Tag Archives: humor

Lifesinger

This is part 3 of 3 for my BlogBattle series of fan-fiction using the characters from CW’s Supernatural. 

Genre: Fairy

Word: Iridescent

Okay, BlogBattlers, I totally blew up the word count rule on this one (just shy of 2000 words), because I had WAY too much fun bringing the story to a close. So I don’t consider it a legitimate entry for the contest. BUT I’m passing it on because you lovely people read the first two and deserve a (hopefully) good ending. 

—–

Bloodied and bruised by the woodland monster they’d taken to calling Thorn, Dean Winchester accepted an offered helping hand for once, and rose to his feet. Frustration filled his eyes and he stared at the human-form angel Castiel. “What the hell was that thing, Cas?”

“A spriggan,” Castiel said. “A woodland spirit of wrath.” He stared up the mountain path as if reading a mystery in the lines of the trees. “Something is amiss here—something of evil that has no rightful place. But you’ll need the Lifesinger of this particular site in order to expel the corruption.”

Sam ran a hand through his hair. “Spriggans, Lifesingers… what are we dealing with?”

“There are more than angels and Demons at war in the spiritual realm,” Castiel said. “Nature has Her own ranks of companions and guardians, and their associations are not always clear.”

Dean shook his head. “Come on, the trees are alive here or something?”

Castiel shrugged. “Your people long have kept stories of such things. Sprites, elves, feyfolkken… faeries. Voices in the wind, women in the waters… why do you think His Word speaks of trees clapping hands and rocks crying out?”

Dean scoffed and opened the door of the Impala. “Come on, Sam,” he grumbled. “We’re off to find Tinkerbell to see if she can sprinkle the ritual site with some of her pixy dust.” He waggled his fingers in the air like casting a spell, then sat in the driver’s seat and started the engine.

Castiel climbed into the back, and Sam grabbed his father’s journals from the glove box. “Maybe Dad can shed some light on all of this…”

Dean nodded. “Which way?”

Castiel cocked his head. “I assume Sam means that John Winchester’s experiences and insights may apply to our own. Are you sure Thorn didn’t hit your head too hard?”

“No, Cas,” Dean growled. “Which way to this Lifesinger you mentioned? Up the path to the site? Somewhere down in Boulder?”

Castiel sat back, eyes wide. “Oh. I have no idea. What about you, Sam?”

“What do you mean, you have no idea?” Dean rubbed his face and sighed. “What, do I point the hood at the nearest Disney store and hope for the best?”

“While potentially fun,” Castiel said, considering, “I’m not sure that would help, Dean.”

“Where do you normally find a Lifesinger?”

“Oh. There are precious few around that I know of. Most of those traditions have died off over the centuries. We could try one of the nearest reservations, perhaps. Ireland was always a good place to look, but I don’t think we have time for overseas travel…”

“The McSwains’ cabin,” Sam said. “Dad said Grant and Teagan watched over this place and did a lot more than that in their younger years.”

Dean put the car in drive, spun a one-eighty, and headed downhill. “Sure,” Dean muttered. “Let’s fetch the hundred year old lady to save us. If she’s not drooling on herself, wondering what decade it is…”

On the return trip, they left the Impala at the clearing where they’d fought Thorn. Sam cut his long-legged stride to baby steps in order to walk with one arm around Teagan McSwain’s frail form. Castiel kept a curious distance from the woman, watching her with sidelong glances and questioning eyes.

Teagan watched the branches, sometimes skittish at each noise, sometimes smiling with wonder. She hummed a flowing tune that made Sam think of dancing, but her faltering steps seemed far from whatever joyful memory she clung to in her mind.

Dean kept getting ahead of the group, then waiting with arms crossed until they reached him. “Shoulda brought the axe, Sammy,” he said as they neared the top of the second hill. “These trees aren’t normal.”

The trunks looked curved and stretched, shaped rather than grown. They formed two long ranks that bent toward each other, their branches mingling high overhead in a natural archway. The air grew stuffy and humid, but carried the scent of lilac. Birds flitted to and fro some distance from the path, singing out warnings to each other. But none came near the path into the ritual site.

Castiel stopped before the first tree. “I can’t enter,” he said. “Or, rather, I won’t.” Dean and Sam turned to meet his gaze and saw resolution plain on Castiel’s face. “I told you, there are other powers at work. And while I could exert authority over this place, I feel it would be… disruptive. Inappropriate.”

