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Crystals of Empire

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Crystals of Empire is an epic fantasy.

The Witch’s Journal – book five in the Crystals of Empire series is now available on Amazon.




The Crystals of Empire is a fantasy series centered in the world of Starn which has a technology base that lies somewhere between our Roman Empire and Renaissance periods but without the introduction of gunpowder. A science involving crystals created by Tyrus Hammersvold offers the only ‘magical’ component and he jealously guards its use and creation.

The Crystals:

Imagine creating a crystal that could heal any illness after being turned ‘on’ by the use of a tuning fork. What would you do with such power? The charged crystal can heal any anomaly on any life form if it is applied before the body heals itself – say an eye injury that heals but leaves a person sightless. But even such blindness could be ‘cured’ by surgically removing the injured part and replacing it with a similar part from a donor.   An arm or leg can also be replaced in such a manner.

Tyrus has three crystals. The red one is a surgical marvel that cuts with amazing precision. Removing a limb with a red crystal is easy, clean, and can be performed with limited bloodletting.

The green crystal restores health and will ‘attach’ body components to functionally fit together. When the green crystal loses its charge it turns brown and will absorb the life form of its next application. ‘Charging’ a green crystal has a price – it sucks in the entire life force from any living subject. The process leaves a dead shriveled hulk in its wake. No one has volunteered to provide what Tyrus calls Eternal Service and his ‘charging’ of crystals is usually kept a dark secret performed upon victims that include animals. Once the crystal turns green, however, it disseminates its ‘power’ in a healing manner that makes the subject whole. For small applications one charged crystal could heal many cuts, cure many sicknesses, append a few limbs, or restore several life threatening injuries.

The green crystals have another attribute that Tyrus uses to create creatures. Every time a green crystal is used upon a living creature it applies some of the ‘qualities’ of the life force used to charge the crystal. Say for example, Tyrus uses a pig to charge a crystal. The recipient is healed and inculcated with some of the pig’s qualities. Tyrus has made many experiments and has even imbued bears with human qualities along with a mix of other creatures. The attributes are then passed to progeny and a divergent species can be created by incorporating characteristics taken from various creatures and applied to create new life forms.  It is a long and tedious process.

But the third crystal is white and white crystals restore youth. Tyrus has lived for hundreds of years. He has the time to experiment, enhance, and codify his desires upon subjects both willing and reluctant.

Tyrus sees himself as above all men and believes his wisdom and enlightenment should rule the world of Starn. But he also sees rulers as temporary fixtures that rise and fall with the vagaries of their constituents. Aristocrats are replaced by invading armies, changing alliances, or even the rising up of disgruntled peasants.  Tyrus wants control and discards the role of aristocrat as a means. He compares a ruling class to swine herders who must listen and respond to the squeals and grunts of subjects and considers it more efficient to control the world by reigning over the ruling class.   He forms a religion, The Temple of Kaal, to provide a controlling influence that has grown over the ages. The Temple provides ‘cures’ for the afflicted and preaches an insidious influence of distrust for anyone worshipping Dun under the auspices that the healing provided by Kaal demonstrate a righteousness unavailable to Dun adherents.

Rulers have primary access to the incredible healing arts of the Temple of Kaal. Of course anyone willing to ‘pay’ also has such access. The payment demanded may not always be requested in coin. The Temple may ‘ask’ for a favor such as a new law, decree, or a favorable ruling. What would one pay to restore a loved one’s sight or limb?

The Temple thrives on conflict. Orphans are gladly incorporated into free schools where the children are indoctrinated in Temple beliefs – indeed the Temple will provide free schooling for any subject. Likely candidates become part of Tyrus’s hierarchy and his base grows over time as only his captains are allowed to apply his provided crystals – and they are shown how they can live forever. Recalcitrant orphans provide Eternal Service.

The only religion that can compete with the Temple of Kaal is the worshippers of Dun who represent a monotheistic and mystical view of an overreaching principle they refer to as Dun. Dun worshippers are not interested in writing laws or indoctrinating people by teaching them what to think but they do teach subjects on learning how to think. Medicine and the healing arts using herbs, science, and the laying of hands are taught in Dun conclaves. They also provide instruction in engineering and physics and in that area they compete with Temple instruction and innovation.

