Okay, time for a little fun. I get tired of blowing up the world, people dying, death and destruction and clever people averting universal disasters after awhile and have to fall back on my very most favorite fantasy characters, the top of the list being Merlin.
So while not so long, it is a meant to be amusing and light hearted tale of Merlin as a young boy....proceed with caution, as you are in grave danger of having fun! :) John
Of Man and Gods, Centaurs and Eagles
A Merlin Story
By John Pirillo
My name is Merlin Ambrosius Indigo. And this is my story:
The first time he decided to venture out on his own in the lands was the first time he had his nose rubbed in dragon poo. Literally!
"Great gods of fire, Lillian!" He had hollered at his best friend, Lillian. She was a centaur with a gorgeous mane of silken purple hair and a tail to match. Her body was a piece of art, carved by the gods of the mountain and the gods of wood. She was as fluid as water and as strong and unyielding as stone. In other words she was stubborn.
She twitched her button nose and stuck her tongue out at him.
His anger fizzled into a spout of dry stupidity. "Okay!" He said, wiping at the poo with one of the great leaves of the tree next to him. The dragon had to have perched in the tree the night before or else he wouldn't have had the enormous dropping fall onto his hair and face like it did. Sometimes a denizen of the lands got whacked from the sky as dragons flew over. They were quite unconscious of where they dropped, just like the birds, but always apologized whenever they found out. So they weren't soulless creatures, just...well, he had to think with a grin...spontaneous.
"Indigo." The name she preferred to call him because his face turned that color whenever he was mad or upset. "You really must be more alert."
He frowned at her. At his early age he already had thickset, heavy eyebrows that looked like thunderclouds fallen from the heavens. "Next time, you wait under the tree."
"I shall." She agreed, but he could tell she wouldn't. It wasn't her nature to take chances like him. Perhaps that was what compelled him to explore deeper into the woods that morning. Mother Tree had given him her blessings and Father Tree as well, once he could be awoken from his usual day long slumber. His father was a lazy head, he thought fondly.
"Indigo!" Lillian shouted.
He startled from his thoughts and saw that she was galloping off. "Can't catch me!"
He frowned deeply. "Of course I can't, you four legged excuse of an imp!"
She giggled girlishly and hoofed it even faster.
He stood there with his hands on his hips, wondering what to do next, and then a bright idea flourished for a moment in his mind. He rubbed his hands together and then cupped them to his mouth.
Lillian didn't look back when she heard the call of an eagle. They were so common in the lands that hardly anyone noticed them calling to each other as they wheeled in the skies or dove for food. Eagles were mighty creatures and not to be feared. They were the friends of Fairie.
She also didn't look back when she heard powerful wings approaching. She had no fear of anything flying, because anything that flew in these lands was friendly. But when Merlin swooped past on the back of a giant eagle and then put his thumb to his nose and blew a rude sound, she stopped and flew up her back hooves and kicked at the sky.
"Ambrosius! You rascal!" She hollered. She used his middle name when she was angry or irritated with him. At that particular moment her great big brown eyes were screwed tight in anger and irritation.
Merlin sensed it, leaned over the beak of the eagle and stroked between its eyes gently. "Shall we help Lillian calm down, old friend?"
The eagle, whose name was Feathers Sky God, swept around in a tight circle then approached Lillian head on. Lillian continued to make rude gestures until she realized Feathers Sky God wasn't going to turn.
She quickly turned about and began racing for the safety of the woods. "I'm going to pluck your beard when I get you back home." She cursed at Merlin.
He heard. He had very, very good ears. Almost supernatural, because he could hear words before they were spoken by lips. In his head. "Too young to have a beard." He shouted at her, and then as he swept just a bare inch above her purple hair, he coaxed Feathers Sky God to complete the mission.
Lillian screamed in horror as a precise bomb of about ten inches in diameter splashed in waves of goo across her glistening back. "I am so going to pluck your beard for sure, you beast!"
Merlin laughed all the way home. He leaped from Feathers Sky God's back, rushed to his sleeping spot, and grabbed the largest tumble of berry branches he had stashed there and ran back and held it up for Feathers Sky God, who began plucking the berries he loved from the branches as delicately as if he were using fingers.
Merlin loved to watch his large feathered friend eat. He rolled his eyes with pleasure at even the smallest of tidbits he was fed by Merlin. "If only all creatures were as noble and grateful as you, Feathers Sky God." He praised the creature.
Fathers Sky God rewarded him with a rub of his beak across Merlin's face, and then he swept around and leaped back into the sky, calling out happily as his wings caught a draft which pulled him higher yet.