“Great,” Dean said, and strode into the dimness ahead, flexing his fists.

Sam guided Teagan beneath the trees, checking over his shoulder. Castiel stood, hands clasped in front of his tan coat, concern etched in the wrinkles on his face.

“He’s right, you know,” Teagan whispered. “His kind… they aren’t always welcome in places like this.”

Sam faced her, shocked. “You know what he is?”

She nodded. “Seen angels a time or two. Bright like dawn, even when they try to hide it.” Her face darkened and she clutched Sam tight. “Better than the opposite kind…”

Sam pursed his lips and thought of his own encounters with demons. Crowley’s face came to mind, the prince of Hell joking and laughing at Sam’s expense. “I’ll agree with you there, ma’am,” Sam said.

Dean’s mouth curled in doubt. “You think you’re gonna walk in and magically fix this?”

“I hope so.”

“Then why didn’t you do it before we got here?”

She rolled up her sleeve and revealed two crimson lines scratched in her skin. “I tried… but Thorn… I couldn’t get here alone.”

Sam glared at Dean and he fell silent.

After what felt like several minutes, the tree-arch opened to reveal a small grotto carved in a sheer cliff of rock. The sunlight felt thin and faded, and its beams wavered as if distorted. Thorn lay huddled against the stone wall in a fetal ball, its green eyes glaring at the intruders. A hissing sound emitted from the spriggan’s mouth, but it made no aggressive move.

Dean stood between Teagan and Thorn, ready to fight even with no chance of winning. Sam led Teagan into the grotto, and she shivered as she took a deep breath.

She pointed at Thorn. “What is that?”

“Cas says it’s a spriggan,” Sam answered. “Some kind of nature spirit.”

“No, you daft boy… the blackness in its foot. It reeks of Hell and corruption.”

Sam squinted and spotted a jagged chunk of dark metal shaped like a spiked jack from a child’s game sticking out of Thorn’s heel. The spriggan’s fingers curled near the object, hesitant and defensive lest anything touch the wound.

Sam approached, hands extended in a gesture of peace. “Let me help you get that out,” he said in a soft tone.

Thorn hissed again and bared its claws.

“I think that’s my job, son,” Teagan said. She coughed to clear her throat, then stepped into the middle of the grotto. Her voice rose in the wavering song she’d been humming, raspy at first then strong and clearer with every word.

Grey and strong the stone and green the vibrant leaves

And bright the lilac blooms beneath the verdant eaves

Before Sam’s eyes, the woods responded to Teagan’s call. Glowing sprites winked into view and fluttered between sun-drenched branches. Colors like a liquid rainbow dripped from every leaf. Strands of emerald light twisted around Thorn and Teagan, growing in brightness until Sam couldn’t look at them any longer.

Teagan sang on, heedless of the change.

Come now every fae, awaken from your dream,

Bring forth the light of day, unleash the living stream

Let glory shadows slay, and purest life redeem

Thorn jerked and its foot kicked toward the grotto’s entrance. Shimmering light pooled around the shadowy metal. With a thunderclap, the chunk of darkness burst out of Thorn’s foot and hurtled through the archway like a bullet from a gun.

“We need to get that before it corrupts anything else,” Dean shouted, dashing through the trees after the jack.

Sam hesitated and glanced at Teagan and Thorn, who both seemed frozen in swirling light. Then he ran after Dean. They lumbered through the woods, snapping branches on the ground and stumbling over roots. Then they reached the end of the archway and found Castiel.

The angel stood squared up against a man in a long black coat who held the jack up to the light with a grin.

“Crowley,” Dean said. “What in Hell are you doing here?”

“Hello again, boys,” Crowley said. “Sorry for the trouble. And quite right, Dean. One of my lads lost this little bauble during a recent trip this way, and, well… I couldn’t just come get it on my own. Not allowed, you see. Too… disruptive.” He winked at Castiel.

Dean took a position beside Castiel. “What is that thing, Crowley? I don’t think demons are coming up and tossing jacks to pass the time.”

“You care to play?” Crowley extended his hands as if offering the object, then snapped it back. “Whoops, looks like none of you brought any balls. Maybe next time.”

