Monday, November 30, 2020

Wikipedia Trail: From Church Grim to Raijū

For this wiki trail, I began at the article on the "Church Grim", since I was researching mythological canines to determine which one I wanted to pull traits from for one of my characters.

Church Grims are guardian spirits of churchyards, which would protect the church and the graves there from being robbed, defiled or having sacrilege committed against them. The Church Grim would typically take the form of a large black dog. It was commonly believed that the first one buried in a churchyard would be responsible for guarding it, and so a black dog was often buried first to take on that duty instead of a human soul.

From there, I found a link to "Dogs in Religion", which covered a variety of religious beliefs, including Judaism, Zoroastrianism, Islam and Hinduism.

The article basically covered some of the more prolific dogs in religions, or aspects of the religions that praised and/or honored dogs, though some of the religions highlighted actually looked down on dogs or viewed them in a negative light. Overall, it seems that dogs have a variety of meanings in various religions, sometime symbolizing good things, sometimes bad.

At the bottom of the page, I found a link to "Inugami", which intrigued me as I'd not heard the term before but could recognize it as Japanese.

Inugami are cases of spiritual possession by the spirit of a dog. The source of the spiritual possession varies based on various legends and pieces of folklore, as does how it affects the person. In some of the stories, it seems to be a source of power for the person possessed, whereas in others it seems to appear as a curse. The source of the spirit typically involves the death of a starving dog, though the method in which it was killed and the circumstances around it varied significantly.

From that article, I found a link to an article on "Raijū", which intrigued me since I'd seen Raijū in other media before.

Raijū are creatures composed of lightning that typically take the form of a white and blue wolf or dog. They accompany Raijin, the Shinto god of lightning, and are commonly attributed as the source of lightning strikes and phenomena.

Image Source: Photo by coffy

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Week 13 Reading: Welsh Fairy Book (Thomas), Part A

In Part A, I found two stories that interested me to varying extents.

The first, "Arthur in the Cave", was interesting to me in the sense of wonder it possesses. The concept of this massive army and these awe-inspiring knights and king simply being in a form of stasis for a thousand years sounds like a true sight to behold. I'm not sure what kind of story I would tell with it, but if I were to do so, I would likely focus in on for what purpose this army might have been called to act.

The second story that interested me was that of "Einion and the Fair Family". I'm a bit of a sucker for fantasy romances, so this one hit all the right buttons for me. If I were to adapt it for my own, I think I would maybe focus in on the three sisters a bit more, since they intrigued me. Perhaps the story could be expanded so as to find a spouse for each of the three sisters, or something of the like. A trio of brothers for the three Fae sisters could be interesting, especially if each of the sisters had a unique personality and desired a specific type of person as a spouse.


"Arthur in the Cave" by W. Jenkyn Thomas

"Einion and the Fair Family" by W. Jenkyn Thomas

Image by StockSnap

Sunday, November 8, 2020

Wikipedia Trail: From Wolf Chess To The Amazon Piece

Starting configuration for playing Wolf Chess [Source]

My journey began on the discovery of a chess variant known as "Wolf Chess", which I indirectly found due to this class, finding it when looking for a creative-commons licensed picture of a wolf.

I took a particular interest in it since I actually have a character in one of my larger projects who has alternate versions of herself which are based on chess pieces. Wolf Chess adds an extra row to each side of the board, making it a 10x8 chess board, and also adds several additional 'fairy pieces'. The pieces added are the Wolf (Rook x Knight), Fox (Bishop x Knight), Nightrider (Knight with the ability to jump several times in a line), Sergeant (Pawn with the ability to also move diagonally forward) and the Elephant (Queen x Nightrider).

From the Wolf Chess page, I decided to check out a link to the page on "Fairy Chess Pieces" to learn more about them.

What I came to learn was that fairy pieces are used in a lot of chess variants, as well as in chess exercises to help alter the way strategy plays out. They come in two primary varieties. The first of which is simple pieces, which can broadly be placed into three major categories: Leapers, Riders and Hoppers. Leapers move directly to a square a fixed distance away and thus cannot be blocked with an opposing piece. Riders can move an unlimited distance in one direction, provided no pieces block their path. Hoppers are not seen in orthodox chess and are pieces that must hop over another piece in order to move, be they friendly or opposing. The other category is combination pieces, which combine the movements capabilities of two or more simple pieces.

From there I investigated three specific fairy pieces: the "Princess", the "Empress" and the "Amazon"

These three pieces are among the most common fairy pieces, most especially the so-called Princess and Empress. The Princess, which is also sometimes called the Archbishop or Cardinal, is a combination piece of the traditional Bishop and Knight (Same as the Fox in Wolf Chess). The other common fairy piece, the Empress, which is sometimes called a Marshal or Chancellor, is a combination piece of the Rook and Knight (Same as the Wolf in Wolf Chess).

