Melisante, Bride of Fire!

The following story is a fan-fiction character background for a game that I will soon be playing.  The game will be played in the Forgotten Realms setting; a Dungeons and Dragons game and a product of Wizards of the Coast.  There are usually two ways I write backgrounds. The first is in this form below, illustrating out how my characters life has gone. It is a way for my to understand the things that move them. The second form, is one I have used on this blog in the past. I use the character as a storyteller to relay a small part of their life to you. Again that also allows me to step into the head of that character. But both help me in different ways and on occasion I will do both.

I had the idea for this character and her background for a while, but have only just tonight put it to paper.  It came surprisingly fast for me, though I did have motivation. So this story is dedicated to Sarah, my unyielding task mistress and one of my girlfriends. *grins and winks* Hope you enjoy.

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Born: 1350 DR Tear of the Morningstar

Melisante Fatin el Zubaida is the second daughter born to Sayyid Hamil el Zubaida and Ziya Nur el Zubaidak.  Sayyid Hamil el Zubaida resides as one of the Sultan within the country of Calimshan, and heads of one of the oldest noble families of the country.  The families’ holdings control much of the spice and rare herb trade inside Calimshan and control a fleet of trading vessels that export those goods and others to the outside world.  The families main base of power is centered primarily out of the great city of Calimport, and in that city of intrigue and danger, is where Melisante grew up.  One could assume that the life of a noble is easy, and perhaps it is so when compared to the street trash or slaves.  But the nobility have dangers in their lives as well.  Those dangers are as life threatening, if not more so, then the ones that the low born endure.

When Melisante was born she was “touched by the flame.”  This was a gift that had not been seen within the family for a few generations.  She had unnaturally red hair, red eyes (just the iris, not the whites), and a birth mark that appeared to be flames upon her forearm.  Well aware that their bloodline had been mixed with the Firelord in their earliest days, the Sultan called for the priests of Kossuth to verify his daughter’s signs.

The priests quickly confirmed that the baby was blessed by Kossuth and would grow-up to be something not quite normal.  With that they offered the family a tutor, to appear when the child became five years of age.  That person would help guide Melisante to the path she needed to follow.  They explained that children blessed by the Gods directly had predestined futures, and that she should be allowed to pursue the path she wanted.  Kossuth would guide her steps and the family should obey those whims.

With those loose restraints, Melisante became quite wild.  At the age of five she received her first tutor from the Temple of Kossuth and quickly ran through four others until one was able to rain her wild spirit in.  Kalistin the Red Crone was an elderly priestess of Kossuth that had no patience for children.  She had a firm hand and was allowed the freedom to use it.  Melisante fought in those new restraints, but eventually succumb to the Crone and started to learn at last.

Though as the girl grew up, it was apparent that she was becoming vain and believed she was superior to those around her.  Melisante also showed some ability with divine magic and even at a young age was starting to grasp some orisons.  But she was beginning to be unreasonable in all things and perhaps a bit delusional.  At the age of eleven Melisante believing that the fire was at her control, stuck her hand into a religious pyre and kept it there through the pain; until she nearly lost it.  That lesson shook her world and the grasp of her abilities.

The Red Crone noticed each of these flaws.  In the wake of the Melisante’s stupid attempt, she believed it would be best to remove the child from the family and country.  A priest of Kossuth and more importantly a student in training to be a priest must be live a life without.  Until she acquired a middling rank within the church she would never be allowed to own possessions of her own.  Aside from what she was given, she would own nothing personal.  She also would have to obey all her betters within the religion.  Calimshan would not be a place inductive for her to learn such lessons.  The power of her family, and position within the countries politics would never allow her to fully become accepting of her duties and the obligations that came with them.

Melisante’s hand was forced to heal naturally, to teach her a lesson.  When she was fully healed, the Red Crone brought her on a pilgrimage.  The two of them went to their faith’s greatest temple, the Flaming Brazier within Thay, based out of the city of Bezantur.  Thay had many of Calimshan ideals; strong magic, slavery, harsh leaders, and political undercurrents.  But it was far more intense and had a much more dangerous Kossuth upbringing.  Students and priests would live or die by their choices.  The Red Crone believed Thay to be a perfect proving ground for the child and that the hardships she would endure there should make her that much stronger; if she lived.