Sam heard more footsteps approaching from the grotto and turned to see a burly, half-naked man in his twenties, with Teagan’s knitted sweater wrapped around his waist, followed by a young redhead the same age wearing the rest of the old lady’s oversized clothes.

The redhead strode past Sam and got in Crowley’s personal space. “I told you before, you’re not welcome here, demon,” she seethed.

“Good to see you again too, Teags.” Crowley turned to the man and looked him up and down. “And you… You’re a lucky man, Grant McSwain. Though you should put on some clothes… you’re going to get Dean all worked into a tizzy.”

Teagan slapped him across the face.

“Well aren’t you a feisty one,” Crowley said as he massaged his jaw. “Such a lost art, hospitality. I suppose I shall bid you farewell.”

He vanished in a puff of brimstone and ash.

Sam doffed his jacket and wrapped it around Grant, but Castiel eyed Teagan with as much suspicion as he’d given Crowley. “Mortals weren’t meant to drink from that. Not even guardians.”

Teagan bowed her head, sheepish. “I know. And we didn’t mean to… but I couldn’t let that piece of Hell corrupt him.”

Dean looked at Grant and sighed. “Thorn, I presume. And you’ve been guarding… what, the Fountain of Youth?”

“We found it in the Fifties,” Teagan answered. “Our last expedition, though we didn’t know it at the time. Once we realized what it was, we stayed to protect it. We had to.”

Dean nodded. “From the Red scare? Worried about Communists?”

Grant shrugged. “More like the Red, White and Blue scare. A source of power that could turn General Patton into a young man again, that could make a man like McCarthy live forever? That’s too much for any government to control. But it’s safe now, thanks to you all. And it’ll stay that way.”

“You weren’t supposed to drink from it,” Castiel stressed.

Grant smiled at Teagan and took her hand. “I wonder if we just got fired from being guardians.”

Everyone chuckled, except Castiel, who disappeared with a rush of wind.

They started down the path toward the Impala, taking in the fresh air. Once they reached the car, Sam offered Grant and Teagan a ride.

“You know what,” Grant said, “I think we’ll walk. I forgot what it’s like to not feel stiff all the time. From age, mind you, not from being Thorn.”

The boys said their goodbyes, and the Impala roared down the hillside.

Alone under the trees, Grant leaned close to Teagan and held her tight. “What did I ever do to deserve you? After so many years, you’ve saved me one last time…”

A mischievous light sparkled in Teagan’s eyes as she looked at the youthful Grant. “Last? Maybe not…”

Recognizing the Crutch

Over the years, usually but not always in the context of discussions with atheists about religion, I’ve heard people say derisive things about the use of any sort of crutch. I’m not out to discuss the weakness of a “religion is a crutch” polemic, however.

I’ve discovered my writer’s crutch today: the Bluetooth keyboard for my iPad.

Made of 100% pure American freedom!

I do most my writing and note-taking on the go somewhere… Coffee shops, lunch breaks at work, a few quiet moments before a flight or immediately after the duty day is over. Even when I schedule time at home to write, I often gravitate toward the iPad in its handy ZAGG case with built-in Bluetooth keyboard. 

I’m sure I’ve posted about this before, but the case essentially turns the iPad into a Notebook or mini-laptop. The keyboard is slightly small, but large enough that my fingers have gotten accustomed to the locations of the keys. I can type whole sentences with my eyes closed and they turn out fine. (Like that one did… Ok, Autocorrect helped on ‘sentences’ when I felt myself add too many n’s, but still…)

So the other day I re-learned the lesson that water + electronics = failure. I dipped the corner of the case and iPad into the bathtub. Yes, I took a bath with it. I just love it that much. (My lawyers suggest I delete the last few sentences, but I won’t be silenced!)

The iPad survived just fine (minus a tiny bit of condensation in the corner), but the keyboard case started malfunctioning shortly after, and never worked right again. I even tried the “put it in a bag of rice” trick that has saved many an iPhone from demise. No joy.

This story isn’t really going anywhere other than to say I understand more fully one of my weaknesses and dependencies. Like a steady supply of coffee, functional user-friendly technology, and Internet access, the Bluetooth keyboard is a God-given Constitutional right wonderful amenity I refuse to do without, so much as it’s in my power to choose.

‘Murica.

