Shelter Found

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Their initial stumbling had stopped, and now the two Utywan Matoran simply struggled the long hike up the mountain path. Their guide, Okoth, turned for the thirty-ninth time to make sure Bour and Nireta were still with her, watching them grapple with the challenges the landscape of Tenpravih gave them. The air was starting to thin as they ascended, and Okoth could see the chests of the two visitors heavily rising and falling.

“Do you need to rest?” she finally asked.

“Maybe— we should have waited a few hours— to get our land legs back…” Nireta replied. The Ga-Matoran straightened herself.  “We’ll get them back, don’t worry,” she reassured her guide. They both looked at Bour, who stood doubled over with his hands on his knees. The Po-Matoran gave them a thumbs up, his eyepiece on his Akaku extending to the path they still had to climb. Okoth nodded, waiting for them to restart their pace before she continued to guide.

The Utywans had allowed their cloaks to drift behind them as they climbed the base of the mountain, but the warmth of the bay was quickly left behind as they entered the bleaker parts of the island. The two wrapped themselves tightly as the mountain air sent shivers up the back of their necks. A wind unlike the far seas crept slowly around them, their expressions of exhaustion now of concerns. Okoth seemed unaffected by the cold, and did not express any concern about the weather.

“They are travelers,” explained Okoth to the guard of the bastion. Bour and Nireta, wrapped in their cloaks, marveled at the structure before them; seemingly carved out of the mountain itself. Though they had hiked a considerable distance, the walls of the place extended considerably higher than the Utywans  would have thought. Large windows looked out from various points facing this side of the mountain, balconies looking down along the path. They had come up the jungle side of the mountain, and far to their right, they could see a river rushing down the face of the mountain, to where it would meet the waterfalls of the beaches they had landed on far, far below.

“What business do travelers have in the Bioaku?” asked the guard.

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Shelter Needed

Previous Chapter

A Po-Matoran stood atop a rocky outcropping, squinting underneath his Kanohi as he tried to see through the white radiance of the afternoon sun immersing the plains around him. He gleaned small sprouts of shrubbery along the endless stretches of sand, but his Akaku kept scanning, his eyes never settling. Rays of sunlight streamed from the sun, an orb in a sky so fair blue that it looked white. It was one of those days where one could forget it was still the depths of winter, true spring many months away. The wind had even died down to a breeze as it participated in the weather’s charade, the Matoran’s tunic robe barely flapping atop the rocks.

Having seen enough of the rolling desert, he climbed down from the crest to where his covered wagon lie. The two Mahi that carried him here grazed on nearby brush, looking up at his return. Climbing back on his wagon, he urged the Rahi forward, continuing his journey. What the Matoran was looking for he did not find, so he would continue exploring the further depths of the desert.

Beneath the desert dirt, beyond what his Kanohi could see, the Rhode was buried, a highway system connecting this place to the rest of the continent of Del Vienvi. Somewhere out here, half buried in the desert, the elders of Tenpravih claimed that the Rhode still existed. The Matoran had been sent out to find it; their home having been destroyed by hurricanes, his village had sailed to find new lands, to only find that they had not left their country at all. If the Rhode existed in this desert, then he and his own people—the Utywans—could possibly make their way back home this way once the winter ended. There could be food on the Rhode, and they would be able to be away from the ocean they’d grown to hate sailing on. He shuddered at the thought—across the sea had been an unforgiving and unforgettable journey; if they found the Rhode, they would not have to endure that ordeal again.

The first step, however, was trampling through the desert in the direction he thought was right. Now a few days journey beyond the westernmost homes of the most withdrawn hermits, even the silhouette of the largest mountain of Tenpravih no longer visible. Out here existed nothing but the wilderness, (and hopefully the Rhode) the grasslands even fading to the beginnings of the deep desert. While the pair of Mahi pulled the traveler, their footing shifted, the sand turning from stretches of hard packed and rocky to soft and hilly. There were hours when sweat poured from the three of them, falling into the waves of heat that rippled off of the dunes. The Matoran would watch them, before looking into his wagon, unsure on how many more days he could travel in this direction before being forced to turn back.

The nights were cool, where the extremes of the day gave way to the comfort of the stars. While his steeds rested, the Matoran would lay on the dunes, watching the constellations in the blackness. His Akaku contained starcharts from previous adventures, and he would compare where the stars rested in the sky; most nights, however, he would just gaze up, seeing what made the night milky. The Red Star still was up there, hanging stoically amongst the whiter stars, while bursts of the cosmos were plastered against the sky for his viewing pleasure.

