Monday, 31 August 2015

Nameless: The Mages Guild

[Day 32!? of Blaugust 2015!]
[This is part of my Creative Writing Experiment.]

Kiefer knew they'd have to get out of there quick, before all the other creatures lurking in the dark descended upon them so with one deft movement he threw a small pouch from his belt right into the trolls blocking their path. The small satchel exploded with a soft "boomf", successfully blinding both creatures momentarily with the magical powder. "Go!" Kiefer ordered as he led the others past the wildly swinging monsters who somehow failed to claw anyone but each other. Their loud roars would definitely call more creatures to the area.

"Buggie, of those places that had the lights - which is the closest?" asked Drisana to the boy clinging to her arm.

"The mages guild," replied Buggie, thrusting a free arm out to point the way.

With loud footsteps and unidentifiable howls growing nearer there was no sneaking to be had now, so team ran towards the direction Buggie pointed - adjusting as needed when they found paths blocked with either collapsed buildings or by hideous beasts. As they turned the last corner Nessa could finally see the mages guild ahead of them, across a small park. It was then that she also noticed dark shapes from the sky descending upon them.

Without time for warning she beheaded the first winged lion and rolling under the second one, ran her blade along the length of its belly, disemboweling it. It was a sprint now across the park, with even more winged lions coming at the team from all directions. For the most part their straight dive-bomb attacks were easy to evade but Delmair, already lagging behind everyone else was caught by surprise as another troll stepped forward from behind a nearby tree. Despite managing to put an arrow into its left eye, he was unable to escape from the monster's long reach as it easily picked him up with one hand and chewed his head off. At the same time a thin beam of light shot forth from a high window atop of the mages guild. While the adventurers were fast enough to react to the deadly magic, Buggie was not - running directly into it and emerging on the side immolated in flames, screaming as he burned alive.

Unable to do anything for them, Kiefer continued urging everyone else forward rushing out of the park and right into the surprisingly open double doors of the mages guild. Working quickly, they closed and barricaded the door with the nearby bookshelves and tables before pushing against it themselves, using every ounce of their strength and will to prevent their angry and hungry pursuers from breaking in. The door shuddered with each loud bang as the monsters began ramming themselves against it for what seemed an eternity.

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Nameless: Dranner

[Day 31 of Blaugust 2015!]
[This is part of my Creative Writing Experiment.]

Finally, with Maeve on the point of exhaustion from expending her magic, the team cleared the mist covered forest and found themselves in what was left of the town of Dranner. Most buildings had been extensively damaged, with some reduced to piles of rubble. Strange shapes moved across distant intersections and inhuman calls and bellows filled the night air. Kiefer preferred not to run into any of these things by surprise and opted to keep the team moving stealthily through the shadows. Delmair, who was recovering quickly from his run in with the spirits, stopped Kiefer suddenly as they walked passed another run down hovel.

"There's someone in there," he whispered without taking his eyes off what he was looking at. It took Drisana's eyes a little while to adjust before also seeing the scared little face hiding beneath some rocks. Realizing he was seen, the face vanished deeper into the house - though it didn't look like there was much more of it to run into. Quietly, Kiefer signalled the rest to moved in to investigate while he and Delmair watched the door. Maeve decided to risk a faint light spell so they could better see who they were after: a frightened little boy, whose face was covered in soot. 

"Easy there," said Drisana calmly. "We're not going to hurt you. What's your name?"

"Buggie," said the child after a short moment of hesitation. "It's what my friends called me since I collected bugs."

"What happened here?" asked Nessa, without the slightest hint of compassion in her voice. Drisana gave her a disapproving look.

"Strange visitors came," Buggie said quietly. "They gave the Mayor a heavy bag, asked for a tour of the town. Later these three lights appeared - one on top of the mages guild tower, one at a lookout at the town barracks, and one at the highest bell of the cathedral. Soon after the monsters came. They began eating everyone... and..."

Buggie's voice choked as he began to sob uncontrollably.

"Did those visitors wear robes with a shaded star symbol on it?" asked Nessa to which Buggie nodded, confirming that these strangers were at least dressed like Shadowstar cultists.

"It's alright now," Drisana said as she hugged the little boy.

"Uh, not quite," said Kiefer as he and Delmair backed into the room. Towering ahead of them were two large, green humanoid with warty skin, frizzy, filthy hair, and angular yellow teeth. Trolls.

Saturday, 29 August 2015

Nameless: Cold Touch

[Day 30 of Blaugust 2015!]
[This is part of my Creative Writing Experiment.]

Florin's plan involved the thirty odd troops separating into eight smaller groups to approach the city of Dranner from all directions in hopes that this would increase their odds of catching the enemy unprepared. While Drisana questioned the logic in this, at least she was still grouped up with Nessa and Kiefer. Their fourth member, a tall and pale woman named Maeve seemed inappropriately dressed for such a venture wearing simple red garments that matched her hair but there was no point in arguing attire now. Their team, "Group Eight" was to approach the city from the farthest side, which cost them even more travel time as they rode for most of the day to their instructed position.

Finally, at dusk did they begin pushing forward into the Dranner forest but since it was so overgrown they had to dismount their horses and continue on foot. As a cold mist began to settle around them Drisana felt uneasy as they pushed deeper, especially as the horses began to fight violently against their leads. Unable to calm them, Kiefer instructed the team to unsaddle them instead at let them go. After all, he had recharged his teleporting amulet if anything goes wrong. Drisana certainly felt remorse about using hers as part of the fare to travel across the sea at that point but quickly put the thought from her mind as ghostly faces began appearing in the fog.

Clearly she wasn't the only one seeing it as Nessa began hacking at the air, her blade finding nothing solid to make contact with. Suddenly a shimmering blue light emanated from behind them, pushing back the fog. It was Maeve, holding up what looked like a short wand that she had kept hidden in a sleeve. "Keep going," she urged and with her magic protecting them they managed to navigate the forest quicker, as if even the trees and branches were moving out of their path.

Eventually they stumbled across a clearing with four other bodies, one of whom was rocking back and forth in a fetal position. Nessa checked the other people first and found that each once was dead and ice cold to the touch. "You there," Kiefer called out to the fourth man. Hearing his voice, the blonde man stopped his motion and slowly raised his head - a clear look of relief on his face.

"Who are you?" Drisana asked as she quickly threw her thick cloak on the shivering survivor.

"I... I am Delmair... l..last m...member of group s...six."

"It's the spirits," explained Maeve to her other companions. "The faces in the mist. If they get their cold arms around you it's not long before you join them."

"You're with us now Delmair," said Kiefer as he knelt beside the man. "We still have a mission to complete."

Friday, 28 August 2015

The Fast and The Furious (1 and 2)

[Day 29 of Blaugust 2015!]

The Fast and the Furious

As seen by a non-car enthusiast.

A band of skilled thieves are hijacking shipments on the road because they have the stunt driving skills to do so. Who cares if it's quite reckless, has more variables and is way more dangerous than stealing stationary targets right? Anyway, the cops send forth an undercover agent (Paul Walker) to infiltrate the group of their top suspect: one Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel), who also happens to be involved with illegal street races and such. Complications arise when undercover man starts falling for Dom's sister.

You did not just give away spoilers, did you?

Obviously this flick is for car buffs, which is why I totally skipped out on the entire series previously as I don't even like driving. However, I quite liked the acting, the action filled story, and the pretty good automotive stunt work which is kind of essential in a film such as this. I was a bit impartial to the "gangsta" type music, but I suppose it is most suited to that scene so that's fine. I do give it bonus points for good use of red herrings and having a nameless truck boss who totally kicks everyone's butt at the end. All up I give it three tires out of five, though I'm in no rush to see it again.


Turbo-Charged Prelude

This six minute music clip (because there are no spoken lines) follows Paul Walker's trek down to Miami which is where the next movie takes place. There's literally nothing that happens so unless you are a fan of this franchise, Paul Walker, or cops wearing plastic bags on their hats then you would be better off skipping it altogether. For those who enjoy "completeness" you can find it here.


2 Fast 2 Furious

Dey B 2 gansta 4 me.

