Thursday, February 28, 2013

"Terry Pratchett's Hogfather: A Christmas story for the year round"

"Terry Pratchett's Hogfather: A Christmas story for the year round"
Virgilio F. De leon Jr. 

I have recently reread some of my Terry Pratchett Books and I must say that I still idolize the guy. It is true there is Bar Nobody when it comes to this guy.

The Hogfather in a nutshell tells the story of what happens when the Hogfather ( The Discworlds version of Santa Claus) ceases to exist in a world that expects him to exist. It brings to mind 2 different movies that I also happen to enjoy. Nightmare before Christmas and Rise of the Guardians.

The former movie because the embodiment of Death ( who is a constant character in all of the Discs novels) takes over the reins as the Hogfather. There are hilarious results as Death tries to spread the Holiday cheer and not be Death himself as he gives toys to the little boys and girls all around the place.

The latter movie seems to have taken its mental cues from this story. The only way to kill an old God is with belief or the lack of it in this case. It is up to Deaths Grand Daughter (you have to read how he got one) Susan Sto Helit to unravel the mystery and to save Hogswatch night(Christmas and New Years for the Discworld)...

The Good:

-Deaths Point of views about Humanity in general
-Susan Sto Helits struggles to be Normal
-The ongoing Evolution of Hex the Discworlds only Super Computer
-The General Banter between the Wizards of the Unseen University , you want to read them again and again and just laugh
- The creation of various minor Gods in the absence of the Hogfather
- The Beggars Chorale

The Bad:

- The only thing bad is that like all Pratchett books this also comes to an end.

The Ugly

- Corporal Nobby Nobbs who makes an appearance and tries to settle his beef with the Hogfather
- Albert , Deaths Pixie assistant who doesn't look merry at all
- Most members of the Beggars hanging around Ankh-Morpork
- Foul Ol' Ron , The Deranged Beggars Deranged Beggar.

Pratchett plays a lot on the themes of Christmas in this book which makes me happy to have reread it in February. All the better to not experience Christmas but have a better feeling for that Holiday. All in all two thumbs up. A good read in any part of the year.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

"The Blood Lion"

"The Blood Lion"
Virgilio F. De leon Jr.
    I was young then , barely 16 summers old as I helped in conquering city after city.  We were a victorious army and though we had so many champions in our midst , there was one who would always stand out in all of the battles , he who would amass the most glory in all of the fields of war that our army would ever set foot on. They called him the Blood Lion. I first saw him on the fields of Arlon. The massive area filled with the Arlonian Dogs of War , the strongest legion in the west , we were on the brink of a disastrous campaign , the Arlonian tacticians have managed to slow down the progress of our siege engines , the support lines  were straggling a bit farther than our own generals wanted and there was a belief that cutting these vital supplies would stop the army from progressing.  There was always a strafing run aimed at these caravans , one of them lead by an Arlonian General called Cleaver , no one believed he got that name by being very nice to his enemies and we would soon behold his entire cavalry of Cleavers... massive knives on poles meant to slice a man in two...I was one of the luckiest ones hand picked to protect the supplies and was also the first to witness those who would fall by the hands of the cleavers. They were efficient killers , each strafing run resulting in more and more deaths. Though my comrades fought we were clearly outmatched and I knew that in the next run it would be my turn to die. Then as they were about to reach me they froze in their paths and as I turned to look where their gazes have been transfixed I saw the reason why they stopped. "Blood Lion"  , the peasant to my left would whisper , half in awe , half in fear.
     In contrast to the sea of White armors all around him , The Blood Lions armor was made of metal that was pure red , rumor has it that it started out silver but got that hue due to the many battles that he has fought.  he waved for the rest to hang back and to see to the caravan. He moved forward toward the enemy.This would be the first time that I would see him in action. He pulled out his 2 swords from behind him , they were curved like half moons , the one on the right was the Black Moon and the one on the left was the Red Moon , legendary swords in the hand of a legendary swords man , the breeze seemed to stop as the Blood Lion kneed his warrior steed audible thudding of hooves as 2 Cleavers drove in to meet the challenger and in an instant that defied any logic the 2 chargers passed by the Red Armored Champion , their bloodied halberds still pointing forward , their heads severed so quickly that they fell and the Blood Lion paused for a moment to whisk away their blood from the moon swords...

General Cleaver upon seeing two of his ranks dead moved forward. "What is your name?" The General demanded , grinding every syllable into a command that would shake any other mans will.
     The Blood Lion did not respond , he merely waited and with eyes that no one could see behind his red helm stared at the general. Waiting.
     The General took offense at this and merely charged  believing that protocol would not be served and his honor would not be satisfied until the death of this Red clad stranger was upon his hands. He felt the anger welling up from within him that he felt emboldened to attack with his fastest strike , something he hasn't used in years but something that seperated men and horse alike in previous battles and that was his aim , to strike a blow into this champion so that everyone would surrender in terror , that their fate would be the same , that the cleavers would be true to their name hack all of them away.
      The Blood Lion had other thoughts about his death  and if he was like a blur in his previous attack , his speed this time made he seem like he was phasing in and out of reality one horse gallop and he would reappear much farther and if someone as keen eyed like me could not catch up with his movements , the peasants might have thought he was some sort of Kami that has materialized because of their prayers. but he was not a Kami , I believe he wasn't a man as well , but maybe a little of both and as I thought this the outcome was no longer in question the phasing Red Warrior phased one more time his left hand sword slashing sideways as his stable steed jumped once and seemingly phased out of reality only to reappear with what only seemed the blink of an eye directly at the back of the offended general. The general then turned his steed back and looked at the Blood Lion. "Please tell me your name." The Cleaver pleaded softly and at first I was surprised that the ill tempered man would change in an instant , then I saw it, the armor splitting slowly from his left shoulder down to his hip , where a red line was already  forming. "Please Sir , Your Name."  He pleaded.

     "When you arrive in hell tell them that the Blood Lion has sent you." The Red clad man said with no inflection.
     The General smiled and said. "That I will tell them...and I shall await you there to regain my honor" and with that final word the man tore in half as if his own weight betrayed him. The rest of his cavalry became hesistant but his lieutenant knew better than to fight a man that could easily strike them down without breaking up a sweat and ordered a hasty retreat. And that was how the legend of the Blood Lion grew by saving the supply lines that I was in , ensuring the army of a great victory on the Plains of Arlonia. I was with the Blood Lion in all his campaigns. This is only the beginning.

Monday, February 25, 2013

"Planeswalker Awakenings: Tyrion Lannister Awakens"

"Planeswalker Awakenings: Tyrion Lannister Awakens"
Virgilio F. De leon Jr.

In a different plane , a different time , a spark awakens and a new planeswalker is born...

