Is the EU Truly Dead?

News of a new Star Wars Trilogy, following the events of Luke Skywalker and family post-Return of the Jedi had been long-awaited and, given the age of the actors had a shadow of doubt. Thus, when it was announced that a plan to go forward had been agreed upon, fans cheered. Their elation was somewhat short-lived in many cases with the announcement from LucasFilms that the expanded universe would become the legend series. Suddenly things that at one time had been canon, were now relegated to a mythos around the Star Wars Universe.

Though I’m sure that this will make me very unpopular, I actually agree with this decision. Yes, Star Wars fans who have kept tabs on the ever-expanding universe over the years have lost so much of what they loved… however you have to consider the fact that there is a lot of ground to cover and to do so in the span of a two hour movie, retcon the literal hundreds of books that have come out, and still make a cohesive story would be next to impossible. A person who’s new to the series, or someone who was just a fan of the films is not going to know who the Crimson Empire was, who the Yuuzhan Vong are, and they’re not going to understand a lot of what happened immediately after ROTJ. So this move actually does make a lot of sense.

That being said, some of the EU has made it’s way back into canon. These things include Black Sun, the design of Dash Rendar’s ship, Darth Bane, and perhaps most prominently Grand Admiral Thrawn. However, most of these have been in cartoon form in the shows Rebels and the Clone Wars.

So with all that being said, is the EU forever dead and buried from the big screen?

Not by a long shot. We’ve seen other Universes (stewarded by the same people in fact), get reboots and become alternate universes. Not to mention the fact the Hollywood seems to love reboots… we may see it happen in Star Wars.

Think about it, they’ve all but killed off the original cast of Star Wars, Daisy Ridley claims that she’s not going to do another Star Wars movie after Episode IX, and we already have one role (Han Solo) recast with a younger actor. Given all this evidence, the fact that Disney has already promised the world a new Star Wars movie every year for the ‘foreseeable future’, it’s not unreasonable to imagine that perhaps a Legends movie could be on the drawing board somewhere.

So to the EU fans… don’t hold your breath, but don’t give up hope either. There is still a chance out there for Mara Jade, the Solo twins, Anakin Solo, the Yuuzhan Vong, Jaged Fel, etc.

Only the future will tell.



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.
jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com
I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.
Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!
Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

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In Defense of the Last Jedi

 

Lately, the most recent movie has been facing a lot of criticism. Some earned, some not so much… I want to try to tackle this as best I can.

There was an article posted on recently that came to my attention entitled Meet the Women Who Ruined Star Wars.

This page seems to be backed by internet provocateur Milo Yianopolis, so take that as you will. I know a lot of people rightly have mixed feelings about the guy. That said, I feel like it does illustrate a lot of the problems with the people criticizing Star Wars and I wanted to delve into it. Let’s take a look…

First of all, the title…. ‘Meet the Women Who Ruined Star Wars.’

Following is an image of Admiral Holdo, Rose Tico, and the president of LucasFilm, Kathleen Kennedy. First of all, I don’t believe that Star Wars was ruined. Audiences are divided on it and whether or not this could enter ‘classic’ territory is anybody’s guess. That being said, I liked the movie and even if the movie wasn’t good… it doesn’t ruin Star Wars.

So this brings us to the first problem; Melodrama. I get it, Star Wars is one of those big institutions that changed the ways we think about movies and its something that should be respected… and honestly, I think it has been. Rogue One was great, despite not being a typical Star Wars movie, The Force Awakens was safe, but still offered enough new content to keep us coming back for more, and honestly Star Wars Rebels has me foaming at the mouth to see where it goes. That show has really been a fun ride.

The Last Jedi didn’t ruin Star Wars, very little actually could. I would argue that not even the prequels ruined Star Wars. The only thing that came close to ruining it was the Special -Remastered- Editions. For starters, when you switch out the models and puppets that actually look real with laughably fake looking CGI, it becomes a problem. This was glaringly abundant in Return of the Jedi with the 4th Wall-breaking music-video at Jabba’s Palace, and most egregiously, replacing Sebastian Shaw with Hayden Christiansen at the end of the movie. This destroyed one of the most memorable, emotional scenes IMO. However Star Wars is not ruined. The original movies are still there, you can still go back and watch them and enjoy Star Wars just like you could when you were a child. These movies do not change that. If they bother you that much, pretend they don’t exist… that’s what most Phantom fans to with Love Never Dies.

Secondly, let’s look at Rose Tico and Admiral Holdo for a moment. These women didn’t ruin Star Wars or at least, they don’t deserve the majority of the blame. Kathleen Kennedy is a different story. She’s the boss lady at LucasFilm, so she does deserve some of the scorn lobbied her way. However you’ve got plenty of writers, and a director that was given way too much freedom to take the movie in whatever direction he felt like that also share the blame here.

Anyway, let’s take a look at the article…

“Suffice to say, and it’s been over two weeks now, Star Wars: The Last Jedi was met with not the greatest audience response.”

This is true, unfortunately. The movie has divided audience pretty straight across the board.

“The reception is understandable: Nobody asked for a Star Wars movie with yo momma jokes, a crazy ghost Yoda that can call lightning from the sky by giving a thumbs up, or Porgs trying to make Chewbacca a vegetarian. Nor a scene where Luke milks Lena Dunham.”

Okay, I will admit that the light-hearted opening and rather… out of place comedy didn’t really mesh well with the film and failed to set the tone for the rest of the movie,  I agree with that point. Yoda calling down lightning as a ghost, I didn’t have a problem with. In the now-Legends series, we saw Force ghosts do all sorts of crazy things. The images of Padme’ showing up for Vader messed with him rather frequently.

Chewbacca being made into a vegetarian… come on, I didn’t get that either. I guess you could say that Chewy eating the porg right in front of another one was a pretty heavy handed scene that could be interpreted as a vegetarian scene, but I thought it was funny. The porgs kind of annoyed me anyway.

As for the Lena Dunham jab… I’m admittedly not a huge fan of her work or her as a person, given some of her comments and behavior over the years, so I’m not really going to get into that.

“It seems they were busy promoting the diversity on their team instead of guaranteeing success for the franchise.”

I’ve heard this concern a few times and honestly, these days when someone touts diversity instead of getting into details… unfortunately that really does send up Red Flags. It shouldn’t, but in this day and age, diversity is too often used as substitute for good writing. It seems these days that writers seem to believe that as long as they have a diverse cast, the story will be good by default with little to no effort. The end result is usually stale characters that come off as offensive stereotypes and one dimensional archetypes. I’ve covered this extensively in another piece, which can be read here, if you’re interested.

I do agree that I found it highly questionable how much they were talking about what percentage of their team was what race/gender, etc. Like, seriously are you trying to provide a product or service, or are you trying to appease some group ideologues? Really, no one should care. In this day and age, the genders and races of the development teams are irrelevant as long as they’re the right person for the job. The only people who care about this kind of thing are a very small and annoyingly vocal minority, most of whom likely don’t patron movies like Star Wars.

