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Velox's Blog


The Brass Verdict, By Michael Connelly

Posted by Velox , in Literature, Reviews Apr 13 2012 · 83 views
book review, Brass Verdict and 1 more...

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The Brass Verdict, by Michael Connelly
ISBN: 9780316166294
Publisher: Little, Brown & Company
Release Date: October 2008
Rating: 5/5
Synopsis: "Things are finally looking up for defense attorney Mickey Haller. After two years of wrong turns, Haller is back in the courtroom. When Hollywood lawyer Jerry Vincent is murdered, Haller inherits his biggest case yet: the defense of Walter Elliott, a prominent studio executive accused of murdering his wife and her lover. But as Haller prepares for the case that could launch him into the big time, he learns that Vincent's killer may be coming for him next.
Enter Harry Bosch. Determined to find Vincent's killer, he is not opposed to using Haller as bait. But as danger mounts and the stakes rise, these two loners realize their only choice is to work together."

Review: Another amazing novel by Michael Connelly. The first page starts off talking about lies and how everybody lies. It’s cool to see that come up a couple more times in the novel as well, a great reference to the beginning of the novel. For the first three chapters you get a flashback of a young Haller in court, starting off the novel extremely well, as court scenes are always interesting especially when you have Haller.

Right off the bat you get some great new characterization for Mickey Haller. After the events of The Lincoln Lawyer, he fell into addiction of drugs, lost his chance with his wife, lost joint custody of his daughter, and hadn’t been to court in about a year. You really get a good look into Haller throughout this novel, who has proven to be an exceptionally interesting character.

In The Brass Verdict you also get Harry Bosch, Connelly’s main character who has ~16 novels to his name (and only ~4 to Haller). I haven’t read any of Connelly’s Bosch series yet, so it’s cool to see him here. Another interesting character, to be sure. A lot of great conflict between the two, but seeing them eventually working together was cool as well, and gave another great look into the character of Haller: he really does care about helping the “good guys.” It is also cool to see how Haller finds out Bosch is his half-brother. Quite an interesting development there. I am definitely going to read the Bosch series as well.

One thing about this novel that was interesting was that at one point it focused heavily on jury selection. I never knew that the jury was selected by the lawyers, and it was cool to see how everything worked, especially Haller’s strategy for it.

The Brass Verdict kept my interest from the beginning, with a very pleasing-to-read writing style, amazing characterization, an awesome plot, and some very well-placed twists. I especially liked how Connelly related the book to the title toward the end of the book, wrapping it up nicely. I enjoyed seeing that there was a glimmer of hope with him and his daughter’s mother, and the conclusion of the book as a whole was very satisfying.

Along with the rest of the Mickey Haller series: Highly recommended.


The Athena Project, By Brad Thor

Posted by Velox , in Reviews, Literature Apr 13 2012 · 104 views
book review, The Athena Project and 1 more...

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The Athena Project, by Brad Thor
ISBN: 1439192952
Publisher: Atria Books
Release Date: November 23, 2010
Rating: 5/5
Synopsis: "Tucked away in a remote corner of North Carolina’s Fort Bragg, behind rows of razor wire and heavily armed guards, lies the headquarters of the nation’s most elite counter-terrorism unit - the United States Army’s 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment Delta. Here, a brilliant new approach to combating terrorism has just been born. Its codename: The Athena Project.
The novels will follow an elite team of female warriors from their recruitment as top-level athletes, through their training, to their deployment on some of the most exciting and dangerous international assignments the fiction world has ever seen."

Review: Quite the thrilling read. Just the idea itself: of having a special forces/black ops team of female operators doing the same kick-butt stuff that male operators do is awesome. Then coupled with Brad Thor's incredibly improved writing skills, that just made it better.

On that subject, with this book, I also finished reading all of Brad Thor's novels. I had read Path of the Assassin (his second novel) a while ago (somewhere around Christmas), and then I decided to go back to his first, skip PotA, and then read the rest in order. His first was really lacking (Lions of Lucerne). It wasn't bad, not at all, but it wasn't great either. However, that just shows what an amazing author Brad Thor is. If there was an award for "most improved author" it'd be him. I absolutely loved State of the Union (his third novel), as well as all of his following novels (and I enjoyed PotA, too). He is definitely one of my favorite authors.

Anyway, back to The Athena Project. First introduced in the previous novel, Foreign Influence, I was immediately captivated by the idea. I mean, all those thrillers you read are about mostly guys. Having this Delta-born group of females is just a cool new idea, and I think Brad wrote it well.

Starting off with a flashback at the end of World War II, the novel dives you in to an intricate plot with which four women operatives complete their mission in several European locations. Which is another thing I liked about this. For some reason, I just like novels set in Europe, though not to say that ones set in the Middle East or Asia or wherever are bad. I also really liked a twist that was given near the end of the novel.

The one thing that I think could be improved would be the characters themselves. I just didn't feel like I knew them well enough. Maybe that's just because it was four people, rather than the usual one guy (like Scot Harvath or Mitch Rapp, from Vince Flynn). But it wasn't bad enough to distract from the novel, and the characters were still very enjoyable.

Definitely a compelling novel with a gripping plot and characters.

So yeah, I'd definitely recommend The Athena Project as well as any other of Brad Thor's books (just know that if you've only read The Lions of Lucerne, or read that first if you like reading things in order as I do, they will get better, and you should keep reading).


The Lincoln Lawyer, By Michael Connelly

Posted by Velox , in Literature, Reviews Apr 13 2012 · 97 views
book review, Lincoln Lawyer and 1 more...

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The Lincoln Lawyer, by Michael Connelly
ISBN: 0316734934
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Release Date: October 3, 2005
Rating: 5/5
Synopsis: "Mickey Haller has spent all his professional life afraid that he wouldn't recognize innocence if it stood right in front of him. But what he should have been on the watch for was evil.Haller is a Lincoln Lawyer, a criminal defense pro who operates out of the backseat of his Lincoln Town Car, to defend the clients at the bottom of the legal food chain. It's no wonder that he is despised by cops, prosecutors, and even some of his own clients.From bikers to con artists to drunk drivers and drug dealers, they're all on Mickey Haller's client list. But when a Beverly Hills rich boy is arrested for brutally beating a woman, Haller has his first high-paying client in years. It's a franchise case and he's sure it will be a slam dunk in the courtroom. For once, he may be defending a client who is actually innocent. But an investigator is murdered for getting too close to the truth and Haller quickly discovers that his search for innocence has taken him face-to-face with a kind of evil as pure as a flame. To escape without being burned, Haller must use all of his skills to manipulate a system in which he no longer believes."

