“Listen to me! Do exactly what I say! Jerk it left, right, left, up, then down!” Eli’s call rang out through the corridors of the Sanctuary, the note of urgency in her voice apparent to Rhy, even from all the way up front in the cockpit.

The moment was tense. Rhyiianna had risen again, the smile still on her lips as she felt her Daddy’s words flowing through her mind. She took the control yoke in her hand, but still it wouldn’t budge. She jerked it right. She jerked it up. Still nothing.

She played Eli’s words over in her mind again. She hadn’t really heard her all that well, too focused on hearing Daddy. Still focused on him because not only were his words in her mind.. she could feel him too. He was here.

Looking down at the controls momentarily, she panicked again. She believed him when he said he would protect her, but she wasn’t sure how he could if they crashed at not only this speed, but this trajectory. The rate they were going gave them maybe thirty seconds at best. Time was running out.

As she went to call out to Eli once more, her entire body went limp. She fell, slumped over the chair before rolling to one side and landing unconscious on the floor. For what seemed like forever she simply lay there, though in actuality it was barely a second.

When the body of Rhyiianna rose from the ground, it was not Rhyiianna who saw through her eyes. A quick look in the viewport gave that away. The reflection in the transparisteel showed something else altogether. Her eyes were yellow. The eyes of Omega.

~*=*~

=Omega=

His vessel hung loosely at his side. The lightsaber he had clung to for so long clinging to the belt of his daughter. So much did he want to return that not even the Force itself could have prevented him. He was Omega. Nothing in this universe could stand in his way once his mind was set.

This was all it had taken. The power of spirit transference had proven itself worthy of his time. A small focusing of his latent Force energy, as well as a subtle manipulation of Rhyiianna’s own Force energy, and here he stood. The Dark Lord of the Sith. Ready to conquer the galaxy and take all life at his will if he so chose. Why then did he not?

He knew there was no Jedi in all the galaxy that could ever stand against him. The only Sith that could ever hope to challenge him was Feral and after their last encounter, he was certain Feral would not make such an unwise choice. A vision of his battle in Feral’s throne room in the Jygat on Mygeeto filled his mind, more specifically the Force Blast that had sent Feral crashing into a wall of planetary bedrock. The crumbled remains of Feral’s throne laying on the dusty floor.

He blinked. There was no time for nostalgia. He had to act fast. He had taken over Rhyiianna’s body for a reason and time was running out. Remembering the other girls words, he quickly jerked the yoke to the left, then right, left, up, and finally down. Giving the yoke a quick tug back gave him all the confirmation he needed. Steering was back online.

Putting his mind completely in the moment, Omega acted through the Force alone, calling on it to guide his every movement. Holding the yoke with one hand, his other hand floated above the console. His eyes turned a more vibrant shade of yellow as he fed himself more memories of his fight with Feral, fueling his anger and allowing him to channel more dark side Force energy.

He began to manipulate the ships systems. The very power coursing through his veins firing up the thrusters once more. He was aware that Eliel’s power cycling of the ship had given the engines back their power, but this was much quicker than starting the ship by any conventional means. Setting his will on the ship itself, he fed as much power as he could to the thrusters, pushing them to full reverse.

Without ever looking out of the viewport he could sense that it wasn’t going to be enough. It wouldn’t be the end though. Not for her. He had said he would protect her and he would. She would live. Her friend he could not guarantee, though for the sake of his daughter he hoped she would survive also. Rhyiianna would not understand what had transpired here today. She would need a friend.

He had seen her future. He had seen what she could become if she lived. “As long as you don’t fail her today, Sith.” a voice whispered in the back of his mind. The voice that replied was not Omega’s. He almost lost focus for a moment as he heard himself speak, the voice that came out not that of one of the galaxies most feared Sith Lords, but that of a ten year old girl who would live to see her destiny come to pass.

“Say what you will, she will survive.”

As the engines consumed precious power in their attempt to slow the ships descent, the ground grew ever larger in the viewport. Omega’s eyelids flitted as he called on more and more power, drawing heavily on the dark side of the Force to control the ship. His process was slow and was fast taking up all the time they had left, but it was working. The ship’s trajectory was drastically altered, enough that they would strike the ground belly first. Their speed was lessened enough that he could almost assure that at the least, Rhyiianna would survive.

