The Star Doesn't Die: Red Shirts vs. Generational Continuity

#DateWelcome to my blog:Choose Your View:Attached to Forum:Back/ Next
4701/22/14The Star Doesn't Die: Red Shirts vs. Generational Continuity(Blog) (Forum)Star Trek(Back) (Next)
This blog was inspired by pondering RazzaTazz's excellent blog, Red People Red Shirts. Go read it now! -cb

"Red Shirt" is just a more common reference for "the star doesn't die." If the star dies, you lose your show (or book). Unless you make it a generational tale, like Erik Larsen's Savage Dragon, where there's a character that can fill the lead role when the current lead is dead or retired.

So if you're going to show that the situation is serious and life threatening, you have to take some incidental characters along that you can sacrifice for the story. The idea is to build the illusion that the star could die, without actually killing your star.

The problem with Star Trek is that they never made you feel like the stars were really in danger. They were always going to get out. The Red Shirt became a recognizable pattern as victim, and what that allowed was for the crew to react to the danger, and yell, "Beam us up!"

Next Generation tried to amp up the feel of danger by constantly having something that interfered with their (supposedly more technologically advanced) transporters, so that they were constantly having to set up devices that would boost the strength of the transporter signal.

With Deep Space Nine, the idea of the (mostly) stationary space station somehow clued the writers into something they didn't utilize that much with the ships- the concept of a rotating cast. Yes, we can kill one of the stars, because she's a Trill. We can kill off the host, but transfer the Trill to another host that will gain all of her memories, even though he's a man. We can kill off or demote the Bajoran liaison to the station, because the planet will send us another. And while this strengthened the illusion of danger for the stars, they still weren't going to do any permanent damage to the captain, the doctor, the chief engineer, or Quark and Odo.

I think Voyager did the best job, because they gave themselves the least to work with. They were trapped in a quadrant so far out that it was going to take them seventy-five years to return to Federation space. So whatever humans are aboard now would probably not live to see the Federation again, unless they found something to return them home sooner. There were no Federation allies here, everything was an unknown, and many of them were more powerful and had reinforcements. The core of the crew still remained intact, but I think there was at least one star death along the way (I think). To me, their situation always felt bleak, so everything put them in danger.

"The star doesn't die" is a necessary function of most stories. The hero has to live through whatever happens, because it's what makes them seem more-than-mortal or manly-man or whatever term for hero/heroine you want to label it with. In a one-time story, you don't notice "the star doesn't die" very much, because you can buy into the danger and believe that they could have died. In an ongoing story though, danger gets to be "ho-hum" to the reader, because they know that the hero has to live for the next story.

That's why "deaths don't matter" in comics. The star will always live, and if they don't, they're somebody's favorite, so they'll come back. It's gotten so ridiculous that even incidental characters could return from supposed death, somehow changed and amped to make them a threat.

All of this is why I constantly champion the generational continuity. Make it so Batman can die, or just get too old to carry on, and every story becomes a threat. At some point, Dick Grayson will take over the cowl, Tim might take over from him, Terry McGinnis might take over from him, etc. Superman might be killed by Bizarro, Billy Batson might take over for him, Freddy Freeman might take over for him, etc. Donna Troy might take over for Diana, Cassie might take over for Donna, etc. Just like Bart took over for Wally, who took over for Barry, who (sort of) took over for Jay. Green Lantern probably carries the most believable level of danger, because anyone can be a GL, as long as they are fearless and wearing the ring. So yes, we can kill off the star.

If continuity was truly generational though, then danger would seem real for all of those characters, and we wouldn't have the ridiculous situation where the JLA never ages or dies, but the sidekicks do, even though they can never quite take their mentors' places on the JLA for more than a commercial-hype moment. But then we need more sidekicks, so we bring up another generation in Young Justice, but that's a crud name, so let's make them the new Teen Titans! Which forces our original Titans into literally becoming Outsiders, effectively ruining the marketability of an entire team of characters.

The only unintentional benefit the generational backlog of DC characters has is that as characters are forced into "outsider" status, their popularity wanes, and they eventually drop into "incidental character" status. Which means now we can kill them, and their deaths will be a shock to readers who assumed they would be around forever...even though they will probably return from the dead at a later date, because their death will make them instantly popular again.

