The Drowning Empire, Episode 51: Tento’s Tale

The Drowning Empire is a weekly serial based on the events which occured during the Writer Nerd Game Night monthly Legend of the Five Rings game. It is a tale of samurai adventure set in the magical world of Rokugan.

If you would like to read all of these in one convenient place, along with a bunch of additional game related stuff, behind the scenes info, and detailed session recaps, I’ve been posting everything to one thread on the L5R forum, http://www.alderac.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=295&t=101206

Last week Zach Hill told part of the story from the perspective of his character’s serving girl. Not to be outdone, this week’s episode gets a little weird as Pat Tracy tells part of the story from the perspective of his character’s horse. Bear with me, because it is awesome. :)

Continued from: http://monsterhunternation.com/2014/03/28/the-drowning-empire-episode-50-shogun-wedding/

 

Tento’s Tale

 

We went into the wooden prison and across the long water. The others were frightened, but I was not. The men atop came with us, and sometimes they came to see us, so that we would not forget their faces. The old man brushed me sometimes. We ate, but poorly. Our legs grew weak, and there was no day, no night, no field in which to run. One of the men made terrible noises for a long time. It seemed as if someone was pulling his innards out, or that he had caught a foot in a hole and was trying to bite the leg off to escape. This eventually faded, and things grew quiet.

 

Later, there was the sound of much battle and shouting, but we were not part of it, and my spirit ached to rush against enemies. This, too, passed.

 

The prison began to shake and move much harder. The sound of the others screaming was difficult to stand, but I did not lose myself and join them. I could not bear it. Just as the men atop have their ways, I must have mine.

 

The purple man came, and his words had power. They were good, and all of us felt much better, though the wildness of the prison’s movement were so awful that it was hard to know which direction the sun once shined. The walls of the prison began to collapse, but a few of the men atop pushed them shut and held them. The long night of terrible trashing finally grew still, but our hooves were deep under salty water by then. I felt that the prison would fill up, and that we would drown. Perhaps the purple man and the old man would, as well. I did not wish for this to happen, but I was not able to change things.

 

The water slowly got worse, but the prison stopped moving at last. We were let out on flat land for many days. We did not see our men atop much, but having a stable that was not kept darkened and shaken back and forth was good. Eating fresh hay was also good.

 

Soon enough, though, we were made to go back into another one of the wooden prisons, this one bigger than the other. Some of the others balked and fought, but this was shameful. I went to my trial with head high and mane shaking in the sun, as is proper.
The time within the wooden prison was long. I know that I chewed through three hitching rails during our second journey. I came to doubt that I have ever been elsewhere, that I had ever seen the sun or galloped across the open land, the clean scent of the desert after a rain filling my nose. It became hard to remember that I was a horse, not a rat or a mole.

 

When the light finally came in and we were allowed up, many of us were too weak to leap to freedom. I was not. I jumped from the wooden prison and onto the wooden road, then onto the real land. In that moment, I remembered everything, and was a horse once more.

 

The air was thick and wet and hot. Every tree and every bush smelled and looked different. I knew that I was far from where I had been. Everything was unfamiliar. The people here were different, as well, their decorative skin not like what I was used to seeing, the sound of their language foreign.
It did not matter. I was free again, and though my legs shivered and my muscles ached from being still so long, I would be strong again.

 

I had been so long away from the lands of the purple men that I was used to being the only Hontō no uma, the only true horse present. There were purple men here, though, and some of them had brought my brothers and sisters with them to this distant place. I felt the fire rush inside me, and wanted to bite and kick the other horses to show my strength. The man atop and the old man would not allow this, though I did so when they were not present, when I was able. I am a true horse, and it is this way with us. Were there no men atop, we would go to battle alone.

 

The town on the coast was small, and soon we were away, into the strange forest. Unknown sounds were all around. I saw animals hanging in the trees that were like little hairy men. They hooted and screeched at us as we passed. Birds swooped in the branches and called out to each other. I could not see far, but I could smell large beasts, things filled with fangs and made of hunger.