“While she ran around with “The force is female” t-shirts and staffed her story group with women, she apparently forgot to actually plan out this franchise… Rian Johnson revealed that there was no big outline on the trilogy, and that he had full creative freedom to do whatever he wished in The Last Jedi. Meaning Disney and the Star Wars story group left the fate and success of this multi-billion dollar franchise to chance and at the whim of whichever director & writer happened to be…” 

That is very true. This is one area where the article does point out the glaring problems, but also illustrates why the title of the article is incorrect. Those three women didn’t ruin Star Wars, if you consider the Last Jedi a ruining, this piece right here clearly shows that the director and the writers are the problem. Not only that, but this is where Kennedy comes into play as well.

Say what you will about Lucas, he had a story planned out with the original trilogy and follow-up prequel series. You can argue that he didn’t have a strong way to connect those two trilogies and that they were their own independent stories, but at least he had them planned out. With the prequels, it was surrounding Anakin’s growth and eventual fall to Darth Vader while the Republic essentially collapses and the Empire forms. That was the story. Here, we see a studio going rogue with their own source material and that is a major problem.

“It is unknown why he is returning to direct and write the finale of this trilogy, but fans speculate that Disney got cold feet after the shoot for the latest film was completed.”

Eh… except that Rian has been given a whole new Star Wars Trilogy to direct, so I don’t think they got cold feet with him so much.

“The characters in The Last Jedi mirror this mess. Admiral Holdo, nicknamed by critics as Admiral SJW, is the definition of leadership as explained by someone with critically low testosterone: a person who must not explain herself, is expected to be followed blindly and without question, and must not be upstaged.” 

Okay… this is one of the major problems with the complaints. I’ve heard people accuse this Vice-Admiral of being the physical embodiment of an SJW, feminazi, etc. However, none of that is accurate. I get the feeling that people saw her with purple hair and no uniform and… given the climate already established by LucasFilm and Disney in their constant touting of identity politics over telling us anything about the story, I think they were pretty much looking for a character… any character that even remotely fit the mold.

Here’s the problem… Admiral Holdo takes over command after literally everyone else who could have has either been killed or incapacitated. It’s an extremely tense situation with little chance of a positive outcome.

To the point about her not having to explain herself… she’s a vice-admiral talking to a recently-demoted loose cannon commander, who doesn’t seem to be able to keep his emotions in check. In any navy throughout the world, if any commander spoke to an admiral like that… best case brig, worse case, executed. An Admiral isn’t obligated to explain his/her decisions to their subordinates except under very specific circumstances. Whether or not she did the right thing by choosing to keep quiet about what she was planning and… whether or not her plan was a good one, can certainly be put up for debate. However her handling of Poe, from my perspective as someone who’s a major Navy buff, was fairly tepid. She could have easily just had him escorted off the bridge. She put him in his place, and that was that. She could have done a lot worse.

I honestly found her calmness to be in keeping with a good officer. Had she gone off like Poe did, there would have been a pretty serious breakdown on the cruiser. So really… I think people were looking a little too hard for the Social Justice character/narrative here and the arguments in favor of such a belief are thin at best.

Was she a good officer who made good decisions? Eh… there’s an argument to be made both pro and con, however that’s for another topic at another time.

“But not before she has to finally sacrifice herself in a move that invalidates all other movies as she breaks the universe of Star Wars by hyper-space ramming a dreadnought.”

False. Absolutely false. We don’t know that. That information was never established in any Star Wars canon. We don’t know the nature of hyperspace outside of sub-canon technical manuals and Han Solo talking about how they need to make precise calculations.

“The final character, Rose, a small asian woman isn’t much better as we spend 30 minutes with her on a casino planet sequence that is ultimately pointless and ends with them saving space-dog-horses and Rose pretending that this effort was worth it. “

This one… yeah this character annoyed the piss out of me. I covered her in greater detail in another post and even awarded her a Jar Jar Award. I really don’t know what to make of her. The actress has called her a strong female character who is outside of the norm for a strong character… yet she makes a lot of really stupid, hypocritical choices, and acts like a teenie bopper fan girl throughout part of the movie. Additionally, the unneeded and… arguably unwanted social commentary surrounding her, brought the movie to a screeching halt.

“It seems Disney went too far in a few places, and already their newly flagship franchise is stumbling. If the executives at Disney wish to course-correct and not end up like DC’s cinematic universe, it would be wise for them to start with the person who did not plan this trilogy ahead of  time, and the team who failed to do their job in securing consistency from one movie to the next.”

Yup, sadly. I honestly loved the Last Jedi, but I have a feeling that there will be a fan edit in the near future that cuts out Rose Tico and the casino scenes. Between wasting talents like Gwendoline Christie, Max Von Sydow, Andy Serkis, and Benicio Del Toro, to a lack of direction, Star Wars does have a problem.

That being said, as I’ve said before, it took me some time to piece everything together and really take an objective look at the movie… but I actually loved The Last Jedi. It had its problems, and the social commentary really annoyed me, but the story as a whole went in a direction that I don’t think anyone really saw coming and really has me wondering where it’s going to go next. It wasn’t anything like what I was expecting and honestly, that kind of a thrill ride is a rarity.

So in summation, identity politics ruins a lot. We’ve seen it with Marvel, Sony, and a lot of other companies as well as other mediums. However I personally did not see that here, other than in the background with the staff writing the story. Yes there was social commentary that was unneeded and maybe that’s where the outrage belong. The inclusion of Rose Tico was not only unnecessary, but really hurt the movie more than anything. It would have been better to send Poe with Fin. This is especially true since the best scene in The Force Awakens was the Tie Fighter escape scene. Poe and Fin working off each other was very fun and light-hearted. So opportunity missed.

The defense of Rose, saying that she is a strong character is laughable at best and her flaws are on display for all to see. That being said, this is the problem with the skeptic community and those who don’t buy into the identitarian and social justice narrative; they have their own sect of outrage police. These people were looking for something to blame on the current political trend and when they didn’t find it, they went after one of the easiest targets; Admiral Holdo. The evidence isn’t there and while she may not have been a great character, what she’s accused of being is a stretch at best.

So if you want to be mad at Star Wars for inserting politics and social commentary where it was inappropriate, that’s fine. Hate on Rose and hate on the casino scene. You want to hate on a character that made questionable decisions, fine, hate on Holdo. Just make sure you’re hating on them for the right reasons…

Oh and please do not start attacking the actors and actresses, especially not with hateful comments. They really did the best they could with what they were given. If they’re on social media, feel free to let them know why you agree or disagree with their performance. Constructive criticism is always a good thing, but attacking is not right and completely unnecessary.

Anyway, what does everything think? Am I right or way off?



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.
jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com
I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.
Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!
Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Star Wars The Last Jedi What we Learned/Presentation of the Jar Jar Award **SPOILERS**

Happy New Year, one and all!!