Tyrion emerges from the shadows as he begins to reunite the divided Kingdoms of Westeros...he feels the mana coursing through his body. He begins to see things that he was not able to see before. The future opens wide to him and the strategies begin to form in his mind. Machines from different realities and armies that would be at his disposal bow before the halfman that would reunite all...

For me Tyrion is the most interesting character in the Song of Ice and Fire series. Born as a misshapen dwarf to a House that is both powerful and cruel he has used both cunning and wits to rule with both Mercy and Justice. George Martin has shown that with his mind  and compassion Tyrion can outmatch the Honorable and not so Honorable players in the Game of Thrones.  

If Tyrion became a Planeswalker I often wondered what would comprise his color identity so this is me giving it a shot: He would be Esper.


Since the Beginning of the Series Tyrion has always been shown as a Bookworm. Someone who studies all through the night and Knowledge is one thing that he values above all. He has always shown a great affinity for machines  both great and small. He designed the saddle that allowed Bran to ride on a horse again and the use of weapons such as the 3 Whores in the defense of Kings Landing as well as the famous Chain that caused so much devastation to Stannis Baratheons fleet. Arcane Knowledge and Machines has always been a blue trait and Tyrion exhibits both of them. Many times in the series Tyrion has managed to get out of sticky situations by just his wits alone , like his Ancestor Lan the Clever.


The main players in the Game of Thrones are in it to win and will use any means in order to achieve that goal. Murder and Lies and Tricks and Bribes. Tyrion is not above using all of these to see his goals come into fruition. Black always screams about Power at any cost and Tyrion certainly has these traits. Although he does aim for the greater good of all  , His morals does not hold him in using strategies that normally Honorable characters would not use. And he does have a darkside to him. Killing His ex-lover Shae and the mighty Tywin all in the same night. 


Out of all the Characters in Westeros Tyrion has the most compassion. He wants order and he wants justice. He wants to know the truth about things and he gets them most of the time because of his persistence and patience. He is both fair in treating people such as Sansa Stark , Robert Baratheons bastards and even Jon Snow. At the end of the series I want him to rule because he has proven just how effective he can be. He has an affinity to Unwanted and Broken things he will say and that I say is a white trait. 

Suggested Abilities would be:
Card Drawing at the cost of a permanent...
Bribery effect at the cost of a permanent...
And his Ultimate ability would be a Volition Reins effect on all other permanents at the loss of all the permanents you own...

There will always be a price to be paid when playing a Lannister. Even is Tyrion would be playing for good it will still have to cost you.

Tyrion is humbled by the tributes he has received. He knows that there was a price in every step that he took before he reached this pinnacle. It has been a journey that was full of pain and sorrow yet at this moment he stands towering above everyone else as the true ruler of the 7 kingdoms of Westeros.


Writers Note:
Planeswalker Awakenings is like a "what if" series...where we try to put a character from a Book , TV series or movie into the context of a planeswalker from Magic:The Gathering.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

"Call Center Blood types"

"Call Center Blood types"
Virgilio F.De leon Jr.

I believe that call center agents now have new Blood types.ER's all over the Philippines should have these in stock least a crisis occurs of epic proportions when a shortage is found too late.

These are the following:

Extra Joss +
Explode +
Sting +
Samurai +
Cobra +
Monster +
Rockstar +
Red Bull+
Bacchus +
Ion +

I guess these will be the major blood types for now as these are constantly imbibed by a specific set of people whose major need for caffeine can feed an entire nation of coffee farmers. These energy drinks are taken on top of the normal caffeine intake that makes a call center agent nocturnally active. Sort of like a vampire without fangs. Of course some of the one's that I have seen over the years could very well pass for vampires with their pale and waxy complexions. I am happy to report that I have not seen anyone glittering in the daytime (which will prompt me to burn them the soonest chance I get).Coffee and Energy drinks flow through their veins and is considered a necessity in surviving 5 day or 4 day shifts if you are on a 4/11 schedule.It is not an easy life and help is always welcome.  

I was able to try all of these energy drinks in the course of my Call Center Tour of Duty and they are all very potent. Some seem to be more "Hiyang" to others than me.Here are some of the things that I have seen and heard in my time in the industry.

Acidic Cobra...
The commonly accessible Cobra seemed the more acidic of the bunch and normally caused an upset stomach , at least for me. You could buy it out of your Corner Suking Tindahan and hang out with a bunch of construction workers who feel conio after drinking it. I don't know how their stomachs are built but mine just can't stand the acidity of the drink and feel really upset afterwards. At least I'm awake...due to the burning pain that continues to the end of my shift. There is a Silent Hill in my belly.The fires keep on burning.

Hypertension Sting...
Sting while very good in keeping one awake had caused one or two of my team mates to have hypertensive incidents aka "Na-high blood ako TL" on more than one occasion. I'm not sure if it was just the timing when they drank it but it does make you question the product if it affected them a 2nd time around. They have also tried other drinks but Sting really does a number on them. 

A little Extra Joss...A little to much...
Extra Joss was so effective that one of my teammates really had sleeping problems and was awake for more than 14 hours after she took the drink. In her case though it had to do more with the double dose that she usually takes in an 8 hour shift. Taking one before the start and another after lunch(others would consider it Midnight snack rather than lunch). She was able to sleep after cutting back a bit. She had to because she was looking like a cast member from the Walking Dead even before they aired the series.

Sugar Crashing Monster...
Monster surely comes in a monster size of a can. These cans let you take in twice the normal amount of any energy drink. This also makes it the most expensive energy drink out there. Almost a 100 bucks a piece! As part of an ongoing experiment I tried the 2 flavors available in the local market. The thing I have observed though is that after 4 hours you then have a massive sugar crash that beats the purpose why you took the energy drink in the first place.The first 4 hours was great though so this can be used as a boost for when...oh wait...this is my wholesome blog. hehehhehe

Rockstar Living...
One of the most of effective energy drinks is Rockstar because it lets you go on when most have already collapsed...of course after staying up all night in a very tiring shift you actually want to collapse in bed because of your normal biology that says you are waayyyyy beyond your bedtime. Rockstar allows you to bypass this biology and just keep on going. Of course by this time you are not thinking straight and you are on your feet merely by this drink and may have no proper control of yourself. You are not efficient and cause more harm to yourself than good. So take only in extreme cases. 

Bringing Balance Back...
I don't want to heap too much praise on the following drinks because it might work for me but have different results altogether for someone else. My best bets when I really need to stay up is Bacchus and Explode. Explode was on sale during those times too which led me to add it to my grocery list. Bacchus is just good for me but I have found that my brother seems to sleep regardless of the Bacchus that he has taken. 

And since I am writing about Energy drinks..