 

Though the land was not known, and danger was all around, it was good to be on the road, with the man atop and the old man, and all the others. I had come to like the Han uma, the half horses, and the sound of their men atop was comforting. I liked the big one who laughed much and chattered on like a squirrel on a branch all day. I liked the one who had died a torturous death on the first journey, but had come back from death.
***

 

The man atop put his heels against my flanks and we went forward on the trail. There was a predator somewhere. I could smell him. Something huge, something that hungered for horse meat.

 

There was a blur, then I felt something against me, leaping on the man above. It was so fast, so big. My hooves left the ground and I felt myself fall, my belly exposed. The pungent smell of the creature filled my nose, the view of its striped hide so near me. I heard my man atop fall hard, the wind cough out of him.

 

Then the other men atop were there, all around, their weapons cutting the air. There was a roar and growl, then the sound of their metal hitting flesh, as I had heard before. The sound of it made me rise, made me burn for the battle and the charge, like we had done for all those dry, hot seasons in the past.

 

Blood splashed against the ground, against my foreleg, and it was done. I kicked at the striped thing, but they pulled me away. It was too late to prove that it had only been surprise that allowed it to knock me down, something that had never happened before. I was filled with anger. I wanted to go away from these stifling forests where things could hide and rush and ambush. I wanted the open land I knew before, the dust rising from the dry plains, the horizon to race.
***

 

The land opened up at last. We were able to go faster, but the men atop would not let us run. Sometimes my man atop would let me go ahead, but then we would have to come back for the others.

 

There was a day when the sound of my brothers came to me. Many many. I was glad within, but also wondered what would happen. Could I best these new horses? Would they be greater than I?
When they drew close, I let my head dip and looked at the earth. Some of them were Kyōdaina uma, the mighty horses. These I knew from my youth, knew I could not best in strength, even if they were not so swift as I. The Kyōdaina uma. This meant that we were again in the lands of the purple men. The smell of the mighty horses filled me, and there were mares among them. One, the largest and strongest, threw aside one of the half horses with a brush of her chin. I feared her, but wished for her also. The muscles on my flanks tensed and quivered. The Kyōdaina uma mare would soon be in season. She would never allow me to do what any stallion wished to do, but the scent of her drove me mad.

 

It was good that the group soon turned, and that I was far from her. It was good that, when we got to the city of the purple men, I was in an different stable.
***
The more I looked at the huge gray thing, the less I understood what it was. It was old, its skin hanging and wrinkled, and its huge head misshapen, with flopping ears. It seemed to have a snake attached to its head somehow. And it was the largest living thing I had seen. If it had been swift and agile, I would have taken affront to its existence. Because it was ponderous, a sad and clumsy creature, I chose to feel pity for it and otherwise ignore its presence.

 

The man atop came back from the noisy market with a boy for me to have. It was a happy day. I now had both an old man and a boy to care for me. The boy, being small, did a much better job of brushing my legs and forelocks than the old man, who didn’t like to bend down for very long. The old man gave the boy an apple. I approved. He gave me an apple as well.

 

I did not see the men atop for many days. I was able to break free of my stall and fulfill a stallion’s role a few times before there was a lot of shouting, and the old man came to take me back. Purple men with tools made banging sounds around my stall for a time after that, and made it so that I was unable to kick to door down again.

 

We left the city with many other riders, most on true horses or Kyōdaina uma, the alluring great mare among them. At last, they let us run. We went far across the land, and we traveled fast. It was like the days when I was not yet grown. It was like the memories from all the ones who came before, the herd-dream that we all feel in our bones and skin and blood.
***

 

The people came in the other direction, running, smelling like fear and death. I felt the man atop tense, felt him gather and flex his thighs around me. There would be a fight.

 

Then we were galloping, even faster than before. Enemies rushed us. I moved as the man atop wanted, and I could hear the sound of thrumming. I could smell blood and hear screams. I stepped on a fallen enemy and his innards burst from his sides.