After an absolutely incredible Holiday season, it’s back to the grindstone. Back to fighting illness that of course had to come on the last two days of my vacation instead of when I could have rested, all while rolling the dice every day as to whether or not my car will start in single digit temperatures. It’s going to be a good year!

All right, so as you all know, I went to see the Last Jedi during break and… after careful debate with myself… yeah I’ll admit that I loved it! It was nothing like what I was expecting and I find myself anxiously waiting to see where it goes from here.. because I literally have no idea what could possibly come next. After The Force Awakens, I had some idea of what might happen, here… I can’t even begin to imagine.

Anyway, we all had questions/theories/etc. over what might happen and who some people might be. I wanted to take some time to debunk and/or verify some of them. I also need to give out the Jar Jar Award. Inspired by Jar Jar Binks and awarded to the Ewoks, I now need to give it to the character in the new trilogy.

So let’s get started…

What we now know: 

Rey is not a Skywalker. I think we’ve all but confirmed this one.

Luke is a terrible Jedi Master: As you would expect from someone who received minimal training, Luke was a fairly powerless Jedi Knight and now a piss poor Jedi Master. Being tempted to kill an apprentice is something a Sith Lord would do, not a Jedi Master.

Rey is not a Solo: Again, same as Skywalker. If they try to retcon this, it will really strain credulity.

Luke was not the last Jedi: I think this was fairly obvious to most, but when Rey shows up for training, Luke has cut him off from the force and gone to die.

Overusing force powers can kill you: The new power, force projection, pushed Luke to his limit. As such it eventually wore him down and claimed his life.

The stone Luke was standing next to was… a stone: I know a lot of people thought it was a grave. Well… it wasn’t, at least not one that was significant.

Gwendoline Christie’s was still wasted. Yup, we all thought she’d get more development in this movie, but it didn’t happen.

Max Von Sydow’s character from The Force Awakens was… yeah I think it’s fair to say that any reveal surrounding his role was a pipe dream.

The New Republic has all but been destroyed: I think we all believed that they would play a bigger role in this movie, but nope! Apparently the Hosni system’s destruction was all but the death knell for them.

What we don’t know: 

WHO THE HECK IS SNOKE!? Seriously, a single line of backstory would have sufficed. Something, anything, letting us know who he was, what made him bad, how he got his scars, ANYTHING! Apparently that was too much to ask and he was simply cannon fodder for Kylo Ren.

How did Snoke turn Ben Solo to the Dark side? Again, never covered.

Who are the Knights or Ren? What’s their story? Are they the other Jedi from Luke’s academy? Where are they?

Who is Rey? I still think she could be someone significant, perhaps a Kenobi or a Palpatine… I don’t buy that Kylo was being honest with her that one time throughout all the lies she told him.

If Rey is a nobody, why did Luke’s lightsaber call to her and why did it reject Kylo when he called to it?

How did Darth Vader reveal things to Kylo?

Where/when/how did Maz get Anakin’s lightsaber?

I may have missed some, but those are the big ones that I really wanted answered. Let me know down in the comments if I missed a reveal/unanswered question.

On to the Jar Jar Award. There were three contenders here:

Holdo-Elle

I think most people know where this one is going, but let’s start out with the runner-ups.

Admiral Holdo: I know a lot of people didn’t like this character. They kind of pointed the finger and accused her of being sort of the quintessential 3rd wave feminazi sjw. Eh… I guess I can see some of those traits in her, given her reaction to Poe, but I think that’s a bit of a stretch. I saw her more as a sort of motherly character who was stern, but also kind, calm, and collected. She had her act together when literally no one else did. Not to mention that she single-handedly knocked out most of the First Order fleet! She actually kind of reminded me of Mon Mothma in many ways.
That being said… I do wonder where Admiral Ackbar was during this. The cruiser they were on throughout most of the movie was a Mon Calamari ship. He was in the previous movie… you would think that he would be Leia’s second in command. However, it’s a small gripe.
So yeah, a lot of people didn’t like her, I personally did. So she’s on the runner-up list simply because of public fan reaction.

The Porgs:
“If this turns into a movie where the first order is defeated by an army of Porgs with spears and slingshots, but somehow can figure out how to work complex machinery, I officially quit Star Wars!” -Me to my wife before the movie.

Fortunately, that didn’t happen. The porgs were fairly insignificant wildlife around the characters. They were slightly annoying, but not enough to really make me hate them… and that sad face had me saying ‘aw… Chewy is mean!!!’ So yeah, insignificant and really not worth mentioning.

So the winner is… 

Rose Tico… this character annoyed the crap out of me. Like seriously. She acted like an obsessed, absent-minded, fan girl throughout the majority of her scenes. Her motivations were confused and messed up, she fell in love about as fast as a Disney princess, and pulled what was arguably one of the stupidest moves at the end of the movie! When Fin tries to sacrifice himself to save the Resistance, she slams her own speeder into his, risking both hers and his life, and pretty much screws over the resistance remnant.

Perhaps an even bigger reason to scratch your head is the fact that she’s constantly being paraded around by film media as this strong female character.

“Prevented four Resistance deserters from stealing escape pods. Assisted in the formation of a plan that would’ve allowed the Resistance to escape the First Order pursuit”, they responded to critics.

Except that their plan failed miserably.

“Persuaded a fathier stableboy to enable her and Finn’s escape from Canto Bight. Conducted an essential survey of available supplies available to the Resistance on Crait.

Except that most people didn’t seem to like the casino planet and thought it was little more than filler and needless and arguably unwanted social commentary that really brought the flowing narrative to a screeching halt.

“Saved Finn from an inconsequential course of action that would’ve ended his life. For a character who did absolutely nothing, that’s impressive… most impressive.”

Yeah, I already covered this one.

Look just because she’s a woman who does stuff in a story doesn’t make her a strong female character! It makes her a character who does stuff. Holdo and Leia were your strong female characters! I’m sorry, she was a really weak character and the fans really didn’t like her. She contributed very little, she wasn’t likable, she wasn’t believable, and her scenes were filler.

As such, sorry to say… she get’s the Jar Jar award.

On a side note though, to those of you out there that have been making racist comments towards her actor on social media… stop it. Really, it’s not funny nor is it necessary. I know the character sucked, but a lot of that hate should go to the writers and the director. No matter how good an actor is, they can be mired by this kind of thing, we see it over and over.

So yeah, not cool guys.

Anyway, let me know what you all think in the comments.

 



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.
jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com
I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.
Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!
Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Star Wars The Last Jedi Review **SPOILERS**

 

So I finally got to see Star Wars The Last Jedi and when the movie ended, my wife asked me what I thought. My response was a simple, but unexpected three words…

I don’t know…

I’d seen some reviews going in, and heard opinions on both sides of the spectrum. So I went in with a cautious optimism. I knew Luke was going to finally reveal all. I knew we’d finally figure out who Snoke was, I knew we’d finally decode everything as to what was to become of the Jedi. This was going to be it, we’d finally get everything come together. So let’s break it down. Again I’m going to warn you all that there are spoilers ahead. So if you haven’t seen the movie yet, you’ve been warned. I am not responsible if you keep going.

