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1  Other Realms / Random Topics / Re: Arm updates on: November 10, 2014, 05:29:39 PM
I had an MRI done on the right elbow, which was normal, meaning no damage to the tendon.  Because an earlier EMG (nerve test) was also normal, the specialist I'm seeing is thinking the tendon is becoming inflamed due to the abnormality with my arms that some people here may know about.  Basically my radius and ulna are fused in both arms, meaning I cannot turn my wrists upside down.  The shape of the bones are slightly weird two, apparently.  This has never bothered me before though, so I'm not so sure this is the real problem myself.

Currently the plan is to try a new anti inflammatory medication for a month and see if that makes a difference.  I'll also be easing back into drawing a bit more and seeing how that goes.
2  Other Realms / Random Topics / RIP Supper Mini Keyboard on: November 02, 2014, 12:04:07 PM
RIP Supper Mini Keyboard
2009 - 2014

You were the best $12.98 (including shipping) Hong Kong ebay purchase ever.



Sad Music From Dragon Warrior 7
Sad Music From Final Fantasy 4

Gonna go bury it in the back yard now.
3  Other Realms / Writer's Guild / "A Brilliant Escape" on: October 27, 2014, 09:57:48 PM
The latest in the no-arms series.

This story written with sincerest apologies to Pontos.

---

"A Brilliant Escape"

Ethaniel Dilandau had a problem.

Virmir was dead.  Sprawled over the rocks, gaping hole in his chest, the diminutive fox mage lay with tongue sticking out and black X's in place of eyes.

It was fairly creepy.

Ethan had surmised that if he could find the mage, he may be able to get out of this alive.  There were explosions off the cliff face here moments ago, but obviously he arrived too late.  Warily, the cougar warrior leaned on his polearm, scanning the rocks and skies for whatever may have done the fox in.  Now more than ever he wondered what the captain was thinking!

It wasn't uncommon for their unit to take jobs from mages.  The problem with mages was that most of them thought they were generals.  Judging by how the captain saluted Lord Virmir, Ethan could tell the mage was either important, powerful, or had money.  Rumor among the mercenaries was that Virmir was duke of an obscure chunk of land cut off from the outside world with no king and a population of one.  Ethan generally didn't bother worrying about who his employers were as long as he got paid.

They had been hired as an assault force to assist the mage in clearing out the group of lizards that had settled in the ruins hugging the cliff faces around the edges of the mountain.  20 well armed large cats plus a fire mage should have been plenty to drive off a settlement of primitive lizards.  Most of them weren't bigger than foxes, anyway.  Virmir was adamant in driving them off because they interfered with his research, or so he said.

"Right there," Virmir had said before the assault, standing on a boulder so as to appear eye level with the captain and pointing across the ravine, "in that crumbling half-tower adobe-mud thing.  That's where they keep their shamans.  They're the only ones that are going to give us trouble.  I'm gonna run in there and start blasting everything and I'll need two or three of you to cover me.  Probably seven or eight of you should head up those stairs on the other side 'cause there's more huts up there and if we get any other focused resistance, it will be from them.  The rest of you, fan out and beat the scales off of any stragglers.  It will be easy!  Just watch out for their stupid blow dart things."

It was easy at first.  Ethan had been with the group sent up to higher levels and thus was separated from the captain and the mage early on.  His polearm made short work of any resistance.  But soon the mountain rumbled and the sky turned red.  Rocks crumbled from above, separating him from his comrades, and black tentacles burst from crevices as if the mountain  itself were angry.  Just what did that mage do?!

The shadowy creatures he encountered were terrible-- one slicing the metal of his leg armor as he made a narrow escape over a low hanging cliff face.  Once he made it to higher ground he could see the bridge had been destroyed and there were lots of black things moving around down there.

"Hey, you!" A voice broke him out of his thoughts.  At first he thought it was Virmir, but it was a little higher pitched-- definitely feminine.  Another little gray fox was scampering up the barren rocks, wearing a dark robe and peaked cap, brandishing a sword in one hand and a canvas sack in the other.  "Is there any one with you?" she called up.

"Uh, no," Ethan replied, giving another look around.

"Right then." She strained to climb over a taller bolder that Ethan had simply stepped over earlier, then righted herself and dusted off her robe.  "Well, I got what I came for," she said, raising the sack, which, judging by the bulge, may have contained a single potato, "we'd better get out of here."

Ethan scratched his headfur.  She looked a lot like Virmir, and even had that weird hair.  Except, she was obviously...  curvy.  "Sorry, ma'am, but who are you?"

