A little late, this week. But without further ado…
“…everything is alright?” Darla said over the communication link set up into Black Bowhuntress’ headset. “Communication went down just as you enter the District.”
“Yeah, I know,” Black Bowhuntress replied with a slight sigh. She’d already turned off the visual cams of the headset, so the crew wouldn’t see where she was going. It would be difficult enough to explain why she was going to Acadia’s apartment, let along explain who she was. “That area is hell on anything wireless. Stopped a muggin’ is all, everything’s good. I’ll check in back at base in ’bout half an hour.”
“Alright, Be Be,” Darla replied through the earpiece of the headset. “We’ll see you at base.” Chelsea stayed silent after the communication was ended. She turned off her equipment and removed her headset as she took off the mask that covered her nose and mouth.
“Had I not seen your eyes,” Acadia finally spoke up, sitting comfortably in a big, comfortable chair across from Chelsea. “I never would have known.” She paused as she took a sip of her wine. “I suppose that you were speaking with some… back up crew that helps you monitor.” Chelsea nodded wordlessly in reply. “I’ve seen you in the papers, you know. Dressed like this,” she said with a motion of her hand to indicate Chelsea’s armour. “The photos were blurry, mind you. So seeing you like this puts things into perspective. I just have one question,” she said, pausing as she looked to Chelsea. Chelsea looked up toward Acadia as she lay the headset in her lap, waiting for the question. “Why? Why do all of this?”
Chelsea smirked a bit and laughed quietly as she thought about it. There were a lot of reasons why, but none that didn’t sound remotely childish. “Let’s just say, my family sorta has it in their blood.”
“To dress up in some garish costume and put your life in danger?”
“No,” Chelsea replied as she shook her head. “It’s… a lot more then that.” She left it at that, silence filling the room as Chelsea played with her fingers and Acadia sipped her wine. Only the sound of an old grandfather clock ticked away in the background. A sound that would be easily ignored and quiet in a different situation, but now had become deafening.
“This… changes things a great deal, you know,” Acadia finally said as she set down her wine glass. “I won’t lie, our night that we had I did enjoy. But, I can’t continue with something like that, especially if there are certain skeletons in the closet.” Chelsea remained silent and nodded in reply. Somehow she had been expecting this. It always came down to this; choosing between her life as Black Bowhuntress, or a life that included someone else. No secrets, no closed doors, no lies. As much good as the figure of Black Bowhuntress did for the community, it did nothing for Chelsea. “And to find out that you are…” Acadia tried to find the appropriate words, but merely waved a hand in the direction of Chelsea again. “I can’t be with someone that puts themselves in the line of fire every single night. I will still be your friend, Chelsea, but I cannot be any more than just that.”
Chelsea held back any emotion and only nodded. She knew this was coming, but hoped that it wouldn’t. She rose to her feet and muttered quietly. “I haveta get back… ta base. Got some things need takin’ care of.”
“Chelsea,” Acadia said in a soft voice as Chelsea moved toward the door. She stopped, looking to Acadia for a moment. “From the direction you came from, I’d say that you went visiting Don Maximus.” Chelsea only nodded in reply. “Then, I think it safe to say that you will understand when I say that there is something coming. And because of what you have chosen to do, you will end up being a part of it.” Acadia sighed as she sat back in her chair. No more words were said. For Chelsea, she wished only to leave, to run. Another time when the thing she had chosen had ended up ripping apart something she’d found, and enjoyed. She remained quiet as she walked down the hallway of the penthouse flat, even in the elevator. It wasn’t until she’d returned to the quiet street below, that she began to cry.
This week, kinetic typography. And there’s a bunch. One of the first I saw was from Pulp Fiction, the famous question of “What does Marcellus Wallace look like.”
Following that up with another from Pulp Fiction, Ezekiel 25:17.
I was excited when I saw this next one. It’s the introduction of V in V for Vendetta.
The Abbott and Costello skit Who’s On First has gone down in history as being one of the most popular and well known comedy routines. Some may not even know who did it, but every one at some point in time knows the question Who’s on first.
When any zombie apocalypse happens, you need a plan. Just like in Shaun of the Dead.
Each class I feel more and more empowered, I feel stronger and more confident in what I can and can’t do. I know my limits or at least I thought I did. I’m breaking through and I will be the one who comes out on top. Every time I do a jumping side kick or a side kick number two I feel much better about bringing my feet off the floor.
Today was no exception.
The plan is to take my classes in the middle of the week to sort of break it up. Unless something happens. For example I was sick yesterday. I called the school and rescheduled for class today. It was the sort of sickness I didn’t trust myself to be leaping through the air and landing less than gracefully while my stomach contents came up. So I opted to take class today.
Today after feeling as if I had been hit by a truck and then beaten with sticks I walked away feeling like I had a huge, I mean HUGE accomplishment. It was a normal start. Walk in door number 2 bow towards the desk, walk in door three bow and say black belt attitude then head to the bathroom to prep for class.
Today my instructor was Ms. McFarland. She’s amazing. All of my instructors, that I have work with or watched are awesome. Mr. and Ms. Bosstick were/are in Little Rock Arkansas learning new material to teach us (one day.) So we had Ms. McFarland. I’ve worked with her before, I’m fairly used to her style and teaching technique.
