Writing #2

Disclaimer: it’s disorganized and kinda bad. But I wrote it with the help of some random name generators…

Chapter 1

“Grawin, I don’t mind working for you, but I’m not doing very well in Silver lately. I heard some rumors from Sergeant Hammorl with the guards that there are problems with some very large rats eating crops, passing disease, and even killing some people out at the edge of the county.” Halmar said to the owner of the town smithies. He rented out spaces for various types of workers, from goldsmiths making jewelry to blacksmiths making horseshoes.

“I see” he said. “So, you’d like to go out and work for the guard for a while, until trade gets better?”

“Yes, I’ve been thinking about this for a couple of weeks now. I talked to the guards, and I thought today would be a good day to start over there. Most of my work is done, I just have things to sell. I already know who needs the equipment that I have.”

“I see. Well, I can’t tell you that you’ll have the shop you are in now when you get back, but I’ll make sure to save a space for you. I’d hate for someone to protect our town, and come back to have lost everything as thanks for what he did.” The gnome said.

And with that, Halmar left to the local general store, to gear up. His friend on the town guard had told him that he would have work, but he would want armor, a weapon or two, a pack, something to sleep on, a blanket, and anything else would be up to him. He could stay with locals, as long as he didn’t disgrace himself. Some towns, he’d heard, didn’t allow the guards to quarter with the locals, they had to either set up camp, or leave from garrison every day. He’d be expected to pay for his quarters, and any food and drink, but the people appreciated the guard. They didn’t charge much for the little they had to offer.

He sold his few possessions, except for his leather pack, and a couple of tools (a large hammer, an iron bar, and a small length of chain, and rope). That gave him about 140 gold centuries. With that, he bought leather armor, a bastard sword (a slightly large one-hander). He also bought some candles, just a copper mug each. He found a couple of daggers that he thought he could stab with or throw effectively. With that, he left to report to Sergeant Hammorl.

Growing up in this town, he’d seen some of the guards on duty. During a shift change, the incoming guards marched up to the sergeant, and saluted, then ran to wherever they were posted for guard duty. So, he tried it. As soon as he saw the sergeant, he began his attempt at marching in a straight line towards him, but looked more like a child marching than a professional soldier. “Sergeant Hammorl, Halmar, reporting for duty killing rats.” He almost yelled. With a chuckle at the poorly executed march, the sergeant returned the salute. “Thank you for coming so quickly” he said. They’d talked about this two weeks ago, and he said this would probably be the day he could start. “For now, it looks like you’ll be alone. These rats are big, but they can be killed by one man, as long as he’s prepared. I’ll give you a couple doses of medicine that [], the healer made. It seems to cure this fever carried by the rats. Any questions, Halmar?” “Yes, where will I be starting? I know some of these fields…” and he was cut off “You’ll be starting at the point you can’t see the guard tower. I have to go to my quarters [for something]. You can head out there now.”

He began walking. He was told to walk until he could just see the top of the guard tower, and then go just a little further. The sergeant told him that it would take around an hour. The guard towers they used were tall. He’d talked to the sergeant in the afternoon. He could see now he only had a couple hours of light left. He decided that it would be a good place to stop, because he was just past seeing the top of the tower, and the next house looked like it was almost a mile away. So he knocked on the door to the nearest house, there were several in a cluster around where he was. It was a large “L” shaped building, surrounded by several outbuildings, and a mill. A woman answered the door, and started to say something, as she looked him over. “Come in, I see your guard badge.” And he walked in. “Our son works on the other side of town, guarding Port Road. He comes back every month for a day or so. Have you met him before?” “No, I haven’t, I just started today, I was a silversmith before. I usually stayed in the shop, sold directly to exporters, so not many people around town really know me. With [whatever is causing it] nobody wants the things I make, so I decided I would help fix this rat problem. I’ve seen sick and dead people in town because of it.” “yes, we haven’t had any on our property yet, but the neighbors have all had at least one rat. One of them was bitten last week!” “We have a room you can use, over our shop.” And she led him to a room over the shorter section of the building. It was a simple room, with a bed, and some basic furniture. All made of rough lumber, like the rest of the interior. But it would give him somewhere to stay. It was built to be a shop, with a room for the shopkeeper. The staircase on the side led down to a large open room with a counter along one side, and a simple kitchen. She’d told him he could store anything he needed down there, for now. She said that [the economy wasn’t doing well enough right now to open a business]. The light was dim in the room, but he had walked down to look in the kitchen, not expecting to see anything, and he heard a scratching sound out on the floor, behind a shelf. “Oh boy” he thought. “so it begins”. He had put everything else down, but he had a dagger on his belt, so was armed. He had worn his armor to make it easier to carry, and hadn’t taken that off yet either. So that would make this better. He knew he need to be closer, so he ran towards the counter, to try to jump onto it. He managed to just catch the edge of the counter with his feet, and stood. The rat heard him and started to move. It tried to jump up to the counter, but couldn’t quite reach the top, and fell back to the floor. So he made his move, and lunged for it. He caught it with his dagger, almost killing it. But before he could lean back up on the counter, it bit him in the arm. It was a pretty painful bite, he knew he would have to be careful after that. As it moved back, he lunged for its head, hitting. It fell to the floor unconscious, so he finished it off, and sat down to tend to his arm wound. After cleaning it up, and putting a bandage over it, he went up to his room for a night of sleep.