 

It was over in a moment, and we carried on, galloping again.

 

The place in the high pass appeared. The smell of something wet and evil came. I could see a man-thing that was not of blood and bone, a not-right thing. There were many. We galloped past the first group of them, where the Kyōdaina uma and their women atop fought.

 

I rushed hard and jumped. The water of a small river was under me, and then I was on the other side. My man atop made his war sound, and I rushed, turned, stopped. He made his thrumming noise, and feathers appeared in one of the enemies. We bolted away before they could attack.

 

I could feel the man atop’s legs on me, and they told me where to go, when to stop, when to wheel. The thrumming death sound happened again and again. Men grew feathers where there had been none, and crumpled to the ground.

 

We leaped over a wall and into the midst of enemies and frightened people. There were many dead, their necks open and their blood in puddles on the ground. One of the enemies was in front of me, and I reared, catching him with both Hooves and knocking him down. I could feel his body break as my rear hooves smashed his chest bones in.

 

Another jump, another rush and turn. The sound of the man’s killing device, the feel of us running forward and back. The man atop was bold, and the enemies hit him with their cracking whips and their weapons.

 

The running went on and on. It lasted only a moment. Things were quiet at last, all the enemies dead, the man atop sagging in the saddle, the froth on my face and sweat upon my coat, the blood up to my belly from the fighting.

 

It was a good day. It was my favorite day since the wooden prison.

To be continued next week:

 

 

Next Book Bomb! April 14th, John C. Wright’s AWAKE IN THE NIGHT LAND

It is BOOK BOMB time!

Monday is the release date for John C. Wright’s new novel, Awake in the Night Land, and I want to give it a signal boost.

I first got to know John from his blogging. Like me, he’s a successful writer who is also an out of the closet conservative that is not afraid to stick to his guns, however John is so eloquent and so profoundly philosophical that he makes anything I write on the same topic look like HULK SMASH! John writes like a modern day C.S. Lewis, and I don’t say that lightly.

I don’t have a link for his new novel yet but will post it on Monday. I have not read this one yet, because I just got my advanced copy this morning, but I’m really excited to read it.

For those of you not familiar with how a Book Bomb works, that is where we pick a good book and an author who deserves a signal boost, and then we get as many people as possible to purchase the book on the same day. This bumps it up the Amazon bestseller lists, and the higher it gets, the more new people notice it. Success breeeds success, and we’ve had some pretty amazing results from Book Bombs in the past.

Sarah Hoyt has a new book out this week

My friend and fellow Baen author, Sarah Hoyt, has a new book out this week.

This one is indy, as in she published it herself as an experiment.

I’ve not read it yet, but check it out. Sarah is a really talented writer. It is doing pretty good so far, but I want to add to the signal boost.

Today is the Deadline for SAD PUPPIES!

Just a reminder, today is the last day to get your nominations in if you’ve registered to vote for the Hugos!

And here’s a tip from your friendly retired local auditor. When it doubt, print it out.

If you have registered and not received your PIN, then there are shenanigans afoot. I already know of people who registered before the cut off, but were not given their PIN because “we didn’t process your registration in time”. You might think that’s bad, but us trained auditors calls that evidence. :)  If that has happened to you, I’d really like to know about it.

Leland Yee, Super Villain

Senator Leland Yee (D California)

Senator Leland Yee (D California)

I’ve got to hand it to Democrat state senator, Leland Yee. Most political scandals are the typical drug use, hookers, or bribery stuff. This guy reaches for the stars.  He isn’t messing around. There is no half assed corruption here. If Yee had a machine that could control the weather he’d be a Batman villain.

He got busted in an FBI sting, taking millions of dollars in bribes, to smuggle RPGs and machineguns through brutal Chinese tong gangs, through the Ukraine, to rebel insurgents in the Phillipines. No. I’m not making any of that up.

