Blogger Blitz Finale: One Thousand Strong

Blogger Blitz Finale: One Thousand Strong

Okay, folks.  This is it – the Blogger Blitz Finale.  And after some intense writing, researching, and last-minute editing, I actually have a story I’m really proud of.  Is that weird to say?  I’m not sure I’ve ever truly been proud of something I’ve written, but this time I really am!  I can’t believe that this challenge is almost over.  I’ve learned so much through this.  Ian, as always, blows me away with his creativity and his ability to push boundaries, and, with the help of the other guest bloggers, of course, really brought out my creativity.  These last challenges have been harder than I thought I was capable of accomplishing and yet, I’ve been able to do it.  So thanks to Ian and his magnificent competition for helping me stretch myself a little bit and open up to a world I wasn’t sure I was capable of being a part of!

And, with that emotional introspection, let’s get on with the show!  As always, I want to acknowledge my challenger, Michael over at Git Gud at Life.  His submission to this post can be found here.  And if you haven’t read his past submissions, go do it.  They’ll blow you away with their unique writing!

And then a HUGE thank you to Ian at Adventure Rules, where the results of this competition can be found on Friday!

Here is the prompt for the final:

Anyone can take on a single enemy. Taking on a dozen or so enemies isn’t really that tough either. But fighting an army of 1000 monsters born of the darkness left behind when a human body is deprived of its heart – now THAT’s scary! But that’s exactly what our lovely antagonists will have to do in this event if they plan to make it somewhere very important – the venue for their best friend’s wedding.

Villains keep strange company, so really it’s only natural that they would hang out with someone who thought a monster-infested canyon would be a cool place to tie the knot. As the best friend, your chosen bad guy (or gal, or gender-non-binary person) is obviously expected to be in the wedding. But to get to the front of the crowd, you’ll have to fight your way through one thousand Heartless, beings that feed on the darkness inside of hearts – and there’s a whole lot of dark hearts at this wedding!

Luckily, you’re not alone. One of the most iconic parts of the Battle of the 1000 Heartless in Kingdom Hearts II is the series of cameos from previous allies who show up to kick some tail and help you make your way through the Heartless army. In the Blogger Blitz championship, these partners are the characters you’ve defeated in battle! You can include in your post cameos from the two opponents you defeated directly, as well as the character your semifinal opponent defeated, giving you a total of three characters to partner with when taking on the Heartless menace.

And, without further ado, let’s get on with the show…


Ugh.  If he weren’t my most faithful servant, the actualization of my precious sword, I wouldn’t bother with this stupid wedding.  I need to focus on the death of the boy called Link.  Even now, years after my last setback, I feel my hatred and malice for him growing, becoming more refined.  That boy, who has overthrown my plans again and again!  HOW?!  He, the holder of the most worthless piece of the Triforce?  Power and Wisdom, and then “Courage”.  That simple brat continues to best me with courage…

I need a new strategy.  I need to focus, not gallivant off into the sunset to watch Ghirahim marry himself.  The invitation was ridiculous. 

Please, my Master, attend this precious moment, where pure beauty and finesse shall marry the only possible match – itself.  I, Ghirahim, request the presence of Ganon, the reincarnation of Demise, at this joyful union of me to myself, at the Breach of Demise Canyon at sunset.

ghirahim

How could anyone possibly take seriously the sharing of power in some kind of “union”.

Sigh

And yet… he is my most faithful of servants, the very blade I wield in the fight against the goddess.  I must attend.  His deference for me, even the place he has chosen, in homage to me.  I suppose I can give him a few moments of my time.  Especially if it means he will be better focused in the future.

I stand, stretching to relieve the cramping in my muscles that remain from a night of plotting.

It feels like a few weeks only have passed since I reveled in the Forbidden Fortress, enjoying an evening of my triumph.  And yet, years have passed.  Enough time to have been defeated again and again by that brat.  No… never defeated.  Merely slowed down.  He is simply putting off the inevitable.

I quickly dress in my best robes and, as I pass the dresser, hesitate slightly, my eyes passing over the cards of all the previous villains I’ve recently been in contact with.  I quickly pocket all three, knowing that, if any problems arose, I could easily call on those pathetic weaklings to take the brunt of the issues.

After all, there’s no one better at manipulation than Ganondorf, wielder of the Triforce of Power.

I release a shrieking call and a gargantuan black stallion comes whipping up the trail to my hiding place.  I mount, and with another shriek, send the stallion along the way to the canyon known as the Breach of Demise.

breach of demise

Mere hours later I slow to a trot, suddenly wary of the unnatural darkness settling in.  The canyon is within sight, but, with an hour left till sunset, the shadows playing across the land are unsettling.  I know that my own creatures, the Bokoblins, Moblins, even Lynels, wouldn’t dare harm their King.  So what is making that soft scratching noise where the shadows are deepest?

I dismount, creeping closer to the nearest rocky shadow, and am surprised.  A creature unlike any I’ve ever seen crouches, half-hidden in shadow.  His yellow eyes shine bright and the antennae which are just visible wave slightly as it shudders.

heartless

Is this some new being I can harness to my will?  Something that will give me an edge in the fight against Link?

The creature shifts its weight, making a soft padding sound.  I stiffen and quickly glance around as I hear that same noise echoed countless times.  Peering into the darkness settling around me I see hundreds… no, at least one thousand of these creatures, their strange yellow eyes glinting in the shadows they’re hiding in.  I throw my hands to my side, calling my purple ball lightening and ready to attack when I pause.

Yes, I could defeat this swam myself.  I am Ganondorf, the most powerful being to ever live.  But when have I ever been the first to take the brunt of an attack?

I slowly back into the light, hand slipping into a small pocket, and bring out the cards I so brilliantly brought along.  Each card bears a single name: Sigma, Marjolaine, and Xehanort.  Selecting the first of the cards I use my considerable skill to summon the first of my opponents to my side.

Let’s see how these creatures of darkness handle a man of metal and code.

As an arc of purple lightning flashes across the sky Sigma, the enemy of Mega Man, appears at my side.

sigma

“Ah, Sigma.  Delighted you could join me” I say, a slight smirk on my lips

“Ganondorf.” Sigma says dispassionately, “Why have you brought me here?”