Vodka Energy Drink..An Oxymoron in a brand
Yes you read it right. Vodka energy drink. 3 words that should not be associated with each other. Alcohol basically replaces oxygen that should be taken to your brain to keep it more active and functioning at tiptop condition. Less Oxygen means the more sleepy you get and the component that makes it an energy drink will not do anything to reverse that process. What it actually does is does is allow you to get more drunk since it gives you the feeling that you are not drunk. You end up with more alcohol in you could possibly judge.  So please do not drink this if you want to get any work done. Unless that was why you were drinking this in the mini stop before going to work then by all means do carry own. Some people are more effective when they are drunk anyway. Who knows if you are one of those Call Center Drunken Master types who could sell , trouble shoot , collect or provide better customer service when drunk right? Drink on Little Grasshopper.Drink on.

So those working the night shifts. Start wearing bracelets with your blood type. The life you save will really be your own.

Friday, February 22, 2013

“Forgetting Katrina”

“Forgetting Katrina”
Virgilio F. De leon Jr.

She was gone and as Ollie looked at the passing freshmen he remembered how she looked like. The so called prettiest of this batch came a mile short by Ollie’s standards. Too white, too brown , too dark , too slim , too fat. The list went on in his head as he surveyed the parking lot. What a big disappointment. And here he was hoping to find a great catch to bring home.

            His friend Arnold who was helping in his endeavors suddenly sighed. Prompting Ollie to look at him. Arnold who was a bit overweight to be your typical playboy looked really lonely all of a sudden.

            “Whats up with you?” Ollie said patting his friend on his meaty shoulders. “You’re not hungry again are you?”

            Arnold smiled briefly but returned to his sad face. He pointed to the oncoming batch of freshmen for Ollie to look at.

            “Just look at them.” Arnold said a bit forlornly. “But you are never gonna find someone like that again”

            “You mean Katrina right? Come on man. Its time to move on to other prospects. She’s in London now.” Ollie smiled at one of the girls who smiled right back at him. “Isnt she a little to young to be here?”

            Arnold seemed distracted.  “Tell you what Ollie. Do you know why Katrina suddenly had the urge to go to London in the middle of a semester?” Arnold said still pretending to look at the passing girls.

            “Well, she told me that she was going to study there and that her papers were approved at that unfortunate time.” Ollie waved at a girl he remembered from one of the soirees he attended. Only he didn’t know which one.  He was probably too drunk.

            “That’s what she told everyone man. But no one really knew the truth.” The fat Arnold said. His massive shoulders seemed to sag a little bit more  as he said this. He seemed to be interested at the ant passing by his shoes.

            Ollie stopped flirting for awhile and remembered how tired and desperate Katrina looked those last moments that she was with him. That look in her eyes , as if calling out for help , as if calling for his help.

            “So tell me…what is the truth.” Ollie said. There was a pause as if the air was being sucked out of reality. And it came out of Arnolds lips.

            “There was a letter to the deans office. It said things about Katrina….very bad things. It said that she was exchanging sexual favors for exam leakages and attached to it were her psychiatric file. She was a nymphomaniac. And the letter said that she was putting her affliction to good use.”

            Time stopped for Ollie. Up until that time he didn’t know he cared for Katrina that much. He thought he was just sad to see a pretty girl leave campus but….this thing inside of him. These thoughts , these feelings that were telling him to look for her. To somehow comfort her though a lot of time had already passed.

            “This cant be true, man. I mean think about it…Katrina’s family is rich. I mean , they are so freaking rich she can bribe anyone into giving her stupid leakage paper if she really wanted to.” Ollie flared. “Besides , we all know that many people are jealous of her. So we know any number of them could have sent that to damage her.”

            “Actually…” Arnold started but hesitated. Then continued as if making a decision not to stay silent a bit longer.  “do you know that it came from our section?”

            “No. but then again the rumors about her all come from our block. I mean some of our classmates say she had an abortion , that she lived in with a man , that she does her boyfriend in the parking lot , that she is somehow incestuously in love with her brother. I mean , haven’t they done enough? I mean what did that woman do to deserve such nasty rumors?”

“I think you know the answer man.” Arnold said as he stood up and walked toward his car 4 spaces away from where they were sitting.

            Then it dawned on Ollie. “Because she is a phoenix and all who are not blinded by her light want to snuff it. Because people hate happy endings.”

            “Exactly.” Arnold said as he stepped back and pulled his friend up.  “To tell you the truth it feels good to let that out.”

            “Well, can I ask you something?”


            “Do you think I care about her?”

            “No, life is too short to hang on to one girl” Arnold replied. Ollie looked at him and they broke out laughing. They gave each other a pat on the back and said goodbye.

            Ollie waited for Arnold to be out of earshot and sighed. He felt angry all of sudden. A fury swelled inside him that beckoned to come out. And he saw a wayward stone that volunteered for the job. He imagined the face of the one who sent that letter and swung his leg , sending the rock to hit the tall hedges that lined the parking lot. He opened the door of his car. He sat in there still thinking of what Arnold said. He was oddly curious about it. He felt a bit weird about it. Caring for someone who was no longer there. Another girl passed by and she waved at him. He waved her to ride with him. The girl complied , gave him a suggestive kiss at the back of his ear  and made him forget all about Katrina….

            Arnold sped away in his car feeling happy that he had released that burden he kept for a year now.  He sped toward the oncoming traffic. He too forgot about Katrina….


Writers Note:  “Katrina” is a real person. She stepped on too many toes by being prettier and smarter , in short she stepped on a lot of peoples egos by being who she is. She transferred to another Medical school and is now a full-pledged Doctor. 

"Why do I play Magic?"

"Why do I play magic?"
Virgilio F. De leon Jr.

     It was almost a lifetime ago that fateful day when one of my friends Kris brought a bunch of cards during lunch in one of our classes in Med school. As a game of Magic was played during the break  , I was asked a couple of questions about it because I think everyone just assumed that I was playing it , I was able to answer them surprisingly without having played a single game. It was I believe one of those things in life that you were actually built for and were destined to do. I believe that when you are meant to do things , things come naturally to you and the universe contrives to usher in this desire. A couple of weeks later I was researching for cards and decks online. I was able to track down concepts that were being written all over the internet and I was able to look back at cards since the beginning of the game in 1993. Not Surprisingly when the game became popular here in 1995 I was one of the first people who were exposed to it and I remember scoffing at the art of the only Black Lotus that I ever touched. Even then it was considered to be valuable and the one I held was in a sealed plastic case. I was offered some of these cards but for some reason I just was not into them.

     Forward in time to that day in Med school where a spark ignited in me , like a planeswalker discovering the power to traverse the planes. During that time Onslaught was the current block. I had scoured all of the shops in Greenhills to build a Mono Red Goblin deck first to fight with my friends and later when I introduced the game to my brother  , epic battles with him ensued. Techniques and cards escalated and I was given a set of Goblin Grenades that I still treasure to this day from my friend Cesar. Thus an affair with the Red Deck was born , and with this passion I started learning more and more.

