Milly, the Wizard City

Hello and welcome to the next part of my design notes in the world of Milly! This time, it will be about the magic city Aretto. It is also the name of the center land in between all of the provinces, so this will also contain any other characters living in that area.

First off, you have no idea how many times I accidentally spelled Aretto as Arreto. This happens a lot with other words. I am uncertain of where the double letter is. Thank goodness for the search and replace function in my word processor.

Now, then, I’ve wanted a center place where the wizards of the world live. Now just to make it clear, the word wizards refers to the race that look like regular people. Even if they don’t have magic, they are called wizards since that is just what everyone else knows them as.

I wanted something grand and mystical for the center city but unassuming for the outside parts. So that’s why there is just one large city with all of the magical works from sky trams to tall, radiant buildings. It’s supposed to have a feeling that’s a cross between medieval and magic/tech.

The city of Aretto is going to be the home base, so to speak, of Milly. Every book starting from the second, she will start there and go out on a new adventure following that. I gave her a free room and meals because I worry too much about how she would be getting by otherwise. Even if she does have a bit of outsdoorsy training, living off the land is not easy. And that’s all stuff I’ve learned from those survival shows.

I also decided to give Milly and official position because I thought it would be fun. She is the happy ambassador that goes out to help the provinces! It also helps my justify the city letting her stay for free if she’s providing them a service of being a neutral party that the other people won’t object to.

As for the outskirts of Aretto, they are more like a calm, country life dotted with small outposts for travelers and a bit larger villages. It would be the shortest change from country life to city life ever just by walking for a day or so. I don’t think there’s too much I want to say about those small villages. They are just normal, old-timey places with the addition of magic to help out.

Next time, I will talk about the characters that populate Aretto. That includes Carl, Soarwidhe and the officials of Aretto among some others!

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Crime Procedural Round Up

These are my thoughts about a few shows that are mainly crime procedurals, things such as CSI. I watch way too many of them, and they are making me paranoid. But I do enjoy it and check out most of those kinds of shows. As they are mainly episodic, I don’t have much to say about the overall season, so this will just be some short overall thoughts on the show.

First up is the long runner CSI. I have only recently started watching it, actually. I saw it a bit back in the days when Warrick was still around, stopped, then started again when D.B. Russel showed up. I think I enjoy D.B.’s leading style, which led to me watching more. He’s a nice character that has little family problems, which is nice. Oh, not counting the time his daughter was abducted. And grandaughter. Of course. This show still sticks pretty closely to the formula they set out a long time ago, but it’s working.

Rizzoli & Isles. I mainly enjoy them having female main characters. Seeing my other writing works, I like writing stories with female main characters. Both of the ones on this show is fun to watch. And they have some great, fun scenes together.

Perception. This one is cool mainly because it deals with conditions of the brain. I am assuming the show’s writers have done their research and most of the things they depict are real, if not necessarily accurate. The hallucinations of the main character also provide for some interesting people showing up.

I’ll talk about the other crime shows I’m watching as their season finales come up. Though I’ve recently picked up CSI: Cyber and iZombie.

CSI: Cyber feels pretty much like a crime show, except with cyber crimes. I’m not certain how necessary the main character’s ability to be a living lie detector is. It seems to pull a bit away from the cyber theme. And I’m glad they toned down the computer-ish special effects after the first episode. The effects that have now is pretty good.

iZombie just feels fun. Zombie coroner that gets the victims memories from eating their brains? Yes, please.

I have seen a bit of Battle Creek, but with so many crime shows around, I just haven’t had much time to keep up with it. So I can’t say much about that show at all other than I’ve seen the first episode. It didn’t super grab me, I’m sorry to say.

That’s all for now! Once the season finales roll around, I’ll perhaps do another single paragraph thought on the shows.

Milly, Forest Province Characters

These are some of my design notes on the inhabitants of the Forest Province in my Milly story. This time, it will be all about the characters and creatures that inhabit the Forest Province of Lillilin.

I’ve already discussed the Kurbol a bit when I mentioned Pokura in the main character section. They are smart but also mischievious. They cause a lot of trouble, so the Aelin prefer not to have them around. Most of the time, any kurbols are thrown right out of the town to keep them from causing trouble.

Last time, I mentioned that I designed the aelin to have a bit of a alien fairy look with the females being trees that the males blossom from. That is also how I came up with their names. The last name for all Aelin is the name of the their mother plus the word blossom. So someone whose mother is named Rona would have the last name Ronablossom. Female names tend to end in the letter -a while male names are a bit more varied. Though I based the ending sounds on parts of the plant, like the -stle sound from thistle.

