Buy Stuff Tab update, I screwed up

I went to fill orders for the last 6 weeks and discovered that my box of original patches that I thought I had was actually a box of Utah patches. I ordered more originals last week, and should have them next week.

And yes. I suck at filling orders. I know. I’m a one man show and I’m in this to write books. I suck at merchandising. I don’t really make any money off of the autographed books and patches, and I mostly do them to make fans happy. However, that means that I’m going to be slow as hell at it. I get about a hundred emails a day so be aware that I’m always running behind, but I do eventually answer everybody.

Romney’s travel guy tells reporters to shove it–abc-news-politics.html

Read the whole link. The first paragraphs (the part that most people actually read) is all mew mew mew, poor reporters… And then read the rest of it, where you can see the reporters were being their normal douchey selves and Romney’s guy told them to kiss his ass.

I don’t know who this Gorka guy is, but promote him. He simply said to them what most Americans would like to say to members of the press.

No time to fisk the whole thing, but the level of bias and snide insinuation is hilarious. But the press totally isn’t biased. Not at all. Michelle Obama was wearing a $6,000 shirt at the olympics so the press oohed and aaahed and Ann Romney wore a $600 shirt and they had a freak out about how out of touch those rich bastards are.

Found a Writing Excuses video of me  This was recorded live at LTUE last year. Looks like somebody just posted a video of us. This is the Writing Guns episode.

EDIT: Wow. I’ve lost a lot of weight since this video! Yay. :D

Gun control tacked onto Cyber Security bill

Just a heads up.  It is from the usual suspects, Schumer, Lautenberg, Boxer, and Feinstein.

And when somebody tells you that the democrats aren’t in favor of gun control anymore, and it is a dead issue, and it is just silly to think that Obama wants to take your guns, blah blah friggin’ blah, laugh in their face. Because if the democrats are willing to push a magazine ban 4 months before the election, you know damn good and well what they are will be willing to do when Obama is in his second term.

Meanwhile, call your congressman and tell them to block this crap.

The Burning Throne, Episode 38: In the Shadow of a Pale Oak

If you’ve not read any of these Friday game night serials, read this one. I’m rather pleased with how this battle sequence turned out.  This is one of those that I will probably be stealing bits of for some actual paying work. :)

Somebody asked if these would all be collected in an easier to read manner, I’ve got them all linked to each other here on my blog, but I’ve also been posting them to the L5R forum where they are all in one easy to read thread if anyone is interested. 

The battle for Pale Oak Castle was a big, epic, pivotal event for our characters. We are getting close to the end of this campaign. Continued from: 


Twenty Fifth Entry

From the journal of Hida Makoto, Crab Clan

The battle for Pale Oak Castle is won. The Yobanjin horde have been defeated. The Paper Lanterns were pivotal in the defense, and without them, I believe the castle would have fallen. The Son of Fire was destroyed.

We lost many men in the battle. The Lanterns who perished did so with honor and courage. However, I was the one that sent them to their end. Every death was a result of decisions that I made. Koma, Boasta, Naritsuga, Naritaka, and Braga of the Shinjo family, Khano, Domogo, Kaopanchi, and Karu of the Moto family, Matsu Abiru, the monk Koetsu… All dead.

Why could I not have fallen instead?

Braga, who I originally considered an annoyance, turned out to be one of the bravest and most dedicated soldiers I have ever known. Yoritomo Buwa was with Braga when he died, and he sent back a gift for me. A straw hat that Braga said he had taken from one of the Lords of Death, himself.

I will cherish this priceless gift.

I do not wish to think about the Lanterns at this time. A Crab should not be seen as having second thoughts. The gunso must not ever be seen as having doubt. I will remain strong for the survivors.

The Mountain does not weep.


In The Shadow of a Pale Oak

Hour of the Tiger

The shrine to the earth kami was silent except for the labored breathing of Hida Makoto. Time was short, so he had run the entire length of the steep mountain pass to get here in time. The sun would rise shortly, and its arrival would ignite the fires of war, and only a fool would willingly go to war without his strongest weapons.

Makoto had to catch his breath before addressing the humble shrine’s other occupant. “We need you, Magatsu-san. The battle will be fierce.” Fierce was an understatement. They were hopelessly outnumbered and would more than likely die before the day was through. The best they could hope for was a glorious death. If Pale Oak Castle were to burn, it would only do so as the funeral pyre of ten thousand dead Yobanjin. “I need every samurai I can get.”

Kuni Magatsu knelt before the shrine, heedless of his fractured bones, in the same uncomfortable position he’d already been in for hours, beseeching the earth kami that had forsaken him at the All Mother for their forgiveness. His face had been scrubbed clean of the traditional Kuni face paint. It was the only time Makoto had ever seen him without his mask. Magatsu’s voice was hoarse, the voice of a man that had been broken. “I am fumiyo. I am dishonored. I must stay here and pray for five more days.”

Makoto walked around his friend, noting for the first time that some of the heavy carved stones representing the kami had seemingly moved by themselves, and now one of them was next to Magatsu, propping him up, helping to sustain his vigil. It was a sign. The earth kami may not have approved of Magatsu’s murderous intent at the All Mother, but they would never forsake such a loyal servant. Armor clanking, Makoto knelt next to Magatsu, and bowed to the little statue before continuing. “The Paper Lantern’s will need their shugenja.”

“I am afraid I may no longer be a shugenja…”

“Perhaps you are only a man… But you are still a Crab… “

A tear rolled down Magatsu’s cheek. “Hai.”

“I would be honored to die in battle beside you, Magatsu-san.”

Magatsu grunted and nodded as he thought that over. “Have a drink with me, Makoto.” He reached for the nearly empty bottle of sake. “Maybe I can divine the future in the bottom of another empty cup.”

Every minute spent here was one less minute spent preparing the men, but running down the mountain would not take quite as much time as running up it had. Besides, if they were to die that day, he would enjoy one last cup of sake with his friend. “I better pour.”

The statue representing the earth kami was just an inanimate piece of rock some monk had roughly carved a smiling face on, but nonetheless, it seemed to Makoto that the statue approved.

Hour of the Hare

The sun had risen to reveal the Yobanjin horde stretched across the plain before Pale Oak Castle. Their numbers seemingly endless, a plague infecting the Empire. The Rokugani forces arrayed before them seemed tiny in comparison, and the Paper Lanterns were a tiny part of that tiny army. Eight men wide, three ranks deep, supported by a small group of horsemen and an even smaller group of archers. Hida Makoto looked to the right. The Fourth Imperial Legion would hold that flank. To the left was what was left of the Phoenix forces. The Lanterns were barely noticeable in the center, but they held a place of respect.

It was a few thousand men versus twenty times that number, with only a small fortification to fall back to. Pale Oak Castle wouldn’t even qualify as a minor fort in Crab lands, but Hida Makoto could not afford to think about the big picture. The only thing that mattered was the squad of men under his direct command and their job to spill Yobanjin blood for every single inch of ground. Because when they ran out of ground to give, Pale Oak Castle would fall, and perhaps the rest of the Empire with it.

Behind the army, the shugenja finished their incantations atop the battlements, culminating in a spectacular display as the decoy shame sword was destroyed. Makoto smiled when he noted that Kuni Magatsu was among them, shielding his bleary eyes from the brilliant light.