The Clousen and humans comprise the primary races that inhabit Starn. Clousen have six fingers, toes, various shades of reddish hair, very dark eyes and generally resemble humans in all other aspects. They have married humans and produced offspring. Starn is also inhabited the Bragetti, who primarily live in wilderness areas unfrequented by humans and Clousen.

Tyrus created the Bragetti as a backup force that could be used to support the Temple side of a conflict introduced by his manipulations of the ruling class. The Bragetti have their own culture, long deer like ears, and bodies covered in a fine hair that, at a short distance, would resemble a person wearing tights. The Bragetti also commingle with humans but have been ‘taught’ that Clousen eat Bragetti. Temple propaganda has led to conflicts between Clousen and Bragetti that have lasted over a hundred years.

Creating the Bragetti, however, causes the Cosmic Order of the Universe to take notice and provide corrective influences that include the birth of Kazi Boku. His upbringing in a farming community instills honesty, integrity, and perseverance in his character.  The home village of NewPo is attacked by Temple marauders and he escapes to Barta where he learns martial arts, Dun principals, and receives a higher education.

The Crystals of Power treatise follows Kazi’s efforts in trying to renew his life and establish the village of Angus Town. The Dun conclave in Barta is attacked by Temple assassins seeking the recovery of crystals found by Kazi in the wilderness.

           Angus Town describes the Bragetti attack on the new settlement.

After the battle for Angus Town is resolved Kazi is banished into the northern forest on a mission demanded by the Duke. He falls in love with a Bragetti Woman in the northern forest.

           The Witch’s Journal is written by Tyrus’ mother. The contents describe his horrific experiments, the creation of creatures, hatred of Clousen, and development of his crystals.

But wait! There is more in the works.

The future installment will be The Vissing Defense.


Written by poyhonen

January 31, 2017 at 4:05 am

Walking Dead Review 27 March 2016

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Carol’s opening scene shows her meticulously stitching an automatic weapon into a bulky coat sleeve.   She packs a bag but stops to take a mint break with Tobin before leaving him to awaken with a message explaining why she is sneaking out of Alexandria.

Michonne happily begins the day with mint breath and Rick.  Daryl takes off by himself to wreak solitary revenge upon the Saviors and Rick discovers that two citizens have now abandoned Alexandria.   Rosita, Michonne, and Glenn go searching for Daryl.  Rick and Morgan go searching for Carol.

Rosita grimaces at the smiles Abraham drools upon Sasha before leaving the compound but it looks like he is unworried about losing this mint connection.

Carol gets waylaid by roaming Saviors and has an anxiety attack over being faced with more violence.  She wears her feelings upon her sleeve, so to speak, and overcomes her apprehensions by spraying the attackers with automatic weapon fire.  She runs out of ammo and is forced to spear an approaching thug but doesn’t notice a wounded savior who has crawled off into the bushes to avoid her wrath.  He recovers while in the weeds – (it’s only a little hole).  He is later seen walking across a field to an unknown destination.

Rick and Morgan find Carol’s trail of bodies and follow blood sign across the countryside.  They approach a farm where a live human is looking for a horse.  They ask about Carol but the unhorsed equestrian fearfully escapes behind a band of approaching walkers.  Morgan and Rick dispose of the zombies and find Hilltop weapons left behind by the strange farmer.  Morgan promises to find Carol, allowing Rick to return to Alexandria where he discovers that the people following Daryl have not returned.

Rosita, Michonne, and Glenn do find Daryl.  Daryl is adamant about sinking his teeth into Dwight, the killer of Denise.  Rosita goes with him as her relationship with Abraham has put her into a biting mood.  Glenn and Michonne head back towards Alexandria, talking loudly and traipsing through the countryside as if they were on holiday.  They don’t notice that Dwight’s crew is lurking amongst the thin trees until they are surrounded and captured without a fight or protest.  Dastardly Dwight has apparently walked off the dick damage applied by Eugene in the last episode.