I sort of wanted to show how the aelin were more closed off than the peopel of the Swamp Province. The aelin are less likely to just invite a stranger to take part in their meetings and games.

The most major aelin character is Chrillo. He is supposed to be different in that he is open and accepting right out of the gate. It might be interspecies, but Chrillo is the closest thing I have intending to be a romantic interest for Milly. It might not show up much in the books since I am bad at romance, but I do plan on having Chrillo reappear later on in more stories. I don’t think he’ll ever be a main character that goes along on adventures as he has a weak body unsuited to it.

As for the animals of the Forest Province, I’ve indulged a bit on making something cool and scary. The tree-wyvern is pretty much what it sounds like, a giant living creature that has the appearance of a tree. Don’t ask me about the physics of it flying. It’s magic. The concept of it might be a bit scary, especially how it’s smart enough to use other creatures to do work.

I guess the tree-wyverns could be considered the most dangerous thing inside of the Forest Province. They blend in amongst the trees, meaning anywhere you go, one could be waiting. Chew on that for a while.

Anyway, that’s all for this time. Next time, I will talk about the wizard city of Aretto!

RWBY

Another pretty late review coming in. This time, it’s for the web series, RWBY! That’s pronounced Ruby. This is the second season, and I feel they put out a better paced one oeverall. The end was a bit rushed, but the other episodes felt much more even compared to the first season. Part of what helped was the longer episodes in general.

First up, I want to express my condolescenses to the friends and family of Monty Oum, creator of RWBY. He did some really great and fun work.

So, why is my thoughts on RWBY only coming out now instead of when the season ended? I was sort of saving it up to binge watch, just like I did with the first season. I wasn’t following super closely, so I wasn’t sure when the season had ended. But now that it had, I get to watch the entire thing in just a few sittings.

This season brings more cuteness, comedy and action while also adding more dramatic scenes. I’ve mentioned the pace before. In the first season character development for the main characters seemed to happen too fast. Now it feels about right with proper time looking into why the characters are having said problems and how they deal with it. For the most part, this season focuses on Blake, the serious one of the main characters. Her progress and working out issues provides the somber scenes giving a bit of gravity to the show.

The series never loses its sense of humor or ridiculous action scenes. I enjoyed the pet dog, Zwei, especially. Yeah, so he’s probably the toughest member of the team while being a small, cute corgi. That’s what I like about him. Being introduced in a shipping tube was just a plus. But the show has some nice plot going on underneath all that. And that is not a euphemism.

I sort of want the plot to move faster, but at the same time, I don’t want that at the expense of just seeing the characters interact and have fun with each other. A plot element was introduced early in the second season, but as of the end, it still hasn’t happened yet. If I had to choose between more plot or more fun scenes, I guess I would go with fun scenes. I have mentioned I am a slice of life kind of guy.

Oh, the music is pretty rad in this show, too. If you’re looking for cute action girls, this is the place to be. If you want impossibly cool weapons, this is also the place. I hope for a 3rd season, and I hear that one is happening.

Still might binge watch it all at once, though. It takes the edge off of the shorter episodes.

Big Hero 6

Big Hero 6, I have finally seen this movie. I wanted to watch it back when it first came out, but I think I chose another movie. Maybe Interstellar? I don’t remember what movie came out around the same time. But of course I wanted to watch this, too. And now that it’s out on On Demand, I have watched it!

Note that I will be a bit more loose with spoilers for this due to just how long ago it came out. So there will be information peppered throughout. Short version, I recommend you watch Big Hero 6. It is a great animated superhero film with a science background for all the things happening.

For me, after watching a film, I usually like to do some reading about it. That’s how I discovered that Big Hero 6 was actually a Marvel comic originally, though the premise has changed a lot. I suppose that explains Stan Lee’s appearance at the end of the film. I also don’t believe that this will be a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which is fine. They really have too different of a style. I really have not heard about the Big Hero 6 comic before, so I’ll be talking about the film as it is.

First up, I just really enjoyed looking at the city of San Fransokyo. It just has so much color and mixture of futuristic tech and Japanese style. All of the technology that could be just makes me happy. If battlebots were to get that advanced, if the city could be bright and lively all the time, it would just be great. So, yeah, I am having a lot of fun just drinking in the background scenery.

But on to the movie itself. It is a super hero origin story like much of the first movie in the super hero film category, but it’s one you haven’t seen or heard of a hundred times before. Again, I’ve not read the comics, so I have no idea if the story is the same there, but this film is touching, sad and funny at all the right times.

In a slight departure from previous Disney, we get to spend some time with the person that galvanized the main character into becoming what he is. And instead of seeing them several years down the line, the story is all about how the main character, Hiro, deals with the loss of his older brother. Of course, that character is doomed, but Hiro’s brother does leave him with the best caregiving robot buddy around, Baymax.