Review: Wow. I really wasn't expecting this to be that good. I saw the previews for the movie back when it came out and it looked cool. However, if a movie is based off of a book, I like to read the book first, so as such I just added The Lincoln Lawyer to my five-thousand-mile-long reading list and didn't think much of it after that. I even bought the book a while back at a used bookstore, but again, just shelved it in favor of other books that I wanted to read first. So I finished Locked On, by Tom Clancy (review here), and then was looking at my bookshelves and deciding what to read next. TLL caught my eye, and, after watching the trailer for the movie again, I chose that over the other books I was considering. Needless to say, I was hooked from the beginning, promptly read it, finished it Wednesday, and then starting The Brass Verdict (the next book in the Mickey Haller series) and finishing that in a couple days. Both were amazing.

The Lincoln Lawyer captured my interest from the start. One thing I liked is how you got to see Mickey Haller in court for a short time at the beginning of the novel, starting off the novel very well. At first I felt as if I didn't have any idea who Haller was, as if there should have been a novel before this one. Of course, this was definitely resolved with quite a bit of characterization throughout the story. And, to be honest, I'm glad it was done that way. Being in first person, the only way to really explain who he is would be to have him say "I am__" which is boring and fourth-wall-ish. It's like he's talking directly to the audience. Rather, Connelly uses the book to explain who Haller is; a very enjoyable ride.

Which was definitely one of the things I liked most about this. Mickey Haller is an extremely interesting character; very unique in his ways (Lincoln Town Cars, etc.). He says himself "sometimes I'm not sure which side of the bars I am on" -- which makes for a great character and a great chance for characterization, which Michael Connelly definitely utilizes. Continuing with Haller, while it may seem as if he doesn't care much about innocence and whatnot, deep down, he does, as revealed in the novel. It was cool to have the novel in first person; I greatly enjoyed the Dresden Files in first person, so it was nice to have another awesome first-person novel.

The other characters were all well-written and well thought-out as well. The one thing that was a little weird is the close relationship he had with his two ex-wives. I'm not complaining, however, because Connelly (and Haller) made it work, but it was interesting to see how one was his assistant and the other was still a love interest. Which provided some more great characterization with the tension between Haller and his daughter and her mother. It was really cool to see how much he cared about his daughter.

There were a few times when some of the names got confusing, as Haller was working on several cases which were mentioned periodically throughout the main case of Louis Roulet, as it would all be focused on him and then someone from a different case would be mentioned, but overall it didn't distract too much from the story, as the plot and writing kept me hooked, wanting to know what would happen next.

There were several great twists throughout the novel. One was completely expected, because I had accidentally read it in the Wikipedia plot summary (though it seemed a little easy to guess anyway), but the twist was still awesome and I still enjoyed reading it and seeing Haller's and others' reaction to it.

The best part -- or at least the most exciting part -- of the novel would definitely be the latter part with the big court scene. Mickey Haller was simply awesome during it, and it seemed very realistic. The ending, too, was very satisfying and well-done. Which is what made me want to immediately start The Brass Verdict.

The movie rendition was also very well done, but the book was far better; the movie was too fast-paced, causing you to miss out on a lot of things/scenes that made the book so great. Characterization also suffered in the movie, as you don't get to see as much of Haller's thinking, etc. However, the movie was still very enjoyable, and Matthew McCounaghey was quite awesome as the title role.



Posted by Velox , in Personal Writings, Literature Apr 05 2012 · 257 views
Short Story, Solus, Library



I stood alone on the edge of a snowy mountain, a broadsword gripped tightly in my hand, surveying the aftermath of a war.
..........As I looked down the mountain, I realized that the snow was no longer a pure white, but rather a bright crimson, stained with blood. The blood of countless victims, whose bodies were strewn across the mountainside; some living, most dead, but all broken—if not in body then in spirit. ..........The bodies lay there, blood pouring out from open wounds and pieces of flesh hanging from limbs. Often there was not even a whole body, rather only an arm or a leg which had been hacked off during the battle.
..........I glanced out over these people, many who were my friends, simply abandoned there, more helpless than a child in a snowstorm. Those still alive breathed hoarsely, struggling with every rasping inhalation to remain alive. I wished I could go and help, but there was nothing I could do—nothing but watch as they gave a final moan of pain and gasped for the last time. I could barely stand to watch – my friends dying one by one, but I endured.
..........I did not enjoy standing there, watching them all die helplessly the way they did, but I knew I had no other choice. No other choice but to walk away and desert them; and that was not an option. Not for me. I would not leave my friends alone to die. I would remain until the end. To be with them every step of the way.
..........Soon there was only one person left who still breathed—even if only just. With each wheeze, drops of blood spilled from his open mouth, but he clung on to life, unwilling to give up just yet, still hoping there was a way to get back to his family.
..........He was my best friend.
..........When I could stand it no longer, just watching the life evaporate from my comrade's body, I started climbing down the hill-side. I walked with a limp I had received from many injuries. But I was still standing—the last to do so.
..........I trudged slowly through the ankle-deep snow toward my friend, who moments later was sprawled only feet away from me, one of this legs missing from the knee-down. As I walked, sharp, biting pain accompanying my every step, I looked down toward my armor, once a glistening white, but now matching the snow.
..........When I had at last reached where my friend was, I fell down on my knees and held him in my arms, bringing him close to my own body to keep him warm. He continuously spat out blood, staining my white armor even more, but I didn’t care, for that was all he could do. He could only lie there and cough up his own fluids, longing for death so the pain would cease, but yet wishing that he could live so he could see his family. He persevered, choosing the second option, holding onto hope. He made ragged breaths, was still alive—but not for much longer.
..........I remained there, cradling his limp form, not willing to give up, but knowing my efforts were fruitless. After only a few more minutes had passed, my friend let out his final exhalation. Blood still spewed from his mouth, numerous gashes and amputated limb, but he no longer felt pain, for he was dead. Tears flowed from my eyes and onto the body I was holding, which had only moments ago been alive. I stayed there, kneeling for a moment before I began screaming in anger; anger at the ones who started the war. Screaming in pain; pain that tore into my heart like daggers from the loss. Screaming in frustration; frustration that I could not have saved him.
..........I was alone, and soon would die from exhaustion, starvation, or blood-loss. The pain started to become intolerable, and I finally had to leave the scene, seeking help and leaving a scarlet trail with my tracks, my feet bleeding from one of many injuries.
..........I walked alone along the path before me, not knowing where it went, or where it would lead me. But I walked on further, knowing it was the only choice I had—the only choice besides giving up hope. As I looked around, hoping to find someone–anyone–I could see only my shadow beside me, always following, but never speaking, never comforting—I was alone.
..........I started to trudge away from the mountain, coming to a dirt path with patches of snow placed intermittently. The dirt entered the open wounds in my feet, causing violent stinging. I unsheathed my sword and brought it to my throat. I could bear the pain of being alone no more, nor the pain that escorted my numerous wounds, so I let the blade dig into my skin, releasing a trickle of blood from the wound. I was ready to plunge the sword in further, prepared to sever my jugular, but then I remembered who I was; a hero.
..........I trudged along still, sheathing my sword, determined to retain my dignity if nothing else. I tried to keep up hope, but I could undergo the pain no further. I fell down on the dirt path, the blood coming from my knees staining the path before me. I unsheathed my sword for a last time, and again brought it to my throat. I placed it on the cut I had made earlier, and dug in further.