Really title? Really? Anyway, the cop from last time is back, and since he is still racing in "underground" races this immediately attracts the FBI to recruit him for another undercover job which involves transporting dirty money for some cartel guy. Some silly one liner reason is thrown out as to why this is -the only way- to bust said cartel fellow, but hero cop can't do it alone so he recruits an old buddy (never seen before) who hates his guts.

This new character gets a thumbs up from me as his character progression is pretty likable, as does the pretty cool Tej. I suppose I should also mention that the female cast is more sexualized here too, for no other reason than "hey, they're hot". Might be a problem for some, but that's nothing compared to the rest of the problems.

Appropriate garage attire.

While I do appreciate that the "team" is smaller now and thus has less superfluous characters than number one, there are problems with the actual driving portions for me, which is probably worse if you are a car fanatic. Yes, there are mass driving stunts near the end but for the most part there's heavy use of pretty good FX during the earlier drives. I still would have preferred to see actual driving though? Also, there is a hell of a lot more talking while driving. Ever see a comic panel where Wolverine is in mid air about to stab someone and somehow manages to say three sentences? It's like that. Stupid.

In addition to a weaker story than the first movie I give this outing 2 tires out of 5, and isn't 1 I want to watch again.

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Nameless: Florin

[Day 28 of Blaugust 2015!]
[This is part of my Creative Writing Experiment.]

A few weeks after their foray into the sewers, Drisana and Nessa were once again summoned to the Peacekeeper's office. The last time they had been there was when they received their reward stipend for alerting the Peacekeepers to the danger beneath the city. A large force of them along members of other units, guilds and mercenaries were assembled and raided the underground to cleanse it of all evil, and most probably treasure, but the girls decided to sit it out - having had enough bloodshed and enough gold to get by comfortably, for a while anyway. Curious as to what more the Peacekeepers wanted with them, they hesitantly returned to the main headquarters in the city square. A familiar face opened the door for them as they arrived.

"Nice to see you survived," Drisana said to Buster, his once mangled arm now in a cast. The bald man smiled as he ushered them in. Kiefer appeared beside him from a side door and gave them both a quick bow. "Did you miss me ladies?" he asked with a smirk.

"In your dreams, Kiefer. Why are we here?" asked Nessa, once again getting right to the point.

"Because I summoned you," replied another man further in with long, black hair. He stood an entire head taller than Kiefer and judging from his uniform was of much higher rank. "I am Commander Florin. Please take a seat."

After they all got settled, the commander continued. "While the threat to our city has been removed, it seems the plans of the Shadowstar cult extended farther - including our neighbouring city of Dranner. My scouts have reported that the entire city has been over run by horrible creatures, seemingly being drawn there by some malevolent power. We need to find whatever is controlling these beasts and put an end to it now, before there are too many to contend with."

"You want us to go there..." began Drisana.

"Yes! By all accounts the two of you have the most experience in fighting the cult so far and I would like all the expertise I can muster to keep my troops safe. Do you know how many men died cleaning out the ruins below? Only a third of the entire expedition made it back, and half of those are going back in to defend the yet unexplored deep roads that connect to the underground ruin. Quite frankly we are short on time and man power. The two of you helped save this city once, I am simply asking that you do it again while there is a city still left to save. If money is what you care about then I can assure you it will be worth your while."

Drisana looked at Nessa who also was thinking it over.

Finally, Nessa whispered to her. "It's what Nerith would have done."

Drisana sighed. "Fine, we're in."

The commander smiled. "Excellent. Prepare yourselves and rest well. We will move out at first light."

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Nameless: Belief

[Day 27 of Blaugust 2015!]
[This is part of my Creative Writing Experiment.]

Pale and tense from the sight of the giant's face, Nessa managed to relax when Drisana put a reassuring hand on her shoulder and realized that she was looking at a statue. A whole row of large stone statues that, while not as large as the giant himself, all bore his exact, crazed visage. Nessa breathed a sigh of relief and hoped none of her allies realized the warm trickle down her leg was not perspiration. Fortunately they were all examining the odd stone work.

"These look like something we ran into at Shadowstar," spoke Drisana as she advanced carefully.

"Looks like they were put here recently too," muttered Kiefer as he ran a finger along the edge of the stone. "There's not as much dust on them."

"Golems," spat Hortag as he found a small panel hiding a magical gem. "Best we destroy them now while they lie dormant."

Kiefer needed no further prompting as he and the rest of his team began pulling out the magical stones. Nessa watched from outside as Drisana also began to help them. That's when movement at the edge of her vision caught her attention. A floating orb of eyes and teeth had turned the corner and was coming straight for her! Without hesitation, Nessa dove forward into the statue warehouse just as a blazing beam scorched the area she was just standing in.

Seeing this, Hortag, Dorhum and Buster quickly stacked up on the side of the door while Kiefer and Drisana pulled Nessa behind one of the statues. Before Nessa could speak any warning the monster had reached the door and blew apart the statue next to them with another blast. Taking this as his cue, Buster charged around the corner with his heavy mace but as he swung the floating creature took the initiative and caught his arm in its sharp teeth then spinning around like a top, released the poor fellow into another statue, sending a whole row of them toppling over.

Hortag and Dorhum charged it next and while the older man used his pike to prod the monster's mouth, Dorhum rolled underneath it and spun around with all his might - hacking right into his enemy with his battle axe. Having never encountered such a beast before they didn't realize the repercussions of such an act as the spherical creature popped into a misty green poisonous cloud. Kiefer had stood up to run to their rescue but Drisana held him back firmly as there was nothing more he could do other than watch his two subordinates cough, vomit and defacate uncontrollably before finally collapsing into steaming melted puddles of flesh on the ground.

A sudden blast from the other side of the statues betrayed the presence of another eye beast, but this one was popped easily as Nessa threw a sword cleanly into its center. Unwilling to risk encountering more of these Kiefer quickly regrouped the team atop the conscious Buster, and pulling out a magical medallion which looked very similar to one the girls had seen before, concentrated and in an instant all four of them were back at Kiefer's office in the city.

"Get him to the healers," ordered Kiefer as he began to run for the door. "I need to alert my commander!"

"At least he believes us now," muttered Nessa as he left.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Nameless: Deeper

[Day 26 of Blaugust 2015!]
[This is part of my Creative Writing Experiment.]

As they followed the eight legged creature, the tunnels became even more dense with thick webbing to the point that each member of the party had to take great care where they passed or be caught by the sticky strands and worse, possibly summon more spiders. Eventually, Drisana found what she was looking for. A large section of floor from the tunnel had collapsed into a lower level that seemed to be hewn from stone. They gingerly climbed down one at a time and from their faces Drisana could see that even Kiefer's team had never seen this forgotten ruin before. It was then she had the feeling that she was being watched.

Glowing red eyes peered from the dark. There was more than one spider. The team barely had time to prepare as the gigantic insects attacked, with their venomous bites. Fortunately this meant they had to stoop down and put their faces right where the adventurers could stab them. While Drisana and Nessa managed to slay one together, Kiefer and his entire team proved that they weren't just some inexperienced chumps, managing to slay one each. The remaining spiders must have decided they were too dangerous and retreated into the darkness where they would hold the advantage. Kiefer wasn't stupid enough to give chase, instead opting to push on into the ruins where slowly the tangle of webs gave way to moss coated corridors.

A familiar clicking noise alerted the girls right away as they shepherded the team behind the nearest corner. Carefully peering around they were surprised to see not giant ants but man sized mantises patrolling the passages up ahead. They also were brandishing what seemed to be crude bone weapons. Not willing to alert these creatures to their presence, Kiefer signaled the team to go around another way with less moss, finding another set of stairs going down.

This section of the ruin seemed abandoned entirely, which was a good change of pace as it let them relax somewhat.Knowing that they were getting fatigued, Kiefer signaled them to stop and got Buster to help him try open one of the ancient doors nearby in hopes of finding a secure place to rest. As the doors rumbled open Nessa tossed a torch in and saw a terrifyingly familiar, huge bearded face with crazed eyes: the giant that devoured Sharon at the Temple of Shadowstar.