Going back to Red Shirts for a minute though, what made them a problem was that their deaths didn't matter. They were completely incidental, even to the stars of the crew. "They died, okay? Just beam us up!" Very rarely was anything done to make you feel the death of that character. Very rarely were they set up with any kind of backstory to make them a person to the viewer or reader. And very rarely did one of the stars say something like, "Ensign So-n-So was a good man. He had a wife, three children, and a family Tribble farm on Rigel VII. He'll be missed. ...So too will we miss the free Tribble meat." Their deaths didn't matter, so of course they became a joke.

RazzaTazz responds! Read Micro/Macro Death! Go now! -cb
9 Comments

Fan-Fic Long Box - Groups

Reading this in BLOG VIEW will get rid of that annoying double-spoiler thing. -cb
Intro:
I've been a regular customer of the Fan-Fic Comic Shop, and the fics have really started to pile up. So I had to get some long boxes to store them in. Grouped by author or fan-fic group, displayed in links, and stored in protective spoiler block sleeves, my digital-only collection is looking great. Feel free to flip through my back issues and see what I've been reading. -cb
If there's a number or listing, but no link, it means I haven't read it yet (or haven't found it again yet), but I plan to.
I have a separate Fan-Fic Long Box - Authors, for writers who are posting stories outside of any groups.

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Fan-Fics Are Filed Alphabetically By Group Name:
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by waezi2...
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DCR: Deadman.1.-----
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DCR: Red Hood.1..2..3.
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DCR: Deadshot Oneshot-.1.-----
DCR: Green Lantern-.1..2..3.---
DCR: Suicide Squad.0..1..2..3..4..5..6.
DCR: Wildcat-.1..2..3.---
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What I've read in the MIA - check out the MIA Library for links. -cb

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#DateAuthorStory
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3.08/23/13.
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5.09/06/13.
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8.09/27/13.
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9.10/04/13.
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  2. wildvine
  1. Marvel Mayhem: The Scourge Interlude
  2. SCP-XXXX
10.11/01/13.
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  1. The Writers Guild Part 1-Return of Impurest
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12.11/22/13.
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13.11/29/13.
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14.12/06/13.
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16.12/20/13.
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  1. (untitled story of Thomas Dunbold)
17.12/27/13.
  • n/a
  • Archive entry for all Writers Guild entries so far.
18.01/03/14.
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  1. The Patron Saint of Crime #6
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19.01/10/14.
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20.01/17/14.
  1. ernesth100
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  1. (untitled story)
  2. Marvel Mayhem: Iron Fist (one-shot)
21.01/24/14.
  1. batkevin74
  1. Emma Deconry character history, followed by a brutal killing scene
22.01/31/14.
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  1. New World, Old West Preview
23.02/07/14.
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  1. The Patron Saint of Crime #7
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24.02/14/14.
  1. dngn4774, batkevin74, wildvine, TommytheHitman, and The Poet
  1. The Writers Guild: The Hundredth Hit!!!
25.02/21/14.
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26.02/28/14.
  1. batkevin74
  2. Jonny_Anonymous
  3. wildvine
  1. (untitled story)
  2. Nuclear Winter: A Soldier's Story #2
  3. (untitled story set in Frozen)
27.03/07/14.
  1. knightofthechronicle
  2. ImpurestCheese
  1. Let It Rain, Chapter 2
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28.03/14/14.
  1. ImpurestCheese
  2. The Poet
  1. Marvel Mayhem - Crimson #1
  2. "the greatest and best story in the world... Tribute."
29.03/21/14.
  1. TommytheHitman
  2. ernesth100
  1. [removed at Tommy's request. -cb]
  2. Writers Guild: The 100th Hit, Chap 2.
30.03/28/14.
  1. batkevin74
  2. ImpurestCheese
  1. (untitled)
  2. Marvel Mayhem: Crimson #2
31.04/04/14.
  1. knightofthechronicle
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  1. Let It Rain, Chapter 3
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32.04/11/14.
  1. dngn4774
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  1. Liberator's Universe: Featherman #1
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33.04/18/14.
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  1. Sharpshot vs. Predator #1
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34.05/02/14.
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  1. Let It Rain, Chapter 4
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35..05/16/14.
  1. TommytheHitman
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  1. The Setup to Sharpshot VS Predator #2
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36..05/30/14.
  1. ImpurestCheese
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37..06/06/14.
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  1. The Patron Saint of Crime #12
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38..06/20/14.
  1. TommytheHitman
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  1. The Mists of Carligh
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39..06/27/14.
  1. ImpurestCheese
  1. The Patron Saint of Crime #13
40..07/25/14.
  1. ImpurestCheese
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41..08/15/14.
  1. ImpurestCheese
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  1. The Patron Saint of Crime #15
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42..08/29/14.
  1. ImpurestCheese
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Youngblood Keepsake Collection #0952 of 5000