Mother Tree tapped him on the shoulder. He looked up into her warm, amber eyes and she gave him a smile. "You've been naughty again, haven't you, Merlin?"
His mother usually addressed him by his first name. Well, she was his mother after all!
"Noooo." He hedged.
She leaned closer, her eyes whirling hypnotically in their sockets.
"MERLIN I'M GOING TO MURDER YOU!"
"Yes." He finally admitted as Lillian drew in beside Mother Tree. She put her well muscled arms and hands to her sides and glared at Merlin. Then she tossed her mane revealing the gooey mess on her back.
"Oh my!" Mother Tree exclaimed. "Did Merlin do that?"
"No." He answered.
"Yes." She added.
She looked at both of them. "Well, which is it?"
Merlin sighed. He couldn't lie well. It wasn't in his nature...yet! But he saw sometimes in quiet moments his future and it included parts of himself he didn't recognize now, and some of those parts frightened him and some made him sad and some like this part just made him sadder. Because he saw the coming loss of a better part of himself that could never be replaced...his innocence.
"She made fun of me!"
Mother Tree looked at Lillian.
"He got back at me by making Feathers Sky God poo on me!" She spit out angrily, tossing her girlish mane in emphasis.
Even though she was mad at him he couldn't help but admire the beauty of her hair. She noticed and crossed her arms, raised her nose and went. "Humph!"
Mother Tree touched Merlin on his right shoulder. "What has Father Tree taught you, my son?"
He paused a long time. He wanted to say it, but the moment he did he would be admitting he was wrong and he would also be facing the loss of innocence he had dreaded seeing come to past. Finally, he took a deep breath and looked across at Lillian. "I'm so sorry, Lillian. I shouldn't have done that."
Lillian gave him a beautiful smile. "I forgive you."
Mother Tree laughed. "Now see how easy that was?"
Mother Tree walked slowly away.
Merlin looked into Lillian's eyes, which were now looking kind of...triumphant. Mother Tree hadn't seen that side of her. Merlin had...more than once by now.
"No. What I should have done was had him empty out on your head!" Merlin said, and then as Lillian roared angrily behind him, kicking at the sky with her angry hooves, he clapped his hands together and vanished in a clap of thunder and lightning.
Merlin appeared in another clap of thunder and lightning beside a calm lake in a distant land, where men stood tall, but fought fiercely amongst themselves for possession of what all living creatures shared, but which they falsely claimed as their own. A land he was attracted to, though at that time he couldn't explain why. His visions of the future told him this land was important to him in the future and would become more so when he met someone very special.
He never got a clear glimpse of who that was, but he knew when the day came he would recognize the child. It was his ability to see to the truth of things. He sighed. Especially in himself.
So he sat beside the lake and pondered the mischief he had wrought and that more impish side of himself and wondered where it came from. He knew his real father and mother must be human like he, but Mother and Father Tree would always be his real parents. He also knew that. Saw that. He sighed again, and leaned his chin on his cupped hands, seated on his crossed leg on the green sward next to the lake.
The lake bubbled slightly, which caught his attention. Then a wondrous light began to rise and bubble in the water, colors of the rainbow. As he watched a great sword of uncanny beauty and incredible godlike beauty rose from the waters, clutched in the hand of a water nymph. He rose to his feet and gestured at the rising sword and hand.
"It is not time yet!" He ordered, not knowing why he said those words, only that they were true.
The sword slid back into the waters and the bright rainbow colors vanished. In moments the waters became still once more. He could see a fish launching across the bottom near his feet and a distant eagle soaring across the skies.
He turned his back to the lake and his future and began walking again towards the land he was born in. Or was he?
He clapped his hands and vanished in a flash of thunder and lightning.
I just posted a picture book for children in my bookstore. "Mister Po and the Mystery of the Missing Shadow." Beautiful color illustrations.
I've been working on cute little crits like the one above for many years and thought I'd share a small tale about this one in particular. It's the first of many tales.
And best of all, it looks great on an Ipad or any tablet and only costs 99cents. How can you lose?
More fractal flames to get you into a good frame of mind. Soft curving lights. Colors that melt into the brain and leave it warm and fuzzy.
New Slideshow. Photorealistic landscapes I created using 3D Designs. Soothing and beautiful. Fun to think about.
These designs were created almost two years ago and I can already see things I might have changed and probably will if time allows me to go back and up the ante again.
Usually, as a designer, it's just best to concentrate on the Now, do the best you can and don't worry about going back, because the work you do ten days from now will be better, a hundred better yet and so on.
