Monday, January 27, 2014

Iron Will-Chapter 4

The next part of one of my books. I would appreciate any and all feedback so if you have a question or correction, please comment! Other chapters can be found in the category 'Stories' on my sidebar. Thanks!


 Jakin turned and proceeded silently out of the camp to the summit of the sloping hills that lay before the army. He hoped that the night-watch set over the army would retire by three o’clock so that the army’s preparation for battle would not be observed. Once upon the summit he ducked down just out of sight on the other side and began to run back to his own camp. He arrived at Garfield’s tent one minute late. He entered quickly and saluted. The captain looked up. “Report.”
            “The rebels have made camp for the night.”
“Good.”
            “It is fortunate we did not enter the valley. They had prepared an ambush, but were disappointed when we did not make any appearance. As far as I know their general assumes we are making camp.”
            “How do you know that?”
“He said so," replied Jakin.
           Garfield raised and eyebrow, but said nothing about it. “Excellent.”
“Not entirely. They have set a watch on us. We will not be able to move till after dark.”
            “It will be hard to get your men into position in time.”
“We’ll get there. On time.”
            The captain frowned doubtfully. “You had better.”
Jakin did not reply.
            “Do you still desire to go through with your plan?”
“I do. But,” he added quietly, “I will not be blamed if it fails. Also I request that this operation originate from my strategy, but your command.”
            The captain eyed him suspiciously for a moment. “Very well, take your men. If it fails, I will bear the blame.”
            A light sprang into Jakin’s eye and he said quickly, “Then draw up your troops; heavy cavalry in the middle, heavy infantry on both sides and light infantry to surround the enemy by ascending the ridges. Archery would be useful."
            The captain was amused by Jakin’s fire and his harsh commands, commands which he expected to be obeyed instantaneously as soon as the captain had given him the authority and taken the blame. Jakin forbade the horn from being used but instead ordered the word to be spread throughout the camp from mouth to mouth. The heavy infantry formed two wings on either side of the cavalry and the light infantry filed past with their commander, David Harrison, to receive their orders. Jakin surveyed David as he approached. He was a tall commander, still very young. His black hair was half-covered by his tri-corn hat lined with a silver edging to show he was a commander. His clothes consisted of white trousers and a white shirt covered in a blue vest. His face was stern in battle but he was known to be light-hearted when not surrounded by the sounds of war. A mustache was beginning to darken his upper lip but he was still practically a boy. Probably a relative of the king, thought Jakin.
            Indeed, he was not too far off. The boy was the son of William Harrison, the king’s chancellor.
Garfield began giving him his orders but then paused and turned to Jakin, “You command the light infantry with David. David, you can get your orders from him.”
            Just then Lucas filed past with the light infantry and Jakin thought for a moment before he ordered sharply, “There is a soldier here by the name of Private Lucas. Send him to me at once.”
            David’s face portrayed shock, but at a glance from Garfield, his uncle, he left and called Lucas.
Lucas came up, saluted and faced Jakin with a nervous look. “This man will co-command with us. Bring him and Captain David a horse.”
            Horses were brought and the two mounted, but Jakin remained on the ground speaking to Garfield.
           “It’s almost nightfall. I will lead the infantry around the ridge until they meet at the eastern side. We’ll be in position by three o’clock. That gives you time to give the soldiers a brief rest before the charge. You must be awake and in position by three thirty, for I’ll give the signal at three forty-five. Heavy cavalry charges, infantry follows and light cavalry patrols to make sure none escape. If we have complications and do not light a fire by four o’clock, then you must wait. Do not charge until you see two signal fires. The first means we’re in position, the second the order to charge. No doubt the rebels will see the first signal fire and try to escape by the front route. If they do then when the second fire is lit you will go forward to charge them. Understood?”
            “Yes sir.” said the captain with a smile on his face.
Jakin held the man’s bridle and said sternly, “Lives are at stake, Brigadier General Garfield. If you do not carry out my orders correctly then you might very well be tried for neglecting your responsibility. This is not some game that you and I are playing, no careless shift of authority or responsibility. My plan is sound and I trust it will work but only if you and your men obey to a turn all my orders.”
            Jakin turned and walked to the front of the heavy cavalry. He raised his voice and it rang out over the troops like a roll of thunder, commanding their attention and respect. “Soldiers and troops, Garfield has given me temporary authority over martial operations. The attack you are about to undertake will be easy but the trail through the canyon will not be one very well suitable for your horses. Therefore take care not to proceed too quickly or to separate from each other till it becomes necessary. No infantry can withstand your charge. You are invincible and victory is assured if you carry out your duties with proper attention and dexterity. There is no need to separate till their ranks are broken and they begin to run. At which point you will dismount and cut them down or take them prisoner. When you are in, the light cavalry will close up the entrance to the canyon. Any man found despoiling the rebel troops will be shot immediately. Micah Parson!”
            Parson stepped out of the light infantry and took the sword Jakin threw him. “You will join the second company of infantry.”
            Now, before we go any farther, we must clarify that one group of infantry was no lighter armed than the other, and neither were the cavalry groups. Jakin was speaking in a rather outdated fashion and what was understood was that the first company of cavalry would charge while the second remained behind to close the gap. After this instruction, Jakin gave the order for the cavalry and the heavy infantry to set up a temporary camp. This was carried out and Jakin retired some distance from the camp. Lucas was shocked at the authority Jakin spoke with and followed him to get the rest of the story. Jakin told it briefly and Lucas said teasingly, “You were a minute late. What happened? And I thought you would never take a commission.”
            “Did I?”
“No, but you took the responsibility which comes with one and that is the thing which you said you could never take.”
            Jakin nodded, “I did, but in this operation the situation is a little different. I freed myself of all responsibility. The idea originates with me but the operation was carried out by Garfield’s orders. Although I lead the party, my orders to them come straight from Garfield.”
            “What if something goes wrong and you have to order them to take measures that may be fatal?”
“Nothing will go wrong under my command,” said Jakin quietly.
            At this moment they were joined by David who stood rather awkwardly off to one side playing with the tassel on the shoulder of his officer’s uniform. In his mind he battled the longing to join and the reluctance to shove himself into a conversation between the man who was suddenly his captain and his friend.
            Lucas noticed his uncomfortable appearance and called, “Captain David!”
David turned and came over, “Yes?”
            His very words and bearing communicated the greatest humility and Lucas felt great respect and amiability towards him. “Do you want something?”
            David cast a nervous glance at Jakin and replied, “I wanted to ask the new captain when we were marching and what his plans were.”
            Jakin looked up. “We march at ten. Our campaign will last all night and part of the morning. You should get some sleep.”
Lucas realized that the young man desired to be with them and said, “Perhaps you’re not tired.”
            “Not at the moment," he said nervously. "What are your names, if I may ask?"
"Windsor and Lucas," said Lucas.
           "I am pleased to make your acquaintance," said David. 
Lucas inquired after the captain's family and reason for joining the army.
           The captain became slightly embarrassed at this question and shrugged. "My father is Chancellor. I owe my rank to is influence."
           Lucas returned the shrug. "It does not matter if the rank was given to you, it is what you do with it that matters.
      Jakin nodded. "Power in itself is not what corrupts, although some people think otherwise. It is what one does with it. Too many examples of corruption have been set for the people."
            David nodded and said quickly, “I have seen that for many years and it made me reluctant to take the position I have, but if nobody worthy comes to power then evil will always rule.”   
            “Precisely,” said Lucas, with a meaningful glance at Jakin. “Excellent point.”
David was encouraged by Lucas’ approval. “As Captain Jakin said, the power has been corrupted into a desire to rule which has destroyed much of our government. In my opinion, which I do not assume to be right, I think that governments and kings should be servants to the people. Isn’t that what their position should demand of them?”
            Lucas smiled to himself as Jakin immediately said, “Of course. They should consider their position an honor. This has been destroyed by ‘right of blood succession’ and hereditary kingdoms which entitle one to glory. One must work to attain glory and fame. Governing a nation for me would be a burden not a joy.”
            “If it was governed correctly.”
“Right. I assumed you knew what I meant.”
            David had broken down Jakin’s first wall: Silence. He had yet to break down Jakin’s numerous other walls though, and some of them would never be completely broken down. It was given to Lucas alone the ability to break down all Jakin’s walls.
        Lucas was overjoyed to find someone less gruff and stern than Jakin and the two were able to talk for hours on nearly every topic. Even Jakin was able to discuss certain things with them. It was only when they reached the topic of the military that Jakin was thrust outside. His beliefs were too extreme for David and Lucas. Their conversation had proceeded along its course until David happened to mention along the side of another argument, that military exploits were glorious. This was unacceptable to Jakin and Lucas smiled inwardly as Jakin argued coolly,
            “Any exploit which involves the killing of thousands of men and boys and the widowing of countless women and the orphaning of thousands of children cannot be glorious, Mr. Harrison. There are very few military exploits which are done for righteous causes or merciful justice and they have not visited these lands since this country was called Glasgow. True honor has deserted our ranks."
           "Yet you are in them?' asked David. 
“I was a draft.” replied Jakin sharply.