Daryl and Rosita find Glenn and Michonne trussed and gagged as living bait in a savior forest camp.   Glenn is shaking his head and mumbling in a vain effort to warn an unwary Daryl who also doesn’t see Dwight and friends until a gun is put to his head.  Dwight fires his weapon, blood spatter hits the camera, and Dwight mutters, “He’ll be alright”.

Tune in next week to continue from the cliffhanger ending of this episode!

Written by poyhonen

March 28, 2016 at 5:20 pm

Walking Dead Review 20 March 2016

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The Alexandrian’s need supplies and Eugene teams with Abraham to search in one direction while Denise enlists Daryl and Rosita to help inspect an apothecary she noticed in a strip mall.

Eugene and Abraham find a machine shop where Eugene proclaims he can make new ammunition.  Abraham is amazed but Eugene explains that they will use old brass to make more ammo employing the massive equipment found at this site.  There is no sign of a reloading press that takes up the space of a normal sized kitchen aid mixer.  Perhaps he plans to make reloading dies?  A walker shambles into the shop and Eugene fumbles around with it after calling ‘Dibs’ but Abraham puts it down.  Eugene is irritated at Abraham’s assistance and an argument ends with Abraham berating Eugene and leaving him to find his own way home.

Denise, Daryl, and Rosita have to leave their truck in front of a fallen tree blocking the road.  The tree still has green leaves and no one seems concerned about its’ placement.  They walk to the apothecary which is loaded with drugs.  They pack out with all the drugs and head for their truck when Denise is suddenly shot in the head with a crossbow bolt.

Yes, the surprise attack was instigated by Dwight, AKA, ‘D’, who has captured Eugene and killed Denise in order to get the attention of the small group in order to – – drum roll– take all their stuff and redistribute their belongings as they see fit.  Eugene is on his knees appearing pitiful.  He appears to beg for his life by pointing out Abraham hiding behind some barrels.  When the invaders turn to address Abraham, Eugene takes a bite out of crime by chomping Dwight’s groin.  He doesn’t growl or shake his head but he does hold on like a pit bull despite Dwight’s screams of pain.  A gunfight ensues; several Saviors are shot, and the group returns with a wounded Eugene and a dead Denise.  Daryl has his crossbow back but Dwight escapes with a wounded dick and, perhaps a new AKA.

Eugene has bad breath but is otherwise not seriously injured.  Denise is buried and Carol slinks away, unable to deal with the continuing violence of living in a world where people who think all your stuff belongs to them must be killed.

Written by poyhonen

March 21, 2016 at 5:07 pm

Walking Dead Review 13 March 2016

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Carol and Maggie have been captured by a Saviors group of three women and one wounded man, (shot in the shoulder /arm by Carol).   They are being held hostage and Rick tries to trade his captured Savior for them.   The Negan group leader, Paula, decides to keep her hostages alive so she can lure Rick’s gang into an ambush.   Paula calls for help on her radio and the Saviors take their hostages to an old meat packing plant to wait for the arrival of her comrades.

The wounded man is in a lot of pain and wants to kill Carol.  Paula won’t let him and eventually clubs him unconsciousness, providing an anesthetic of sorts.  The Saviors women tape up Carol and Maggie and talk tough.  They act tough too, pointing their pistols at the trussed up hostages.  Paula totally falls for Carol’s feigning act of being a weak, sniveling, prisoner. Carol holds unto a rosary and tearfully offers up her life to save a pregnant Maggie.

The Saviors continue to do more tough talking to make it clear they have no redeeming value.  One Savior takes Maggie into a separate room for a tough interrogation.  Maggie admits that her friends blew up the Savior’s motorcycle riders who tried to steal everything they owned.