~ :: ~

The blade passed through his jugular, severing the organs in his throat, and within seconds he was dead. His mouth remained open, and his body limped to the ground, lifeless. He was no longer alone at last. But he was lost forever.

~ :: ~




Posted by Velox , in Personal Writings, Literature Apr 05 2012 · 268 views
Library, Hope, Short Story


~ :: ~

A human form floated down a large river, unmoving and seemingly lifeless. It drifted up onto the beige shore head first, skidding slightly before coming to a stop as the rough ground slowed its movement to a halt. The male body was bloody and bruised, and what was left of the bluish-gray clothes he once bore proudly were now tattered beyond recognition. The man laid there for hours, as still as if he were dead. Birds landed near the body, inspecting what may be their next meal.
..........Suddenly, the two small eyelids flickered open, only to be quickly shut again as the sun blinded what they protected. The birds fluttered away, aware at once that the meal they greatly desired was still alive. Slowly, he opened them part-way again, waiting a while before opening them up slightly further. He repeated this action until his eyes were fully open and used to the sunlight. Looking around, he moved his head in slightly different directions to examine his surroundings.
..........He found that in front of him there was the face of a cliff on the other side of a large body of water, and to the sides of him only sand as far as the eyes could see. He tried to move his body so that he could see behind him, but found that he was unable to. It was then that he saw his arms and body covered in blood.
..........What happened? he asked himself repeatedly, wishing to know what brought him to this state. Flashes of being held in a dark cave filled his mind, but try as he did he could not remember anything else. Abandoning his attempt to regain his memory, he once again focused on his body, this time trying to just lift his arm. He lifted it a millimeter, followed by another, until he had raised it an inch off the ground. He let it fall as an overwhelming weakness overcame him.
..........Tears filled his eyes as he started to lose hope, wondering if he would ever be able to move again. No, he demanded to himself, I will get up. I will make it home. It was with that that he finally remembered her -- the one he had loved. The one he still loved. I must get back to her, was the one thought continually going through his mind. That was all that mattered to him.
..........His breathing became heavier as he tried again and again. Finally he was able to turn his body to the side, only to have it turn all the way over and cause his face to become embedded in the sand. He lifted his head slowly, and shook out the sand from in his mouth and on his face. He moved his arms out in front of him, determined to push himself up. But as he pushed off the ground, his arms faltered beneath the weight of his body, and fell back down to where it was before. But his mind had been made up. He would get home. No matter how hard it was or how long it took.
..........He tried again, only to fail a second time. "No!" he yelled in frustration. "I won't give up!" Placing his hands out on the sand again, he pushed up with all his might. His arms failed a second time, and he fell back down on the rough sand as tears began to fill his eyes once more. He hit the ground with his forehead out of anger, still determined to get back home. But as he tried and failed again, he knew he had to rest, turning his head before lying it down so as to not get any more sand in his dry mouth. He longed for water and food, and started to question how he would ever get home.
..........But he put away these thoughts, knowing they would only do him more harm, and focused once again. He finally managed to get his arms and legs into a crawling position, and started dragging himself little by little off the sand. Minutes flew by before he finally grabbed a small bit of grass in his fingers, ripping it out of the ground and looking at it with joy. He raised his head to see a valley before him; the shore of the God-forsaken river left behind.
..........At least I know I made it this far. I only hope I can go the rest…

~ :: ~


I'm Still Standing

Posted by Velox , in Personal Writings, Literature Apr 05 2012 · 260 views
Library, I'm Still Standing and 1 more...