It was all a ruse, the real sword having already been impaled in Hiruma Tadori and plunged into the lava of the All Mother, but Ide Todo had hoped the display of their might would frighten the Yobanjin. There was a sudden flash and a crack of thunder as the assembled holy men drew upon the strength of the kami and Isawa Fosuta announced to the world with a magnified voice that the deed was done.

The Yobanjin horde marched forward with a rumble that shook the world. Their mighty siege beasts roared as magical smoke tendrils encircled and hid the approaching force. If the horde had noted the sword’s destruction, it wasn’t apparent. That was disappointing, but expected. This battle would not be won through trickery, but through unyielding force.

They had left the decoy sword to distract thieves and assassins from their true mission to the All Mother. Three of his men had perished protecting the decoy sword from assassins and thieves, but the Lanterns had prevailed in their duties. That very morning they had found Shinjo Braga still guarding the decoy, having been awake for three days straight, totally incoherent, yet so unyielding that he had pinned his armor to the wall with his wakizashi so he could stay standing. Braga had not gone to sleep until Ide Todo had ordered him carried back to camp. He would surely be disappointed to learn that the battle had started without him.

He took one last look over the assembled men. Soon the arrows would begin to fall like rain and there would be no more time for contemplation. The Paper Lanterns were as fine a group of bushi as Hida Makoto had ever seen and his heart swelled with joy at the opportunity he had to serve with them… Now he had the responsibility and sacred honor of leading more of them to their deaths. I will not fail.

They looked back at him, nervous but ready. “Order of the Paper Lanterns!” Makoto bellowed as he raised his tetsubo overhead. “Today we will achieve victory for the Empire!”

Chouchin Otokadate!” the brotherhood of the Paper Lanterns shouted their name as one.


Hour of the Dragon

They were swimming in a sea of blood and fire. The Yobanjin were nothing but an endless wave of bodies, spurred onward by the madness of the Dark Oracle… But the Paper Lanterns held the line.

Makoto’s tetsubo crashed into another Yobanjin. The barbarian screamed as ribs shattered. My arms tire. Makoto barely noticed that he had struck another man down. Luckily neither of those two erupted into flames. Thank the Fortunes.

Not all of the Yobanjin were cursed with the Dark Oracle’s foul explosive death magic. Most of these barbarians had not yet undergone whatever foul ritual made their blood burn upon death. They were far easier to kill that way.

Another fur clad barbarian tried to sweep past Makoto’s guard, swinging one of their wickedly curved swords. “Gunso!” Danjuro was at his side, and deflected the incoming blade with the back of his katana.  The ronin instantly countered and sliced the Yobanjin’s legs out from under him. Makoto was so detached that he was able to appreciate the purity of the Taoist Sword style. The movement had been fluid perfection, a moment of poetry amidst the chaos.

But as all perfect moments must do, it ended. The barbarian hit the ground with a scream, blood pumping from his kicking stump. The blood droplets burst into droplets of liquid fire.

“Burner!” Makoto bellowed loud enough to be heard over the crash of battle. The Lanterns knew exactly what to do by that point. Regardless of what they were doing or who they were fighting, the entire line automatically leapt back as one, just as the Yobanjin’s body came apart in spray of meat and flame. A wave of intense heat washed over the line, but it did more damage to the normal Yobanjin around the accursed Burner than it did to the Lanterns. Makoto had learned this lesson at the battle of Shinjo Ridge and drilled it into the Lanterns.

“Return!”  The Lanterns charged forward, regaining the few feet they’d just surrendered before the Yobanjin could press the advantage. The shocked and scorched Yobanjin were scythed down mercilessly before them.

The Yobanjin fought in loose groups. They were not a unit. They did not fight as one. Occasionally there would be temporary breaks as one group or another tried to push their way through to the front in search of glory. They were uncoordinated. Most were ferocious but unskilled and they died by the pile. If there hadn’t been so damn many of them, Makoto almost could have felt pity for the Yobanjin horde.

Makoto kept swinging the tetsubo. Rise and fall. Rise and fall. Counter. Block. Sweep. Rise and fall. I am the mountain. Countless blows were turned aside against his heavy armor. Strike as the avalanche. He snapped a neck, broke a hip, then an ankle, two arms, shattered a sword, all while glancing back and forth across the fighting Lanterns. They were beginning to falter. Spears cracking, sword arms tiring, lungs straining. Makoto fought as earth, but he led as water. The river does not hesitate. “Second line!”

“Second up,” Akimi shouted. The nikutai’s voice did not carry quite as well as Makoto’s so she waved her war fan overhead twice. The waiting Lanterns sprang forward as the fighting Lanterns stepped back through them. As water flowed through the mountain, the Lanterns found their path. It was seamless. Coordinated.

It should be. Makoto couldn’t even remember how many times they had already done that maneuver so far today. Each line would fight for about five minutes, then step aside to drink, rest their aching arms, and have the monks tend their wounds. Makoto drank the first thing that was offered to him, not even capable of tasting it over the copper in his mouth. He examined the men. By a miracle, they were all still alive. Praise the Fortunes.

Second line was still holding. Akimi was a good judge of the men, but he wanted to make sure she didn’t try to hold for too long. Third line was ready and waiting. Misato was cursing a new chip in his naginata blade. There was a crack of thunder and rocks rained from the sky, pulverizing a group of approaching Yobanjin. It was good to see that Magatsu had sobered up and was keeping busy. He’d known that the kami would not forsake such a man.

Makoto was tall enough that he could see over most of the combatants, but it did little good. Most of the battlefield was cloaked in a thick obscuring smoke. The bulk of the Fourth Legion could barely be seen, and the Phoenix were just shapes in the murk. He’d already heard from Tsuruchi Machio that the smoke limited the archer’s ability to pick off commanders. It was surely making it difficult for the many waiting Phoenix shugenja to do the same. If they could accurately bring their magic to bear…

He had been pondering about what to do about that smoke for three turns through the line. It was obvious where it was coming from, spiraling outward from a point on the plains, and from the way it moved it was surely created by wicked Yobanjin shaman.

Makoto watched the flow of battle, studying the movement of the newest groups of enemies as he recalled the shape and contours of the plain. This group was bigger, pushing other tribes of Yobanjin aside in their haste, leaving a disorganized mob in their wake, and Makoto saw his opportunity. They would have to move quickly. When opportunity arises, strike with the swiftness of air. “Khano!” He shouted for the senior Unicorn Lantern.

Moto Khano reached him a few seconds later, still using a rag to wipe the blood from his scimitar “Hai, gunso.”

He pointed one armored gauntlet to the area behind the newest force. “There is a shallow path there. Do you know it?” Khano nodded. “Take the horsemen, ride as the wind, push between the tribes, and destroy the source of this smoke.”

Moto Khano was studying the field. The crafty old Unicorn knew right away what was at stake, but also what the cost would be. Even if they could use their mobility to make it to the shaman, they probably wouldn’t be able to make it back out before the army closed around them. “We will not survive,” Khano said simply.

I know. “There are very few Unicorn here today, but all will know that it was the Unicorn Clan that turned the tide of this battle.”

The Moto was fearless. “We will not fail,” Khano told Makoto before turning to the waiting Shinjo archers. “Come, my brothers! We ride!”

The Unicorn cheered. Eager.

Makoto ordered third line to merge with second. The additional bit of chaos helped break a hole for the Unicorn to drive their mighty steeds through. Makoto watched the brave Unicorn of the Order of the Paper Lanterns charge into the smoke until it was his turn back into the fray. He would be sure to give thanks to the Moto Lords of Death later for inspiring such brave warriors. “First line. Form up!”