The Savior kindred have radioed imminent arrival and the women separate to better coordinate a trap for Rick’s people.  Carol sharpens her rosaries’ crucifix and gets free of the tape.  She sneaks around the plant, discovering a hallway held by captured walkers who are tied or impaled to keep the avenue impassable.  She finds Maggie and they discover that the wounded man has bled out.   Carol and Maggie kill the remaining women captors in a most brutal fashion.  Paula gets shot, impaled on an exposed pipe, and eaten by walkers while screaming most horribly.  Her screams are very tough.

Maggie is wild eyed and fearful of the Negan reinforcements about to arrive.  “We must kill them all.”  Carol mimics Paula’s voice to radio the coming Saviors to meet them in the meat plant.  The evil men obediently enter the facility and move into a dead end room soaked in a puddle of odorless gasoline.  Maggie closes a fire door behind them and Carol tosses in a lit cigarette.  On a humorous note, the fire door is labeled ‘Killing Room’.

The saviors pitifully shriek while burning and it’s obviously Miller time for Carol and Maggie.  They rush outside to meet Rick and friends.  Daryl hugs Carol.  Glenn hugs Maggie.  Rick shoots the prisoner.

Written by poyhonen

March 14, 2016 at 2:05 pm

The Walking Dead Review 6 March 2016

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Rick’s team gets ready for a nighttime assault on the bad guys who demand a redistribution of goods at gunpoint.   Why work the land when you can farm the farmers?  Negan’s group of Saviors want more goods and demand Gregory’s head as punishment for a poor crop.

Rick and company say their goodbyes at home – men kiss girls, girls kiss girls, and, in the case of Abraham, men leave girls.   Even Carol worms her way to affection through the motherly action of making cookies from acorns and beets.

Rick situates the raiding party outside the progressive encampment and a Hilltop farmer delivers a walkers’ head as a substitute for Gregory’s noggin.  The ruse works and the surprised guards are butchered.  The sneaky heroes gain entrance to the building.  Criminals are stabbed in their sleep and shot as necessary.

Glenn and Heath get trapped in the outpost’s armory during a vicious counter attack.   Several Saviors foolishly gather outside the armory to receive a fusillade of automatic fire sent by Glenn and Heath through the armory door.

Gabriel applies a coup de grace to a wounded savior using a scoped rifle and scripture in the dark.

Daryl recaptures his purloined bike.

Carol and Maggie have been left as sentries to watch the rear area outside the outpost for any threats or escapees.  They fail miserably and are captured by a returning group of bloodthirsty raiders.  Uh, oh…to be continued next week!

Written by poyhonen

March 7, 2016 at 5:26 pm

Walking Dead Review 28 Feb 2016

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Jesus escapes his bonds and sneakily surveys Alexandria before rushing into a bedroom, disturbing a naked Michonne and Rick.  He reports that Alexandria has 54 people, lots of guns, and very little food.  He eats a cookie, presumably made by an unavailable Carol and tells the group about his home – Hilltop.  Hilltop has food but trades for supplies with other groups, (unless they can be stolen).

Abraham has drooling dreams about Sasha while lying in bed with Rosita.  Sasha notices his attention and teams him with Eugene to avoid his pheromones while calling him an idiot.

A team is formed to drive an RV to Hilltop, hoping to find trading partners.  Dr. Denise coyly packs a lunch of mashed oats for Daryl.  He stuffs the package into a pocket, “Hope it tastes better than it looks.”  (She should have offered him a mint).

During the ride to Hilltop, Abraham probes Glenn about making pancakes with Bisquick.  Glenn thinks Abraham might be trying to discuss Maggie’s pregnancy and just nods when Abraham suggests he double wrap his galoshes when it rains.

The RV group stops to investigate a car crash and winds up saving some Hilltop residents, one of them happens to be a real doctor.

Rick drives the RV with one hand on the wheel and the other on Michonne’s knee.  His driving stance may explain why he gets the RV stuck in the only mud puddle to be found in the middle of a road on a sunny day.  Good thing Michonne wasn’t driving.

They reach Hilltop and initially fail at negotiating a trading agreement with leader Gregory.  Gregory is the political boss of the Hilltop compound, which looks like a dump compared to Alexandria.  Gregory is also a typical elitist dick who gives half of everyone’s resources in tribute to the ‘Saviors’, a progressive group ruled by a man called Negan.