I'm Still Standing

~ :: ~

You will die.
..........As a blast of shadow hit me squarely in the chest, throwing me against the wall of an Onu-Metru building, I could hear his malicious voice boom in my head. I slumped to the ground; tears swelling up in my eyes. I forced myself to look up at my attacker. I would not let him kill me.
..........With a scream, I stood up and rushed toward him. I know this may be my last battle, and if that is the case, at least I will go down a hero. As I ran forward he didn’t move, but remained exactly where he was. As my bladed staff was about to impale him, he allowed it to pass right through his body, shapeshifting a hole in his chest. Shocked from what had happened, I stood there, stunned; I was helpless to resist as he cast my weapon away and delivered a powerful punch to my face, sending me falling to the ground.
..........His wings opened to their full width of a dozen feet as he silently and slowly marched toward me, as though relishing the moment before the kill. I blindly threw a blast of light at him; missing and exploding into the building behind him. The large wall shattered into hundreds of pieces, some lit on fire, falling onto both my opponent and the street around us. But he paid no attention, still making his way in his methodically ominous manner.
..........When he reached where I was, I threw another bolt of light at him, striking him. The light began to burn through his shadowy form. He quickly covered himself with shadow, dissolving the light still on him. Enraged, he kicked me in the face; blood dripped down my cheek as the claws dug into my skin. He viciously kicked me again – this time in the stomach – before spitting on me.
..........“You pathetic excuse for a Toa,” he spat, looking down on me with contempt. “Do you really expect to defeat a Makuta?”
..........I attempted to stand, but my body was unable. I fell back to the ground unceremoniously; my arms and legs sprawled before me. “Pathetic.” He kicked me once more; his clawed feet creating a deep gash in my body. I screamed in pain.
..........Panting heavily, I attempted to stand up once more; tears and blood dripping down my face, and my body gashed cruelly all over. His twisted form stood before me; dark-hued armor adorned with spikes and scars; his evil-looking wings extending far past his back and shoulders.
..........“You will not kill me,” I spoke in a hoarse voice, struggling to remain conscious. With a Herculean effort of reduced physical strength, I slowly, painfully stood up; my golden eyes directly aligned with the blood-red pits hiding under his black mask. With the last of my power I charged my palms with light. As I released the blast, the Makuta consumed them with shadow, sending powerful bolts of chain lightning through my body, sending me writhing to the ground once again.
..........He slowly walked over toward me. I was breathing heavily as I tried to recover from his constant barrage of assaults. When he started to kick me in the chest again, I could do nothing but sputter blood, my body bruised and broken beyond the ability to fight back.
..........The Makuta suddenly grabbed me by the chest, his claws digging into my torso, and allowing more fluid to rush out. With a spring of his legs and a flap of his gigantic wings, he leapt into the air, and held my dangling body tightly in his grasp. He leaned forward, his mouth right at my ear. “Fool,” he hissed behind his frightening countenance, “You do not know the true power I wield. I am so much more that what you see.” He carelessly loosened his grip on my torso, and I fell painfully back to earth as he landed almost majestically near me, wings folded.
..........I struggled to speak in my hurt form, and succeeded in a mere whisper. "Really?" I asked between harsh wheezing, "Then…reveal yourself…Makuta!" I emphasized the last word with as much scorn as I could manage.
..........But I had spoken superfluously – the Toa-sized creature was already changing. His thorny armor began to warp grotesquely as he expanded in size. What had once been fingered hands now became leonine claws, and his arms grew thicker, rippling with powerful tendons as his back legs simultaneously morphed into murderous talons. The Makuta's shoulders hunched and grew wider, powerful like those of a wolf. A second set of arms, equipped with knifelike fingers, sprouted out from behind the shoulder blades.
..........A triple-pronged tail sprouted from between the hugely muscled hind legs, and on each tip of the trident-like appendage grew a barbed stinger. The hideous creature, now at least thrice the size of myself, fell down to a four-legged crouch, standing like a bear. With a number of sickening sounds, dark writhing tentacles sprang from around the head – only, now it was heads. The original mask was now nonexistent, replaced by a trio of hideous heads. The new faces bore a set of impossibly huge, gaping jaws, lined with teeth the size of daggers. Angry red eyes glowed from within six sunken sockets.
..........Below the three heads, however, perhaps worst of all, was a fourth jaw; a behemoth ringed with countless teeth, easily large enough to swallow a Toa whole. The creature could probably maul me thousands of different ways, each more gruesome than the last.
..........I gulped as I stared with fear at the sight before me. With this change I realized whom I was really fighting; the legendary beast Kaishu. Legends told of mayhem he had mercilessly wrought upon island after island, devouring many a being – even fellow Makuta.
..........I felt my heartlight beat faster and faster with terror as the huge beast lumbered over to my body. I willed with all my mental strength to move my body and run away, but my limbs gave no response.
..........His massive jaw descended toward me; the razor sharp jaws ready to absorb my life-force into his own.
..........The blades ripped through my shoulder, tearing through armor, flesh, and bone. I screamed in pain as the blood gushed ceaselessly from the horrendous wound. I grabbed my shoulder in agony, only to let loose another cry from my dirty hands stinging against the wound. I started losing feeling in my body as the pain grew to be too much and unconsciousness began to take me. The last thing I saw was the menacing mouth descending toward me once more.