Those years were quite dark.  One does not survive to the higher echelons within the religion of Kossuth if they are meek, weak, or kind hearted.  All acolytes fight for places within their superiors eyes, and often there is blackmail or freak accidents when insults fly or jockeying for position gets blocked.  The faith believes in burning away the weak, some students and teachers take that to heart.

By the age of fifteen, Melisante had been poisoned, beaten, burned, stabbed, raped, and had been forced to endure many other degradation.  But she had survived and had become stronger for it.  Many whom had committed acts against her, even priests, had not lived long after.  Because of this many began to fear her and believe that she was touched by their God.  Such were the rumors that spread, with the help of Melisandre and the few close friends she had made.

That year was also the first year she was deemed suitable to go out representing the temple.  Her first mission was to provide healing support for the invasion of Aglarond.  Melisante joined hundreds of others to work for the armies of Thay.  The faithful worked always in groups and were a vital part in the support services.  Melisante began to practice daily with her weapons, and watched many of the soldiers who did the same thing.  She found a thrill in using them more and started to see the real reasons in why she needed to know how to wield larger weapons.  Melisante soon found some teachers among the troops; most would claim it was their duty to disabuse her of the priests “wrong” fighting styles; so they all said.  But she enjoyed their attentions and took what she could use from the lessons, which improved her combat immensely.

Melisante worked in and out of Thay for years.  She continuously proved herself and always returning from deadly missions made her stand out.  Those people blocking the path of power she walked seemed to falter or die.  After ten years of struggling to advance as a priest, she finally achieved a middling rank among the temples acolytes.  With this new status, she was finally given the freedom all the lowest priests desired.  Now she would be able to acquire her own wealth, power, and all of the things she desired in life.  A life of poverty and complete acceptance to all her superior actions was over.

Not too long after achieving her new rank, Melisante and the Red Crone returned to Calimport.  Her father and family soon swept her back into society, praising her return and her fast advancement among the faith.  Melisante began to teach a few classes at the local temple and quickly embraced her new place within society.  She was even courted, by the low and the powerful alike.  A life of wealth and power was at her fingertips if she only was to take it.

But soon she began to grow uneasy and untested.  During that time, she began to have vivid dreams and daytime visions.  Melisante saw a land of cold, with blizzards leaving travel nearly impossible and a cold that seemed to crack the very trees that lived there.  It was a land without much and in desperate need of fire.  But she knew that in a land such as this one, fire was life; especially within winter.  She began to gather information about the churches reach within the lands of the north and found that it had nearly no temples in the far north; like the land of the silver marches.  The land was rugged; overridden with orcs, giants, and dragons; there was little high society and political rankings.  But the more she read about this backwater place, the stronger her dreams were and the more numerous.  The people and places became so real to her.

Melisante studied up on the people, the places, and the languages common within those areas.  She plotted out the route she would take to get there; most likely leading her through the well-known city of Waterdeep, where her family had some businesses as well.  But it would be easy for her to get to Waterdeep, and then she would have to find a way to travel northward.  With this new adventure driving her and the knowledge that she was being led by Kossuth’s fiery hand, Melisante began to grow at easy again and started to feel determined more than anything.  After months of plans and studying, she finally departed her home.  The trade ship Flaming Sands, one of the ships from her family’s northern fleet took her north to her new life.

 

Melisandre3

 

Written by TJ Winter

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The Incredible! Jhango Khalas

I Jhango have never been one to stand still when others are acting. When you consider what to do before doing it, you most aptly will turn up dead. And who wants that? Why is Jhango so special when compared to these other people around himself? It is true that his breeding had much to play in who he is today, but it is also the case that he is a trained killer; reformed of course! Jhango does not kill for sport or pleasure, he try only to kill when he is angry. This is good! We all think so Jhango is sure!

So Jhango’s story must be told in quick fashion, we all know that he is just stopping by for a drink and nothing more. –chuckles– The town guard are most likely going to blame Jhango for the fires in the Wardens Corner. Why is this? Well it is simple, he is who he is, and because of that people will fear Jhango! It is fine, Jhango does not worry about such things. So he drinks and tell you his story!

Twenty-five years ago, Jhango was born in Tyraturos, Thay; the city of spices! Yes, the place with all the evil wizards! It is true! Jhango’s mama and papa were both esteemed members of the noble cast within Thay; but they were normal. That is to say that they were not casters, so within Thay they were still under the Red Wizards authority. But here comes their pride and joy! Jhango was born and so loved; he was also gifted with the magic of the world!