Less common, but still shared between multiple games is the Amazon, which combines a Queen with a Knight (Similar to the Elephant of Wolf Chess, but slightly weaker). The reason it's not as common as the other two is that it has remarkable offensive power. An Amazon has complete battlefield supremacy over everything within a 5x5 square.

Friday, November 6, 2020

Week 11 Story: The Lost Wife And The Wolves


The Lost Wife And The Wolves

A beautiful young woman named Aurora married a man who promised to always treat her well, but he failed to hold true to his promise. He admonished and beat her and failed to give her what she needed.

And so she drew upon the inner strength she had left and ran away from their village. She ran all day and all night, and the search parties the village sent out were never able to find her.

But eventually, she reached a point where she could go no further. But she had no supplies with which to sustain herself. And so Aurora began to weep while she sat underneath a tree's sheltering branches.

"Stranger, why do you weep?" a man called from beyond the bushes.

"I've run away from my village to leave my terrible husband," Aurora said. "But I can run no further and have no supplies."

"You could stay within my village if you're willing to accept those of a different people than your own," the man said.

"I'll go with you," Aurora said and wiped her tears away. "Where are you?"

The man stepped out of the bushes and Aurora gasped.

A pair of wolf ears were nestled in the young man's shaggy gray hair and a wolf's tail swished behind him.

"You see now what I am, do you still wish to go with me to my village?" the man asked.

"Are all of them like you?" Aurora asked.

The man nodded.

"Then I will still go with you to the village, so long as you promise my safety," Aurora said.

"I promise that you will be safe among us," the wolf-man said.

And so Aurora followed the wolf-man to his village that was full of wolves as well as men, women and children, all of them with wolf ears and tails. She came to learn that they could take the form of wolves as well as their more human-like forms.

Aurora lived with the wolf-man she had met in the forest—who she came to learn was the chief of the wolves—for a year. While she lived among them, she was well taken care of and she grew close to many of the wolves who lived in the village.

One day, the chief of the wolves came to speak to her. "Aurora, hunters from your tribe will come to hunt buffalo here tomorrow, would you please speak to them so that they will not kill us?" he asked.

"Of course," Aurora said.

The next day, she waited on the hill near the village until the hunters of her tribe stumbled upon her.

They recognized her and agreed to avoid harming the wolves, but they asked to bring the village to see her, and she agreed on the condition that they bring offerings of the choice cuts of half of the buffalo that they hunted. They agreed and set off for the village at a steady pace.

They returned a day later with the entire village. Each of their horses was laden with buffalo meat, which they piled before Aurora.

When they finished placing the meat, Aurora howled into the air and all of the wolves bounded out of the village behind her and ate their fill until all of the meat was gone. They then returned to their more human forms and stood behind Aurora while she greeted her loved ones who had thought her long lost.

Her parents urged her to return to her husband and rejoin the tribe, but Aurora refused. She threw her arms around the chief of the wolves and told her parents that she had found someone who had actually kept his promise to her, and she would rather stay with him than return to her former husband.

Her family was saddened by her decision, but respected it. And so each year her former tribe came to have a feast with the village of the wolves and Aurora happily lived with the chief of the wolves forever after.

Author's Note:

I largely kept pretty true to the original story's plot with my rendition, though I tweaked some aspects of how the story was told, such as cutting out the extremely large section about the chief of the wolves preparing the woman's meat exactly how she would normally prepare it by asking her all of the steps.

I also decided to make the wolves all have the ability to take human instead of just the chief. I also gave them all wolf ears and tails in human form since I thought it made sense that they might retain some wolf traits.

The biggest change I made was to the ending, since I didn't like how the original story ended. The original story ended with the woman rejoining her village after the year and while she resisted him for a long while, she eventually reconciled with her husband. So I decided to change the story and have her stay with the wolf chief instead, since I thought that was a far better ending.


Story Source: "The Story Of The Lost Wife" by Marie McLaughlin

Image Source: Photo of wolves taken by WorldInMyEyes

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Week 11 Reading: Sioux Legends, Part A


There were two stories that interested me in Part A.

The first is "The Story Of The Lost Wife". I liked the concept of this woman coming to meet the chief of the wolves and living among them. I also liked how she protected them and was able to reunite with her family.

However, I think I'd change the story to have her ultimately stay with the wolves and marry the wolf chief, since he seemed far better than the woman's former husband.

The second one that interested me was "The Wonderful Turtle". I loved how the turtle was portrayed and how he helped that tribe. I also loved how he was rewarded well for his service to the tribe by getting to marry the woman who many others had sought, despite being plain and not particularly attractive. I also liked how he gained the respect of the warriors.