The part that makes this all so awesome and hilarious is that the only reason people like me know who Yee is, is because he’s the primary asshole behind disarming law abiding Californians. Yes. He is the anti-gun poster child. He has an A+ from the Brady Center morons. (Hmmm… Now that he’s been caught smuggling rocket launchers to Muslim rebels, but he’s still a democrat, they might downgrade him to a B).

So, regular Californians can’t own an AR-15, but Chinese drug lords, no problemo. Law abiding citizen protected by the 2nd Amendment, go to hell. Murderous scumbag criminals, good to hook. This plan seems to work for Eric Holder too.

The other part that makes this funny as hell is that he is also the anti violent video game guy… Yee is the crusading liberal who has been out there trying to get violent video games banned. Because won’t somebody think of the children!

Let that sink in for a delicious moment.

Grand Theft Auto? Hell, he doesn’t need to play it. Leland Yee LIVES Grand Theft Auto. If only he hadn’t been exposed to Call of Duty, then he wouldn’t have been so tempted to smuggle machineguns to MILF. And yes. The rebels were actually called MILF (Moro Islamic Liberation Front) So when you hear that a Green Beret bagged a MILF, it really could go either way.

Of coure you probably haven’t seen too much of this on the regular news, because Yee is a democrat, and thus his scandal is totally not newsworthy. I saw a thing where Yee’s bust had gotten a grand total of like 30 seconds of coverage on CNN, in between long reports of how Chris Christe may possibly have blocked traffic.

Think about that. Sure, I know that CNN is basically the marketing department of the DNC, but this story has everything. It is implausible. It is ridiculous. It is Breaking Bad only more absurd. His Chinese mafia contact was named Shrimp Boy Chow! How the hell can you not report on a respected elected official making millions of dollars from rebels MILFs and a mob boss actually named SHRIMP BOY CHOW!

Nope. You’re gonna get long reports about boring ass Chris Christie and his being a jerk. I’m not a Christie fan, at all. He’s a republican electable in New Jersey, enough said. But oh no! He might have shut down a bridge out of spite! That’s worth hundreds and hundreds of hours of coverage…

But, but SHRIMP BOY!

Yee is like the tenth democrat busted recently for corruption, only he is so much more awesome at it than those losers. Mayor with hookers and blow? BORING. Yee smokes those chumps. He is a rock star. And before the moral equivelency police show up to bark at me about how the parties are exactly the same… Holy moly, you must suck at statistical analysis. But democrats being corrupt shouldn’t come as a surprise, since for the last five years their highest echelon has been allowed to totally get away with insane scandals like Fast & Furious, or using the IRS to punish political enemies. When that kind of behavior is excused, why wouldn’t it trickle down? The fish rots from the head. And with the supposed watch dogs of the media not doing their job, what’s a little gun smuggling between friends?

I’ve already seen some democrats trying to explain away Yee, like he was no big deal. He was just some minor little dude… He’s only a state senator after all… (and I believe the 3rd or 4th California democrat state legislator to get arrested recently). Except for the part where he was a state super star, and he was running for Secretary of State. And when Harry Potter finally finds and destroys Nancy Pelosi’s last Horcrux, then Yee was going to take her spot. (I’m actually not sure if California even still has elections or if their godking just appoints the democrat of his choice to oversee the peasants in their various fiefs).

Leland Yee should be all over the news, but since he’s a democrat it will be the duty of us crusading journalist type bloggers to spread the truth. These are the facts I have so far:

- Leland Yee originally came to the FBI’s attention after selling guns to a motorcycle gang known as the Sons of Anarchy. Ron Perlman was unavailable for comment.

- FBI investigated and discovered that an RV registered to one Wynn Duffy was parked in Leland Yee’s driveway. It is believed that Leland Yee was the triggerman who recently shot Chief Deputy Art Mullen.

- Leland Yee is part owner of a chain of fast food chicken restaurants named Los Pollos Hermanos.