So the Resistance… or rebellion… is on the run. This is weird, they refer to it as both. They’ve abandoned their base and are now being chased by a large First Order Fleet… and that’s pretty much where they are the entire movie. The resistance is on a Raddus class Mon Calamari Star Cruiser throughout most of the movie, running from an enemy fleet.

Rey goes off to train with Luke. She hands him the lightsaber and waits for him to speak his first sage words and… he throws the lightsaber over his shoulder and walks away. Okay…

So apparently her and Ben Solo have some kind of odd force bond. They speak throughout the movie, each trying to coax the other to their side. During this time, Luke reveals how his new Jedi Order fell… and how it was actually Luke’s fault. When he sensed what Ben was becoming, he had a momentary inkling to kill him. Ben woke up and saw his master looking down at him with a lightsaber… and at that moment, Luke realized that he’d failed.

Rey fights Luke until he admits it and then she leaves to go see Ben while Luke has a conversation with Yoda’s ghost about what Rey needs to learn.

Meanwhile, Fin takes off with a new love interest from the resistance cruiser and goes to a casino world to help find a data hacker that can help them get away from the first order. They’re told to find a gambler who was also a master hacker (*gasp* LANDO!?!?!?). Nope… they find Benicio Del Toro who helps them escape, helps them get on the First Order Flagship where Benicio betrays them, get’s paid for it, and leaves… okay… expected more out of him, but whatever.

So all the while, General Organa (Leia) has been injured on the Cruiser and one of her subordinates, Admiral Holdo, played by Laura Dern takes over. (Ellie from Jurassic Park if you don’t know who that is.) She’s actually a pretty good character, one I really liked and would liked to have seen more from… however she orders everyone off the cruiser in transports and tries to draw off the first order while they make their way to an old rebel base.

Rey shows up on the flagship where she confronts Supreme Leader Snoke. He pretty much tortures her and then invites Ben to kill her. He instead turns on Snoke and murders him… so we still have no idea who he is, but he’s dead so who cares. Ben then reveals that Rey’s parents are nobodies. Yeah, so all those theories you all had about who her parents were? They’re all wrong. She’s an insignificant nobody from a backwater world. Ben offers her to join with him and help him take over the Galaxy, but of course she refuses.

The First Order begins attacking the transports, at which point the Admiral turns her cruiser towards the First Order Fleet and engages her lightspeed drive, taking out the entire fleet. The remaining band of rebels land on the planet and take up refuge in the base, while the first order lands their remaining ships and are now referring to Ben as the Supreme Leader.

A fight reminiscent of Hoth ensues, the Rebels fly these old speeders and attempt to take on the First Order Walkers… and they get slaughtered. Luke then shows up on the scene and steps in front of the walkers to challenge Ben. The two have a… surprisingly bad ass fight, at which point its revealed that Luke isn’t really there. He’s still at the temple, but weakened and appears to be injured. He slowly disappears, becoming one with the force.

Ben leaves with the First Order, Rey reveals more Jedi powers, and the few surviving members of the resistance board the Millenium Falcon and head off into space.

So… the movie ends and…

We still have no clue who Snoke was.

Rey is revealed to be nobody.

The First Order is in Shambles.

The New Republic is apparently all but quashed.

The Resistance is no better.

Luke is dead.

Rey is a fledgling Jedi with no lightsaber as it was destroyed in the fight with Ben.

So what did I think?

Honestly… I don’t know, as I said above. The movie started off seemingly not taking itself very seriously at all. Way too many jokes and funny moments to the point where it was almost a comedy. Then it picked up and got serious. The fights were great and much of the story worked. That being said… I felt like it didn’t explain a lot of what it should have and… honestly we didn’t really see a lot happen. The Resistance spent most of the movie on a large cruiser slowly running away as it was getting pummeled by turbo lasers.

The parts with the Jedi were great, though I didn’t expect all of that backstory about Luke, nor his reactions. I am glad I saw it and do think it was a great movie, but… I don’t really know how to feel about it. I didn’t hate it, but I don’t know if I loved it either. I definitely give them credit for trying something new, but outside of losing Luke and Snoke, I don’t feel like anything was really accomplished.

Do I recommend seeing it? Hell yes. It’s definitely worth it. Just be prepared to leave the theater scratching your head.



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.
jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com
I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.
Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!
Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

The Traitorous Main Character

So you’ve written your story. Your characters are beloved, not only to you, but also your reading audience. Well now you’re writing the next part in your series and are ready to do the unthinkable…

You’re going to have one of the characters turn on the others. One of your main good guys is now to become a villain and not just a villain, but one who was the cause of much of the turmoil that the other characters have gone through.

So how do you do it? Up until now, this character has been close to all of the others. They have become well-liked, and your audience has grown attached to that character. How do you suddenly make them the object of scorn?
Well it may not be as difficult as you think and it may not even be necessary. Let me explain…

If you’re going to paint the person as a straight villain, the shock and surprise alone should be enough to turn your readers against the character. If you’ve written it right, your readers should feel just as betrayed as the characters that they are reading about. Having the ability to make your readers relate, and even feel the same emotions that the characters are is a staple of a truly gifted story teller. Just make sure that you provide an alternate view of the events from the past stories so that everything fits into place. This is absolutely essential if the villain role is going to stick.

Above, I said that it may not be necessary to make the traitor the object of scorn. Indeed it isn’t. If you refer back to my Character Complexes thread, you can read up on how to create a villain that may not necessary be evil. Maybe this traitor has family that they are looking for, maybe they’re turning on their friends for what they perceive to be the greater good, or maybe there is a payoff at the end that is enough for the traitor to sacrifice their friends.
The point is, just because the character is no longer a good guy, or on the same side as the main characters, doesn’t mean that they’re bad. Quite the opposite, it just means that their circumstances have changed. That character can still be relateable and even likable.

Now, does that mean that this character won’t come back to the morally ‘right’ in the story? No, there is no rule in place that a character can’t switch sides.

So just remember when writing a traitor, it may be better and even easier at some points to not paint them as a straight villain.

Thanks and catch you all on the flip-side,

Jim

Free Exchange of Ideas…

Can I just ask… what the heck happened?

When I first published my work, I got a lot of comments from readers, both positive and negative. Divinity in particular got positive and negative comments from die-hard Christians and atheists, and I don’t understand the negativity.

I certainly can’t speak for the rest of the world, so if it’s different outside of the U.S. PLEASE let me know.

I don’t mind disagreeing with my views, in fact, I welcome it! I love it when someone posts a comment on Facebook, here, or on my other pages and tells me that they disagree with my message or my assessment of a certain situation or event. I always enjoy hearing about it from the other person’s perspective and then engaging their talking points. That’s fine…

What’s not fine is when people start calling you names or accuse you of racial bigotry. I don’t get that. Nowhere have I ever used racial slurs in anything I’ve written (unless you count sharpy, which many of my characters call elves), nor have I ever said anything about a specific ethnicity or religion that would portray everyone in any of those groups in a negative light.