“You see, Sigma, knowing how… desperately you enjoy researching new, insidious ways to bring down your robot friends I thought I’d invite you to share with me the discovery of a new species.  And look,” I gesture around the landscape, “there’s plenty for the both of us.”

I fold my arms and watch as Sigma stares me down, wary of any help.

“What could possibly be in this for me?”

“Oh, Sigma, I thought you were more intelligent than that” I see his eyes narrow at the insult.  “You see, I don’t know these creatures.  They are completely new to this land.  And you, Sigma, you can interface… compute… even understand animals.  If you do this for me I’ll ensure that, when you share your knowledge, I send you back home with a few of these monsters.  You can utilize them in your next fight against your nemesis.  If they’re new to him, won’t they be more difficult to defeat?”

I see Sigma processing this information.  After a moment he nods once and begins to tread softly toward the darkness.  I continue to watch, but as I do so I notice something slightly disconcerting.  As the shadows lengthen the creatures move from their hiding places, keeping to the darkness, moving slowly toward Sigma and myself.

I see Sigma pause, just slightly out of reach of the nearest creature, then see his hands whip out, attaching long metal cords to the creature.

“They are searching for… hearts.  They consume hearts, breeding from the darkness found within them.  I cannot see where they originate from.  Some land full of anthropomorphic animals dressed in ridiculous clothes.  But I… I cannot… I…”

Sigma’s voice slowly fades away and he begins convulsing slightly.

“Sigma?” I shout.  “Sigma, what’s going on?”

There’s no response.  He slowly turns to looks at me, eyes changing to a luminescent yellow.

“I have no heart” he dispassionately intones.  “But I do have a body.  Easier… to… possess”

I quickly summon a ball of lightning as Sigma throws himself at me and blast him to the ground.  He shakes and sputters, the electricity frying his circuits.

Useless…

With a simple incantation and another flash of purple lightning I send him home.  Quickly removing the next card, noticing that the shadows are deepening, I summon Marjolaine.

marjolaine

“Yes?” her sultry tones echo slightly as she materializes.

“Marjolaine, I bested you in the last competition.  You know what I’m capable of.  Together we can destroy these monsters, keeping just one or two for ourselves.  Apparently they consume hearts.  I’m sure you’ve got plenty of hearts in your world just itching to be destroyed for the… well, the fun of it.”

“I do enjoy games” she croons, finally turning to face the swarm of monsters straining to reach us.

I hear her gasp.

“So many…”

“I would have thought someone like you would be itching for a fair fight?”

“I can only destroy so many with a bow” she spits at me.  She pauses.  “There may be a way.  I can stun them.  Every one of the enemies within the sound of my voice, for a short period of time.”

“So what are you waiting for?”

She glares at me, venom in her eyes.  Then she opens her mouth and begins to sing.  The song is haunting and as the shadows finally reach where we stand the creatures, running at us, are frozen.  I laugh.  It’s so much easier to defeat an enemy when someone else does all the difficult work.  I begin blasting the creatures with my ball lightning, turning and spinning to reach all I can see.  After several seconds I pause, looking back, waiting for the woman to spring into action and join me.  But she merely continues to stand, singing her song.

Wait…  In performing her best ability against a swarm of monsters she’s… completely useless herself?  What a worthless companion.  Do I have to do everything myself?

I let out an angry roar, lightning arcing from my fingers, stretching out and destroying the remaining creatures within my vision, their bodies vanishing into puffs of smoke.  I hear the padding of hundreds of feet as more creatures attempt to take their places.

Turning swiftly to Majorlaine I snap my fingers.  Her voice cuts off and she vanishes back into the useless world I stole her from.  Chest heaving with frustrated breaths I pull out the last card.  With an angry bellow and one last arc of lightning I summon the man to my side.

xehanort

He appears, looks calmly around him, and his face cracks into an evil grin.

What?

“I see my plan worked… This world, so full of people with so many hearts and so much light, was just itching for a cleansing.  A balance, if you will…”

My eyes narrow as the realization hits me.  This man planned this attack.  He wanted me to invite him here… to MY realm?!

“Do you truly think you can take over my kingdom?  Steal from me what I’ve earned, what I deserve!?  DO YOU THINK YOU CAN MAKE A FOOL OUT OF ME?” I shout, my rage building inside.

“Of course.  Sending one thousand of my Heartless to your kingdom, on the eve of your pathetic puppet’s wedding?  Why, this worked out better than I could have imagined.  You fell for my plan.  Like the simpleton I always thought you were.”

I scream in rage, malice building inside me as he lets out a cold, mirthless laugh and his minions begin to surround me.  As I glance around me, preparing for battle, I notice that several have stopped stalking me and have, instead, merely sat upon the ground.  Odd…

“I am Ganondorf, the most powerful, the most evil of all beings.  I, the reincarnation of Demise the Demon himself, can NOT be overruled by a worthless, pathetic master of a simple sword.  I cannot be defeated!”

As my echoes die out the creatures, Heartless, Xehanort called them, all stop and slowly turn away from me and toward their master.

“Enough of this!  Attack!”  Xehanort cries, pointing the tip of a long key at me.  I brace myself but the attack never comes.  I see my enemy glance around, a look of fear replacing the triumph.

“NO!” he cries “I am most evil.  You bow down to me!  I am your master!”

“Most evil, you say?”  I chuckle.  It has finally dawned on me that these Heartless, born from darkness, must gravitate toward true evil.  And I know exactly whose heart contains the most evil.  “It seems that your gamble was… mistaken.  You should have known better than to mess with a Demon King.”  I lift a finger and point at the trembling form of my adversary.  The Heartless begin padding toward him at a run, rushing to consume the man they once served.  Xehanort lets out a shriek of terror before raising his Keyblade and vanishing, like a coward.

I chuckle again, triumphant in the knowledge that I have a new monster to let loose on the world.  What is the goddesses chosen hero to a swarm of creatures born from darkness?  I call my noble steed and set off toward the canyon and my servant’s wedding, my horde of Heartless trailing behind me, confident that I, Ganondorf, will soon conquer this world.

ganondorf

Blogger Blitz Semifinals: Movie Marauders

Blogger Blitz Semifinals: Movie Marauders

Well, everyone.  I can’t believe it happened, but happen it did.  I actually won the Blogger Blitz Round 1!  I honestly don’t know how this keeps happening.  The other competitors are so good I could swear I won’t make it out alive.  And yet, I do… Somehow I do.

