[Image Prompt] Bheeshma Cover

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Image courtesy of: https://www.deviantart.com/nisachar/art/Bheeshma-Cover-577940041

For thirty years, Antigonis’ first love had been the sea. Born on the port islands of Kal’minas, the boy’s first steps had been along those shores. His first time aboard a seafaring vessel had been when he was only a year old. He helped his father pull in nets when he was only four, and by the time he was seven, he was sailing alone.

Antigonis went to the sea first when he had problems. When he was mad at his parents, he told her everything. When his heart was broken, she listened. When his soul ached to explore, she agreed. When he got a taste for war, she stormed. What Antigonis never knew was that she loved him in return.

If waves crashed against the shore, they would crash more gently when he was present. If passage were necessary, he would never weather a dangerous storm. If he was hungry, fish would always find their way into his nets. He was considered a good luck charm, for as long as was in the sea, he was safe.

War came to Kal’minas, and soldiers told stories of the sea fighting alongside Antigonis, whose blade carried the fury of the current. It wasn’t until war left Kal’minas that things changed. She couldn’t protect her Antigonis when he strayed to land. As soon as her gentle caresses stopped lapping at his feet, he was unprotected. He was as vulnerable as a toddler.

Antigonis led the charge against the people of Vol’dyr, running headlong against the horde. He leaped from the boat and splashed in the shallow waves. No sooner did the waves recede, did Antigonis feel the bite of the first arrow. One, he shook off and roared. Two, he winced at the pain. Three, left him winded. Four, he was reeling. Five, he staggered back. Six, he stumbled. The sharp points of the arrows sunk and found their way home, one right after another.

A giant waved swelled behind the invasion force and behind Antigonis, and as he fell, the wave cradled him. As the warm coastal waters of Vol’dyr swelled around him, he felt a calming embrace like that of a woman’s touch. “Shh,” she said. “I’m sorry.” And he slipped beneath the surf.

Day of Thanks

In the US, we celebrate Thanksgiving.

Granted, everyone who reads this blog most likely knows that. I’d be terribly surprised if you didn’t. We get together with turkey and ham, dressing and cranberry sauce, usually some mashed potatoes and gravy, and an amalgamation of other sides all set up for imbibing. And then, when you’re adequately overdosed on tryptophan, you can crash while the football games play in the background. It’s tradition.

But the tradition spans generations, other countries and religious beliefs. Wikipedia summarizes it as the following (helpful Wiki links included):

Prayers of thanks and special thanksgiving ceremonies are common among almost all religions after harvests and at other times.[1] The Thanksgiving holiday’s history in North America is rooted in English traditions dating from the Protestant Reformation. It also has aspects of a harvest festival, even though the harvest in New England occurs well before the late-November date on which the modern Thanksgiving holiday is celebrated.[1][2]

In the English tradition, days of thanksgiving and special thanksgiving religious services became important during the English Reformation in the reign of Henry VIII and in reaction to the large number of religious holidays on the Catholic calendar. Before 1536 there were 95 Church holidays, plus 52 Sundays, when people were required to attend church and forego work and sometimes pay for expensive celebrations. The 1536 reforms reduced the number of Church holidays to 27, but some Puritans wished to completely eliminate all Church holidays, including Christmas and Easter. The holidays were to be replaced by specially called Days of Fasting or Days of Thanksgiving, in response to events that the Puritans viewed as acts of special providence. Unexpected disasters or threats of judgement from on high called for Days of Fasting. Special blessings, viewed as coming from God, called for Days of Thanksgiving. For example, Days of Fasting were called on account of drought in 1611, floods in 1613, and plagues in 1604 and 1622. Days of Thanksgiving were called following the victory over the Spanish Armada in 1588 and following the deliverance of Queen Anne in 1705.[3] An unusual annual Day of Thanksgiving began in 1606 following the failure of the Gunpowder Plot in 1605 and developed into Guy Fawkes Day on November 5.[3]

Most of us use the day now, exactly how I mentioned it before. We over-indulge, laugh, drink, be merry, and pass out for a lengthy nap before waking up some time too late in the evening to be of any use to anyone.

But what should we really do? Well, the namesake of the holiday is a simple request: giving thanks. When was the last time you really sat back and really gave thought to all the things you have to be thankful for?

I know I’m guilty of thinking of all the things that I have to complain about. Short on money, not enough games to play, not enough food in the house, not enough clothes to wear, and on and on and on. I exaggerated a couple of those, because they’re common complaints, but still, they’re pretty generic and accurate for most people. We really don’t take the time to be thankful for exactly what we have.

I hope you take the day to sit back and be thankful, for each and every thing you can. May your day be great, full of family and friends, and your future bright and shining!

 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Writing Prompt: [EU] You are Dudley Dursley’s son. Today, your father walks into your room and hands you something. It’s your Hogwarts Letter.

Dudley sat in the chair in his living room for hours, holding the letter to Howgarts in his hand. He so vividly remembered when Harry got his letter. He remembered the turmoil that followed that boy, and by proxy, his family. But, he also remembered that Harry saved him, and protected him even when he didn’t deserve it. He never was a waste of space. With that thought, he sighed and stood up from the chair. He paused only once more and patted the letter against his palm. “Oh, boy.”