Suprising even himself, he smiled. In his life, Omega had nothing. Except Rhyiianna. His daughter. Though she was not born as it, she was exactly that. His daughter. If there was ever one weakness in Omega, it was her. There was no length he would not go to for her safety. There was nothing he wouldn’t do for her. She was all the humanity left in him.

Seating himself in the pilot’s seat, he relinquished his hold on her. He gave her back her body. He knew what he was doing as his mind re-entered the lightsaber hilt. She would survive.

~*=*~

Rhyiianna blinked. Her eyes shot open in time to see the ground approaching fast. They were moving slower than before and their trajectory was far less steep. She wondered if Daddy had done something, but she didn’t need to ask. She could feel him still. Deep down she knew that somehow, he had done something.

As the ground grew closer, and the first pieces of the ships durasteel hull crumbled in front of her, Rhyiianna shut her eyes tight, her mind speaking out through the Force, screaming four words into the darkness that enveloped her.

<< I LOVE YOU DADDY! >>

~*=*~

=Omega=

He was merely a spirit again. Inside his old lightsaber he was far less potent than he ever had been outside of it, but he still had more power than many of the Sith that now walked the galaxy. As the ship closed in on the planet, Omega; Dark Lord of the Sith, set his will upon his daughter.

His consciousness focused on nothing else. As the ship struck the planet, the first shock of collision shaking it’s very foundations, he acted. Omega wrapped his daughter in the Force, cocooning her in the dark side. As the ship drove harder into the ground, breaking apart the hull in as many places as it was simply pierced, his will was set on her alone.

For half a second, he faltered. It was too hard to sustain, even for him with his near unlimited power. Rhyiianna crashed forward. With anger fueling him, Omega set his will upon her once more, cocooning her again in the dark side right as her body crashed against the durasteel flooring. She would likely have broken an arm, perhaps a wrist if she was lucky, but the way he felt her fall, he would be surprised if that were the case.

He was running out of steam. He could feel it as the ship continued to crash across the planet’s crust. He wasn’t sure how much longer he could hold it and the ship didn’t show any signs of stopping. Large chunks of hull plating and transparisteel flew about the room, the viewport having shattered, bringing howling winds into the cockpit where Rhyiianna lay huddled unconscious on the floor.

Finally, the ship started to slow. As the seconds flew by, it slowed more, though it was still a raging storm of hellfire inside. For as long as he could, Omega hung on, keeping his cocoon of dark side energy around his daughter, protecting her from more physical harm. As he struggled to find more power to fuel the cocoon, his anger abated in the process of saving Rhyiianna, he let his voice carry back to her through the Force.

<< Daddy loves you too Princess! >>

Then as quickly as it had started, it stopped. There was no more cocoon. There was no more Omega. There was nothing left, the last of his energy gone as his voice faded in the unconscious girl’s mind. Omega was gone.

~*=*~

Rhyiianna’s unconscious body lay limp on the durasteel flooring. As the voice of her Daddy played in her mind, the rest of her shifted too. The ship had slowed, but it had not stopped. Her body was flung unceremoniously into the forward walls, crashing to the floor and waking her with a start. She opened her eyes. Where was Daddy? Why couldn’t she feel him anymore? Why had he left her?

Tears streamed down her face as she wondered if he had ever been there at all. A thought that disappeared all too quickly as another violent shaking of the ship sent her face first into the wall once more.

All was black. The ship stopped.

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Earlier this year, I was given the unique opportunity to have a one on one interview online with bestselling author – and friend – Drew Karpyshyn. Circumstances related to my personal life led me to cease writing temporarily as I relocated this blog, and as such the posting of this was delayed again and again, along with other works that I had long been planning to post.

Now though, after some revision and a quick catch up with Drew, I am pleased to be able to bring you the full interview transcript.