But while I may have been excited at my last triumph this next one scares me to death.  Not only is the prompt incredibly vague and difficult, but my competition is out of the this world!  Athena, over at AmbiGaming, will be pitting her villain Marjolaine, against me and Ganondorf in the weirdest challenge of them all.

It’s Friday and work this week has been pretty hectic – another upstart hero tried to stop your tyrannical rise to power, the royal heir escaped your wicked clutches, and cosmetic microtransactions were just announced for your favorite video game franchise. Luckily, you’ve got a relaxing weekend planned with your buddies, a movie night complete with snacks, decorations, and total surround sound. At least, that was the plan.

Just as movie night is about to get started, your villain realizes discovers that a pack of wererats broke into the cupboard and ruined all the snacks! Now you have to figure out where to quickly obtain more snack food before your friends arrive. Panicking, you look out the window of your beachside castle and see a faint ray of hope: a beach party taking place right outside! All you have to do is steal all their party stuff and bring it to your own party and the night is saved.

Bloggers have a lot of creative freedom with this event. Who’s throwing the beach party? How will the villain approach the party to steal the goods? Will the wererats just let this slide? With so many options available, there’s no telling what will happen in this kooky Blogger Blitz event!

Guys, I didn’t even know where to begin with this one.  I really had zero ideas until very, very recently.  I’m still not even sure how I feel about my response.  But sometimes you just have to push Publish and hope for the best.  And with Ganondorf’s amazingly complex, roundabout way of thinking, what could possibly go wrong?

Rules, as always, can be found at the site of our wonderful host, Ian, at Adventure Rules, and the results of today’s challenge can be found there on Friday!


… and yet, I wonder if the problem really was Link, this hero of the winds.  Perhaps the elements and waves themselves rose against my ascent.  It’s the only thing that makes sense, after all.  Link, an upstart nobody from that tiny island, could never have bested the great Ganondorf, without help from a power nearly as great as me.  I’ll ensure that my next attack is more carefully planned.  Perhaps a foray into a realm where I control the elements, somewhere Dark, will ensure victory.

Ganondorf looked up from his post, stretching, and clicked “Publish”.  Without those pesky monkeys to thwart him, publishing his memoirs had become significantly easier.  It’s always the same, he thought, if I want something done correctly, it must be done myself.  He stood and strode through his personal sanctum and into the drawing room, mindlessly glancing out the windows at the rocky shores of his Forsaken Fortress beachside castle.

forbidden fortress

“I suppose I have the consolation of uninviting those pesky Moblins who failed me from tonight’s party.  How disappointed they’ll be to know that I and my faithful servants will be watching past highlights of my rise to power and fame without them.  While all have failed me in the past, some have, at least, died for me.  Those few souls, the ones who deserved reincarnation through my mighty power, shall be there.  Now, let’s see… food, prepared by my hands, and four hours of film should be enough to throw the best party this forsaken land has ever seen.  Muwahahahaha!”

As he continued to pace Ganondorf glanced out the furthest window, and paused.  There were lights on the beaches visible through that window.  He strode over, fury building inside him.

“The audacity!  Throwing a party on my beach mere days after destroying my plans.  Who could possibly be so bold?”

Ganonforf squinted, straining his eyes.  He let out a frustrated growl.  It was impossible to tell at this distance.  He let out a wild screech, calling his faithful Helmaroc King to his side.

“Go!” he said. “Bring me news of those invaders on my privacy.”

helmorac king

In a burst of wind and wings the Helmaroc King took flight, streaking into the distance to reconnoiter the pinpricks of dancing firelight.  In his rage, Ganondorf paced through the drawing room and into the kitchens, venting his anger with well-placed kicks at the furniture.

As he entered the kitchen a flurry of activity caught his attention and drew his focus.  Large, black figures scattered into the shadows.  Ganondorf lit the candles with a burst of magic.  He gasped in horror.  It was gone.  All of it was gone.  The monster cakes, monster curry, and monster stew – all vanished with the black shapes, only purple crumbs and grains of rice remaining.  At the sound of his gasp wererats poked their noses back into the kitchen, creeping from their hiding places in triumph.  Letting out a scream of frustration, Ganondorf threw his arms forward, purple arcs of lightening shooting from his hands, scattering the wererats like leaves in a wind.

“I WILL NOT HAVE THIS PARTY RUINED!”

With his outburst of energy he began to calm.  As his chest heaved and his breathing slowly became controlled he could feel the formation of a plan beginning.  To punish all those who threatened his night of wallowing in past successes was utmost on his mind.  As he stood, wheels turning, grasping for a plan to bring vengeance and destruction to his enemies a fell call rang out above him.  His faithful bird, the Helmaroc King, was swiftly descending toward the castle.  Ganondorf swept out onto the ledge and waited, patience an attribute well-developed through centuries of being sealed in the Sacred Realm.

“Kaw, KAWWW kkkaw, screech, kaaw cacaww”

“I see…” mused Ganondorf.  “Those fools truly believed I had gone.  Me.  The most powerful sorcerer Hyrule has ever known…  This affront deserves a special punishment.  No, no, death is too good for these miscreants.  I’ll have to think of something truly clever for this… Oh, and there are some wererats around the castle, attempting to destroy my evening.  Dispose of them.  They should make an adequate dinner for a keen, clever beast like you.”

ganondorf

And as Ganondorf trailed off into silent thought an ingenious plan, fully formed, broke through.  He smiled and chuckled.  Yes.  Yes!  This will gain me all I deserve – their food and the ruin of their party! Hmhahaha…

***

Out along the beaches the party was raging.  Pirates, Koroks, and Rito were all present, reveling in the demise of their hated enemy.  Cakes, pies, and tarts stood in a long array at a table near the fire.  The Koroks and Rito had even brought along harps and violins and music and laughter echoed across the beach.  The Evil King was gone!  Their homes and friends were safe!  What could possibly be go wrong?