Yes, the Saviors are yet another party of hooligans who demand a reallocation of perceived wealth.

Jesus asks Rick for more negotiation time.  Rick agrees just as men return from delivering tribute to Negan’s gang.  Negan wasn’t happy with the amount of largess so he detained a hostage, killed two delivery men, and sent the others back to Hilltop with a memorandum for Gregory.  The message is a knife in Gregory’s gut.

Rick kills the messenger.  The Alexandria boys now offer to dispose of the Saviors and Negan, in return for half of the Hilltop reserves.  Gregory has a huge tummy ache and now agrees to pay the Alexandrians for protection services.  The RV is loaded with goods.

The cocky Alexandrians, turned mercenaries, are in for significant trouble.  They have no information about the Savior gang who, redundantly speaking, are yet ANOTHER gang of vicious thugs who want all your stuff, (sigh).    They don’t know how many Saviors exist or how well they are armed.   Somebody is destined to become a walker

Written by poyhonen

February 29, 2016 at 4:34 pm

Walking Dead Review 14 Feb 2016

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Daryl, Abraham, and Sasha are peacefully toodling down the road in their newly acquired fuel truck when a group of well armed Negan motorcycle riders stop them. The riders see an opportunity to exercise a redistribution of wealth. Their leader typically taunts the disarmed trio. He intends to kill them while they are helpless and take their stuff but he mistakenly sends one of his thugs to escort Daryl to the rear of the truck in order to locate all objects of value. Daryl returns sans escort, and blows up the entire ensemble with an unregistered rocket launcher. Daryl fires the opening shot of this violent and quite satisfying episode.
Back in Alexandria, Rick smears zombie crud on everyone so they can walk to safety through the horde now populating the village. They hold hands in a chain and wade through the horde without skipping or talking but the move is so successful Rick decides to lead them to vehicles that would allow them to herd the horde out of the village. The preacher volunteers to take the baby to safety. Sam pleads to go along with the group and his mommy acquiesces. The group snakes through the horde holding hands until Sam realizes that he is surrounded by monsters. He freezes, panics, and probably soils himself. The walkers notice him and begin feeding. His mother becomes upset, waves one hand, and screams, (can’t tell if she stomps her feet), but the walkers notice Jessie as well and she joins the smorgasbord as an entree. Unfortunately, she does not release Carl’s hand while being eaten alive by walkers and Rick has to chop it off in order to save his son. Carl trips and his pistol falls out of his cheap holster. Ron retrieves the weapon and decides to shoot Rick. Michonne stabs Ron but his weapon discharges, hitting Carl in the eye. Good riddance to that entre gene pool.
The wolf that kidnapped Doctor Denise gets bitten while pushing her towards an escape route. She offers to save him if they can return to the infirmary. Denise makes it safely but the wolf is put to rest by Carol who fires two well placed shots from a balcony.
Maggie has been trapped all day in a shifting tower being assailed by zombies and Glenn asks Enid for help in getting Maggie off the platform. Glenn rushes into the night in order to distract the horde, shooting many and setting himself up for martyr hood. He is up against the fence – back to the wall and surrounded by zombies when… Just in the nick of time – Abraham, Daryl, and Sasha arrive to spray the area with automatic weapon fire. Amazingly, none of the bullets, fired into the darkness, hit Glenn.
Rick carries Carl to the infirmary. Carl looks bad. Denise begins sewing his eye and Rick becomes very upset. He leaves the building and strides into the horde of walkers smiting them left and right with his mighty hatchet. The inhabitants of the town decide to join him. It’s not a good day to be a walker. Daryl dumps fuel into a pond and sets it on fire. The walkers get burned, stabbed, chopped, shot, and crushed. The morning dawns with a huge number of bodies littering Alexandria streets. Rick sits by the bed of his wounded son holding his hand. Carl’s hand lightly closes upon his father’s. Can’t wait for Carl to say, “Arrrr.”

Written by poyhonen

February 15, 2016 at 6:15 pm