

when detached from the world, I can sit calmly

and watch the road slide smoothly by

like an oil slick or an opal,

shimmering with soft flame


And also when:

the sky goes muted with the coming sunrise

and the world tinges sepia and purple

like an ancient photograph

of an empty city

and the ghosts in my headphones

are too powerful to ignore


But I’ve forgotten

about the beauty of the silent sunrise

when the sun slips up red as poppies

flaring in the sky like someone painted

dragon fire on the horizon



the full moon, sitting over my neighbor’s attic

self-assured and aloof

pinned onto the velvet night

far fairer than the sun, and far colder.

And sometimes it’s the crescent moon

like a baby’s cradle in the sky-river

Or no moon at all

no harmony to the sun’s melody


Finally, the morning star.

most like me, the same every day –

patiently waiting

for the celestial bus.