Writing. #1

This will be a little about me to start. I liked to write/imagine things as a kid. I haven’t written much in a long time, but I’ve started getting back into it. I also like games. So I’ve combined my start in RPGs (I played a little bit of D&D 3.5e, back in like 2009) with writing. I like fantasy books. So I’m using the concepts of how an RPG campaign should be and how a story should be, and combining them to make an actual story.

I also found a tool for RPG gamers, called “Hexographer”, does what it sounds like, creates hexagonal based maps. There’s a free trial version, which is all I have right now. I’ve made a map, and am trying to come up with what my starting city should look like. I probably should go through and create a database of names for various types of things, but I’m just looking up random name generators as I need them. I frequently use d20 SRD as a resource for information, they have a basic set of tools to use for developing a character, playing, and designing a world.

This is my map so far.

The names will change. Human Lands is not a very good name for a country. But it gets the point across so I don’t forget what I’m building. 🙂

my map. using inkwellideas.com Hexographer

my world. Created using Hexographer, created by http://inkwellideas.com/

My character lives in the city down in the bottom right corner. Technically a town, around 1000 people. For those not familiar, this is not all human people. He is just starting his adventuring life. After working as a silversmith in a struggling economy.

Next step will be to refine my first draft of what is labelled as chapter 1. It will probably turn into a couple of chapters, because there is some missing detail.

February

Well. It has been a while. Thank you for sticking to my blog if you have read before. If not, welcome. I will post again. Eventually.

So, since I last wrote, we moved to a small town in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. I have begun work again as a carpenter, after working for a month driving around 2 hours to work every day, an Army buddy helped me line up a job through family. I never thought I would be working in that field again! It’s been fun, but not what I expected to be doing when we moved up here. This move has been good, we had been up several times a year since we moved here four years ago. Christmas was really strange, because we woke up and weren’t sure what to do. We really got used to waking up with my wife’s family all downstairs, not in our own apartment! But ten minutes later, and we were there.

In other news, I haven’t done as much reading as I had been last Summer. But I renewed my A+ by taking some online classes in Windows 10. I am on a break from work towards my degree, after recently starting full-time work again. I have had several customers in my computer business. One was a laptop repair, another was a operating system reinstall.

There are a couple big things moving in our lives right now: My wife and I have planned to adopt since before we married (six years ago now), and are working towards adopting a little girl from Oregon. We are also working on our second home purchase. A three acre farm, about five miles from where we live now. It’s been a little rough. Because it’s old, there are things that are not up to code that need to be fixed. I will definitely be writing more about these two things as more happens.

Summer 2016

I just wanted to write a quick update here.

I just finished my second to last class – Intro to Programming, about a week ago. Now all I have left for an Associate’s degree is Algebra.

I’ve been able to continue my reading, in various things:

The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog – Bruce Perry: This one was something that came up in a podcast my wife listens to, relating to adoption. The book is about child trauma. Very interesting book, I would definitely recommend it.

Tarzan of the Apes, and The Return of Tarzan – Edgar Rice Burroughs: After watching the Disney version, interesting books. Fun to read, didn’t really put them down when I started.

Legend – Eric Blehm: This is the one I’m working through now. Its about MSG Roy Benavides, as well as the team he helped rescue from inside Cambodia during the Vietnam War, for which he was awarded the Medal of Honor. The book is well written, with lots of good little thoughts in it.

There were some others, but these are the highlights.

January Reading #2

I am continuing to progress in Tim Challies’ 2016 Visual Theology Reading Challenge. I am working in the “light” section:

  • a book your pastor recommends (Taking God at His Word, Kevin DeYoung)
  • a book about a current issue (Future Crimes: Everything Is Connected, Everyone Is Vulnerable, and What We Can Do about It)

And actually in the “avid” category:

  • a book with a Fruit of the Spirit in the title (The Law of Kindness, Mary Beeke)

My thoughts on the books

Taking God at His Word

A thought to tie my reading together. In this book, the author talks about a conversation with someone who did not believe the same thing he did about the Bible, and that without common belief, the conversation was frustrating for both of them. Sunday in church we recited the Nicene Creed, and I thought about the section in the Bohnhoeffer book that he talks about dealing with a church that had different ideas on association with the NAZI government. The point is that fellowship is based on a common bond.