#DateWelcome to my blog:Choose Your View:Attached to Forum:Back/ Next
4601/09/14Youngblood Keepsake Collection #0952 of 5000(Blog) (Forum)Youngblood(Back) (Next)
Press Sheet - Color Versions of the Six Black-and-White Card
Chapel
Badrock, Combat, Chapel, Diehard, Vogue and Shaft
Badrock, Combat, Diehard, Vogue, Chapel and Shaft
Riptide, Brahma, Psi-Fire, Photon, Cougar and Sentinel
Chapel and Shaft
Badrock, Diehard, Chapel and Shaft

I've made it no secret that Yes, I Am a Fan of Rob Liefeld, because he's one of Seven Comic Writers That Inspire Me. Now mostly, it's that he created so many characters after his move to Image, and the joy of discovering new characters is one of the things I love about comics. I don't buy this kind of thing at the ridiculous retail prices such "collector items" are priced at, but for a buck? You betcha. Picked this one out of the dollar bin today. (Sorry, Rob.)

The info off of the envelope:

Youngblood

Exclusive Original Art Included

Keepsake Collection By Comic Images Artwork By Rob Liefeld

Thrilling art by Rob Liefeld of this new Superteam, including an original piece done specifically for Comic Images. This set contains six giant 6" x 9" laminated black and white trading cards of several Youngblood members including Bedrock, Combat, Vogue, Cougar and many more. All six illustrations are also done in full-color 2-1/2" x 3-1/2" trading cards size on one laminated press sheet. Packed in a specially printed collector's envelope. This product is limited and number to 5000 copies.

Youngblood: TM & (c)1992 Robe Liefeld. Produced by Comic Images, Saddle Brook, NJ 07662. Designed By McNabb Art Studio

0952

I assume that the last picture above is the "original piece done specifically for Comic Images," because it's also on the front of the envelope with the quoted text.

Notice that the giant rock-covered member is listed as Bedrock, not Badrock. If you're not familiar with the Youngblood characters, well, the guy was originally called "Bedrock." Makes sense- he's a giant rock guy, right? Well, because "Bedrock" is the home of The Flintstones, which in 1992 was being published by Harvey, Hannah-Barbera objected and threatened to sue.

Personally, I think Rob could have won the case. I'm not certain, but I didn't think you could claim copyright on a word that's in the dictionary, only on its logo. Liefeld chose not to fight a costly lawsuit though, and instead simply changed the name to Badrock. The character was a super hit from there- probably his biggest before Alan Moore started writing Rob's Supreme.

Despite the popularity of Badrock, Rob may have been a little bitter about the name change. A later scene with Badrock found him yelling at a mall Fred Flintstone, "I HATE YOU GUYS!" I tried really hard to find a scan of it, but was unable to find it. If I can lay my hands on the comic later, I'll scan it and add it myself.

In the meantime, the only thing left to show you is the scans of the Keepsake Collection envelope:

I hope you enjoyed getting a look at the art, whether you are a Rob Liefeld fan or not. Whatever the case, thanks for stopping in, thanks for reading, and please don't spam the comments with links to The 40 Worst Rob Liefeld Drawings or 40 MORE Of The Worst Rob Liefeld Drawings (I just saved you the trouble). It's old, and Rob addressed it in his blog long ago, in How To Beat The Haters (how I do it). Worth the read.

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The Arabian's Night: Epilogue (Sunset Falls #9)

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01/02/14Sunset Falls #9The Arabian's Night: Epilogue(Blog) (Forum)Disclaimer
RatingRating ExplanationGet Caught Up
T+Moderate violence and property damageSunset Falls #8

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Epilogue

Two buzzes startled Father Thyme from his record of events. He dropped his pen on the desk and reached for the page button on his phone. “Yes?”

