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Unity eventually returned from the Maragda Building’s luxurious underground parking garage and found me in the lobby, right where she left me, screaming at the open air like a total moron.

“FIND!” I shouted. “PICTURE! HOME SCREEN!” And then, after a quick squint at the screen: “AAARGH!”

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“Well,” I said. “This is the last time I ever buy furniture from one of those ‘unpainted furniture marts’.”

The dryad sighed and took a drag on the cigarette I’d loaned her, one of only four remaining in my household. “I’m not happy about it either, you understand,” she said. “But it beats being trapped in an entertainment center my entire life.”

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“So,” remarked Agent All-Devouring Void, “you gonna eat those fries?”
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“It turns out that when Agent Talbot disabled the facility’s primary data loop by biting through its main power conduit, its synthetic mother-brain took note of it, and drew what it believed to be… appropriate conclusions.”

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Here is a link to what is probably going to be my most wished-after Kickstarter project in 2016.  Normally I’m not particularly big on pimping other people’s projects; you come here for monthly bits of writing and ridiculousness, not to read lengthy advertisements for other peoples’ creative ventures.  Since I have to do this sparingly, I like to save what goodwill I have here for the ones that really matter to me.  JourneyQuest is that thing.

You hang around enough comic and fantasy conventions, you inevitably end up wandering into a screening room, because, hey, what’s going on in this darkened room?  Invariably, if you do this, you will end up seeing a dreadfully unfunny fan-made fantasy film created by production startups with more leftover SCA props than decent scriptwriters.  Despite bearing some superficial similarities, JourneyQuest is not that thing.  The lesser-known brainchild of the people that brought you The Gamers: Dorkness Rising, JourneyQuest is an unexpectedly funny and well-written offering of the episodic indie fantasy genre, succeeding (in my mind) where many others fail.

The caveat: you will have to get past the fact that they lifted their A-plot from a minor bit in Terry Pratchett’s The Colour of Magic.  The primary protagonist Perf and his ridiculously terrible intelligent talking sword are virtually indistinguishable from Rincewind and Kring, respectively.  So there’s that.  Once you get comfy with that fact, there’s a whole lot of delightfully memorable character moments to find:  everything from a hilariously bullheaded warrior mindlessly smashing his way through a temple of thought-traps (much to the chagrin of the temple’s architect), to a pair of dueling bards competing for the right to chronicle the ongoing story without compromising their narrative neutrality, to a trio of orcish hunters who will immediately make you regret every single wandering monster encounter you ever diced your way through, to the world’s most progressive barbarian conqueror, to a heartbreaking cleric-turned-lich struggling to hold onto his faith despite the fact that his increasingly-silent god seems to view him as a greater abomination than the evils he struggles against.  It’s surprisingly meaty stuff.

Anyway, check out the Kickstarter page, take a gander at seasons one and two on YouTube, and see if you agree.  And if you do, consider helping a bunch of indie filmmakers do what they do very well.

“Santa Plow”

And so we sit upon our snow-covered porch, drinking mulled cider, wrapped in blankets, shawls, coats and mufflers. Our breath issues forth in cheerful white clouds. The little ones scuffle in the snow nearby, but their playfulness is of an excited, distracted sort, and they are ready to drop it at a moment’s notice. Rebecca, the quiet one, refrains from the roughhousing and stands quietly at my side, a vision of perfect pink in earmuffs.

“Is it true?” asks Rebecca, for this is her first year, and she cannot quite believe it. She will see. “Is it true that he’s coming?”

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Let us kick off the holiday season in a very “Dungeons and Dragons” sort of way, shall we?

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