Istuion: “So, Drew, thanks for agreeing to this interview. I guess the main thing I want to get across to my readers here is the man behind it all. The Drew Karpyshyn behind the well reputed name. I know – as some of my readers will undoubtedly know – that you grew up in Edmonton, in the province of Alberta, Canada. We know of your many contributions to the world, from your books to your writing for some of the greatest video games our generations have seen. I guess what I really want to know is what made this all happen for you. What built you into the writer you are, while also getting an idea of who you are away from the books.

The first question I have for you today, and perhaps one of the more important of those I have for you, would have to be; What events – from your childhood and teenage years – do you feel begun the shaping of the Drew Karpyshyn that many young minds aspire to follow in the footsteps of?”

Drew: “I guess I’m really just a product of the late 70’s and 80’s. Movies like Alien and Aliens, Terminator and Blade Runner – not to mention the Star Wars trilogy – were very popular during my teen years, and I played a lot of Dungeons and Dragons. These got me interested in sci-fi and fantasy.”

Istuion: “Excellent. I think most of those movies were pretty epic for my generation too. I don’t know that Star Wars will ever not be cool though.

Moving on to the next question though, what do you remember about your first job writing for BioWare and how would you say you feel about its impact on your career as you look back now?”

Drew: “Actually, when I first started they were nearing the end of Baldur’s Gate 2. Most of the dialog and characters had been written; I really just did some editing and clean up on a few of the sections, as well as the manual. It was really a learning process so that when I started working on Throne of Bhaal I understood how BioWare did things. Obviously that was key to my entire video game writing career.”

Istuion: “I can imagine that it would have been an amazing experience. BioWare is no small fish when it comes to video games.

So, of all the novels you have written, and the games you have written for and/or worked on, which would you say had the most profound affect on your writing career as a whole?”

Drew: “I think the first Star Wars novel, Darth Bane: Path of Destruction, has had the biggest impact. That was the first novel to hit the NY Times bestseller lists, and it opened up a huge audience to my writing.”

Istuion:
“That it did. After reading Darth Bane: Path of Destruction, I was given a lot of insight into the Sith that I had never bothered to look into before. Up to that point the only Star Wars author on my map was Aaron Allston, who I’d spoken to for the first time about 6 months before our first contact.

Baldurs Gate and Neverwinter Nights, two of the most popular and highly acclaimed fantasy rpg’s in existence. What do you say when someone approaches you and asks how it feels to know you helped to shape something on that grand a scale?”

Drew:
“All I can say is that I’m proud of what the team accomplished, and it’s nice to know that I was part of something people cared so passionately about.”

Istuion: “I suppose while we are discussing things people are passionate about, the next question that comes to mind must head in the direction of KOTOR… What would you say drove you to want to write for Star Wars, and in the capacity you begun writing for them in, as the lead writer for Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, which became the 2003 Game of the Year, also known to be the first Lucas Arts venture you undertook?”

Drew: “I’ve always been a fan of Star Wars, but it was really my job at BioWare that got me interested in writing for them. When we got the contract to make KOTOR I was picked to be the lead writer, and in doing the research for the game I learned a lot about the Old Republic time period of the Star Wars universe. After that, it just seemed like a natural progression to write the Bane novels.”

Istuion: “You have now written three Darth Bane novels. The one we spoke about when we first begun to correspond around the start of this year, and the latest, is titled Star Wars: Darth Bane – Dynasty of Evil, the conclusive chapter in the trilogy, which was released in hardcover from Del Rey books on the 8th of this month. Following its predecessors Darth Bane – Path of Destruction and Darth Bane – Rule of Two. How much freedom were you given when it came to the shaping of not only the time and events, but the characters of this series that tells the tale of the largest, and single most crucial change in the path of the Sith Order?”

Drew: “I’ve been lucky, because no other author is working in the Bane time period. Obviously I have to make sure I don’t violate any of the established canon of the Star Wars universe, but for the most part I’ve been given total freedom. That’s not to say my editor doesn’t make suggestions and comments on my work; but she usually lets me take things in the direction I want.”

Istuion: “It must be good to know they have that much faith in your ability. Star Wars only take the best, this much we all know. George Lucas would not be the man he was today if he had let just anyone work on his Galaxy Far Far Away. If you could offer one piece of sound advice to an aspiring science fiction writer – but not necessarily to get into Star Wars – what would it be?