Hour of the Serpent

The smoke had dissipated, but their cavalry had not returned.

There were only two lines now. Casualties and fatigue had seen to that.

To one side, the Phoenix were breaking, beginning to crack and fall, even with their mighty shugenja hurling the magic of the elements into the horde over and over. The Fourth Legion was faring even worse. Some of the gigantic Yobanjin war beasts had charged into their lines, flinging men high into the air before dying in a hail of spears. The Lanterns had picked up more bushi and ashigaru that had been separated from their own units as their flanks had come apart. He didn’t even know their names, but he tossed them into the lines with the others. They would learn the Lantern’s tactics quickly or not at all.

Makoto shattered a Yobanjin’s skull. He didn’t even remember warning everyone that it was a burner, but he must have, because they all fell back as one. The explosion washed across them, but they were slowing, and weren’t able to retake those precious few feet.

Again. More fire. And again.

The line was threatening to break. It was too much. They needed to trade time for a chance to breathe.

His neck cracked as he turned his helmet. The Legion was retreating toward the castle. The Phoenix would not hold with that side lost.

“Lanterns! Fall back,” Makoto ordered. “Fall back to the castle.”

Hour of the Horse

Makoto looked up at the sun. It had climbed high into the sky. How much time had passed? It seemed an eternity. He tried to wipe the blood from his eyes, but there was so much of it on his sleeve that it made no difference. Every joint of his armor had turned into a gutter for blood. It ran in rivulets down his body.

There was only one line now.

The crab warrior cursed the Phoenix clan as the Yobanjin clambered over the short walls and the wooden beams around them were ignited by flaming arrows. “You call this a castle!” His tetsubo ripped a Yobanjin’s jaw off. “The Kaiu would not let their dogs live in something this indefensible.” Ten feet away a barbarian struck Mirumoto Hiro in his chest plate and knocked the dragon to the flagstones. A ring sword was raised to finish the job, but Makoto flung his tanto and impaled the Yobanjin through the throat. The ring sword fell from lifeless fingers as Hiro scrambled back to his feet. “Crab children make better forts than this!”

“Yes, gunso. This is not a very good fort,” Matsu Abiru agreed. He lunged forward and disemboweled a charging warrior with his spear. “We heard you the first ten times.”

“This wall is insufficient,” Makoto shouted. “Lanterns, we will be the wall!”

There was a tremendous crash which shook the castle to its foundations. Blocks of stone tumbled from the nearby wall and the Legion archers manning that position were flung to their deaths. Cracks spread through the stone as some incomprehensible creature roared.

The cry went up all through the courtyard. “Siege beast! Siege beast.”

Another crash and a twenty foot section of stone came cascading down, sweeping the defenders aside. “Prepare to counter—” but a chunk of stone struck Makoto in the helmet, twisting it hard to the side and slamming him to the ground.

A vast shape moved through the dust.

Blinking the blood from his eyes, Makoto tried to understand the immense shape that was trampling the defenders beneath its feet. He had seen the siege beasts only from a distance. They were far uglier up close. As big as a house, with huge tusks jutting from its blunt head, with bumpy grey skin, six limbs, and dressed in coarse Yobanjin hide armor, the thing rose up on its hind legs while its two larger fists smashed more of the wall down.

The horde would flood in behind it.

Makoto tried to stand, but the world was spinning, siege beast, retreating soldiers, siege beast, Matsu Abiru…

“Wait—“ Makoto gasped, but Abiru had already covered the distance, spear extended before him, charging between the crashing debris, screaming a Lion battle cry as he went.

The siege beast brought one huge fist down, but Abiru moved with the speed of the Matsu Berserker. He dodged to the side, lunging forward, driving his spear up into the belly of the rearing beast. It shrieked in pain as the spear found a soft spot in its armored hide. Abiru drove onward, levering the yari deeper and deeper into the monster’s guts, searching for its great heart.

The Matsu found it.

There was a torrent of blood through the wound. “Die, wretched beast!” Abiru cried. “Die!” The siege beast groaned in stupid confusion, took one halting step, and then collapsed. Its corpulent body blocking much of the hole. The impact rocked the defenders from the feet.

Matsu Abiru was crushed beneath it.

Hour of the Goat

Time no longer had meaning. There was only the time before the killing started, which was nothing but a pleasant, fuzzy memory, then the time of the killing, which was eternity, and then a faint hope that there would eventually be a time when the killing stopped. But there would be no end, for Makoto knew that they must no longer be in Ningen-Do. They had somehow entered Toshigoku, the Realm of Slaughter, for there could never be this much blood and madness in the mortal world.

Is this how the berserkers fought so well? Did they embrace this? Fueling their strength with each death? Or was this how the Dead Eyes came to be, so used to death that they were little more than weapons made of flesh.

Hida Makoto had to force himself to return to reality. There would be no blissful escape into rage fueled madness for him. He could not afford to embrace the ways of the berserker. The remaining Paper Lanterns were counting on him to lead.

Somehow, Pale Oak castle still stood. The walls were crumbling. The gates had been battered down. There were Yobanjin on all sides. The outer inner keep was scorched, only kept from igniting by the shugenja’s prayers. There were no sides, only a general melee of small groups of fighters killing each other. Should they fall here, all that remained was the inner keep, and then it would be time for all of the remaining Phoenix to commit seppuku to keep from falling into the hands of the barbarians.

Time was running out.

The last of the Lanterns were blocking the final gate. They would die here to the man. Kuni Magatsu was at Makoto’s back, swinging his own tetsubo like a madman. “This is very much how I envisioned dying.”

“Excellent,” Makoto answered as he brained another Yobanjin.

“I am glad you talked me into this,” Magatsu declared.

“The Son of Fire draws near,” someone shouted. Makoto looked to one of the archery ports above. The samurai was pointing toward the north gate. “He’s before the gates!”

Magatsu desperately grabbed Makoto by one armored shoulder. “This is our chance. There is one last prayer I can call upon. Should the earth kami see fit to grant it, I can make our strongest warrior have the strength of the earth. You will be strong enough to strike the down the Son of Fire!”

“Good…” Makoto muttered. “What must I do?”

“You will become as indestructible as the earth, but you will not be able to move quickly across it. We must attract the Son of Fire’s attention while I prepare the spell. He must come to us.”

“And we will fight him in the shade of the Pale Oak itself…” There was an emperor buried under that tree. They would give him a fine show. Makoto surveyed the general melee that had consumed the courtyard. A pillar of black smoke on the other side of the wall marked the presence of the dreaded avatar of the Dark Oracle of Fire. Surely, if he were to be felled, the Yobanjin’s spirits would break. “Lanterns! What do you say we kill a blasphemous monster today?”

There was only a handful of them still standing, but he already knew what the answer would be. “Chouchin Otokadate!”

He would need to send men to draw the Son of Fire here, but he would need a bushi insane enough and crafty enough to cross the courtyard of slaughter. “Yoritomo Buwa.” The mad Mantis appeared, missing most of his clothing and carrying a peasant’s rake. “Get the Son of Fire’s attention.” The Mantis gave him a lopsided grin. He would do. “Excellent.”