All at once the sound of oars sound brought the music to a screeching halt.  A large raft was winding its way across the shores, dragging behind it a massive form.  Everyone huddled together, fear rushing across their faces, a few screams erupting.  Could he possibly be back?  Could he have escaped the doom the Hero of Winds had inflicted?  They watched with baited breath as the shape loomed closer, hardly daring to move.  When it finally touched ground near their fire a gasp went up from them.  A man lumbered out, tall and menacing in the half-light.  He moved into the firelight and a collective sigh of relief escaped the group.  It was only the Traveling Merchant.

“My friends!  Don’t be afraid.  It is I, Munfrnmahan, and I’m merely your humble, traveling merchant.  As I was searching the castle of the Evil King for trinkets to sell I heard the festivities from your party.  I’ve come to help brighten it.  As I was searching I found a machine that’s beyond compare.  A puppet used by Ganon in his evil attempt to destroy our very own Hero of Winds.  Seeing, with your own eyes, the scars and wounds of its battle with that… great… hero, is truly magnificent.  I’d love to share with you the experience of standing within the beast and beholding the awesome power of the Hero of Winds.  However, such a long journey has exhausted me beyond compare, and in my career food can be scarce and difficult to come by.  If you would be willing to give me, say, one pie, cake or tart, in exchange for each person entering the marionette I could say that my time was well spent in search of such treasures of victory!  What say you?”

puppet ganon

As he had slinked closer to the firelight a few partygoers noticed some strange differences between the Traveling Merchant they had known and this new merchant.  But as he pulled Puppet Ganon into the light all eyes were on it, and even those predisposed to be suspicious gave way to the awe of witnessing the might of their hero.  A murmur of agreement rippled through the crowd and, as the Merchant quickly set up the marionette to its full towering height, a rush of grabbing hands flew to the food table and began shoving every last treat in the direction of the Merchant.  To have a chance to view the beast Link had destroyed first-hand?  That was something no one could pass up.  As the merchant slowly placed pie after tart after pie onto his raft he chuckled quietly, mirthlessly, to himself.

After a few moments of shoving nearly every partygoer was inside the puppet, touching the gaping holes left by the Master Sword and scrambling over each other to see through the puppet’s eyes.  When the very last Rito feather and pirate cutlass were inside a sudden blaze of purple light blinded the horizon.  A deep, cold laugh sounded and a scream of panic erupted from the party.

wind waker ganon

“You fools!  Did you truly think I was gone?  The great, powerful Ganondorf?  I not only have your food, but I now have you, trapped inside this massive, disappointing servant.  In fact, so disappointing, I had no problem doing this!” And with a snap of his fingers the outer layer of the puppet disappeared, leaving behind a towering, puppet-shaped cage, locking every person inside.

“And now, for the greatest revenge of all.  You, and your miserable band of revelers, will join me at the most incredible party of all time.  A memoir to me and my unspeakable triumphs, 4 hours of food and film showing my rise to victory and Hyrule under my rule.  And thanks to you, I know this party will be a success.”

***

Sometime later, after using his considerable magic to move the cage across the beach and into the castle, he sat back and laughed.  Ah, yes, he thought.  His enemies forced to witness his triumphs from their self-inflicted cage while his sycophants witness his triumph!  What could possibly be better than this…

Blogger Blitz Round 1: Blogger Blitzception

Blogger Blitz Round 1: Blogger Blitzception

Hey everyone!  By some unexpected chance, and though I hadn’t planned on participating this year, I am yet again a competitor in the coolest competition around!  For those of you who missed it the first time check out Ian, at Adventure Rules, blog.  He not only lists the round challenges and the overall rules, but that’s also where we will find the results!  Yay!  If you want to skip that article (BOO!  Shame on you!) then here’s a little explanation of the rules:

  • Each round of the competition has a 1000 word limit for round 1. There are no limitations on writing style.  Remember to pack your 1000 words with content that helps to prove why your character is the best at the event!
  • Within your own post, you define the circumstances and how difficult it is for your character to overcome the event. So be sure to craft circumstances which portray your character as overcoming odds that only they could possibly surmount. If the challenge is too easy, it takes some of the impact away from your argument. Judges like to see clever solutions!
  • Get ahead of the game and cover your weak points so that when the judges have to consider the negatives of each approach, you’ve already anticipated it and come up with a solution!

Who is my competition, you ask?  Flame Flash who will be sponsoring Sigma, the antagonist from the Mega Man series.  And who had loads more time than me to prepare.  And who is an incredible writer.  Guys… it may be my first and last round in the Blogger Blitz challenge this year…

And what is the challenge?  Oh you know, only something so complex I had to read it 4 times before I even understood what they were asking for…

In a competition where bloggers submit blog posts about their favorite characters for a panel of judges to determine which is the best, they’ll be challenged to write a blog post about their favorite character writing a blog post. Then the post within the post will be judged by the judges to determine which blogger wins, which by extension will determine which blogger wins. What? As if that’s not complicated enough, each villain has been sent a nefarious “helper” by their rivals – a three-headed monkey! The monkey does all the typing for them, so how can each villain use their abilities to influence the monkey to write rightly? It’s the blogger blitz within the Blogger Blitz – it’s Blogger Blitzception!

So without further ado, my blog within a blog (and my word count) starts below this line.


Oh the aklnm;slkdf ;jp[aje

ganondorf triumphant

NO! Stop it, monkey.  I am Ganon, the holder of the Goddess Din’s Triforce of Power, reincarnation of the Demon Demise himself.  You WILL obey me.  Now…. Write this:

Oh the struggle, the turmoil.  Why is ittt ttttthatttt pppsppdpdmmvvlcxle

ganondorf frustrated

NO!  This post, monkey, will be the inspiration of generations to come!  I am the master of all dark powers and, King of the Gerudo, and the rightful King of Hyrule.  All who wish to bow down before me must understand me.  This wisdom will be sought through the end of time.  And through it I will choose lesser minions to serve beneath my hand, for when I am King I will be King forever! Mwahahahaha.

Oh the struggle, the turmoil.  Why is it that people continnu to opose mme?  I, wwwwhoooo ams;lk the rigj ;lkdtful ruulelsller

Ganondorf

*sigh*.  I suppose this will take more effort than I originally thought.  Who knew a three-headed monkey, that cursed gift from that idiot sympathizer from Faron, would be this troublesome?  How could he be manipulated to obey?  It’s quite simple.  That’s all I ask.  Complete and blind obedience to my every need.  As the conqueror of Hyrule it should be given to me.  Hmmmm….