Drew: “Just be patient. It took me 10 years before I started selling my work. Writing is hard, and it takes a long time before you develop your style to the point that people will pay you to write.”

Istuion: “Perhaps a very daunting path, but obviously for those people with the talent, a worthwhile one. I’m curious to know though, as a science fiction writer, I assume you would also have been – or perhaps still are – a science fiction fan. What books, movies or shows affected you the most and led you to want to write the stories you are so well reputed for?”

Drew: “Honestly, I read more fantasy than science fiction. That’s one of the great appeals of Star Wars; it combines the best elements of both genres. So I think my biggest inspirations have been the Star Wars trilogy and well known fantasy authors like Tolkien, Terry Brooks and George R. R. Martin. I also enjoy reading Neil Gaiman and Guy Gavriel Kay, plus I’ve read most of Stephen King’s early work.”

Istuion: “Brilliant. I’m a bit of a Tolkien nut myself. As a Star Wars fan though, I am curious to know – and I assume my readers are also – where Drew Karpyshyn thinks he would be in the Star Wars Galaxy. What would you be Drew… Jedi Knight or Dark Lord of the Sith, Mandalorian Bounty Hunter or Kaminoan Cloner; and what would make you so?

Drew:
“In real life I’m pretty boring. I don’t have the discipline to be a Jedi, and I lack the ambition to become a Sith. I’d probably be a Bounty Hunter so I could set my own hours and be my own boss… but I probably wouldn’t collect many bounties. Seems kind of dangerous to me.”

Istuion: “Hahahaha, great answer! I heard a rumor recently that you’re also working on the new MMO, Star Wars: The Old Republic. Is there any truth to the rumor?”

Drew: “Yes. Now that I’m living in Texas and I’m done with my share of the writing on Mass Effect 2, I’ve become a part of the MMO team. I’m actually really very impressed by the quality of the stories we’re putting into this game.”

Istuion: “So, on a more personal note, I hear you’re quite the billiards player? I also heard that your billiards team was the namesake for one of the more popular KOTOR characters. What can you tell me about that?”

Drew: “Yes, you heard right. My team was made up of 4 players with the last name Harrison, and 1 with the name Karpyshyn (me). So with 4 H’s and 1 K we were going to call ourselves the HK-41’s. But we decided HK-47 sounded more intimidating because of the well known AK-47 rifle, so we became the HK-47’s. Several years later, when I went to work for BioWare, I tacked the name onto the homicidal Hunter-Killer robot assassin who joined the player on his quest.”

Istuion: “My last question is simple. If I gave you one paragraph to freely describe yourself, your career.. and the gift you have given the world with your writing. What would you say?”

Drew: “I doubt I’d need a full paragraph; I’m a simple guy. I’m just glad people enjoy the stories I tell, and I hope my fans will continue to enjoy my work.”

Istuion: “Well, thank you immensely Drew, for the time you’ve given to this interview, and for your patience and understanding, especially in regards to my recent health drama. It’s been a pleasure.”

Drew: “It’s been a real pleasure. It’s nice to work on something “informal” as a break from all my projects. I hope your readers enjoy learning a little bit more about the man behind the books and games. Thanks for the opportunity.”

These are the first two posts of a duel between the literary characters Stridal Braeden, written by my good friend, AJ Reed and the former Sith Emperor, Omega, who I have not written in almost a year now. Please, comment freely.

=Stridal=

*The blackness twisted for a moment and produced a living shadow who was covered in a black on black cloak that gently swayed in the wind as the shadow reached up with both hands lowering its hood to expose the face of Stridal Braeden as he rolled his shoulders causing his cloak to slide off his arms and into a crumpled heap behind his feet. Extending his left hand and with a twist of his mind the lightsaber that rested on his belt flew off and slapped into the outstretched palm as the shadow’s fingers enclosed around it pressing a small button.