After bowing in and a decent warm up of jumping jacks, arm circles, trunk twists and toe touching, we were ready to begin the class. Palm upset, punch, punch in what I like to call the super squat. I know that in time my legs will loosen up and I feel like my muscles are using every dirty name in the book against me. I expect pain. My body isn’t used to being told to move in certain ways.
That’s the easy part of what we’re learning. The next part is adding a slide and switching hands. After that it’s back punch, reverse punch, which requires me to remember that we need to turn the torso to accomplish correctly. Toss in a side kick number two (my favorite because it has a graceful little twist and only requires one leg off the ground and finally followed by a jump side kick which scares the crap out of me since both feet have to be off the floor. I do it, but not gracefully.
After doing this countless times until we can do it where we are just keying up with different sounds. Ms. McFarland used animals sounds which made us crack up. Now before I continue, let me explain what a key up is. Keying up is the HYAH! sound you hear. What this does is makes you breathe when moving from each position. Breathing is as important as getting away which is the ultimate goal. Anyway, after running through the form, we had staff practice.
I looooooooooove the staff. It’s by far my favorite weapon. Sure there will be others, but I know I’m going to favor the staff. Possibly the sword too. What? Leonardo and Donatello were my favorite ninja turtles. Though I doubt I’ll be fighting the foot clan anytime soon. I will eventually work my way up to sparring, however, I’m not quite there yet. We had to learn the blocking techniques and go over some of the basics high, high, middle, middle, low, low. Up the elevator, down the elevator and out the door. Trust me, it looks better than it sounds. But it’s a clever way to remember how to move your hands. We learned C-blocks as well. Drop the tip down and bring it up in C shape. It looks backwards to the person holding the staff.
Freestyle was the favorite. We could do whatever we wanted so long as one hand was on the staff at any given time. So no staff flips or anything super flashy like that. Now there is another reason why I’m partial to the staff. I took color guard when I was in highschool, I was able to apply some of the techniques from that to my staff practice. Spinning it around my back and things like that.
Once that was finished, we had the belt ceremony. Myself and one other received new belts today. Okay allow me a moment to brag a bit. I officially have some color on my belt now. I have a white belt with a gold stripe. It is a huge accomplishment for me. It means I’m one level closer to obtaining the final color of black. I will have a picture as soon as I can. Mr. Orombi also achieved a camo belt. It felt good to share the limelight with another person and be proud of what I had accomplished.
I completed the confidence course and I’m feel confident that I can do anything.
Keep it real and rockin’
Summer is here!
In Saskatchewan it officially came at 5:51 a.m. (I know this because my alarm clock radio was blaring the news at the time and it said so). Summertime means summer like activities, you know, like going outside and braving the scare ball in the sky. This also means that Black Mask & Pale Rider will be taking a short vacation as well. This will give me some time to do some much needed clean up on the story, plus present the next part in a much better fashion than what I presently have.
Fear not, dear reader!
This doesn’t mean there won’t be any stories to read. After all, Blood of the Moon will be continuing, and Flag on my Backpack begins July 1st, which will be the summer replacement (think of it like TV, but with text, and your imagination creates the pictures). Also, look for a new draft of the first series, complete with stills drawn by Clarissa R. Hummel. I’m using the summer months to do some sun shine activities, relax and do some reading (which means adding some much needed reviews to current web lit I’ve been reading at Web Fiction Guide). Also, I’m going to be preparing for this coming October’s 31 Days of Ghosts: 2010 Edition. I’ve got something special this time around, that factors in with the western style that Black Mask & Pale Rider have been involved in. Thet’s raight, pardner! Ghost stories of the Wild West! Plus! Blood of the Moon will have a Halloween Special, as each day in October will have a new, ongoing series dedicated to all things spooky!
So that’s the deal for the summer months. Hope you have an enjoyable and fun filled summer. Flight of the Skyhawks will return! Fear not dear readers!
This week, something different. A musical medley of awesome. To start it all off, the Axis of Awesome from down under.
I think evidence has been found that Animal from the Muppet show is alive and well. And human.
Remember the experiments with Diet Coke and Mentos? Well the guys have now gone to see if they can use it as a replacement for fossil fuel.
Birds are the true masters of the skies. They’ve been up there in the air for … well forever. And sometimes, they just wanna show their superiority. Such as this hooded crow did with an RC plane. Set to Johnny B. Goode.
And part two.
The zip line snaked out across the rooftop, as Black Bowhuntress quickly followed. Like a graceful gymnast, she leaped from rooftop to rooftop, somersaulting with ease into a neat landing as she continued to patrol the city. This was her town, she protected it. So why did Maximus say they were going to need her in the coming days? And just who were they?
She pushed the thoughts away as she heard the sound of breaking glass in the street below. From the timber of the crash, it sounded like a bottle being flung against a brick wall. She could hear several voices, some laughing menacingly. Never a good sign. She knew this part of town, not a very nice place, although it did border on the business district. Amazing how one street could border between hustle and bustle of the business minded, and the dingy poverty that was a prime example of just how screwed up this city really was.
Black Bowhuntress landed easily on the edge of a rooftop and peered into the dark street, even the light of the street lamps casting foreboding shadows along the cracked pavement. She could see six figures as they began to surround a seventh. It looked like a woman, possibly on her way home from work. She didn’t look like a hooker. “Death, goin’ in for a closer look, then springin’ inta action,” she said into her comm unit.