Monday, 24 August 2015

Nameless: The Rats Nest

[Day 25 of Blaugust 2015!]
[This is part of my Creative Writing Experiment.]

"The Rats Nest" was aptly named thought Nessa as she kicked away yet another giant rat in the winding maze of sewer tunnels. Other strange humanoids lived here too, but they were easily fought back or simply bypassed as they slept. According to Kiefer there was another group who handled population control but even they failed to kill all the prey down here. Nessa just figured they were sloppy hunters, but she kept that to herself.

Drisana had told Kiefer early on that whatever they were looking for would probably be at the deepest level so eventually after taking a number of ladders deeper down into the depths, they found themselves in what looked like extremely decrepit tunnels that were no longer used. "Last floor," muttered Buster as they arrived. Apart from layers of spider webs, it didn't seem like there was anything until Drisana spotted glowing red eyes watching them from the darkness. Not a pair of eyes. Eight of them. Hanging upside down, the monstrous spider began crawling towards them but a few loose bricks thrown by Dorhum dissuaded it to retreat into another tunnel.

"Don't worry, none of us be spider food," said the heavily bearded fellow, clearly proud of his rock throwing skills.

"What does that thing eat down here?" asked Drisana.

"Rats, bats or... perhaps of those wandering creatures from upstairs," suggested Hortag.

"Like us?" asked Kiefer slyly.

Drisana wasn't convinced. There were no bones here to indicate any of those had been down here recently. The spider was also far too large to have climbed up the narrow ladder pipe to hunt on higher floors and too big to just be sustained by wandering vermin. Undeterred, she began walking after it. Seeing this, Dorhum quickly ran in front of her to block her path.

"Whoa lady, are you crazy?" he asked.

Drisana grinned and picked up another loose brick.

"I trust you'll keep us safe," she said with a smirk as she pushed it into his chest.

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Jurassic Attack / City

[Day 24 of Blaugust 2015!]

Jurassic Attack

Aka. when CGI fails to blend with live action.

Some soldiers on the hunt for an evil general stumble upon an uncharted crater deep in the amazon. One filled with DINOSAURS! Not just one type either, there's a whole bunch here and they are pretty decently animated. Unfortunately, they are also not well shaded and really don't interact well with the live action bits going on around them which makes it even more ludicrous to watch. To be fair, some of the gunfire also makes no noise for some reason so if the real life bits aren't interacting well with itself I suppose there's really a problem huh? :P

I'm totes real man.

The plot, which involves a pretty optimistic outlook on the number of survivors in aircraft crashes, is a pretty stock standard escape the predators scenario and just to tick that B-grade movie also fulfills the requirement of having any female cast member have shots in their undies. There's also bad acting to be had as well as the slightly bigger problem that the main protagonist is a douche bag. I was starting to like the "bad guy" more and more as the movie went on. Anyway, if you are looking for a "so bad it's good" movie this might fit the bill but taking it on the level I'm giving it one CGI dino out of five, and stamping my don't bother watching stamp on it.


Jurassic City

Totally unrelated to the first movie, yet could have been.

A secret government agency has been keeping dinosaurs captive in a secure site, but when it's proven the site is not as secure as it needs to be Captain "grenade launcher" is sent to divert a transport bringing more dinosaurs (from where exactly is never specified) into the parking garage of a detention facility which happens to also house a recently apprehended serial rapist/killer and a bunch of really moronic girls.

Hey dinosaur! Want to get into the spa with us?

You can tell the quality of the film when at the five minute mark they already get to the section of mandatory female undressing. Like Jurassic Attack, the dinos are actually animated passably - however they fail to interact with the live action stuff convincingly. It also features characters who you are actively willing to get killed which is never good especially if they are the protagonists. It's kinda sad since I am a Ray Wise fan but I have no choice - don't bother watching this movie. I give it one CGI dino out of five.

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Nameless: Ladies First

[Day 23 of Blaugust 2015!]
[This is part of my Creative Writing Experiment.]

Kiefer scratched his beard as he read the unfurled manuscript in the candle light. After letting out a sigh he turned his attention to the two women sitting across his desk. He noticed one was missing a few fingers on her left hand.

"So you believe there is some sort of danger lurking in the sewers beneath this city? Something that might have come from Shadowstar temple?" he asked them.

Drisana nodded. "Those scrolls we brought back should be proof enough, but if you still don't believe us go send someone to check our story. Even if the dragon is decomposing, the hole in the side of the tower should still be there."

Kiefer sighed. As a peacekeeper of Deepwater it was his job to look into matters such as this, and while the scrolls were indeed compelling he couldn't be sure of their authenticity. Running a hand through his messy hair as he leant back in his chair he finally said "If I decide to check this out, are the two of you willing to tag along?"

"Yes," Drisana said without hesitation before looking at Nessa, who just nodded quietly while holding the stubs of her missing digits.

"Alright then," replied the peacekeeper as he stood up from his chair and looked to the solidly built, hairless man guarding the door. "Buster, get the boys. We're going into the rat's nest first thing tomorrow morning."

"As for the two of you," focusing back on the women. "You can stay in the cells here tonight. It's not the cleanest but it's safe, free and I'll make sure Dorhum brings you a meal as well."

Despite his tone both girls knew that it wasn't an invitation, however they were simply too tired to decline.

The sun had only just begun to rise when Dorhum, a large man with an overgrown beard, pulled open the large metallic grate leading into the sewers upon the watchful gaze of Buster and Keifer. At the same time Hortag, a more elderly gentleman with silvery hair handed Drisana and Nessa their previously confiscated equipment. Seeing Nessa fumble with her left handed blade the old timer also offered her a plain wooden shield - a much easier piece of equipment to handle with three fingers.

"All set?" asked Kiefer as they finally approached the entrance. Nessa nodded.

"Ladies first."

Friday, 21 August 2015

Nameless: Liquid Fire

[Day 22 of Blaugust 2015!]
[This is part of my Creative Writing Experiment.]

The red robed figure applauded the four remaining adventurers as they finally entered his chamber at the top floor of the Shadowstar Temple. Not one to hesitate, Tanglor let out a loud battle cry as he rushed straight at his target and was caught completely by surprise when the figure tossed off the robe right at him and quickly transformed into a large red dragon!

Since the ornate ceiling here was much taller than any floor before, the monster had no problem extending its wings as it roared back at the interlopers. Confused and terrified by the beast's horrible visage Tanglor could only quake in his boots and wet himself as the great beast opened its maw wide and bathed him in liquid fire, leaving nothing but a charred skeleton clutching a melted axe.

The girls who were farther back had more time to evade, and flanked the beast, weaving under and jumping over claw strikes and tail swipes while trying to land attacks of their own. It soon became clear that light slashes would not pierce the creatures armored scales so, with grit teeth and careful timing Nessa rammed both her blades deep into the dragon.

The beast responded with a heavy strike of its own, and being unable to retrieve her weapons or dodge properly Nessa could only try block the attack poorly, the force of which knocked her off her feet. Coughing blood and in agony she was horrified to find the last two digits on her left hand had been severed.

Amber, thinking that it was her chance to strike, then leaped upon the back of monster thinking that it would be eager to finish Nessa off. In mid leap she realized her mistake as it suddenly turned around with its maw wide open, catching her upper half in its mouth with such force that she dropped her two handed sword.

Not wasting any time the dragon bit through her and using a free claw ripped Amber's legs away, tossing them aside while it swallowed the rest of its still screaming meal by tilting its head back. Nessa could only look on in shock as the bulge in the monster's throat that used to be her ally quickly made its way down to it's belly.

The swallowing action gave Drisana the opening she was waiting for though as she quickly charged in, picked up Amber's discarded blade and sliced deeply through the beast's long neck, causing it to drop its head. With as much force as she could muster she then thrust the blade upwards, piercing through the tissue underneath the jaw, up through the tongue, through its brain and out the other side.