“Father Thyme, His Grace has returned.”

“Is he available now?” asked Father Thyme.

“Yes he is.”

“Great. I just need to make a few notes, and I’ll be in his office momentarily. Thank you, Father Canon.”

“Certainly.” The page went silent.

Father Thyme smiled. A man of few words. Looking back to the journal, he made some notes for further reference. He needed to discuss some things with Bishop Lions, but he didn’t want to forget this.

* * *

The mayor of Sunset Falls was able to point Prince Nissim to the proper channels for establishing an embassy, and despite Adelar’s prediction, they were eventually recognized as the Imagined Nation. However, they are more commonly known by the name their realm has been given by the locals. At the outskirts of Sunset Falls, just as you’re reaching the fog, there’s a sign that reads:

WELCOME TO MYTHOPOLIS

Just after his death, there was a banner added to the bottom that reads:

HOME OF SUPERMALE

I’m not sure what that was about. It might be worth going back and checking out.

Adelar has not succeeded in taking over the world. He has found the world’s heroes standing against him, but is apparently convinced that if he can obtain more power, he will eventually succeed. To that end, one of his main foes has become the Torchbearer- a man with an incredibly powerful energy ring, which he calls The Torch. Among its abilities is the power to make energy constructs; something like three dimensional laser images, though not exactly holograms. Adelar is convinced that the ring is magical in origins, since he observed the Torchbearer making a construct that looked like a jinni. Such a simple action, but because of it, the Torchbearer has had to face Adelar on numerous occasions. Something else that might be worth checking into.

Mythopolis has opened a theological can of worms for many people, just as the portal to that realm, in Sunset Falls, has piqued the minds of scientists. I must admit: the two locales have my attention, but for me, nothing beats living in Larsen...

* * *

The phone buzzed again, and again, Father Thyme jumped. Laying his pen aside and pressing the page button, he responded, “Yes?”

“Walker?” came the voice of Bishop Lions. “Rees said you were coming to see me shortly, but I was wondering if you could come now? I need to discuss some things with you... It’s important.” He sounded troubled.

Already rising as he pushed the page button again, Father Thyme said, “Of course, Your Grace. I’ll be there immediately.” He closed the journal and put it back on the shelf. As he headed down the hallway and up the stairs, he absentmindedly peeled away a pinky nail with his teeth. The emergence of Mythopolis could change the world, and the young priest wanted to explore those possibilities. For now, however, there was church business to attend to. “Father, I did tell His Grace I’d be there immediately.” He smiled as a portal opened two steps up from him, and he stepped up and through. Sunset Falls, Mythopolis and Adelar would have to wait for another time.

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Please let me know what you think, and thanks! -cb
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The Arabian's Night: Part 7 (Sunset Falls #8)

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01/02/14Sunset Falls #8The Arabian's Night: Part 7(Blog) (Forum)Disclaimer
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T+Moderate violence and property damageSunset Falls #7

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Part 7

It was at that moment that a small black creature with a bullet shaped head appeared beside Nissim. “And who are you to speak for the other peoples of our world?” he whined.

Nissim looked down, and instantly became annoyed. “Begone, Imp! The decision is already made.”

“By Trolls and Elves,” protested the creature. “You didn’t ask our opinion.” The other Imps murmured their agreement. “We want an Imp to go, too.”

“No,” answered Nissim. “You only came to see what kind of trouble you could start. Your opinion was not asked, because it was not wanted. Now, begone, I say!” Nissim tried to backhand the Imp, but the creature disappeared in a small puff of smoke. The other Imps disappeared just after him.

Jael and Dagan both approached Nissim. “It may not have been wise to anger an Imp, son,” said Jael.

“He could be trouble in the future,” warned Dagan.

“It’s best to deal firmly with their kind,” answered Nissim. “Imps have never been anything but trouble, to anybody.”

Just then, the Imp reappeared; this time, standing on Nissim’s shoulders, and leaning over his head to look him in the eye, though he was looking upside down. “One thing’s for certain,” he said, “We’ll be trouble for you. See you soon, Nissy.” The Imp disappeared again, just in time for the butt of Jelena’s spear to smack Nissim’s head, rather than the Imp.

Jelena dropped her spear, horrified, and instantly knelt before Nissim. “Lord Nissim! My apologies! Please forgive me, my Lord! I promise it will never happen again!” Jelena was red faced, and looking down.