The Gold Rush of Eighteen Forty-Ten, a #BlogBattle entry

This piece is for the Blog Battle hosted and managed by the seemingly tireless Rachael Ritchey. If you’d like to participate, she has all the details on the Blog Battlers’ WordPress site.

Genre: Tall Tale

Word: Resolved

Word Count: 1041

—–

Aurora Borealis, painted by Frederic Edwin Church, 1865. (Public Domain)
Aurora Borealis, painted by Frederic Edwin Church, 1865. (Public Domain)

 

The Northern Lights danced across the Alaska sky while two men trudged through the snows. Rings of smoke followed in their wake like Indian signals, and the lantern jangling from a pole spread a warm, inviting light with which the weather disagreed.

“I’m tellin’ ya, Jim’s stronger than any man,” the younger man said. His cigar glowed orange as he took a drag beneath his thick black mustache. “Didja see how he hefted those carts of stone? Bet he could hurl ‘em right over the peak of Denali if he had half a mind to do it.”

“Oh, I know all the stories,” the older fellow replied, hunched and stiff from years in the mines. “Folk say when Ol’ Jim Gibbons was born, he split his Ma right in half. Then the boy saw what he’d done and squeezed her back together again like clay.”

“Aw, that’s a load of bunk.”

“I met Maw-Maw Gibbons, Junior. She’s got a white stretch mark runs straight down her spine an’ right between her bosoms. Limped as long as I’ve known her, an’ who can blame her after that ordeal?”

“Well, that may be, Paw… but ain’t possible to split a person in half and then put ‘em together again.”

“You a doctor of medicine now? Wish you told me! We coulda been makin’ a killing treatin’ the workers on this gold rush instead of joinin’ ‘em in the mines.”

Paw gazed into the night sky and took a deep breath. “Here’s to another year of luggin’ rock and pannin’ for gold. Happy New Year, boy. I’ll get you a mug of cider when we reach Abby’s.”

“Paw, come on now. I think I’ll go for somethin’ a little stronger.”

“Fine, but I ain’t buyin’ no firewater. You need to cut down the carousin’ and cavortin’ with wayward women, get some meat on your bones and some strength in your spirit. Start of a New Year’s a good time to make some changes, Junior.”

“I ain’t Jim Gibbons,” Junior fired back, “and I ain’t tryin’ to be him neither. I’m a grown man now, Paw. I can tend to my own affairs.”

“Jus’ sayin’ a man could choose worse examples to follow.” Paw eyed the glowing stogie between Junior’s lips.”Like quittin’ those Cubans. Might save us some earnings if we didn’t have to keep you stocked up on tabacca an’ booze.”

“Man’s got to live a little, Paw. What’s the point of puttin’ in my fifty or sixty years if I don’t enjoy a one of ‘em? Even your big legend Jim had his days of fun an’ debauchery.”

Paw shook his head and dismissed Junior’s point with a wave.

Junior took a long drag on the cigar, until the end blazed like the anger building in his heart. “Okay, Paw, let’s talk about the Gibbons I’ve heard tell of. Went through bottles of whiskey like lesser men take shots. Walked into sportin’ houses an’ hired the whole stable of women, an’ left no less vigorous than when he came through the doors.”

“Hardly the right kind of—”

“Men say when he rustles up dinner after a week in the mines, he rides out to the Circle-Tee Ranch and purchases beef by the head of cattle instead of the pound of the cut. Why, when the Garveston tobacco plantation went up in the drought, they say Ol’ Jim rode through the flames an’ plumes of smoke, suckin’ in deep breaths an’ grinnin’ the whole dang time. Told the farmhand that he finally got the happy feels ever’body talked about. That’s your bastion of morality an’ clean livin’ right there.”

“Mayhaps he did all that,” Paw admitted with a solemn nod. Then he waggled a finger at Junior. “You forget he turned aside from his sinful ways. Found some religion, put his face into the Good Book now an’ again. Happened during the California Gold Rush of Eighteen Forty-Ten.”

“The what now?”

“Back in Forty-Nine,” Paw started in a reverent tone, “Jim Gibbons found more gold and made more profit than any man west of the Mississippi. Easy to do when you can pick your way clean to China in a week’s hard work. Miners in the Rockies said they’d be diggin’ a tunnel when the walls in front of ‘em burst open and big Jim breaks through, grin splittin’ his face like the Grand Canyon. ‘Ello from California, he’d say in that deep baritone of his, before lumbering back the way he’d come.”