“I demand you send me.” Makoto turned to see who had spoken. It was Shinjo Braga, the only remaining Unicorn of the Paper Lanterns. Braga paused long enough to hack down an approaching Yobanjin with his scimitar. “I will face this Son of Fire for my fallen brothers! I will stand before the Lords of Death and they will heap glory on the name of Shinjo Braga! The Lords of Death took something from my family and I will take it back! I demand you send me to my death!”

Makoto nodded. “Yes.”

Shinjo Braga laughed heartily as he and Yoritomo Buwa set out on their suicide mission. “Death owes me a hat!” Braga called out.

Magatsu began his supplication to the kami, reading loudly from the scroll wrapped around the handle of his tetsubo. Kuni Magatsu had been wrong earlier. He was not fumiyo, dishonored. For the earth kami answered his prayer and granted their might to a mortal. Makoto could feel the strength of the earth flow up from the ground to course through his limbs. His heavy tetsubo suddenly felt as light as a katana. His armor was as a kimono. His aches and wounds faded into a background hum. Magatsu had spoken of this prayer before, the Strength of the Kami. Makoto knew that he was now temporarily faster, tougher, and stronger, though it felt as if his feet were stuck to the ground, and only with effort could he lift them away long enough to take a step.

I am the mountain.

The battle parted as samurai and Yobanjin alike fled before the approach of the Son of Fire. He approached, making a sound like a crackling forest fire, leaving a trail of sparks and ash. Ten feet tall, the demon was shaped like a man, only wreathed entirely in licking flames, and embedded through his chest was the scimitar of Shinjo Braga.

It was the most intimidating thing Makoto had ever seen. This was the avatar of a dark god.

I am the mountain! I will not fail!

“I am Hida Makoto of the Crab Clan! Face me demon!”

The Son of Fire’s expression was inscrutable through the inferno, but he seemed eager for a challenge and strode toward the defiant Crab. Waves of heat shimmered between them. The temperature rose, charring Makoto’s clothing and scorching his skin, but he knew the kami would protect him.

Fire clashed against earth.

Makoto struck, tetsubo lashing through the air far faster than any mortal should have been able to . CRACK. The blow was hard enough to obliterate one of the siege beasts, but it barely moved the Son of Fire. The demon lashed out and a flaming fist slammed into Makoto’s heavy armor.

The impact should have thrown him across the courtyard, but instead his feet remained planted to the earth. His bones should have burst, but the kami shielded him from most of the injuries. Makoto gritted his teeth as the waves of fire rolled across him. The tetsubo rose and fell. CRACK.

The two traded blows. Striking each other over and over again, each impact harder than the one before. Makoto was in a fog. Events unfolded around him, but he was only partially aware. There was only the strike and then the resulting counterstrike. His body was weakening. The kami would not stay with him much longer.

The edges of his armor were glowing from the heat. CRACK. One of the monks and Magatsu were trying to channel their respective healing magic into him to keep him alive. CRACK. The monk was burned to a crisp. CRACK. Fosuta Zuko attacked the Son of Fire from behind. CRACK. Zuko was sent flying, one of his hands wreathed in flames.

He could feel the kami fleeing. The spell’s duration was almost up, and when it lifted, Makoto would be consumed. He called upon his ancestors, his grandfather Junaro the hero, and the thousand fortunes, and Kisada who had sent him on this quest, and swung with all his might.

And then the unthinkable happened… The Son of Fire faltered.

“CRAB CLAN!” Makoto’s next attack swept the Son of Fire’s legs out from under him, and the avatar toppled to the earth. The inferno fell.

The tetsubo of Moshibaru Junaro rose a final time. “For the Paper Lanterns.”

The sky opened and a deluge of water created by a dozen shugenja flooded the earth.


Hour of the Dog

The sun had set. The battle was over.

Of the bushi that he had dispatched on various missions during the day, only Yoritomo Buwa had been found alive. He had found Makoto afterwards, given him a big straw hat that Braga had proclaimed he had taken from death itself. Buwa said that Shinjo Braga’s last words had been to deliver it to their gunso. Makoto would wear it proudly.

The Phoenix Clan were an odd people, consumed with alien concepts such as mercy. They did not delight in killing anyone, even honorless barbarian dogs that followed a blasphemous false god. Many of the Yobanjin had been taken captive after their army had collapsed in the wake of the death of their Son of Fire. The Yobanjin survivors had been moved into a field to be watched over by guards with bows. It was unknown how many of these had the Dark Oracle’s fire magic upon them, so it was best not to get too close.

There were hundreds of Yobanjin here, laying about or squatting on the ground, many of them wounded and bandaged by their Phoenix captors. Hida Makoto shook his head at the strangeness. If this battle had happened in Crab lands, there wouldn’t have been any prisoners at all, just a big bonfire of corpses to light up the night.

However, the Phoenix’s strange concept of mercy would prove valuable for his needs. Makoto walked between the rows of prisoners as they glared up at him, sullen and defeated. There were fearful whispers as he passed. Even outnumbered and surrounded, none would dare lift a finger against the large blue samurai who it was said had dispatched the Son of Fire. Their weakness disgusted him. Makoto wanted nothing more than to strike every last one of them down. Maybe their death fires would cleanse his anger.

With his tetsubo resting on one shoulder, Makoto reached the center of the field, surveyed the Yobanjin from beneath the shadows of his huge straw hat and used his command voice to ask, “Who here speaks Rokugani?” There was no answer. Just muttering in the barbarian tongue. “No one?” Makoto grunted with disapproval. “Too bad. I don’t know what is going to happen to you. Surely most of you will be executed.” Makoto would gladly behead every last one of them himself, and he’d use the scimitar of Shinjo Braga to do it. “I only know one of your fates…  If one of you spoke Rokugani, that one would be free to go. The one that speaks to me, I would order the guards to simply let you walk away, free.”

“Free?” one of the nearby barbarians asked. The word was barely understandable.

“Free,” Makoto agreed. “I’d even make sure you have enough rations to walk back to your territory.”

“Blue samurai, you are one who slay Son of Fire. Why let me free?” the same Yobanjin asked suspiciously.

Makoto walked over until he towered over the man. “Because I need a message delivered…”

The barbarian had a bloody cloth pressed against a gash in his scalp, but the blow hadn’t left him stupid. He regarded Makoto with cunning eyes. “Me, Kweng Hao of Tall Trees. Who deliver message to?”

“Do you know the one they call the Branded Man?” Makoto made a gesture as if he was dragging claws across his face, parodying the Branded Man’s extensive scars.

“Servant of Fire.” The barbarian nodded, then snapped something in his own language.

“What’s that mean?”

“Is name of Branded Man. Means Finds Them And Kills Them. He is made of fear, but Kweng Hao of Tall Trees vows to give him message of the blue samurai.”

“Good, Kweng Hao of the Tall Trees. You go and tell him this. Tell him that he will suffer for the death of Kakita Fujo at the All Mother, and that he will pay for every single one of my men that died here today. Tell him how we struck down your Son of Fire. Tell him that when the seasons turn and he comes again to make war on the Empire…” Makoto’s eyes narrowed in the dark shadows cast beneath the Lord of Death’s hat. “Tell him that Hida Makoto of the Crab Clan, Gunso of the Paper Lanterns, will be waiting.”


To be continued next week with the aftermath of the battle. 

MHI Employee Handbook and Role Playing Game

So there is going to be an MHI role playing game.

I announced this project back in June, and judging by the 500 and some odd comments, you guys are fairly interested.   :)

I’ll have more details shortly, including which company is making it, what rule set we’re using, who the award winning designer is, etc. But contracts are in the mail.