I’ll provide a perfect example. The other day I was on a newspaper’s website and one person mentioned on the message board that he supported voter ID laws. The next comment accused him of being racist. How is requiring all citizens to prove their citizens racist? Another comment said that it makes it more difficult for poor people to vote. That is a credible argument, but racist? Is the person making that comment inferring that all poor people are minorities, or that the majority of certain minorities are poor? Isn’t the assumption of racism, actually racism itself?

Anyway, I don’t want to delve into a conversation of semantics, so let me get back on point. Why just sit there, yell and scream, and accuse the person of being racist? Why get mad at that person’s viewpoint? What good does that do? Why not instead of resorting to anger, threats, or childish name-calling, you address that person’s talking points. Tell that person why you think they’re wrong and then hear their arguments. You might learn something and they might actually gain some knowledge in the process too. Why is that not a better solution?

By resorting to childish name-calling, you make yourself look less intelligent.

By resorting to misogyny, you make yourself out to look hateful.

By resorting to inserting race or ethnicity into an argument, you make yourself out to be hateful, you water-down justified accusations of racism, and you spit on everyone who actually suffered from racism and fought for equal rights.

All of this takes a negative toll on society. It get’s to the point where Freedom of Expression and Speech take a back seat to people’s’ sensitivity. The problem is that people don’t see the damage being done by this. Someone showing a different perspective on things, as long as it’s factual and historically accurate, should not be met with scorn. Their talking points should be addressed.

Seriously, why get mad? Why break off contact or remove someone from your contact list? Why resort to stupidity? If someone’s opinion truly upsets you, ignore it. Unless they’re specifically saying it to insult you or a group you’re apart of, why get mad? Why not respond and tell them why you think they’re wrong?

All you’re doing is making it more difficult for someone to express their opinions or their views. By accusing someone who expresses a viewpoint of racial, religious, or ethnic bigotry where none was intended or implied, or calling them names, all you’re doing is making another person fear how they’re going to be portrayed by others, including their employers and family, and thus are making it harder for them to put their views to paper, and that’s a terrible, awful thing to do, when the Free Exchange of Ideas is one of the most important freedoms anyone has.

I really don’t want to spend too much time on this, so I’m going to close with a quote from a TV show I loved as a child:

With the first link, the chain is forged. The first speech censured, first thought forbidden, the first freedom denied, chains us all irrevocably… The first time any man’s freedom is trodden on, we’re all damaged. 

P.S. Don’t be afraid to post if you think I missed something or disagree, as I said above, I welcome other viewpoints and would love to address them.

Magnifica: The Lost Sequel Pt. 4

IV

 

Tom kept himself in seclusion during the next few days. He went to class as much as he needed to in order to get by, but other than that, he barely came out of his room. Both Greggor and Jayme came by to see him often, but he almost never opened the door. He slowly became oblivious to the world around him.

On Monday September 23rd, Tom was roused by the sound of frantic knocking on the door. He immediately jumped up and ran to the door. Jayme was standing on the other side with Greggor. Both of them looked pale with eyes wide in a state of panic.

Tom looked at them both oddly, “What the hell is going on guys? This better not be some fucked up intervention or something.”

“You mean you don’t know?” Jayme asked.

Tom’s eyes narrowed, “Know what?”

Jayme pushed by Tom and turned on his TV. Tom’s back hit the door as she moved. He flashed her an annoyed look, “Excuse you!”

She ignored him and turned on the TV. The screen flicked on to Channel 5 News. Images of decrepit people climbing out of their graves appeared on the screen. It looked like something out of a horror movie

Tom shrugged, “What is this, some kind of early Halloween spoof?”

Jayme shook her head, “No, this is real. This is happening right now! It’s been on the news all morning. The dead are rising and heading north. The National Guard has ordered an evacuation of Massachusetts, Maine, and New Hampshire. We need to leave.”

Tom didn’t believe a word of it. He figured that this was some kind of ploy to get him out of his room, “Very funny guys. This is pretty good… what did you get the campus TV station to play this for me or something?”

At that moment, a police car drove by the campus with its speaker blaring, “Attention, this is not a drill or a test. You are hereby ordered to evacuate. Anyone without suitable transportation may proceed to the campus center where you will be taken away from the city! This is a mandatory evacuation.”

Tom shook his head, “Oh my God… this is real.”

He immediately picked up his phone and scrolled down his contacts until he reached the name Kristen. He pressed on it and brought the phone up to his ear. The speaker clicked on and slowly began to connect.

Jayme looked at him oddly, “Who are you calling?”

“My sister.” Tom replied. “If we’re leaving, I’m going to pick her up. She’s at Emerson College, so it should be on the way.”

At that moment, the phone beeped and an automated voice came over the speaker, “Your call cannot be completed at this time, all circuits are currently busy. Please try your call again later.”

Tom groaned as he lowered the phone. Jayme frowned, “No luck?”

“No.” Tom replied. “The lines are dead.”

Jayme nodded, “Figures…”

Tom grabbed the keys to his car and and turned to the door, “I’m going to go find her.”

“Okay.” Jayme replied. “Mind if we tag along?”

Tom looked at Greggor, who had remained silent, “I don’t know that my car will fit his fat ass!”

“Oh very funny!” Greggor shot back. “Like this is the time for this!”

Tom shrugged and pushed past him, “Whatever. Come on, if you’re coming.”

Tom ran out to the parking lot. Most of the cars were already gone with the exception of a few stragglers who were trying to pack up a few odds and ends before leaving. The entire place was in a complete state of panic.

Tom pushed his car starter, making the green Jeep Cherokee come to life. It was an old SUV out of the late 90s, but it was Tom’s first car and he refused to part with it. As far as he was concerned it still ran well and he owned it outright, so there was no reason not to keep it.

Jayme hopped in the passenger side while Greggor got in back. The interior was rustic, as one would expect from an old utility vehicle. The interior was tan with a black lining.

Tom got behind the driver’s seat and put the car into drive. The old engine roared as it came to life and jolted forward. The Jeep pulled out onto the main road and headed towards the highway.

The moment the jeep reached the on ramp for Route 1 South, they were met by gridlocked traffic that wasn’t moving at all. Cars were bumper to bumper and looked frozen in place.

**

Tom and his friends waited almost six hours in the traffic. They had barely moved five miles. The tension inside was getting bad and Tom was ready to explode.

Greggor sighed as he looked out the window, “I knew you shouldn’t have gotten on the highway. Why would you do that? It’s bad enough trying to get into the city on 93 on a normal day!”

Jayme shook her head, “Like the back roads would have been any better? Listen to the radio, it’s gridlocked everywhere!”

Tom shook his head, “This is bullshit.”