~ :: ~

I awoke in a dark cell with two dimly lit lights at the center of the ceiling, barely revealing the room around me. I lay on a slab of stone that matched the chamber, facing upward. I felt a throbbing pain, and remembered what had happened. I knew I shouldn’t be alive...but somehow, here I was.
..........Feeling a sharp sting in my shoulder, I let loose a slight cry. Looking to my right, I saw two shadowy Toa, one of which placed a cloth soaked with liquid on my wound. I winced as he dabbed it around, but I let it be as I knew it would help.
..........“Where am I?” I asked the Toa attending me, my head full of many questions. As if in answer another dark Toa entered the doorway at the far end of the room, walking slowly toward me. As the Toa neared the light, I discerned that she was most-likely female, and judging by her colors was a Toa of Water. Coming even closer I noticed that her armor was pitted, scared, and faded from thousands of battles. With the spiky armor adorning her upper arms and thighs my first thought was that she was a Makuta. As she stopped before me I realized that she was not a Makuta, but indescribably ancient in appearance.
..........“You are in a lower region of the archives where Rahi are placed for examination,” she answered me. As she spoke, I noticed that her mask was one that I had never seen before – with an odd mesh-like cover over her left eye – and, most interesting was the fact that there was no mouth hole, yet she spoke all the same.
..........“Who are you?” I questioned.
..........“My name is Helryx; leader of the Order of Mata Nui. They,” she continued, as if reading my thoughts and motioning to the two Toa attending me, “are two medics from the Order’s base whom I have ordered brought here to heal you.”
..........“I’ve never heard of it,” I responded. “Or you.”
..........“Good. If you had, we would have more problems than we already do.” Before I had a chance to ask my question, she continued, answering it for me, “The Order is an organization designed to do the will of Mata Nui himself. We will do whatever is necessary.”
..........“What happened to me? I should be dead.”
..........“And you would be if it were not for the sacrifice of Trinuma and the help of Brutaka,” she replied, motioning to a huge warrior wearing midnight blue and gold armor who entered behind her.
..........I realized the meaning of the words she spoke, knowing that Trinuma had given his life for me and asked, “Who was Trinuma?”
..........“A great warrior, and a loyal agent. Perhaps the most loyal one I’ve ever had, always willing to give his life for a mission.” She paused for a moment before continuing. “Trinuma and Brutaka were given the mission to recruit you. They were transported to where you were by another member of our group named Botar just as you were about to be consumed. Trinuma fired a beam of kinetic energy at Kaishu, distracting him. He told Brutaka to get you to safety and that he would hold off Kaishu. When Brutaka arrived ten minutes later, there was nothing but small fragments of Trinuma’s armor spread on the ground. Brutaka told me that the last he saw before leaving was Trinuma sending another blast at Kaish through his staff; he went down fighting.”
..........“You shouldn't blame yourself,” Helryx added, seeing that I was about to apologize. “Trinuma did what he felt was right and for the greater good. Continuing to believe that it was your fault will only prohibit you from doing what is right, and you can believe that Trinuma would not want that to happen. In his honor, you must push those thoughts away.”
..........A minute of silence lasted before I spoke again, “But why do you want me?”
..........“Because you alone are uniquely powerful against the forces of shadow; against the Brotherhood.”
..........“What am I to do?”
..........“First you will recover and be trained, after which you will be transported to Karda Nui to assist the Toa Nuva.”
..........“Karda Nui?”
..........“Silence. It is time for you to rest so that you may revive your energies for the training. Once you are recuperated and prepared, you will be told more information concerning your mission. Until then, you must rest.”
..........I made no protest, laying my head back down against the stone. I breathed a prayer of thanksgiving to the Great Beings, knowing that I was fortunate to still be alive. Exhausted, I closed my eyes; quickly falling asleep in the dark chamber with one thought going through my head.
..........I'm still standing.

~ :: ~

Note: Inspired by the MOC Kaishu vs. Takanuva, by Shadrahk, but with Takanuva in his original, golden form.



Posted by Velox , in Personal Writings, Literature Apr 05 2012 · 273 views
Library, Ruthless, Short Story


The pub’s heavy wooden door swung inward on its creaky hinges. A chill wind gusted into the room, followed by two beings who stepped through the threshold; both salted with snowflakes that had fallen on them outside.
..........First was a man of average height, fit-looking, and dressed in black pants and a dark teal hooded jacket. His face was mostly obscured by the hood on his head, but the end of glasses peeked out from under the cowl. His shoulders were hunched, and his mouth twitched spasmodically; he looked nervous.
..........Behind him strolled a figure that could not have carried himself any more differently. Tall and lean, but lithe-looking and powerful, this man walked with a lazy, leonine air about him. He was clad in dirty-brown advanced-looking armor on his lower half, with a green t-shirt and faded leather jacket. A cloth sash was tied around his waist, and a bullet-filled bandolier was slung across his torso.
..........He followed close behind the hooded figure, his black boots, with metal-capped toes, treading silently on the tavern’s rough floor. His silvery, mirrored aviator glasses caught the dim light, and a dark, sickly-green spiraling tattoo glowed faintly on his face. His hands and lower wrists were covered by leather gloves, with sharp metal studs on the knuckles. His hair was cut into a short, mussed Mohawk, and his chin was covered in stubble.
..........There was something odd about how the duo walked. They moved very slowly, and very close together, with the man in sunglasses almost pressing into the other. For a brief instant, the first sped-up slightly, revealing for a split-second that his follower carried a firearm, a silver semiautomatic Beretta, which had been thrust into the man’s spine a moment before. Snarling quietly, the gunman grabbed his prisoner by the shoulder, and pulled him back again, hiding the weapon once more. He bent his head down to whisper into the scared man’s ear; unheard by any but the captive.