     The first pack I ever bought contained a Blistering Firecat , the hottest Aggressive creature of that time. People were trying to buy it from my brother and me but I just can't let it go and is still featured in one of  my red EDH decks. Onslaught was my firm handshake with magic but the Introduction of the new Mirrodin block was my all out Love affair with magic. My brother and I even bought a box of the new 8th edition. Little did we know that Mirrodin and 8th edition would be a defining point in Magic History. These sets would define the boundaries for the Modern format that people are enjoying today because of the new template that was used for the cards.

     So why do I play magic? Because it is purely fun. There is a lot of gain from it and there are many things that you would look at in certain perspectives once you learn it. You learn to look at patterns , you learn about timing , you learn about making decisions. Math is involved  obviously because its creator was a mathematician. Probability and chance always play a part in the games. The more you play it the more you realize that you would never progress without a little math prowess.

     Magic is also a social game and you are given chances to interact with people who are of the same mind as you. You would realize that you form strong bonds of friendship and rivalry as you go along and that even though you face each other on the battlefield you are still friends afterwards. There are prizes to be won and competitions to be in and they are all a lot better when you have your closest allies with you. Team Virulence has been my team from the very beginning and will be my last team as well. They are both my family and my friends and I know that they will always be there. I will keep on playing Magic. It simply is just a part of me.

"The Rise of the E-Cigarette"

"The Rise of the E-Cigarette"
Virgilio F. De leon Jr. 

     It used to be something that you see once in awhile. However as I go down to street level for my 15 minute breaks I have seen more and more of them in the hands of males and females alike. This is the now famous electronic cigarette which has become the rage among smokers. People actually gather around to exchange juice. (the liquid that they use in the e-cig and not bodily fluids , what the heck were you thinking?). One guy I know even carries a pouch full of the things and is not hesitant to share. It has become the in thing and why not there are many benefits that can be derived from using it but mostly it is claimed to be good for your health.

     An Electronic cigarette or an e-cigarette is nothing but a small electric device where you can huff and puff like the real thing; it simulates the act of cigarette smoking but without the health hazards that are attributed to the act. The physical sensation is produced by inhaling a mixture in mist form, tobacco can or cannot be present but the illusion cannot be complete with the scent of the tobacco. Most of these devices have the taste and flavor of tobacco but lack the scent. Some believe that the Electronic cigarette was invented for those of the population who wanted to continue smoking but are afraid of the ill effects that the real thing has brought over all of humanity in the past decades. Cigarette smoking is an addiction due to certain ingredients that has been mixed in with it and it is a billion dollar industry that would not give up the fight mainly because someone invented a device that simulates smoking and has gotten some people to stop smoking. Some also say that the Electronic cigarette is a response to this addiction, people want to continue the things that they want but not die of lung cancer or any other causes related to the bad habit. Like the Marlboro Men they want to look good , blend in or be tough but people are smart enough to want to live much longer than these popular cultural icons.

     Yes people are now smarter and they want to live longer. The e-cig is a more expensive recourse but it does work more in the health department and people can now smell more like perfume or chocolate or fruity depending on the kind of Juice they use instead of someone smelling like they just took a dump somewhere. With the way the prices of real or "Analog" cigarettes are going (The expensive way) more and more people will eventually just rather get this stick rather than the real thing. It has become a status symbol as well , just add it to the many gadgets that one carries around these days. 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

“The Hours End”

“The Hours End”
Virgilio F. De leon Jr.
(October 10 , 2008) 
The hours end
Merging with the days
The seconds drain
And I am not the same

Reflection shows what maybe
But the hours dictate reality
Inescapable truth lurks in the shadows
Despising the certainties

In the search to find meaning
I gain no new understanding
Just more questions that permeate my being
I am still blind and unfeeling

And day by day
A piece wears  away
Skin is shed but nothing lays underneath
All but oblivion in the depths

"Mga Abnormal na tao sa MRT 2"

"Mga Abnormal na tao sa MRT 2"
Virgilio F. De leon Jr.

     Sa araw araw na pagsakay ko sa MRT lalong nadaragdagan ang mahaba ko nang listahan ng mga abnormal na tao. Puwede na akong gumawa ng field guide tungkol sa mga ito kung gusto ko. Kamakailan lang eh boom na boom sa internet si Amalayer girl. Isang estudyante na nagreact sa ginawa ng guwardiya sa MRT medyo melt down mode ang dating niya sa kung anumang dahilan pero di ito abnormal , may mga araw lang talaga na parang di sumasangayon sa iyo ang kapalaran. Ang mga tunay na abnormal eh yung mga taong umaastang tanga sa kabila ng mga sitwasyon na di naman dapat sila tanga or talagang may angkin lang na kaabnormalan.

Abnormal sa turnstile...

     Nung isang araw eh may nakasabay na naman akong isang Abnormal sa MRT. Sa isang normal na eksena eh labasan na ng mga tao sa turnstile dun sa Quezon Ave.(minsan eh dito ako bumababa para makasakay agad ng bus at di magastusan sa Trinoma). Ang mga normal eh mapapansing pumipila ng maayos sa mga turnstile na may ilaw na green. Nakaturo pa nga ang green na arrow kung saan ka dadaan at magpapasok ng card para ka makalabas ng istasyon.Ngayon eh mapapansin mo ang isang abnormal na parang may allergy sa pila ng mga tao. Pupunta siya dun sa isang turnstile na obvious na di gumagana ( kaya nga walang nakapila eh) at pilit niyang ipapasok ang kanyang card. Sa una magtataka siya kasi bakit yung sa iba kinakain ang card nila at nakakalabas sila. Tiningnan niya ng masama ang card niya na para bang ang laki ng kasalanan nito sa kanya. Pero ipipilit niyang ipasok ang card ng ilang beses hanggang sa makakapasok nga.(Sa loob loob ko dapat sa salamin siya tumingin ng masama at batukan ng malakaas sa noo kung sino man ang makikita niya dun)Ngayong nakapasok na ang card magtataka naman siya kung bakit di ito lumabas sa ibabaw ng turnstile at kung bakit di pa din siya makalabas. Galit siyang pupunta sa guwardiya. Galit talaga.Papalabas na ako kaya di ko na nasubaybayan ang drama...pero bahagya kong narinig ang sabi ng guwardiya..."Eh ang tanga mo pala eh"...Sumasangayon ako sa iyo Sir! Ala akong matawag sa taong ito kaya Unknown na lang.


