Marie Lavender has been kind enough to allow me to write an article for her blog called “Writing in the Modern Age”. My article is called “Going with the Crowd or Alone.” Here is the link http://marielavender.blogspot.com/2015/04/going-with-crowd-or-alone-by-rival-gates.html I hope you enjoy!
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At last, Linvin reached in his quiver and found nothing left to fire. He surveyed the field and found only two frightened goblins still standing. They had fallen back to the camp. The time had come for Linvin to show himself to his enemy and finish the fight. He threw his bow to the ground and jumped out of the trees. Fueled by rage, he armed himself with two swords from the dead goblins and advanced on the camp.
The sight angered the goblins. It was inconceivable to them that a lone archer had bested such a force. They immediately charged at him. Linvin came to a halt and waited for them with his weapons held high. One goblin arrived just ahead of the other and jabbed at Linvin with his spear. Linvin knocked the blow aside easily with one sword and then came around with a swipe from his second that struck his enemy’s neck. The creature’s head separated from his body.
Linvin quickly turned his attention to the sole remaining goblin. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw a spear thrust aimed for his head. Linvin instinctively ducked and rolled toward his opponent. When the roll was completed, he found himself sitting on his rear with his legs before him at the foot of his foe.
Recognizing the close quarters, the goblin abandoned his spear and drew his sword. In Linvin’s haste to dodge the spear, he had lost the grip on both of his blades. The goblin raised his arm for a killing blow on his earthbound enemy.
Linvin used the moment to make a sweeping kick at the goblin’s knees with his leg. The desperate blow knocked the goblin on his back and dislodged the sword from his hand. Linvin reached for the knife in his boot and dove on top of the warrior. With one hand, he tried to restrain the goblin’s arm and with the other, he pushed the blade ever closer to his foe.
The goblin intercepted Linvin’s forearm and held the weapon away. In a struggle for life, the goblin used his weight to his advantage and rolled Linvin onto the ground with his great belly crushing the half elf. Linvin gasped for air as the blade began to be forced back toward his body.
Having short arms made it easier for the goblin to maneuver in the close quarters. Linvin, on the other hand, was at a disadvantage, not being able to fully extend his arm and use its strength. If Linvin was to prevail, he knew he would need to create separation between them.
With a swift move from his leg, Linvin drove his knee into the groin of his adversary. With instinctive reaction, the goblin raised his upper body and grimaced in pain. The move had created the space Linvin required. He pulled the knife to the side and broke the goblin’s hold of his arm. Linvin used his full might to drive the sharpened point through one side of his opponent’s neck. The blade finally stopped when it exited the other side. Grabbing at its throat, the goblin fell to the ground. He would not rise again.
Linvin lay on his back, panting for several moments. He struggled to regain his feet and retrieved his knife. Linvin stood alone on the battlefield, victorious. The time had come to learn the price of his victory.
Now that I have the second edition of “Quest for the Red Sapphire” uploaded, I am having a .99 Kindle sale! For a limited time you can download the book from Amazon for only .99. The link to the book is http://www.amazon.com/Quest-Red-Sapphire-Chronicles-Book-ebook/dp/B00DZ100MO/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=8-1&qid=1428505342 Hurry to get yours before this sale is over. If you were ever curious about the story, now is your chance to own it for less than a dollar!
There are a good number of things in this world that go together. Examples are bagels and cream cheese, peanut butter and jelly, chips and dip and in a non-food way, a good book and a blanket. Bagels were an eastern European staple brought to the new world by the Jewish settlers in New York. After opening bakeries and delis they found it needed something extra. An American product developed from a progression of English recipes was cream cheese. A crafty marketer even called it Philadelphia Cream Cheese because the best cheeses were said to come from there. It did not matter that the product was made in New York. When bagels went nationwide, so did the cream cheese. Next comes peanut butter and jelly. Peanut butter was invented in 1880 by Dr. Ambrose W. Straub as a food for his patients with bad teeth. In 1904 it was taken to the World’s fair and was an instant hit. Every sample sold out at a huge profit. Large wooden tubs began showing up in grocery stores to satisfy consumer’s demands. In the 1920s and 30s the national brands you know today were launched. It wasn’t until World War 2 that invention took over once again. Soldiers were given rations of peanut butter as a cheap, easily transportable high protein source. They were also given rations of jelly for their sweet tooth. It didn’t take long for imaginative G.I.s to put the two together to make the peanut butter more palatable. When they came home from the war, they brought their new creation back to the American public and the rest is history. Then there was the case of the chip and dip. It took a long time for these two partners to come together. Potato chips were invented in 1853 but didn’t gain much traction in the market until the 1920s when mechanical peeling machines made the product economically viable. They were introduced in the Deep South by Herman Lay who had tremendous success. Around the same time a young Texan named Elmer Doolin had bought the rights to fried tortilla strips and added an s to the Spanish word for fried to create Fritos. He sold franchises after the war and in 1961 the two companies merged into Frito-Lay. Now for the dip part of the story. Lipton had taken the instant soup business as far as they could. If they were to remain profitable, they would need a new outlet for their products. They came up with the idea of adding their dry packaged soup to sour crème and making a product to put your chip in. The trend was an overnight success and soon dip was made commercially. Even I remember mixing French onion soup mix with sour cream to make dip. It was a perfect marriage. As hungry as that makes me, nothing compares to having nothing to do, maybe some rain or snow outside and curling up with a book and a blanket. I am afraid I have no history on that as I am sure it has gone on since the written word existed. It is a comfort and escape you can’t find anywhere else. So next time you think of things that go together, sit down with a good book and a blanket. They go together like the song says, ‘like a wink and a smile.’