Its eyes wide with surprise, the dragon stumbled backwards and lost its balance, crashing through the wall and falling to the distant ground below. Drisana peered out from the large hole and confirmed that the monster was indeed dead before seeing to Nessa's injuries. It was fortunate that this floor was well furnished too and held enough materials that the girls could re-purpose into helping them climb down safely.

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Nameless: The Challenge

[Day 21 of Blaugust 2015!]
[This is part of my Creative Writing Experiment.]

Nessa was still hugging Nerith's dead body when an apparition of a red robed man appeared before them.

"There you are, impudent intruders," it spoke. "How dare you enter MY tower and disrupt MY plans! You know there is no escape. Give up now and I may yet be merciful."

"Oh, there's the coward," said Tanglor loudly while pointing his axe at the still speaking illusion. "Prepare to go to hell!"

The apparition stared in amazement as the bearded man began hacking the air where it stood and laughed.

"You fools dare to challenge me!? Very well, I shall await for you at the top of the tower. Defeat me, and freedom is yours."

As the ghostly figure vanished Tanglor looked around confused, but a reassuring pat on the head from Amber settled him down. Behind her, Nessa stood up quietly, wiped the tears from her eyes and then with a blade in each hand marched down another unexplored passage. The rest of the team followed in silence and eventually found another staircase, this one made of marble, leading higher up the tower.

The next floor was also almost entirely adorned with marble and had a taller ceiling, but was devoid of all decoration and furniture, bar the emplaced crystals that filled it with a bluish light. They had only taken a few steps in when suddenly a heavy, unadorned marble slab sealed the passage behind them as floating laughter filled their ears. Not bothering to even check how to reopen it, the group pressed on and upon turning the next corner they were shocked to see a large, bearded face staring back at them from down the hall.

With crazed eyes the giant began to move closer at a frightening pace despite crawling on all fours to fit in the passage. Before San Raal could utter an incantation it suddenly threw one arm forward, reaching much farther than any of them realized it could, and crushed the mage flat into an unrecognizable splat on the wall with it's mighty fist. The rest of the team immediately went into action, hacking and attacking the now outstretched limb. While Sharon used all of her dexterity to climb atop it and try run to the back of its neck. The giant saw this and shaking vigorously at the right time, caused the girl to scream, slip and fall... right into his mouth where he bit down hard, over and over, crushing her into pieces before swallowing her down.

This distracted him though, and it was all the time Drisana needed to slide rush under his throat and hack at it. In a panic, the giant tried bring his other hand forward only to have Tanglor cut across the palm with his axe, followed by dismembering a few fingers. Eventually Amber managed to do what Sharon could not, reaching the giant's back and with one double handed stab, severed its spine - killing it instantly.

Victorious, the tired but shaken survivors continued on their journey up the tower.

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Pitch Perfect 1 & 2

[Day 20 of Blaugust 2015!]

One is in tune and the other isn't.

In this comedy/musical, the college acapella group called the "Barden Bellas" has never won the championships before, and due to an embarrassing performance (and some others graduating) lose most of their old members. Basically it's a come back story, but it's one done pretty well and it surprisingly has decent actors and talented singers behind it.

I must admit I didn't have high hopes when starting this up but I was hooked from right from the acapella universal opening. It helps that the story has many funny parts and while some don't quite hit the mark the rest is pretty good.

Shower Singing Time!

It's also a clever move to let the audience know the quirky new team individually, at least the few main ones, as well as some of their adversaries. Now there were a few things I was going "huh?" about such as the whole thing taking place in college with no actual studying (other than singing) taking place but that does help with the pacing I suppose.

Also they threw in some silly excuse later how one of their number can hit notes not usually available to females along with a little bit of digital editing sound wise in the group performances but by that stage I was too invested in the characters to care. Still, the solo and duet parts usually were the best for me, and much like the cup song... I did miss them when they were gone and the movie ended. All up I give it three and a half chords out of five and, as shocked as I am to admit it, would like to see it again.


The second movie takes place three years later and much like before it opens with an embarrassing performance by the "Bellas" which lands them in hot water from the acapella committee (those two announcers are hilarious), challenging them to either win the World championship or be disbanded. Once again, there's no college and fortunately most of the cast from the first film return here along with a few new faces, including their new German rival group who are the favorites to win.

Unfortunately the story is nowhere near as good, and neither is the singing which has almost all been digitally touched and most of it is group based. Especially with the expectations from the first film I didn't really find myself saying "hey, that's pretty awesome". In fact I think I only did that in Snoop Dogg's cameo.

During the World competition you also don't really get to see any of the other groups properly - it's just a quick montage and to top it off most of the songs aren't even fully performed or have commentary over the top of them possibly to entice people to buy the music CDs. It's quite a shame that it took such a nose dive here and it only gets two chords out of five from me. I also have no intention of watching it again. Watch the first one if you haven't, but don't bother with the second outing.

Yes you did.

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Nameless: Not Everyone can Evade

[Day 19 of Blaugust 2015!]
[This is part of my Creative Writing Experiment.]

While the ominous clicking eventually faded behind them, at the top of the stairs was a well sealed stone door - one that didn't have a lock for Sharon to pick so San Raal expended more magic to blast it open and right into a room of armored soldiers and clerics of Shadowstar. While both groups were caught unprepared, Nessa's managed to react first - charging headlong into the enemy and killing many before they could even draw their weapons. Those that did were quickly over powered by her companions or stabbed in the back as they tried to flee.

It slowly dawned on them that they were back at the prison level of the temple, and following the now guarded stairs back up eventually found themselves at the entrance foyer of the temple once more, easily dispatching the squads of guards in their way through sheer combined skill and might. Upon seeing the door Amber almost made the fatal mistake of trying to touch it, only stopping short thanks to Drisana's warning. After once more using magic to collapse the passage to the cellar below, San Raal confirmed the door had the same type of trap he couldn't disarm from the prison.

With only one way to go, the group headed up into what seemed to be the cleric quarters but thanks to the ruckuss they caused downstairs it seemed that this floor was pretty empty, yet at the same time also devoid of usable windows to escape through. Sharon was just openly cursing the architect of such a place when a strange, floating, spherical creature composed of eyes and teeth quietly turned the nearby corner and upon seeing them, grinned.

Amber quickly pulled Sharon back as a beam of light shot from one of its eyes, scorching the area she had just been standing in. The blonde lady then quickly herded the rest of the team around the corner as another scorching beam missed by a few inches. "We can't fight this thing up close," she explained while moving. "The poison they breathe out fills their body and lets them levitate, but it also causes them to explode if pierced properly."

"Not a problem," San Raal muttered as he turned back with a ball of conjured lightning in his hands. Before Amber could stop him, he launched the spell as the creature hovered into view but to his horror the lightning bolt simply reflected off the hideous beast and back at the party - causing them to dodge every which way. Now caught flat footed there was no way they would be able to dodge another of the monster's beam attacks.

Without warning the creature exploded into a gaseous green mist with a large pop as a flying "spear", in reality a metal bar that had one end sharpened, pierced it from the side. Nessa had flanked it somehow caught it off guard. With the immediate threat over everyone began getting back on their feet. Everyone but Nerith who remained seated against the opposite wall. Her blackened, over-cooked face was still smoking when Nessa returned. Breaking into tears at the sight, Nessa hugged her dead sister tightly. Not everyone could evade the lightning bolt.

Monday, 17 August 2015

Nameless: Already Dead

[Day 18 of Blaugust 2015!]
[This is part of my Creative Writing Experiment.]

"Over here," called Sharon to the rest of the group spread out in the dark chamber. She and the blonde, leather clad Amber were standing in front of a strangely shaped hole in the wall that looked big enough to crawl through. Without any other exits, the simple Tanglor volunteered to go in first with a rope attached to his waist to what actually was a network of tunnels. Eventually he popped his head up into another large and dark chamber and gave the signal for the rest of the team to follow.

Having all crossed without incident, they began exploring the clearly abandoned area, making foot prints in the dust that had settled on the old stone pathways. Nerith caught herself being relieved upon encountering a regular, non animated, skeleton rotting against one of the walls. It was then that they heard the clicking, slow and distant at first, but as the clicks began to multiply and echo in the darkness the adventurers quickly formed a circle, making sure that everyone had ample firelight to see what might be coming.