Nissim, rubbing his head, looked at Harbin, who still had the same stoical look on his face. He looked back to Jelena, and helping her to stand, he said, “There’s nothing to forgive, Jelena. You couldn’t have known he’d disappear like that, any more than you could have known he’d appear in the first place.”

Jelena smiled awkwardly, still redfaced, and bowed her head slightly as she backed away. “Thank you, Lord Nissim.” She backed up a little further, squatted to pick up her spear, and kept backing up, until Harbin reached out a hand to stop her. Jelena jumped at Harbin’s touch, and reaching behind her to smack his hand away, she bowed again quickly, and repeated, “Thank you, Lord Nissim.”

Nissim and Jael exchanged goodbyes, as did Dagan, Jelena, and Harbin, though Dagan never mentioned that he was leaving his children behind as well. After this, the Trolls and Elves departed for the Triangle. Nissim watched until the last one disappeared through the fog, and Jelena and Harbin stood close behind him, to either side, watching with him.

When they were all gone, Nissim turned to Officer Bradbury, and smiling warmly, said, “Now, how about showing me to your mayor’s office?”

Officer Bradbury had taken his hat off, and was rubbing the back of his neck again, wondering at everything he’d seen. At Nissim’s request, he was all movement. He snapped his hat back on his head, and said, “Yes sir! Right this way. You can ride in my car, sir.” Nissim, Jelena, and Harbin followed Bradbury to his car. The other officers started getting back in their cars, and backing away from the rubble of Main Street. They turned down various side streets, and headed back to the police station. Everyone had paperwork to fill out, and they all hoped that everything else would be quiet until sunrise.

Epilogue

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Please let me know what you think, and thanks! -cb
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The Arabian's Night: Part 6 (Sunset Falls #7)

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01/02/14Sunset Falls #7The Arabian's Night: Part 6(Blog) (Forum)Disclaimer
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T+Moderate violence and property damageSunset Falls #6

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Part 6

“Perhaps if I went also, Lord Dagan?” asked another Elf. This one was male.

“Harbin is one of our best and brightest, Jael. Your son could not have better protectors,” Dagan urged.

Jael pursed his lips momentarily, and answered, “No. Not unless two of my warriors go with him also.”

Nissim stepped closer to his father, and interceded in hushed tones. “Father, please allow me this request. I have never been accepted by our people, because of my fair looks. I now have the chance to prove my worthiness as heir to the Troll throne. It would probably also make our people more comfortable to see me go, though they would never tell you this. Jelena and Harbin have volunteered to go with me, father, and though it pains you to hear it, I tell you that I would sooner trust my life to two Elves, than any Troll.”

Jael looked his son in the eye for the first time since he’d stepped forward, and considered that it was probably the first time he’d done so since he was born. “Aye, Nissim. You shall stay. Lord Dagan, my apologies, if my protests have offended you,” offered Jael.

“No offense taken, Lord Jael,” replied Dagan. Then, looking to the two Elves, he said, “Harbin, you are responsible to Jelena,” and pointing at Jelena, he stepped closer and added, “Jelena, I charge you with the protection of Prince Nissim, first Ambassador of the Imagined Nation.”

Jelena bowed and answered, “I accept it as an honor, Lord Dagan. May I serve Prince Nissim with the same glory with which I have served the Elfin Empire.” Turning to Nissim’s father, she knelt and added, “Lord Jael, you have my word that if necessary, I will give my life to protect your son.”

Harbin knelt just behind and to the right of Jelena, and said, “You have my word as well, Lord Jael. As long as I breathe, no harm shall come to Prince Nissim.”

Jael nodded, and as the two Elfin warriors stood, he said, “Thank you, Dagan. He is my only son. I hope you will forgive my protests.”

Dagan stepped forward, leaning on his staff, and placed his hand on Jael’s shoulder. “There is no need for apology, old friend. We have had our differences, but concern for family has never been one of them.” Jael placed his hand on Dagan’s shoulder, and gripped it firmly. He nodded in silent agreement, and the two kings smiled warmly at one another. A cheer went up from the Trolls and Elves, but the Imps began to murmur.

