Friday, June 30, 2006

Our Future in the Stars

Our Future in the Stars

Aquarius

Jan 21 to Feb 19

You will work hard if you can see the reward. Your mind is well balanced. It is keen and open to new ideas, but does not accept them without close study. Your imagination is strong but is offset by practical sense. You are courageous even in danger. You must weigh consequences before you act. You have natural discretion and tact. Your calm good nature will give you a happy marriage. You are gentle with children. You are trustworthy with money.

Pisces

Feb 20 to Mar 21

Your energy is great but somewhat spasmodic. Your mind likes new ideas. It is sensitive to outside influences and surroundings. For this reason the judgment may waver, but never selfishly or materially. You can live anywhere and be happy. Once you settle down, however, you will not move unless circumstances force it. You enjoy social life and make numerous friends. You will be devoted to your family and children, through your long life.

Aries

Mar 22 to Apr 20

You have a vivid imagination and are quick to learn, but do not like to study. You are ambitious. You have a restless and magnetic temperament. You are excitable and impulsive. You are easily angered but quick to forgive. You are strong in your beliefs. You are occasionally in trouble but are clever enough to get out of it easily. You are ape to marry young and may be unhappily married, if you are not careful.

Taurus

Apr 21 to May 21

You are energetic and like to work, though you may be a little slow to start. You are determined to reach your goal in life. You are ambitious but cautious. Mentally you are strong. You never forget anything you have learned. You are hard to persuade. If you like a thing, you do not want to see it changed. You have a determined will and are loyal to your family and faithful to your friends. You are hard to anger but are likely to hold grudges.

Gemini

May 22 to June 21

You are eager to work but spend your energy on many things. You may be in several different businesses during your life. You are very intelligent and quick to grasp an advantage, but you must learn to control and direct your cleverness. You like parties, people and excitement. You can get along with nearly everybody. You like new ideas, freedom of thought and speech.

Cancer

June 22 to July 23

You are energetic, but do not like work that takes too long. You will always be active, but may change your vocation in middle life. You have a strong brain, but you like emotion and sensation. You have a vivid imagination. You are romantic. You have confidence in your own ability. You are religious and moral. Your marriage will probably be a happy one. You love children, but are inclined to be impatient with them. You must marry a sympathetic person.

Leo

July 24 – August 23

You are industrious. You have a keen mind. You are too generous and trusting and may be deceived easily. You are bold and perhaps too optimistic. You are inclined to try to dominate others. This may make enemies for you. You have much pride and are quick to anger. You like to own property and will defend your possessions. Your family life will be happy, if you can rule it. You must choose a mate who will allow you to do this.

Virgo

August 23 – September 23

You have great endurance in your works. Failure may discourage you, but you are willing to try again. Your mind is active and extremely practical. You are patient and far sighted. You like law and order. You may be inquisitive. You may win fame. You are very thrifty and believe that honesty is the best policy. You are just in your dealings with others. Your marriage life will be happy. Do not, however, marry a flighty person.

Libra

September 24 – October 23

You work carefully, conserving your energy. You like to lead in any enterprise. Your mind works logically and accurately. You get what you want by persuasion rather than by force. You are generally broad-minded, but may have very narrow views on certain subjects. You are warm-hearted and kind. You are sensitive to what others think of you. You will make many friends. You will get on well in marriage life. You like and understand children.

Scorpio

October 24 – November 22

You like work, provided you can see advantage in it. You are determined to get your goal. Your mind is active, but inclined to be skeptical and critical. You are so strong-willed that you may frequently be obstinate. You may be so foresighted as to be psychic. You love power and command. You are kind but not emotional. You like personal freedom. Your home life, if happy, will be built to last. Your friends will be faithful.

Sagitarius

November 23 – December 22

Capricorn

December 23 – January 20

You have an immense capacity for manual or mental work. You are ambitious. Your mind is logical, quick and controlled. You may lack imagination. You are a fighter and resent interference by others. In speech and writing you are direct and often eloquent. You are diligent, honest and accurate. You are cautious with money, but generous if the cause is good. Your family life should be happy. Do not marry a frivolous woman.

Dumb Student, Smart Student - post dari Alin Rachmawati

Sewaktu kita sekolah atau kuliah, murid/mahasiswa dikelas dapat dibagi
dalam
3 kategori : murid pintar, murid rata-rata dan murid bodoh. Setiap
orang tua
pasti menginginkan anaknya masuk ke kategori pertama yaitu murid yang
pintar
dan menghindari yang terakhir atau murid bodoh. Orang tua seringkali
mendaftarkan anaknya untuk kursus ini, kursus itu agar nilai anaknya
menjadi
bagus.

Orang tua sering kali memfokuskan pada kelemahan anaknya dan berusaha
menutup kelemahan anaknya itu. Pada workshop yang saya adakan, saya
bertanya
kepada peserta: jika anda mempunyai anak yang menyukai menggambar tetapi
nilai matematikanya tidak bagus. Keuangan anda hanya cukup untuk
membiayai 1
jenis kursus, kursus apa yang akan anda berikan ke anak anda? Hampir semua
peserta menjawab : kursus matematika.

Murid yang pintar biasanya adalah tipe yang ngotot dalam belajar, mereka
takut kalau tidak bisa mengerjakan ujian, stress jika mendapat nilai
buruk.
Tipe murid inilah yang biasanya ikut les ini dan itu, karena mau SEMUA
pelajarannya mendapat nilai baik.

Murid yang bodoh biasanya adalah tipe orang yang masa bodoh, mereka tidak
terlalu memikirkan akan dapat nilai berapa. Murid tipe ini biasanya
mempunyai SESUATU yang sangat mereka sukaidan mereka lebih suka melakukan
hal itu daripada belajar. Sedangkan murid rata-rata berada di antara 2
kategori itu. Di kemudian hari, siapakah yang akan lebih sukses atau kaya
dalam kehidupannya? Sukses di sini harus dibedakan dengan kaya.
Menjadi kaya
berarti mempunyai lebih banyak uang, sedangkan sukses berarti mengerjakan
hal yang mereka sukai dan menyukai yang mereka kerjakan, dan orang-orang
menghargai apa yang mereka kerjakan. Dalam banyak kasus, banyak murid yang
bodoh semasa sekolah dan kuliah menjadi orang yang sukses, dan banyak pula
yang menjadi sukses dan kaya. Sedangkan murid yang dulu pintar banyak juga
yang menjadi kaya tapi sedikit yang sukses. Mengapa demikian? Karena dari
kecil murid yg bodoh sudahterbiasa FOKUS kepada KEKUATAN yg dia
miliki, dan
tidak terlalu perduli dengan kelemahannya. Sedangkan murid yang pintar
biasanya TIDAK FOKUS pada sesuatu, terlebih lagi mereka terbiasa
mendahulukan perbaikan pada kelemahan.

Saya mempunyai rekan yg merupakan contoh nyata dari tipe murid yang bodoh
ini. Sebut saja namanya a dan b, keduanya pernah tinggal kelas dan
termasuk
murid yang tidak perduli dengan nilai bagus, sekarang si a menjadi
fotografer professional dgn client dari perusahaan-perusahaan terkenal di
Indonesia dan si b menjadi montir professional yg disegani di dunia rally
mobil. Ambil contoh lain, Deddy Corbuzier semasa sekolah juga tidak
termasuk
murid yang cemerlang, tetapi sejak kecil telah menunjukkan kecintaan yg
mendalam dengan dunia sulap. Sekarang, siapa yang tidak mengenal Deddy
Corbuzier. Contoh lain lagi adalah Rhenald Khasali, beliaupun pernah
tinggal
kelas sewaktu sekolah tetapi sekarang merupakan salah satu pembicara
handal.

