Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Songcutter: Untouchable

The five men laughed as they ran their fingers through the sacks of gold and jewels. The heist was easy as few guarded the temple they ransacked. They took the wealth of a people meant to support their needs. Greed cares little for the needs of others. They escaped in a small craft fit for short distant flights and settled in a field of high grasses to count out their winnings. No one heard the sixth man approach.

"You've picked a poor spot to count out your ill gotten gains." All five men leaped to their feet with hands on knives and swords. "And in broad daylight for that matter."

"Well look at you with your shiny gold half armor and fancy hairdo." A man with a raspy voice who spat at as he talked said. "What are you supposed to be?"

"I'm the guardian of a village near here. I know what you men have done. You can't keep it."

"And what are you going to do about it?" A gruff voice this time from the largest of the men.

"Hey, look at his eyes!" The third voice was youthful and energetic. "They're whited over. He's blind!"

All five of the men laughed.

"So you haven't heard of me. Very interesting. Let's have some fun then."

"Oh we'll have fun! We'll carve you up, blind man!" The gruff voice said.

"Certainly, if you can touch me. That's all you have to do; touch me and I'll let you go. Who's first?"

"I'll do better than touch you!" The youthful voice was followed by a light whistle on the air. The man called Songcutter, calmly tilted his head to one side and the dagger flew harmlessly past.

"I hope that wasn't expensive." Songcutter chuckled.

The younger man gave a growl of anger as he charged forward. Every footfall thudded noisily and even the air rushing over his body could be heard by Songcutter. The village guardian leaned back, effortlessly avoiding a punch and then angled his body to avoid several more. Songcutter whipped a hand up under the young man's chin, clacking his teeth together and snapping his head back. Two more strikes rendered the attacker unconscious and Songcutter smiled.

"He was clumsy. Who's next?"

He could hear the dagger leave its sheath as the raspy sounding man charged in, aiming low to gut him. Songcutter evaded with a turn of his body. Several wild swings caused the dagger to sing on the air, but  no hits found their mark.

"Stand still!"

"That would be stupid." Songcutter caught the knife hand and bones cracked in the wrist and elbow from a hard twist. A palm strike to the face sent the raspy man to the ground.

"Get him!" The gruff voice called and two sets of feet sprang into motion. Two blades came out of sheaths.

From the sounds, Songcutter could even tell how long each blade was. From their movements, he could tell how tall they were. Worse yet for them, his mystical senses told him of every move and angle. Songcutter moved gracefully between their attacks as they moved in from either side of him. Before they realized it, he directed their hands toward each other and both men could only stand and cry out. They had each stabbed the other man deep into the forearm of the sword hand, crippling each other. Songcutter jumped into the air and landed a powerful kick with one leg to each man's head. They both groaned on the ground.

"Who are you!" The gruff voice yelled. A long sword could be heard coming out of its scabbard.

"I am Songcutter, the bard and guardian." He drew his own sword, made with several holes through the blade. "This is  my instrument."

Songcutter whipped his blade through the air with martial skill and flare. A sound erupted toward the big man that shattered his blade and dropped him to his knees, holding his bleeding ears. Songcutter stopped and sheathed his sword. At the snap of his fingers, several villagers came out of the high grass with ropes to bind the criminal men.

"It always amazes me how your kind try to fight. You'd think it obvious after I beat your first man. Oh well. Maybe next time you'll remember."

The villagers gathered the treasury from the temple and Songcutter returned it that very day.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Gator: No Littering

Joey G. crumpled the beer can and tossed it in the water off the side of the small boat. Marco watched it bob on the water with slight disdain. He knew he shouldn't have come along on this trip. Joey and Rich were friends but also idiots. How did he always let himself get talked into these things? Marco promised himself he would grow a backbone someday.

"Do we really have to toss them in the water?" Marco asked, knowing what the response would be.

"What's the matter, Marco? What do you care about some swamp?" Joey threw his head back for another long swig out of a beer can. He stole the alcohol from his father and they took the boat without permission. He thought this was the best place for underage drinking and smoking. "Besides, if I take the cans back with me, my old man will find out."

"You're a wet blanket, Marco." Rich said as he opened a can. "You aren't even drinking with us."

"I'll stick with my soda. At least one of us can be sober enough to find our way out of here."

"Well, we're going to sleep it off are your place when we do." Joey said.

"Why my place?"

"Because your mom is out of town, stupid. I can't go to my house stinking of beer can I?"

Marco didn't answer. Joey was a bully among other things. It wasn't a good idea to make him mad.

"Oh look! There's an alligator in the reeds! Wow, he's huge!" Rich said.

"He probably doesn't like us littering in his swamp." Marco mumbled.

"So what?" Joey crumpled his second can and threw it. It bounced off the alligator's nose with a light metallic sound. The creature narrowed its eyes, but that went unnoticed. "What do you think of that?"

