The Last Hero

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In The Last Hero by Terry Pratchett, Cohen the Barbarian and his agèd Silver Horde go on a quest to return fire to the gods, in the form of fifty pounds of very explosive clay. Of course, this would destroy the Disc, the five great elephants that carry the Disc, and Great A’Tuin, the giant turtle on which the five elephants stand. They don’t know this, but the wizards of Ankh-Morpork do. They realize the only way to stop the Silver Horde is to launch a ship to reach the Hub before they do- propelled by dragons, of course.

Rincewind (a wizzard) knows how his life works. So when he hears about this, he knows it’s easier to just volunteer and go, even if he doesn’t want to. If he tried to run, he would eventually wind up on it, no matter what he did- that’s just how his life is.

So Rincewind, Captain Carrot of the Ankh-Morpork Watch and Leonard, a painter who has the uncanny ability to invent things so obvious no one noticed them, are on a quest around the Disc to reach the Hub before the Silver Horde does. And the Librarian, an orangutan who somehow got stowed away in the back of their ship. It’s a story full of humor and adventure and a great book to read.

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A Pirate’s Journey: Part Three

notorious-2Within the hour, Timberwolf’s crew found themselves in front of the far-famed Captain Kincade. She was more intimidating than any captain they had met before, with an ageless face and piercing hazel eyes that sized the boys up in seconds. Kincade was not only well-known for the sharpness of both her tongue and sword, but also for her wisdom and strategy.

Together, Red and Silas explained their predicament. Kincade’s eyebrows slowly gained altitude throughout the story, and when the boys finished, she said, “That certainly doesn’t sound like James. He’s a madman, but he wouldn’t leave his own crew – again, I mean.”

Silas and Red looked at each other, alarmed.

Kincade continued. “I fear there are darker forces at work here. May I inspect his cabin?”

The crew led Kincade back to their own ship. Upon entering Timberwolf’s cabin, she made her way to the window and inspected its frame. “Ah,” she said. “It is as I thought.”

Squinting, Silas tried to figure out what she had seen. “What is it?”

Captain Kincade tapped her finger on a small carving to the left of the window. “The initials W. H. It’s the mark of William Halloway, an old enemy.”

“Of yours, or Timberwolf’s?” Red asked.

“Both of us, actually,” Kincade replied, pursing her lips in a frown. “I believe Halloway has taken your captain.”

“Like, taken out to dinner?” Silas asked hopefully. For what were they to do if their captain had been taken hostage?

Kincade shook her head. “I fear not. You and your crew, however, may stay on my ship for a few days so that I can tell you all I know about Halloway and where your captain might be held.”

“Thank you so much.” Red smiled broadly. “You truly are a benevolent captain.”

“Don’t thank me until Timberwolf is back on this ship,” Kincade said grimly. “You have a long way to go yet.”

.  .  .

The next day, Captain Kincade requested an audience with Silas, saying she wished to speak with the first mate. She told him that Timberwolf was most likely hidden away in Halloway’s stronghold, which was situated all the way across the ocean. Unfortunately, Kincade was unable to go with them, as she had her own agenda to follow, so she told Silas that he should be the one to lead his crew.

Silas shook his head vigorously. “No, Red should be the one to lead us. He has known Timberwolf for longer, and the crew listens to him.”

Kincade laughed. “Boy, why do you doubt yourself so? Timberwolf obviously trusted you a great deal if he made you his first mate.”

Yet Silas still declined. He had thought he was ready to be leader, but when it came down to it, he had no idea what to do.

At supper that night, he told his crew where Timberwolf was being held and announced that Red would be the one to lead them on this journey. There was a great deal of cheering at the second announcement, which relieved Silas; and though he didn’t want to admit it, made him rather envious.

However, the next morning Silas awoke to unpleasant retching noises. Red had gotten a stomach illness of some sort, and between bouts of emptying his stomach, he managed to politely decline Silas’ invitation to be stand-in captain. “Already,” Red choked out, “it’s going to be difficult enough for me to come along.”

So, Silas had no choice but to lead his crew on their quest. The truth was that while he wanted to prove he could take on the responsibility of captaining the ship, he was deathly afraid of failure. He took up the mantle of captain with more than a little bit of reluctance.

Silas gathered his crew from their various places around Kincade’s vessel and thanked the captain for her help and hospitality. Then Timberwolf’s crew returned to their own ship and prepared to set sail immediately.

Avengers: Infinity War — Review

Description: Avengers: Infinity War connects all the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In this movie the villain, Thanos, wants to destroy half the universe’s population by using The Infinity Gauntlet. This requires all 5 infinity stones (time, space, power, soul and reality). Thanos decides to send his servants down to Earth to find the last couple stones. This causes most of the superheroes to team up and attempt to defeat Thanos. Some superheroes include: The Guardians of The Galaxy, Hulk, Captain America, Iron Man, Black Widow, Thor, and Black Panther. Can the the Heroes defend Earth and defeat Thanos or will Thanos kill half the universe? Find out in Avengers: Infinity War.