Nissim looked at Jelena. She was smiling at him, but quickly turned her attention elsewhere, when he smiled back. Stepping closer to her, Nissim whispered from the side of his mouth, “You were very good. Your skills at diplomacy may be as valuable to me as your fighting ability.”

Looking towards Dagan and Jael, Jelena whispered back, “We need this, Lord Nissim. Our peoples have seen too much war to be destroyed by the pride of our fathers.”

Nissim looked at Jelena in astonishment. “Did you say, ‘our...?’”

Jelena looked back at Nissim for the first time. “Yes, Lord Nissim. Lord Dagan is my father. Harbin is my brother.”

Nissim’s eyes snapped up to meet Harbin’s. He could not hide his further astonishment. Harbin nodded slightly, and turned his attention back to Dagan and Jael.

Part 7

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Please let me know what you think, and thanks! -cb
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The Arabian's Night: Part 5 (Sunset Falls #6)

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01/02/14Sunset Falls #6The Arabian's Night: Part 5(Blog) (Forum)Disclaimer
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T+Moderate violence and property damageSunset Falls #5

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Part 5

“They are destroying our world!” shouted Dagan. “We would be better off to CONQUER these people, than ‘cooperate!’”

“If not for ‘these people,’ Dagan, we would not exist. As it is, a single story could irrevocably change our world. You have already lost a son.”

“As you have lost a daughter, and a wife! How can you not want to kill these people, Jael?” Dagan was pleading, and seemed to be leaning harder on his staff.

Jael winced a little at his friend’s words, and taking the Elf by the elbow to steady him, he spoke more softly, and answered, “They make our world, Dagan. Beyond their imaginations, they do not know that our world exists. They don’t know how their stories affect our lives. That is why we are here.”

Dagan was unmoved, and jerking his elbow from Jael’s hand, he pulled at his robe, and then pointed a slender finger at the Troll. “Yes, that is why we are here! And they killed Nuri! Who would you name as our Ambassador, now? You?

Jael shook his head, and answered calmly, “No, my friend. You know that it was decided that we look too different for these people to accept us. I fear that our cause is dead, before it has begun. There is nothing left for us to do but return home.”

From further back in the crowd of Trolls, Elves and Imps, a voice said, “Not so, father. I could be Ambassador for our world.” The crowd parted to let the young Troll through, and a fair looking male of about twenty-five stepped forward. He had golden hair, green eyes, and looked nothing like a Troll. He looked human.

“No! I’ll not allow it, Nissim! You will return home with me.” For the first time, Jael sounded scared.

“I am the only one here who looks human, father,” answered Nissim. “Who else can stand in Nuri’s place?” he asked.

Not you!” shouted Dagan. “Why should a Troll be Ambassador, rather than an Elf?”

“I will not allow this, Nissim! I would sooner go myself, than lose my son,” said Jael.

Ha!” Dagan shook his staff at Jael. “I see your song has changed! You do want to be Ambassador!” he charged.

Nissim stepped between the two leaders. “Your ears are pointed, Lord Dagan, just as my father’s nose is too large to be human, and is covered in warts.” At the back of the crowd, the Imps snickered at Nissim’s observations. “However, while my appearance may make me an acceptable spokesman, I am a poor fighter. As a representative of our world, I will need a protector. Perhaps an Elf...?” Nissim trailed off.

Dagan looked astonished and slightly taken aback at Nissim’s suggestion. He had not considered that both could go. Jael looked gravely at his son, and then looked away.

Another voice came from the crowd. “I would like to volunteer, Lord Dagan,” said an Elf, stepping forward. “That is, if you would trust me with your son’s life, Lord Jael,” she added. She looked sheepishly at Nissim. Nissim raised an eyebrow, a slight look of amusement on his face.

“A woman?” scoffed Jael. The Imps snickered again.

“Jelena is one of our best warriors, Jael,” answered Dagan. “Unlike your people, our women train for war, just as well as our men.”

“A WOMAN?” Jael roared louder. The Imps cackled and howled with laughter.

Part 6

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Please let me know what you think, and thanks! -cb
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The Arabian's Night: Part 4 (Sunset Falls #5)

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T+Moderate violence and property damageSunset Falls #4

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Part 4

One of the Trolls stepped forward, and started to speak with one of the police officers, when the booming laughter of Khalid shook the town. “Adelar!” The form of Khalid emerged from the crater, his yellow light brightening Main Street once again. “I knew your vanity would not allow you to die! Now we are bound to one another by The Eye of the Golden Dragon, though you may one day regret your choice. But for now, ‘master,’ what would you ask of your servant, Khalid?” The jinni bowed toward the crater, though there was an obvious tone of sarcasm in his voice. Khalid straightened up, with his arms crossed over his chest, as Prince Adelar levitated out of the crater, to look him in the eyes.