"This way," urged San Raal as he noticed a draft gently sway the fire from his torch. With the clicking getting louder, the mage decided to conjure up another ball of fire to throw forward into the darkness at it had worked so well before. This time, the flame exploded into huge, black chitinous creatures - ants that stood as big as a horse. To make matters worse the force of the blast collapsed the ceiling ahead of them, forcing them to double back in search of another draft. That's when the ants began attacking en masse.

It was all they could do to push the overgrown insects back. Strangely they seemed to attack in waves, giving the adventurers room to maneuver during each lull. It was during one such lull that a single ant managed to catch Shorn by surprise, impaling his left ankle with its mandibles. Clearly it could have just severed his foot but instead it began dragging him away from the light. The panicked man screamed for help as he tried to dig his fingers into the ground.

Seeing his plight, Calandra immediately left her position to rush to his aid, swinging at the black ant with her great sword but failing to connect as it simply let go and retreated into the shadows. At that very moment another wave came forth, not just separating the team from their two companions, but effectively pushing them apart. As before, the ants withdrew once more giving Amber the opportunity to throw her torch towards Calandra's position.

There the woman sat, crying from the pain of having one of her legs severed clean off. Shorn was clearly dead, having even less limbs to speak of. Nerith stepped forward but was kept in place by her sister. The ants were baiting them.

"There are stairs going up, around... thirty meters from us," squeaked Sharon as she peered down another hall where she had thrown her torch.

Seeing the indecision from Drisana's team, San Raal muttered a quiet incantation and pointing two fingers at Calandra, shot a beam of light through the woman's face, making it explode and killing her instantly. Shocked all eyes turned to him as he defiantly returned each of their gazes.

"She was already dead."

Not being the place to argue, the remaining adventurers quickly fled to the stone staircase Sharon had found and began climbing. After a certain distance up, San Raal threw another fireball back down blocking the passage with debris to hopefully block their pursuers or at least buy them some time.

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Nameless: Preparation is the Key

[Day 17 of Blaugust 2015!]
[This is part of my Creative Writing Experiment.]

Deep in the abandoned, underground prison, the nine adventurers made their way towards a large gilded door that was barricaded from their own side. From it emanated an off putting feeling, one that made each one of them tense.

"There were fifty of us when we set out from Deepwater. Ten of us made it here. We lost half our number when we tried to get through those doors," said Calandra ominously.

"Who sends out fifty people to go looking for missing people?" scoffed Nessa much to the chagrin of her sister. Calandra just smiled softly.

"When one of those missing people is the child of nobility, fifty is actually a small number."

Having reached the door now, all of them readied their weapons... none of them edged or bladed, and instead used makeshift equipment from discarded furniture and dismantled metal bars from the prison cells. As Calandra gave the signal, Shorn and Tanglor dismantled the barricades off one side and opened it. Beyond was only darkness and silence but Drisana thought she could see shapes moving in there.

San Raal stepped forward and whispering an incantation flung suddenly flung a great ball of flame through the portal, lighting up the army of skeleton soldiers milling around in the darkness and destroying a small batch with the sheer force of the spell. Agitated, the hordes began to march through the open door but were being clubbed into dust as they marched through the narrow passage. They were the reason why this temple had been abducting people and spiriting away corpses: to construct an undead army.

Ever so slowly the numbers of the skeletons decreased at the cost of only minor injuries to the defenders and after a long, arduous battle all the adventurers remained standing over the large pile of broken bones and dust. Despite being sore and tired they quickly worked together to clear the corpses from the door so that it could be sealed and barricaded once more before taking the time to properly rest, tend wounds, and collect equipment from their long dead adversaries.

Only when they were properly rested did they open the door once more, and this time with torches held high, they ventured out into the inky black darkness.

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Dragon Age: Redemption and Dawn of the Seeker

[Day 16 of Blaugust 2015!]

No blights to be found in either! :P

Dragon Age: Redemption

Elven Qunari assassin Tallis (played by Felicia Day) is tasked with retrieving one of their mages who recently escaped from a Chantry prison. Her quest is somewhat complicated when she encounters a Templar going after the same target. Now if all those terms don't make a lick of sense to you, don't fret - the opening scrolling text (not really the best way to do an opening after it was done to death by all movies named "Star Wars") does a pretty good job of describing the little bit of the Dragon Age world you need to know.

She's cute. :3

The story itself is simple but is decent enough for a 40 minute tale which sticks to the game lore very nicely and is coupled with decent camera work to keep it interesting. Yes it is slightly low budget but at least they got the higher tier of LARPers to fill up the back drop. Surprisingly the acting is very good from the main characters and at least on the passable level for everyone else (which is more than I can say for Jurassic Shark for example). The only thing that slightly irks me is the inconsistency of the magic shown. One lightning bolt can be shrugged off, another knocks you down and another is fatal. What?

Still a decent little flick that I actually recommend to Dragon Age or Felicia Day fans and one I wouldn't mind watching again. I give it two randomly powered lightning bolts out of five.


Dragon Age: Dawn of the Seeker

Unlike the live action tale above, this one is fully animated and pretty decently too. It follows Cassandra, a Seeker (sect of the Templars) as she stumbles upon and tries to unravel a sinister plot by apostate blood mages seeking to destroy the Chantry in Orlais. Cassandra is one violent chick and there is a good amount of blood coupled with a tiny bit of gore to be had here but again magical inconsistency is somewhat irksome.

Not shy with the blood.

Other than saying it goes longer than Redemption I don't want to say much more in case I give the plot away. All up I give Dawn of the Seeker two and a half magic potions out of five and also wouldn't mind watching it again. Strangely though, despite my own scores,  I'd watch Redemption over this one if given a choice.

Friday, 14 August 2015

Nameless: Captives

[Day 15 of Blaugust 2015!]
[This is part of my Creative Writing Experiment.]

With the main entrance magically sealed and a surprising lack of large, openable windows, the girls were left with few options. While Sharon voted they try go higher to find another exit, the others out-voted her in descending to the lower levels to try free the other captives. There was strength in numbers after all. At the end of the large cellar was a spiraling staircase leading deeper underground. More of the armored guards patrolled here so they were very careful to move quietly without torch light and only engage stragglers in quick, silent skirmishes if necessary.

Eventually they came across what seemed to be a strangely unguarded but empty prison block, yet all the gates were locked and the ones blocking the torch lit hallways needed to be picked or broken open. As they turned a corner they suddenly found an occupied cell, and from behind the bars stood Cecilia. After exchanging a moment of shock, Cecilia spoke "You don't look like guards, who are you?"

"C...Calandra?" asked Sharon meekly from the back of the group. The woman nodded, shocked that the strangers knew her name.

"Your twin sister hired us to rescue you," explained Drisana as Sharon went to work again on the lock. "I'm sorry to say she... she didn't make it."

Sharon stopped her work as she noticed other figures in the room behind Calandra.

"They are what's left of my group," said the woman as she looked back at them and signaled them closer. "Shorn, Tanglor, Amber, and San Raal."

It occured to Drisana that unlike Insal, all these people were actually still armed, albeit poorly. She put one hand on Sharon's shoulder to prompt her to continue picking the lock but also squeezed gently to her know that she should do it slowly. "How did you get stuck here?" Drisana asked politely.

"Same way you did," muttered Shorn, a bearded stocky fellow. "We walked in."

Seeing the blank expressions on their faces Shorn just laughed and unlocked the cell door from his side, "Some rescue you are!"

At this the girls jumped back, weapons at the ready but Calandra quickly moved between the two groups, hands raised to prevent any violence.

"Please calm down. We were ambushed just before dawn in the nearby forests and those of us that surrendered were forced to help carry our dead down here. Eventually the soldiers let their guard down and we managed to take some of their equipment and flee here. We didn't know why they didn't follow us, but it soon became clear when we tried to leave."

"The first one who touched the door went BOOM!" exclaimed Tanglor with expressive hand gestures. Like Shorn, he was also a stocky and bearded fellow though apparently more simple.