Now… this is where the story gets interesting! The wizards identified Jhango’s talent early on, and stripped him of his beloved parents to become more! It is true, Jhango was taken away; do not despair for his parents gained much power for having a son join the order. Some say that they road his coat tails into higher societies then they had once known, even as nobles.

You must now understand that to become a Red Wizard one must train under other within the order until they are ready. There is also much trails and subterfuge; it is true, this mean that Jhango had to fight for his life among the other apprentices! Yes! Little children fighting for power and placement among their betters! Such things today that tears at Jhango’s soul, and makes him a better man; NO! a good man for the rest of his days!

For years Jhango faught for his life, and learned all that he could. At the age of 19, he was ready to be inducted into the order! He was tattoo’ed and given the gifts… that all Red Wizards enjoy on the night before their induction. It is true! These gift, are gifts of the flesh, the drink, the soul, or whatever perverts the wizard. Some you know can be quite sick! No Jhango will not speak of his own, was private you understand!

So is Jhango a Red Wizard? He sees your eyes thinking this question! Do not fear, drink drink! Jhango is not a Red Wizard, well perhaps technically he is; but he was never inducted! Just so! He never said the words! Which means, it is not so! Ahh he sees you understand now, Jhango is right! So why did he never say the words? He did not want too!

Jhango was not about to be tied down, so he snuck out! Yes Jhango is quite sneaky when he wishes to be. He would sneak out all the time in his youth. Getting around the masters and other apprentices was a key reason Jhango made his way to the top! It is so Jhango’s new friends! It is so!

Jhango sees you wish to know what he does now!? He sees you do! He does! Jhango is a hero! It is so! He saves beautiful woman, children, and on the occasion ugly ones as well! He has no real preference, he just would rather save the pretty woman. Jhango can see that you understand! What man would not want to? So Jhango fights evil, banishes warlords, steals the hearts of all woman and pretty men, and is incredible at doing so!

But always remember that heroes are never given their due! Particularly from guards, other jealous men, and legal systems. Jhango knows that the best place to be after doing an incredible good act, is somewhere else! It is so! At times, yes… Jhango must say that he has to throttle guards, but think of all the good that he does; Jhango cannot be locked up! It would allow evil to triumph!!! It is so! So… Jhango remains free at all costs!

So Jhango’s friends! Remember about the hero you met! Jhango does not do appearences, remember this is not so! But he must go, or else he will have to throttle more guards. Jhango does not want this, it would sadden his big heart! Next drinks on Jhango!!! –Tosses some gold at the bartender and sweeps out of the bar with his cloak swirling behind him, and the scent of saffron in the air–

Written by TJ Winter

World of Warcrack

World of Warcrack

Today I thought I would write a little about the single biggest pit I had ever fell into.  It seems to me that falling is something that scares most people.  That is only natural when a falling from a standing position has the ability to cause considerable damage to a person and falling from a greater height can increase those effects many fold.  But when you consider that there are some people that seek out that feeling, when they know the chances of being hurt have been mitigated or even removed from the equation.  Sky divers, bungee jumping, skiing, snowboarding, and when we were kids sledding down a hill.  The thrill that can come from something dangerous is like crack to some people, and an indulgence to others on occasion.  So what is it that makes us seek out these pits in the first place?

I was a World of Warcraft addict!  It might be proper to some say “I am” addicted, but I believe there are some addictions that can be overcome so much that someone needs not think in that mind frame again.  Overcoming that addiction was key to keeping me out of depression.  Because it is a gain that can easily take you down that hole for years if you have the mindset ready to allow it.  That was me, for years living in my fantasy world of Azeroth.

Somewhere in 2005 I began to play World of Warcraft or WOW to those in the know.  At the time I did not believe I could like the game, at least not as much as I eventually came to like it.  I had tried other MMO’s in the past that touched on fantasy sword and sorcery type games, such as Everquest; and found them not to my liking.  But WOW was much different than those, and I quickly fell into its embrace.