Di lain pihak, yang dulunya murid yang pintar seringkali berakhir dengan
bekerja di kantoran, mungkin mereka menghasilkan banyak uang tetapi belum
tentu mereka sukses, karena mereka mungkin tidak terlalu menyukai apa yang
mereka kerjakan, hal ini karena dari kecil mereka diarahkan untuk
memperbaiki kelemahan dan tidak memperkuat apa sebetulnya kekuatan mereka.

Jika anak anda termasuk dalam kategori anak pintar, jangan terlalu cepat
senang dahulu. Tetaplah gali apa yg ia sukai, apa yg dengan senang ia
lakukan, berilah support agar ia juga melakukan hal yg ia senangi dan
tidak
hanya belajar terus menerus. Sedangkan jika anak anda termasuk anak yg
bodoh
dan lebih menyukai kesenangannya daripada belajar, carilah suatu alasan
mengapa belajar itu juga penting untuk mendukung kesenangannya.
Misalnya ia
suka sekali dengan dunia otomotif, beri pengertian bahwa seorang ahli
otomotif harus menger ti bahasa Inggeris supaya dapat sukses di luar
negeri,
atau harus mengerti matematika agar nantinya mengerti mesin dengan
baik,dsb.
Jika sekarang anda bekerja sebagai seorang karyawan, andapun tentu
dibiasakan oleh perusahaan untuk ditambal kelemahannya. Setiap akhir tahun
setelah diadakan penilaian prestasi, pasti ada kelemahan si karyawan yang
diperhatikan oleh atasan dan kemudian dibuatkan 'Plan for Development'
dengan mengikutkan karyawan tersebut pada suatu training yang dapat
membantu
memperbaiki kelemahannya itu, sedangkan untuk kelebihannya hanya diminta
untuk dipertahankan. Mereka yang hanya memfokuskan diri pada memperbaiki
kelemahan biasanya lebih sulit menemukan impiannya dibandingkan mereka
yang
terbiasa fokus pada kekuatannya. Jadi jangan terpaku pada kelemahan anda,
fokuskan perhatian anda lebih kepada kekuatan anda

Sumber: Milis Airputih (airputih@yahoogroups.com)
http://www.achmadbisri.com/story_more.php?id=87_0_4_0_M

Thursday, June 29, 2006

3.1.5.2. The Hermit Awakes

Without wasting any more time, Robert, Carolyn and Christopher takes Father Andreas who's still unconscious to Grad. Christopher and Andreas mount the same horse, and Chris is already having problems keeping this sleeping dwarf sitting straight and he grumbles along the way. Robert and Christopher carry provisions in their backpacks, and Chiel flies above them as a scout to warn them if there are monsters or attackers ahead or behind. Once in a while, Chiel flies down and tries to transfer more holy energy to Andreas to gradually bring him back to consciousness.

As they enter the Borgian-Arcadian border, they ride on along the main trade road, and soon meet with a huge pile of snow blocking the road. Robert and Carolyn dismount, and work hard to melt the snow blockage from the road with their fire skills and spells. While Chris guards the horses, the provisions and Andreas at the back.

The rest of the journey is uneventful, since the monsters usually hibernate or hide in warmer places and only few come out to do quick hunts. Non-carnivore monsters usually keep a stock of food that they have gathered and stored to survive the winter. And carnivore monsters usually eat a great deal so they keep the excess nutrition stored in their body and they will consume it during winter. So, monsters generally behave like common animals, they kill to eat.

No bandit, goblin or orc roam the main road as no traveler passes there to rob and kill. The only thing to fight against is the snow – and the freezing winter weather that comes with it.

But somehow, thanks to Robert’s cool leadership and Carolyn’s precise calculations on provisions management, they manage to arrive in towns before their provisions run out. The only drawback is, Chris always wants to eat more than his ration, and Robert has to keep a sharp eye on Chris at all times just to make sure he doesn’t steal extra meal from his comrades’ share or the backpack. Robert even shoot a bolt once that passes right in front of Chris’ eyes when Chris is nearly succeed in stealing a meat ration from the backpack. And Chiel once pokes Chris in the eye when Chris tries to steal Chiel’s share. And all that leaves Chris with a sulkier and sulkier face each day.

Carolyn scolds Chris by saying, ‘Keep your chin up, pal! This is not a walk in the park! This is a delivery mission! I’m sick and tired with your complaints all the time!’

And Chris becomes more depressed now as they leave the last town to Grad Mountains. They have to continue their journey by foot. They entrust their horses in the public stable master’s care and they set off after replenishing their provisions and have a night’s rest. Chris now has to carry Andreas who is still unconscious, and Robert and Carolyn carry their backpacks.

When they finally reach the mountains of Grad, the greatest mountain range in Borgia and obviously, in the continent of Aurelia, they can’t but stare at it in wonder (Robert, whatever, again hides his amazement with an indifferent look on his face). And as usual, Chris whimpers and lets out his stream of complaints – again.

‘Damn, this is HUGE! Correction – HYPER-HUGE! Is this where shortie here told us to go through? Man, he sure demands so much while he’s sleeping on my back! Why? Why me?’

Robert and Carolyn ignore that complaint altogether, as they don’t hear any suggestion to go back yet. If they do, they’re all ready to smack anybody who said it down as an answer.

They tread the steep mountain path through an extremely cold weather and a violent, snowy wind that one might mistake as a blizzard. It’s a good thing they don’t have to climb the mountain to reach The Dwarfs’ Citadel of Ylbarra in Grad although they must hurry as a dwarf’s life is at stake. They walk on and on for a few days and can hardly say a word.

The party, even Robert never went to Grad before, and the townspeople there only told them to follow the path. And just as Robert and his party think that they are lost and it’s impossible to reach Ylbarra in this weather, they find a cave and decide to rest in there and plan the next move. They cut the roots that grow through the cave wall, and make fire from it plus some firewood Carolyn brought in a backpack.

Just as things are getting warmer, Chris is the one who talks first.

‘Man, we almost die freezing out there! Now we are stuck here in a cave in the middle of nowhere!’

Carolyn scowls, ‘Hmph, I know I can’t trust you to ask directions to Ylbarra from the townspeople. I just feel that their information can’t be good.’

Then a voice comes, ‘Don’t blame him… or the townspeople… no man can reach Ylbarra…. Unless… there’s a dwarf… or someone who’s been there… to guide them…’

Carolyn answers, ‘Well, thank you for your “timely” information, Rob, why didn’t you… hey, wait a minute! That’s not Robert’s voice! This means…’

Robert, Carolyn and Christopher turn their heads almost at the same time to the place where Father Andreas lies down. And there he is – he is conscious now but is still weak. Carolyn rushes to Andreas and checks his condition. She says, ‘Thank Vadis! Teacher, this is me, Carolyn. And these are Christopher, and Robert. We have been carrying you all the way to Grad.’

Andreas replies feebly, ‘Ah… Vadis be praised… but what am I doing… returning to Grad? I went to find… help… to chase them…’

Robert asks again, ‘Chase whom? Ah, you were the one who wants to return to Grad. You said that and we decided to take you all the way here.’

Andreas sighs, ‘Ahh, this is bad… real bad… but how come… you find me? The last thing I remember is… I was lost in the snowy field… and… and I was about to die…’

Robert answers, ‘Chris here saw you collapsed and told us to rescue you. I think Vadis has sent us there so you can be saved. What a fortunate coincidence.’

Andreas tries to laugh but all he can produce is a weak giggle.

‘Aye… Vadis can work miracles… But alas, they must be gone now… how can I… return to report…. This failure?’