He would lay like this, watching the nights, until he fell asleep. In his slumber he would dream, most nights of how he first came to the Tenpravihn shores…

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Ocean City Magazine– June 2017

This month’s edition of Ocean City Magazine features three articles written by me. The content can be read in the Issu PDF reader below.IMG_4652

  • In the Kitchen “Voltaco’s” (page 6)
  • The Interview With Hiba Ahmad (page 20)
  • Inside the World of the 5k (page 48)

 

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Ocean City Magazine– May 2017

IMG_4591.JPGFreelancing for Ocean City Magazine (Ocean City, New Jersey, not MD), four articles in the May 2017 Edition are to my name. The articles can be read in the Issu PDF reader below.

  • The Interview with Mark Jamieson (page 18)
  • In the Kitchen “Philly Pretzel Factory” (page 6)
  • Good Karma “After Prom” (page 60)
  • Activity of the Month “Aerial Yoga at PLAAY Fitness” (page 42)

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Living Life In and Out of Your Journal

https://www.heartbeings.com/living-life-journal/

Journaling is a great thing – but how much is too much? Check out why and how you should strike the balance.

Another short assignment on HeartBeings.com, this one detailing the reminder to socialize during the introspective moments of winter.  ns-monogram1

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The Hot Chocolate Party

We are hosting a hot chocolate party. You’re invited! And you, and you, and even you too. This Saturday, come over at 7, and we’ll all drink some hot chocolate.

What’s at a hot chocolate party, you say?

Gallons and gallons of it. We have a few Gatorade coolers at our house, the ones that insulate heat or cold; we will fill those up, and then the cooking pots in the pantry. Those will be served with ladles. There will be pitchers too, making their way around. We might go to Target to buy some more containers, if we run out while we are preparing. But there will be hot chocolate abound. We will have as much hot chocolate as our house can hold, and then maybe some more.

Why so much, you ask? Because it is winter, and nothing warms you better in winter than hot chocolate. So you might as well come and get warm among friends. It’ll be jolly and joyful, warm and happy. And because how often do you hear that there is a hot chocolate party happening?

Bring your favorite mug if you wish, but we will supply them too. From bringing it there is nothing stopping you. We will paint some mason jars, some coffee mugs, whatever we can find. As long as it’s filled, it’ll all be fine!

There won’t just be hot chocolate, if that’s what you’re wondering. There will be cookies, marshmallows, all sorts of goodies to nibble. It’s a season of chocolate, so we might as well load up. We will have plenty for you, to fill your heart’s content! We’ll bake all day beforehand, to make sure the evening is well spent. (Yes, there’ll be some additions too, to put in your liquid. Just slip it in, have some sips to taste test, and grin!)

You really should come to our hot chocolate party, you can drink beer any other weekend. It’ll be summer soon, and beers will be the only thing you drink. Cinnamon and peppermint flavored and other drinks will be the main serving for the rest of the month.

So come! Let us enjoy some hot chocolate, and warm ourselves together. ns-monogram1

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Competition

“Your test is not the test,” the teacher said once the time was up and pencils were down. His face was smug as he saw all the students expressions. Some were equally as smug. Some were confused, others were visibly upset. He listened to their complaints for a minute, before holding up his hand. “No, everyone. That doesn’t mean the test was not a waste of time. What matters is not what you produce, but how you present it.”

“So what does that supposed to mean?” asked the bratty student in the third row.

“It means, you have the remaining 20 minutes of class to present your essays to me,” the teacher informed them.

“There’s not enough time to do that!” another complained from the back.

“It doesn’t need to take long,” the teacher smirked. “Just get them on my desk, without leaving your seats, in the next 19 minutes, and you’ll find there are different ways of acing a test than just knowing every answer.” He pursed his lips, sat back and waited for the class to take action. “18 minutes.”

The students began to scramble, each row trying to come up with a different solution. The first row of those he knew were suck ups began yelling for his attention, reading off their essays as rapidly but comprehensively as they could. Others were frantically racking their brains for the best paper plane models they could think of. Some of the jocks sitting to the side looked dumbfoundedly at their papers, unsure of what to do. Their paper was crap, surely the presentation would be crap too.

But one student lounged in his seat in the middle of the crowd, at least until the minute marker had arrived. He had been in eye contact with the teacher the whole time. As minutes became seconds, he crumpled his paper up into a ball and threw it towards the teacher. The teacher caught it, nodded to the student, and allowed the kid to leave before the bell rang.

The other students looked at each other, dumbfounded and embarrassed at themselves for not thinking of it sooner. The teacher, however, was looking over his essay, already knowing the kid was going places. ns-monogram1

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