Within the fraction of a nano second a long drawn out snap hiss was heard as a bar of crimson energy came to life in a low continuous hum that illuminated the area in a crimson glow. No longer really paying attention to Omega, the shadow moved the blade in front of his body appearing to study it as one would study the face of a friend long thought dead. Power gathered around him until the Force was immersed in darkness as the shadow kept a slow methodical breathing pattern that caused vapors to rise gently into the air*

“If you only knew” *the shadow hissed, perhaps speaking to himself, or perhaps Omega or even to the crimson blade that was now lifted in a mocking salute* “How long I have been waiting for this….”

*~*~*

=Omega=

Omega merely smiled. Thin red cracks, not visible to the naked eye, began to form over the deep and haunting yellow hue of his irises. The teeth between his lips glinted like vibro-daggers in the pale light, his calm demeanor belying the maelstrom of dark side Force energy that welled up inside him.

He raised his left hand, turning it in and out, his eyes falling to gaze upon it’s flesh as he extended it slowly out to the left, holding it horizontally to his body as the light saber hilt levitated slowly, evenly, methodically from his belt, directly in to his open hand. A short click was followed eerily by a quick snap-hiss, a crimson beam of super-heated plasma extending in an instant, the thrum of the long unused weapon sending a pleasant chill down the spine of the Sith Lord.

His right hand clenched inside a glove of Krayt Dragon leather. He wondered if he should even bother activating it yet. He knew Stridal could not possibly know of the terror that weapon could unleash. Power that could render a light saber useless. Strength that could tear through flesh and bone alike with a mere flick of the wrist. He played the thought over in his mind.

{No.. that would be too easy.} He thought to himself.

The Dark Lord of the Sith brandished his light saber in a Makashi salute, flourishing the blade before extending it to his lower left side, angled down and bringing the tip to within an inch of the duracrete flooring that stood underneath them. He kept his feet spaced shoulder width apart, not bothering to angle his body at all. It was really pointless to do so anyway with a style like Makashi, at least until the first blows had been exchanged.

His voice echoed throughout the room, seeming to come not from the Sith Lord himself, but from every patch of darkness that the room held within it’s vast expanse. “If only you knew, you had only been waiting.. to die.”

This is the third and newest post in a roleplay story I am a part of. In this story, I am writing the part of myself. In this particular post, I battle a dragon. xD

Wayne wrenched the throttle back and turned down a side street as the dragon landed heavily on the road, causing the surrounding blocks to rumble loudly, almost reminiscent of thunder. As he sped down the narrow road, he looked back over his shoulder, just in time to see a large eye rounding the corner, followed seconds later by fierce flames that raced after him, threatening with each second to engulf him, bike and all. He felt the heat licking at the back of his neck before it dissipated suddenly, a great wind picking up as the beast left the ground. He slammed the brakes on and made for the main road again, sliding out sideways and wheel-standing as he took off alarmingly fast.

The beast must have seen him, or at the very least heard him, because it was barely a few seconds later before the roar filled his ears again. He risked a peek, his head turning and looking over his shoulder, but there was no dragon. Where the mess did that thing go? He thought to himself, his eyes searching frantically for any sign of the dragon that he could have sworn was behind him only moments ago. His head snapped back around quite suddenly, a thought dawning on him, and thank the heavens it did, for the moment his peripheral’s could spy the air on his right hand side, he saw the great beast flying directly for him. There was nothing left to do. He knew in that moment that he couldn’t outrun this ancient creature.

He would have to fight.

In barely an instant he had slammed on the front wheel brakes of the bike. He didn’t let go of them. There would be no stylish maneuver to bring him to a halt. He flew unceremoniously through the air, crashing to the road after landing sideways on the roof of an old ’57 Corvette soft top. He scrambled to his feet, looking for anything that could give him half a chance. The bike skidded past him, sparks flying as he took his first few steps, breaking into a run as he bolted for the far side of the street, and the refuge of an old Hummer truck. Seconds after he had jumped through the driver’s side window, he regretted it, two skeleton’s lunged for him, one gripping him by the throat as the second reached for the Jian that remained sheathed on his back. As his eyes blinked furiously to fight off unconsciousness, he saw the dragon coming back for him. As the second skeleton slid the tai chi blade out, Wayne smashed his own head backward, stunning the first long enough for him to scramble free. As he turned, the second brought his own sword crashing toward his skull, with typical undead dexterity it had mistakenly swung with the flat side of the blade. Wayne punched, the limited space giving him very little room to build up a strong strike, but it was strong enough to combat the strength of one of these pitiful foes. The sword was met by Wayne’s fist and sent careening back into the neck of the first, causing it’s head to crumble right off it’s shoulders. In the split secind it took for him to lean forward, Wayne had cocked his fist and slammed it full force into the rib cage of the second, shattering the bones as he gripped it’s spinal cord, wrenching his wrist around to the left and snapping it clean in half.