Pros: This movie was a perfect way to wrap up every movie before it. The visuals were fabulous, the story was compelling and the super hero team up was everything a Marvel fan could hope for. The ending was so unexpected that even theorists couldn’t predict it. The actor for Thanos was excellently portrayed and the Wakanda battle was action packed and exciting. Finally, Drax’s humor enlightened the movie to make it one of the best in the MCU.

Cons: The CGI made the characters look weird at certain points in the movie. Also since the movie is trying to wrap everything up, it can be confusing if you haven’t seen all the movies.

Rating: 9.5/10

 

 

Greek Mythology

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We’ve all heard of Zeus, of Poseidon and Hades, of Hera, of Ares, and of Athena, the goddess of wisdom. We hear about the love Aphrodite brings to all, of the great machines Hephaestus creates, and the crops Demeter brings to life, of Persephone, trapped in the dark, of Hermes the speedy, Dionysus the mad, Artemis of the moon and Apollo of the sun. We even hear tales of Hestia and her hearth. But do you known the tale of Asklepios? How about the tragic love of Orpheus and his wife Eurydice? The tale brave of Ajax, of Daphne, of Niobe? What of Tantalus, with his wishes just out of reach or Hyacinth, beloved of the famed Apollo? If those names look like nothing more than random vowels and consonants smashed together, well than its lucky for you that I know a thing, or two, about the legends of old.

Orpheus and Eurydice: We’re going to start off with one of the better known tales, the tale of Orpheus and Eurydice. But, before we get into it, some background information!

  • Orpheus was born to a Muse, Calliope, and depending on the myth, either Apollo, the god of the sun, or Oeagrus, the king of Thrace. For our purposes we will assume his father is Apollo. His greatest weapon is his ability to charm anything.
  • Eurydice was a beautiful wood nymph who married an adoring Orpheus.
  • Aristaeus was a minor god, who was also a son of Apollo.
  • Hades and Persephone were major gods who rule in the Underworld.
  • Apollo is the father of two of our players. He is the god of the sun, medicine, poetry, plague, and prophecy.

And those are the players in this tale, so all that’s left is to jump right in.

When Orpheus and Eurydice were wed there was a lot of dancing and a lot of music. Orpheus was known for his musical ability and he loved to play for his wife. Eurydice, as was in the nature of most nymphs, spent a considerable amount of time dancing in the forest. They had a very happy marriage until one day Aristaeus entered the forest.

Aristaeus saw the beautiful Eurydice alone in the forest and decided he needed a new lady friend to occupy his time. Now if you know anything about Greek mythology, it’s that no one can keep it in their pants. Eurydice tries to refuse his advances, but he is not taking no for an answer, so she flees.

She flees through the forest, running for her life, and her marriage. Aristaeus, not one to take a hint, chases after her. She has the home field advantage here, but she needs to make sure. Nothing about this situation is good for her, if her husband finds out he could kill her, if Aristaeus catches her, well, that is not an option. So she looks back, just a quick look over her shoulder, and steps on a viper.

The viper is very unhappy with being stepped on so it retaliates by biting Eurydice. She dies as soon as the venom touches her. Aristaeus, shocked by this turn of events, leaves. Eurydice’s body lies in the grass, where Orpheus later finds her.

Orpheus is overcome with grief for his dead love, so he does what any reasonable person would do, he sings over her body.

The nymphs and minor gods of the forest weep with him, for his charm could move an army, and eventually even Apollo himself takes note. He comes and visits his grieving son, telling him to go to Hades’ realm. Apollo shows him the way then leaves to go do some godly duty.

Orpheus makes his way through the Underworld with only his musical ability to help him, and he makes it! He appears before Hades and Persephone, he pleads his case with a heart full of love for his lost wife. He sings for his lost love, and they can not resist.

Hades allows Orpheus to take his wife back to the land of the living on two conditions:

  1. Orpheus must lead her back out the way he came
  2. He must never look back over his shoulder to see if she follows.

This is an ultimate test of faith; a Schrödinger’s cat in its clearest form.

He almost does it to. He gets so close to the land of the living that the light is shining on them. Orpheus looks back, just once, to see his beloved. She is not there, and he returns alone.

Orpheus let his curiosity control him, but now he could never know if she truly followed, or if it was a trick all along. He loved her, but apparently not enough to wait just a few more seconds to see her.

Part 2: Review – “The Madman’s Daugther”

I have mixed feelings about this book. Personally, I found the story incredibly unique and interesting. The plot and vivid descriptions of “The Madman’s Daughter” definitely deserve a 5/5 rating. This novel has the perfect combination of the Victorian Era, along with crazy and complex science. While some people may find it hard to read through the procedures (which occupy a decent portion of this book), I thought they were fascinating without being disturbing. However, there was too much romance and drama, which took away from the story. The fact that Juliet was attracted to both Edward and Montgomery at the same time was cliché and boring. Still, there are unexpected turns that make it almost impossible to know anything before it is mentioned. It is also worth mentioning that, depite some cliché themes, the ending was so different than what I expected, which is always a great quality in a book.