“…Be. Just… care… Yo…. “ Darla’s communication cut in and out badly, accompanied by static. Of course, it had to be this section of town. For some reason the border between the skids and the business district was a communication no man’s land. Cell phones had to line of site to towers, wireless devices picked up no signals, even if they were sitting right beside the main router. Even television and radio reception was piss poor at best. No one could explain it, though theories had been given. Maybe something in the make up of the land, possibly how the buildings were constructed back in the late 1800′s.
“Goddammit!” Black Bowhuntress hissed as she heard the static. “Hate goin’ in fuckin’ blind.” She watched the group again, seeing the six figures moving closer to the woman. She squinted as she studied the woman, finally recognizing her. “Acadia…” she seemed to gasp. Black Bowhuntress had no idea if Acadia could handle herself in a fight, and she wasn’t going to hold back and wait to see. She jumped down with ease, landing squarely on the sidewalk as she rolled into a crouch behind a pared car. The six hoods didn’t see her, but Acadia might have. Be Be couldn’t tell if there was any indication that she had or not. Again, she wasn’t going to wait to find out.
With no time to waste, she hurdled the car and raced toward one of the attackers, slamming into his back, with ease. The other five were taken by surprise as they only watched for a moment as Black Bowhuntress sent her target into a shocked unconsciousness. Four of the five faced Black Bowhuntress, the expression on their faces showing their hatred at this sudden interuption. A fifth attacker turned toward Acadia.
The first attacker met quickly with a well placed boot to the chest. Black Bowhuntress could hear the sound of ribs cracking as the man cried out in pain. He fell to the ground, clutching at his chest. He’d be hurt, but at least now he was out of the fight. These guys would still be a handful, they wouldn’t adhere to any code of battle like the Dragons did. At least they had some honour.
The second attacker lashed out, knife in hand as he slashed wildly at the air. Black Bowhuntress shook her head and smirked under the mask. “You are a dumbass mutherfucker, you know that,” she spoke as she drew the katana from its sheath. “Care ta use that butterknife ‘gainst this, bitch?”
The attacker stopped for a moment, mesmerized by the blade. His need for survival suddenly won over some need to win in a fight, and the knife he held suddenly clattered against the pavement as his feet carried him away from the scene, fast. Then there were three.
Black Bowhuntress was more concerned about the attacker going for Acadia than she was about the two in front of her. Although, Acadia was proving she was more than capable of taking care of herself. There was no need to worry about the man when clawing at his eyes from a face full of mace. Black Bowhuntress smirked again under the mask and glared at the two remaining attackers. “Your move, mutherfucker.”
One man circled as the other raced in to attack. He pulled a piece from inside his jacket, cocking the hammer on the pistol back as he tried to strong arm Be Be. He cried out in pain and could only let go of the pistol as the katana made a neat gash along his arm. Black Bowhuntress knew enough not to do lethal damage with the blade, even in the heat of the moment she had made sure that the cut was just a warning. This left the man clutching his arm tightly as blood trickled down it. That left only one man.
Black Bowhuntress stared him down for what seemed a long moment. The man was weighing his options, and the only option that seemed sound was the one that began carrying his feet away from the scene. Be Be surveyed the aftermath, looking for the man with the wound. Gone, a small blood trail was the only signal he’d even been there. She heard a groan and moved to the first attacker, now finally waking up. He was none the worse for wear, but his head would ring in the morning. He was the only one left, even the one with the cracked ribs had fled.
“Do y’self a favour,” she said as she hauled the man to his feet. “Make y’self scarce for a while. I don’t wanna see you on the streets for a bit.” The man begrudgingly nodded, then began to limp off. None of them wore colours she could recognize. They might have been with one of the gangs, or maybe some new gang starting up. At least these six would think twice before hitting the streets again.
She looked to the ground for the gun, finding it underneath a car. She picked it up carefully and removed the clip, depositing the clip into a belt pouch and tucking the pistol into her belt. As she made sure it was secure, she looked to Acadia. “You alright?”
“Fine,” she seemed to snap. There was a mix of disbelief and shock in her eyes as she seemed to be calming down. “I’m… fine,” she repeated as there seemed to be a more relaxed tone to her voice. She finally looked up and studied Black Bowhuntress for a moment. Acadia had read the news articles about Black Bowhuntress, but had never seen her up close. It was the eyes. Acadia looked closer and realized just who it was and whispered. “Chelsea?”
Black Bowhuntress stopped, standing still as she processed what she just heard. She sighed and then finally muttered. “This whole secret identity thing is bein’ tossed out the window.”
“I think you and I need to go talk,” Acadia said with a sigh, taking Black Bowhuntress by the arm as she lead her to the familiar confines of the apartment.
Sir! I will practice in the Spirit of Taekwondo , with COURESTY for my felling students, LOYALTY to my instructors and RESPECT for my juniors and seniors, Sir!
Recently, I found myself more and more interested in martial arts. Not because there is a new Karate Kid Movie, or even because of the old ones. After attending a few of LGIB’s classes, which she is taking for anger and discipline reasons, I discovered I really wanted to get involved and learn.