He looked around quickly, his gaze fast meeting the dragon’s as it came within a few meters of the vehicle. Wayne turned the key and the truck roared to life. He slammed his foot down on the gas, the engine grumbling loud enough for the dragon to think twice. As the Hummer moved forward, the dragon roared, but Wayne was no longer afraid. He wouldn’t be deterred. If he didn’t kill this thing, others would die and he could never let himself carry that weight. This would end here.

*~*~*

The dragon jumped into the air at the last second. Anything willing to attack it head on was not something to be trifled with. It belched flames after the truck as it lurched past, then took off higher into the air. It would show this opponent just what it meant to deal with a monster that had come back from extinction. Ripping a large billboard from the roof of a nearby skyscraper, the beast flew faster than ever after the metal machine that seemed to bend to the human’s will, launching the large sign down at the road in front of the vehicle.

There was nothing in all of creation that could challenge the mighty dragon, most fearsome of all the creatures of the ancient world. This little human would learn it’s place soon enough, when it became her midnight meal.

*~*~*

The shifter grinded as Wayne slid it down into third, slamming on the brakes and swerving around the wreckage as the giant billboard crashed to the ground about 40 feet ahead of him. The old Hummer wasn’t happy about it and the engine seemed to sputter for a moment as he dropped her down to second, powering around the twisted metal and shifting back up again as he regained speed. He was certain he could make it to the industrial area near the port if he didn’t look back, but as soon as the thought had crosses his mind he felt the engine over-revving, almost as though the gearbox was in neutral. It would have taken time to figure what was happening, had the front of the vehicle not suddenly been tilted forward.

Well, here goes then.. Wayne thought as he reached behind him and gripped his sword, slipping it back into it’s sheath and opening the driver’s side door, leaping for the dark road as the Hummer was lifted clean off the ground. He shielded his eyes as he landed in sideways roll, stopping hard against the rim of an old Toyota Celica. It looked like a ’95, just like the one he had owned before he moved to America the year before. He scrambled to his feet and opened the door. Yes! Was the first thing that came to mind as his eyes went straight to the ignition. Keys!

He fired up the engine and took off, then stopped. No.. I can’t run. I have to end this here and now or people will die. I can’t live with that, I’d always regret the choice. I’d rather die for something than live without morals.

“Hey.. if you’re up there listening, you know what I’m up to. Watch out for me Big Guy.. stay true to your little homie down here. Much love..” As the last two words were issued from his lips, Wayne gave his chest a little pound with his right hand, beating it twice against his heart then raising it in a warrior’s salute.

Rubber burned as he dropped the clutch, ripping the small coupe into second and locking up the rear wheels as he brought her around in a full one hundred and eighty degree turn. His eyes searched the sky and he saw her, the dragon. She was perched on the roof of a large building nearby, the remains of the Hummer truck in her mouth. As the wheels screeching pulled her gaze, the wreckage dropped a good few hundred feet to the sidewalk. As she leapt from the massive structure, Wayne stepped out of the car and drew his sword. His expression was grim as he took his first few steps forward, but as he broke into a run he couldn’t help but smile a little. It wasn’t everyday you got to fight a dragon. He just wished someone could have been there to catch it on video.

*~*~*

She swooped in low toward the running human, her great wings flapping furiously. This was it. The human would fall for sure this time. She had scales as hard as diamond, save only her neck and stomach, and there was no way he would know that. He wouldn’t dare to attack her head on. He was feigning to buy himself more time. He would try to run.