What I can tell you is that the book is going to be a really big, hard cover, heavily illustrated, color, game book, with a whole bunch of original MHI fiction in it written by me. All of the rules stuff will be written by a guy who is really well known in the game business. But even if you aren’t into gaming, if you are an MHI fan you are going to want this for the fluff and the artwork. Think of it as a coffee table book, only with more monsters and guns.

Because we are making this thing really nice, it is going to be about $50. That’s pretty normal for big hardcover illustrated game books like this. Depending on the artwork used it might be a little bit over that. However, we are also going to offer a PDF which will be a whole lot cheaper.

As of right now we are planning on doing a Kickstarter for funding. For those of you that pay attention to that sort of thing, Kickstarters have sort of become the norm for funding pretty much every project in the game business. What I need from you guys, and if you don’t mind posting in the comments, are ideas of things that you would like to see relating to the Kickstarter, like ideas for awards tiers and stretch goals.

If you are not familiar with things like Kickstarter or Indiego, a company will put up a project that needs to be funded. You pledge to back it by buying one of the tiers. The tiers get increasingly expensive, but come with more cooler stuff. You don’t get charged anything until the project is done and the product is ready to ship. If we don’t reach our goal, then the project is cancelled and you are not out anything, so it is a win-win for the creators and the fans.

Stretch goals are little extra things that you add to the tiers as you reach your funding goals. Basically, if we reach our funding goal, then we set a new funding goal, and we throw in extra cool stuff. I’d like to hear your ideas about what kind of extra cool stuff you’d like to see. I’m interactive like that. :)

So please post in the comments if you’ve got any ideas or things you think would be fun. Keeping in mind that we’re not made of money, and any tier idea you have would have to cost enough to pay for itself.


Fisking a Gun Control Editorial

This editorial was sent to me by a fan. It is an opinion piece from CNN. As can be expected in the aftermath of any shooting that grabs headlines, two things are going to happen. 1. Liberals will knee jerk try to pin it on the right. 2. They’ll start bleating for more gun control. We got #1 when ABC news was trying to blame this on the Tea Party before the blood had even dried, and of course when that came back as untrue, just like it did with the Giffords shooting, they went right into #2.

Come on. Seriously news media? And there are still a handful of people out there who think that you guys are unbiased? They must sleep in helmets.

So as expected, the news is ignoring reality in favor of their typical happy bubble world. The media is busy butchering facts to fit their narrative. Anybody who is really knowledgeable about any particular topic has seen this before. Whenever I see a report about a topic I’m an expert on, it is usually crap. Or as Michael Crichton said:

“Briefly stated, the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect is as follows. You open the newspaper to an article on some subject you know well. In Murray’s case, physics. In mine, show business. You read the article and see the journalist has absolutely no understanding of either the facts or the issues. Often, the article is so wrong it actually presents the story backward—reversing cause and effect. I call these the “wet streets cause rain” stories. Paper’s full of them. In any case, you read with exasperation or amusement the multiple errors in a story, and then turn the page to national or international affairs, and read as if the rest of the newspaper was somehow more accurate about Palestine than the baloney you just read. You turn the page, and forget what you know.”

And now we’ve got an opinion piece from CNN, where if you know anything about the topic, it is obvious the author is huffing paint, but if you’re not up on the subject, it may sound convincing.

I’d like to explain how it is not. Original article is here.

The article was written by Daniel Webster, who is a college professor who runs an anti-gun “policy and research” center, my responses are in bold. And for the record, I am a former concealed weapons instructor, former gun store owner, have written for gun magazines, have participated in a whole lot of classes on this subject both as a student and as an instructor, and have testified before state legislatures on the issue of mass shootings. Basically for a period of about five years I professionally soaked up every single piece of information I possibly could on this subject, taught people how to deal with it, went through a bunch of training and have even played the bad guy in scenario training. (I make a great villain) To say that I’ve thought about this topic quite a bit would be an understatement.

 (CNN) — Scenes from the mass shooting in an Aurora, Colorado, movie theater are horrific, but are all too familiar in the United States.

Some have argued that gun control is irrelevant to mass shootings because the perpetrators are typically so determined that they will overcome any legal hurdle to acquiring firearms. However, mass murderers often use assault weapons or guns with large ammunition capacity.

Let’s think about this, because this is going to come up a lot in the anti-gun thought process. Webster points out my side’s argument and then quickly dismisses it, like “oh, you silly gun nuts, crazy murderers will totally be thwarted by the same laws as law abiding citizens”.

Just last year, Anders Breivik shot 69 people in Norway, a country with gun control far stricter than America. (he also blew 8 people up with bombs, but I’ll come back to that later). In 2008, a group of terrorists completely shut down the city of Mumbai by going on an epic shooting spree. More than 300 casualties. India has some of the strictest gun control laws in the world (and in fact, has no “gun culture” to speak of, which led directly to their disastrous police response, but I’ll come back to that too).

The thing about all gun laws, and you really need to get this through you head, is that criminals don’t give a shit.

One of the guns James Eagan Holmes allegedly used to shoot 70 people within minutes was an assault rifle with a 100-round drum magazine. This extraordinary firepower enables gunmen to kill and wound more victims than they otherwise could if they used weapons that held fewer bullets.

There are a few problems here, and I’ll try to take them in order.

First off, the term “assault rifle” in this context means whatever the media needs it to mean. In actual gun nut parlance, an assault rifle is an intermediate power small arm capable of full auto fire. Which this was not, but to the media, any gun that is vaguely scary looking is an assault weapon. So if you’ve got a Honda Civic it is a car, but if you put a spoiler on a Honda Civic it is now a race car. No. It is still a Honda Civic. Words mean things.

Second off, as we saw during the Clinton years, what they really want to ban is what is actually known as a detachable magazine fed semi-automatic. Semi-automatic means that for each pull of the trigger, the action cycles itself because of recoil or gas pressure, and feeds a new round into the firing position. A magazine is the thing that holds the ammunition.

Here is the thing. We banned high capacity magazines once before. It did nothing. Absolutely nothing. For ten years. The only difference it made was that the law abiding now had defensive guns that held fewer shots than was intended, and once again, criminals simply did not give a shit.

So he had a hundred round mag… (which malfunctioned, because they don’t work that well). Normally a rifle like that would have a 30 round mag. However, somebody who is completely fumble fingered and totally inept can change a magazine in a few seconds. Somebody who has practiced can do it in two. Somebody like me who was paid in OPA* to shoot competitively can do it in one.  (* Other People’s Ammo). 

So let’s theoretically ban higher capacity magazines like we did once before. That will assuage this academic’s tender sensibilities. Let’s go clear back to 10 rounds like we had before… So the main difference will be that every law abiding citizen in the country now has fewer shots available for legitimate self defense (oh, and don’t worry, I’ll talk about why you need more shots here too), except that since there are literally millions of higher capacity magazines in circulation, the criminal will still have them, because remember, he don’t give a shit.

Wait? What? Yeah… Last time they banned high cap mags, we went a whole decade using old ones AND DIDN’T RUN OUT. So you’d have to ban new ones, confiscate old ones, and remember… Criminals don’t give a shit. (sensing a trend yet?)

There is obviously no need for any civilian to have such powerful weapons.

Au contraire. The founding fathers were far smarter than you, Dr. Webster. The 2nd Amendment exists as a final life insurance policy for the Constitution… Sure, I’ve seen lots of Facebook posts over the last few days talking about how absurd that is, which simply tells me that the author doesn’t know history, current events, or is simply willfully naïve as to how the world works. 