“You can’t believe—”

“Seen it with my own eyes, I did! And yessir, he did all that wicke’ness what you was recounting. But come the end of Forty-Nine, he realized all his money’s gone an’ he got nothin’ to show for it. Resolved to change his ways, right then, an’ wished he could take back those fool decisions you praise so highly.” Paw gave Junior a judgmental squint.

“So Big Jim, what’s he do? Decides maybe he can take it back. So he gets himself a thick chain like they use to lower cars in the mine shafts, the longest length of it he can find. Steps onto the highest peak of the Rockies an’ starts to whirlin’ the chain around. Started the dust storms on the Oklahoma plains, he did.

“Then Jim hurls the end of that chain up into the sky an’ latches it right ‘round the settin’ sun on the first try. Strains with all his might and pulls the ball o’ fire back the other direction, sends it back to the East coast and keeps whippin’ it around, backwards to its normal path in the heavens. Spun time all the way back to the beginnin’ of the year, an’ no one knew what to do. So they called it the Gold Rush of Eighteen Forty-Ten.”

Junior spit into the snow. “They did not.”

“Did too. I got coins stamped with the date to prove it. And what’s more, in Eighteen Forty-Ten, Jim Gibbons turned his life around—made the promise to change, an’ carried it out to the finish.”

Junior scoffed. “A man that completed a New Year’s resolution? Heard a lot of things about Jim Gibbons, but now I know you’re pullin’ my leg.”

—–

Happy New Year, fellow Battlers and readers. Here’s hoping you accomplish above and beyond what you’ve aimed for this year–maybe write some true-to-life tall tales of your own.

Workend

Language is both a hobby and a core component of my job. So I’m fascinated by the ways we use it.

Good, useful portmanteaus are a special favorite. What’s a portmanteau?

It’s a blending of two words into one. For example, smoke plus fog makes smog.

A co-worker and I were discussing our plans for Saturday and Sunday a couple weeks ago. Being the proactive and responsible type that he is, he planned to come in to do some work when our offices are empty and free of the myriad distractions caused by people.

I can’t remember which of us coined the term so I’ll give him credit for calling it a “workend.”

 

Found at quickmeme.com

Appropriate for this morning as I get ready for work… /sadface

Have a good weekend, or workend if you must!

Elements of Critique: Nuance

My eight year old is in a phase where he starts every story with “It’s funny because…”

He loves to make us laugh, and I wonder if he thinks that warning us like a verbal cue card will elicit the reaction he seeks.

On one of my deployments, I worked with a Lieutenant who did the same thing. After someone made a joke, he would frequently say, “See, it’s funny, because you’re old” or whatever explanation fit. The ridiculousness of him needlessly explaining the jokes was almost as funny as the jokes themselves.

This is something to avoid in writing. In one way, it’s emotional “telling,” flashing cue cards to the reader. In another way, it doesn’t trust the reader to grasp the underlying meaning or humor… or perhaps it doesn’t trust that the writer did a good enough job communicating that meaning.

Therefore, when critiquing, I look for Nuance.

If I have to explain a joke, it’s not funny. If I have to explain my subtlety, it’s no longer subtle.
The power of a good twist of phrase is lost when we unpack it all in the next sentence. I have to trust the reader to figure some things out.

So I look for instances where the writer beats the reader over the head stating the obvious.

I’m reading a book aloud with my wife and kids each night as a family activity. There’s a character named the Wit who is sort of the court jester, and his job is to ridicule the nobility in the King’s court. Some of the best lines are the ones with a subtle or clever twist. My teenagers hear them and think through what’s actually being said. Then they laugh, and it’s genuine.

If each of those lines ended calling attention to how clever the Wit was, the nuance and humor would be lost.

In a non-fiction piece, like a self-help or lifestyle article, this issue of nuance can reveal itself in its opposite: a preachy tone that sets readers off. I could write down a lot of facts and a coherent, logical argument telling my reader directly to cut down the fat in their diet and get to the gym. I could list all the benefits they’ll see. But in most cases, when I club the reader over the head with my point, they lose interest.

Consider why we see so many articles where someone relates their success along the lines of “This is what worked for me.” This subtle change of relationship between writer and reader gets us out of preacher-sinner territory and brings us into a sort of collaboration. The writer is now a friend coming alongside, offering indirect advice, using their own life experience as a parable, letting the reader take from it the meaning they need.