Chris now talks, ‘I don’t get it, Father – who are they? Did they harm you and give you those wounds? And what is failed?’

‘Ahhh… ahhh.. no other choice… we have to… go to Grad….’

‘Hey, fatso, answer me first!’ Chris is getting impatient.

‘Chris! Mind your manners! My teacher is still weak! Let him rest for a while.’

Andreas shakes his head. ‘Ohh, nay… can’t rest now… must reach Ylbarra… and receive punishment.’

‘Punishment?! This guy is a psycho. If I were you, I won’t return there!’ Says Chris, pointing his finger onto his head.

Robert is irritated, but he makes a quick decision. ‘Enough, Chris! Don’t insult him again! Now we need rest, and we’ll set off again at sunrise! And Andreas will guide us there and explain us everything when we reach Ylbarra.’

Andreas forces a weak smile. ‘Good thinkin’, lad.’

Dumb Student, Smart Student - post dari Alin Rachmawati

Sewaktu kita sekolah atau kuliah, murid/mahasiswa dikelas dapat dibagi
dalam
3 kategori : murid pintar, murid rata-rata dan murid bodoh. Setiap
orang tua
pasti menginginkan anaknya masuk ke kategori pertama yaitu murid yang
pintar
dan menghindari yang terakhir atau murid bodoh. Orang tua seringkali
mendaftarkan anaknya untuk kursus ini, kursus itu agar nilai anaknya
menjadi
bagus.

Orang tua sering kali memfokuskan pada kelemahan anaknya dan berusaha
menutup kelemahan anaknya itu. Pada workshop yang saya adakan, saya
bertanya
kepada peserta: jika anda mempunyai anak yang menyukai menggambar tetapi
nilai matematikanya tidak bagus. Keuangan anda hanya cukup untuk
membiayai 1
jenis kursus, kursus apa yang akan anda berikan ke anak anda? Hampir semua
peserta menjawab : kursus matematika.

Murid yang pintar biasanya adalah tipe yang ngotot dalam belajar, mereka
takut kalau tidak bisa mengerjakan ujian, stress jika mendapat nilai
buruk.
Tipe murid inilah yang biasanya ikut les ini dan itu, karena mau SEMUA
pelajarannya mendapat nilai baik.

Murid yang bodoh biasanya adalah tipe orang yang masa bodoh, mereka tidak
terlalu memikirkan akan dapat nilai berapa. Murid tipe ini biasanya
mempunyai SESUATU yang sangat mereka sukaidan mereka lebih suka melakukan
hal itu daripada belajar. Sedangkan murid rata-rata berada di antara 2
kategori itu. Di kemudian hari, siapakah yang akan lebih sukses atau kaya
dalam kehidupannya? Sukses di sini harus dibedakan dengan kaya.
Menjadi kaya
berarti mempunyai lebih banyak uang, sedangkan sukses berarti mengerjakan
hal yang mereka sukai dan menyukai yang mereka kerjakan, dan orang-orang
menghargai apa yang mereka kerjakan. Dalam banyak kasus, banyak murid yang
bodoh semasa sekolah dan kuliah menjadi orang yang sukses, dan banyak pula
yang menjadi sukses dan kaya. Sedangkan murid yang dulu pintar banyak juga
yang menjadi kaya tapi sedikit yang sukses. Mengapa demikian? Karena dari
kecil murid yg bodoh sudahterbiasa FOKUS kepada KEKUATAN yg dia
miliki, dan
tidak terlalu perduli dengan kelemahannya. Sedangkan murid yang pintar
biasanya TIDAK FOKUS pada sesuatu, terlebih lagi mereka terbiasa
mendahulukan perbaikan pada kelemahan.

Saya mempunyai rekan yg merupakan contoh nyata dari tipe murid yang bodoh
ini. Sebut saja namanya a dan b, keduanya pernah tinggal kelas dan
termasuk
murid yang tidak perduli dengan nilai bagus, sekarang si a menjadi
fotografer professional dgn client dari perusahaan-perusahaan terkenal di
Indonesia dan si b menjadi montir professional yg disegani di dunia rally
mobil. Ambil contoh lain, Deddy Corbuzier semasa sekolah juga tidak
termasuk
murid yang cemerlang, tetapi sejak kecil telah menunjukkan kecintaan yg
mendalam dengan dunia sulap. Sekarang, siapa yang tidak mengenal Deddy
Corbuzier. Contoh lain lagi adalah Rhenald Khasali, beliaupun pernah
tinggal
kelas sewaktu sekolah tetapi sekarang merupakan salah satu pembicara
handal.

Di lain pihak, yang dulunya murid yang pintar seringkali berakhir dengan
bekerja di kantoran, mungkin mereka menghasilkan banyak uang tetapi belum
tentu mereka sukses, karena mereka mungkin tidak terlalu menyukai apa yang
mereka kerjakan, hal ini karena dari kecil mereka diarahkan untuk
memperbaiki kelemahan dan tidak memperkuat apa sebetulnya kekuatan mereka.

Jika anak anda termasuk dalam kategori anak pintar, jangan terlalu cepat
senang dahulu. Tetaplah gali apa yg ia sukai, apa yg dengan senang ia
lakukan, berilah support agar ia juga melakukan hal yg ia senangi dan
tidak
hanya belajar terus menerus. Sedangkan jika anak anda termasuk anak yg
bodoh
dan lebih menyukai kesenangannya daripada belajar, carilah suatu alasan
mengapa belajar itu juga penting untuk mendukung kesenangannya.
Misalnya ia
suka sekali dengan dunia otomotif, beri pengertian bahwa seorang ahli
otomotif harus menger ti bahasa Inggeris supaya dapat sukses di luar
negeri,
atau harus mengerti matematika agar nantinya mengerti mesin dengan
baik,dsb.
Jika sekarang anda bekerja sebagai seorang karyawan, andapun tentu
dibiasakan oleh perusahaan untuk ditambal kelemahannya. Setiap akhir tahun
setelah diadakan penilaian prestasi, pasti ada kelemahan si karyawan yang
diperhatikan oleh atasan dan kemudian dibuatkan 'Plan for Development'
dengan mengikutkan karyawan tersebut pada suatu training yang dapat
membantu
memperbaiki kelemahannya itu, sedangkan untuk kelebihannya hanya diminta
untuk dipertahankan. Mereka yang hanya memfokuskan diri pada memperbaiki
kelemahan biasanya lebih sulit menemukan impiannya dibandingkan mereka
yang
terbiasa fokus pada kekuatannya. Jadi jangan terpaku pada kelemahan anda,
fokuskan perhatian anda lebih kepada kekuatan anda

Sumber: Milis Airputih (airputih@yahoogroups.com)
http://www.achmadbisri.com/story_more.php?id=87_0_4_0_M

Our Future in the Stars

Our Future in the Stars

Aquarius

Jan 21 to Feb 19

You will work hard if you can see the reward. Your mind is well balanced. It is keen and open to new ideas, but does not accept them without close study. Your imagination is strong but is offset by practical sense. You are courageous even in danger. You must weigh consequences before you act. You have natural discretion and tact. Your calm good nature will give you a happy marriage. You are gentle with children. You are trustworthy with money.

Pisces

Feb 20 to Mar 21

Your energy is great but somewhat spasmodic. Your mind likes new ideas. It is sensitive to outside influences and surroundings. For this reason the judgment may waver, but never selfishly or materially. You can live anywhere and be happy. Once you settle down, however, you will not move unless circumstances force it. You enjoy social life and make numerous friends. You will be devoted to your family and children, through your long life.