“Well what do you expect?” Jayme asked. “Everyone is fleeing in the opposite direction of those zombies. Sadly, everyone is fleeing in the same direction.”

At that moment, Tom’s engine made a sputtering sound. Thankfully, he was in the right hand lane and was able to pull off onto the Carter Street exit before the car’s engine died. With what little inertia the car had left, he pulled into the Chelsea High School parking lot and brought the car to a stop. He then looked down at the gas gauge and saw that it was firmly on empty, “Fuck…”

Jayme shook her head as the palm of her hand found her forehead, “Out of gas?”

Tom nodded, “I wasn’t expecting to be on the highway for six hours.”

“Oh great!” Greggor shouted. “So what now?”

Tom shrugged, “We can’t go back, and I won’t be able to relax until I know that Kristen is safe. I’m going to hoof it.”

“You’re going to walk to Emerson from here?” Jayme asked, surprised. “That’ll take hours!”

Tom pulled out his Samsung Galaxy and input walking directions into its GPS. The phone worked to compile the information before a map appeared on the screen with a blue line to indicate which way he needed to go. A voice began giving directions, “Continue on Everett Ave towards MA-16E.”

Tom looked up and shook his head, “Another 2 hours by the looks of it, and that’s if we don’t stop.”

Greggor sighed, “It’ll be dark by then, and I don’t like the idea of running around the city at night with these zombies on the loose!”

Tom shrugged, “You don’t have to come with me if you don’t want to. I’m going to head that way though.”

“I’ve followed you this far,” Jayme replied, “might as well go the rest of the way. My family is out of state, so I can’t get to them any way.”

Greggor sighed, “All right, I’m in too.”

“Thank guys.” Tom replied with a smile as he turned and began walking down Everrett Avenue.

**

An hour and a half later, the three friends found themselves following the Freedom Trail. The GPS directed them down North Washington Street as they crossed over the Charles River. It appeared that they still had a long way to go as they crossed over the bridge.

Night had already fallen his phone said it was 7pm. The only light in the city came from the cars that were trying to get out of Boston and the undead could still be seen walking through the streets. It gave the group an eerie feeling.

Greggor breathed heavily as every nearby sound made him jump, “Look, this is crazy! The college is still a ways away and it’s too dark to even see where we’re going!”

Jayme nodded and turned to Tom, “Greggor’s right, Tom. I know how badly you want to get to your sister, but it’s too dangerous to be out like this. If the zombies don’t try to kill us, some looters might. We need to find some place to hide for the night, at least until the sun comes up.”

Tom sighed as he looked at his GPS. He was extremely resistant to the idea, but he knew that his friends were right. He wasn’t going to do his sister any good if they were mugged or killed by someone lurking in the shadows. He sighed, “Well there are hotels in the area, but I can’t imagine that they’ll be open.”

“We could break in.” Greggor replied. “I doubt that anyone would blame us.”

Jayme looked like she was deep in thought and remained silent. Tom looked at her oddly for a moment, “What is it?”

Jayme shook her head, “No… we shouldn’t go to the hotels. I can’t explain it, but something tells me that we’ll be safer if we head somewhere else.”

“Where?” Tom asked.

Jayme thought hard for a moment, “The Old North Church…”

Tom and Greggor looked at each other oddly for a moment before Tom turned back to Jayme, “Why there, how could that old building be safer?”

Jayme shrugged, “I don’t know. Like I said, I can’t explain it, maybe because it would be considered hallowed grounds?”

A frustrated look came over Greggor, “You and these damn feelings you get. I swear they get damn annoying at times!”

“Annoying, but accurate.” Tom shot back. “She’s never been wrong before.”

He then turned and nodded to Jayme, “All right, if you think we’ll be safer there, that’s where we’ll go.”

Tom switched the end location from Emerson College to the Old North Church. The map quickly switched, telling them to turn left at the end of the bridge instead of right. It took them on a straight path down the main roads.

At the end of the bridge, Tom led his friends down Causeway Street, passed the Ducali Pizzaria & Bar. Tom looked at the dark windows of the restaurant and remembered going there on a date. He quickly turned away as the thought was making him hungry.

They continued walking and headed down Commercial Street, crossed the road and headed right up the incline that was Hull Street. This was even darker and looked like nothing more than a small alley. The pitch blackness and inability to see the end of the road, gave Hull Street a far more menacing look.

Greggor was a wreck, and it didn’t help matters knowing that they were passing by an old cemetery that was barely a block up from the church. From what they could see over the brick wall, the graves were destroyed and the ground was ripped apart. It was a scarey sight, knowing that even the graves that were hundreds of years old hadn’t been spared.

The group moved on and finally made it to the Old North Church at the end of the street. It was little more than a black structure in the night and just as menacing as any other. The black gates were open, but the red door was closed.

Tom stepped out into the street and slowly walked up to the doors and placed his hands on them. To his surprise, they gave way and opened, allowing the group inside. The stale smell of air passed by them as the dark hall appeared.

The hall was as dark as the outside street was. Even the moonlight coming through the windows from outside didn’t make any difference. They had to feel their way down the isle to avoid bumping into anything.

When they reached the alter at the opposite side, Tom stepped over the felt rope and grabbed one of the candles that adorned the back wall. He then turned to his friends, “Anyone got a light?”

Greggor reached into his pocket and pulled out a stainless steel lighter, “Here you go!”

He tossed it to Tom, who looked at it for a moment, “You’re still smoking?”

Greggor shrugged as Jayme turned back to Tom, “I told you he didn’t quit!”

Tom nodded as he lit the candle and the church turned from black to white with red carpet on the floor. He nodded as he looked around, “Well that’s a little better… so where do we sleep?”

Jayme’s eyes narrowed and she stepped past Tom, “Do you hear that?”

“Hear what?” Tom asked.

“I… I don’t know…” Jayme replied. “It almost sounds like someone’s pounding on a door.”

Tom looked at her oddly. He had no idea what she was talking about. He remained silent until he heard it. The sound was little more than a muffled thud that kept repeating itself.

Tom nodded, “I hear it too, now… but how could you…”

“Let’s go see.” Jayme said, cutting him off. “Someone could be in trouble.”

“Or it could be a horde of zombies trying to get in.” Tom replied.

Jayme shrugged, “Maybe, but its worth finding out.”

She quickly turned and led Tom and Greggor down the stairs at the back of the church. The landing gave way to old wooden stairs that curved around until they reached the ground level. They looked worn as though a million shoes had trodden over them. The floor on the basement level was dark red, similar to the color of blood. Like the stairs it was also badly worn.

Tom understood why everything looked the way it did. The city had gone to great lengths to see that everything was preserved in its original form as much as possible. Unfortunately because of the passage of time, much was beginning to wear away.

The group followed the sound through the door on the right next to the stairs. The door creaked open slowly as they entered the first chamber of the basement. There was a hallway off to the side, but it was too dark to see anything.

Above their heads in the direction the noise came from was a sign that read, ‘Watch thy head.’