LGIB takes Taekwondo classes at the local ATA, American Taekwondo Association, Black Belt Academy. After inviting me to her end of school party, I got a taste of what it was really like to be apart of the class, it was hard work, but it was fun at the same time. Soon I was looking up the website and within 24 hours I had a class set up with one of the instructors.
I went to the small one on one session and right off the bat I was asked, what did I want out of this class. I told my instructor that I wanted discipline and more self control when it came to handling matters in the real world. It’s true Zodi has a temper and sometimes it gets the best of me. Ask Tim, he’s seen me shatter a plate because I got so stressed. And this is exactly what I have in mind to get from the class. I don’t want fame, or glory, or any of the shiny stuff. To be completely honest, I don’t even want to participate in the tournaments. That isn’t what I signed up for. I signed up for a safe and secure way to vent my frustrations out.
My instructor showed me simple little self-defense moves that I can use. None of that wax on, wax off crap. I’m not a little cricket in a class full of children younger than me. I’m in a group of people ranging from white belts to 3rd degree blackbelts and world class champs. In class we are all equal. Black belt attitude.
From the moment I step in the building until the moment I walk out that’s all it becomes about. Black belt attitude is I can attitude. The real world melts and there is nothing but focus and sheer determination to succeed in everything I do in that class. Yeah I know it’s going to hurt and sometimes be so painful that I can’t move, but that pain will go away as I get better and more fluid. Before I know it, I’ll be able to do actual push-ups and sit ups, instead of knee push up and crunches. I’ll be able to nail that jumping side kick perfectly and I’ll be confident when I do it.
Right now I’m a white belt, but in the next couple of classes, I’m going to be a white belt with a gold stripe which means I’m one step closer to that black belt. I know I have a long journey ahead of me, but I’m looking forward to it. I can’t wait to learn more, to feel the burn in my legs from touching my toes or the sore muscles the next day. Sure it hurts and I’m a friend to ibuprofen, but it’s a good constant remind of I can do it, I did do it and I will continue to do it.
Sir! I shall live with PERSEVERANCE in the Spirit of Taekwondo. Having HONOR with others, INTEGRITY withing myself, and SELF-CONTROL in my actions Sir!
Keep it real and rockin’
Got a man of the people, says keep hope alive
Got fuel to burn, got roads to drive.
The 1970′s in Canada were a trying time. Terrorists attacked the nation, demanding a separation, crying out for an independent Quebec. Parliament enacted the War Measures Act and soon after tanks rumbled down the streets of Montreal and Quebec City. The nation listened as Pierre Elliot Trudeau announced “Just watch me.” A British diplomat and a Quebec politician, kidnapped in this revolution that had seen death and bombings. Terrorism at it’s worst; not from an outside source, but from within the nation. The people cried out for hope, for some beacon that peace would soon come.
Late last night
I heard the screen door slam
And a big yellow taxi come and took away my old man.
One man would take up the call, but quietly. Donning a red and white uniform and only known by one name, he would keep the peace behind the scenes. Some would hear of him, and spread world of the man with a maple leaf emblazoned on his chest. Rumours would spread through the nation, emboldening those who fought against those that would dare break apart the country.
Coloured lights can hypnotize
Sparkle someone else’s eyes
For ten years, the name of Canadiens would spark hope within the populace, facing everything from simple criminals to threats against the nation. And one day, shock rang through the country as it was announced he was retiring. Without knowing his real name, the country seemed to mourn, but managed to live with the idea that the red and white masked man would move onto to focus on his own immediate family. And as the man himself said, there may be others who would step forward to take up the call.
All you good-doers lay your weary heads
Thorn filled pillows on feather beds
The country waited for the next few years, to see who might answer. But the nation began to relax, become comfortable. Threats were not as prevalent as they were in the early 70′s. Politicians had taken up the reins of saving the nation from separation. With meetings such as Meech Lake and Charlottetown, Canadians began to ease into a more comfortable life.
you take me in
no questions asked
you strip away the ugliness
that surrounds me
25 years later, she would return. The red and white symbol of a nation rose up from the ashes like a phoenix just at a time when the world itself needed new symbols of hope. But this symbol was different than before. Whereas the man who wore the uniform fought in quiet vigilance, this woman fought with a loud noise, announcing to the world “I am here, and I will do what is needed.”
I’m not looking back
But I want to look around me now
Like an anthem cheered on by thousands in a boisterous rock concert, Canadiens would face the nation and face the world. Like the man before her, she would do what was needed to build confidence in her fellow man, and her fellow countrymen. She would lead by example, and become a bright symbol of hope.
She’s stuck it out, she’s hung in tough
She won’t be running away
Unknown to the world, this was not some mere coincidence that a new symbol of hope rose in the troubled times of the 21st Century. The woman who took up the mantle of red and white knew the man who wore it before her. A rare few were let in on that secret, and it really was no surprise why this woman became a new champion of hope during a time of terror different from the 1970′s, but with all too familiar results.
If there’s a goal that everyone remembers it was back in ole’ 72
We all squeezed the stick and we all pulled the trigger
And all I remember was sitting beside you
Like father like daughter. This is the story of Canadiens, as the history is traced from Jean Pierre Turgeon to his daughter Dominique Turgeon. A story of hope, a story of family, a story of heroism needed in a world torn. A story of a nation, a story of friends.
A story as loud as a rock concert with 65,000 screaming fans.