Monday, January 13, 2014

The Cave

video
Hi everyone, I hope you have all had a fantastic Christmas and a wonderful beginning to your new year! I haven't done any guitar tutorials in awhile, but the other day I recorded myself playing the beginning of 'The Cave' by Mumford and Sons and decided to post it here. It's a rather interesting song to play, because it is in the Open D tuning, one I don't often play in but nonetheless easy to get to. If you like this song, I would be happy to make a how-to video for you to learn how to play it. More videos coming soon!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

LotR Traditions

Since I made a post of pictures about The Desolation of Smaug, I felt I should definitely make one about the Lord of the Rings trilogy. In my personal opinion, The Hobbit was great, but it does not hold a candle to LotR. Lord of the Rings was made with very little computer graphics and all of its battle scenes were actually filmed with hundreds of extras. That explains the credits, which are a mile long and take many beautiful songs to get through. Of course, Into the West performed by Annie Lennox is my favorite of those. I grew up hearing that song played long before I ever read the books or saw the movies and have loved it all the more for seeing them. The deeper meanings behind LotR are the real reasons for my preferring it. It reminds us of our journey, and our goal in life. Like Frodo, we bear a burden we must constantly fight off lest it master us. Like the others, we must fight evil wherever it is encountered and give of ourselves in the struggle to defeat it. "The world is changing, much that once was is lost, for none now live who remember it."

Our family had realized the beauty of Lord of the Rings, and have made a tradition of watching it eveyr New Year's Eve, all of them. We generally start around 2:00 PM and finish around 2:30 AM. This year was my younger brother's first LotR marathon, my family's eighth, and my fourth. I enjoyed it as much as I have every time and went away feeling the importance of its meaning very strongly. Other people may shoot off fireworks and get together on New Year's Eve, but so long as I have a copy of Lord of the Rings and something to watch it on (be it phone, tablet, laptop or TV,) I will be watching it. Extended edition, preferably. :)  Enjoy the pictures! No spoilers concerning plotline or storyline included, but if you're a LotR fan like me, then each one will hold meaning for you.
And of course, a bunch of Legolas pictures, my second favorite character, after Frodo. I think he looks just a bit better than he did in The Hobbit. (It's a wonder what ten years can do to a fellow :) ) Until next time!