“Enough,” yelled Mandrean. “I am in the mood to kill someone. If Grithinshield is not to be had, I am inclined to settle for you gentlemen. Now shut your mouths while I think.”
All were silent as Mandrean paced and looked at the pawns. Then his eyes fell on Gramlick. He sat calmly in his seat with his arms folded. Mandrean approached him and softened his tone, if only slightly. “You have said nothing.”
Gramlick looked at the other generals with a look of disappointment. “To add one’s voice to those of idiots only brands you as one yourself.”
Mandrean sat beside his mentor. “Well I am asking you, how will Linvin plan to escape?”
Gramlick patted Mandrean gently on the cheek. “Though you are my Emperor you are still such a child. You continue to ask the wrong questions.”
Mandrean withdrew his face and looked at the map in confusion. “What question should I be asking?”
Gramlick sighed and limped to the center of the room. Then he turned and addressed Mandrean and the other generals. “You wonder where Grithinshield will flee. I say you should first ask yourself, ‘Should I pursue him at all?’”
Mandrean found the statement insulting. “Of course I shall have him chased down like a rat. Look at what he did today.”
“Exactly,” Gramlick said calmly. “You already listed what Linvin has accomplished without the Red Sapphire. Now that he has the magic stone I doubt it will take long for him to master its powers. Even if you do corner him, you will lose many, many soldiers. Those are the men you are counting on for your future plans. That would unravel your strategy for Romadon and possibly open the door for revolt in the newly conquered territories. Even with horrifying casualties, there is still no guarantee you will beat him. In fact, his record shows he is always victorious in battle. You would likely throw away everything and gain nothing.”
Mandrean processed the information and rubbed his chin. “Then what course of action would you suggest to kill Grithinshield?”
“None,” Gramlick said firmly. “He has what he wants and he is not coming after you. All he wants to do now is go home. I believe you would be wise to let him. Further confrontation with Linvin will likely end badly for our Empire. Let him go and repair the damage caused. He will only be a threat if he is threatened.”
“But look at what he has done.” Mandrean fumed like a child not being given what he wanted.
“The damage is considerable,” agreed Gramlick. “It is an opportunity to rebuild your capital into the regal seat of power it should be. The greatest scar left today was on your ego. In time that wound will heal like anything else. Put the anger aside and rise above it. Only then will you be a truly wise Emperor.”
Mandrean valued his opinion above any other general, but Gramlick’s suggestion was a bitter pill. The Emperor resumed his pacing at a hurried rate as he glared intently at the map. His expressions showed the back and forth debate within his mind. As his track turned to face Gramlick again, he finally commented in a conciliatory tone. “Your suggestion to allow Grithinshield to leave my realm unmolested is not an easy choice for me to make…”
Mandrean was interrupted by a bellowing voice from the main doorway. “Or the right choice to make either.” Everyone turned to see Necromancer standing in his customary manner with his arms crossed and covered in his sleeves. “Forgive me for my tardiness, gentlemen,” he continued. “Someone had to put out the raging inferno caused by our recent guest and it would seem I was the only one capable of such a feat. It may please you to know I saved half of your precious capital. Whether it was the better half or not is for you to debate. It all looks like a dung pile to me.”
After taking a moment to collect himself, he looked over the situation closely. Aside from the goblins actually in the camp, there were four sentries posted in a square perimeter around the clearing. They did not take their eyes off the forest.