If today was your last day, tomorrow was to late,
Could you say goodbye to yesterday
The story begins July 1st, 2010 with Jean Pierre’s story “Rockin’ in the free world”, and continues July 5th with Dominique’s story, “If today was your last day”. August 5th Canadiens’ story, “Victory Day” begins and continues throughout the month of August.
“We’d like to do a song about nationalism gone astray. this is called Flag on your knapsack!”
Gord Downie, Tragically Hip, during Another Roadside Attraction, 1993 in Kingston, Ontario
Rockin’ In The Free World – Neil Young
Big Yellow Taxi – Joni Mitchell
American Woman – The Guess Who
Dream Away – The Northern Pikes
Sweet Surrender – Sarah McLachlan
Time Stand Still – Rush
Victory Day – Tom Cochrane
Fireworks – The Tragically Hip
If Today Was Your Last Day – Nickelback
As Shani and Pania travel to Overbrook, Thomas Til’Avan and his workers get ready for an exposition. And Karl Alow gets a first peek.
Another glimpse of what’s to come.
More small details on what’s coming. Stay tuned!
Starting off this week, a video that mixes music and science. Dr. Carl Sagan remixed featuring Stephen Hawking in a Symphony of Science.
From that we move into something related, but more akin to Popular Mechanics. I want to know how this was built.
Sorta sciencey. Maybe. Just two things to say about this. First, I’ve never heard the words “Can someone move this shark?” and, finally, BEST WEDDING EVAR!
Remember the crappy Mortal Kombat movie a few years back? Sorry if I dredged up a painful memory, but this eight minutes might just make up for it.
And finally, even some superheroes need to get their nails done. Logan goes to a particular place in Russia to do it.
Black Bowhuntress scaled the roof quickly, ignoring the rain as it fell in heavy sheets across the city. Up here she was hidden from the prying eyes on the streets below. Now she just had to deal with the prying eyes that surrounded her on the other buildings. She quickly ducked behind a roof top service entrance, settling herself down. Here she was hidden from the world and sheltered from the rain. A quick check of her equipment, then she tapped a button on her monocle she wore. A computerized device she helped develop, thanks to interest in electronics. At least her degree from M.I.T. would not go to waste. A small schematic appeared in front of her eyes displaying the section of the city she was in. As she studied it, she spoke into her comm unit.
“I may haveta go have a talk with the man ’bout a few things,” she whispered with a small hiss. The man she referenced was none other than Don Thadius Maximus. “Mutherfucker knows this city inside an’ out. An’ goddamn if he ain’t gonna spill his guts ’bout it.”
“Do you think that’s completely wise?” Darla said over the comm, her voice while calm, still betrayed the annoyed sounds of a school teacher who was less than impressed with a student. “He runs over half of the criminal element in this city, after all.”
“What better way ta get information ’bout crime than straight from the source,” Black Bowhuntress replied. “’Sides, he helped out Walker a few years back.” She had heard about the stories of Walker’s situation after leaving the Red Hand. She had that connection at least.
“Maximus knows Walker on sight,” Darla replied quickly, the annoyed tone becoming much more prevalent. “He doesn’t know you. Or at least he’d better not, or we’re all screwed.” There was a pause, but an audible sigh told Be Be enough. Darla was weighing the options. Finally she responded. “You are right, however. You need proof in order to get Justin out of this situation, and unfortunately a jury seldom takes a gut feeling as enough to acquit someone of any wrong doing.”
“Knew you’d see it my way, Death,” Be Be replied with a smile. “It ain’t over yet, but if we can do this, then maybe we can make the Crimson Skulls scatter for a bit. Never know what’ll happen.” She rose to her feet and scanned the rooftop quickly before removing a grapple line from her belt. She fired the line off and began her journey toward the lion’s den.
From the south side, it was a long journey indeed. Thadius Maximus had placed his mansion at the top of Raven’s Point, the highest point in the city. This allowed him a vantage point to scout the area as he’d need to. Be Be would have to make sure she played this correctly. Getting into the grounds of Maximus’ fortress was one thing. Getting out was sometimes quite another.
Even getting in was difficult. Thanks to Maximus’ connections with the city council, no building within a six block radius was allowed to exceed four stories in height. This cut down heavily on any would be assassins. The twelve foot wall that surrounded the grounds of the Romanesque styled mansion added another layer of protection. The last line of defence always lay in the shadows.
There wouldn’t be any hiding, Be Be knew this. With her grapple line, she scaled the wall to the estate grounds and easily dropped inside. Within seconds she found herself surrounded by Maximus’ gunsels. But she’d done this before.
“I wanna talk to the Don,” she said as she raised her hands in a defensive manner, acting subservient to show she meant no harm. Not that it would matter, if push came to shove, she’d shove back. Only three times as hard.
One of the gunsels spoke quietly into a two way radio, then signalled wordlessly to another. The man stepped forward and grabbed Be Be’s arm. His nose quickly came up close and personal with Be Be’s fist. He dropped to the ground, clutching his nose as he moaned in pain. The other gunsels raised their guns, but a voice spoke out loud and clear over the two way.
“I thought my orders were to escort her,” Maximus’ voice said over the two way. “Not to touch her.”
“She broke my nose, boss,” the gunsel whined as he struggled to his feet.