..........“Bad idea, mister man,” the gunman said, baring his teeth into a savage and slightly insane grin, revealing wolfish canines and the occasional gold tooth. “See, while the boss wants to deal with you himself, know that he told me I had the right to get rid ‘o you, if the circumstances dictated that. Frankly, I think it’d be more fun. Also, I’m a bit of a butter-fingers; this trigger could…slip. Accidentally, of course.” He giggled slightly, moving forward.
..........A moment later another walked through the door, following the first pair closely. He was clad completely in black, dressed in cargo pants and a hooded, zippered jacket, underneath which contained an armored vest consisting of protective pads fixed to a tight fiber jumpsuit beneath. A charcoal belt loaded with ammunition was strapped diagonally around his torso, also holding a sniper rifle in place on his back. Although none could see, he bore several other weapons, hidden from sight. The hood covered most of his face, but two small glints of amber could be seen in the darkness as the light reflected off his eyes. His eyes glanced around the room as he walked; his slow but leisurely pace seemed daunting. His hands lay at his side, covered by ebony gloves.
..........He seemed totally calm, but on the inside was always aware of everything around him, due to a sense of wariness earned from long years of experience. He walked around with no fear of showing his rifle, as he knew no one would be stupid enough to try to do something while he carried it. And if they did, he would dispose of them quietly, promptly and sufficiently without a moments’ hesitation.
..........The trio continued their silent march through the bar, walking past the counter and many tables; the wood flooring underneath their feet creaking as they walked. Finally, coming to a secluded corner where two darkly-clad men sat, they stopped. The first wore a black trench-coat with a forest green scarf wrapped around his neck. His long, black hair was parted in the center, draping over his black sunglasses, hiding most of his facial features; the rest cloaked in shadow. He remained perfectly serene, smoking an auburn cigar; the gray smoke rising in front of his face.
..........The second bore a navy blue jumpsuit and hooded cloak, with a golden-hued vest armored with protective pads beneath. His timberwolf hair faded to silver at the temples, most of his face left exposed although still hard to see, due to the shadows around him. A large mug sat on the wooden table before him, half-empty. His hands were crossed across his chest in a leisurely fashion as he leaned against the back of his chair. His hazel eyes contained an evil gleam to them, sparkling in the light of the fireplace mere yards away.
..........The fire sent a warming breath of air into the room, warming the trio as they approached the two dark beings. A chandelier hung nearby, with cream colored candles lit around the bronze structure. The overhead beams became a lighter color as the light hit them.
..........“Greg, Ivan,” a deep voice broke the cold silence, coming from the one in blue and gold, “I see that you have completed your mission successfully.”
..........The one standing upright in black named Ivan Petrov simply nodded.
.........."Yo, boss," the brown-clad being, the one known as Greg Sykes said, stepping forward and giving a swooping bow too low and exaggerated to be considered polite, "We got him, just like ya asked...alive." The pair seemed odd together; one almost always silent and calm, the other obviously outgoing and savage.
..........“You have done well,” a soft, sinister voice sounded, coming from the ebon-clad person. He turned his gaze to the hunched man. “Step forward.” Seeing that the prisoner remained firm in his footing, the dark being nodded to the two behind him; the one in brown shoving him forward with a push from his pistol. The man nearly collided with the table. A gleeful, wolfish grin manifested itself on Greg's face, as he reveled in his cruelty.
..........Although no one could see due to the dark glasses the powerful being wore, his eyes stared at the prisoner while the one in blue spoke again, “You know what happens to those who betray The Black Fist, don’t you, traitor?” He said the last words with contempt, stressing the last syllable to make his distain clear. The man remained silent.
..........“They are killed,” the navy-clad man continued, pausing before starting again: “Yet not just merely killed. Tortured, until they beg for death.” Fear was apparent in the detainee’s eyes as he trembled where he stood. “You chose to leave The Black Fist and try to become an honorable man once again.”
..........There was silence for several moments before the one wearing the emerald scarf spoke again, in his same, unchanging voice, "You chose poorly. None cross Martin Veracruz and survive long enough to boast of it." Suddenly his pupils enlarged beneath his black lenses, and a thin, crimson beam shot out from the core; the streak slicing through the air and reaching their target within less than a millisecond, creating a brief flash of red. The ray of disintegration hit their victim, slowly ripping away at the man’s skin and causing terrible agony.
..........The traitor screamed in pain as other barflies quickly came to the noisy spot, accusing the four of the murderous deed. Ivan, without turning his head and with his back turned to the man running toward them, quickly spun his arm, bending his wrist upright to reveal a stainless steel dagger which sliced through the drunkard’s body as he ran toward the scene; the blood sputtering out from his insides.
..........“Let that be a warning to you,” the one clad in blue shouted over the commotion to the other men standing there as he, Martin Veracruz, and Greg moved toward a back exit. Ivan faced the mob, his hands outstretched in front of him, and his palms open; each with an Assassin's Blade held at his wrist and extending slightly past his middle finger, ready to dispatch any of the mob that came near.
..........They made no move, seeing their dead comrade lying on the floor in a bloodied mess. Ivan pushed the wailing prisoner—still screaming in pain and wishing he could die so the pain would stop—out of his way and followed the three others out of the bar and into the white snow.
..........As Greg was nearly gone from the scene, he turned around to face the mob, loading an explosive bullet in his pistol. He fired; the projectile flying past Ivan’s ear mere centimeters away. Ivan performed a flip with amazing speed, and, just as the orb hit its target—a glass lantern—Ivan was gone from the scene, jumping through the door and performing a somersault as he landed in the snow; the bar exploding behind him. He stood up calmly, following the three ahead of him as the pub erupted in flames.