- Leland Yee must sacrifice a girl with green eyes so that he may be made flesh again.

- Leland Yee would have got away with it too, if it hadn’t been for you meddling kids.

EDIT: BREAKING NEWS! It was just confirmed that to replace Leland Yee, California is appointing respected educator and heroic cancer survivor Walter White to take Yee’s seat.

The Drowning Empire, Episode 50: Shogun Wedding

The Drowning Empire is a weekly serial based on the events which occured during the Writer Nerd Game Night monthly Legend of the Five Rings game. It is a tale of samurai adventure set in the magical world of Rokugan.

If you would like to read all of these in one convenient place, along with a bunch of additional game related stuff, behind the scenes info, and detailed session recaps, I’ve been posting everything to one thread on the L5R forum, http://www.alderac.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=295&t=101206

This week’s episode was written by Zach Hill, who is playing our gullible yet honorable farmer samurai, Suzume Shintaro.

Continued from: http://monsterhunternation.com/2014/03/21/the-drowning-empire-episode-49-the-hunt-is-on/

#

Yuki tapped on the door and then slid it open with her free hand. The other hand carried a tray of tea. Shintaro was at his writing desk. Whatever he was writing had to be important because he didn’t notice her enter. He was bent over and writing faster than she had seen anyone write.

“Shintaro? Tea’s ready.”

He looked up at her without a pause in his writing.

She padded over and placed the tea to the side of his black writing desk.

“They didn’t have any of those spicey rice balls you like. What are you writing that’s more interesting than me?”

“A poem to the most honorable samurai of our generation.”

“Toranaka?”

“Uso.”

Even hearing his name made the room feel colder. Uso. He was not honorable. He used honor the same way a chicken farmer used chickens to feed his family.

“And why is he the most honorable?”

“It was amazing, Yuki. His swordsmanship is the best I’ve seen. He was dueling a yojimbo that was so outclassed it would have been comical if it were in a play. But he spared her. He could have killed her in one stroke, but instead he disarmed her before she could finish drawing her sword. I’ve never seen anything quite like it.”

“You admire him?”

“Indeed. I admire all of my companions. Each one has a trait that I find lacking in myself.”

“True, you don’t drink nearly as well as Oki.”

“I was thinking more about his archery.”

“And you can’t throw rocks around like they were paper.”

“I was thinking more about his courage and willingness to face danger, regardless if it be a horde of bandits or his own fears.”

“And your horse isn’t nearly powerful as Subotai’s.”

“You win. I definitely wish I had a horse like that.”

He smiled and pulled her into his side.

Shintaro was laughing, but she wasn’t. He still trusted Uso. But there was nothing she could do. If she attempted to watch him he’d spot her before she even saw him. She couldn’t hide in the shadows from someone who lived his entire life in them. All that would accomplish was gaining his attention and right now her only defense was remaining out of his sight.

“I heard about Toranaka and Utaku. Did he really propose a marriage in front of everyone?”

“In a way, yes.”

It was much too early to mention marriage around Shintaro and she wasn’t sure she wanted to dwell on her chances. She had learned early to never give her hopes any ground. They always failed her.

“Are they lovers?” She asked.

“I do not know, but I do know that Subotai is getting along very well with his fiancé.”

“And by ‘very well’ do you mean how we get on very well?”

“A similar manner, I’d imagine, though probably without nearly as much noise.”

“I am not that loud.”

“I believe they heard you back in Broken Wave City.”

“When are they getting married? If they don’t hurry she might find herself in a compromising position. No one wants to get married while showing.”

“Back on Sparrow lands,” he started to say. She never knew if she should fear or prepare to stifle a laugh whenever he started a sentence like that. “When a woman finds herself in an embarrassing situation and is forced to marry, we call that a “Shogun Wedding.” It comes from Shogun Ichi Nioshi back in 378. He got the Emperor’s daughter pregnant and was forced to marry her the next day.”