She dove lower, roaring louder than she had in all the days since she had taken this city for her own. The ancient flames she belched forth from between her razor sharp teeth were hotter than liquid magma and her mouth was big enough to hold an average sized sedan. As she swept in, something gleamed in the night. She lost sight of the human for a moment, just as she should have swallowed him whole, a single thought running through her mind. Is he carrying some kind of tooth?

*~*~*

Wayne gulped as the dragon closed in, angling his sword to reflect the light off the street lamps into the beast’s eyes. She must have come within mere meters of him, and possibly would have swallowed him whole had she not seemed to be blinded for a moment. He dived into the gap where her mouth would likely have been, coming up from a tight commando roll and slashing up with his sword, slicing across the ancient fiend’s stomach, though perhaps not hard enough. She was still airborne. Though a scream of fury mingled with pain escaped her great mouth, she still was flying. He twirled his sword around his body once before he looked at the blade. The red blade. I got her! He thought. I actually drew blood!

He looked around frantically for something to give him a tactical advantage, all the time smiling broadly at the fact that he had just made a dragon feel pain. He was living up to his name. “The Man of Steel”. Now it was time to close the deal. He had to take this beast down and make sure the monsters knew once and for all that they had a foe worthy of their fear. This was no longer the dragon’s ball park. Now, she was on his turf. He felt the blood surging through his veins as adrenalin pumped through him. Cracking his knuckles as his eyes continued to look around, he spied it. A multiple story car park. He knew what he had to do. Sheathing his sword and looking up to make sure he was safe, he made his way back to the Celica. The dragon was circling above, apparently rethinking it’s entire attack plan.

Turning the key, the engine roared to life. The wheels spun as he sped off down the main street, zooming from left to right to avoid the abandoned cars that cluttered the center of the road. He dropped her down to second and let the clutch out fast, slipping the handbrake on for about a second as he turned into the ground level of the car park, drifting around the corner with ease in a car he was all too familiar with. Level by level he climbed, his apprehension at what was coming growing with each moment. As he sped around the final level he saw the deep night sky, he slammed on the handbrake one last time, the car grinding to a halt in a loud squeal that would have woken every man, woman and child on a ten block radius, especially on a night like this.

He turned on the hazard lights and flicked the headlights on to high beam as he stepped out of the vehicle and drew his sword again. She needed to know where he was. The roar that sounded in the night air was acknowledgment enough. As he stepped toward the edge of the building, he saw her fly past, short bursts of flame being expelled from her nostrils in what he took for an attempt to intimidate him. He wouldn’t be swayed now. He knew this was insane, but he had to try it. If it worked, he would have saved countless lives, and he would know beyond any doubt that his big Homie in the ceiling really was watching his back.

He took a few steps back and he watched as the dragon flew by again. After one or two passes he noted that she was flying lower when she passed back toward the south. That was going to be his window. He stepped back further. As she passed again, he screamed into the cold night’s air. “I’M GONNA SEND YOU BACK TO THE HELL YOU CAME FROM!!!”

The dragon turned once more, heading back once more for the pass to Wayne’s south.

He counted silently as she passed each building, taking slow steps forward. As she reached the building next to the car park structure, he broke into a run, sprinting faster than even he thought possible on account of the adrenalin. As he reached the edge of the building he jumped up onto the railing, time slowing dramatically as he leapt into the dark of night, seeming to almost move in slow motion as he flew through the air, his right hand holding his Jian firmly as his left stretched out as far as it could reach, connecting with the neck of the creature as it flew past. He clung to her neck for a few seconds as she let out a great and might roar. She wasn’t happy about having a passenger.

The second he had any measure of balance, Wayne’s right arm lashed around the dragon’s neck, thrusting the blade of the tai chi sword deep in to her neck. Blood spewed forth from the wound that was carved deep into the top of her spinal cord and she wrenched and bucked in mid air, fiercely trying to dismount the man who had mortally wounded her, but to no avail. Her limbs went limp and she started to drop, ten; sometimes twenty meters at a time. Wayne clung to her neck gravely for fear of losing his footing, his right hand clumsily holding his sword after ripping it free from the gash in the dragon’s neck. As they dropped lower and lower, she flapped her massive wings, trying to stay up, and failing. She did manage to slow their descent significantly though, and as they struck the ground, Wayne simply felt a reasonable amount of shock in both of his legs.