The trip up the stairs might as well have been going up the slopes of Mount Everest. He knew his son was special, and his daughter was too, they had done things he had seen Harry do, acted in ways he had seen Harry act, and he knew in the back of his mind that this day would come. A smile crossed his lips, thinking of the irony that his parents — his children’s grandparents — would have to accept that there would be a wizard in their direct lineage. A chuckle escaped his lips.

He tapped on the door, turned the knob, and entered his sons bedroom. “Dane?” he asked, looking around. His son’s head protruded from beneath the blanket atop his bed.

“Yes, father?” The boy, a spit and image copy of his father at that age, albeit thinner, asked.

“We need to talk,” Dudley stated as he sat down on the mattress.

“I din’ do it, dad, I promise!” Dane said, coming out with haste.

“No, no. It’s okay.” Dudley laughed, tucking the letter under his arm. “You know how my cousin, Harry, works a super secret job in a super secret place?”

“Yes. More secret than MI6, you said, dad.” Dane added, smiling.

“Yes, more secret that MI6. Well, you’ve been invited to… be a part of that secret.” Dudley handed over his letter. “You have the chance to go to Hogwarts, a school of Witchcraft and Wizardry. You have magical blood, it seems.” Said Dudley, the slightest hint of pride in his voice.

Dane took the letter into his hand, broke the seal, and began reading the text within. When he finished, he looked up to his dad. “Where is your letter, dad? Why didn’t you go to Hogwarts?”

Dudley surmised that his parents’ hatred of magic had somehow snuffed out whatever latent magic existed within, and that somehow his own acceptance of the magical world had unlocked the magic for his son and perhaps his daughter. He considered this a moment, and returned to his son’s attention. “I didn’t get a letter,” Dudley said, still smiling. “But you did!”

“Can I go?” asked Dane, sheepishly.

“Of course.” Dudley embraced his son, fully and truly. He was also one of few Muggles who accompanied his son to the station at 9 and 3/4, only a year after Harry Potter’s own children started at Hogwarts.

Dane Dursley was accepted into Hogwarts, and despite his father’s past, became a proud and honorable member of Gryffindor. On his first visit home for Christmas, Dane left his wand out while he went to the toilet. Dudley, ever being the curious man he was, picked up the wand and gave it a flick. In his mind, he envisioned the great green and red flashes from his imagination, or the bright light Harry summoned forth to scare away what he called a “Dementor”. On his second flick though, dull sparks came from the end of the wand. On the third, a small blue dart zipped out and across the room. Shocked, Dudley dropped the wand and backed away from it.

Dane, who had just barely stuck his head back in the door smirked. “Dad?”

Dudley, as pale as a ghost shook his head. “Let’s keep this our little secret.”

Dane nodded vigorously.

Using Communication Effectively

Everyone talks, but does it matter?

One of the biggest things I notice nowadays, is the value of silence, and equally: the value of conversation. Everyone is so used to filling silence with sound, that we forget how important silence is. Think about it: when was the last time you were able to sit surrounded by others, and no one had to speak to fill the “awkward” silence.

I imagine you’ll be hard pressed to do so.

Furthermore, when was the last time that you were able to truly appreciate conversation, because you knew the person saying it valued the words they were letting go. We’ve grown so accustomed to “filler talk” that we almost drown out the words with our thoughts.

I can’t overstate the necessity to speak important words. My father used to say: “Speak half as much as you listen.” Which I’m sure he heard somewhere else; even still, those words held strong to me throughout my teenage years, and certainly my adult life. When I’m around my peers, I try to let others speak first, and interject my piece when I have something to say. Before I speak, though, I make sure that my words will hold some weight of their own — if they contribute nothing to the conversation except filling a void, I reserve it as a thought for myself.

I think that we, as a civilization, could grow so much if we spent more time in quiet countenance than in loud exchange.

Take time to place value in your words, and estimate if others will value your words the same. If they will, speak your mind. If not, reserve your thoughts.

 

Maybe I’m just rambling at this point.

 

Photo by Samuel Zeller on Unsplash

Return of the Blog

Today may be a time where I post consecutive blog posts.

I’ve been away for some time. My first excuse was World of Warcraft, and believe me, it was an addictive excuse. I love Warcraft’s universe, but this expansion lost me pretty quickly as the initial story tapered off. Easily enough, I tapered with it. Cancelled my membership, bound to renew at the next expansion (at the latest) but for now, I’m going to be productive.

My second and third excuse, of course, is real life, and playing Black Ops. I’ve mentioned my streamer buddy, ScoutSierra, who has been playing the game as well, so I’ve been accompanying him on the stream.

Sadly, I haven’t done much writing, either. I’ve been pretty lax in all my constructive advances, except for my daily grind in Real Life RPG. The economy sucks in that game, by the way.

Anyway, without further adieu, I am returning to blogging. Expect a decent post in the next half hour or so!

 

Photo by Steve Johnson on Unsplash