     Isa pa sa mga napansin ko tulad ng mamang ito sa nauna kung kuwento eh di lahat ng Abnormal eh nasa loob ng train , yung iba lumalabas lang ang sakit pag nasa pilahan na o pasakay na ng escalator. Ang tawag ko sa kanila eh Jaworski's. Tulad ni Jawo eh para silang guwardiya sa basketball...binabantayan nila ang pila! May mga moves na pasimple. Kakaliwa ka , kakaliwa din sila , kakanan ka , kakanan din sila. Ang malupit pa minsan para silang may 6th sense kasi di sila nakitingin sa iyo pero kumakanan at kaliwa sila. Minsan nga eh mga lola pa ang matindi sa ganito. May pagka paranoid ang mga Jaworski na uunahan mo sila sa pila , iipitin at gigitgitin ka papasok ng inspection area ng guwardiya , escalator , elevator o kahit sa turnstile para di mo sila malampasan. At pag nalampasan mo sila ng di sinasadya eh sama lang ng tingin ang ibibigay nila sa iyo.Sinugatan mo ang kanilang pride. 

Pong Pagong

     Kilala mo sila. Sila ay kapit bahay niyo. Sa train. Ito yung mga taong alam naman na rush hour or talagang siksikan na sa mga train ay pilit na nagdadala ng malapang camping trip na mga bag sa kanilang likod. Kailangang dala nila ang bahay nila sa kanilang mga likuran palagi kasi baka may malimutan eh mahirap nang balikan.Ang mga taong ito eh parang pupunta ng African Safari at kulang na lang eh yung hat. Sila ang mga pong pagong. Ang numero unong problema lang naman sa kanila eh sa espasyo na kinakain nila at kapag ikaw ang malas na nasa likuran nila ang siguradong madudurog ka ng kanilang mga higanteng bag kapag na-out balance sila sa pagusad ng train , kung ikaw naman ang nasa harap nila eh masanay ka na na halos parang maghahalikan kayo sa closeness kasi tuwing may dadaan sa likod nila eh siguradong itutulak sila papunta sa iyo. Ok ito kung crush mo ang pong pagong. Pero lugi sa mga lalaki kasi puro pangit lang ang babaeng Pong Pagong na namamalagi sa train.

     Ang isa pang ayaw ko sa mga Pong Pagong eh pag nabunggo ka nila eh parang wala lang. Isang beses sa kasamaang palad eh nasa likuran ako ng isa sa mga ito. Kada arangkada ng tren eh tinatamaan ako ng camping bag niya. Tinutulak ko siya papalayo sa akin siyempre , kaya nga ako lagi nasa gitna ng train pumupuwesto eh dahil ayaw kong nasisiksik. At imbes na humingi ng dispensa ang pong pagong eh nagalit pa kasi di tinutulak ko siya!!! Masikip daw sa train kaya dapat daw eh di ko siya tinutulak. Nasigawan ko tuloy ng: "Eh Pong Pagong ka pala eh , kung iniiwan mo yang bahay mo sa inyo eh di sana tayo siksikan dito!!!" Binaba niya ang bag niya sa sahig.Di na umimik , kamukhan ko siguro si Kiko pag galit ako.

Put your head on my shoulder moments...

     Sa araw araw na pagsakay ko ng MRT eh dagdag pa rin ng dagdag ang mga abnormal sa train. Yung iba naman eh normal naman dapat kaso normal na normal silang inaantok at sa balikat mo sila nagdedesisyon na matulog. Kakaiba ang mga taong ito na kahit sa  train eh nakakatulog , may iba na kahit sobrang himbing eh di nabubuwal or natutumba. Sumasabay ang mga katawan nila sa bawat kilos ng train. Parang bamboo sa bagyo. Kung meron mga taong One with the Universe sila naman ang One with the Train.Impressive.

     Pero ang mga abnormal talaga eh yung mga taong nakakatulog pero unti unting sumasandal sa balikat mo , kasama na ang paghilik at paglalaway nila habang natutulog. Isang beses pauwi na ako ng umaga eh may nakatabi ako na matabang lalaki (triple ko na ang laki kaya malaki na talaga) yung parang Jabba Hutt Jr. ang dating. Pagnakakatulog siya eh parang slow motion na pumupunta ang ulo niya sa balikat ko. Tatapikin ko. Magigising at magsosorry. So ok lang. kaso parang nakakalimang beses nang ganito kaya ang ginawa ko nung huli eh ang ginawa ko hinuli ko ang timing at bago siya makasandal sa balikat ko eh tumayo ako. Kaya si Jabba Hutt Jr. eh biglang natumba patagilid. Nakatulog pa din. Hinayaan ko na lang.

     Di na talaga yata sila mauubos. Parang Pokemon sa dami at alam ko na marami pa akong makakasalubong na Abnormal sa MRT.Minsan nakakatawa. Kadalasan nakakainis. Pero ganyan lang talaga ang buhay.Puno ng mga karakter na ayaw mong makasalubong pero nakakasalubong pa din. 

Monday, February 18, 2013

"Outbreak Day 3: The Risen"

"Outbreak Day 3: The Risen"
Virgilio F. De leon Jr. 

Masses of the living dead were upon them now and no normal human being could survive such an onslaught. Of course they weren't any normal human as far as their expertise went. Most humans have a flight or fight response to danger , a part of this response is to be gripped by so much terror that you flee and live to run another day. These two however were trained to fight that terror from inside of them so that outside they are unburdened  by these emotions.The result was that they could dismantle entire Zombie armies by hand. And club and sword and anything else that they could get their hands on. He was being beset by 5 or more of the creatures and he had no weapon with him. The situation wasn't so new to him at all. They were all grabbing at him from all sides and threatened to rip his armor off. With one swift motion he let anatomy come into play again. He grabbed one arm and pulled it downward. The normal arm would not break but a rotting one would and he was rewarded with a fleshy sounding "Shlunk" as the arm gave way freeing himself and allowing him to grab  one neck and to twist it. He quickly dispatched the other 3 as if they were nothing.By the look of things he just took care of a whole family.He didn't want to dwell on that. He continued his work of setting up trackers all over this cemetery area. There were always protocols to follow and this one was explained that should the causative agent come into contact with already deceased flesh before the outbreak would it give rise to Undead. The answer so far was No but he had to track the progress until Day 7.

It has already been 3 days since the outbreak began in this little town in the middle of nowhere. He assumed that the response team were on their way and would be able to contain the vastly growing number of zombies as was predicted in the Day 3 scenarios. He watched a couple of those survival Horror films that Hollywood was churning up by the dozen nowadays and he just had to laugh at the inaccuracies and feel sad at the lack of training that the soldiers in those movies were given. Most of them were overwhelmed and eaten. A single soldier from the Day Zero Project knew enough to fight his way out of a horde as well as a single one on one scenario with "bruisers" , zombies whose musculature were amplified by the causative agent(there are several after all). 