Future Crimes…

I was reading something on the CIA’s FOIA webpage, regarding Vietnam (in the historical collections section), and noticed an Intelligence in Public Media page. This was something listed, and sounded pretty interesting. The outlook seems bleak, based on the part that I have read so far. Over the last few years, data breaches are becoming more frequent (the reality is probably that organizations are more aware of them than they were before).

The Law of Kindness

I am reading this one because I have been thinking, along the lines of a need for wisdom, I am not the most kind person I know, and it sounded like a really interesting title and topic. It has given me lots to think about. The big idea I have gathered in the reading done is that not being kind is being unkind.


My reading has slowed down lately because of school. I started the semester taking a Linux/UNIX class (a different operating system, if you didn’t know already), and an American Sign Language class. Last week I started Intermediate Algebra. I’m thinking about getting a really small, cheap computer that I can run Linux on, whenever I do, I’ll definitely put something here about how that goes.

 

January Reading so Far

I am starting off the year working on Tim Challies’ 2016 Visual Theology Reading Challenge, and doing pretty well so far. I have finished, in the “light” section:

  • a biography (Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy, Eric Metaxas)
  • a book for children (The Giver, Lois Lowry)
  • a mystery or detective novel (The Covenant of Genesis, Andy McDermott)
  • a book about Christian living (The Meaning of Marriage, Tim Keller)

My thoughts on the books (except for the fictional ones, I don’t really have lots of lessons to learn from them, I read them at the point I did because they are a quick fun distraction, but The Giver does have more actual merit of the two)

Marriage

The Meaning of Marriage, by Tim Keller

 

The Meaning of Marriage is a little easier to write something about. I was particularly challenged to think by one quote:

“In verses 22-24, Paul says, controversially, that wives should submit to their husbands. Immediately, however, he tells husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the church and ‘gave himself up for her’ (25), which is, if anything, a stronger appeal to abandon self-interest than was given to the woman” (pg. 45)

One of my first thoughts when I read that was of the US Army NCO Creed (it’s basically a memorable overview of Army leadership doctrine)

“My two basic responsibilities will always be uppermost in my mind – accomplishment of my mission and the welfare of my soldiers…”

I’ve been realizing that as I move up in rank (in a military or civilian sense) I become more responsible, by position, for leadership. I had a long discussion with someone last year on what this looks like from a Christian standpoint, and got the advice to look at Christ and how He lead the twelve, and interacted with those around Him. In all aspects of it, my conclusion is that sacrificial leadership, as exemplified by Jesus, is what a leader should be; as a husband, as a supervisor, and as an NCO in the military.

Overall his book was not what I expected. My philosophy is not that men are dictators in marriage, but it was still a different, and better, view of what a marriage should look like.

Bonhoeffer

Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy; By Eric Metaxas. Taken from my Audible listening app. 

 

 

Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy will be a little more of a challenge to write even a short review of.

A quick summary the events through the book. WWI ends, Germany loses territory as part of the treaty ending that war. Hitler is elected. He starts out pretending to serve the interests of Germany, so he can gain power for himself. The German church is taken over by Nazi leadership. Operation Valkyrie is begun to overthrow Hitler and gain concessions from the Allied powers, rather than defeat. That plot fails and 7000+ are arrested and many executed as a result, including Bonhoeffer in the end.

It’s a very interesting book. I’m not well versed in Theology, or who his influences were, so I will not try to discuss that side of the book. My conclusion of Valkyrie and the fact that a Theologian (even one that may have believed very differently from me) participated, makes the point again that war is not a simple thing. It’s a little easier to gather some other lessons from the events though. He was engaged before he died, and seems to have kept a very positive attitude through to the end. He wrote about getting out of prison and marrying. According to someone else he was in prison with he had a good attitude even to his captors.

New Year, New Ideas

I realize I have not posted anything on my blog in a while.

The reasons for that are twofold. One: I have been extremely busy keeping up a decent GPA in school, which is down to one more semester, and one more class after that (the one thing that got lost in the busy of last fall). On top of that I am still married and will continue to be married for the remainder of my life – which is less than half over. I have also finally finished an adoption home-study. We went with one  agency and it was not a good fit for us, so we started over, which took some time. And reason number two: I am developing focus in my life. When I started this blog, I wasn’t even in school, I just had the idea that I wanted to go into technology when I did get into school. So I’ve been having trouble keeping up the ideas I started out with.

Now for the ideas.

I continue to have an interest in reading, which seems to be focused (over the course of my life as long as I can remember) on the history of the US military from Vietnam to the present. I also continue to have an interest in computers, which is another that has existed as long as I can remember.

I started out the year thinking about what I would do with my – basically defunct – blog. Some of the thoughts I’ve had revolve mainly around the fact that as I read, I learn nothing unless I think about what I read.

The point of that is to say two things: my goals with this blog are to write about my thoughts about the many things that I read. Also to write about my journey in life, both as a man with lots to learn, and as a professional.