Aries

Mar 22 to Apr 20

You have a vivid imagination and are quick to learn, but do not like to study. You are ambitious. You have a restless and magnetic temperament. You are excitable and impulsive. You are easily angered but quick to forgive. You are strong in your beliefs. You are occasionally in trouble but are clever enough to get out of it easily. You are ape to marry young and may be unhappily married, if you are not careful.

Taurus

Apr 21 to May 21

You are energetic and like to work, though you may be a little slow to start. You are determined to reach your goal in life. You are ambitious but cautious. Mentally you are strong. You never forget anything you have learned. You are hard to persuade. If you like a thing, you do not want to see it changed. You have a determined will and are loyal to your family and faithful to your friends. You are hard to anger but are likely to hold grudges.

Gemini

May 22 to June 21

You are eager to work but spend your energy on many things. You may be in several different businesses during your life. You are very intelligent and quick to grasp an advantage, but you must learn to control and direct your cleverness. You like parties, people and excitement. You can get along with nearly everybody. You like new ideas, freedom of thought and speech.

Cancer

June 22 to July 23

You are energetic, but do not like work that takes too long. You will always be active, but may change your vocation in middle life. You have a strong brain, but you like emotion and sensation. You have a vivid imagination. You are romantic. You have confidence in your own ability. You are religious and moral. Your marriage will probably be a happy one. You love children, but are inclined to be impatient with them. You must marry a sympathetic person.

Leo

July 24 – August 23

You are industrious. You have a keen mind. You are too generous and trusting and may be deceived easily. You are bold and perhaps too optimistic. You are inclined to try to dominate others. This may make enemies for you. You have much pride and are quick to anger. You like to own property and will defend your possessions. Your family life will be happy, if you can rule it. You must choose a mate who will allow you to do this.

Virgo

August 23 – September 23

You have great endurance in your works. Failure may discourage you, but you are willing to try again. Your mind is active and extremely practical. You are patient and far sighted. You like law and order. You may be inquisitive. You may win fame. You are very thrifty and believe that honesty is the best policy. You are just in your dealings with others. Your marriage life will be happy. Do not, however, marry a flighty person.

Libra

September 24 – October 23

You work carefully, conserving your energy. You like to lead in any enterprise. Your mind works logically and accurately. You get what you want by persuasion rather than by force. You are generally broad-minded, but may have very narrow views on certain subjects. You are warm-hearted and kind. You are sensitive to what others think of you. You will make many friends. You will get on well in marriage life. You like and understand children.

Scorpio

October 24 – November 22

You like work, provided you can see advantage in it. You are determined to get your goal. Your mind is active, but inclined to be skeptical and critical. You are so strong-willed that you may frequently be obstinate. You may be so foresighted as to be psychic. You love power and command. You are kind but not emotional. You like personal freedom. Your home life, if happy, will be built to last. Your friends will be faithful.

Sagitarius

November 23 – December 22

Capricorn

December 23 – January 20

You have an immense capacity for manual or mental work. You are ambitious. Your mind is logical, quick and controlled. You may lack imagination. You are a fighter and resent interference by others. In speech and writing you are direct and often eloquent. You are diligent, honest and accurate. You are cautious with money, but generous if the cause is good. Your family life should be happy. Do not marry a frivolous woman.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

3.1.4.4. Face the Past Embrace the Future

Early the next day, Robert, Christopher and Carolyn begin their travel to Varestine. They encounter several monsters along the way. Although equipped with , a fine-looking long sword, Chris makes himself a poor companion, and the battle always ends up with Robert taking the front, Carolyn at the rear for magic support, and Christopher between them, supplying them with potions and guards their provisions. Robert still doesn’t teach Christopher any sword skills yet – only telling him to get a firm one-hand grip on his sword and his wooden shield and continually corrects his handling. This irritates Chris greatly, being a slow learner and impatient.

They pass the new Arkvale village along the way. The village, built not far from the ruins of the old one looks more like a refugee camp or a thieves’ den – completely the contrary than the beautiful old village Robert used to know. Then they visit the graveyard of the old village’s folks. Their graves have no names on them, only crosses to hang anything they wore or bring at the time of their death. Then Robert recognizes his father’s armor on his family grave, with a full-slab tombstone with the names of Robert’s father, mother and sister engraved on it because the late Duke Walthorn knew them: Emmerich, Klarisse, and Jeanna Chandler. Chris and Carolyn go to visit other graves and put flowers on them.

Robert approaches the grave, pulling his father’s kiliji out from the scabbard, and kneels, thrusting it into the ground. Robert prays for a while, and then talks...

‘Father, mother, Jeanna, I’m back. I know the orcs have separated us forever, but I don’t want to waste my life taking revenge upon them. I decided to dedicate my life to protect the people and the country I love. With your sword, father, I will make you proud.’

Then Robert kisses his ring, saying, ‘Wish me luck, and wish me well, I will always keep you all in my heart.’

Robert gets up and searches for Laetitia’s grave – in vain. But suddenly he sees a grave with an orc’s throwing axe hangs on a cross. He remembers at once – the throwing axe that killed Laetitia. He approaches it, and assuming that it is indeed her grave, he kneels and says,

‘Tisha… How I wished to be dead and be with you again in heaven, but I was spared. It was my greatest regret in my entire lifetime that I failed to protect you. But as I have found my purpose, I will never cease to protect the weak and oppressed until the day I die – to repay my debt to you. May you find rest in Vadis’ hands.

Robert stands there for a little while longer. He is deep in his thoughts. Then he calls Chris and Carolyn and they set off to Varestine. As they arrive at Varestine, Robert’s party go directly to the hunters’ guild to trade hunted monsters’ proofs and valuables with money, and sign up for the job to hunt the Lumien Trolls. The clerk examines Robert, Chris and Carolyn closely, then her expression changes and she says,

‘Sorry, this job is already taken. You can wait for the results first or take another job.’

Robert has already expected this kind of response – underestimation – and gives a ready answer.

‘Ah, but we have already received a recommendation letter from the guild in Rand and confirmation from this guild that we are among the hunting parties eligible for this job – and the only one. Please read this letter first, miss.’

The clerk takes the piece of parchment from Robert’s hand and cross-checks it with the records in the back office, and comes back to Robert with a smile on her face.

‘Our apologies, sir. It seems that your party indeed claimed the job. A guild master’s recommendation is always good and guaranteed. Here’s the map to Lumien Forest and the ‘X’ marks here pinpoint the recent sightings of the trolls with notes of the time, date and their movements. Well, good luck and stay alive.’

‘Good luck and stay alive’ – This is the common greeting from the guild clerks continent wide to wish the hunters well and successful. But the clerk said it in such a tone as though she is doubtful that Robert’s party will succeed and come back alive. But Robert ignores that and goes away with the party. Chris complaints,

‘Grrr… the clerks here are never polite. They think they’re important, although their job is a mere administrative thing with low pay. Someday I’ll show ‘em a thing or two… hmph!’

Robert shakes his head and smacks his lips aside on hearing this.

Then they set out to downtown to prepare the weaponry and provisions for the hunt. Robert buys a crossbow and an ample supply of bolts at the weapon shop, and Christopher a small, light black iron shield with a white raven figure engraved at front. Christopher also equips himself with a simple breastplate to resist sharper blows from the enemies. While Carolyn takes her time at the enchanted weapons blacksmith to repair her Thunderclap Staff, a lightning elemental staff with a silvery magnetic orb-like force field floating in between when it’s activated.

When they walk in front of Jeland Citadel in Varestine, Christopher and Carolyn can’t help admiring the greatness of the citadel that protected the city for ages. As Robert is native in this region and as he has served The Walthorns that rule Varestine, Carolyn asks Robert.