She blinked for a moment.  "Oh!  I'm, uh, Lucile Virmir.  The other one is Kendo Virmir.  He's my, ah, associate." Then, after a moment, as if an important point needed to be made, "We both pay you."

Ethan felt the urge to ask if one of them always lied and the other always told the truth, however thought it inappropriate considering the other one lay dead a few yards away.  "About your associate..." He replied, motioning towards the body.

Ethan expected more of a response from the vixen, perhaps a wail of lamentation, or even a gasp.  Instead, she said, "Oh...  hate it when that happens."

She sheathed her sword in her belt, although Ethan did not see an actual sheath-- it was more like she stuffed it into her belt and it disappeared-- and did the same with the sack as she descended a small slope of rocks down to where the mage's body lay.  "Gah, nasty business," she muttered as she inspected the scene.  Ethan crept closer and watched her inspect the hole in the fox's chest and look up and around, trying to imagine the trajectory.  Then she placed her hand on his head and the corpse melted into gray goo.

The goo melded with her arm and her robe began to bunch up as her body absorbed the mass.  Ethan thought it would tear as she doubled in size, however her body quickly returned to its original shape as soon as the goo disappeared.

At this moment, Ethan decided wizards were terrifying.

Lucile sat on the ground for a moment with her eyes swirling.  With a start, she suddenly screamed and clutched her middle, right at the spot where the hole in Virmir had been.  "GAAAH!!!" The sword was out instantly, and she leapt to her feet and scanned the skies, painting heavily.  "Did you see it?  It was horrible!"

"N-no.  Was it one of those shadow beasts down below?" Ethan nervously clutched his polearm, scanning for danger.

"No!  Far worse.  It flies and shoots icicles!" And then added, after watching Ethan's blank expression, "It was blue." She said "blue"with such venom, it could have been a swear in gray fox language.  She let that sink in for a moment before hastily climbing rocks in the direction of the mountain's summit.  "Anyway, we'd better head off.  With the bridge out below, the only way off this thing is to climb over and head down the pass on the other side.  And those shadows are only going to get more restless come nightfall."

It took them the better part of an hour to reach the summit.  By then the sun was hanging low on the horizon.  Ethan noticed the shadow creatures below were becoming more numerous and moving higher up, a multitude of black splotches covering the rocky terrain like ants.  He hoped they weren't also on the other side. "What do you think they are?" Ethan asked as they neared the top.

Lucile shrugged. "Oh, you know.  Ancient curses.  Angry nature spirits.  Happens sometimes."

Rocks and light brush awaited them at the top.  The crumbling remains of an ancient watch tower of some sort jutted from a group of rocks at the center.  As Ethan craned his neck to look at the top of the mud and stone structure, his feet crunched on something brittle.  Animal bones?

"Leftovers, looks like," Lucile mused.  She poked her sword at a large empty egg shell.  A few more lay nearby, along with more animal bones.  "Griffins or rocs.  Long gone, luckily." She scampered over to the far edge, opposite of where they climbed up, and peered over.  "BLAST!"

Ethan ran over to join her.  Instead of a pass down the mountain, a steep drop off sprawled below, smooth, nearly vertical ledges suggesting a landslide.  They were trapped.

"Okay, okay, hang on, hang on..." Lucile paced back to the other side.  The sun had begun its dip below the horizon.  Shadows were actively climbing the mountain now instead of milling around randomly.  "I'm going to have to do some magic to get us out of here." She paced a few more times before removing the sack from her belt and palming the contents in her hand.  It was indeed somewhat potato-shaped, though it looked like quartz crystal with a faint green glow.  She returned to the egg shells and began kicking at them.  "See if you can find me a feather.  A big one-- I don't think these baby ones will do."

Ethan was getting nervous now, but the command snapped him back into focus.  He poked his polearm around the brush.  There actually were a lot of feathers around.  He selected the biggest one he could find-- a grand brown and white flight feather some four feet long.  It was taller than the vixen.

"Perfect!" she said as he set it down in front of her.  She had cleared off a smooth section of stone and was busy striking the green crystal with a rock.  After a few tries a chunk flew off like flint.  "Too big," she hissed.  She smashed this piece in half, then placed the original crystal and one of the smaller chunks back in the bag.  Taking up the rock again, she began to pulverize the remaining crystal shard into powder.  "Okay, now I'll need something of yours." She looked up from her work.  "That collar will work!  Let me see it."

Ethan covered the latch on his collar protectively.  "This collar is very important to me!"