A banana.  Is that what you want, you good, kind, helpful monkey?  I’ll give you a banana every time you type a correct sentence.  Deal? Then let’s get moving…

Oh the struggle, the turmoil.  Why is it that people continue to oppose me?  I, who am the rightful ruler of all Hyrule?  I, who am the rightful ruler of all Hyrule?  I, who am the rightful ruler of all Hyrule?  I, Demise himself, who asks nothing but subservience and utter domination?  I, Demise himself, who asks nothing but subservience and utter domination?  I, Demise himself, who asks nothing but subservience and utter domination?

angry ganondorf

STOP!  That is NOT what I wanted.  That is NOT what I meant.  You are willfully disobeying me!

*Leaves to play the organ for several minutes*

*deep breaths* Now that my calm has been restored I have an idea, an improvement, if you will.  Utilizing the dark magic at which I am so adept I’ll simply bend your minds to my will.  Force you to become the mindless minion you are to simply do as I ask.  Oh, don’t worry, monkey, you won’t notice a thing.

O the struggle the turmoil y is it that people continue 2 oppose me I who am the rightful ruler of all hyrule I demise himself who asks nothing but subservience and utter domination its… that… night…  the… socalled… hero… of… hyrule… its… his… fault… my… slaves… continue… 2… rise…….. up……….

NOOOOO!  Mindless!  Stupid. Idiot. Monkey!

ganondorf sword

*In a fit of rage he raises his sword and chops off two of the monkey’s heads.  Cauterizes wounds with dark magic.  Lifts spell from third head.*

There.  No more mistakes, no more fooling around.  You, monkey, WILL do my bidding or the same fate awaits your final head.  NOW, TYPE!

Oh the struggle, the turmoil.  Why is it that people continue to oppose me?  I, who am the rightful ruler of all Hyrule?  I, Demise himself, who asks nothing but subservience and utter domination? 

It’s that knight.  The so-called “Hero of Hyrule”.  It’s his fault my slaves continue to rise up.  It’s HIS fault my plans fail.  I am thwarted at every turn because of this… man-child.  This Link.  I am the great, powerful Ganon!  How can a simple, small boy continue to overthrow my best-laid plans?  First it was my attempt to rise as myself with the help of my faithful demon Ghirahim.  And my reincarnation, this powerful, debonair Ganondorf, with so much promise, continually thrown down.  Is it him, this Link?  Or is it simply my incompetent belief in those I manipulate?  Agahnim, Yuga, Zant, all failures.  Perhaps that is my true downfall.  Perhaps my manipulations of these minions was never strong enough, my… faith… was misplaced.  This newest attempt may need a different strategy.  Something to counter the nuisance of the “Goddess’s chosen hero”.  Something to finally squash him like the insect he is so that I, Ganondorf, the most powerful being ever, can reign victorious at last!

You, the mindless rabble who WILL obey me, cannot know the strain of such a brat, always snapping at my heels.  You think this is easy, laying plans, always subverting Hyrule to my whim.  But the thought of that boy eats away at my peace.  He fills me with pure Malice, and slowly gnaws away my incredible intellect to the point that I struggle to foresee mistakes.  Oh the agony of my minion’s mistakes that have allowed that… boy… to defeat me!  It should never have happened.  It will not happen again.  I, Ganondorf, am more than capable of crushing him without any effort.  Perhaps it will take all my cunning, without the use of a mindless puppet, to overcome the Triforce of Courage.  And perhaps this blog will be my greatest form of brainstorming.  The place where all my best-laid plans will finally be perfected and find fruition in the defeat of that whelp.  Perhaps this next time I’ll use a new set of minions… One made entirely of metal…

Zelda Collaboration Project

IT’S HERE! It’s finally here!  The Zelda collaboration blog, hosted by Matt at Normal Happenings, is finally published for all the world to see.

Guys, this project is insane.  It was tons of bloggers adding their input on the sights and sounds of Hyrule.  How cool is that?!  And all of their hard work, and especially Matt’s hard work, should be recognized.  So please go check it out!  I don’t want to reblog here, because I want you to go to this amazing person’s site and see everything the way he planned it.  He deserves that.

OH!  And in case you were interested, I included 2 new recipes for this project.  Yay!  To see them just head on over…

Hyrule: See the Sights, Hear the Sounds!

A Year Ago…

A Year Ago…

Hey, friendly followers who stick with me through thick and thin!  Guess what today is?  It’s officially 1 year since I posted my very first recipe.  Can you believe that?!  One year!  And look how far we’ve all come!  I’ve got followers, a twitter account, exciting new recipes, collaborations, and friends in foreign countries.  This blog thing has turned out to be one of the greatest decisions I’ve ever made.  And even though I’m still not posting regularly (this time thanks to my garden and backyard: photos on Instagram tomorrow if you want to see them!) I’m getting better and you are all so supportive I feel like it’s all okay.  That everything is okay.

So thank you to the people who have supported me, pushed me, and helped me get from point A to here in the last year.  In other words – thank you to all of you!  In honor of this auspicious anniversary here is a reblog of my very first recipe: Wildberry Crepes!


What seems like an eternity ago my husband and I went to Paris.  This was easily one of the best experiences of my life and I brought back a serious love for french pastries.  I set out determined to master every single one I had eaten.  The easiest to master was the crepe.  My high school french teacher taught me how to make his secret recipe, weaseled out of the corner crepe stand proprietor while he was living in France.  I already had a lot of experience making them before my trip but I was able to perfect it after watching the way the locals made them.  So when I accidentally made a crepe in Breath of the Wild I was so excited!  Link could make crepes!  It felt so cool to make something in the game that I love making in real life.  This made the decision of which recipe to create first simple.  It had to be the crepes that had brought me so much joy.

Hylian Wildberry Crepes:Difficult and Time for this recipe

The equipment for this recipe is pretty straight forward: a bowl for the batter, a whisk, measuring materials, a piping bag if you’re feeling fancy, and a frying pan or crepe pan.  I make crepes so often it was worth every penny to buy a really amazing crepe pan.  I use Le Creuset.  I love their cast iron quality and the spatula and rateau (spreading) tools are perfect.