Anyone who says that sort of thing can’t ever happen here is a fool. In 1900, Germany was the most socially, technologically, and culturally advanced country in the world. Thirty some odd years later they were a totalitarian murder machine.

But let’s forget about the real reason for the 2nd Amendment for a moment and look at Webster’s point. No civilian needs to have such powerful weapons…

Okay… He’s only mentioned capacity, not actual power (sort of like mixing up torque and horsepower, but whatever), because relatively speaking all of the weapons used in this particular shooting were relatively low power, i.e. he was shooting a glorified varmint cartridge rather than an elk rifle. So let’s concentrate on capacity. Why do civilians need guns that can hold that many rounds?


Rational gun policy, one that puts public safety ahead of the interests of the gun industry and gun enthusiasts, would ban firearms and ammunition clips that hold more than 10 rounds. Such a policy might not prevent many of our mass shootings, but it should reduce the number of victims from these incidents.

Why do I want a weapon that holds more than 10 rounds? Well, first and foremost, why do I have a self defense gun? It is a tool in my tool box used to solve a certain specific sort of problem. In this case, it is to defend myself from serious bodily harm from assailants. Notice the s on the end of assailant. As in plural.

10 shots isn’t many if you have more than one attacker, or you miss, or most importantly, contrary to the movies, when a good guy shoots a bad guy, the bad guy doesn’t fly backwards through the wall, do a flip, and catch on fire. Most defensive weapons simply poke a hole in the bad guy, which then bleeds, which causes a drop in blood pressure, which makes him stop trying to hurt you. Here in the real world, sometimes you have to shoot somebody multiple times in order to make them stop trying to murder you.

You’ve all heard the stories about the dude that gets shot 14 times by the cops and then walks under his own power to the ambulance. Nobody has ever gotten into a gun battle and said afterwards, “damn, I wish I hadn’t brought all that extra ammo!” Many times it takes multiple shots to stop a determined attacker.


Skeptics might point to the federal assault weapons ban (a section of the 1994 Violent Crime Control Act) that Congress let expire in 2004 as a failure that did not affect overall homicide rates.


However, the law’s impact was limited by its narrowness that made it easy for gun manufacturers to evade.

Remember when I said assault weapons ban was a made up word? Well, that’s the problem when you try to legislate something that doesn’t actually exist.

The problem was that since assault weapon to the media is defined as anything scary, the basically banded Civics with spoilers, but couldn’t ban regular Civics.

And when a liberal says manufacturers “evade” he means obeyed the law. If the law said no folding stocks, we said okay, and put on regular stocks (one of the many items that were banned, yet which made zero functional difference).

A broad ban on the sale and possession of high capacity (more than 10 rounds) ammunition magazines with stiff penalties would translate into saved lives.

He asserts with no evidence.

Between 9,000 and 10,000 people are murdered each year with guns in the U.S., most garnering little attention.

Most garner little attention because the media doesn’t want to draw attention to the fact that most murders happen in cities run by liberals that already have harsh gun control laws in place. Like Chicago for example.

Local news coverage of such events typically provides scant information or context to enable citizens to understand the role of guns in these incidents.

BWA HA HA HAW Ha snort! Did you just try to blame the main stream media for failing to put the role of guns into context? The same media that never reports any positive stories about defensive gun use? Sorry, I have to pause to wipe away my tears.

Invariably, the only time that gun violence and gun policy are discussed in the national media is after a horrific shooting rampage.

Yep. You guys are perched like vultures, just waiting to see if you can capitalize on fear or tragedy.

We should not brush aside discussions of gun policy as too politically difficult to expect meaningful change, or “the price for our freedoms.”

Of course, when a liberal talks about freedom, he has to put the word into quote marks.

The reason nobody wants to talk about your gun policy is because your gun policy is stupid. This is one of those debates where most of the country has looked at your stupid way of doing things and said that it doesn’t work and we don’t want to do it anymore.

Your inner-cities are hell holes, and you blame us for the crime. Crazy people shoot innocents and you blame people who had nothing to do with it. You declare places like schools and movie theaters to be gun free zones, and they you blame us when nobody is there to defend them.

In fact, your single most reliable defense against this sort of attack is an immediate violent response, and since the police need time to get there, that means the immediate response has to come from the victim pool or not at all. Yet your policy is to kick us and our guns out of those places, that way the bad guys can work unmolested until the cops arrive.

Instead, we should reflect on why the U.S. has a murder rate that is nearly seven times higher than the average murder rate in other high-income countries

Oh really? And this is all about guns, and not about our failed Great Society, liberal inner city hell holes, gang warfare, our massive illicit drug trade, and all while comparing us to ethnically, racially, and socially homogenous countries far smaller than we are?

and a nearly 20 times higher murder rate with guns.

Because getting killed in England with a claw hammer is so much more awesome.

As Mark Twain said, lies, damned lies, and statistics. And statistics go right out the window the first time you need to defend yourself from somebody who wants to cut your face off and wear it as a hat and you really wish you had a gun to do it with.  

Remember the thing with bombs earlier? Yeah… You make it harder to get guns, that’s the next option. The only reason they don’t get used more is that bombs are scarier to make, and take up to half an hour on the internet and trip to Home Depot to make, but once you get over that hurdle, then you can really cause some destruction. See for example, the rest of the entire world.

And what was the biggest mass murder at a school in US history? Michigan, 1927. And the crazy guy used a bomb.

And we should consider how flaws in current gun policies contribute to this disparity.

But wait… are these statistics even true? How about how the United Kingdom, a tiny island, with some of the strictest gun and even knife control, has some of the worst crime in Europe? An island, with the most police surveillance in the world, can’t stop violent crime, and can’t stop weapons from coming in. You might be a lot less likely to get into a mass shooting there, but you are a whole lot more likely to get your skull smashed in with a bat. And since mass shootings are extremely rare, but assholes who want to rape you and take your stuff are common, that’s supposed to be a net positive trade?

And yet we, who have individual states with borders bigger than the entire UK, with a hundred million guns already in circulation, are going to ban everything and crime is going to magically stop? I don’t think so.

Because let’s say it again, criminals don’t give a shit.

Standards for legal ownership and permits to carry a concealed gun are relatively lax in the U.S.

As they should be.

In most states, a person with a long history of arrests and convictions for misdemeanors (often pleaded down from felony charges), prior restraining orders for domestic violence and history of drug and alcohol abuse can own as many military-style weapons as he can afford to purchase,

Actually, that’s not even close to true. And since Doc here is a professional academic elite anti-gun think tanker, so he’s either deliberately lying or he’s just stupid.

When you purchase a firearm from a dealer anywhere in America you have to fill out Form 4473 for the BATF. On that form are a series of questions, including some of the ones above, and when we call this information in to the ATF or whatever your state criminal investigatory agency is, they run a background check. If you come up as ineligible, the dealer can’t complete the transaction.

So let’s really think about what he’s saying there… He wants people who were acquitted of crimes to be denied guns. He wants somebody who abused drugs twenty years ago to be denied the right to own a gun. (sorry Barack Obama, you’d be shit outta luck).

But really, let’s be honest, he wants nobody to have a gun, but he can’t come out and say that.  

and can legally carry concealed guns almost anywhere.