“That’s what you get for tryin’ ta touch me, asshole,” Be Be hissed in return. “You heard the man, let’s get this dog an’ pony show goin’. Lead the way. An’ don’t fuckin’ touch me.” The gunsels moved slowly, never taking their eyes off Be Be as they escorted her to the mansion.
Inside the building was elegant, filled with rich colours and smells. More than likely paid for through some ill gotten gain. Two gunsels stayed with Be Be as the rest stayed behind. The one with the broken nose limped off to a side room for medical attention, still moaning in pain. Be Be smirked as she watched the man, knowing he’d feel that in the morning.
The two guards lead her to a large library, dimly lit, with only a desk lamp and a small fire in an ornate fireplace to give any light at all. Be Be stood firm a few feet in front of a large oak desk. Behind it, Thadius Maximus sat with brandy glass in one hand, and a fine cigar in the other. He rose to his feet as the trio stopped.
“You two can leave,” he said to the guards as he set down his glass on the desk.
“Boss, you sure?”
“Positive,” he remarked with a nod. The two gunsels turned and made their way out of the library, leaving Be Be to face the head of over fifty percent of all criminal operations in the city. “I’d offer you a seat, or a drink,” Thadius said with a small smile. “But I doubt you’d accept it.” He leaned against the desk, arms crossed over his chest as he studied Be Be. His fine Armani suit making nice, clean creases where he folded his arms. “Isn’t that right, Miss Morgan.”
Chelsea could hear a small gasp over her comm. Even she blinked with this sudden revelation. “How the fuck do you know who I am?”
“Suffice it to say that I’ve watched you since you settled in this city over two years ago,” he informed her without hesitation. “You move, act, and even respond like one of Walker’s unit. It wasn’t hard to figure out, let me say that. And now, I assume you’re here because of the events surrounding the Crimson Skulls. In particular, Justin Gomez.”
“Yeah. I guess you watch the news,” she said with smirk.
“If you could call the joke of a station a news room, then I suppose you’re correct,” he replied, showing his distaste for the local news networks in one quick sentence. “Gomez is a small fish,” he continued. “He’s being used, that is for certain. Even… I believe Sammy is the leader of the Crimson Skulls this month…”
“Yeah,” Chelsea nodded in reply, confirming Thadius’ comment. “Samuel Jacobs.”
“Yes, Samuel Jacobs,” he chuckled as he pushed off the desk and moved back behind it, gracefully taking a seat. “Even Sammy is just a patsy in this city. However, Gomez is being set up.”
“You know this, but do ya have any proof?”
“I have information that can get you the proof,” he said as he took out a pen and quickly wrote down an address on a piece of paper. He handed it to Chelsea who took it carefully and examined it. “In two days there is going to be a meeting at that address. If you want your proof, then be there. But I suggest the only weapon you take with you is a camera.”
Chelsea looked up and nodded her thanks before she turned to the door. She stopped, looking over her should back at Thadius. “You could o’ given this ta the cops, ya know.”
Thadius laughed aloud with Chelsea’s comment. “Miss Morgan, there are those even in the ranks of the local law enforcement agency that I wouldn’t trust to watch over a baby. Besides, why do you think I would go to the police?”
Thadius last comment made sense, he was the Don of a mafia family after all. She began to walk out but stopped as her hand gripped the door knob. “You know me,” she said aloud. “Why didn’t you do anything?”
“I believe the saying is keep your friends close, but your enemies closer,” Thadius replied as he filled his brandy glass. “But sometimes the difference between friends and enemies is paper thin.” He picked up his glass as Chelsea opened the door. She stopped again when he called out one last time. “Be on your guard Miss Morgan. Something is coming. Gomez has nothing to do with it, and in comparison, he is nothing. We’re going to need you in the coming days.”
Another glimpse of what’s coming.
The adventure begins! Political friction is seen between the nations of Brytilonia and Mysteria. And the coming of the industrial revolution.
I’m not gonna go into details. I’ll just put this up, and let the speculation begin.
2010 marks the 100th year for the Saskatchewan Roughriders. Growing up from the Regina Rowing Club, and the Regina Rugby Club to become the Regina Roughriders, the Riders have been involved in 14 Grey Cup championships. When other Saskatchewan teams folded in the Western Canadian Rugby Union in the 1940′s, the Regina Roughriders changed their name to the Saskatchewan Roughriders to encompass the entire province.
Years later, when the Western Canadian Rugby Union and the Canadian Rugby Union joined to become the Canadian Football League, there was some talk if the Ottawa Rough Riders and Saskatchewan Roughriders would change names. No such move was made, and the years that followed saw the Battle of the Riders in several Grey Cups.
The first would be in 1966.
Ottawa quarterback Russ Jackson would be the last big name Canadian at that position, retiring after the Eastern Riders defeated the Green Riders in 1969. Saskatchewan was lead by Ron Lancaster, who grew up in Pennsylvania, but became a Canadian citizen after playing in Regina. Lancaster was a massive supporter of the CFL, as the Little General finished his career in Regina, then began coaching for a couple of unsuccessful years before taking a seat in the broadcast booth. Lancaster returned to coaching, guiding the Edmonton Eskimos and the Hamilton Tiger-cats to Grey Cups.
After a disappointing loss to the Ottawa Rough Riders in 1976, the Green Riders would not make the playoffs until 1988, and would not make the Grey Cup again until 1989.