"I'll give it back.  Don't worry!"

Reluctantly, he removed it and rubbed his neck, feeling strange without it.  The fur was thin there since he wore it so much.

"How close are they?" Lucile asked as she set the leather strap next to the other materials.

Ethan jogged to the edge again.  Something like a dozen pitch black spider things scurried up the path they had taken moments ago.  He braced his foot on a rock and readied his polearm for thrusting.  "Really close!"

"Blast it!" Lucile swore behind him.  She appeared by his side after a moment, jumping on top of a nearby rock so that she was only a foot shorter.  "Here!  Put it on!"

Ethan took back his collar, glad to have the familiar accessory back, but...  "What did you do to it?"

But Lucile already had a fireball in her hand.  Ethan had to jump back away from the heat as she lobbed it down the incline.  It sputtered through the air and went DOOM somewhere down there.  One of the creatures squeaked.  Lucile shook her head and drew her sword.  "I'm not as long-ranged like this.  This is going to be close." She ran two fingers over the blade and it caught on fire.

Not wanting to waste any more time, Ethan replaced the collar around his neck and took up his weapon once more.  A spider poked its head above the rock he had his foot on a moment ago and he impaled it with such force his blade sparked on the rock after passing through the creature.  It squeaked and disappeared in a puff of black smoke.  But soon he became light headed and fell to one knee, panting.  "Arrrrgh..."

Lucile zipped around like a little demon with her flaming sword, taunting the creatures and dispatching them one by one.  "Yaaaaaaaay~!"

But they were growing thicker now.  Bigger things climbed over the ridge, writhing black tentacles flailing in the air.  Ethan fumbled with his polearm, but his arms tingled and his armor felt too tight.  His feline claws, normally retractable, forced themselves out full length and then some.  A spider leapt for his face and he slashed it in half with his right hand.

His face and neck itched like crazy.  Careful not to cut himself, he cradled his head in swelling hands.  "Wha-wha isth..." As he tried to speak, his teeth seemed to fuse together and force themselves out of his muzzle.  "Ahhhh-- ahhhhhhh!!"

"You're doing great there, big guy." Lucile danced a circle around him to clear away the various monstrosities, then cut some straps on his armor with her sword (which had stopped being on fire) providing a little relief.  "Fall back, up the tower!  Let's go!"

Ethan stumbled as she spurred him on, finding it harder and harder to walk upright.  The tower had a set of crumbling old stairs which spiraled around the the outside.  They took these at full speed, but Ethan fell forward halfway up, his pants exploding as thickening hind leg muscles split the fabric.  Lucile turned to help, but a black tentacle crept from the edge and snared her ankle and dragged her down.  "Eeeeeeeep~!" With monstrous power, Ethan charged it and snapped the tentacle with a foretalon.  Lucile spiraled in the air and landed on his back.

Quadrupedal now, Ethan bounded up the stairs with great strides, bits of armor falling off with each bound.  The stairs were having trouble bearing his weight now and the old structure was beginning to sway.  There was a tremendous pressure upon his back under the last remnant of metal armor there and he could feel it bulge and buckle.  Lucile was apparently on the back of his neck trying to pry it lose.

With a loud SNAP, majestic feathery wings finally broke through.  Pulverized beneath paws and talons, the ancient tower began to collapse.  Ethan leapt out into open air and beat his wings fiercely, black shadowy jaws snapping at his tail.  After a brief decent, he gained altitude and flew straight off the mountain peak.

"Great work!  You're a natural!" Lucile reached down and patted the side of his feathery neck, near his collar.  It was stretched to fit, though tight.

The griffin Ethaniel chanced a look down and back to see the entire mountainside covered with squirming black things.  "A warning would have been nice..."

"Couldn't risk time for argument!"

As Ethan grumbled, he caught movement out of the corner of his eye.  It was getting darker and the ground far below was nearly impossible to see, but the post-sunset sky still held some illumination.  Scanning the sections of the sky that were visible, he saw nothing amiss, so shrugged it off.  "Do you know what happened to my comrades?"

"Oh, I'm sure they made it out all right.  Some of them.  Probably."

Suddenly, something zipped overhead and Ethan had to tuck in his wings to avoid projectiles.  They were blue.

"Aieeeeeeeeee~!!" Lucile screamed, "That's it!  That's it!" Ethan could feel her trying to dig into his neck ruff.

"What?  What is it?"

"ICE DRAGON!!!"