In the basic edition of the game, I became a passionate pvp’er (player vs. player) and started my progression through the ranks.  I had eventually obtained the status of Grand Marshal of the Alliance on my paladin and I did it before many changes made it easier to accomplish.  In those days, I was second in charge of a large guild that had no real drive.  Though looking back, the guild masters was barely there.  So you could say that I ran the guild for most of its time.  The members for the most part were casual players that were just enjoying the game with friends.  But I had become pretty hardcore, you had to be to get the rank of Grand Marshal.  When that was over, I still needed to be “hardcore”!  Deflating from that state of mind was not a possibility at the in those days.  But my guild did not want to raid, or I should say not enough of them wanted to raid.  So I stuck with my pvping.

Another problem arose with a moral code that I had stood by through the game.  I had decided early on that I would be loyal to my guild.  Guild jumpers had become almost a swear to some people.  Imagine relying upon someone, helping them and gearing them up, just so that they would leave for another guild.  I for one did not want to be associated with that title.  So I held firm for some reason, and did not allow myself to recall the simple face: that it was a game.  That was quite a hard task, because when you push something like Grand Marshal, you become friendly with other hardcore minded people.  The same people that ran in the major raiding guilds for instance.  I had offers to join every major guild on the server; numerous times.  But I could not remember it was a game, so most of them let me become an alternate for their raids and I was OK with that.

The first expansion in World of Warcraft was The Burning Crusades.  It was highly anticipated and opened up an entire new world to explore within the game.  My guild went into it with a passion, and I had a good crew of people that had vowed to me that they wanted to raid.  So my excitement for the expansion increased.  After we reached the new level cap of 70 on the game, we quickly geared out; readying ourselves for raiding.  But as in the past, many things fell through.  Karazhan was the first 10 man raid in the expansion, and by all accounts it was fun and relatively easy once you learned the tricks.  The players I took in there, could not pay attention enough to defeat even the first half of bosses and some one that could only defeat the first time.  It was frustrating to say the least and I was reaching my limit in patience.

It was right around then when a good friend of mine who had in the past gotten me into raids and pvp with his guild came to me with an idea.  He wanted to form a raiding guild out of the remaining members of one of the strongest guilds on the server in the past for raiding.  And he also wanted some select people that he knew would do their jobs as well.  It was his goal to become a top raiding guild, not only on the server; but in the US or even world.  Let us say I jumped at the chance, and left my guild on good terms that very day.  That guild beat the expansion, and was one of the top 100 guilds in the world (or perhaps just in the states).

I can truly say that those were good times, and I enjoyed them.  But with recollection comes more things to consider then you might had thought while they were happening.  I explained that I gained Grand Marshal of the Alliance during my times pvping in WOW.  That came at the expense of countless hours a week for months and months.  It was a slow grind and in the end, when I was so close to reaching that goal it became more of an obsession.  For the first time in my life this A type personality came out of me, and I ruled my pvp groups with an iron fist.  I had a waiting list to join my group that was normally over 30 people long; and if someone made even the smallest mistake in my eyes they would be out of the group for a time.  The last two weeks of my ranking push, I played well over 126 hours per week.  I slept, gamed, ordered take out for all my meals and nothing else.  That was my vacation for the year, for one goal that existed only in a fantasy world… just a game!

World of Warcraft

While that was bad, at least I can say that raiding was not nearly that consuming.  It was like working a part time job.  We raiding hard core for at least 4 to 5 days a week, and you were expected to be there ready with your consumable.  The goal of a raider is always to be perfect in a team situation.  You move when you should, you use the abilities you have to the maximum performance you can; and you always pay attention!  If you cannot do those things, then you can’t raid at that level, because that is what it takes and more.  And I did those things for the entirety of the Burning Crusades, and into the next expansion the Wrath of the Lich King.  I healed my ass of for years, working that job, while working full time.  I was good and I suffered greatly in my personal life for that commitment.

That addiction happened during a time in my life, when gaming online was preferable to going out with friends or even family.  I had been in depression for years, and had slowly closed much of my social life off.  On top of that, I was morbidly obese and what comes with that disease is much of the same as depression.  You close down to others, hide, and see interacting with the outside world as a nightmare.  Perhaps that is not how others feel, but it was for me then.  While I am still morbidly obese, my mind has changed a great deal since then and just maybe that was one of the reasons I left the game for good.  I have gone back to it from time to time, when new expansions have been released, or when I had been offered free trials.  But I know fully that I have no passion for such things anymore.  I believe I accomplished everything in the game, and seek other things to take my time away from me.