Layout of crepe ingredients

Crepes start with some forethought because they are best if there’s very little air in the batter.  They make a smoother surface with no pockets or holes for the delicious insides to ooze out of.  Eggs, milk, flour, and butter are whisked together until there are no lumps.  This may take a minute or so.  The flour can get really finicky when added to the egg mixture.

Plastic wrap placed on batter

In order to get rid of all that pesky air a piece of plastic wrap is pressed down onto the surface of the batter, the bowl is given a few gentle shakes, and the entire thing is put in the refrigerator to rest for at least an hour.  Since I usually make crepes for breakfast I make the batter the night before, that way they are fresh and ready for the morning.

Gently cutting in any butter that may have come out of solution is key!  You didn’t let it sit for an hour just to ruin it now!  Pans should be heated on medium low and butter should be added to the entire surface.  Don’t skimp out on me now, we are making crepes not a salad!  Add the first half cup of batter, spreading it by tilting a frying pan or using the rateau with a crepe pan.  First crepes are a sacrifice to the Goddess: it’s meant to be made made and then promptly thrown away.  If your sacrifice has been accepted you won’t need to butter your pan again.

How to pour and spread the crepe

Every crepe is an adventure.  The amount of batter you add and your attention to spreading will produce different sizes and different shapes.  The challenge is to get each one perfect.  It’s definitely a super gut check challenge.  Easier with pratice, the right elixers, and the right gear.

Cut and cored strawberries

Only the best berries should be used, which usually means purchasing in-season.  These wildberry crepes feature strawberries, the current berry-of-the-month.  My favorite, however, are raspberries!  Use whatever feels right.  Wildberry is vague, allowing for some fantastic judgement calls.  To make them a little syrupy dip the cut side of the berry into sugar and allow it to sit for a few minutes.

You can pipe or dollop the whipped cream.  Honestly, after the pretty photo shoot was over, my husband and I stood over the crepe pan spooning on the cream and berries faster than I could make them.

Crepe with whipped cream and strawberries

Link’s Wildberry Crepe recipe:

    • Fresh Milk
    • Bird Egg
    • Tabantha Wheat
    • Cane Sugar
    • Wildberry

Hylian Wildberry Crepes

  • Servings: 6-8 crepes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Crepes with berries and whipped cream from Breath of the Wild

Crepes

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup milk, any percentage will do
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup flour, sifted
  • 3-4 tablespoons butter, melted

Filling

  • 24-32 small strawberries, 3-4 per crepe
  • 1 cup whipping creme or heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup sugar plus a few pinches for dusting berries

Directions

  1. Whisk together eggs and milk until smooth.  Slowly add sifted flour and salt and whisk until combined.  Add butter and continue whisking until the batter is smooth with no flour lumps.
  2. Gently press a piece of plastic wrap down into the bowl to rest on top of the batter and cover it entirely.  Refrigerate and allow to rest for at least one hour.
  3. While the batter is refrigerating prepare the berries and whipped cream.
  4. Cut strawberries in half and lightly cover the cut side in sugar.  Allow to sit at room temperature for a few minutes to produce a little syrupy goodness.
  5. Whipping cream can be made three ways: a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, a blender, or a bowl and hand mixer with a whisk attachment.  For any of these options add the whipping cream to the blender or bowl and whisk on high.  Slowly add the sugar and continue whisking until stiff peaks form and the cream becomes shiny.
  6. When the batter is ready gently peel back the plastic wrap.  It is perfectly normal for some batter to stick to the wrap.  In fact, if it doesn’t, you may not have pressed the plastic down enough.  Some butter may have separated at this point. Using a knife or spoon gently cut and turn the batter until uniform.
  7. Heat pan on medium low until hot.  Add butter to cover the surface of the pan.  Add 1/2 cup batter to the pan and twist or spread using a rateau until the batter covers the bottom of the pan.  Allow to sit for about 1 minute until the bottom sets up.  Flip the crepe and cook about 1 minute more until lightly browned. Throw this first crepe away.  It usually has too much butter to taste really good.
  8. Continue adding 1/2 – 2/3 cup batter at a time to the pan without re-greasing the pan and follow step 7 for cooking instructions.
  9. Remove from pan and immediately pipe or spoon on whipped cream and strawberries.  Crepes are best enjoyed hot but are still delicious cold.  They do not store well so make and enjoy all your crepes that day!

Nutcake Take 2

Nutcake Take 2

I wasn’t intending on repeating and improving recipes this early, but frankly, it had to be done.  Ever since I posted that Nutcake recipe I’ve been upset and embarrassed by it.  Not because anyone said anything bad about it.  Simply because I hate it.  I don’t think it tastes very good.  It’s dry and crumbly and nothing like a nice, cakey quick bread should be.  So I’ve improved it.  And trust me when I say that it is improved!  So much better than the last recipe that I just want to pretend it never happened.  Plus, this one feels like a happy medium between a rich, winter cakey bread and a fresh, springy cakey bread.  Perfect for this time of year!

Nutcake Take 2header and time

toasting the walnutsWe start by toasting the walnuts.  This step, while seemingly tedious, is what gives the cake the most delicious flavor.  It brings out all the nutty sweetness that you crave in something like this.  Place the whole walnuts on a baking sheet in a single layer (none on top of each other).  Toast at 350°F for about 10-12 minutes, stirring once halfway through.  Then take them out and let them cool.  It’s an easy way to take your recipes to the next level and you should definitely get in the habit of doing it every time!

whisk together dry

The next step is mixing together the dry ingredients.  Flour, sugar, baking powder and soda, and salt.  Give it a few stirs with a whisk to incorporate some air into the mixture.  It’s almost as good as sifting but it’s half the effort!  Make a well in the center of the mixture.

stir in wet

Let’s add all the wet ingredients to the top of the dry ingredients.  Now, you can be fancy and mix your wet ingredients away from your dry ingredients and then add them at a later date, but who wants two bowls to clean instead of one?  As the queen of baking-and-hating-dishes-so-they-pile-up-forever I never use more bowls than I absolutely have to.  Once the wets are on top of the drys simple whisk the wet ingredients together without incorporating any of the dry.  It’s that easy.