“So, you fear Subotai might be forced into a Shogun Wedding?”

“I’m not sure that’s a bad thing at this point.”

Over the past few weeks she had paid particular attention to his descriptions of Sparrow lands. It wouldn’t be out of the ordinary for a Sparrow samurai to marry a peasant.

She hated thinking about that. That was too high a target for her. She had to think about what was possible. His consort or mistress would be far more likely. She wouldn’t complain about that at all. Even that was far more than she had ever had.

 

*

 

Shintaro watched as Doji Shunya said his good byes. More accurately, he stood there impassibly while others bid him farewell. Shintaro couldn’t let the duelist go without saying his mind.

“Doji Shunya, I wish you well on your journey. I found you a most honorable samurai and even though you wish to kill my friend, Subotai, I would travel with you any time.”

Shunya looked around as if lost for words. Shintaro’s power of speech often had that affect on people. There were many a time that he had brought a whole room full of conversation to a stand still.

Shintaro’s power was with his bisento, but in second place was his power with words.

Now it was his duty to give Toranaka advice on how to keep the interest of a certain young Unicorn battle maiden. If there was one thing he knew as much about aside from fighting and words, it was people. He made a careful study of people and knew human nature as if it were a familiar scroll.

 

*

 

Clouds illuminated by an unnatural green light swirled over the village. His heart was still pounding from the battle with the cultists on the road, but it wasn’t nearly enough to get his battle vigor going. He needed more. His blade was still thirsty.

Killing unnecessarily or without just cause was horrible and Shintaro feared becoming a butcher as much as he feared losing honor, but this was a righteous cause. These animals were killing peasants and Shintaro could not abide that. Not at all. He despised people that abused the weak. That was the entire purpose of being a samurai; helping others. First his emperor, then his lord and then the innocent. Whoever it may be, Shintaro’s duty was to serve them like a true samurai.

And these men, whoever they were, would receive no pity from Shintaro. Unfortunately, many samurai would never die for a peasant. Shintaro would.

There was one peasant in particular that he would most certainly die for. And it so happened that she was also an amazing cook. That was wasabi on top of the sushi.

As they rode closer to the darkened village he saw many of the Unicorn scouts in combat with giant ogre. These creatures carried enormous blades and wore heavy armor of a kind he had never seen before.

The scout leader ran up to their group and pointed toward the direction of the village center.

“Stop the ceremony!”

Shintaro looked and saw more of the cultists. Some were towering over huddled peasants, a sight that made ‘Water Dragon’ thirsty for more blood. Other cultists were standing on a mound and chanting in an unfamiliar language. Orbs of moving water hovered in front of the cultists. It was some kind of water magic and that wasn’t good.

He gripped the haft of his bisento and charged forward on his mighty steed.

And promptly came to a creek bed that was too steep and deep to take his horse over. As he dismounted he saw a blur fly by him. He turned in time to see Subotai leap his horse over the creek and land on the other side. Shintaro had never seen a feat of horsemanship like that in his life. He would have to put that in the official history of this expedition…which he couldn’t write about yet because everything was a secret. If he managed to survive all of this, he would have to put this part in.

He scrambled to the other side and charged the mound where the cultists were performing their sickening ceremony. He wanted to go rescue the peasants but he was slow and there was a threat right in front of his face. He had to deal with the problems one step at a time. That was what his father had taught him.

The father whom he would probably behead to satisfy his clan’s honor.

Or was it his own desire?

Oki began hammering arrows into the cultists that were killing peasants while Subotai charged with his horse.

These were the pathetic peasant cultists they had fought earlier. These men had sharp knives and whips and knew the art of battle very well. Whoever they were, they were no cowards. Their masks were black and orange like tigers and whatever they were doing the swirling green clouds were centered right above them.

He swung at one of the cultists and knocked him down, but the wound was slight. They had armor under their robes. Very well. He would just hit harder.