Almost anywhere? Like the theater in Aurora? Oh, wait… Nope. Gun Free Zone. Virginia Tech? No… Also a Gun Free Zone… Hmmm… Columbine or any of the other schools that had shootings? Wait a second. Also Gun Free Zones. What about the Post Office? Well, huh… Gun Free Zone. What about some of these big workplace shootings… Why those are Gun Free Zones too? You don’t say…

Wow. I’m seeing two trends here. Gun Free Zones only keep out the good guys with guns and the bad guys know it, and second, criminals don’t give a shit.

Under federal law, anyone wanting to purchase a firearm from a licensed gun dealer must pass a background check.


But in most states, the gun dealer who stands to profit from a gun sale, rather than a law enforcement agency, determines the authenticity of purchasers’ identification cards.

False. In fact, that’s not true at all. You have to call the information in to a state audit agency that then checks their records to see if that person has anything on file which would bar purchase. This would include criminal charges, court orders, and convictions. I’m assuming the doctor knows this and is just pulling facts out of his ass.

Gun dealers face little consequence if they fail to account for dozens of guns upon inspection.

HA! That’s a good one… Little consequence is hilarious. Oh wait, you’re serious? Dude… The BATF will burn your house down. The BATF will destroy your business at the slightest hint that you’ve done something wrong. The BATF has no mercy, no kindness, and well and truly enjoy ruining gun dealer’s days.

FFLs keep a bound book, all guns in, all guns out. If your bound book doesn’t match your physical inventory, then you get shut down and everything gets confiscated while the BATF conducts an investigation.

So unless you consider going to prison a little consequence, then chalk up another lie.

Data indicating which gun dealers sell the most guns linked to crimes are kept from public view and cannot be used in decisions about the dealer’s license.

Nope. BATF can revoke your license if they’ve got any reason. They even tried to throw the dealers involved in Fast & Furious to the wolves, except those guys were smart enough to document that the BATF had ordered them to go against the law and good sense.

Illogically, federal law and most state gun laws allow firearm purchases from private sellers with no background check or questions asked.

That is because we live in America and we still have private property. You are allowed to leave your guns to your kids. You are allowed to sell your firearms without the state’s permission.

And here’s the kicker, it is already illegal to knowingly sell a firearm to somebody who is prohibited by law from having a firearm. It is illegal to give a firearm to somebody who you think is going to commit a crime. Should you purchase a firearm from a dealer on behalf of somebody else who couldn’t pass a background check, you are committing a felony. That is called a Straw Man Purchase, and those are only okay when it is Eric Holder shipping thousands of guns to Mexican drug cartels.  

As a result of these policies, it is far too easy for dangerous people to own, carry and ultimately use guns.

And the easy availability of the internet and computers makes it too easy for dangerous people to spread dangerous ideas… See what I did there?

There are hundreds of millions of guns in the
US right now that aren’t being used to murder anybody. Go figure. It looks like the doctor is trying to convict people of pre-crime. You have a gun, ergo, you are dangerous and should be banned. Not really, doc. I’ve got a gun exactly because it is dangerous. The danger is what makes it a useful tool.

Following mass shootings, gun control opponents have not been bashful about pushing for laws to remove restrictions on carrying guns in schools, bars and churches.

You mean all the places where mass shootings happen, but the single best deterrent against mass shootings aren’t allowed? Friggin’ dur, moron.

Indeed, calls for removing restrictions on carrying concealed firearms will not stop mass shootings.

Lie. Which is why we’ve all heard about Columbine, but not Paducah. That’s why we’ve all heard about Virginia Tech, but not Virginia Law School… Similar circumstances, yet one side of those coins had body counts that got the headlines and the other didn’t because there was somebody there with a gun to interfere with the bad guy’s plans.

In just my local area since I’ve been a professional gun guy, a crazy lady started shooting people at the KSL building in Salt Lake, stopped by a permit holder with a .45. Trolley Square, bad guy on a rampage was stopped by an off duty in normal clothing cop with just a pistol until the SLCPD got there and shot the dude to death. Couple of weeks ago, dude bought a butcher knife at a grocery store and started slashing the hell out of a bunch of people, until he got proned out by a permit holder coming in from the parking lot.

Oh, there’s more. Many, many, many more. And those are the rampages, which are statistical anomalies. You are way more likely to need your gun against a regular scumbag.

Research indicates that so-called right-to-carry laws don’t reduce violence, and may increase aggravated assaults.

No. And in fact there is a lot of research that goes directly against that. See Mark Twain. We’ve been over this a million times already. If you torture statistics enough you can make them say whatever you want. John Lott wrote More Guns, Less Crime, showing a decrease in crime when the potential victims are armed, and all of the anti-gun think tankers have been playing catch up ever since.

But studies I have conducted indicate that stricter regulations of gun sales, whether by retail dealers or by private sellers, are associated with fewer guns diverted to criminals.

Yes. I should totally accept your non-biased study at face value. It isn’t like you are a biased, political hack shill with an agenda.

Moreover, national national surveys show that a large majority of citizens favor these reforms to our gun laws, including most gun owners.

And it is common in your world to give up your rights based upon surveys? I do not think I would wish to live in this place.

In addition, there is substantial research showing that law enforcement strategies that focus on deterring illegal gun possession reduce violent crime.

You know what else deters violent crime? Shooting criminals in the face.

Public health initiatives in Chicago and Baltimore, which use reformed ex-gang-members to reach out to youth, mediate disputes and promote alternatives to violence, have also been shown to significantly reduce homicides and shootings.

I live in Yard Moose Mountain, Utah. I should give up my firearms because midnight basketball in inner city Baltimore will curb gang crime. Gotcha.

More than 30,000 people die every year from guns in the U.S., and more than 400,000 are victims of nonfatal crime committed with guns. The economic costs are staggering — an estimated $100 billion annually.

But he doesn’t address the flip side, that depending on where you get your statistics from guns are used to PREVENT crime 2.5 MILLION times per year. Now that stat is from the NRA, so some of you will automatically throw it out. Okay, cool. Having done this before, I’ve also seen from other sources (remember statistics are all crap) 1 million, 800 thousand, or 600 thousand… And even if we went with the likely biased stats of the people who hate hate hate absolutely hatey-hate guns, the Brady Center puts the number of defensive gun uses at around 80,000, which means the Brady Center is totally cool with the population of your home town being murder-raped every year.

In most defensive gun uses, no shots are fired. Merely producing the gun ends the problem, because now you’ve gone from victim to work, and if the criminal wanted to work, he’d get a job. You’ll notice that in two of the three local rampages I posted, no shots were fired by the good guys. Just having effective resistance was enough to shut them down.

Only a small fraction of these deaths are connected to mass shootings.


But the mounting deaths and associated trauma from mass shootings should motivate us to take action to make needed reforms to our gun laws, focus law enforcement resources on combating illegal gun possession and invest in prevention initiatives proven to reduce gun violence.

Midnight basketball, wishful thinking, and disarming the law abiding aren’t going to do anything to prevent these sorts of things from happening, The best thing to stop them is a bullet to the head. Fast.

America’s high rate of gun violence is shameful. When will we change?


Your side has already lost this debate. We tried your way and it was ineffectual. All you can do is punish the innocent while criminals well and truly do not give a shit. So now we are going to do it my way… Oh, and look at that, nationwide violent crime is down while concealed carry is up, except for in places where you don’t allow the good guys to have guns.

Besides, Ice-T is on my side.