If I am critiquing such a piece, I look for the tone. Am I being preached at? Or am I reading an encouraging “I’ve been there” note from a friend?

Finally, there are some cases where nuance should be avoided. If I am writing a research paper or academic project, laying out a case using factual evidence, then nuance and subtlety obscure my point.

In a recent post, I used the example from World War II of the 82nd Airborne preparing the way for the Normandy invasion on D-Day. If I’m critiquing a paper or article recounting their exploits, I want to see the details and facts laid out plain. I want to be persuaded of the importance of their actions by the true accounts. The point of the paper in this case is to make its case. Nuance gets in the way of that.

Overall, nuance is another example like a spice in cooking where – if we use it at all – we sprinkle, not pour. With light seasoning, the reader will catch the subtle flavors and enjoy the meal. And if they don’t, the meal is not ruined. But if I dump out a bottle of minced garlic into the pan, the spice overwhelms the enjoyment one might get from the meal.

Now that I think of it, my wife would probably accuse me of doing that very thing: pouring on the minced garlic when I cook.

“It’s funny, because” in this case, it’s true.

Today marks over halfway through the A to Z blogging challenge. Judging by the feedback, people are enjoying these Elements of Critique posts. If you have time and inclination, that link will lead to the list of other bloggers participating this year. There’s a wide variety (about 2000 last time I checked), so I bet there’s a unique title or original topic that might pique anyone’s interest. Take a look. Maybe you’ll find a new voice worthy of your “Follow.”

And speaking of originality, that will be the topic for tomorrow. Thanks for reading!

Tastes Old

Inspired by my thorough enjoyment of a recent visit to the symphony, where the wifey and I scored free box seats for “Cocktail Hour: Music of the Mad Men Era,” I picked up an album on iTunes today.

20140327-152013.jpg

It’s Frank Sinatra’s Nothing But the Best remastered collection.

My kids (and some readers) might say “Ugh, what is that?” Is it proof that I really truly am now old?

Bah.

I’ll tell you what it is. It’s called taste in music.

National Anything Day Day

Apparently today is “National Ravioli Day,” if the Ruby Tuesday’s e-mail ad is to be believed.

20140319-163351.jpg

I love me some cheese-filled pasta, whether it’s a special restaurant recipe or simple Chef Boyardee’s. So I’m down for celebrating what is clearly a holiday of great cultural import, second only to National Twerk at Work Day (April 1st, if memory serves).

It’s not too late for ravioli. Supper awaits. You too can celebrate this great American… um… dinner option? Side dish?

I’d love to find the persons responsible for setting all these “National Day of” whatever days. I mean, do they have a database to ensure no repeats, with all these new additions over the years? Who determines if something is a bit too close to another day’s coverage?

For example, would National Linguine Day conflict with Ravioli Day? Probably not. But National Fettuccine Day would have to be scrapped, and I’m pretty sure Spaghetti Day has them both beat.

The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster (yes, that’s a thing) might even claim it as a religious holiday.

Perhaps we could have a day to celebrate all the various national days we now have, hence the title of this post. We could promote it under the guise of encouraging diversity, which is never a bad thing.

Never ever. (One cannot be weak in their praise of this virtue, lest one become a pundit on Fox News and find oneself summarily dismissed by those that hold the correct opinions.)

Despite the inherent diversity, all these conflicting days can become confusing for the average consumer. Therefore I will begin a petition to demand a new addition to the Executive Branch, in order to ensure proper celebration selections and mitigation of National Day conflicts. It will be called the Department of Holidays.

Because if the US Government has proven anything of late, it’s that they definitely deserve a giant “DOH!”

Forgot Something

And now for something a little different…

You’re the Demon Hunter. You cut swaths through the gathered hordes like the wind sweeping away chaff. Your traps rend the flesh of your foes. Fueled by your deep hatred and your rigid discipline, your arrows punch through demonic flesh. You are so powerful that you can fight your way into the depths of Hell itself to face the greatest of Evils.

But you didn’t bring a rope.

“There’s the door I want. Too bad I can’t jump, or climb down. Nope… gotta fight my way through another few hundred demons to get there.”

FAIL.

Adventurer fail