Tom and his friends proceeded through the narrow doorway into the next room. The walls were old exposed brick on both sides. On the left was a lot of debris, while on the right, large pipes protruded from the ceiling and ran the length of the room. Below them, was a worn out section of the wall that was in the shape of an old grave stone.

The group proceeded even further down the hall past more debris in the pitch darkness. They slowly moved around another group of pips until they reached the next hallway. It was there that the pounding was the loudest.

Tom brought the candle close to the wall where another grave-shaped slab stood. The faint light from the candle revealed old writing on the wall and a latch below it. He quickly inspected the writing and instantly pulled back in horror.

Jayme looked at him oddly, “What? What does it say?”

Tom breathed heavily as he pressed himself against the opposite wall, “Shubael Bell and Robert Fennelly, 1808!”

Greggor’s eyes went wide and he began to tremble, “Oh my God… this is a crypt! Jayme, you’ve lead us into a fucking crypt!”

At that moment, the latches on the tombs collapsed and the small slabs slowly creaked aside. A sound of old wood breaking apart accompanied the creeking of the stone slabs. The group watched as a skull appeared out of the nearest tomb.

Jayme shreaked as a skeleton stepped out, draped in rags that looked like they were once stylish colonial clothes. The skeleton looked at them for a moment before turning and limping down the hall. The bones rattled as it moved.

A second skeleton in no better condition exited another nearby one and walked passed them as well. More and more skeletons exited their crypts and began heading for the door. The only one that even seemed to notice Tom and his group was the first one.

Jayme’s eyes darted around as Tom put his hand on her shoulder, “Shh, don’t move! I don’t think they see us.”

Greggor nodded, “Either that or they just aren’t interested.”

“Well either way don’t give them a reason to attack us.” Tom replied.

More and more skeletons exited their tombs. Some had to break through the old brick walls to get out. Tom wasn’t sure how a skeleton had the strength to do this, but after seeing a walking skeleton, he was willing to let a few things go.

The group waited as the last of the skeletons passed them by. Tom looked back down the hall and nodded, “Okay, that looks like it’s the last of them.”

“Hold on.” Jayme replied. “I hear something.”

Greggor rolled his eyes, “The last time you ‘heard something’ we ended up down here in the crypt.”

Jayme glared at the dwarf, “Oh shut up, it’s not like I knew that this was down here!”

Tom nodded, “What do you hear?”

“I… I don’t know…” She replied. “It sounds like a heartbeat and light breathing. I think someone living is trapped down here.”

Greggor shrugged, “Or it’s a less decomposed corpse.”

“In a tomb from the 1700s?” Tom mused. “We’d better check it out.”

The group proceeded even further into the crypt until they reached an unusual opening in the wall. There, they saw a small storage space. A single shelf adorned the wall with a small plaque, what looked like a tiny coffin lid, and two glass urns. On the left was the remains of an old coffin that looked like it hard partially rotted away.

Jayme looked at it oddly for a moment, “Whatever we’re looking for is behind these.”

Tom stepped back, taking the candle light with him, “I… I don’t know about this…”

Jayme gave him an annoyed look, “It’s just old wood. Help me…”

Tom and Greggor moved one piece while Jayme pushed the other one aside. The brick wall under it looked severely corroded. The cement between them had broken apart so badly that the bricks were on the verge of collapse.

The three friends dropped to their knees and moved the bricks out of the way, revealing an undisturbed coffin undernieth behind them. The metal latches on the side appeared sturdy enough to aid in moving the wooden box.

Tom took one handle and nodded to Greggor, who had taken the other. Jayme watched from behind as the two guys worked. They slowly pulled the coffin out of the wall until it was completely exposed.

The coffin looked different from the one that they had just moved. This one was intact and beautifully adorned with hand-carved symbols. The wood was polished and still glossy.

Tom looked up at Jayme, “How is this possible?”

Jayme shook her head, “I don’t know… those bricks don’t look like they’ve been disturbed in years and the coffin obviously hasn’t been touched. Look at the dust.”

“Is this where the sound is coming from?” Greggor asked.

“Yes…” Jayme replied hesitantly.

The coffin was nailed shut with a bronze plaque on the cover. Tom held the candle over it and inspected the writing. He read it aloud as he inspected it.

“She sleeps in beauty,

Beauty that will never die.

The eternal soul that dwells within shall rise as a phoenix flies.

May she find happiness in a world that once scorned her,

And suffer not as the others who lurk in the shadows now do.”

Jayme’s eyes stared almost transfixed at the plaque, “Beautiful words…”

Greggor nodded and grabbed a metal rod that was on the floor behind him, “Yeah… so are we going to open it or not?”

“Whatever’s in there, is what’s making the noise.” Jayme replied.

Tom shook his head, “How can you possibly hear that? I can’t hear it even now.”

“I don’t want to talk about it.” She said softly. “Let’s just get it open and see what’s going on.”

Greggor nodded and jammed the rod into the lid of the coffin. He pushed hard on it in an attempt to get it open. The wood crackled as the ancient nails gave way to the force of his push. Greggor then handed the bar to Tom so that he could work the other side.

Once the lid was successfully pried loose, Tom pulled it off and shined the candle in. To his amazement, inside was a woman no older than he was. Her eyes were closed, but she was clearly alive. Her hair was straight and shiny black. It was parted on the right and came down slightly over her cheek. Her cheekbones were very pronounced and it appeared that she had a slight overbite.

Unlike the other corpses, her clothing was intact, but clearly not from the same time period as the crypt. She was wearing chainmail under a black and purple tunic and black trowsers. It was another mystery that Tom would have to unravel.

Tom looked her over in awe. She was absolutely beautiful, “Beauty that will never die…”

Jayme smiled, “Hey Tom, you might want to wipe some of that drool off your chin before she wakes up if you even want to have a shot.”

Tom looked up at her annoyed before returning his attention to the enigma that was this woman, “How is this possible?”

Jayme shrugged, “Either she was put there recently, which makes no sense just looking at the coffin… or the fact that she herself is covered in dust. Are her ears pointed?”

Tom parted her hair and looked at her right ear, “No, they’re human… why?”

“I’d heard stories that elves were able to live for several centuries at one point… but that was back during the days of the Alliance.” Jayme replied.

Tom started tapping her on her cheek to see if he could wake her up. Greggor noticed it and backed away, “Whoa man… you think that’s such a good idea?”

“I want answers.” Tom replied. “Whatever woke up those skeletons is also responsible for her, I’m sure of it.”

The woman didn’t respond to his tapping. Her breathing was steady, but she was otherwise lifeless. Her skin was also extremely cold.

Tom could see that his candle was about to go out. They needed to get out of there before it did or they would not be able to see. He quickly grabbed the woman and hoisted her over his shoulder before turning to his friends, “Come on, let’s get the hell out of here.”

Jayme and Greggor looked at each other oddly for a moment, but quickly followed behind Tom. The group made their way back around to the staircase and made it back to the altar before the candle died. The group was once again in complete darkness.