When the wet ingredients are thoroughly mixed switch to a spoon and start stirring together all the ingredients.  When it’s all together and no dry bits remain let it sit for a minute.  We don’t want to overmix it so as soon as the dry stuff is all wet you’re done!  Think of it like charging an attack.  You want to charge it enough to be effective but overcharging won’t give you more power, it’ll just take Link out of control and exhaust him before the next strike.  Overmix now and your nutcake will turn out flat and dense and not ready for consumption at all… (yeah, I know that was a stretch… but I feel like there’s a definite lack of Zelda references in my posts lately and I’m trying to make it work).

chop the nuts

Let the batter sit while you chop the cooled walnuts.  I like mine to be in half’s but if you want smaller pieces, simply chop them more.  Lay them on a cutting board, and roughly cut them with a large knife until they’re the perfect size for you!

Add the nuts, cinnamon, vanilla, and nutmeg to the batter and stir gently until everything is mixed together.  But again, no overstirring at this point! Just until everything looks even.

butter and flour a tin

Butter and flour a loaf tin.  Rub the butter in the pan until all the cracks and surfaces are slathered.  Then sprinkle in flour until all the butter is covered.  Tip the tin over and pat the bottom to remove excess flour.

Add your batter and smooth it out with a spoon.  It’ll be thick and gooey and oh, so delicious-looking.  Add some more walnuts (the chopped but not toasted ones) on top and bake!  A cake tester should come out clean when it’s done.  Baking time is so fickle based on your oven and the will of the goddesses.  Mine took about 45 minutes.  I’d start watching it closely at 40.  The top will crack and everything will look set, no wobbly bits.  Wait until the cake is completely cooled before removing it from the pan.  If it’s still warm it may be annoying and stick.  Serve with whipped cream (which you can find a recipe for in the fruitcake recipe) and enjoy!

Link’s Nutcake

    • Tabantha Wheat
    • Cane Sugar
    • Goat Butter
    • Any Nut

Nutcake Take 2

  • Servings: 1 loaf
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Another look at Link's Breath of the Wild Nutcake recipe, this time much improved!


Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup walnuts for toasting
  • 1/2 cup walnuts for topping

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F
  2. Toast the walnuts. Place them in a single layer on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for about 10-12 minutes, stirring once halfway through. Remove from the oven and cool for at least 10 minutes.
  3. Mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder and soda, and salt.  Give it a few stirs with a whisk to incorporate some air into the mixture. Make a well in the center of the mixture.
  4. All the wet ingredients to the top of the dry ingredients. Whisk the wet ingredients together without incorporating any of the dry.
  5. When the wet ingredients are thoroughly mixed switch to a spoon and start stirring together all the ingredients.  When it’s all together and no dry bits remain let it sit for one minute. Be cautious not to overmix the batter at this point. Stir only until there are no more dry ingredients visible. The batter will be slightly lumpy.
  6. Chop the cooled walnuts by laying them on a cutting board, and roughly cut them with a large knife until they’re in rough halves.
  7. Add the nuts, cinnamon, and nutmeg to the batter and stir gently until everything is mixed together.  Don’t overmix! Just stir until everything looks even.
  8. Butter and flour a loaf tin.  Rub the butter in the pan until all the cracks and surfaces are slathered.  Then sprinkle in flour until all the butter is covered.  Tip the tin over and pat the bottom to remove excess flour.
  9. Add your batter and smooth it out with a spoon.  Add the untoasted, chopped walnuts to the top. Bake until a cake tester comes out clean from the center, about 40-55 minutes. Serve with whipped cream and enjoy!

To Thine Own Self Be True

To Thine Own Self Be True

It may be hackneyed, I know, and quite honestly, this particular phrase can be digested into a thousand meanings, both for your good and to promote selfishness…  But in spite of those facts, and possibly because Hamlet is my second-favorite Shakespeare play (any guesses which is first?), I still think this quote embodies what I want to talk about today.

To thine own self be true.  Be true to who you are, who you want to be, and what you intend for your life.  This has been the theme of my therapy sessions for the last, oh I don’t know, forever.  And guys, this is the big one, the massive post I hinted about around Thanksgiving.  The post where I finally talk about gaming, shame culture, letting go of judgement, and accepting myself.  So who wants to dive into the deepest recesses of my depression?  ooh, ooh, me!  Cool.  Let’s get going.

Once upon a time, as a child, I didn’t have a lot of friends.  It was pretty hard to be a girl who loved gaming, sports, fantasy, science, and reading and either no one could relate to me or everyone pretended they couldn’t.  Even if I finally found a new friend I’d usually wind up losing them after only a few months when they realized I was way nerdier than they were willing to put up with.  It was lonely.  It was hard.  It lasted until my senior year of high school.  And it helped me develop a desperate need to feel wanted and accepted by those around me and an absolute fear of abandonment.

Cut to years later and I still had that overwhelming need to be liked, wanted, and praised.  Because if people were praising me, liking me, wanting to be like me, and telling me that the things I did were great, then maybe that person would stick around.  And while this is not healthy behavior I was always able to keep it under control because deep down, I knew I was an achiever.  And the constant series of accomplishing tasks and goals in my job, hobbies, and personal life helped fill the gaps left by my loneliness.

But then the baby came.  All of a sudden I was 20 pounds heavier than I’d ever been in my life (and, frankly, as a very tall girl with a medium build I’d never been good on the whole “body image” front), a mother with massive new emotional and financial responsibilities, unable to find time to do the dishes or grocery shop, and without the energy to really excel at any and all projects, professionally or personally.

And at the very moment that I started to lose myself it seemed like everyone else found themselves.  It was the time when my in-laws all decided who they were going to be, where their lives were going, and somehow still had the energy to accomplish everything they wanted.  It was when my sister solidified that her calling in life is to teach others and help them learn as she raised and babysat both her little girl and my son, still finding the time to seemingly have it all together.  It was the time all my friends seemed to “grow up”.  Everyone’s Instagram feeds were full of the “socially acceptable” adventures and hobbies they’d discovered.  It was at this point that my anxiety and depression were uncontrollable by myself alone.  So I found help by seeking out a trained professional and, after digging up so much of the past and pushing so much toward the future, I think I can finally say that I know who I want to be.