My Geek Cred: (Part 2) Years Into the World(s)

So I spoke of my years up through high school. But I am almost thirty five years old, and I have lived a bit since those days.  Although I have truly had many years past then, I have existed in a haze of depression and fantasy indulgence for a good amount of that time. I have moved past some of the worst of those obsessions and hope for changes that will be more constructive to my life.  But I will leave those explanations for another day and continue my geek cred post with those remaining years past those of my youth.

When high school ended, I like many other kids when away to college.  For the next year I found my new home to be Morgantown, West Virginia and more specifically West Virginia University.  It was over five hundred miles away from my New England hometown, had a football team I loved, and so much natural beauty touch my soul.  I majored in girls, parties, drinking, and oh yes we must not forget Engineering.  It seems odd to this day that I chose that major.  Though perhaps not with the way I excelled in math and my technical drawing classes.

My year at WVU was fun, exciting, and took me out of a shell I had lived in.  Though I cannot say that I was as studious as I should had been; not in the least.  I quickly became the computer expert in my dorm and gained many friends through those first requests for help.  Without the quiet demeanor I had in high school or the nerdy edge that comes with some computer people (especially in those days); I caught many dates and late night… adventures through some of those connections.  But I guess I did not write this blog to talk about my college exploits, so I will leave that for you to fill in.

While I have told you that I have always been a natural with computers, I should explain a few things that make me laugh at that point.  Especially after what I have just said about becoming the computer expert within my dorm.  Yes! I did own a Tandy 1000 EX, but that was the first and only computer that I owned until I moved into college.  Computers were excessively expensive back then, and some would argue they remain still today (not I though).  My parents were both blue collar workers (and one eventually on disability), and did not have the ability to buy me all those luxuries.  So for the years after that Tandy, I used computers mainly through friends and school.  My next computer did not come until I was leaving for college, my uncle and aunt decided that they would co-sign a credit card from an electronics store for me.  With that they paid for most of the computer and let me put some on the card as well.  I only had it out of the box one day before leaving for college, but I loved it and spent many late nights wasting hours on it for years to come.

That computer was a Compaq Presario 4704.  It had a 133 MHz Pentium processor, 1.6 Gig Hard drive, 8 MB of Ram, and Windows 95. I cannot say it was the best or brightest computer for that year; but it would had been top of the line for a production computer then.  Through that computer, I started learning how to work on hardware.  It began with the need of an Ethernet card, to be able to access the college network.  I quickly bought that and installed it without much issue.  I later helped the installation of many more that year, making a few bucks (from the guys) and other things as well.  Since that computer, I have never gone without one and eventually never gone without several at hand.

With that new beautiful piece of equipment, I journeyed into a new world of computer games.  Diablo was my first adventure into online gaming, and one I quickly came to enjoy.  I must now admit that I eventually became an asshole on that game, I would PK (player kill; griefing) anyone and anything.  I had entire guilds hunting me mainly because I was one of those cheating bastards that could get around a few of the mods that kept players from being PKed.  I do not know why I enjoyed it so, but in years to come my PKing become somewhat more honorable on other games.

I started MUDing (Multi-User Dungeon; text based gaming) that year as well.  A friend from high school led me to his MUD, and I took it up with a passion as well.  Eventually I started building areas for that game.  I took it upon myself to make the biggest area I had seen, and to my horror that area was junked by the implementers of the game out of spite for leaving their game for another.  Building was a kin to writing for me, allowing me to build adventures for others to experience and enjoy.  I believe text based games are still underrated, and offer so much for people to experience. If you have yet to experience one, go try one out and see what they are like.  I support one such game today, though I am sure others are just as great: http://www.kotl.org  (Telnet to kotl.org:2222)

The biggest gaming change for me in Morgantown was the lack of Dungeons and Dragons games.  The majority of people I spoke to played GURPS, and while I had played the system in the past… I did not like it.  But to my surprise the other thing that was popular was live action role playing.  They played Mind’s Eye Theatre based off of White Wolf’s World of Darkness universe, which if you’ve been reading, I had loved.  So I delved into live action to fill my need for role playing, and can still say it was one of the best experiences I had with gaming.  We played on the streets of Morgantown, and caught many odd looks to be sure.  The experience is not one I had captured past that year, but will be one I still admire.

Before my year at that college was over, I had finally gathered a group of D&D gamers.  It took what I consider an excessive amount of work on my part.  I from the second month of college there began to put up gaming flyers all over college and in parts of the town.  Each flyer eventually had the tags removed or went missing themselves, but I would get no calls or emails.  It was not until the last months of school within the spring semester when interest was shown and by then school was almost to an end.