‘Robert, you said you served Lord Walthorn before. Why don’t we visit the castle and greet your ex-lord and wish him well?’

Robert answers coolly, ‘That would be impossible. I’m not welcome in there anymore. If I ever set foot there again, they will imprison me at the spot for trespassing.’

Chris reacts carelessly by saying, ‘How come you’re not welcome in this castle anymore? What crime did you commit?’

Robert glares at Christopher. Chris backs away, terrified. Carolyn notices this and says,

‘That’s his “friendliest” way to say “mind your own business!”’

Chiel chuckles amusingly. Christopher glares at Chiel angrily because he is embarrassed. Chiel yelps in fright, and hides behind Carolyn and blows raspberries at Chris.

They set to Lumien Forest by foot early the next day, and they arrive at the forest entrance by night. They don’t dare to stop. They keep walking towards the riverside to avoid a surprise attack by the trolls. They arrive at the Dale River bank at dawn the next day.

Christopher walks feebly; his eyes are half-open. He obviously doesn’t used to have a sleepless night before, and is obviously off-guard – a sitting duck for any monster passing by…

Speaking of which, several pairs of eyes are watching from the bushes in the dark, damp forest. They look for unwary travelers and as they have found one, they immediately prepare themselves to strike.

As Chris yawns, three green-skinned goblins wearing nothing but loincloth suddenly lunge behind him, and one of them draws its dagger to slit Chris’ throat. But before the dagger reaches Chris’ skin a crossbow bolt is already nested through the goblin’s head, right between its eyes. The goblin lets out a loud shriek then dies at once. Chris is startled and turns around. The two other goblins are also shocked – but they already set their own targets and charge forward.

‘Voltarus!’ Carolyn casts a Lightning Bolt spell with her magical trident Esthagar towards one goblin and zaps it dead, totally burnt to crisp. Christopher defends himself from the second goblin’s mace with great difficulty, and suffers a hard blow on his breastplate. But Robert doesn’t move to help him. He only stands in front of Chris, ready with his crossbow and shouts,

‘C’mon, Chris! You can beat him! This peasant goblin is a piece of cake. Do it if you want further training!’

Carolyn looks worried and says, ‘Shouldn’t we help him, Rob?’

Robert doesn’t answer. Then Chiel the Micha who flies to watch for enemies shrieks as an alert. It sees things moving fast towards Robert’s party from the forest, at quite a distance. Robert who hears this immediately aims his crossbow to another direction, saying…

‘More enemies are coming this way! Finish that one quickly, Chris!’

Christopher fights harder, deflects every blow with his sword and shield. Chris swings his long sword Wyrthal haphazardly in panic, hoping that one of his blows might hit – in vain. Suddenly Robert yells with a very, very loud voice, “HEEEAAAH!” The goblin is shocked and reacts by turning his head to see the assailant. Chris sees this opportunity, and swings his sword, cutting through the goblin’s neck. The goblin totters sideways, and falls into the river, lifeless. Soon blood starts flowing out and turns the river red.

Christopher is panting. He never fought this hard before. He kneels to take a rest, but Robert scolds him, ‘On your guard! More enemies are coming, and they now run faster because they smell blood!’

Chris gets up, scowling, but gets himself ready with his Wyrthal Sword and shield anyway. Just then, they hear roars from the forest and three huge, greenish and ugly forest trolls come crashing, charging towards them.

Chris yells ‘Here comes the main course!’ and starts to panic. But Robert stares at the trolls calmly and shoots a bolt right into a troll’s eye. Chris comments again.

‘Bull’s Eye! Oops, I mean, Troll’s Eye!’

But Chris’ face turns pale in a sudden. The other two trolls attack him simultaneously. Carolyn thinks. Man, even trolls hate loudmouths too! In that critical moment, Robert draws his kiliji and launches his lethal Ten Point Chain Slash at the two trolls, making them release their crude clubs, causing them to stop and regenerate their wounds. Christopher gathers up his courage, holds his sword with two hands, climbs one troll’s bended knee, and leaps. But the troll grabs Christopher in mid-air and squeezes him tightly in his massive hand, giving him such a pressure. If Christopher doesn’t wear his breastplate, his body would surely break apart. The troll can’t launch his massive, deadly punch at Chris due to the regeneration of its wounds.

In the agony of death, Chris looks around for help. Robert is busy attacking a troll beside him with quick blows and speedy skills, while also evading the troll’s slow blows. Carolyn is at Chris’ front, sending bolts after bolts of lightning towards the troll with a bolt in one eye, but like Robert, she doesn’t get an upper hand either.

Chris’ condition is desperate, and as the pressure becomes more unbearable as the troll regains his strength, Chris prays silently, “Oh Vadis the Almighty; please save me!”

It was a prayer from a desperate heart that only depends on its last hope – Vadis’ will. But it seems that Vadis has a plan for this ‘hopeless’ fellow, Christopher. Suddenly Chiel the Micha who flies above them reacts to the prayer. Its body and eyes are glowing brightly, and a golden, shining circle that looks like an energy ring appears above its head. It turns its gaze on Chris. Then suddenly a new strength is surging into Chris. The holy power from Chiel generates ceaselessly inside Chris, and Chris feels that he is about to explode if he doesn’t do something to release the energy.

‘EEEEEYAAAAGHHH!!!!’

Chris tries to free himself from the troll’s grip, holds his sword high and thrusts it into the troll’s cranium. The grip loosens at once, and the troll crashes on the ground, dead. Christopher also falls, following the troll to the ground, and lays unconscious. The excess holy energy is gone, and a part of it resides in Christopher’s body, making him stronger so he can generate holy energy by himself from now on. Chiel’s reaction also ends, and it flies casually as though nothing has happened.

Meanwhile, Robert and Carolyn are still fighting their opponents. Robert releases another Ten Point Chain Slash towards the troll, and the troll falls – died from too many mortal wounds, leaving Robert with a bruise on his left cheek.

Carolyn still can’t overcome hers. Every time she only casts and runs, as she needs time to say the mantra and do some energy charge before releasing the spell. This gives time to the troll to regenerate. Carolyn is about to cast another bolt, but the troll has already raised its club aside to strike Carolyn – there’s no escape. Carolyn only stares at the troll in terror. But the troll’s attack stops as a bolt penetrates into its brain between its two eyes. It stands there still, its club falls from its hand, and he falls dead on the ground. Its wound regenerates, but what’s the use of it if the brain is already dead. Carolyn is recovered from her shock at once, and looks back. Robert used his crossbow again to put another bolt in the one-eyed troll with his Bull’s Eye shot. Carolyn stares at him admiringly, then says,

‘Thank you, Robert. You saved my life.’

‘Don’t mention it. That’s what a party for – watching each other’s back.’

‘Speaking of a party – where’s the other party member? Chris?’

Robert looks around, and then finds Christopher.

‘There he is!’

He walks towards Christopher who is still lying unconscious with a rather worried face.

Ah, I failed to protect him. But… this troll is dead. He must’ve killed him. Maybe there’s indeed something special in him that I don’t know. Maybe I’ll just check on him whether he is alive or dead.

Robert puts a finger on Christopher’s nostrils, and speaks in a surprised tone.

‘He’s still alive! This is a miracle!’

‘Ah, really? Oh, Chris! But… but did he actually KILL that troll?’

‘Of course, Carol. Look, his sword is still stuck on its head. It takes a real pro to deal that kind of blow at that troll.’

‘Maybe it was only a fool’s luck. He’s always like that.’

‘Yes. A fool’s luck. But this fool is too lucky. Well, I’ll train him harder to make sure he won’t run out of luck.’