The hulking form that rose from that water was beyond any alligator the boys had ever seen. It rose an easy ten feet above them all to its full 14 foot height. Water cascaded from its body in loud splashing. Only the growing growl was louder. It had arms and legs like tree trunks, rippling with powerful muscle. A long powerful tail erupted form the water and waved back and forth behind it. From its back were high armored plates like those of a long extinct dinosaur; the stegosaurus. The broad head could swallow a groan man's torso whole and it opened to prove its size. The growl ended with a sharp inhale of air before the blasting roar pressed the boys flat into the boat and blew all their hair back.

As Gator roared in their faces, the boys screamed like death was imminent and wet marks appeared on all their shorts. As the echoing thunder subsided and the great mouth closed, Gator turned his attention to the tiny bobbing aluminum can. He scooped it up, engulfing it his giant clawed hand. With a light thrust he bounced the can off Joey's head. All three boys already shook in terror. They flinched and screamed. When they stopped screaming, Gator pointed at the other floating can.

"PICK.... UP....."

Joey looked at the can and back at Gator. "Oh.. uh...yeah. Pick up.... sure. Pick up." Joey grabbed at the can and clumsily bounced it back and forth in his hands as he tried to grab it. It landed in the bottom of the boat.

Gator reached into the boat and picked up the 12 pack box of unopened beer. He crushed it in his fist and sprayed them all with the contents before dropping the fizzing package back in the boat. Then he gripped the boat, turned it around, and gave it a small push.

"HOME."

Joey grabbed for the paddles. "Give the me the paddles, man!"

"HOOOOOOME!" Gator roared and the bellow of his voice pushed the boat. The three boys screamed some more. Rich and Marco splashed at the water to make the boat go faster.

As Gator watched, the three boys didn't stop screaming until well out of sight. He sank back into the murky waters, satisfied that these three troublemakers wouldn't be back.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Character Spotlight: Durgan of the Iron Hand

When Durgan the Minotaur got ticked off at an army of warrior demons, he didn't stop fighting until all of them were dead. That took him more than a few days to accomplish but it earned him the status of legend in cosmic eyes.

Brahmakar, the god of Minotaurs declared Durgan of the Iron hand to be a legend and blessed him. No single source of damage may harm him twice in 24 hours. So, if you want to throw down with that Minotaur, you better have a lot of weapons or hit hard enough to shatter mountains. Durgan doesn't go down easily at all.

Durgan stands over 8 feet all covered in rippling muscle. His horns have pierced the armor of tanks and never broken. He can toss 40-50 tons with ease.

His metal hand is magically indestructible and breaks about anything it hits. How he lost that hand is an unknown story as of yet. Maybe he'll tell it in Chessmen 2 (in writing stage now).

Durgan travels with another legend, a Faerie named Lorelei. The two are the best of friends. Sometimes it seems like she serves as his conscience or adviser, but she likes to just bug him a lot of the time.

Durgan knows little in the way of fear or restraint and is low on patience. It's best to be short and direct about what you want with him. Boring him is never a good idea. As a hero, Durgan hard to figure out. It seems more like he reacts to his own rage over what the bad guys happen to be doing, but Lorelei helps him a lot with that. Lorelei longs for the days they were known adventurers. Those days slowed and stopped because Durgan didn't feel challenged anymore.

In Chessmen 2, he and Lorelei will be joining the fight to help the Chessmen.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Character Spotlight: Halley of the Chessmen

Halley, remarkably, is the only human member of the Chessmen, but it's possible that he doesn't know this. Halley was an infant when abducted from Earth and raised by alien scientists for study. He escaped at age 18 and found himself travelling the universe. He joined a tribe of nomads that were mystified by his name. They revered him and took him on a journey to a sacred mountain to show him why. That was where he found and obtained the Halley's Comet Shield.

Halley can fly through space with the aid of the shield and smash through targets with super battering ram ability. The shield is gold with a multi-colored stone in the center. It is indestructible and can block powerful attacks. It's even block the shot of an aircraft cannon without knocking Halley backwards. It's another handy power of the shield that allows him to hold his ground when it's in front of  him. The shield also absorbs energy and stores it up for a giant powerful blast that clears enemies fast. His shield still has powers he has not discovered.

Halley is slightly hot tempered when pushed and is sometimes too ready to fight. He's partnered with Viro and they are the best of friends. Halley is proud to be a member of the Chessmen and nothing angers him more than threatening the princess or his friends. Halley is impatient to take back the home of the Chessmen and return the princess to her rightful place.

On most days, Halley has a bright and positive outlook with a good sense of humor. He misses the luminescent grasses of home and flying over the Chyssian mountains. One day he will forge the path that takes them all home.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Character Spotlight: Messiah!

"Faith is to believe what you do not see. The reward of this is to see what you believe." -St. Augustine

Messiah of the Chessmen is not a man with a complex, though he is a most complex man. Messiah is a hero with the power of Faith.