After that first year, I was unable to go back to WVU.  I began to work full time, and tried community college for a time.  I eventually landed a job with a major telecom company that was expanding itself.  Specifically I landed a job in their new internet department, working as a technical support agent supporting dialup and DSL customers.  The best part to that job, was that I ended up on third shift working with a small overnight crew.

I assume you must be wondering why I would think that would be a benefit?  After all third shift is a life sucking hole which causing most people to have issues eventually.  It was the team of people that I ended up with, I believe there were eight of us on that shift when I started and since the work days overlapped we always had at least six at a time in house.  Out of those people, at least four were self-proclaimed hackers who loved UNIX and Linux with a passion, would code all night long, and spend hours doing things in external shell accounts and making printouts of nonsensical data (for those not in the know). The other four members of the team, including myself with gamers, all computer gamers (well the hackers too), at least three role players, and all around online/computer junkies.  I learned a lot from those people, am still in touch with a few, and still hold one as one of my best friends to this day.

The job required a medium amount of computer knowledge to start.  But with such influences around me I began to feed on knowledge with a frenzy.  While there I acquired an A + certification, and a Networking + certification.  I learned a lot about UNIX and Linux, and began my studies for a CCNA certification (Cisco Certified Network Associate).  The design of websites also became in my view, and I learned HTML and a little more coding (I had learned some C and C++ in high school and college). Let us just say that I became quite proficient in many aspects of computers.  But as time went on after leaving that job behind, much of that knowledge as faded like distant memories.

I bought my first domain in those years, and it is currently pointed at this blog; for I have not used it in years (http://www.darkreality.com).  That site was my first big step past a fortunecity or anglefire website that I had used in the past for fun things.  Darkreality.com started as a place for people to post stories, poetry, music, art, or anything creatively inclined with a darker (gothic, metal, edgy) foundation.  That was my goal at least, to bring people together and have a place for sharing that material.  The site was a hit!  To my great surprise and delight, I had thousands of hits and hundreds of people giving material.  I had at least two music labels asking for me to write reviews and post songs from their bands; after which they sent me free cd’s to do so.  And one book publisher wanting the same for a soon to be released book.  Let us just say that I was overwhelmed with the amount of material and response; I did not have the resources or skill to bring that site to the level at which it was climbing.  If I had only sought out help in that endeavor.  That is still one of the biggest disappointments of my past, especially now knowing I could had made a living off of that site.

My work friends and I founded our main gaming group during those years.  That group has been gaming (not with the same people other than us two) for about twelve years now, we rotate game masters every year or two to give others a chance to play.  While I do have other groups and have played in many other games; that one brings me the most joy out of all of them.  Perhaps it is because I helped found the game and am the one who actively searching for players when others leave.

The other passion that I quickly picked up; once my college pursuits were over, was reading again.  For the first time ever, I read with delight and enjoyment! I just could not get enough and I still cannot to this day.  Soon I found two of my favorite authors, Robert Jordan and George R. R. Martin.  I found that I liked long epic stories and searched out more, and found a weakness within myself; I could not stop reading a series that I liked, and had to have each book that followed.  Since those years, I have read hundreds if not more books.  I have found that I mainly enjoy fantasy, but am willing to try science fiction titles as well.  On occasion I have ventured out into historical fiction titles or other fiction that seems almost historical like that of Bernard Cornwell and Patrick O’Brian.  So I became addicted to a new form of fiction, and one I will never give up completely.

My Geek Cred: Years Through High School

If I ask myself how I became addicted to fantasy, I need only to look back into my past.  I was born in 1978, within a year of the Atari 2600 game console release.  While I cannot tell you when my earliest memories of that game system where, I can say that played Pitfall nonstop and that game came out in 1982.  So that was the start, and it has been all an obsession from that point on.

In 1985, I was seven years old when Nintendo released its first game system.  Who could forget blowing into those cartridges to make them work and eventually thinking that blowing into them would make them perform better as well?  A year or two later, my parents bought me my first computer and it began to draw my time away from my Nintendo. It was a Tandy 1000 EX running DOS 2.11.  I remember the keyboard was built into the computer, and it had a side insert for the last true floppy disks; the 5.25 inch floppy’s.  So at nine years old I was mastering what I could about DOS, and then diving into computer games like The Black Cauldron, Donald Duck’s Playground, and the King’s Quest line. At the time, those games (well not Donald Duck’s Playground) seemed so complex, and amazing.