“Have a care, Khalid,” taunted the Prince, “I only need wear The Eye, not use it. I am left with more than enough magic without you.” Before Khalid could answer, Adelar rubbed the ring, and the jinni was absorbed by the mystical topaz, to await any further orders from his new master.

At that moment, one of the Elves hollered, “All hail the Sultan Adelar!”

A shout went up for Adelar, but Adelar answered, “Silence!” and the crowd obliged. “I do not need your sycophantic accolades! My only connection to your ‘Imagined Nation’ was through Nuri! You are aptly named, for no one will ever acknowledge you as a true people! But this world will acknowledge me as its ruler, or I will destroy it!” Adelar then disappeared; his laughter still echoing through the air.

The Elves and Trolls murmured among themselves, but the Imps remained silent. The Troll who had approached the officer before turned to him once again, and said, “I am Jael, King of the Trolls.”

The officer, a man in his late forties, took off his hat and rubbed a hand over his hair and the back of his neck. Living on the edge of the Bermuda Triangle, he’d seen a lot of strange things, but none of them had ever talked to him before. What should he say? Pulling his hat back into place, he answered, “Uh, good to meet you, I guess,” and shook Jael’s hand. “Name’s Arthur Bradbury. You want to tell me what just happened?”

Jael answered, “We are the peoples of legend and myth. Any story that has ever been told of us in your world, exists in ours; both good and bad. Prince Nuri was a good man. He was the one who suggested that we ban together as the Imagined Nation, and seek representation in your world, but he was scared. The evil stories that are being told by your people are radically affecting our world. Releasing the jinni Adelar was a show of force, because he did not know what to expect. We desire an embassy in your world, that through cooperation, we may stop any other disasters like tonight from happening.”

“An embassy, huh?” asked Officer Bradbury. “Well, I guess you’d really have to talk to the mayor about that, but... um... who would be in this embassy?”

“Prince Nuri was supposed to be our Ambassador,” answered Jael.

“That was not yet decided!” One of the Elves stepped forward, leaning on a staff. “Nuri had not yet been approved by all, Jael. You know this!”

Jael pointed a stubby finger at the Elf, and railed, “That is because you wanted the position for yourself, Dagan! Your bitterness towards these people would cause us all harm!”

Part 5

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Please let me know what you think, and thanks! -cb
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The Arabian's Night: Part 3 (Sunset Falls #4)

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01/02/14Sunset Falls #4The Arabian's Night: Part 3(Blog) (Forum)Disclaimer
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T+Moderate violence and property damageSunset Falls #3

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Part 3

The town lit up bright as day with the glow cast off by the lightning jinni, and the black clouds above its head began to swirl as if someone had just pulled the drain on the sky. Heat lightning lit any open space behind the clouds, and the clouds began to put off lightning of their own. The roar of the rolling thunder began to sound like freight trains from hell, but above that, you could still hear the first jinni shout, “STOP!” Buildings along Main Street shook with the force of its voice, and even though it had started to inexplicably shrink, it fired a blast of lightning from its hands, at the second jinni.

The new jinni rocked backward a little from the blast, but seemed otherwise unaffected. “You dare?” it bellowed. Another building collapsed from the shaking. “Have a care, young Adelar, lest you forget who trapped you in your present form.”

“I am trapped no longer!” shouted Adelar, still shrinking. The force of his voice was having less of an effect on the town, but you could still hear it. “You should be more careful who you choose as host, Khalid! Nuri was still wearing The Eye!

Khalid looked at his right hand, and saw the form of a ring on his middle finger. “Noooo!” Immediately, the swirling clouds above his head began to swirl faster, and a funnel reached for Khalid. As it surrounded him, Khalid raged at Adelar from inside the tornado, “I see you have learned your tricks well, young prince, but here is one you did not learn: Though I cannot stop you from assuming your mortal form, I can ensure that your life is still as bound to this ring as mine.