They say that faith can move mountains and Messiah brings this idea into beautiful action. The power of faith allows Messiah to ignore the most devastating attacks while simultaneously protecting others from the same. He's denied explosions, halted missiles in flight and even struck down a starship with a simple gesture. He has healed terrible wounds and enhanced the super powers of his friends. With the power of faith, Messiah fears nothing and practically never loses his composure. He has great strength, resistance to poison or disease, and can exist in the vacuum of space. He can fly.

He can seem stoic and proud, but his pride is not what it appears. He would tell you that his composure is simply where his faith has led him. He knows what he knows and the universe is very matter of fact to him. His is a power that cannot be copied by his teammate, Major Xeroh and cannot be blocked either. But what kind of faith is this? What does he have faith in exactly?

I will say that God does exist in Galaxy Zento. Having said that, Messiah will tell you that you are not ready to know the universe like he does. His faith is in things beyond the capability of the mind of the common life form. This doesn't mean he looks down on anyone, it's just what he knows. No one knows how he came to possess such power, but it's unquestionable in effect. Messiah's teammates simply accept it. 

Messiah is devoted to a stance against all that is evil. His power does not or has lesser effect on holy artifacts and they are his weakness. Still, Messiah is a powerful combatant with exceptional martial arts skills. It's with his powers and those of his team that the infant princess will eventually return to her throne. 

Monday, June 30, 2014

Character Spotlight: Major Xeroh

Major Bjonn Xeroh (Zero) is is from the planet Ruwano, just like Viro. He's loud, boisterous and over confident. In equality to those traits, he's also a major dork. Fortunately for the good Major, he has great power to back it all up. Viro thinks he's a blowhard, but it's unknown if Viro knows they come from the same planet.

The Major left his planet to escape constant misuse of his powers. He didn't want to be part of Ruwano's violent military force or experiments. He wanted a more noble purpose and found it on Chyssia. People weren't sure what to make of the man who never shows his face, but his cheerful attitude won them over. As for never showing his face, the Major is a military deserter on Ruwano and wanted for trial. That's something, even his closest friends don't know about him. Now he's devoted to the Chessmen and woe to anyone who would harm their child princess.

Major Xeroh's power is the source of his awesome confidence. You'd be confident too if you were a cumulative mimic like him. What does that mean? Not only can he use all the powers of his friends, except Messiah; but he can use the cumulative strength, speed and reflexes of everyone within 50 or so yards of him. What does that mean exactly?

Take ten men who can all bench press 300 pounds. Put the Major near them and he can instantly bench press 3000 pounds. If all those men can run 20 mph, the Major can run 200. You literally add the specifics of all those men together, but there's more. When Major Xeroh mimics abilities, he also enhances them by about 25% so he's even faster, stronger, and more agile than before. He can also control what powers he uses, and never uses a power that would change his shape. The more people you send at him, the more powerful he becomes.  So how do you beat a guy like that?

Major Xeroh cannot mimic academics. Magic users have a distinct edge against him and heavy weaponry can hurt too (unless he's already too powerful). The trick is not to mob him at all. One attacker with the right weaponry or knowledge in combat could outfight or outwit the Major. He has his own strength and agility that is residual of using his powers for years and allows him to fly in space, but that's considerably less than it could be if a whole force attacks him.

Major Xeroh revels in being a hero and doesn't mind letting everyone know that fact. The last thing that makes others around him curious is the eye lens. It's actually a scanner that shows him people,s powers and lets him see where people are who might be hiding in the bushes.

While his loud attitude may be annoying, he's possibly one of the most powerful of the Chessmen and a great ally.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Artist Spotlight: Gray Taylor

From life as a Jurassic Park Ranger to avid Godzilla fan; today we take a closer look at GZ artist, Gray Taylor.

Gray recently joined up to do artwork for GZ and he dove in head first, getting to know the characters and giving them some cool intricate looks. Some of what you see here are just beginning sketches, as he would say, but they speak volumes.

Gray is 21 and a student of Louisiana Tech where he is studying Communication (Graphic) Design. He is the son of multi-talented artist and actress Geri Givens-Taylor. (<LINK!) He's been drawing as long as he can remember. He's a geek fan after our own hearts with a love for Doctor Who, Godzilla, and superheroes. Not sure if it gets much better than that.

Sure it does.

Gray has a mind for design perks, or bells and whistles as he calls them. In the pictures you can see where he's added some serious coolness in design of characters. As we go, there will be a more distinguished look for the GZ universe. Here, check out Maestro and Maniac. (Gray's work is on the left)



I love the speaker grill in Gray's rendition of Maniac and the grin is way evil on Maestro.

Falconer and Sersi from Chessmen. He has them looking positively stoic.

Finally, King Falcon himself with awesome design technique on the bracers. I wish I had done them that way myself.

So, suffice to say, Gray is here to stay (unless he's kidnapped by ninja turtles) and we are glad to present this work. Be sure to stay tuned to Google+ postings and the Facebook page where there is an album for his art.

Stay true, heroes!