While it isn’t the biggest issue I’ve faced, accepting my hobbies and my love for them have been one of the major obstacles I’ve needed to overcome.  You’ve seen the media, you’ve all been watching the news, and the idea that “gaming is bad” is a constant issue we, as gamers, have to face.  Several of the bloggers who I really admire and look up to have done posts on this recently.  One, in particular, stood out so well.

NekoJonez, some of the best emotional support you’ll ever find in a community, ranted about non-gamer’s perceptions of gamers.  When people around me started deciding who their “grown up selves” were going to be I started hearing this a lot more.  Or maybe I’d just never listened before, because I didn’t care that person X didn’t like my choice of hobbies.  When my anxiety started coming to a head I started questioning every single hobby I’d ever had.  Was it too childish?  Did I need to grow up?  Was I supposed to fit in the current culture and live life like literally everyone else on Instagram/Facebook/insert social media platform of your choice?  How could I like games and still be accepted and appreciated?  And even among gamers, how could I exclusively enjoy Nintendo and not be mocked as “childish”?

It wasn’t until my brother-in-law, an absolute saint, metaphorically sat down with me (we were on the phone), and had a long chat about the fact that he has struggled through, and come out the victor, in these exact issues that I started to feel like maybe I was going to be okay.  Maybe other’s impressions of my choices and my life didn’t matter.  Maybe loving something, even if other people don’t approve, was more important than being who I was “supposed” to be.  By sharing his advances in determining how he wanted to play games and the benefits he derived from them, and the emotional and physical support he and his wife have showered on me, I gain confidence in my own struggles with this perception of gamers and, ultimately, of myself.

It’s a tough road, guys.  There’s so much out there telling you that you’re unhealthy, lazy, wasting time, childish, promoting whatever gaming is supposed to be ruining nowadays, addicted, a part of the problem with society, missing  the fullness of life, not enough of a gamer, not the right kind of gamer, not playing the right things, etc… Whatever mean thing someone can think of, trust me, they will.  If they can shame you into feeling like you’re not good enough, hey, maybe you’ll change and validate their lifestyle.  It’s so hard not to buy into what they’re saying.  They have the support of the current societal norms on their side, after all.  How can we overcome this bombardment on our personal choices?

So, while I don’t need to go into all the gory details, let’s talk about how I’ve learned to cope with these fears and stressors.  Because ultimately, this post isn’t so I can tell you all my personal life stories.  It’s to help others who may be feeling the same fears and thoughts.  Who may be going through their own young, mid-life crisis.

There is NOTHING wrong with your hobbies.  Gaming or otherwise.  There’s nothing wrong with choosing to continue gaming, or choosing new hobbies, or heck, doing both!  Nostalgia Trigger, a fantastic blog you should definitely follow, wrote an incredible post about a year ago talking about these very things.  Gaming is a hobby, it isn’t a lifestyle.  And so is every other passion and pursuit you turn to.  Yeah, it can consume you, it can be your number one thing, but it doesn’t define who you are, what you stand for, and your value as a human being.  It’s a hobby.  And it’s just fine to fall in love with your hobby.  Everyone has them.  And no one hobby is better than another.  So accept yourself, accept your hobbies, and be happy that you’ve found things you love to do.  Not everyone has.

Just because you found something (or somethings) you’re passionate about at a young age doesn’t make them childish.  It makes you lucky.  4 out of my 5 favorite hobbies are things I adored as a child.  Gaming is one of them.  My entire family are gamers, it’s something we did as a family, something we pursued on our own, and something nearly all of us have continued as we’ve grown.  Just because it’s something I did as a child does not make it childish.  I’ve had decades of loving who I am and enjoying one of my favorite hobbies.  That’s years longer than so many people.  How lucky am I?  Decades of refining my tastes, discovering my niche, and really knowing what’s worth my time and what isn’t.  That isn’t childish, that’s maturity.

Stop the comparison, take away the judgement.  One of my biggest problems is that I judge myself incredibly harshly.  I compare and, instead of being jealous, I simply find some way of turning that comparison into a criticism of who I am/am not.  I find ways to devalue myself based on these perfect boundaries I’ve decided I have to fit inside.  Well guess what?  No one is perfect.  Which means I constantly break those boundaries and rules and, when I do, I leave myself open to me saying some of the meanest things anyone has ever said of me.  Do you have this problem?  Are you, quite literally, your harshest critic?  While it’s 1000% easier said than done, stop the criticism and take away the judgement.  Everyone makes mistakes, you face problems you can’t overcome or set-backs that completely take you away.  But instead of turning it into a rant about the horrible, terrible human being you aren’t, take away the judgement and make it about accepting you for your faults and the growth that you achieve when you fail.  No one achieved anything through perfect success.  It’s only through failure that we learn.

So what if so-and-so thinks you’re silly for gaming?  Instead of taking what they’ve said to heart simply accept any critiques that may be true and throw the rest in the garbage.  Don’t use it as fuel on your fire to be harsh and unkind to yourself.  Instead of judging ourselves on whether we spent 6 hours doing playing a game or 6 hours doing any other hobby, simply accept that you did something that brought you pure joy and move one.  Instead of allowing someone’s belief about how you should spend your time ruin your night simply brush it aside and do the things you love.  Accept that you are who you are and leave the judgement where it belongs-nowhere near you.

It’s taken me a full and solid year to finally start comprehending some of these facts.  I love video games.  I love tabletop games.  I’d rather spend every night of my week watching Overwatch League than anything else.  I’m obsessed with the Legend of Zelda and have an entire shelf of LoZ games and books to prove it.  I’m proud of the fact that one of my son’s favorite things is Mario.

It’s okay to love yourself.  It’s okay to be yourself.  You don’t have to look like person X, because you never will.  You’re not them, from your DNA to your beliefs.   So stop trying.  Just accept who you are, pants size and everything.  It’s okay to enjoy gaming.  No one person’s hobbies will ever be better than another’s.  They are a portion of all the wonderful things that make you who you are.  They shape your ability to change your world.  The world needs gamers, and hikers, and readers, and sports enthusiasts, and every other possible hobby.  Because those things help build a civilization that works.  Embrace the differences and accept yourself.  Because you are, and will always be the very best at being you.