"I give you back the life you have missed as a jinni; all the time that you have lost is now restored. When you fully assume your mortal guise, your extreme old age will catch up to you, unless you are wearing The Eye of the Golden Dragon. As long as you wear The Eye, you shall retain your youth, and even a portion of your magic. If you and the ring should be separated, you shall be no more.” With that, the funnel fully engulfed Khalid, and he shot through the clouds, and into the upper atmosphere.

Then, when he was barely a pinprick of light in the sky, he began to come back, and a small yellow comet appeared to be just ahead of him. Adelar watched intently, as the comet shot straight back through the funnel, closely followed by the lightning bolt that was Khalid. They both struck the street, leaving a small crater the size of a hatchback, and the entire form of Khalid disappeared into the hole.

As the funnel receded, and the sky began to clear and lighten, a bunch of huge bats went screeching through the air down Main Street, towards the fog of the Triangle. Running underneath was a pack of wolves. The Witches and their cats disappeared in columns of smoke, which also drifted towards the Triangle. The Pixies followed the smoke, their firefly lights flitting back and forth, from one side of the street to the other as they went. They stopped only long enough to lift the Black Dragon with their magic, and float it along with them. Finally, only Trolls, Elves, and Imps remained, along with Prince Adelar, who was just crawling into the small crater to retrieve the ring.

Part 4

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Please let me know what you think, and thanks! -cb
3 Comments

The Arabian's Night: Part 2 (Sunset Falls #3)

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01/02/14Sunset Falls #3The Arabian's Night: Part 2(Blog) (Forum)Disclaimer
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T+Moderate violence and property damageSunset Falls #2

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Part 2

Like some sort of fantastic folklore parade came Trolls, Elves, Vampires, Werewolves, Witches and their black cats. A horde of Pixies, glowing like will-o’-the-wisps, and Imps; hopping, prancing, cackling, and swatting at the little sprites like they were trying to catch fireflies. Then came a monstrous Black Dragon, almost as huge as the jinni, with a pair of huge red glowing eyes. Halfway out of the fog, it let out a roar to rival the deafening thunder, and windows all along Main Street shattered and exploded from their frames. That’s when people started running.

As if the Dragon had bellowed a mating call, the full Sunset Falls Police Department came blaring down Main Street, including motorcycle cops in riot gear, two S.W.A.T. trucks, and a tank (they bought that after the T-Rex). Behind them came the police cars, stretching as far as you could see down Main Street; it looked like the townspeople were in a rush to find the last one. No sooner had they all screeched to a halt, than the tank fired, and caught the Dragon square in the chest.

The Dragon’s death roar made you feel almost sorry for it, but it shattered any remaining windows for two blocks in any direction. When it fell, it staggered against a five-story apartment building, which collapsed. Then, it fell right in the middle of the street, and on through, lodging in the subway system, just in time to collide with the seven fifteen. It would take two weeks to clear the rubble, after this was all through.

The Dragon falling caused even the procession of Imagined Nationals to scatter out of the street. The jinni, however, was not deterred. The dying Dragon had caught the jinni’s attention, and just as more lightning started to snake around its body, a S.W.A.T. man lined up his crosshairs on the ruby in the Arabian’s turban, and fired off a shot. The Arabian did a back flip, landing on his face. Before anyone could wonder what happened, a black energy flowed from under the Arabian’s head, and then shrouded him like a cocoon. As yellow lightning started to crackle around the cocoon, the jinni breathed, “No!” Even its whisper echoed like a distant thunder, warning of the storm about to rage.

The lightning was slow at first, rippling here and there across the face of the cocoon. Then, it started to pick up speed, shooting around one way, and then back the other. It got faster and faster, until the cocoon looked like it was completely made up of the yellow lightning, and then, all at once, it exploded upwards, widening as it went. Instead of uncurling, as the first jinni had done, this one’s features shot straight up out of the lightning. Faster than can be described, the torso, head, arms, and then hands grew out of the long, tapering bolt of lightning. It must have been three times the size of the first jinni, and other than the lightning, this new jinni looked just like the Arabian. If the first jinni sounded like the wrath of God, then this one sounded like God’s Dad, if He’d had one. “The Guardian of The Crimson Tear has fallen! After seven thousand years, I am free at long last!”

Part 3

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Please let me know what you think, and thanks! -cb
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