Linvin was beginning to seriously regret leaving his sword at home. If he were going to save his family, he would only be able to count on his bow. How many could I possibly slay before they took me in a rush? he thought. Three...maybe four if I’m fast. That was not a satisfactory answer.
He looked at his uncle lying on the ground and tried to think of what advice the old elf would give him in the situation. Anvar’s speech at the monument was still fresh in his mind. Somehow the sentimentality of the statements was lost on Linvin in the moment. The swelling rage in his heart left little room for remorse. There was, however, one useful piece of knowledge from the experience he could put to use. He remembered Anvar’s depiction of the Tree Line Stand in the war. “Archers in the trees!” Linvin exclaimed. A plan formed in moments and Linvin was ready to set it in motion.
He pulled an arrow back on the string and found a spot in a tree where he could get a good view of the field. For his plan to work, the first shot had to be true. Linvin took great care aiming, then let the arrow fly. It sliced through the air so fast that Linvin lost track of it until it reached its target.
With a hiss, the arrow went through the neck of the goblin leader. He gasped for breath and then fell to the ground. It was a perfect shot. Not taking time to marvel at his shooting, he fired two more arrows into the crowd of stunned goblins and then jumped to the next tree.
Among the goblins, panic had set in like sudden fog. Their captain was down and before they knew it, two more goblins had fallen beside him.
The sentry nearest to the tree where the arrows came from, rushed over and thrust his spear into the branches. When he looked up, he saw nothing but leaves. There was not a sign of anyone. He looked down and saw the boar carcass with an arrow in its shoulder. Connecting the two things, he turned to hail his comrades. The only sound he could make though, was a scream of pain as an arrow pierced his chest plate. He was driven to the ground by the sheer shock of the blow.
Spears were held high as the goblins reacted to the cry and hurried to the sight. The sentries, however, maintained their posts with surprising discipline. Though an honorable act, it would be their undoing. The main force was still running to the first sentry, while Linvin dropped the others in turn with his stealth attack; hopping from tree to tree like a squirrel.
The hoard halted as they saw their watchmen cut down. Again, panic struck them. In an act of desperation, they spread out and rushed for different areas of the perimeter from which the arrows might have come. The act was in vain. Linvin was several trees away before any goblin came near his last point of fire. One by one, they succumbed to the bow.
Arrows came from all directions. The goblins could not tell if there was one enemy or dozens. Whatever direction they searched, was of no use. Goblins died as quickly as Linvin could draw his bow. Not a single arrow missed its target as Linvin channeled his hatred into the slaughter.
A friend asked me yesterday what I would do if overnight I became a multibillionaire. I had the usual boring answer ready where I pay off my bills, invest for the future and so forth but then I started thinking. This is just for fun. What would you do? I’d like to visit every country in Europe and not count calories while I’m there. I’d like to buy a car that I can’t afford the auto insurance on right now. I would buy a winter home in Florida with an orange tree in the back yard. I would make generous donations to cancer research, diabetes research and the Heart Association. I would add a wing to my church so everyone could fit in. I would move my brother out of poverty in a dangerous part of Detroit and into a home of his choosing. He always wanted to live on a farm. Maybe I would buy him a farmhouse. My other brother and sister would be set up so they would never have to worry about money again. I would visit them more often. I would go to Las Vegas not to gamble but to see every show. I would pay the Beach Boys to play a concert just for me and my family and friends. I would travel around Australia just so I could say I had done it. My children would receive the best educations in the country and I would encourage them and support them as they became established. They would not, however, get a free ride. Too many kids have been spoiled by money. I have good kids and I wouldn’t want that to change. My wife; my beautiful wife could have whatever she wanted. I think what she’d like most would be a maid. If we’re going to go that route then we would need a mansion big enough to need servants. We would have house servants and lawn servants and security to keep the nuts away. I would go to Hawaii and pick a fresh pineapple. Then I would cut away the sides and eat it like a popsicle. I’d hire Megan Fox as my massage therapist…wait a minute. That might not be such a good idea. I’d lose half my money in a divorce. I better hold off on that one. In all seriousness, there are a lot of fun and different things I could do if I had that kind of money. Do you know what I would most look forward to doing? Writing. I would write every day if I could. That’s the big answer to the question. I would have my own little world and my computer. There my dreams would come to life while my family enjoyed my money. Sure, I would do some of that but I am a simple man with simple tastes. Let me write and I am happy.
Fantasy fiction is my passion. This series embodies my love for a good story and action. You will find it to be many things, but not boring! Read what you love and love what you read...