"A magic trap," coughed the thin and dark skinned San Raal who seemed to be doing the worst of all of the captives, leaning heavily on a broken table leg he was using as a cane. "One that is difficult to dispel."

"You've been in here for how long... surely there's another way out?" spat Nessa in her usual non-polite manner. The other group looked to one another before Shorn spoke up again. "Oh, we found one but you're not going to like it."

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Nameless: Not that Way

[Day 14 of Blaugust 2015!]
[This is part of my Creative Writing Experiment.]

The trail of blood led down some stone stairs into a dark and dank torch-lit cellar. There the girls found Cecilia's bloody corpse, her throat cut from ear to ear, and standing atop her was the balding monk who was busy violating her mouth. Nessa, who was in the lead, wasted no time in beheading the clueless bastard. They were all startled to then hear a nearby voice that said "Oh well done! That bastard had it coming."

Nerith, flanked by Sharon and Drisana, moved deeper into the large chamber, lifting her torch higher and found what seemed to be a small iron cage. In it was a short smelly man, devoid of all belongings.

"I am Insal," the prisoner said. "Be good girls and get me out of here, will ya?"

"Why are you being held captive? Are there more prisoners around here?" asked Drisana while Sharon started working on picking the lock.

"I was... entertainment mainly," replied Insal, his gaze now watching Sharon's deft hands. "There was another group brought in not too long ago but they were taken downstairs, and other than the guards no one has ever comes back from there. Sorry I can't be of any more help..."

As soon as the lock clicked open, Insal suddenly burst out of the cage - snatching a bag of supplies from Sharon's waist as he ran past and up the stairs. Nessa was the fastest to react, chasing right after him but the little fellow was too quick and remained out of her reach. He gave one last grin at his pursuers as he ran for the main entrance, but upon putting his hand on the door to open it he suddenly was flooded with searing magical energy. After screaming in agony for just two seconds he suddenly exploded - sending pieces of himself all over his pursuers and redecorating the foyer in grisly, dripping blood red.

Though none of the team spoke it was clear they weren't going to be getting out that way.

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Nameless: Ambush

[Day 13 of Blaugust 2015!]
[This is part of my Creative Writing Experiment.]

A loud noise startled Drisana awake. Through blurred vision she could see that she was still in the foyer area of the temple and that her companions were also asleep where they sat. She didn't remember falling asleep though. Concerned she quickly shook the sisters and Sharon in an attempt to wake them. It was only then that she noticed the chairs of both Cecilia and the bald monk were empty. A blood trail led through the next door deeper into the temple. At that exact moment two figures filled the doorway, it was the monk who brought the cups and the bigger one who had brought the cauldron. Something caught the light in their hands.


Drisana quickly drew her own blades as the smaller monk headed towards her friends while the bigger one focused his attention on her, putting himself in between the groggy woman and her allies. In with a sudden rush, the big man thrust at her but Drisana managed to parry the strike away and at the same time stabbed the man's throat with a dagger of her own causing him to stagger to his knees before dropping dead. She saw the smaller monk had also been caught unaware as Nerith, who had still been pretending to sleep, suddenly stabbed him through the heart.

While Nerith retrieved her sword from his corpse, two more men then arrived and it was clear that these were no clerics. They wore scale mail armor and upon seeing the girls awake, drew their curved swords as they advanced into the room. They were quite skilled too, driving back both Nerith and Drisana against the wall while evading any counter attacks the women threw back at them. They didn't realize Nessa had woken up too though, and having snuck up behind both of them, sliced simultaneously through the exposed napes of each of their necks - severing their spines.

After picking up one of the curved blades from the still bleeding out soldiers, Drisana silently gestured to the sisters to watch the inner door. They both nodded and took up positions on either side of the entry way while the ex-caravan mistress shook Sharon awake. At least her vision was clearing now, but they would need to hurry to save Cecilia - if she could even still be saved.

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Underworld: Rise / Eternal / Awakening

[Day 12 of Blaugust 2015!]

Underworld: Rise of the Lycans

A plague on both your houses! Oh... wait...

This prequel movie tells of how the vampires and lycans came to be at war in the first place. Alas, the director opted to put spoilers in for the previous two movies so I can't recommend watching this first - you'll really need to be content to watch it in order, and by doing so you'll kind of already know what happens here. The protagonists this time are Lucian the lycan (Michael Sheen) and the vampiress Sonja (Rhona Mitra) who basically just follow a much more violent and gory version of Romeo and Juliet.

Vampire Lord awesomeness.

That said it is still an entertaining film and being set in medieval times the set pieces and costumes are really cool. What really sells it for me is the inclusion once again of Viktor (Bill Nighy) who is even more bad ass than he was in the previous movies (kinda makes sense). What can I say? He's one of my favorite vampires. Doesn't top Hellsing's Alucard (because that guy is just insanely overpowered) but he's up there on the list.

Anyway I digress, I give Rise of the Lycans three fangs out of five and again recommend it to action fans, especially those that enjoy this setting. As one of those people I wouldn't mind watching this one again.


Underworld: Eternal War

It's "Eternal" because Selene obviously likes to play with her kills.

This short three piece anime is probably one you haven't heard of, and each section is devoted to Selene hunting down a trio of lycan "lords"? These tales span a huge number of years which again makes watching it out of sequence (has to be after Rise of the Lycans) quite spoilerific. All the events take place in the same city too which is convenient for reusing backdrops. The angular character art gets takes some getting used to as well but it's passable enough with an ok amount of violence and gore.

Selene: What happened to my face?

There are tons of negatives though. The voice actors for most characters are sub par, and really the plot is on the side of being ridiculous. The bad guys clearly have no chance so it's confusing as to why Selene only downs one of them every x number of years when she was killing worse things in the movie at a faster rate. I can maybe let the first encounter slide with the pre-knowledge that the silver bullets were not as insta-fatal as their upgrades but come on.

There's also a scene in a whore house where girls wearing nothing but G-strings are surprised by the entry of a character and in the next shot all of them are armed with automatic rifles firing like mad. Yeah. What the f... Anyway, I give this one fang out of five and declare it as Not Worth Watching!


Underworld: Awakening
More action, less story.

The humans (who definitely speak English now, thank you Underworld: Evolution for confusing yourself) have learned of the vampires and lycans and have opted to just kill both sides, and they are doing a fantastic job of it managing to capture even Selene (Kate Beckinsale is back). After yet another time skip, Selene awakens in a world where most of non-humans are gone and spends most of her time trying to protect the little girl that set her free.

Seems humans never learn to make smaller air ducts.

I suppose it's worth noting that each movie after the first has a shorter and shorter running time. This one is the quickest movie as there is not a lot going on and most of the plot is predictable, with some exceptions given Selene's new abilities from being powered up in Evolution. They also try to cover up the light plot with tons of violence, which gets a thumbs up from me but I saw what they did there...

As nice as it was to see Kris Holden-Ried  (Dyson in Lost Girl), Charles Dance (Tywin Lannister in Game of Thrones) and Theo James (Four in Divergent) all in the same film it simply isn't up to scratch as the rest of the series and I give it two fangs out of five. I still would watch it again but would prefer any of the others first.

Monday, 10 August 2015

Nameless: Sharing a Meal

[Day 11 of Blaugust 2015!]
[This is part of my Creative Writing Experiment.]

"Oh, dear you are all soaked!" exclaimed the balding cleric who opened the door for Cecilia and her team, ushering them into a small welcoming foyer area with plain wooden benches and a warm fire roaring in the nearby fireplace. "Please, take a seat while I fetch some towels, blankets and perhaps a hot meal?"

"I'm looking for my sister," said Cecilia directly, her hand moving up to the pommel of her sword. "Last I heard, she was coming here."

The cleric looked confused. "I'm sorry, but you are the only visitors we've had in a while... what does your sister look like?"

"She's my identical twin," replied the knight immediately.

Clearly at a loss the cleric simply bowed respectfully. "I'm terribly sorry, but you are the only visitors we've had for weeks. Please, make yourselves comfortable for now. You would not be doing your sister any favors by going out into the forest in this rain to look for her. When it clears I will try round up some of our number to assist you."