Hamilton receiver Tony Champion played that game with two cracked ribs. Before Dave Ridgeway kicked the game winning field goal, he and holder Glenn Suitor talked for a while. Suitor asked Ridgeway “Did you see the blond in the stands?”. Quarterback Kent Austin would play a few more years in Regina before finishing out his career in Toronto, before becoming a coach.
The Riders wouldn’t get to the Grey Cup again until 1997, losing to the Toronto Argonauts.
Ten years later, the Riders would return to the Grey Cup. Fate was on their side, as Kent Austin, who lead the Riders in 1989, was the head coach. The venue was the Rogers Centre in Toronto, where the Riders won in ’89. The opponents, prairie rivals the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
Shortly after, Kent Austin retired to take a position with his old school, Ol’ Miss. Ken Miller would take over the reigns as head coach, guding the Riders to a 12-4 record in 2008, and a first place finish in 2009 and a trip to the Grey Cup.
In 2009, it was the first time in the 97 years of the Grey Cup that Saskatchewan faced Montreal.
After that game, offensive lineman Gene Makowsky made the decision to play another year. The 16 year vet said that if they won the Grey Cup, he would have retired. In 2010, the Riders are again with the famed Canadian Air Force of Andy Fantuz, Rob Bagg, Chris Getzlaf, and Jason Clermont. North Dakota native Weston Dressler (who’s parents drive the trip to Regina for each home game) adds to the aerial attack. Darian Durant comes back as quarterback, and joins Ryan Dinwiddy (ironically, who started for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the 2007 Grey Cup). Other bits of irony, joining Ken Miller for coaching duties is Doug Berry, who was head coach of the Bombers in 2007. Hopes are high this year.
When you’re born in Saskatchewan, there’s a part of you that always remains. It’s almost like bleeding green. Canada may be a nation of hockey, but Saskatchewan is a province of football. The Ridernation stretches out far, as people across the country, and into the States, follow the ups and downs of this prairie team. A few years ago, a billboard in Toronto outside of the Rogers Centre proclaimed in big green letters on a black background “We Walk Among You”. In smaller white letters at the bottom were “Ridernation. Saskatchewan Roughriders”.
To say I’m excited for this season to start is an understatement. I’ve watched the Riders for over 30 years. I’ve lived through the drought. And I’ve been privileged to see them take the Grey Cup twice. Here’s hoping that the Riders can take a few more, and continue their tradition for another 100 years.
This week I’m sort of keeping to a theme. It all began underwater.
Jason de Caires Taylor has created an entire underwater sculpture park, carving various sculptures and just leaving them underwater to let the elements take them as they would anything else. Located in Grenada, West Indies, this park is close enough for snorkelers to view.
In Zadar, Croatia is a rather interesting man made object. Sit on the shores of the beautiful coastline, listen to the birds, the waves, and the sea organ built into the very thing you’re sitting on.
Water vortex’s happen to be interesting to look at. Even moreso are the fountains created to replicate the vortex. Such as the ones created by William Pye.
Keeping with fountains, one can’t mention them without mentioning the impressive foutain dances in Dubia of the Burj Dubai Khalifa Fountain. And, you can’t just watch one.
Sometimes, every now and again, you will find that one thing which you can’t stop watching. It may be the most hideous thing you’ve ever seen (like the scene in Hannibal, with Ray Liota at the dinner table, and the… yeah, you know the one, although my girlfriend at the time and I both covered our eyes while her co-worker kinda giggled, which was sorta disturbing in a way). You know those times. It’s not just a train wreck, although it could be. But it’s the type of thing you can’t stop watching. Like when Britney Spears went insane and shaved her head.
There’s a description of that. One that perfectly describes the situation in only the way a picture can.
Until next time…
…keep ‘em flyin’!
Black Bowhuntress stood motionless, her cloak the only thing moving thanks to the light breeze that swirled in the corridor of the alleyway. The two Dragons circled her, trying to evaluate where the best place to strike would be. At the end of the alley, Jimmy shrunk back into the shadows, too afraid to step forward, but too curious to leave for the safety of his mother’s apartment. The Dragons might turn on him for the sudden appearance of Ravenport’s mysterious protector, but what would Black Bowhuntress do should she win. He’d never seen her fight before, only heard of her prowess.
The two Dragons also had heard of her prowess, but they saw fighting her as a challenge, not something to be feared. They continued to circle, like two wolves trying to corner their prey. Wolves were outclassed in the face of a tiger.
The young man with only the tee-shirt tried to strike first. A simple blow, which would have brought anyone else to their knees in pain; a blow that Black Bowhuntress blocked with ease, returning the favour doubly so, with a calculated move of her own. She stunned the young man and pushed him to the side, but still in her visual. “You boys gonna just play,” she seemed to snarl, almost laughing mockingly at the attempt to disable her. “Or you gonna actually try an’ fight?”
The second young man leaped forward with the challenge, sounding out a battle cry. His blows were timed, and meant to strike quickly. Each one was blocked with expert calculations by Black Bowhuntress, and again she returned the favour with a quick blow that knocked the second young man off his feet.