As the beast skidded down the road, his footing became more stable and by the time she had grinded to a halt, his left foot rested on the back of her neck, standing there casually like an armed skateboarder practicing a tail-grind. He stepped off her slowly, just in time to see her blood red eyes close for the last time. The great red dragon had fallen. Like David had slewn Goliath, so now had Wayne “The Man of Steel” Ronke also slain the dragon of Baltimore.

In barely a few moments he could hear doors opening. He saw people filing into the streets and cheering. His cheeks burned a fierce red. One young man reached him and held out a small video camera, whispering to Wayne so only he could hear. “I’m a telepath. So here’s your video.”

Wayne was blushing. So many people. It kind of bothered him that no one had thought to come in with an assist, but then again, fear wasn’t really something you could control. He took the camera and smiled, thanking the young man and looking down the street to a dark patch of road where there was a small lump in the shape of an old triumph motorcycle. He began to walk through the gathering crowd, nodding and smiling as he headed for his bike.

It was time to hit the road.

This is a piece I wrote some time ago. It’s something I feel strongly about and wish to pass on further than just the infinitesimal realm of my Facebook notes, which is where it has remained buried for some months now. I truly believe that God was working within me when this was written, but I’ll let you be the judge of that. Feel free to pass on your thoughts.

The world is grown cold.

Everywhere you look there is darkness. Everywhere the tools of the enemy lay.

Where is God you say? You ask where is God the Father?

Where do you think He is? How can He bring His light into this world when the very citizens who fill it keep Satan alive. You would call God a fraud and dare to mock Him who made you, you say He does not exist, that even if He exists then He has forsaken you, but you never thought for a moment that your own heart drove Him out of this world. That your own selfish desire and constant wars of hatred allowed Satan the Enemy to grip this world by it’s throat, planting the seeds of his vile contempt into the souls of men.

You would blame Him, the Father that sacrificed His only son, Christ Jesus, to forgive your foul deeds, to forgive your sins. You would not bring glory to His name but besmirch it in favor of the darkness that has destroyed our world. You say war is fought in God’s name?

Forgiveness is God’s only sword, Love is His only shield.

Your wars are made and maintained not by the will of God, but by the whispers of another. The one you let in with your lusting, the one you let in with your hate. You have become so tainted that he doesn’t even need to raise a hand.

Why would Satan fight when your actions give him more power day by day?

God loves you, but you would rather be a child of sin.

What went wrong, Earth?

Welcome to Istuion’s Fortress of Solitude.

The Man of Steel is back. Be prepared. This new blog will feature some exclusive pieces that you are guaranteed not to find anywhere else. I’ll be trying to experiment with new themes and such, but should be posting within the week, for anyone who may be interested.

I’m hoping what I do come out with will be an interesting read for all you random blog reader people. I have one or two things in the works that I know some people have waited a while for, including my long anticipated online interview with Drew Karpyshyn, the brilliant mind behind the Star Wars: Darth Bane series, as well as such games as Baldur’s Gate, Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2, Neverwinter Nights and the 2003 Game of the Year; Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (KOTOR).

Expect to see more exclusive interviews, movie reviews, book reviews, a bit of theology and my own general banter. If you can put up with me long enough, I reckon we’ll both have a good old time.  Flick a comment over to me if you want to see anything or anyone in particular. If it’s possible for me to do it, then you’ll see it here, in Istuion’s Fortress of Solitude.

Thanks for your patience.

~ Istuion.

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The Fact File

Fact 1: Sharp chest pain is not acceptable as a suggested method of relaxation.


Fact 2: Crocodiles are naturally friendly creatures. They only bite when you touch their private parts.


Fact 3: A lightsaber does not contain fewer calories than an ordinary saber.


Fact 4: There is no spoon.


Fact 5: The outside of a shark is more comfortable than the inside.


Fact 6: The cake is a lie.