After a short pause, Cecilia sighed and nodded. While the girls made themselves comfortable by the fire, the balding cleric closed the door and disappeared deeper into the temple. In just a few minutes he was back carrying a pile of folded towels and was followed by another two clerics, one carrying empty wooden bowls and cutlery and the other, larger one hefting a large cauldron with a delicious smelling stew which he set down on a nearby table.

Without saying a word the two worked in unison to fill each bowl and hand them out to each of their guests. The bald one sent them away afterwards, letting them leave the cauldron where it was for the time being, he then turned to the girls and spoke. "Again I apologize, you've come just a little late for meal time so this is just today's left overs from the kitchen."

"I insist you join us," Cecilia said immediately as she offered an empty stool, with an unmistakable commanding tone in her voice. Whatever excuses the bald cleric had prepared clearly melted away as he meekly sat into the chair. The armored lady then offered the monk her bowl of stew. "You first."

The poor cleric hesitantly took a spoonful of the stew. Then another.

"This definitely lacks salt," he muttered afterwards. "I hope it's still to your liking."

Satisfied that the food was safe to eat, Cecilia nodded to the others. There was still something about this place that didn't feel right.

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Nameless: Shadowstar

[Day 10 of Blaugust 2015!]
[This is part of my Creative Writing Experiment.]

A few weeks after sailing away from the burning lands of the Wizard King, Nessa, Nerith and Drisana found themselves at the dark and dour city of Deepwater. It was also apparent that there would be no respectable jobs for foreigners such as themselves. As they walked through the dimly lit streets the sisters were arguing on the merits of the continuous rain in this region while Drisana counted her quickly diminishing pile of coin savings in her purse which only had some weight thanks to slowly selling all their equipment. A group of four ruffians did try to way lay them for all their "goods" but it was the ruffians who ended up not knowing what hit them as the girls continued what they were doing throughout the small interruption of their journey.

None of them realized that they were being watched by a short woman wrapped in a dark cloak from the shadowy rooftops.

It was only later when they stopped at a local tavern for some food that they were approached by the same woman, following behind a heavily armored lady. "I heard what you did to those guys back there," said the knight politely. "You are all very skilled! Would you be interested in a job?"

It turned out that this woman, Cecilia, was gathering together a party to search for her sister's group that went missing in some not so nearby woods recently. She also introduced to them Sharon, her first mercenary who upon pulling off the hood of her cloak appeared far too young for a girl going on adventures. Still, it sounded like a worthwhile task and the foreign girls needed the money so after Drisana managed to haggle a better price, including getting some coin up front for supplies they agreed and soon found themselves headed out into the forest.

"What was your sister doing out here anyway?" questioned Nerith inquisitively as the team trekked through the dark forest. The canopy wasn't particularly thick, it was just the unending rain clouds above that just made everything feel so ... oppressive. The howls of some distant wolves clearly put Sharon on edge as she put one quivering hand on the hilt of her sheathed dagger.

"She was investigating the disappearances of other people," answered Cecilia plainly as they suddenly walked out of the tree line and into a large clearing. In the center stood a large compound made of marble.

"That's the Temple of Shadowstar," continued Cecilia without missing a step as the rain picked up a notch. "While the sect within has never openly broken the laws of the land, they are very secretive and doesn't take kindly to trespassers. It's also where we will begin our search."

Saturday, 8 August 2015

Nameless: Victorious

[Day 9 of Blaugust 2015!]
[This is part of my Creative Writing Experiment.]

As they turned the corner to the front gate an arrow struck Nessa in the shoulder, dropping her to the floor. This seemed to wake Nerith up as she scrambled to drag her sister back into cover. While doing so, she saw that the gates had been breached with soldiers beginning to pour in. Only Chaya remained on her feet upon the parapet, somehow still fighting back the enemy horde. There was no way to get to her. On the other side the telltale clicks of the scorpion men grew ever closer and Nerith broke down into tears as she looked at her wounded sister. Having no more options she held her magical amulet in her hand and hugged Nessa.

In a flash they were suddenly in the midst of smoking debris and dead bodies. At first Nerith thought it didn't work, that they didn't get transported back to the Sand Market but upon closer inspection that was exactly where they were. "The Wizard King didn't take kindly to my helping you," said a sad, broken voice from behind some smoke.

As it cleared, Nerith saw that it was Drisana - the caravan mistress. She was covered in ash, beaten, and wore only what seemed to be dirty rags that didn't belong to her. The two women silently stared at each other for a moment before they both turned their attention to the injured Nessa and wordlessly removed the arrow and dressed the wound with fabrics torn from her sister's attire.

"What do we do know?" asked Nerith blankly as she blinked back tears.

"We start over," replied Drisana. "Somewhere else. Fortunately the soldiers didn't take from me what they couldn't find so I think I can get us passage across the sea."

"But the Wizard King..." began Nerith, with a clear edge of rage to her voice.

"The Wizard King has won," interrupted Drisana forcefully. "At least for now."

Without the heart to continue arguing, Nerith just looked back at her sleeping sister then across the smouldering field of debris.

Friday, 7 August 2015

Underworld / Evolution

[Day 8 of Blaugust 2015!]


Proving that vampires and lycans CAN get along.

The vampires have hunted their racial enemies, the lycans, almost to extinction. Or so they thought. The gorgeous leather clad death dealer vampiress Selene (Kate Beckinsale) catches on to the ploy the lycans are undertaking but since her coven basically refuses to back her, she takes drastic measures to get them on side which inadvertently just makes things worse.

Fire and fangs!

The plot here focuses on a lot of action, effects and tons of violence with a dash of gore backed by a pretty good and tight story. All of it takes place at night, but that's understandable I suppose. Everyone is up to scratch acting wise, especially Bill Nighy's Viktor who is a fantastic character. It's also kinda funny to see Wentworth Miller with hair (he's just an extra in this film). Negatives wise, it's a little puzzling how vamps and lycans are really bad shots with firearms, and that Selene's autopistols don't need reloading more often. Also after the opening few minutes it seems the entire city is deserted of ordinary people which is somewhat odd.

Despite that this is a fantastic flick, one I give four and a half fangs out of five to and would definitely watch it again. If you haven't seen it already I suggest you do! Alas it is also the best in the Underworld series as things just go downhill from here. :P


Underworld: Evolution

Where no one asks how Hungary people are. No, that's not a typo.

The sequel of Underworld, this film begins with a flashback intro for the new, scary antagonist. It didn't need to be there but it works pretty well as an action opening and as an excuse for more Viktor (Bill Nighy) screentime which I give a huge thumbs up to. The rest of the film is also littered with flashbacks which isn't so great if you haven't seen the first one. Anyway, Selene (Kate Beckinsale) and her new ally are on the run from the new big bad but end up having to try stop him from unleashing something terrible on the world.

Oh he's not so bad...

There's a new faction introduced, a plot-device doohickey, and a good dose of amnesia in the plot which makes it somewhat clunky. Also, I'm somewhat confused as to the Hungarian(?) tavern scene as I didn't get the feeling that they traveled that far away from the initial mansion. Everyone else in the previous movie and in this movie speak English. Only the locals and authorities of that one place didn't. It was very odd.

I did quite like that those same locals are ironically -MUCH- better with firearms than both the vamps and lycans. Fortunately the action, violence, CGI and gore are still all up to scratch too, and the inclusion of daylight hours made for a good change. Not as good as the first movie but still a decent enough action flick, I still would watch it again and give it three fangs out of five.

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Nameless: The Siege

[Day 7 of Blaugust 2015!]
[This is part of my Creative Writing Experiment.]

The enemy army was not easily dissuaded by the large shards of broken glass along the path. While Chaya and the others exchanged arrows with the opposition, other soldiers ran forward to shovel a clear path to Tea Kettle's gates. In front of them was a mobile wall of shields on a log stand that protected many of them from the incoming fire. Every so often Jasmine could break this wall with her magic, but there seemed to be an endless supply that they would simply bring up.