He watched with disinterest as his wife hacked 3 or 4 Zombies at a time.Most of them looked like school girls in their uniforms. She hated younger girls especially younger zombie girls.Her arms were unwavering despite the onslaught that was in front of her. 

"I can keep this up all morning you know , I wish there was really just more of them. Its getting boring with just these normal types coming around."

She couldnt keep the disappointment in her voice. 

"I just hate these Day Zero to Day 3 types...The mutations always appear on Day 5. Why do they always appear on day 5?" She slashed a zombies head in half and half turned to him expecting an answer. 

As usual she was just focused on the physical aspects of their mission. She was one heck of fighter but not too keen on the progression of the program. He gave a sigh and tried to explain to her for the nth time. Before doing so he threw a carbon bladed knife toward a zombie that came too near for his own comfort. He made a mental note to retrieve that blade. It was fast becoming his favorite as well.

"The mutations come in on Day 5 because thats when the specific hosts are found. Those bodies that are weak die off and the strong ones grow even stronger by adapting to the causative agent. So for the meantime you just have to be content with these slow moving genetic wastepools ok?"

His wife gave another swing with her Jungle Bolo cutting down 3 more in her quiet rampage. This was about the same time that he saw the thing from the corner of his eye. It darted against the group of trees where his wife was and slammed directly into her. With quick strides he went to her. The monster gave a shout and raised an least it thought it raised an arm...both of them fell to the be followed by its severed head a few seconds later. He knew that no matter how fast these things become his wife would be faster. He knew the move well , her body acts on instinct and the moment that monster slammed into her she probably had already thrown in 6 strikes at the minumum which would explain the falling off of zombie parts.The poor thing never really had a chance. 

His wife kicked the dead carcass away from her and stood up. She produced a cloth and began to clean the blood and gore from her Jungle Bolo. "Well that was a fast one."

Knowing that she was safe (though he knew she was from experience) he moved to the now twitching corpse. He ran the mini scanner that was provided in his kit and he confirmed what he had suspected the first time he saw this creature. "This is a Day 5 Mutation"

He saw his wife clutch left her side. "Sure felt like a day 5 mutation." He knew that she would be bruised there by now and this would somehow slow her down but that was like slowing down a moving freight train. Not much of a difference really but she still had human tissue to heal and he had to take care of that. He threw her the green pill that was specially made for them.He knew this pill. Part Antibiotic / Part Painkiller / Part stamina booster. Those guys in the lab did care.

"Take that and we better be more cautious from here on in. If they are mutating more rapidly then there might be Day 7 mutations that we would likely won't want to face without the support team."

Fighting off a Day 7 mutation was easy if you had the right tools and he didn't quite see that here in this cemetary.He knew that the order of the day now was to find a defensible shelter and he knew just the place. The Lighthouse on the northern part of the town. In the distance he heard a roar and he was thankful that it was still daylight. He had never faced early mutations before and he had to prepare for the worst. The Lighthouse would give him time. He retrieved his carbon blade that was still embedded to the zombies head he throw at it earlier. 

His wife seemed to have heard the roar from the distance as well and looked at him.Not with fear though but with anticipation. She knew it was a Day 7 mutation that they would be facing. She looked happy knowing this fact. He was wracking his brains to explain the rapid mutations and did not want to comment on her bloodlust again.In silence they trudged their way to the lone place where they could be safe.


If you want to back track or move forward in the series please click on the links below.Thank you. - The First One...
For Part 1
For Part 2
For Part 3

"The E-prom bust"

"The E-prom bust"
Virgilio F. De leon Jr. 

     Recently some really wise people decided that it wasn't enough that parents are virtually running a young persons life , they also want to make sure that these same young people don't commit some horrible mistake during their JS proms. Enter the E-prom where there will be cameras set up on the dance floor and all around the venue that will allow parents and potentially other people too to watch the proceedings over the internet. Not only do they provide live streaming of the JS Proms , they also send picture updates to the concerned parents who would probably be staying up all night and/or probably be near a Star bucks or hangout place near the Proms venue anyway , if not secretly staying in the same hotel just to keep an eye on their precious children. While I believe these people mean well and there are probably statistics to support teen pregnancies occurring during this time of the year there are a number of reasons why the e-prom will fail.

1) Not all parents are on-line.

Yup , it seems like anyone can access the internet with a laptop or phone nowadays but even in this day and age there are still those who refuse to learn technology. probably too stubborn or just plain too lazy to learn. Of course these same parents can also just have a neighbor or family member help them set it up but when a glitch happens then they wont be able to do anything at all but wait for someone to help them.In which case their children will have the night all to themselves...

2) They won't be able to put camera's everywhere...

So let us say that you are monitoring the dance floor , but most kids are not on the dance floor all the time.They always have time to go out and go to the bathroom. And good luck if you can install cameras there. Of course if a prom night is in a hotel one can only go excuse him or herself to go to the room , there wont be enough Chaperones to go and be with someone all the time right? or there wont even be cameras leading to the rooms themselves that is hooked in to the e-prom program. Let us just say that with all the hormones acting up a determined duo will be able to do the deed by hook or by crook. It takes as little as 15 minutes for a couple to be gone to do the nasty and well some can even be missing for an hour or so. The cameras wont be focusing on just one individual after all.

I guess on the bright side those who are not decided to do it will be affected by nerves and not go through with it.At least in this sense the e-prom is a good deterrent.

3) It's just plain wrong...

Somehow people in our country are voyeurs. We thrive on this perverse act of watching other peoples lives without them being able to see us like in Pinoy Big Brother.The e-prom is just like that.It may have good intentions but I still believe that its not really that much of a public event to begin with. People still want to keep themselves unknown and not have it all hang out there all over the internet. Not everyone can be pretty or handsome and not everyone deserve the screen time no matter how much their parents love them.Not everyone can dance as well and you don't want those embarrassing missed steps seen all over the world by relatives and friends who would not live it down. So it's just plain wrong , its an invasion of privacy. I'm not sure if there are forms that are signed to waive this right to privacy (as if teenagers should be exempt from privacy right?) but it is something that the teenagers may not want because they are planning any promiscuity but simply because they don't want their faces all over the internet.

Speaking of promiscuity the e-prom  means to protect these teenagers but I believe that it is up to these teenagers themselves to make the right decisions and make the decisions to defend themselves. I believe that if these teenagers grew up in environment that teaches them to be strong or even an environment that allows them to decide for themselves once in awhile then it would be all right. We won't need this service at all.

Who am I kidding though?
Those kids who already have a strong stand in high school and seldom are affected by peer pressure are the exemptions to the rules and considered uncool by the "IN" crowd. Now the supposedly "IN" crowd are the people you should be looking at and who's parents would benefit from the e-prom program a whole lot.

All in all the e-prom has its purpose but it is still up to the teenager to watch out for his or herself. It is also up to the adults to give their children the leeway to make some mistakes if they want to because that is all part of growing up.