Advice to struggling designers, just keep plugging away and looking at other people's work and practice, practice, practice!
Dance of the Falls "Journey to the Center of the Earth Story" By John Pirillo. Hardship and loss. Heartbreak. Death. Can it go on forever?
Dance of the Falls
A Journey to the Center of the Earth Story
By John Pirillo
The trek, walk, whatever anyone wanted to call it had been hard on everyone. They were running low on food and morale. Even Jaisu, who was usually a fountain of bubbly energies, seemed a bit on the downside this day as Shantel watched him move from pilgrim to pilgrim, urging them to keep going, not give up and then holding their baby, or playing with their child, or even carrying a complaining child for the parent who was just too exhausted.
She knew he was special, but even special people need rest. No one was inexcusable from the laws of matter she reminded herself, and then immediately flashed on the journeys of Jesus and the miracles he did on a daily basis and his stamina. Maybe it was possible to go on and on. He had. Even to the point of extinction on the cross. She smiled, but then he had arisen the next day in a body of light that all could see.
She never believed that he was just a physical being anymore. He had transitioned to a higher state. She knew enough about physics to understand such a thing was possible.
"Penny for your thoughts." Chesterton croaked from his dry mouth.
She laughed, her own voice cracking from lack of enough water. Everyone was suffering dehydration and that would kill them long before the loss of food to eat. It was the hardest on the children and the adults had mutually agreed to give them the majority of the food and water. But even that wasn't enough. She could see their tiny, angelic faces becoming hollowed out, dark and empty like her own must appear by now.
"How about an ounce of water instead?" She quipped.
He smiled, and then grimaced. His lips and corners of his mouth were cracking from severe dehydration.
The joviality continued among certain members, but it was also being emphasized more and more by pain and discomfort created by water loss.
Chesterton put a reassuring hand on her shoulder, almost touching Melody, who slept against her mom's shoulder, oblivious to the world about her. "We're going to make it. I can't believe we've even come this far. Hell, I can't even believe this tunnel actually exists. Can you imagine how much work must have gone into making it so it would last this long?"
"I can." She answered truthfully. "And I know one thing for certain."
"They're probably all dead now."
He burst into laughter again, stuck a hand over the corner of his mouth and grinned awkwardly at her. "Stickler for truth in lending."
"Never could stand bankers." She replied with a grin, causing her own mouth to tighten and hurt at the edges. She ignored the pain. It just kept her alert and able to focus.
He saw the look on her face, and read her thoughts. "I really do believe we're going to make it."
"Soon." Jaisu said, joining them. "Water is ahead."
"How do you know that?"
Jaisu pointed to small growths that were beginning to show in tiny sprouts from the floor they walked.
Shantel almost screamed with delight, but she was too late. People were dropping to their hands and knees and plucking the growth. Sucking on it, and then eating it. Then when done, the group as a whole would move further along and repeat the process.
This went on for what seemed like forever, when a soft sound echoed towards them from the distance. It was faint at first, like a very soft whisper, and then it grew into a thunderous roar...of WATER!
Even though there was a constant glow coming from the overhead moss, it was not enough to interrupt sleep. Everyone lay where they had stopped last, folded into themselves, wrapped around a partner, or curled against each other for mutual support. The children all clung to each other in tiny spreads of small bodies, clenching each other's hands for support, even in their sleep.
Shantel woke up first and noticed the children, checking on Melody first. Her adopted child, a victim of the Big One, like so many others of the children traveling with them, was a bright soul. The children had all been the sons and daughters of highly educated or very spiritual persons or both. Not a person in the pilgrimage had an ounce of darkness marring their soul. It was as if they had been chosen, like that one man in Close Encounters of the Third Kid. All those souls who had been prepared to go and only one was chosen.
And here, after billions had perished, a handful remained alive. Barely, but alive. Waiting to reach some kind of underground Shangri-La, an oasis of purity where they could be safe and secure. Warm and loved.
She smiled. Shangri-La. Was it really possible?
"It is." Jaisu told her from her left. She sat up and he was watching her face for reaction to his words.
"You read my mind again."
"Is it so hard? You want what all want. A place of sanctuary. Safety and...Love."
She nodded. Sat up and leaned back against the wall. Her back began to dampen. The moisture from the Grand Falls they had discovered spread for hundreds of feet down the tunnel, dampening the walls with its wonderful essence. In the reflected light of the glow moss it gave the whole area a kind of fairy tale like look. Any moment you might expect some kind of magical creature to appear and wave a wand or do a dance of magic with showers of pixie dust.