~ :: ~

Note: Inspired by Lady Kopaka's artwork of The Shadowed One.


Another Day, Another Duty

Posted by Velox , in Personal Writings, Literature Apr 04 2012 · 246 views
Short Story, Library and 1 more...

Another Day, Another Duty

~ :: ~

A darkly clad figure cautiously looked around a corner before treading into a dark alleyway of a deserted city. With his Assassin’s Blades extended on his wrists, he continued his journey by quickly moving from behind one steel trash bin or concrete doorway to another, carefully observing his surroundings before each move.
..........The night was dark, with only the nearly-full moon and stars giving any illumination besides the occasional half-broken, dim streetlights on the main roads. Coming to a vertically-facing rain gutter which ran against the cinder block wall, he began to scale the rusted cylinder, using various abnormalities in the wall along with metal hinges which fastened the contraption in place, after both sheathing his blades and making sure no one was observing his moves.
..........Reaching the top of the building, he silently leapt up onto the roof, placing both hands on the ledge and swinging his body over. Pausing to adjust his hood and specially-modified night-vision glasses, he crouched down and moved silently and unseen from roof-top to roof-top until he reached near the end of the block. Underneath his half-zipped up ebon jacket, he could be seen wearing an armored vest consisting of protective pads fixed to a tight fiber jumpsuit beneath, throughout which various weapons were concealed. Seeing a dark figure ahead of him, the assassin dashed behind a large HVAC unit placed on top of the roof, not feeling any danger in his current situation due to his extensive training.
..........His prey, whose eyes were trained on the street below, took no notice of this motion. Looking around, he made sure there were no more lookouts on different roof-tops, after which he crept up behind the watchman and extended his right blade once more. He formed his hand into a fist and struck the blade into his prey’s throat before sheathing his blades again, grabbing the body as it fell and gently placing it on the ground. To the assassin, as he was called by few, or Ivan Petrov, as he was called by fewer, this work was now commonplace, allowing him to perform his duties without caring about morals. He had long ago pushed aside his conscience, believing it only to be an annoyance and hindrance in completing a mission.
..........Getting down on his stomach, he used his arms to pull himself to the edge of the roof where he slowly peeked over the foot-high ledge to see his target: a group of arms-dealers in an abandoned bank diagonally adjacent to the building he was on. He moved to a crouch position, resting his right knee on the concrete before removing his glasses – folding them and placing them in the pocket of his black shirt.
..........He unslung the black sniper rifle from his back, gently placing the two metal rods attached to his rifle on the ledge before him as to not make a sound. He reached into one of his left pockets of his charcoal cargo pants, pulling out a night-vision scope and placing it on the ground next to him.
..........Making sure the Bi-Pod was securely placed on the ledge, Ivan focused himself, slowing his breathing and calming his body. Firmly placing the butt of the gun against his shoulder, he held the barrel of the rifle with his left hand. Bringing his right hand up toward the trigger, he gently placed it on the gun, resting his finger on the side of the gun as he prepared to shoot, wrapping the same arm into the sling to force his arm to remain still. He adjusted the nobs and scope rings located on the top and side of the scope to the correct coordinates, and after loading the five-round magazine into the gun, placed the side of his face on the adjustable cheek piece, taking aim at the only streetlight still lit near his current position.
..........After placing his finger on the trigger, he took several slow, deep breaths, after which he pulled back on the contraption, firing at the light. The bullet broke through the glass casing and hit the bulb, immediately causing the light to flash out and glass shards to fall to the ground. Ivan quickly pulled his gun off the ledge and laid flat on the rooftop just as the two gorillas who were keeping watch turned their attention to the large glass windows of the building, looking for a cause of the sudden loss of light.
..........Seeing no immediate danger, the two guards reported the event to their boss, who was currently in the midst of an illegal arms negotiation. Ivan peeked his head over the ledge again and, seeing that no one was watching him, sat the rifle back on the raised platform. After taking a few seconds to aim again, he fired at the light inside the run-down bank, causing the whole street to go dark; lit only by the illumination of the heavens above.
..........He swiftly switched out the normal scope for the night-vision scope and aimed again, this time at one of the two guards who came rushing toward the window once more as the others inside the building armed themselves. Ivan reflected on the merciless, unhesitating manner in which he undertook his work as he lined up the cross hairs onto his target. He pulled the trigger, and the man he had shot crumpled as the bullet flew right through the gunman before embedding itself into the fall wall behind him. I'm following orders, he repeated in his mind, as he had countless times before. Nothing more.
..........By then the remaining persons inside the building had taken cover behind some of the bank's counters, realizing they were taking sniper fire. Ivan forced himself to be patient, remembering his orders and how he was supposed to go undetected. After several minutes, he saw one peek his head over the counter momentarily. Ivan focused on him, placing the cross-hairs of his scope where the man was moments before.
..........After a few more moments of silent waiting, the same man poked his head up again, getting impatient of the lack of action. Ivan quickly pulled the trigger, causing the man to be flung back by the impact of the shot. He was dead before his comrades heard his body hit the ground.
..........Another impatient soul rushed toward the door, attempting to take care of the sniper himself. Ivan smiled inwardly – after all, he loves the hunt of the game – and shot his weapon again after a split second of adjusting his shot to allow the bullet to hit the runner. The mercenary fell to the ground, a pool of blood forming beside him.
..........Realizing there would be no more foolish beings for easy prey, Ivan took out a metal crossbow from his backpack before slinging the rifle on his back again, folding the Bi-Pod and stock to more easily fit on his back for travel. He traded them for a metal tripod, placing it on the rooftop to serve as a zip line.
..........He aimed the crossbow at the wall next to the large window, firing an arrow with a string attached to it and then removing the end of the rope from the bow and tying it to the tripod. He placed a handle on the zip line from his pack and then grabbed the normal scope, quickly dropping it into his backpack before placing the bag on his back and grasping the handle of the zip line. He sailed down to the building where he used his arm to shatter the main window he was next to.
..........Acting quickly, he took out a silenced pistol holstered at the back of his waist and shot at the first who came running toward him, after which he pulled out a dagger from inside his jacket with his left hand and flung it to the other side of the building where another man rushed forward. The knife embedded itself into the man’s chest, causing the man to stumble forward and fall to the marble floor. Jumping into the building, he fired several more shots at two others before crouching low behind a counter as the last guard opened fire with an M-10 machine pistol. He made his way to the far end of the counter where the main arms-dealer was standing on the other side with his body guard. Reaching around the counter, he threw a smoke grenade behind them, causing them to turn around into an ambush of smoke.
..........He acted as fast as he could, running back to the other side of the counter as to not inhale the smoke and jumped over the three-foot wide top, shooting the body guard in the back as the arms-dealer turned around. Ivan extended his left Assassin's Blade, and, making sure the dealer wouldn't run by pointing the silenced pistol at his head, walked calmly forward. Coming within six inches from the dealer's face, he holstered his pistol and held up his blade to the crime-lord's face. Staring him in the eye, Ivan took one swift motion and stabbed his victim in the neck. Blood spurted from the open wound, spraying the surrounding area with the crimson liquid.
..........Sheathing his blade, he brought his right hand up to his ear where he pressed a button on his blue-tooth device before softly voicing into the device, "Done." He walked over to the crates of ammunition and suitcases of money where he made sure they were all in order, after which he made his rounds to each of the dead muscle-men and took their guns and ammo, placing them in the crates with the others.
..........Several minutes later, the soft whump-whump of a small helicopter was heard flying nearby, which made its way to the intersection of the run-down bank, landing softly on the ground. Two men jumped down from the vehicle, moving to the crates and loading them on the copter while Ivan loaded the suitcases. As the two men boarded again, Ivan made his way to the first building he was on, climbing up a fire escape and vaulting himself onto the rooftop where he gathered his zip line. As the helicopter hovered next to him, he jumped in just before it took off.

~ :: ~

The helicopter landed again at The Black Fist base where Ivan quickly jumped out, letting the others carry the weapons and money. Stepping off the helipad, he made his way past the training facility and toward Martin Veracruz’s chambers. Although it was the middle of the night, he heard someone using one of the courses.
..........Of course she's out here at this hour, Ivan thought to himself, seeing the green-clad Larissa punching and kicking a padded pole, simultaneously throwing daggers at other makeshift targets.
..........He continued on his way, coming to the main building which he entered. After following a series of turns, he arrived at Veracruz’s chamber where he threw both of the huge wooden doors open and entered to find The Black Fist leader at his desk.
..........Ivan approached, muttering two simple words: "It's done."
..........Martin Veracruz nodded, looking at the array of weapons and the large stash of money as the crates were brought in. "Very well. Dismissed," he answered to the assassin. Ivan acquiesced, turning and leaving the room and walking toward his own quarters.
..........Veracruz, dressed in a large black trench coat and emerald scarf, turned his attention to the new munitions, slowly rising from his lofty chair and stepping forward, examining each of the crates and briefcases. "He did well, as usual," he muttered to himself. Raising his voice, he turned his attention over to the men who had brought the supplies in. "Take them to the armory," he said, motioning to the crates. "Put the money in the vaults."
..........With several nods and "yes sir”s, the men departed, carrying the crates and brief cases out with them as Martin Veracruz sat back on his chair.
..........When the room had cleared, a dark figure stepped out from one of the side doors. When he spoke, his voice was deep but clear, the voice of a leader. “Those weapons will suit our needs nicely. Soon, we will be ready to start.” He wore a navy blue jumpsuit and hooded cloak, with a golden-hued vest armored with protective pads which could be seen beneath the cloak.
..........“Indeed,” Veracruz answered his second-in-command, bringing up several maps on screens which dropped from the ceiling. “Soon…” These lasts words were whispered by Veracruz as the two of them continued drawing up battle plans.