Ethan flapped hard, but the creature overtook him easily.  He dove, narrowly dodging icy talons.  He tried to gain Lucile's attention, but she was too busy screaming and babbling incoherencies.  The dragon's wingspan was at least twice his own, so out flying was out of the question.  He dodged another swoop, feathers flying through the air, then maneuvered to face the creature.

"No!  No!  No!  Bad!  Away!  Away!" Lucile screamed.  The dragon was blue and crystalline, shimmering in the twilight.  It arched around for another dive.  Ethan splayed his talons and drove forward, the two rocketing towards one another.  Swoosh went the wind!  Lucile huddled into a ball.

Before they collided, Ethan felt his talons warm.  Brilliant orange flame burst around them.

"Get him," Lucile whispered into his ear acidicly.

At the last moment, Ethan pulled up and slashed the icy edge of the dragon's wing, fire hissing as it came into contact.  It screeched and spiraled towards the ground, crashing in a heap of trees.  Ethan turned to look back and as it blared dragon obscenities with a steaming wing.

----

Sprawled in front of the campfire, the griffin Ethan started on his last leg of deer.  Lucile refused when offered a portion of his catch, making a face.  She opted for foraged mushrooms and berries instead, though she did provide the cooking fire.  He was secretly glad, as the whole deer still did not completely sate his hunger.  "That happens when you gain a lot of mass like that," Lucile explained.  "You'll eat your body weight several times over in the next few days.  Has to do with the whole mass-energy conversion thing."

"About that...  How long will this last?"

"What?"

Ethan drummed his talons in the dirt and unfurled his wings.

"Oh, THAT." She scratched the back of her head.  "Well, heh, you see..."

END
4  Other Realms / Writer's Guild / Re: The Two Wolves on: October 26, 2014, 09:51:09 PM
Oh blast!  I totally missed that line, ha ha
5  Other Realms / Writer's Guild / Re: The Two Wolves on: October 24, 2014, 11:32:05 PM
See, I keep telling people caffeine is bad for you!

The hallucinogenic wolves are amusing, however they don't really do anything to move the plot along, considering the computer figures it out in the end while everyone is talking.  It might make for a stronger story if they helped out more.

What I do find interesting here is the back story and history surrounding the character.  Looking forward to reading more!
6  Other Realms / Writer's Guild / Re: The Half Written Story on: October 24, 2014, 11:17:36 PM
This looks like it's off to a good start.  I was confused at first and thought they were anthros, ha ha.  The blend between human owners who can communicate with their intelligent animals is interesting.  Looking forward to reading more!
7  Comic Discussion / Crimson Flag Comic / Re: Looking to commission a few CF guest comics on: October 19, 2014, 11:44:31 PM
Tentatively closed, and as I've had three offers.  Still working out details, so if someone wants to be a backup, feel free to let me know.

Thanks!
8  Other Realms / Random Topics / Arm updates on: October 19, 2014, 05:24:50 PM
Hello!

Very many people ask me how my arms are doing on a very frequent basis.  Here is a status update and general arm facts.

- There are a great many ups and downs, and progress cannot be measured on a day to day, or even week to week basis.  Doctors' appointments and tests are scheduled many weeks apart, so there are usually no new developments except on a month to month basis.

- Comparing this month to last, the right arm is definitely better.

- For the past two months or so, I've been extremely light on the right arm.  Whether it is actually healing or just feels better because I haven't been using it is up in the air.

- It has been suggested that there may be a pinched nerve in the right elbow or something.  I have an appointment with a specialist about this and will likely need more tests to confirm.  I probably won't know for sure for another several weeks.

- Much of my inactivity is actually due to my left arm.  Doing my day job, drawing, and especially one handed typing all with my left are extremely taxing and cause it to hurt sometimes, so I have to cut back while the right is still in " no use" mode.  (I write longer posts such as this using voice recognition, by the way.)

If in the upcoming weeks I receive adequate evidence that not using the right arm is helping it heal, I will continue to do so.  However, if not, I will go back to light usage like I was doing in August and save strain on the left.

I will try to provide an update at least once a month or so!
9  Comic Discussion / Crimson Flag Comic / Looking to commission a few CF guest comics on: October 19, 2014, 04:12:57 PM
Hello!

As part of a strategy to rest both tendinitis-stricken arms AT THE SAME TIME and also avoid playing buffer catch up like I did in July, I am looking to commission two to three canon Crimson Flag guest comics.  These are actual pages in the story line that will appear on the site in the normal story sequence (tentatively looking at upcoming pages 328, 329, and 330).