Tom shook his head, “Fuck this, I don’t want to spend another minute here. Let’s head over to Langone Park. It’s a little more open and hopefully there won’t be any zombies there.”

The group exited the church and ran up Salem Street, heading for Charter Street. When they neared the end of Charter Street, they saw a light heading in their direction. They quickly ducked into a small walk way and hid behind the stone wall on the opposite side of Chater Street from the graveyard that they had seen earlier.

Tom watched as three men dressed in military gear, carrying assault weapons passed by. The marines? Looks like the cavalry has arrived.

Once they were gone, a confused look came over Greggor, “I don’t get it, why’d we hide from them? Maybe they could help us.”

Tom looked back at him, “One, because I haven’t found my sister yet. Two, how would you explain the living dead girl we just found by grave-robbing a national landmark?”

Greggor nodded, “Good point…”

Once the soldiers were out of site, they made their move down the walkway on their right. They ran down the path, down a flight of stairs, and across Commercial Street. The street was busy with activity from military personel who had turned the area into a makeshift base.

Tom noticed a black SUV sitting idle in the middle of the road. He quickly dismissed it as the group made their way through Langone Park. They ran out to the grassy area that was obscured by the playground, so hopefully no one would see them.

Satasfied that they were safe, Tom gently rested the woman on the ground in front of them.The gentle sound of the harbor was a nice change from the creepiness that they had been dealing with all day. At least now they could probably catch their breath.

Tom looked down at the woman lying in front of him. A gentle breeze flowed through her hair and over her skin. It looked like her features were slowly becoming animated as the breeze touched them.

Her eyes winced and her head slowly jerked to either side. She broke out in goosebumps and began to tremble. It looked like she was fighting to come out of her sleep.

Tom looked up at his friends, “Guys, I think she’s coming out of it.”

Jayme and Greggor turned and looked at her. Jayme’s eyes narrowed, “Her heart rate has increased and her lungs feel more animated. It must be the fresh air out here.”

The woman began coughing as she turned on her side. It only last a moment, allowing her to take in a deep breath. When she was ready, she slowly opened her eyes.

To everyone’s surprise her eyes were very different and clearly not human. Her pupils were shaped like cat’s eyes. There was no white either, just a dark orange that seemed to glow in the night.

Tom knelt down next to her, “Take it easy, it’s okay/”

She looked up at Tom with an odd expression on her face, “You… your words…”

She slowly shook her head as she sat up. She spoke with an accent that was most likely from Eastern Europe, “Your voice is unfamiliar to me.”

She sniffed the air as she looked around, “Am I still in Boston? I recognize the smell… at least some of it, but it looks so different. What year is this?”

“It’s 2013.” Tom replied.

A look of shock came over her, “2013… Two hundred ninety years… no…”

She grabbed Tom’s arm as a look of desperation came over her, “Who sent you, my father?”

“Your father?” Tom asked.

“Lord Drapekin.” She replied. “He was an advisor in the kings court before he was found out… is he well?”

Tom shook his head, “I have no idea what you’re talking about. We found you in an ancient tomb undernieth the Old North Church. We heard you breathing.”

The woman shook her head, “So you don’t know my father…”

Tom shook his head, “Miss… um…?”

“Oh forgive me.” She said, realizing that they had not been properly introduced. “My name is Tersa, daughter of Lord Drapekin, advisor to George I, King of Great Britain and Ireland. Might I have the honor of your name?”

“Thomas McConnel.” Tom replied.

Tersa smiled, “Irish…”

Tom then turned to his friends, “This is Greggor Iksan and Jayme Woodsum.”

Tersa looked Greggor over for a moment, “You… so the legends were true. I’d heard about the prowess of dwarves.”

Greggor smiled, “Nice to meet you too.”

She then turned to Tom, “You’re human… I can tell by your smell.”

Her eyes narrowed as she looked at Jayme, “But you… your blood is different. You’re human, but not entirely.”

Jayme shook her head, “That’s none of your business.”

Tom looked up at her oddly, “Not entirely human? Well now a few things make sense… so what else are you?”

Jayme turned her back on them, “I don’t want to talk about it. Mind your own fucking business.”

Tersa was taken aback by her words, “Such anger… it does not compliment you my lady.”

Jayme didn’t reply as Tersa turned back to Tom, “What is the current state of the Empire?”

Tom shook his head, “The Empire?”

“The British Empire, man.” Tersa replied.

Tom couldn’t believe what he was being asked. Had this woman been asleep for over two hundread years? She clearly wasn’t human, but she wasn’t dwarven or elven either. He shrugged as he spoke, “Tersa, what’s the last thing you remember?”

Tersa lowered her eyes to the ground, “My family was being hunted. We were found out for being…”

“Being what?” Tom asked, finally certain that he was going to get his answer.

Tersa shook her head, “I’d rather not say right now. I’m sorry, but I just don’t know you well enough yet to trust you with something like that.”

“It’s okay.” Tom replied. “What happened?”

Tersa continued her story, “I… My family was found out and we fled hear to the colonies… all thirty of us. We spent the next few years being hunted. One by one, I the people I loved get burned at the stake.”

Tears formed in her eyes as she spoke, “My father still had a few friends though. One of whom was a man named Timothy Cutler. He agreed to help my father hide me before the townspeople came for us. The last thing I remember was being placed in a wooden box. My father told me to go into hibernation until he came for me.”

“Wow…” Tom replied, “and that’s where you’ve been for three hundred years.”

Tersa nodded, “Almost, it seems.”

She looked around at what little she could see in the darkness, “The city… I’ve never seen structures like these before. Everything is so different… Tell me, what is the state of the Empire? Who currently sits on the throne?”

“There is no Empire.” Tom replied. “The colonies rose up and threw off British rule in 1776. After that, the Empire slowly declined due to war and rebellion over the next two hundred years. Pretty much the final breaking point was World War 2 when Britain withdrew from most of it’s colonies. The country still exists, but it’s now a small island nation in Northern Europe. Queen Elizabeth currently sits on the throne.”

Tersa couldn’t believe it. The British Empire was gone? This was hard to take in, “Then… who rules here?”

“No one rules.” Tom replied. “Well… not exactly anyway. We have a government that the people elect.”

“A democracy?” Tersa asked.

“Not exactly,” Tom said, “but close. The people elect the people who vote in the president here and power is regulated to various levels of the government. Our current president is Barack Obama.”

Tersa looked at him oddly, “Such an odd name… from where does he hail?”

Tom shrugged, “Well that depends on whome you ask, though most people would agree that he was born in this country. His father was Kenyan.”

Tersa’s eyes narrowed, “Kenyan?”

“African.” Tom replied.

“Really?” Tersa asked. “Incredible… so after three hundred years… the slaves now have the ability to become a ruling power?”

Tom smiled, “They haven’t been slaves in 150 years.”

Tersa placed her hand on her forehead, “I’ve got so much catching up to do…”