Let us just say that more gaming systems came after these, but these were my beginnings.

I began writing stories of my own creation somewhere in my preteens.  Though all I can remember of those stories, is that they usually involved a boy like me in some fantastic adventure.  In those years I had little to no sentimentality for the stories I wrote, and more likely than not they found their way into the trash after I was through with their distraction.  But I did enjoy imagining myself in others worlds, in other lives and still do to this day.

When I was in sixth grade I moved up from the Cub Scouts of America (Webelos) to become a Boy Scout. I found that my new troop played a particular game quite a bit and that game became the single most addictive hobby in my life.  The game was Dungeons and Dragons, or more specifically; TSR’s AD&D.  That was around 1989 and by the time I decided to pick up the first books of my own, we were all ready playing the newly released 2nd edition.

Dungeons and Dragons redesigned my imagination; and soon my writing included monsters, magic, and heroic deeds.  I began early on a process that would eventually annoy and delight my Game Masters for years to come.  For each and every character I created, I would write an extensive background.  It has always been my opinion that to truly grasp what it means to be a character that you are to play, you need to know where they come from, their virtues and vices.  Those backgrounds today can be beyond thirty pages long if I do not edit myself.  Though I am often forced or asked to write short backgrounds by those Game Masters that know me all too well.

In Junior High School a teacher of mine saw me writing, and inquired what I was working on.  He must had thought it was for another class, but when I explained that I was writing a story about a wizard character of mine from a D&D game; he became very interested.  I came to find out that he himself played Dungeons and Dragons, and soon enough he asked what types of books I read.  I quickly explained that I did not like reading, so outside of school assignments (and my D&D handbooks); the answer would be nothing.  That is when he gave me a book to read, The Elfstones of Shannara by Terry Brooks.  After reading that book, I found that a book preceded it and another followed it (The Sword of Shannara & The Wishsong of Shannara).

You must understand at that age I had no idea that fantasy books existed.  Frankly I hated reading with a passion and never cared to look around libraries or books stores.  That was always funny to others because I wrote so much.  It had been commented on often in those years, and by that teacher along with others before him.  But while I ate those books up and was made aware of that new outlet for fantasy material; I still did not read much until after high school was over.

High school came along, my knowledge of computers grew, my writing hit its first milestone, and my role playing became a deeper obsession.  The first thing I ever hacked into was my schools network and I barely understood what I was doing.  It was the year before they made it active for the school, but I knew the administrator of the network and was able to guess how to access it.  I seemed to be a natural with computers, easily understanding and using any program that was put in front of me.

To this day, I will say that the single most useful class that I took in high school was a typing class.  Through that I left behind the pencil and threw away two finger typing for good.  As a sophomore, I took a creative writing class and took on a larger project for myself.  While others were writing movie reviews, poetry, short stories; I began my first novel.  At the end of the class, I had I believe forty something chapters and close to twenty thousand words written.  The book sucked of course, but it had what I believed at the time to be unique in fantasy.  Though not widely read myself, I knew that the hero always won in movies, and most likely in books.  But my book was to end as a tragedy, and I had killed off main characters.  Today we would call this very George R. R. Martin like, and I would say I am now a big fan; though disgruntle.

In high school I expanded my role playing social groups as well.  While my primary group was made up of people that I was in scouting with still, I found other groups of people that gamed too and joined them.  That is when I broadened my gaming resume to include GURPS (Generic Universal Role Playing System), and White Wolf games.  White Wolf’s, World of Darkness became a big hit between my friends and I. We could now play vampires and werewolves, and become the monsters that we had only fought till then.  That system was a masterpiece, and White Wolf marketed it brilliantly.

About this Blog

My Dark Reality, is a blog dedicated to my personal addiction with fantasy. Here I will write about the struggles between what is real and what is fiction. I will also write about that addiction itself, which I consider a passion that I need to mediate and not wipe away. I am an avid gamer, reader, struggling writer, and all around geek. But I am also aware that at times, I allow this to consume my life so much that it causes other facets of my life to be disrupted. Presently this mainly means my health, but in the past it meant the entirety of my life; social, physical, and emotional stability.