On Saturday, Ryan and I embarked on a 10 day road trip across the country, all the way to Philadelphia. One last adventure before Ryan starts grad school and I start working full-time at Logos. It has been a long and arduous journey but we’ve had a bunch of fun so far. You can follow our progress with my daily logs. When I’ve talked to others about our trip, they’re usually excited and they tell me they’ll pray for protection and a safe journey. Though safety and protection might be nice and comfortable, I’d rather have a trip full of significance, a trip that makes for a good story.
I’ve never been in a fist fight before. I don’t think I’ve even been close to getting into a fist fight before. I’ve always wondered what it would be like to get into a fight. What sorts of emotions would I feel? Would I fight fiercely or would my flight instinct kick in? I’m not particularly large or strong. I’m pretty sure if I tried to punch someone, my own hand would hurt more than they would. I don’t think I would feel very courageous in a fight. Often, God calls us into fights where we have no idea what we are doing but are told to be strong and courageous. Continue reading
For our honeymoon, Megan and I traveled to Paris, a wonderful adventure for both of us. When we got back, we were so excited to share our experiences and our stories. We had hundreds of pictures to share. When we started sharing these experiences with our friends, I started feeling like our stories were falling on deaf ears. I began using phrases like “You just had to be there” or “This picture doesn’t do it justice.” Our friends listened and laughed at all the right moments but the reality is they couldn’t really identify with our stories because they weren’t there. They were simply observers of the stories Megan and I had lived and breathed.
Chapter 6: Caran
Shards of broken rock sprayed towards Loran as he knelt behind a short wall. The clamor of battle was deafening and fear gripped Loran’s heart. He took a deep breath and glanced over the top of the wall. On the other side, chaos reigned.
Loran could see Eldaran mounted atop one of the most horrible creatures he’d ever seen. It looked like a very large horse but its various parts were made from the rotting parts of many humanoid corpses. There were two of the monsters. Jax was brandishing his spear and projecting bright beams of light from his palms towards the monstrosity Eldaran was astride. On the other side of the room, Vera, eyes closed, was directing two large snakes with his voice and hands as they wrestled with the other horse creature. Perhaps the most peculiar thing he saw was the small Orc brandishing a sword running amidst the battle.
Chapter 5: Procopex
The six of them stood in the dim light of the hallway. Looking left and right, the hallway curved away into darkness. The only light came from a torch in a sconce on the wall. The party members looked suspiciously at their newest member, Procopex.
“How can we be sure you’re from the Mages Guild? What guarantee do we have that you are who you say you are?” asked Vera.
“Hey, I know you. I saw you when I was at the guild earlier. Guys, I can vouch for him,” said Loran, speaking quickly to ease the tension.
“I can offer nothing but my word, you’ll just have to trust me,” growled Procopex.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was released in theaters this last weekend. I saw the film at midnight on opening night and thoroughly enjoyed being drawn into Middle Earth once again. One of the themes I think Tolkien (and Peter Jackson) writes well in The Hobbit is to show us the value of persevering through the unexpected. Bilbo Baggins is pulled into an adventure he could never have expected or been prepared for. He is in over his head and stumbles between trials and tribulations with the rest of his Dwarven company. We are reminded over and over again that Bilbo is far away from the comforts of his home, out of his element, and facing the unknown. Gandalf tells Biblo, “You’ll have a tale or two to tell when you come back.” Biblo asks, “You can promise that I’ll come back?” Gandalf responds by telling Bilbo, “No. And if you do, you will not be the same.” The unexpected is what truly makes Bilbo’s adventure worthwhile.
Chapter 4: Visage
Loran walked through the gate of the Seafell estate awestruck. He had never seen a house as marvelous as the one he was approaching. Looking around the grounds, Loran could have believed that he had entered into another plane, the differences between Thebes and his surroundings were so stark. The grounds were a maze of pathways, shrubberies, and gardens. It was clear that Seafell was more than just a name, it was a motif for the entire estate. Fountains of every shape and size dotted the landscape, water falling from their sculpted frames. Natural green and blue hues mixed with the oranges and yellows from the setting sun creating a visual masterpiece.
Alongside of Loran were Visage and Syre. They had taken the afternoon to go shopping for a dress for Syre. She had insisted on a dark, midnight blue dress that wasn’t as elegant as much as it was utilitarian. Loran was impressed with Syre’s pragmatism even if Visage was disappointed she hadn’t gone with something more flamboyant. She was still bitter from the preening and grooming Visage had instigated to make up for the flop of her outfit. She walked sullenly in the wake of Visage, his gold cloak sparkling in the twilight. Loran himself wore the best outfit he carried with him accentuated by a smart vest loaned to him by Visage.
Chapter 3: Visage
In the doorway stood the man wearing the gold cloak. It was an exceptionally crafted piece of clothing, gold thread spun through violet fabric giving the man an elegant, almost royal look. His features were regal as well, as though he was a lord or a prince. Loran didn’t know why his memory had been jogged when he had seen this man in the lower passages but now that he was standing face to face with him, the connection was fading.
“Please, come in. We were just getting settled,” his voice was smooth and silky, every syllable purposefully and perfectly formed. “I’m glad you were able to find us, we had thought you lost in the labyrinth below.”
Chapter 2: Façade
The group of six companions moved quickly through the streets of Thebes. The sun had fully set and the streets were shrouded in darkness with only a few lanterns lighting the streets. Loran stuck close to Façade, he didn’t completely trust the rest of their companions and he didn’t quite understand what he had gotten himself into. At least Façade knew what he was doing. They made their way towards the Mages Tower near the center of the city.
As they were walking, Loran took the time to study the others he was now traveling with. Two elves, a man and a woman all following one of the tallest dwarfs he had ever seen. Eldaran was wearing what Loran assumed were adventuring clothes, many pockets and buckles adorned his outfit and a long rapier hung from his side. It looked as though he was ready for pretty much any encounter and Loran was glad to have someone who at least looked competent on the outside. He couldn’t say the same for Vera, however. He was wearing a simple black cloak and he carried no visible weapons. Loran caught a glimpse of a tattoo on Vera’s wrist underneath the sleeve of his cloak. Other than that tattoo, he was fairly nondescript. Perhaps he was a monk or a pacifist, Loran couldn’t be sure.
Chapter 1: Façade
The tavern was like any number of taverns Loran had frequented during his lifetime. The lighting was dim and his nose was overwhelmed with the scent of alcohol and overcooked food. There were a few unsavory characters loitering in the darkest areas of the room but most of the patrons were simple folk unwinding after a long day of work on the docks.
Loran took a swig from the ale in front of him, looked into the mirror on the wall behind the bar and sighed. A long and jagged crack ran the length of the mirror splitting his image in two. How fitting he thought. He finished off his ale and began to turn off his bar stool to leave. Before he fully left the stool, a group of three sitting in the back of the tavern caught his eye, two elves and a man in full plate armor. Now that was certainly an interesting combination of accomplices. Perhaps they were the individuals he was trying to find. He looked around for the barmaid thinking she might know who these characters were. Loran spotted her cleaning up the food she had just spilled into a customer’s lap. He shook his head and started across the room towards the booth the group occupied.