‘Robert, you agreed at last. He will thank you for that.’

‘Oh well, just to show you if I ever stuck in a hunting party, I’ll stick with it until the end. It’s called “commitment”.’

‘Thanks. Now let’s collect the proofs and valuables so no other party or spy might claim them as their own.’

They move Christopher aside. Carolyn tries to bring Christopher into consciousness by pouring water from the river at him. Robert examines the carcasses to extract the proofs and valuables. As he examines the goblin he shot, he finds another wound on its stomach – a stab wound with a sword – and then he smiles.

Hmm. That confirms my hunch, says Robert in his mind.

End of Chapter Four

Saturday, June 17, 2006

The Worst Hunter In The World


Robert regains his full health a week later. He claims his money, and then puts most of them in the Melchior Warehouse in Rand – another branch of a continent-wide network. The Melchior Warehouse store goods in stashes, trunks and spaces and transports them when any of the goods are needed in another place outside the storage city. They employ wizards and chronomages to teleport goods magically through time and space to any place according to the owner’s request, with a quite expensive fee. They also hire hunters and escorts to transport goods of minor urgency, post wizards with flying brooms, horsemen couriers, owls and pigeons to carry personal letters at cheaper prices. But Melchior Warehouse serves mainly as a bank that keeps money into accounts. A person keeps his accounts in a small account book that records deposits and withdrawals as a copy of their own records. They also develop ways to store and transfer goods and money safely, safe from the clutches of bandits, thieves and monsters. The name ‘Melchior’ is derived from the name of a great wizard who proposed this magical teleporting system for commercial use – as a safest and quickest means of continent-wide trade in Aurelia Continent.
Robert checks his account book one more time as he moves out from Melchior Warehouse building, and heads to the Golden Ram Tavern-Inn. As he arrives there, he settles his tabs with Gumbold, and then he sits on his lonely, usual corner, thinking. As no one invites him to gamble or even a chat, and no newcomers around, Robert falls asleep at his corner. He does that for two successive days, without even thinking to go to the guild and recruit his party members. At the third day, he goes to the stable at the back of the guild, and talks to his horse, Paeldagrin.
Robert greets Paeldagrin as he steps into the stable.
‘Hello, old buddy. I dreamt of your old master again. But this time he looked so real, and I recalled almost every step of the way since I lost Tisha and met you. You do miss him, right? Well, to ease your mind, the late lord Walthorn asked me to send his ‘hi’ to you.’
Robert pauses, and strokes Paeldagrin gently like Lord Walthorn used to greet his horse.
Paeldagrin neighs in comfort.
‘And you know what? You and I will travel again. This time it’s not to the orc’s den, but we will see the wide-world. But be patient, buddy. First I have to find other members for my hunting party.’
Paeldagrin neighs in a certain tone, as though he is real happy to ride out freely again.
Robert caresses its mane lovingly and gives it a soft hug, then after a brief pause he feeds Paeldagrin and leaves it. Memories of him being a stable boy came again in his mind, and Robert unawarely kisses the ring on his left hand as he moves into a new phase of his life and new challenges on keeping a hunting party together.
As he arrives at the tavern, Robert goes to his usual corner. But as he is about to sit, Robert hears loud voices and then sees two people going into the tavern, arguing with each other – or rather a one-sided argument.
Well! Other newcomers in town! It’s GAME time! Robert thinks.
The two guests are a man and a woman. The red-haired man dresses like a traveler, his clothes are torn here and there and looks totally shabby. He wields a common long sword, and the woman looks like a sorceress with a pink hair with a magic staff. They unmistakably look like hunters – poor, inexperienced hunters. A strange creature is following the woman – It looks like a hamster with little wings and a long tail – A micha.
Before Robert can say anything to greet them, the sorceress who actually was criticizing the man and then talks to Robert loudly,
‘And YOU should learn how to be a REAL man, just like this gentleman here. Right, mister?’
Robert is perplexed, and answers, ‘Er… yeah?’
The sorceress nods firmly and talks on.
‘You see! Now here’s one man that actually worth regarding. He looks serious, focus, and responsible.’
Robert and the red-haired man respond together (every time), ‘But…’
‘Look strong, macho, and look at his skin! Hardened, sun burnt, and scarred with experience!
‘But…’
‘Not like you! Soft skinned, greedy, idiot, lazy and helpless boy! I should’ve never stuck around with you in the first place! Always blunders, always in trouble, and I have to save your life so many times!’
‘Er…’
‘What? And you too, don’t start getting foolish like this chap here, mister… O-mi-gosh! Where are my manners? May I know your name, mister?’
‘Er… Robert.’
‘SPLENDID! A quick, direct answer. I like you, Mister Robert.
Well, I’m Carolyn, the apprentice sorceress and this is my pet, Chiel the micha. Isn’t she cute?’
Chiel lets out a happy sound, ‘Chi! Chiiii!’
The red-haired guy laughs a bit and comments, ‘I think she likes you, sir.’
Carolyn continues her introduction, ‘And this helpless chap is Christopher.’
‘Just call me Chris – and I’m not helpless.’
Christopher extends his hand to shake Robert’s hand, but Robert only stands there and only reacts coolly.
‘Whoa! Whoa! Easy does it. I don’t want to interfere with anything here, but please take your arguments outside before you make any damage here.’
Carolyn gasps, ‘Holy cow! How rude! Well excuse me! But you see, this chap here was almost killed by a giant mantis and I had to save his life – again! What do you think that made me, huh? I’m stranded in the middle of nowhere with this geek!’
Chris complaints, ‘Well that’s what witches do! To give magical aids in tight spots! All right, I admit I didn’t see that leg strike, but that’s what you’re supposed to do, right? Watching my back!
‘AAArgh! A PROPER swordsman could’ve detected and avoided it very easily, right, Mr. Robert?’
Robert gives them a totally puzzled look, and says
‘Um… yes?’
‘See! That proves my point. Anyway…’
Robert can’t stand to hear some more arguments and cuts to the point.
‘Hey kid! You want to win BIG money?’
Christopher’s greed is easily hooked with this bait, and he responds with wide-open eyes.
‘Oh, yessiree! Of course!’
But Carolyn, sensing another trouble, blocks Christopher from Robert’s sight, saying,
‘Hey, cousin! Stop that! Every time you do that, you always ended up with an empty purse and bruises all over!’
‘But this guy looks like a stone and geeky too! I’m sure I can win this time! So, what’s the game, sir?’
Robert answers coldly, ‘How about a dice game? Small or big numbers, the usual thing?’
Before Christopher can answer, Carolyn has already put her face real close to Robert’s, and scolds,
‘Listen, buster! Don’t you ever think you can cheat our money! We don’t have much left anyway!’
Carolyn takes out her purse, and pours four zennies and three florins on her hand.
‘You see? We’re dead broke! We need hunting jobs now, but this bloke here can’t kill even a jelly slug!’
Robert observes Carolyn and Christopher more closely and thinks,
Oh, yes. These two must be the worst hunters I’ve ever seen, a geek and a loudmouth. But I sense something familiar with this geek. His red hair, his face, his name… Somewhat I think these two aren’t ordinary people. But one thing for sure, they won’t stand to any challenge unless they do what novices do, like I did…