A loud explosion followed by a scream from the opposite side of the village startled the defenders. "Go," nodded Chaya to Jasmine and the sisters of the sand. "I'll handle things here." Leaving their bows and arrows for whoever could man the wall, the girls quickly made their way to the source of the noise and were horrified to find that monstrous creatures had managed to dig their way in and were now tearing into the few defenders they had left. These giants looked like a combination of half-man, half-scorpion similar to the creatures they first encountered in Dagolar's laboratory. This was no coincidence.

Without wasting a moment the gladiatrixes rushed into the fray, slicing and hammering the monsters to death only to find more of them emerging from the hole despite Jasmine's best attempts to collapse it. A loud grinding noise and a strange shadow caught Nerith's eye for a moment and time seemed to slow down as she turned her head to see a massive stone golem about to land on the hapless blonde mage. With a ground shaking splat, pieces of Jasmine flew everywhere. Nerith's hands shook as she looked down to discover one of Jasmine's eyeballs on her palm.

Indas flew into a rage, attacking the ugly stone construct and with a mighty swing of her hammer shattered one of the golem's stubby stone fingers. Despite her size she was too fast for it to swing at and with another strike Indas had destroyed its right knee. As she came in to finish it off the golem somehow grabbed a piece of a nearby hut and threw it right into her though - sending her flying right towards the hole in the ground.

Nerith could do nothing as she watched her friend try to get to her feet, only to be stabbed in the back by one of the scorpion stingers as the creature grabbed one arm in each of it's black pincers. A second scorpion monster quickly stabbed her in the front too while grabbing her muscular legs, then in unison they ripped her limbs apart in a shower of blood.

At that point something pulled Nerith away, back towards the center of the village. It was her sister.

"We need to get out of here," Nessa said, but Nerith was in too much shock to hear.

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Nameless: Buying Time

[Day 6 of Blaugust 2015!]
[This is part of my Creative Writing Experiment.]

With a gleeful smile on his face and a wave of his hand, King Tectuk shattered the glass tornado into smaller fragments but instead of them raining down on his own troops he sent them flying at an incredible speed towards those infidels that dared to defy him. "Retreat!" was all Chahl could yell as he soiled himself just before watching his own hand get dismembered by a shard of glass, followed by his leg and then... the rest of him.

It was not going well for the warriors below either, suffering massive losses from the glass rain. Those not being killed were pinned - taking cover behind rocky outcrops or Jasmine's magical shield as minced pieces of their leader and their friends rained down upon them. While the terrifying attack quickly passed, it did leave a field full of sharp glass pieces that would make any movement a risky affair, especially if they hoped to retreat into the walled village. With the enemy army having reformed ranks and again on the move towards them there was no choice but to try it though.

Concentrating on the path back, the blonde mage magically separated the top sand along with any glass pieces embedded on it to create a safe path through. "Go quickly," Jasmine ordered. "I don't know how long I can hold it." While the other survivors fell back in single file, Indas noticed that Jasmine herself wouldn't be able to move and concentrate at the same time so the huge lady waited to be the last one and simply decided to carry the mage with her. "Don't stop," she muttered through her broken teeth.

The enemy archers who were now in range began to fire arrows at the retreating column, hitting more than a few off the path into the glass riddled sand. Indas also took an arrow to the back, but simply shrugged off the pain until she made it to safety where other allies quickly treated the wound. With no more allies coming behind them, Jasmine put the "glassed" sand back on the path to hopefully buy some time before Nerith and Nessa shut and barred the gate. Exhausted from effort the sorceress sat down on the floor next to Indas and looked at the dwindling number of people they had left, including the archers Chaya was organizing on the parapet above her. Things did not look good.

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Nameless: The Wizard King

[Day 5 of Blaugust 2015!]
[This is part of my Creative Writing Experiment.]

It was a few days after Notaku's caravan had departed that the army of the Wizard King Tectuk began nearing Tea Kettle. Observing from a high outcrop, Chahl was relieved that the merchant brought with him the few citizens who were unable or unwilling to fight. As the chief expected, Tectuk had sent his largest force to stamp out this village first since it was the largest threat, and realistically none of the smaller towns would be able to withstand the sheer number of soldiers that approached from the distant horizon. The short man instinctively ran his thumb over the ornate symbols upon a small ornate jug hanging from his waist, one he had found in his younger years while adventuring through a cursed temple. One that might be able to turn the tide.

The Sisters of the Sand, along with Jasmine, Chaya and most of the combined rebel warriors waited on the open sandy plains below. While it seemed foolish to engage such a large force outside the town walls, Chahl wanted to draw them in and bait an attack. Hiding behind the walls too early could just lead to a prolonged siege, during which time Tectuk's forces would have free reign to send raiding parties to the further villages.

The soldiers were drawing close now. While the two front lines continued to march onwards the remainder slowed to a halt. As Chahl predicted, there would be no diplomacy here. The first group were likely the rawest of Tectuk's recruits, being sent in to test the enemy, to tire them out, and as fodder for whatever traps may be waiting ahead. Chahl needed to trust that his warriors below could handle them. With clashes of steel and the crackling sound of magic he watched as the enemy force seemed to engulf his own, but like a weak chain they quickly fell one after another until none were left alive.

As his forces regrouped below, the chieftain turned his attention back to the rest of the massive army that had once again begun to move forward. It was time. He uncorked the small jug and from it formed a misty blue figure. "Destroy my enemies," commanded Chahl as he pointed at the Wizard King's forces. The spirit hummed then leaped down into the sands below and began to spin like a top before the enemy front line, blinding and pushing them with whips of sand. Chahl grinned as the spirit quickly became a massive tornado of sand that slowly began to move into the enemy ranks, throwing them around like rag dolls and killing many. Those fortunate enough to not be in the path quickly began to lose their morale.

Suddenly, the cloudy skies cleared as a massive, shining column of burning light shot down right atop the tornado and turned all the spinning sand into a gigantic glass monument. Everyone on the field stopped in awe at the magnificent sight. There, on a distant ridge was a figure in gold and white robes, seated a top a magnificent throne with one hand clutching a jeweled staff raised to the heavens. It was the Wizard King.

Monday, 3 August 2015

The Amazing Spiderman (1 and 2)

[Day 4 of Blaugust 2015!]

The Amazing Spiderman

Behold the most well spoken reptilian ever.

Andrew Garfield makes a pretty decent Peter Parker, and I actually find that this rebooted Origin story works better than Tobey Maguire's version as Parker is really more involved with the development of cross-species powers. His photography hobby also is a good building block to what we know will be Peter's future profession, though you don't get to see that here as he stays a student for the duration of the story. I also quite that this Spiderman needs tech for his webbing, and that it has flaws.

But he still behaves like a spider!

Really my two main problems are the main villain, who when transformed still retains his "proper English" (you'd think he'd gain a Batman voice) and Gwen Stacey (Emma Stone) who just looks too old to be a student. I should mention that the recording Peter plays at the end is also cheap, and that there's one phoned-in death scene, but those can be over looked as it is a pretty enjoyable movie to watch. I give the Amazing Spiderman three and a half web shots out of five and wouldn't mind watching it again.


The Amazing Spiderman 2

It's not complicated. They're just stupid.

Undecided if he should keep a promise he made in the last movie, Peter and Gwen's on and off again relationship becomes a big part of the story here and it's one I find stupid. Why? Because "it's complicated" only because the two fence sitting idiots make it so. Fortunately the FX is still awesome as are the action sequences, as well as elaborating more on what Peter's parents were up to in more depth. As odd as it might seem, Jaime Foxx's quirky character is the highlight for me, as his development is pretty good and he's nowhere near as irritating as Gweeter (Gwen + Peter).

Don't worry, Spiderman will keep us safe!

Harry Osborne also makes an appearance here, and unfortunately for him his development is far more... sudden? This leads me to favour James Franco's version, though to be fair he had a lot more time and more spidey movies than this iteration. He also puts big gaping holes in the plot at the end, as any sane individual would work out. Simply put spiderman is just not as amazing in this movie as the last one, and while it's still entertaining I give it only two and a half electric eels out of five.