"It is magical." Jaisu commented with a smile edging his lips. He wiped his brow. "I'm sorry this has been so hard for all of you."
She eyed him warmly. "You've saved our lives. How can we complain?"
"It seems to be human nature." He said with the hint of a grin.
"But you know it isn't. It's our mastery to face, isn't it?"
He smiled at her words and was about to say more when the cry of a baby burst into the tunnel, echoing towards them. He rose and looked back at her. "Duty calls. Soon. One day. This will all seem like a dream."
"It already does." She responded with a laugh.
Chesterton work up on her left and sat up, rubbing his eyes. Krishna and Melody were huddled to his left, arms wrapped about each other. So cute! Her heart wanted to burst as she looked on the two little angels. So much loss. So much pain and here they were. They'd found comfort somehow. And friendship. Like herself.
She tapped his knee. "Sleepy head."
He yawned, and then stretched. "Did I hear a baby, or Jaisu?"
He yawned again. "Must be close to time to get back on our tractor wheels."
"That what you're calling feet these days?"
"Yeah. Because they keep on digging and digging into the road, and we don't seem to get any closer to where we're going."
She nodded, giving him a sympathetic look.
Then he smiled at her, got up and headed for the falls. "Maybe I'll get lucky and find a flying fish. Want some?"
She laughed. "Only if you promise not to hurt it."
His stomach growled so loud that several people behind him were startled from their sleep. He laughed. "I'm not promising anything, Shantel."
He stomped off towards the falls, his laughter echoing behind and ahead of him. As he walked people began stirring from their sleep, checking their loved ones, stretching, yawning, coughing, and looking for a place to relieve them without getting too far away from the rest. Everything was returning to normal. Or at least as close as it could for such a ragged batch of pilgrims.
Shantel scooted over to Krishna and Melody. She didn't disrupt their sleep. Not one person would move forward until all resting were through. It was an unspoken law between them. Everyone got the rest they needed. No one interfered.
Melody began to mumble in her sleep. "No. No. No."
Shantel put her head against Melody's shoulder and the child fell back into a deep slumber again, the hint of a smile on her angelic face. Krishna stretched a bit and put his arm around Shantel as well.
Chesterton came back and found them all three huddled together in sleep. He smiled.
Jaisu came to his side. "Angels come in all sizes, do they not?"
"Indeed they do."
Then a very unusual thing began to happen. The end of the tunnel near the falls grew brighter, as if a dimmer switch was being turned the opposite direction and the lights were coming up. As the light came up, it began to fill with twists and turns, swirls and tumbles of a light mist of rainbow colors. Oranges. Reds. Yellows. Blues and Greens.
Chesterton and everyone awake stood, sat, or leaned against the walls watching the display, their eye wide with awe and surprise.
"It is God speaking through the water." Jaisu said.
"I'd feel a lot better if it was food speaking through the water." Chesterton answered sarcastically.
No sooner had he said that then a huge swarm of fish flew from the falls and into the tunnel, more and more of them, until the people nearest the falls were tumbling back to keep from being buried.
Shantel woke up suddenly and gasped when she saw the lights and the fish.
Jaisu said nothing. His eyes glowed with a certainty.
That day they walked no further, but instead made small fires from dry moss and burned fish that had dropped in to their midst. It tasted like the food of t he gods, and it was. Literally. As far as Shantel and the others were concerned.
Even the vegetarians had some fish. No hunger went unanswered that day or night.
They all ate until they felt like they were going to explode.
And the whole time they ate the bursts and swirls of light continued to exude from the falls, lighting up the tunnel like Christmas lights.
"I wonder what time of year it is outside." Shantel asked Chesterton.
He looked at the broken wrist watch on his right hand. "I'd say about half past anytime you'd like."
They both laughed.
Perhaps they would survive to make it to the Promised Land. Whatever that was. Wherever that was.
Time would tell.
Meanwhile she felt content, Chesterton at her right shoulder and Krishna and Melody at her left side leaning against her, singing softly to each other in tiny voices. Maybe it wasn't Christmas. Maybe it was. She was content to just enjoy it. Miracles don't need names to be miracles.
Some of the variations below I thought might look better, and some turned out very, very well. The first image a friend of mine said the boulders looked like poo. :)
I can't say that I disagreed with them, though that was not my intent. Sometimes when you're playing with textures they just don't turn out quite the way you intended. Sometimes that's a good thing and sometimes...it's humorous at best.
I didn't save all the transitions of these 3d models as it is quite time intensive to do so, and I will on occassion, but for now just more interested in getting each model done and that requires a lot of time and testing.