Checkmate, motherfucker.

Picture from the anti-gun magazine Rolling Stone, because that made me laugh. 

And since I’ve had to talk about this damned topic so many times, here are some other fisking posts about gun control going clear back to 2007:

And for those not familiar, here is an explanation of Fast & Furious:


City of the Saints, by Dave Butler

Just a heads up. I book bombed my friend Dave Butler once before for his Rockband Fights Evil series, and I know many of you bought them and really liked them. They are pulp action adventure novels about… well… a rockband that fights evil. So that’s a pretty good title I guess.

Dave’s got another series, the second book of which is coming out this week. These are a little different, as in Alternative History-Steampunk-Mormons. And no, I haven’t read these yet, but Dave is a good guy and a great writer so I figured I would post a link for those of you who are interested.

The Burning Throne, Episode 37: Magatsu Redeemed

Sorry for the late post. Normally these game night serials are posted Friday morning. I don’t normally work on Fridays (well, I write books, but I don’t normally do accounting on Fridays). But yesterday I had to interview a bunch of people for jobs. So better late than never.

Continued from:   This week’s episode is once again by Paul Genesse, and if you read last week’s entry, you know he got messed earlier.

From the Journal of the dishonored Crab Clan Shugenja, Kuni Magatsu

Written after the Battle of Pale Oak Castle

Fumiyo. Dishonor. That was the name I had chosen for myself after I thought the earth kami abandoned me. I arrived at the mountain shrine behind Pale Oak Castle and prepared for five days of prayer and meditation to atone for my sins, where I would ask the gods what was in my future. Would I return to the ways of a Kuni shugenja, or would I live out the rest of my days as a monk, with no contact with the kami, and no clan affiliation?

This was the question I asked when I washed the sacred kabuki paint all Kuni shugenja wear from my face and removed the robes of my clan and family. When I did so, I wondered if I would ever wear the paint again, or ever acknowledge the allegiance to my clan. I thought my time as a shugenja was over, as I had failed to heed the will of the kami. I had sought to abuse the power given me, and bring death to many innocents, just to strike a terrible blow to my enemies.

The power of the Shamesword, Penance, which I helped destroy, may have clouded my mind, but the fault of my failure was my own.

I knelt at the mountain shrine, supplicating myself before the sacred stones, and listening to the wind, and the stream, and the voice inside my mind that said the kami had not abandoned me, but that I had abandoned them.

I endured only a single night of prayer before my will broke. The pain in my broken hip and leg, as I knelt at the shrine, became so severe that I feared I would have to change position, and fail again in my obeisance to the gods. In a moment of weakness, I asked my loyal friend, Batsu, to help me numb the pain and maintain my prayer vigil. He brought me a jar of sake, and I drank all that he provided, and asked for more.

He also told me that the face paint I had washed off in the pool that fed the fast-moving stream beside the shrine, was still there, congealing into a mysterious kanji, that I dared not look at. This was the first sign, that the kami might still be with me. Later, when I fell asleep and was awakened much later, one of the sacred stones of the shrine had moved to support my tired body, and there was some relief from the pain.

I first thought the sound that had awakened me near dawn was the mountain shifting and breaking, and I strained to understand the message. The pain, dulled by the sake, had fooled me. I realized the sound was a big man, running up the steep trail to the shrine, his boots crunching the gravel on the path. I did not turn, for I knew who it was. The creaking armor the loud steps could belong to only one man, my friend, Hida Makoto. No one steps so loudly, or breathes so heavily as him.

He had run all the way from the castle, uphill, in his armor, and that he was able to do this feat, showed me that the strength of the earth was with him, and he was indeed a messenger of the kami.

He brought a message from Ide Todo, requesting that I join them and help defend Pale Oak Castle from the Yobanjin horde besieging the walls. I refused, for I had promised the kami five days of prayer and meditation, after which, I would ask if I was to return to being a shugenja again, or live out my days as a humble monk, and tend an earth shrine.

Makoto was insistent that I return, and do my duty, but I was not convinced until we shared a jar of sake. When I drained my cup, in the bottom of the clay vessel, I saw the first light of the dawn, and had a vision of what I was to do. The earth kami had accepted my apologies, and would do my bidding once again, but wanted me to remember my mistakes, so they had given me a reminder, a limp that I would bear for the rest of my days. More prayer and meditation was needed, but not today. If I did not help with the fight today, many innocents would die.

Makoto would die, and Batsu, and Suze, and Zuko, and most significantly, Ide Todo. The light of the Paper Lanterns would go out forever because I did not support my friends when they fought the champion of the Army of Dark Fire. Makoto would strike hard, but he would fall without the Kami’s Strength that only I could provide for him.

Makoto and Batsu carried me to a litter and bore me down the mountain. The shattered bones in my broken hip caused me much pain then, and I partook in the last of the sake. The events of the rest of the morning are not clear to me now, and Batsu has refused to tell me the details of what happened, though I remember being awakened on the top of the wall of the castle and seeing a tremendous flash of light.

Naked—with no face paint—and intoxicated from the sake, I believe I did further dishonor to myself as I lost control of my senses and communed with the gods once again. On top of the parapet, as my body spasmed and my mouth frothed in front of the assembled warriors, I saw the disorganized ranks of the army of Yobanjin, and their champion wreathed in fire, I remembered why I had come.

Out of mind in pain, and under the affects of the sake, and the lingering malaise from my epileptic fit, Batsu ushered me away from the wall after the ritual was completed to break the false Shamesword. We had left a decoy in the castle, and it had been hidden in wooden boxes within boxes as I had suggested.

Thankfully, healer shugenja from the Phoenix Clan cleared my mind and relieved me of most of the pain in my hip. I prepared for the battle and applied my face paint as Sensei Kiyoshi had taught me. When Batsu placed my Crab Clan robes over my shoulders I knew the time had come to call to the kami once again.

The battle at the walls will be recorded on many scrolls, so I will not recount that here, but when the day was over, my closest friends were still alive, though many in the Paper Lanterns had given their lives to achieve victory, and the champion of the Army of Dark Fire was dead.

I used my bloody tetsubo as a crutch to cross the battlefield afterward, and I looked up at the mountains behind the castle. I could not see the sacred mountain shrine, but I knew it was right that I had abandoned my vigil and followed the will of the gods. There is some great destiny that those around me must fulfill, and I must help them as much as I can, to accomplish this.

Though I am flawed, and now an even more broken man than I was before, there is a truth that even I can see: the kami are doing my bidding once again, and I will use them to preserve the lives of the remaining Paper Lanterns, and crush the enemies of the Emerald Empire. It may take me some time to regain my honor, but I have found glory in battle, and I have found my name once again, I am the Crab Clan Shugenja, Kuni Magatsu.


Paul Genesse is a good editor too. If you want to check out a short story anthology he edits (including one by yours truly) go here:

To be continued next week, with what is probably one of the best mass battle scenes I’ve ever written. And that includes actual published stuff.  In the Shadow of a Pale Oak 

James O’Keefe does it again

Our favorite undercover pimp/reporter (pimporter?) pulls off another hidden camera expose. This time he exposes the BS of shovel ready jobs bills and union corruption.

Hilarity ensues.  I’m sure this will be like the ACORN helping Guatemalan sex slaves thing and the left will scream about how it was editied to be biased or it was one bad apple or blah blah blah, until they release all of the unedited footage and then we will hear the crickets chirp.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 9,748 other followers