The first attacker came in hard and fast, trying to tackle Black Bowhuntress, and this is when her calculated blows changed. She went from finesse of a trained martial artist to something else. Her moves were more like a boxer’s or a wrestler’s. “Just ta let ya know, chump,” she said as she put the young man in a sleeper hold, then vaulted him over her shoulder. He landed hard against a dumpster, propelled by Black Bowhuntress’ strength. “I am trained in karate. But you pushed an’ shoved. So the claws comin’ out. Time ta fight dirty.”
The second young man rushed her, hoping to catch her off guard. She was ready; these two weren’t very experienced in a fight, she found. A round house connected square with his jaw, followed by a left hook that sent him sprawling to the street. His glass jaw put him out of the fight quickly. Only one to contend with now.
The tee-shirt wearing fighter was a bit more experienced. But Black Bowhuntress saw that he was easily angered. His eyes and face told the story of the rage that filled him up, and Black Bowhuntress would only use that to her advantage. Her blows weren’t heavy, but enough to taunt and cause the man to miscalculate. Which he did.
A stutter step fooled him, and he lunged forward with a trained blow, but caught nothing but air. Black Bowhuntress grabbed his wrist and used his momentum to continue his forward motion as she raised her knee, landing squarely in his gut. She pushed forward, slamming closed fists into his ribs and jaw. Each blow gave the young man stars and soon he crumpled to the wet pavement, bloodied and bruised. The fight was too easy.
Then Black Bowhuntress heard the click.
She didn’t even think, just grabbed her pistol crossbow and turned, aiming where the click had sounded out. The first young man was raising a 9 millimeter Beretta. Her draw was faster, as she let the bolt fly. It struck the young man’s hand, cutting through so he dropped his weapon and reached to clutch at the fresh wound. “Don’t ever pull a fuckin’ stupid stunt like that again, bitch,” she snarled as she lowered the crossbow. “Next time, bolt could go through your skull.”
She looked to each man, bloodied and bruised, as they tried to rise to their feet. “This was nothin’, punks. But if you wanna keep it up,” she hissed as she drew her katana from it’s sheath. “I can step it up a notch.” She watched the pair closely as they seemed to re-evaluate the situation. Eventually, they decided it might be best not to test whether or not this woman could take them down. The man with the tee-shirt limped to his partner, who was wrapping his hand after removing the bolt, and the two scurried off into the darkness.
She waited for a few moments, until she was sure the two men were not coming back, finally breaking the silence with a commanding voice. “Jimmy! Get your ass over here.” From behind a stack of empty crates, Jimmy Chang crawled out, looking around the alleyway carefully. He flinched as he heard the delicate sound of the blade Black Bowhuntress carried being sheathed. She was watching him, but not in the same manner as she watched the two young men she so easily dispatched.
Her attitude was one more akin to disappointment.
“What the hell’re you doin’ mixin’ with the Dragons, dude?” she called out in a scolding voice.
“Who else is gonna help us?” he replied, finding his voice.
“Jimmy,” Black Bowhuntess said with a sigh, pausing to choose her words carefully. “Man, turnin’ ta the Dragons ta get help against the Skulls… dude that’s just askin’ for trouble. Dragons come in here, an’ the Skulls get all uppity. Could start a fuckin’ gang war.”
“I just want to protect my family,” Jimmy remarked in a quiet voice, but one that was filled with anger. “We’ve tried with the police, but get nowhere.”
“If ya go this route, Jimmy, more people could die,” she replied as she stepped forward. Jimmy didn’t move, knowing that her demeanour had changed from that of a fighter to someone who was more concerned about another human being. “An’ the body count wouldn’t just be the Dragons an’ Skulls. You or your mama could end up in that too. I ain’t playin’, Jimmy. An’ I know your dad died thanks ta the Skulls. But you wanna chance losin’ more, by gettin’ the Dragons?”
“I don’t know what else to do,” he replied with a desperate tone in his voice. “It’s only getting worse with that trial.” Black Bowhuntress feigned ignorance and cocked her head slightly, signalling Jimmy to continue. “I know I watch news and see those lawyers talk about the fact that kid should go to jail, but I also know that those men… the Skulls… they’d start pushing around their weight more. And if we… mother and me… went to the police to tell what happened the night… the night father died…”
“You worried the Skulls gonna make it even worse, huh?” she finished for him as she asked her question. Jimmy nodded, his body tensed from fear and anger. Black Bowhuntress sighed and placed a hand on Jimmy’s shoulder. “What if I told you, that if you went ta talk ta Sigmund an’ Morgan, then I’d make sure the Skulls wouldn’t bother you?”
Jimmy lifted his head to look into Black Bowhuntress’ eyes for the first time since they began talking. “Could you really do that?” His voice held a tone of some doubt. “With the number of people they have… I don’t know.”
“Oh, I think I know who to put the pressure on,” Black Bowhuntress said with a smirk behind the mask. “An’ just how much.”
I often find inspiration from all sorts of areas. Music, older fiction, looking out the window… One thing that’s lasted for quite a while is the inspiration I gain from several different works of fiction that help drive Black Mask & Pale Rider. I’ve even made it a constant memory for myself with my own desktop wallpaper. Which I will share. Hopefully, it inspires others and helps them in whatever work they do.
Click the image for a larger version.
It’s finally here! The first episode of Flight of the Skyhawks. We kick things off only minutes after Shani and Pania return to Terra-Kal from Earth. Join us now, for high flying adventure!