However, I really didn't like the ending to the story. The poor turtle got chased off, then once he came back, he found he'd been cheated on. So I'd probably change the ending in some way to end better for him.


"The Story Of The Lost Wife" by Marie McLaughlin

"The Wonderful Turtle" by Marie McLaughlin

Image of a wolf by Wildfaces

Monday, November 2, 2020

Wikipedia Trail: From List of Alcoholic Drinks to Flavoured Liquor

The article that I started at was "List of Alcoholic Drinks", which I'd found while looking for different types of alcohol for my story characters to drink. I wanted them each to have something that stood out from the others, hence the research direction for this trail.

The article covered both fermented and distilled drinks and included a variety of sections to help sort the information in ways that could be useful. The first section sorted them by the specific raw material used to create them. It had the expected grains and fruits, but also things like walnuts, sugar, palm sap and honey. The next two sections covered fermented and distilled drinks respectively, and sorted them by type and/or category.

My next stop was "List of Cocktails", which was really interesting.

The article included links to a massive variety of cocktails sorted by their primary alcoholic ingredient, such as beer, gin, rum, vodka and whiskey. It also had a section sorting cocktails by their primary mixer, which is used to provide a significant degree of the cocktail's flavor. The sheer number of cocktails covered on the article was mind-boggling, especially since many of the categories had links to larger lists of cocktails using that particular ingredient.

After that, I ended up on "List of Liqueurs", because liqueur was an unfamiliar term to me that was a category on the previous page.

What I learned was that liqueurs are alcoholic beverages that are bottled with added sugar and added flavors that are usually based from fruits, herbs or nuts. They typically are between 15-55% alcohol. Common flavors include fruit, chocolate, cream, crème, herbs and flowers.

My ending destination was "Flavored Liquor", since I noted that in the previous article it said the two were different, and I was curious about why.

These are quite similar to liqueurs, but differ in that while they do contain added flavors, they do not have any added sugar or glycerin. The alcoholic base for flavored liquors are typically rice wines, rums, tequilas and vodkas, though there are a few other types of flavored liquors that exist outside those main groups. Vodka and white rum are among the most common choices for flavored liquors due to having minimal taste of their own, allowing them to be infused with a greater variety of flavors.

A selection of flavored vodkas (Source)

Monday, October 26, 2020

Wikipedia Trail: From Palisade to Underground Hangar

So the article that I started at was "Palisade", which I has looked up for my story I'm writing for my Novel class.

A palisade is basically a simple defensive wall made of wooden stakes, often entire logs that have been cut down, but sometimes just pieces of them. The ends are often sharpened into points to make it harder to get a firm grip on the time to climb over and to make it potentially dangerous to do so. Palisades were also often reinforced with a degree of terraforming, such as digging a ditch or elevated the ground leading up to the palisade. Palisades were useful in that they could be set up quickly using local materials, since they were just made of wood. But of course, that also made them relatively weak when compared to more permanent structures.

The next article I went to was "Cave Castle", which was listed in the Fortifications category box at the bottom of the Palisade page.

I thought the concept of a castle constructed in a cave was really interesting, so I looked into it. The basic idea behind the castles is that it greatly decreases the number of directions from which the castle could be attacked. With the rock surrounding three of its sides, it made for an excellent defensive position, forcing attackers to come directly at the front of the castle. In addition to that, the caves could be used to create a secret escape route if they were enlarged or altered properly. That could be used to escape if necessary, or to sneak in food in the face of a siege.

The next article I arrived at was "Hardened Aircraft Shelter", which was also off of the Fortifications category box at the bottom of the Cave Castle page.

A hardened aircraft shelter, or protective aircraft shelter, known commonly in shorthand as HAS and PAS respectively, is a type of reinforced hangar used to protect military aircraft from enemy attack. However, such shelters are not cheap to build and additionally, due to the practicalities of building them, only fighter size aircraft could be stored within them. Their effectiveness dropped significantly over time, as modern smart bombs could pierce such shelters and destroy the aircraft within them.

The final article I ended up at was "Undergound Hangar", which was a direct link from the Hardened Aircraft Shelter page.

Generally speaking, an underground hangar was basically a far larger and more effective version of a hardened aircraft shelter. They would be dug into the side of a mountain, which made them much harder to destroy or capture. They could store much larger amounts of aircraft, and could also contain facilities reminiscent of a military base in order to keep the aircraft properly operational, such as fuel and ammunition storages and maintenance areas.

Image of the cave castle Predjama in Slovenia.

Wikipedia Trail: From Church Grim to Raijū

For this wiki trail, I began at the article on the " Church Grim ", since I was researching mythological canines to determine whic...