Suddenly the chanting grew in intensity to an inhuman level and just as suddenly broke off. Shintaro blocked an attack by a cultist’s whip and kicked the man off the mound. One of the peasants dropped to the ground with a slit throat. The cultist off to the right raised his bloody knife and made some kind of gesture with his free hand.

The faces of the tied up peasants showed wild, searching eyes. They were practically begging for him to save them and he was failing them. He would not let any more down.

Something was breathing behind him. Something very big and loud. It smelled of rotting meat and decayed fields. Shintaro turned and looked up at one of the ogre creatures standing where the orb of water had been. Mist was coming off its dark hide and its angry, red eyes looked down at him with unmistakable rage. Where had that thing come from?

Cultist magic. He really hated cultists.

He didn’t pause even to let out a war cry. He swung at the beast with everything he had. He caught the ogre in the side and water gushed out the wound.

The ogre roared and swung its tree sized sword at their group. He felt the wind from the swing brush his face and after realizing he was still alive, swung again. Everyone was hacking away at the monster and soon it was on its knees, bleeding water out of its many wounds.

More cultists were charging forward. Many of his comrades were wounded and he didn’t know if they could face these madmen. So he placed himself in front and took the brunt of their attack.

Between Oki’s arrows, Usai’s hurling rocks and everyone else’s blades, they slaughtered the remaining cultists.

He was breathing hard and searching the nearby huts and woods for any sign of movement. The battle behind them had died along with the ogres.

 

*

 

“And then what happened, Shintaro?” Yuki asked.

“Some Crab samurai showed up. I told them epic story of our struggle and they seemed satisfied. We met our friends from the Jolly Crab and I think Oki bought the brewery.”

“Bought the brewery? The one you where you beat up that one armed guy?”

“That’s the one.”

“Is that wise?”

“What do you mean?

“Oki might drink up the profits.”

“Even he can’t drink that much.”

“But he does have friends.”

Yuki sat back on her knees and poured more tea for them. This Unicorn tea was different than anything she had had before, but it was good. She’d have to get the recipe.

Shintaro talked about his battle against magical cultists with the skill of a story teller but also the calmness of a monk. How did he face down such horrors and not come out shaken? He seemed just as content about life as ever.

She was good at appearing unconcerned, but that was from a lifetime of practice. Shintaro simply wasn’t hiding anything.

“Enough of ogres and cultists. I have a book I think you might like.”

“A book?”

“Yes. A philosopher monk wrote it five hundred years ago.”

“Philosophy?” She’d heard the term before but never understood the purpose. “We had a philosopher back at the docks. He served the noon time meal.”

“Read it and then tell me what you think.”

He handed the scroll over and she took it while looking at his face. Was this one of his jokes? But his face showed sincerity. He wanted her to read some ancient scroll.

Gullible? Yes. Naïve? Absolutely. Stupid? Not one bit. The man was almost bursting with knowledge. Whatever faults Shintaro had, ignorance and lack of education were not among them. Sometimes she was amazed at how much information was stored in that man’s head.

So, her education began.

To be continued next week: http://monsterhunternation.com/2014/04/11/the-drowning-empire-episode-51-tentos-tale/

 

Last minute Hugo slate thoughts

I still haven’t decided what to put for my last few categories.

It was pointed out to me that the MHIRPG could be considered Best Related Work. I’ve got no idea if a game book counts or not, but it is pretty awesome, and it is related, so why the heck not. So best related work Monster Hunter International Role Playing Game by Hero Games.

People have asked about my shorts and novellas, I’m not pushing any of those because I’m supporting somebody else in those categories. I just want Warbound in there to piss people off. :)

Paul Genesse is pushing Karen Bovenmyer’s story from Crimson Pact 5 (available in the links to the right because I’ve got a story in there). Paul edited it. It is called Failsafe. I heard that she just barely missed the Nebula ballot.

The last few days I’ve been slammed and have had a bunch of author friends contact me to suggest things. I just wish they would have sooner, so I’d have had more time to read and think about them.

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