Carolyn’s face gets close to Robert’s again in a sudden. This time Chiel sits on Carolyn’s head, making a similar expression as Carolyn’s.
‘Hey, sir? What are you thinking? Daydreaming? Or…’
Suddenly Carolyn slaps Robert’s cheek.
‘How DARE you! Thinking weird things about me, huh? I thought you were a gentleman, but in fact you’re nothing but a pervert pig!’
Carolyn turns to go away from the tavern, followed by Chiel. Robert is still rubbing his painful cheek, and he tries to stop saying from going away by saying…
‘Wait, WAIT! Listen, how about another deal?’
Carolyn stops and stands there without turning back. Chiel also stops and floats in mid-air.
‘No gamble, no cheat. Just assist me in one hunting job, and you’ll get a fair share of the bounty and a solution for your financial problems.’
Suddenly Carolyn turns and moves her face very close to Robert’s.
‘Okay! We seventy, you thirty. Deal.’
‘Hey, wait! No way! Novices may not take that kind of share! You thirty, I seventy! ’
‘We are not novices, and it’s not fair! We seventy, you thirty!’
‘Hmph, okay, I sixty you forty!’
‘No!’
Carolyn turns to leave. Christopher was all ready to take the deal, but didn’t make a sound at all because Carolyn has already taken over all the conversation.
‘Hey, don’t try to push me, greenhorns.’ Robert pauses a bit, and then talks again.
‘Okay, Fifty-fifty. That’s my last deal. I usually work alone, so take it or leave it!’
Carolyn’s face turns cheerful because her haggling has taken her this far, and she answers,
‘Okay, deal. When can we start?’
‘After lunch. I heard Chris’ stomach is already grumbling. My treat.’
Christopher blushes like a boy, but is excited upon a treat, and so is Chiel (it likes to copy human expressions and doings, especially Carolyn, Chris and now Robert’s). Carolyn looks at Christopher and then to Robert with worry on her face.


==oOo==


On the streets of Rand, Carolyn and Christopher walk and chat merrily, with Robert walking behind them, making an even surlier face than usual. Chiel chooses to copy Robert’s face this time and flies around Carolyn.
Robert thinks. That geek ate like a Leviathan! Now even the bounty can’t cover up my losses!
He jiggles his purse – Not many coins are left in there. Robert bows his head as though he regrets choosing these two morons in his party.
As they arrive at the guild, Carolyn and Chris immediately browse for jobs – and arguing with each other again, while Robert goes to meet Hulferd.
Charlotte says, ‘Oh, sorry Rob. Ferdy is going out for some errands – he will come back soon. You just wait here.’
‘No thanks ma’am. I think I’ll wait outside. You see I am with friends….’
‘Friends? At last, Robert! That’s an improvement!’
‘Good day, ma’am!’
He gets out as he says that.
Then he also browses for a job himself and his party. All the jobs on the posters and boards are not satisfying enough for him: low-rate monsters, low-pay, and many competitors. Carolyn and Chris keep showing him to job posters, but their choices are nothing but jelly slugs, giant spiders, and giant rats. And Chiel excitingly looks at a poster with the picture of a wild micha and makes a love struck face. Robert almost loses his patience, overwhelmed by too many unfavorable choices. Werewolves, goblins, gnolls, giant carrion caterpillars, giant ants, fishmen, turtlemen, skeletons…
Hulferd returns at last. Robert is glad, but his expression is unchanged. He just walks right to Hulferd and talks to him.
‘Sir Hulferd, May I ask you for advice?’
‘Oh, Robert. Yes, of course. Found yourself a party, I presume?’
‘I guess so. But I still need your keen judgment to make sure that they are really dependable. That’s because if we look with our own eyes only – they aren’t.’
Hulferd reacts with a surprise.
‘Really? That’s interesting. Now bring them to my office and let me look at them.’
‘Yes, sir. Right away.’
Robert then calls Christopher and Carolyn, and they go to Hulferd’s office. Robert knocks the door. Hulferd replies, ‘Come in, come in!’
Robert comes in first and introduces,
‘These are the party members I told you about. Carolyn the witch and Christopher the swordsman. You two, this is Sir Hulferd Richardson, the guild master.’
Carolyn and Christopher say, “Pleased to meet you, Sir Hulferd.”
Hulferd is very surprised to see Christopher and Carolyn, but Chris gives him a certain kind of look and Hulferd’s expression changes in an instant. He is thoughtful for the moment.
Robert is surprised upon Hulferd’s reaction, and asks him,
‘Sir, are you all right?’
‘Oh, yes, Robert. I just want to confirm that your judgment is correct. We can’t assess someone’s potential by his appearance only. And according to Robert’s standards, I have just the right job for you three. Where is it… aha! There you go!’
Robert, Chris and Carolyn see the poster. It has a picture of a forest troll there. Then they read the contents.


WANTED
The Trolls of Lumien Forest
DEAD

80 Crowns per Head
Three Trolls Sighted
Same Reward for Extra Trolls

For crimes against the kingdom
Killing, Forest Plundering

Submit Right Troll Ear as proof – All have complete ears
Walthorn’s Edict : Proofs will be checked magically upon submittance


This rather detailed poster definitely isn’t a poster from Rand. Only one guild in Lore added the details in the posters beside the manuals. Hulferd speaks,
‘Just received it today from the guild in Varestine. I bet you three want to take the job, do you? And you have a chance to visit your “home” before you go overseas, Robert.’
‘Arkvale… The Walthorns… Jeland.’
Now Robert knows the meaning of his dream. In order to embrace the future, he must face his past again sooner or later. He doesn’t want to remember his bitter past, but he soon realizes that his existence and purpose is much more important than being an orc-hunter for revenge. He was spared from death for something greater, for the good of his country. Then he feels the urge to visit Arkvale. The tragedies will motivate him to go forward, not consume him with hatred and revenge. He needs to remember. His father, mother, sister, Old Duke Walthorn, and… Laetitia.
‘If I’m strong, I can do whatever I can to protect all that I love, and don’t let them get stolen from me again!’ It’s Robert’s conclusion in his mind.
‘Okay, we take it.’
Chris is overjoyed like a child, ‘Awright! A job!’
Carolyn pulls Chris’ ear. Chris whines. Hulferd clears his throat, and as he gets their attention, he continues.
‘Okay, now we’re set. I want you two to assist Robert and watch his back, and let him do the bashing. You three can kill as many monsters you can along the way – except this one.’
Hulferd points at Chiel with his chin. Chiel hops joyfully on Carolyn’s shoulder, making a sound.
‘And don’t forget to claim their special and useful body parts as proofs to be exchanged with money at the guild. You do have the list of required proofs, don’t you?’
Carolyn nods. ‘I have it anytime.’
She pats her goodie bag.
Hulferd nods.
‘Good. I see you’re the observant and careful one.’
Then he continues.
‘Anyway, the last sighting of the trolls was at the western part of Lumien Forest, at the bank of the Dale River. Trolls like fish the most, although some of them eat men. Proceed with caution. These creatures are dim-witted, but they’re very brutal. And Forest Trolls can regenerate and heal their wounds. But they can only heal one wound at a time, so attack quickly and inflict fatal wound as soon as possible.’
Chris nods, ‘We understand, Sir.’
‘And,’ Hulferd stares at Chris, ‘no mistakes, No foul-ups. One slip from you, their clubs will crush your skulls like squashing a bug.’
Chris gulps. ‘Mistake’ is the ever-occurring thing in his each and every mission. Hulferd sighs and continues his explanation on trolls.
‘Attack the trolls in broad daylight, because they are the strongest at night. But they’re never weak, only dumb. If you’re not strong enough to confront them frontally, use your wit and speed.’
Robert already knew all this from his experience, but he listens attentively and seriously. Knowing that he brings along unseasoned companions, he must remind them every now and then. Carolyn copies Hulferd’s words in a notebook, and Chris just stands there with minor attention and major fright.
‘Well, all I can say is good luck. And Robert, just take your time facing your past and you’ll embrace your future with no regrets.’
Robert replies coolly, ‘Thanks, sir, and wish us luck.’
‘Yes, good luck, you three. You will need it. Oh, yes, Robert – one word with you – in private.’
Chiel, Carolyn and Chris move out from the room. Then Hulferd gives his opinion to Robert with a low voice.
‘From outside, I can see that Chris is a loser and Carolyn is over-eager. But I sense a different air in them, Robert. Just do anything you can to guide them to greatness. I know they can if they try.’
‘Thank you, Sir. That gives a rest to my worries. Well, see you again – perhaps not very soon.’
‘I’ll miss you, Robert. You’re like a son to me. I’m sure Lord Walthorn watches over you from Heaven with pride now. Good bye.’
Without further ado, Robert leaves the room. As he walks out from the room, he finds Carolyn, Christopher and Chiel eavesdropping.
‘BWAAAHH!!!’
With that shout, Robert makes them jump with surprise. They are flustered and look real ridiculous, but Robert doesn’t laugh.
Chris protests, ‘Careful, buster. You might rip someone’s heart out.’
Robert replies,
‘If I intended to rip your heart out it would be done before you can say that.’
Chris gulps and goes silent. Robert talks again.
‘And that’s your first lesson. ALWAYS ready for surprises. Don’t let the enemy surprise you. You’ll meet all sorts of monsters: Goblins, for one, are sneaky bastards. They’ll ambush and kill you before you can say, “Goblins!”. Oh well, let’s prepare the provisions and we’ll be on our way.’
Carolyn looks at Chris with disdain. Then an idea comes to her, and she talks to Robert.
‘Sir Robert, will you be kind, as to teach Christopher here swordplay? I know it’s kinda hard for you, but if he doesn’t improve his skills, he will be slain before he reaches the trolls.’
Robert hesitates.
‘Hmmm. I see… well, let me think about it for a while, and we’ll talk again at the tavern.’
As they walk along the posters room, some rowdy, tough-guy hunters recognize Christophe and Carolyn and then insult them.
‘Well, well, lookie here! The geek and the loudmouth!’
Robert looks at them with wide-open eyes, thinking, hey, they stole my line!
The insulting hunters are Baxter the skinny archer and Ellephar the fat pikeman. Baxter always wears a bandana covering his long hair and head like a sea pirate. His face always looks sly and intimidating, like a black mamba snake. Ellephar on the other hand, looks like a dimwit and a pushover, but he covers it by acting tough and menacing. They are known by their dirty methods and sometimes they cheat on their party members. No one wants to be part of a party with these ‘Deceptive Duo’ in it. Baxter and Ellephar continues,
‘Taking a flobber* – hunting job again huh?’ says Ellephar.
‘I bet you can’t even kill a flobber,’ says Baxter. ‘Just go home to your momma and beg for milk!’