I would recommend this book if you like romantic novels, science fiction, or just science in general. The focus on the scientific and medical field  is what makes this book amazingly fascinating. However, there are some graphic scenes during the surgeries, so if you do not feel comfortable with that, this book is not for you. I must also mention that the plot may be difficult to understand, mainly due to its complexity. I look forward to reading the other two books of “The Madman’s Daughter” series. 4.8/5. +12.

 

A Pirate’s Journey: Part Two

Young pirates

It wouldn’t have worried Silas if they hadn’t already walked through most of the ship and seen no sign of the captain. Timberwolf tended to wander around, but that was when he wasn’t ill. When he was sick, he stayed locked up in his cabin all day, except when he was yelling at one of the boys to ‘fetch him some chicken noodle soup, for Calypso’s sake’. Not to mention that he always left a note before wandering off, especially if he would be gone for a while. It was completely unlike Timberwolf to just disappear.

“Silas, what’s wrong?” Red asked. He had known the captain for the longest time out of any of the boys.

Silas realized he was blocking the entire cabin from view. He turned to face his crew, trying to keep his fear from his face, but he gave himself away with the quavering of his voice. “The captain isn’t here.”

The crew broke into worried chatter. “What do you mean he isn’t here? Where is he? Did he leave us?”

Silas found himself helpless to quell their fears. He had wanted more responsibility, but not for the captain to be entirely gone.

Thankfully, Red stepped in. “Hey! There’s no way Timberwolf would just leave us. There must be some sort of explanation. Maybe he had an emergency meeting with another captain.” He looked around at the crew; they had quieted down and were listening to him intently. “Why don’t we wait until morning and see if he’s back by then? If he isn’t, we can deal with this then, but everything looks better after a good night’s sleep. Right, Silas?”

“Yes,” Silas replied, very unsure of himself. He was jealous of how Red could command the crew’s respect with such ease. The other boy was acting like more of a first mate than Silas. “It’s late and there’s nothing else we can do tonight.”

With only a few quiet mutterings and complaints, the rest of the crew went to ready themselves for bed, Red following close behind. Silas was left alone, staring at Timberwolf’s empty cabin and wondering how he’d ever be able to fall asleep.

.  .  .

The next morning, after a thorough search of the ship (very thorough – Timberwolf had once been found fast asleep in a barrel in the hold), the crew gathered on the main deck. No one had found any evidence of the captain, and worry was once again starting to weigh down on the young men.

Silas had barely slept, so preoccupied he was with trying to figure out how they would even start to search for the captain. He had feverishly scoured Timberwolf’s cabin for any clues it might have held about the man’s whereabouts. Even with all the time spent thinking and searching, he only had one idea that could possibly help them hunt Timberwolf down.

After the crew had shared the fruitless results of their search, Silas turned to Red. “Is there anyone we could ask who might know where Timberwolf is? Maybe point us in the right direction? Or at least some direction?”

Red frowned as he thought. “I’m not sure. The captain had a few friends, but he wasn’t all that close to anyone . . .” His eyes lit up as he realized something. “Well, there is someone . . .”

“Who is it?” Silas asked, leaning forward.

Fighting back a grin, Red said, “Captain Katherine Kincade.”

“Kincade?” Silas echoed. “She’s legendary! She’s friends with Timberwolf?”

“I wouldn’t say friends, but of anyone, she would have the wisdom to help us.”

Silas stood up. “That’s better than nothing. Come on!” He beckoned for the others to follow him. “I saw her at the Alliance meeting last night, she might still be docked here.”

The Tale of the Dead King pt.1

English cottage with garden

This story begins with the many sorrows of a poor orphan daughter of a dead King.

Imagine a beautiful meadow surrounded by a mysterious misty forest.

Now, forget all that because that’s not how this story starts.

Where this really starts is in a cozy cottage in a tiny village.

What I mean by ‘cozy’ and ‘tiny’ is that the cottage had one bed and a little kitchen, and the village was like only ten houses.

Here you are introduced to Iris Baelfire, who is very important to this tale.

Umm… mom? Who is that?” Iris asked frightfully from the hammock she slept in.

Her mother cautiously looked out their only window, and saw the royal horse-drawn carriage.

It’s their majesties! Go clean your self up now! Oh, you already did that. Well at least put on your nice new dress I bought you. Go! Go!”

Mom! Sit down! It’s all right. I bet they know we don’t have a lot of money, and besides its best to be yourself.” She gave her mom a reassuring smile and then opened their front door.

To her surprise the carriage was nowhere in sight and there was no trace of it ever being there.

Mom? I thought you said the royals were here.”

Yes, why?”

There’s no one here. Or any where for that matter.”

Now my dear readers I’m leaving you here, so be puzzled, be scared, and I’ll speak to you soon.  

 

To be continued … 

     

Inspired by Lemony Snicket (also known as Daniel Handler)

Anna, age 14