Friday, February 15, 2013


Virgilio F. De leon Jr.


Terror fills the darkness in the absence of light
A vicious monster that is about to take flight
We all struggle with the ideas in our head
We wish we didn't see the walking dead


A shadow here and there
A shape or an object everywhere
We all conjure the monsters in our head

I think thats where we are all mislead

The mind forms our own enemies
filling us with dread like a grainary
and when we must say that its no big thing
that's when we start to lose every thing

Because terror wills the hearts of men
nobody knows as well as we can
And when there are things that must be said
they are left just there and left for dead 

So hold your thoughts
And hold your memories
Something might return
to cause you some injuries...

"Returning to the Big City"

"Returning to the Big City"
Virgilio F. De leon Jr.

     One of the most exciting things about Returning to Ravnica is the fact that I can play with my favorite guild , The Golgari , otherwise known as the Swarm , every one knows that I am a necromancer at heart and as a Biologist I believe in the cycle of life that the Golgari espouse. Well , most of it anyway. With the guilds returning there are new mechanics that are being introduced and since the Golgari is my chosen guild I would like to focus on the neat things that Magic has done to make them more awesome.

    In the wake of the Innistrad block that also has a vast array of Graveyard loving shenanigans the Golgari is all set to reap the benefits. The new Legendary Creature who stands as the leader is Jarad who made his debut in the Izzet vs. Golgari deck and is currently making the rounds in several EDH tables all around the world and who wouldn't like what this guy offers on the table:

1) The ability to sacrifice a creature and deal damage to all the players in the game. All of them in one sweep! Killing several critically wounded opponents is one of the most satisfying experiences in a multiplayer game.

2) When he dies and you choose to put him in your graveyard you can literally get him back in your hands by sacrificing a forest and swamp land. Resilient is he not?

3) The more you sacrifice creatures to him or basically fill your graveyard with critters ( in a Golgari deck that is not much of a problem anyway) the more powerful he gets with the number of +1/+1 counters on him increasing exponentially. Literally reaping the benefits of the grave!

     In EDH its not so hard to imagine that he can smash face after a board sweep with all those creatures going to the graveyard. Then you have creatures like Splinter fright  , Boneyard Wurm and Lhurgoyf enjoying your rich graveyard as well. Not to mention that 10/10 Ghoul tree that you can cast for a measly 1 green mana as long as you have 7 creatures in your grave yard. Except for the Lhurgoyf Standard will also have access to these creaturesas well alongside the new Golgari Scavenge mechanic which allows you to pay mana to put +1/+1 counters on a creature in play.

     At first glance the mechanic looks a bit weak because there are still spot removals available to deal with enormous creatures in standard like Barter in blood and Murder or even Tragic slip. Howeever the ability to make enormous creatures from a card that has probably dealt 5 to 10 points of damage already means that the lack of removal in ones hand may mean the end of the game.  Since the Golgari has access to green creatures the World Spine Wurm at 15/15 plus any other scavenge effects in the late game can spell the end.  Oh and this is the new Wurmcoil of standard , giving you 3 5/5 Wurms in the wake of its death.

      The awesomeness of the Golgari doesn't end there though  , There is a new Planeswalker in town and her/its name is Vraska the Unseen. As of this writing no back story has been provided by but it/she looks like a female plant.  At 3 Generic  , Black and Green Mana , this planeswalker has the ability to end the game with its ultimate ability. It/She produces 3 1/1 Assasin tokens that has the ability : When this assasin token deals combat damage to a player that player loses the game.

     Loses the game! Its like having Phage the Untouchable reaching out to your foe and making him rot before yours eyes.  Assuming of course that the tokens can break through. The best approach might be to sweep the board first and then go in for the kill. So far Black only has Mutilate and Killing Wave in that department.  Mutilate isn't really a fine choice for a Golgari deck as there are less swamps to power it. The killing wave might be a more perfect fit , just be careful that you cast it before going Ultimate with Vreska otherwise her Assasins will need to be sacrificed for the damage.  Many players are drooling at the prospect of playing with her  , Meta players might not want her but hey there are a lot more of us casual and weekend magic player types who would want her. Its the loss of the meta gamers out there.

     The world is all but ready to welcome the Return to Ravnica , where the guilds are somewhat different but wonderfully the same.

Writers Note:
A blog that was buried in a lot of work but should have been uploaded months ago before the big block came out. Since I reasoned that my love for the Golgari is eternal this blog will appear by hook or by crook. It is still cool to talk about them after all and they will always be relevant in standard and EDH decks.

"Boy Assuming's Soliloquy"

"Boy Assuming's Soliloquy"
Virgilio F. De leon Jr.


Do I refuse to see
that she does not want me?
Do I deny my belief 
that I am not the one she seeks?

Do I refuse to suffer
in silence if I must
while she decides
even if it is unjust

I walk the same path 
and see the same eyes
I am there the whole time
when she becomes undone

It is confusing when she
calls me by name in bed
but we keep on running just in pace
and just stay the same...

are we friends?
or maybe something else?
are we getting there?
maybe just not yet...

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

"Magic Brain Drain"

"Magic Brain Drain"
Virgilio F. De leon Jr.

     Magic is a mental game and most of the time when people look at magic players around a table putting one card at a time with slow deliberation , all they see is just that.They do not see the internal machinations that each player has , The thought processes that go into every move. On the surface it just looks like a guy who has just placed a land card on the table. Inside though there is a massive amount of brain power that comes into play. To play any serious amount of Magic requires analysis and decision making skills.Why  , there are so many questions to answer on your first hand alone. You look at the first 7 cards that you draw and you ask these questions: What do I play first? Should I Mulligan? Keep my hand? which land to play first? cast my first spell now or hold off till later? Am I holding the key cards that I want for my end game strategy? Do I have enough land? And then when you have answered all of these questions then and only then do you put a land in play.Intense isn't it? The analyzing doesn't stop there of course it carries over to your opponents turn and back to your turn. Then unto the midgame and late game where everything is crucial and all the moves are already being played out to exhaustion. 

     The game is not physically exhausting because you merely sit in front of a table (or in some cases relatively flat clean surfaces) but it is a game that takes out a lot of power from your mind. The usual standard game lasts 5 rounds. Usually the first 3 rounds go by like a breeze but by the 4th round (if you are still in contention) you start feeling a bit dizzy from the amount of concentration that you have put into the first 3 rounds. Assuming that you have swept the first 3 rounds then you have played 6 games. If it all went down the wire then you just played 9 games that surely must  have drained you. Of course the adrenaline that comes with pulling off a win in dire straits always boosts the energy level but come the 4th and 5th rounds you will feel the massive energy drain.Unless you are a pro level player you would feel a bit tired by now.