The rest of the super her team don’t have as much personal scenes, but they all bring their own help in getting Hiro over his grief. And I’m hoping for future sequels in which their characters get expanded upon. They are each fairly interesting, and though I’m not sure how the nice, neurotic guy decided to build the slicing laser.

Big Hero 6 is a great super hero movie in general. The bright and fantastic visuals bring a lot to the world, and so do the characters. It might be aimed at kids, but other people should watch, too. They pull of some fun actions scenes worthy of grand heroics.

Milly, Forest Province

This is my design notes and thought process for making the forest province! This one was pretty tough, actually, mostly because there are magical forests all around in fantasy writing. Well, I tried to make it colorful and bright with leaf lanterns and multi-colored trees. Still, it does come across as a magic forest.

For the name, I guess I wanted something with repetitive sounds. That’s why there’s only 3 different letters in the name, Lillilin. To go along with that, I named the people living their Aelin. And I didn’t want to do elves or some such, so I decided on wood fairies instead. To make them different, I gave them roots on their backs that can be used as legs, climb things and all sorts of stuff. They may not be able to fly, but they are pretty mobile in the woods.

Hmm, I sort of based the Aelin’s appearance on Final Fantasy 14 sylphs. At least I think it’s the sylphs. Those little guys in the foresty part of the world. It’s been a long time since I last played, so I hope I’m remembering right.

For the female Aelin, however, I wanted to do something out there. That is why they are trees. Male Aelin come from flowers that are… pollinated. Yeah, like plants. The female Aelin can be carried around, though. Their roots are not embedded into the ground deeply. I haven’t decided if female Aelin grow into trees at a certain age or are just always trees. One might be slightly less scary than the other.

I definitely want giant trees in Lillilin, though, mostly because I enjoy having something really tall around. Just the awe and wonder of it among normal-sized stuff. Let’s see, the one in the story, Oak Spring, has at least 99 levels. Assuming 10 feet height per level, that would be 990 feet tall tree. Wow. And it’s potentially even higher because the lowest trunk area doesn’t have any levels. Instead of having magical means of getting up, I decided to have an elevator for some reason. But it’s probably magical anyway just from needing the power to go so high up.

I am not sure if tapping into the tree would draw out water, but I liked the idea. Living in a giant tree does have some challenges and logistics that need to be considered. I didn’t that much thought into it. They can get fruit from the tree since it will be giant. Still, they get a lot of deliveries for other foods such as nuts.

For normal towns of the Forest Province, what’s better than interconnected tree houses?

Next time, more on the characters and the creatures living in Lillilin, the Forest Province!

Agent Carter Finale

Agent Carter, the first leading lady in the Marvel Cinematics Universe (I think). It’s a miniseries that takes place during the break in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. but it’s no filler. The show is tense, kicks a lot of ass and has great characters.

Apparently, most of the characters on the show are actual Marvel Universe characters, but they are the non-powered people. I am not a huge comic reader, so I didn’t know any of them. But they still entertained me and made me feel for them.

Overall, the series is great, with the second half having better storylines and excitement. The first half is just to set things up and introduce the characters, which it does while giving a lot of fun spy missions. Every episode gives something new to chase after or run from.

And the character of Agent Carter is great. She takes no nonsense and wants to show her male coworkers just what she’s made out of. I was a fan of her character in Captain America: The First Avenger, and I was a bit sad that she wouldn’t get to be in future movies, on account of being too old. I’m glad she got her own series as the main character. All heroes aren’t super-powered or super-suited. Good old leg-work can be just as effective.

I also quite enjoyed seeing Jarvis in the flesh. I’m glad they made him completely incapable of fighting and have him provide other kinds of support. He also gets quite a few of the fun scenes.

Every character gets some great touches to round them out, such as Sousa’s story about walking into a diner. Even the guy that dies first has a moment, though posthumously. He gets a gravity to his death that raises the intensity of the show. Of course, the later deaths aren’t given nearly as much focus, so that kinda felt off after the first one.

There is a thing about a prequel, and that is you know that certain characters won’t die. Which is why I think the emotional part in the last episode didn’t work as well, but they also made it about character growth instead of whether the character would die or not.

This series pulls of some great and impactful scenes. The second to last episode also contains quite a punch. I highly recommend the series. It’s fun and explores certain parts of the Marvel Cinematic Universe that you didn’t know you wanted to see and care about.

Also some thoughts about the closing of the series with spoilers.

Who thought it was a good idea to put a mad doctor with another mad doctor? I mean, c’mon!