This will only be posted here as I'm primarily looking for artists who are actively involved in the community and interested in my work.  There is quite a lot of talent here, and I'd actually prefer a different artist for each page if only to see a variety of interpretations of the cast.  However, if I only get one taker who is interested in taking two or three, that is fine as well.

Interested parties please note the following:

- You should be available for work and be able to get started soon.  In fact, if someone gets back to me in two days and is interested, I can send out the info for 328 pretty quickly.

- Once you receive all necessary materials, details are worked out, and you are paid, I will expect a finished page within two weeks.  This is a hard deadline.  For comparison, it generally takes me 10-12 hours to complete a page.

- You will receive a template with all the panels and speech bubbles already in place, which you will be able to draw underneath, along with thumbnails/layout diagrams and panel descriptions, character references, etc.

- I will need a sketch to approve before finalizing.  If I am horrible in asking for revisions, the deadline will obviously be relaxed.  But I'm usually not bad. 

- You are free to draw the characters in your own style.  However, if you get a page with Lucian, you will be required to draw his hair correctly.

- As you will be receiving secret information on future comics, a vow of silence is required.  ;)

If the above did not scare you away, please take a look at the last several comics and determine a ballpark price quote.  E-mail (kendo -at- virmir.com) or forum PM me your quote and we'll discuss!  Please don't be shy in determining a quote.  CF is an extremely important project to me, and considering I am asking for premium delivery above, I have no problem paying.

Thanks, folks!
10  Other Realms / Art Gallery / Re: BlueDragon62's Artwork on: October 14, 2014, 11:03:52 PM
Eeeeeeeee~!
11  Comic Discussion / Crimson Flag Comic / Re: Comic 321 on: October 12, 2014, 09:56:09 PM
Actually, Tod was not involved with the coloring part.  Essentially I was not terribly confident with fur patterns in my earliest gray fox coloring attempts!  (See all Virmirs, Lucian, proto-Julian.) Hence the simplification.  By the time I colored Julian for the first time a few strips in, I decided to give him at least a little red under the clothes for consistency.
12  Other Realms / Random Topics / The Complete And Accurate Technical Support Log Of Family Member #716 on: October 11, 2014, 11:03:55 PM
The following is a log of technical support given to Family Member #716 via phone and usually involving Teamviewer, a useful remote assistance program in which I am able to control the other person's computer. Family Member #716 has been named as such for purposes of identity protection. Family Member #716 has an extremely long history of technical support requests, spanning many years.  But details of these surreal encounters have muddied overtime.  Thus to preserve such experiences, I will make efforts to record these events as they occur from now on.

I have seen Family Member #716's laptop in person one time.  It is a beaten, battered thing.  Keys crusted with dust and grime. Scratches and scuffs denting its edges.  One feels the need to wash his hands upon touching it. Family Member #716 repeatedly insists that it is only one year old, when it is in fact at least four or five (although only in use for 1 to 2 years, following the death of a far worse condition machine which was finally put out of its misery by a leaky roof).

The following log is presented as accurately as possible.

----

October 10, 2014

Family Member #716 has a problem.  Family Member #716 is unable to access FireFox.

I inquire what happens when Family Member #716 attempts to access FireFox.

Family Member #716 is unable to describe what happens beyond it not working.  Requests Teamviewer session.

Upon Teamviewer-ing in, I discover that FireFox is working perfectly, however its home page has been changed to ask.com.

"When I try to go to FireFox, this Ask keeps coming up!  I haven't been able to pull up my email or do anything for two days!"

Solution: Uninstall Ask tool bar and reset home page to google so Family Member #716 can google webmail and other sites instead of of using Ask.  Attempted to explain the concept of using the address bar as a temporary solution to access google, however this was likely lost.

As a side note, Family Member #716 had apparently installed the toolbar while trying to access google maps, but found the wrong site.
13  Other Realms / Random Topics / Re: CZM offline on: October 03, 2014, 10:53:07 PM
Later, CZM!  Good luck!
14  Comic Discussion / Crimson Flag Comic / Re: Comic 318 on: September 20, 2014, 10:56:47 PM
Never thought there would be a need for scenery/speech bubble censoring, but I have been wrong before.

There is no scenery/speech bubble censoring in this comic, though!
15  Other Realms / Writer's Guild / Re: F.O.Y. on: September 13, 2014, 10:34:51 PM
Hate it when this happens!

He he, thanks again for writing this! Very highly amused. Gray Fox Wink

*gives her belly a smack for good measure!*
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