     You start getting hungry and out of focus at times and this is where it is crucial because the battles in the 4th round are among the strongest tiers in the game. I admire those who seem to go through 5 rounds of magic and still play commander afterwards. Maybe the amount of play time that they have put in has made them mentally tougher  , maybe they have some way of not frying out their brains while playing. whatever is it  , it is really something special. If 5 rounds can be tough , imagine Game day events where it can an end up in a whooping 8 rounds and in the GP events all around the world. when I attended my first GP last year in SMX , I was all but drained in the 5th round and did not remember much of the succeeding rounds.It just goes to show that there is still a lot of improvement needed to progress in this game.

     Ladies and Gentlemen Brain drain in Magic is real . No one has died from it just yet but it never hurts to be prepared for it when you go out to your local tournaments. Here are a few tips before you plunge head on  to the games.

- Get Plenty of rest , a full 8 hour sleep is good too.The mind is ready for battle when you stop yawning!
- Schedule your games so you don't have to do back to backs. Less tired , more focus.
- Plenty of fluids , energy drinks are risky because they last for about 4 hours and then you crash. That's about the same time as the 4th round so refrain from it. Gatorade is good though. You need those Ions.
- Have a not so heavy breakfast , lunch or dinner before playing. You need your blood to go to your brain and not to your stomach to aid in digesting a heavy meal.
- Pack in the candies , small amounts of sugar help to keep you going in a game especially in a long drawn out one where your opponent seems like a Ent from Fangoria when making decisions.
- Refrain from going to Smacker mode , if you are playing then refrain from buying until the end of the rounds. It's a distraction and creates brain energy expenditure that you would rather have used later on.
- Don't play drunk or worse...high (not that I know of people who play high). It's just plain crazy to play in this condition.
- Bathroom breaks. Use them because you dont want your mind controlling your bladder from exploding while you are in a critical juncture of the game. 

Well that is it , I hope this helps and I don't want to hear about someone dying from brain drain in a local tournament. Till then , Keep on playing. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

"Return to Ravnica Short: The Sweepers Flight..."

"RTR Short: The Sweepers Flight..."
Virgilio F. De leon Jr.

     The forest came to an end abruptly as the one known as the Sweeper continued to outrun her pursuers. There was actually no discernable physical change because in the vast Cityscape of Ravnica the city has encroached on everything  , it was more like a change in the mana energies that she could sense. The rich  , vibrant feel of Green mana gave way to the dark, suffocating but powerful presence of Black mana and yet since being initiated in the arts of the Golgari  the Sweeper felt the infusing power of both energies. It allowed her to continue , her feet gliding through the mixed stone and lichen filled pathways.

     Her pursuers were more tenacious than she thought , she had camouflaged her aura several times but they were still able to track her , Jarad wasn't kidding around when it came to the development of his pets. These were hungry hounds that were fed the rest of their litter. They devoured the dead and the living alike until they were the only 2 that remained.The result was a breed of survivors that was fast ,  cunning and tenacious. She was sure that if the hounds could catch her that there would be more development for this breed.

     The Sweeper thought back about the events that lead to this chase. A few weeks back an Elven Upstart from the Izzet League decided to join the Golgari. Her name was Aridsta and she quickly became the favorite of the Golgari Lichlord Jarad. With her creativity and innovativeness Aridsta quickly made all Golgari processess efficient. Her gift at Biomancy and Mana Manipulation were helping in all of the undercity dealings of the Swarm. She has become an integral part of the core and was growing in influence day by day that Jarad has left her in charge of minor Golgari tasks on a daily basis now.

  Her Brilliance wasn't really as surprising since she Apprenticed directly under the late Momir Vig and actually headed a project under the capricious dragon Niv Mizzet , it was said that she was highly prized that Niv Mizzet threw a fit when she decided to join the swarm.

   The reasons for her sudden change of heart is unknown but a lot speculate that she has several mana experiments that would not be completed without the aid of the Golgari mages. Many do no trust her in the guild but her knowledge and expertise are both welcome in improving almost aspects of the day to day workings of the Golgari and everyone had to play along to please their guild master.

   The Sweeper was among those who did not trust her and she now carries proof to the guild master Jarad that she has been secretly feeding information to the Dimir and Izzet about the upgrades and their weaknesses. It was a perfect set up for Aridsta who would reap all the profits.She was promised the position of Guild Master by not only one but 3 seperate guilds. These may just be individuals in the guilds and not the entire guilds themselves but she would let Jarad decide on what to do once she has given him all the information.

    The Sweeper was distracted from her thoughts by the sound of menacing growling. "These monsters are fast" , she thought. She believe that she has put enough distance between them but the mutant dogs that hounded her were merely a few feet away. She wanted to try another tactic but it would take time. The best would be to deal with them now rather than worry about them later. She used to be an assasin under the employ of Vraska the Unseen and she believed in her. She was able to survive long in a profession that had a very short life span and that was a statement all in itself.

    The Sweeper unsheathed her blade and a howl instantly emanated from it. The Howler  , the fabled dagger that has ended the life of a 100 Planeswalkers. Their manas trapped within , ready for the sweeper to use it at will , of course the drawback is that using much of the energy drains her life force as well , she knew eventually that her own dagger would pull her in and it would find a new master. The Sweeper did not care about that particular fact just about now. All she knew was that without this knowledge , the Swarm would cease to exist in the next couple of moon cycles. She looked at the oncoming behemoths , their mouths drooling with saliva that she knew carried enough toxins to down several grown Dromods.  She held the hilt of her dagger with her left hand and placed the blade evenly on the palm of her right hand. 

"The motion should be swift and unyielding" , she remembered Vraska shouting at her. "Swift and Unyielding."

    She could her the growls drawing near , the stench of their breath almost overpowering. The 2 hounds pounced at once , sensing that their prey would not be able to deal with such an attack. Then there was a blur of movement , the dagger swung toward the two monsters , swirling colors clinged to the daggers wake. The blade didn't even touch them but the void that it created sucked the monsters in. Without a sound , 2 more lives were added to the mana of the Howler and with it a small of amount of its wielders life force. The Sweeper staggered to the ground on one knee. Her head reeling with the sudden weakness. "I must go on" she whispered to herself and within a heartbeat was gone again.

    A short distance away , a tree opened one malevolent eye and recorded all that took place. "Mistress Aridsta" it began its report telepathically. "The Sweeper lives and continues her journey to Jarad , shall we send in more Hunters to track her down."

     There was a long pause. "No" the slick voice answered. "Let her go for now , she plays a very important part in the downfall of the Swarm , she hasn't noticed it yet but when she does it will all be over. Retrieve any material you can from the latest hunters and continue observing from a distance."

     The tree moved to obey and monitored the struggle that The Sweeper would go through to reach her goal.