~ :: ~


Tahu In The Rain

Posted by Velox , in Personal Writings, Literature Apr 04 2012 · 332 views
Library, Tahu in the Rain and 1 more...

Tahu in the Rain

~ :: ~

The sky flashed bright white, revealing a scarlet-clad Toa. He crouched atop the wall of a crudely-built stone fortress, looking out onto the valley below. The rain poured down upon his body, feeling as if it was burning right through his armor. The hero looked up toward the sky, ignoring the rain drops falling into his eyes, piercing them like poison. It stung, but he endured, and watched the dark clouds moving gracefully across the sky, occasionally glimpsing the white-hued moon, trying to shine its way through the blockade of darkness.
..........The Toa cursed under his breath, wishing to be able to use his element of fire to keep the water off him. But he knew he couldn't. He had to endure. He must not show away his position. And so he looked longingly up at the moon, hoping the rain would stop. But he knew it wouldn't. It never did. Instead, even more globules of water effused from the charcoal ceiling. He finally looked down from the sky, and, closing his eyes, psychologically prepared himself for the battle to come.
..........He sighed, opening his eyes to see nothing but darkness upon the valley below. The rain poured down even harder than before. As it beat against his scarlet-colored armor, it felt as if the small driblets of water were ripping through his armor. He wanted to shout in anger. He wanted to do anything to make the water go away, but knew he couldn't. He knew that even if he tried to slightly warm his body in hope of evaporating the stinging water, he wouldn't be able to control it, and would try to extinguish all moisture around him. So he had to stand there, silently watching and waiting for the enemy.
..........He kept looking out upon the valley, trying to ignore the wet drizzle of water pounding against his armor. The look on his face would make even the most evil of beings look at him with pity. It was pitiful to see a being of fire so unable to do anything against his worst enemy. It was as if a Makuta was put into a room of light, not able to close its eyes, and not able to escape.
..........And yet, there was a look of determination in his pink-tinted eyes. A look of courage. A look of a hero. For that is what he was, and that is what he would be to his friends now. He would not betray them by giving away their position, so he would ignore the searing pain. He would do all that was necessary.
..........Another flash of lightning came, revealing the valley below him full of Dark Hunters slowly advancing toward the insignificant fortress that had been set up. The Matoran had been hidden underground, and the Toa then built a fortress over the Matoran's shelter in hope of defending them. But they knew what little chance they had. Even with a seventh Toa – Takanuva, the Toa of Light – they knew they wouldn't stand long against hundreds upon hundreds of Dark Hunters. But they had to try. For that was why they were created. To defend the Matoran. And so the Toa would do all in their power to save them.
..........Tahu again closed his eyes, concentrating on taking his focus off of the stinging rain. As he strained his ears, he could hear the rhythmic thump, thump of the Dark Hunters' feet as they marched across the grassy terrain. With every passing second, the thump, thump of the enemies' feet grew louder and louder.
..........The battle was about to begin.

~ :: ~

Note: Inspired by Brave Dragon's Caught in a Dream painting.


Red Is For Love

Posted by Velox , in Literature, Personal Writings Apr 04 2012 · 206 views
Poem, Red is for Love, Library

Red is for Love

~ :: ~

Red is the color of my heart,
That is full of Love
for you.
Red is the color of fire,
The fire that burns in my heart.

Red is the color of hatred,
An emotion I feel so often.
Hatred toward pain,
And all that is evil.

Red is the color of throats,
Throats crying out in pain,
Begging for a chance to Love -
A chance to live.

Red is for pain,
Pain I feel when I can't be with you,
When I can't feel your Love.

Red is the color of Love,
And everything corresponding with Affection.
Love is the most beautiful of all gifts,
That has been given to this earth.

Love is enduring,
But so is its opposite.
Hatred will always exist,
My hatred for the one that killed her.
But so will Love,
My Love for you...

~ :: ~

Welcome To

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All About Me

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Name || Andrew
Birthdate || July 8, 1994 (age 19)
Gender || Male
Location || Los Angeles, California
Occupation || College Student
Hobbies || Writing, reading, ranting
Religion || Roman Catholic

Political Views || Conservative (generally Republican)

Standalone Book || A Monster Calls, by Patrick Ness; The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak; The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern
Authors || Vince Flynn, J.R.R. Tolkien, George R.R. Martin, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Edgar Allen Poe, Jim Butcher, Neil Gaiman, Erin Morgenstern, and more

Musical || Les Miserables
Action Trilogy || 
Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy.
Fantasy Trilogy || Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings
Sci-Fi/Fantasy Films || The Avengers, Serenity, Inception
Drama Films || A Few Good Men, Warrior
Animated Films || Ratatouille, Madagascar
War Films || Black Hawk Down, Saving Private Ryan
Comedy Film || The Princess Bride
Classic TV Shows || Sherlock Holmes, with Jeremy Brett; Columbo, with Peter Falk; and The Rockford Files, with James Garner

Ended TV Shows || Firefly, Breaking Bad, Leverage
Current TV Shows ~ Sherlock, Castle, HIMYM, Person of Interest, Doctor Who

Music genres || Classical, Film soundtracks, Musicals, Rock, Alternative
Artists || ThePianoGuys, Rise Against, Switchfoot, the Beatles

Composers || Hans Zimmer, John Williams, Howard Shore, Handel


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Prime Time || ((Primus))
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