(*Flobber is another name for Jelly Monster. A term widely used by hunters because of the jelly-ish substance they found in it – The Flob or Jelly Core. Flobber is a low level monster.)

Christopher is about to burst out and attack them, but Robert immediately blocks his way, shakes his heads and stares at him, as a sign that Chris mustn’t attack these two rogues and just ignore their insults.
‘Ooh, what’s the matter with you? Chicken, huh? Chick, chick, chick – chicken!’
‘Mommy’s boy!’
‘I see you’re making friends with Orcbane now. What’d you do, kiss his butts? Or just let your pretty cousin here spending one night with him? Tsk, tsk, tsk… How low. How very-very low.’
This time Robert has to calm Carolyn too by saying in low voice,
‘Chill, you two. Don’t be provoked by them. I know them. They usually provoke wannabes and novices and challenge them into duels. Then they’ll defeat the novices and rob them. Just move along.’
Baxter is upset that Robert foiled their provocation, and provokes Robert instead.
‘Hey, Orcbane? Change lines from hunting to babysitting now, eh? Don’t interfere! We’re going to give these runts some ‘orientation’!’
Robert replies coolly, ‘Why don’t I give you an “orientation” instead? My kiliji here will teach you two a lesson of “mind your own businesses!”’
Robert has his hand on his kiliji sword and is ready to draw it and decapitate Baxter and Ellephar in split seconds – at the risk of losing his hunter license. Baxter and Ellephar loses their gut at seeing Robert’s killer determination in his air, and walks away hastily out of the building.
Robert also walks to the exit, followed by Carolyn and Christopher. They don’t talk along the way to the marketplace. Carolyn keeps her eyes on Robert with admiration. Christopher notices this and thinks that Carolyn fancies Robert and from now on she will pay more attention to Robert than to him. Christopher walks on with hopelessness and disappointment in his face. Chiel the micha flies merrily above them and lands on Chris’ shoulder, rubbing its face on Chris’ to comfort him. That gives Chris a slight smile on his face.

FireHeart3 - Paladins -Table Of Contents - Book 1 - Chronicles of a Bounty Hunter

FIREHEART Episode III

Legend of the Paladins

Book One: Chronicles of a Bounty Hunter

Table of Contents

How to use Table of Contents:

Just block, copy and paste the chapter / sub-chapter code or title on the Blogger's or Technocrati's "Search This Blog" blank on the top or sidebar to find the chapter you desired.

3.1.1. ORCBANE: IN THE SHADE OF THE MOON

3.1.1.1. An Oddjob and an Orcjob

3.1.1.2. The One Job No One Wants

3.1.1.3. Into Danger's Den

3.1.2. THE DREAM PART ONE: THE WHEEL OF FORTUNE

3.1.2.1. Flashes of the Past

3.1.2.2. The Old Duke and the Silver Haired Boy

3.1.2.3. The Citadel of Jeland

3.1.3. THE DREAM PART TWO: THE FORBIDDEN LOVERS

3.1.3.1. The Old King and the Little Princess

3.1.3.2. The Order of Lions

3.1.3.3. The Seeds of Romance

3.1.3.4. The Forbidden Love

3.1.3.5. The Parting

3.1.3.6. The Wheel Turns Again

3.1.3.7. The Change of the Way

3.1.4. THE FOOL AND THE MAGICIAN

3.1.4.1. The Six-Legged Trouble

3.1.4.2. Wake Up and Smell the Florins!

3.1.4.3. The Worst Hunter in the World

3.1.4.4. Face the Past, Embrace the Future

3.1.5. THE HERMIT AND THE WINDWALKER

3.1.5.1. Salvation in the Snow

3.1.5.2. The Hermit Awakes

3.1.5.3. Little People, Big Heads

3.1.5.4. The Hermit's Story

3.1.5.5. The Slander

3.1.5.6. Escape From Grad

3.1.5.7. Enter: The Windwalker and the Bladedancer

3.1.6. DEATHBLADE PART ONE: THE SPIRIT OF TEMPERANCE

3.1.6.1. It is Time

3.1.6.2. The Red Envelope and the Treasure Map

3.1.6.3. Temperance Saves the Fool

3.1.6.4. The Call of Heroes

3.1.6.5. Attractions and Distractions

3.1.7. DEATHBLADE PART TWO: THE HEART OF THE SUN

3.1.7.1. Enia's Sanctum

3.1.7.2. Temptation of Nature

3.1.7.3. Flyin' Flynn

3.1.7.4. Boulder Trouble

3.1.7.5. Strife in the Ice

3.1.7.6. Robert's Sacrifice

3.1.7.7. The Ravaging of the Sun

3.1.7.8. The Morning Light

3.1.7.9. I'm Here

3. FireHeart Saga Episode III: Legend of the Paladins

3.1. Book One: Chronicles of a Bounty Hunter

Fantasize Yourself in FireHeart!

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