Friday, February 1, 2013

Blaik's Kingdom Chapter 4

Chapter 4: Help from a Mermaid

          As Blaik entered the forest, he checked his surroundings regularly. He made his way to Mer Lake, where he rested his tired feet in the cool water. Before he knew it, he saw Aimee’s webbed fingers brush the hair out of her face as she emerged from the water.

          “Aimee,” Blaik started. “I’ve had a crazy day.”

          “What happened?” Aimee asked concerned.

          “It all started last night as I was going back to the palace,” Blaik began, “when all of a sudden someone came from behind and drugged me with an Unc Leaf! I woke up the next morning to see an old friend, one I don’t get along with, and she was watching me sleep.”    

          “What!?” Aimee asked. “Are you ok? Who captured you? Who was it?”

          “I’m fine,” Blaik replied. “You don’t know the person who I woke up to. She’s a wicked queen on another planet. But that isn’t the worst part.”

          “There’s more?”

          “When I woke up,” Blaik said, his words getting faster, “I saw another old friend who I thought had died… but she was alive… and she was telling me all this crazy stuff.”

          Aimee looked concerned. She put her hand on Blaik’s leg. “You seem frazzled. I think you need to go home and get some rest.”

          “Aimee- no,” Blaik said. “I have to tell you what happened! Mikeez, she was saying crazy stuff like she and Syrain had formed some type of army, and they want to take over my kingdom!” Blaik

          Aimee paused. Hundreds of thoughts were running through her mind. Had her best friend gone mad? Had the death of his father and the betrayal of his sister culminated to a final breaking point? Had the realities of his life caused his mind to escape into a dark fantasy?

          “You must feel so overwhelmed,” said Aimee.

          “The worst part is, Syrain is going to try to get Nik to join them,” Blaik said.

          This last statement caught Aimee’s attention.

          “And he might actually join them!” Blaik continued. “Dann is still alive and they have him.”

          Aimee felt lost. She wondered what could be done to help her friend. She decided to play along. “Have you talked to Nik about all of this?”

          “No,” Blaik said. “I basically just asked him if he would choose Dann over our friendship. He said no, but I think he might.”

          Aimee looked Blaik directly in the eyes. “Do you want my advice?”

          “Of course!” Blaik said. “That is what I came here for. You always give me the best advice.”

          “I think you should talk to a Xlair that specializes in psychology,” Aimee replied.

          “What? Why would I need to do that?” Blaik asked. “How could a Xlair help me?”

          Aimee’s lack of a response made Blaik realize what she had implied.

          “You don’t believe me,” Blaik said. “Aimee, I’m telling you the truth.”

          Aimee hesitated before she spoke. “I’m just saying that this all seems a little outlandish. Syrain forming an army from the Dungeon? You know that communication with prisoners in the Endless Dungeon of Darkness is strictly impossible.”

          “I know this all sounds crazy,” Blaik said. “I don’t blame you for being concerned. But please, just trust me. Something bad is brewing.”

          Aimee took a deep breath. “Ok. I believe you.”

          Blaik smiled as he sighed from relief.

          “If what these people were saying is true, then we need to be prepared for war,” Aimee said.

          “Wait, who said anything about a war?” Blaik asked.

          “You said that Syrain was forming an army,” Aimee said. “Armies are used to fight.”

          “I don’t want to fight,” Blaik said.

          “Then you are going to lose everything,” Aimee replied.

          Blaik didn’t respond. He stared into the water, then closed his eyes.

          “I’m going to take you to a friend,” Aimee said. “She’s a skilled warrior. She lives in a river that is quite far from here. We need to swim there.”

          Blaik looked despondent.

          “Remember to hold my hand so you can breathe under the water,” Aimee warned.

          A merman popped his head out of the water. His wavy black hair fell to cover his forehead. His green eyes shouted confidence, but at the same time whispered with a soothing and kind calmness. Couple that with the rousing smile of his red and voluptuous lips, it was no wonder that this was the most sought after creature in the water.

          “Hey brother,” Aimee said.

          “Hello sister,” he replied. He bowed his head as he addressed Blaik. “Your Majesty.”
          “Hello Klarke,” Blaik replied.

          “Where are you going Klarke?” Aimee asked.

           “Mom is craving some cocoa berries, so she sent me out to get some,” Klarke said as he swam to the pebble filled land. As he made his way out of the water, his tail quickly turned into a pair of legs. He stood up and waved to Blaik and Aimee.

          Aimee waved back as she watched her brother walk into the forest. She then turned to Blaik. “Are you ready?”

          “I suppose so,” Blaik said.

          “Remember to hold my hand,” Aimee said.

          Blaik reached out to hold her hand. He longed to break through the webbed fingers and have their hands intertwine. However, he settled for the joining of palms. As soon as Blaik touched Aimee, a flame was lit in the pit of his stomach. He couldn’t hide the smile that was always ignited. He slowly fell into the lake.

          They swam for a long time until they arrived at a river and saw a stunning, brilliantly crafted underwater hut.

          “This is where she lives,” Aimee said.

          They swam to the entrance of the hut. Blaik couldn’t help but feel a strange familiarity. As the door to the hut opened, a memory crept into the forefront of Blaik’s mind. He knew who lived here.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Check Out Nick Pitera

Hello everybody!

I'm always on the lookout for new talent, and a few months ago I discovered somebody AMAZING on Youtube. He is a singer named Nick Pitera.

Nick Pitera is a 26 year old man based in the Bay Area of California. He works as an animator for Pixar Studios, however, I think his real talent is in his Youtube videos.

Since I am a mega-fan of Les Miserables, I was browsing Youtube one day for different versions of songs from the musical. I stumbled across a video entitled, "One Man Les Miserables Nick Pitera Medley."
 At first I thought it looked strange, but I decided to click on the clip. What I saw changed my life forever.

The video opens with the musical intro for "I Dreamed A Dream" and shows a total of nine Nick Pitera faces. The spotlight shines on the center row, far right Nick Pitera face with a caption saying "Fantine." Pitera begins singing the song, naturally altering his voice to sound like a female singer. And he does a fantastic job at it! After about a minute and a half of singing as Fantine, the music easily fades into "Who Am I?" where Pitera changes his voice to sound like Jean Valjean. It is incredible! Throughout the video, Pitera changes his voice to match the various characters in the musical such as Javert, Thenardier, Marius, Cosette, Eponine, and more. Check out the video by clicking on the link below!

Les Miserables Medley 

After watching that video a few times, I decided to check out some of his other work. I was pleased to discover that he had also done a Phantom of the Opera medley. In this video, there are only three versions of Pitera, all of whom are wearing black and white suits. Pitera plays the role of the Phantom, Raoul, and Christine. His vocal capabilities were incredibly showcased as he reached the intensely high notes of Christine. This is a must see video! But Pitera's talents don't stop there. He is also an amazing actor, which is showcased by his "One Man Disney Movie" video where he acts as a hero, heroine, sidekick, villain, and two extras for the chorus. He combines Disney songs from various movies- again in a smooth and natural style. The best part of the video is when Pitera, as the hero, sings "Go the Distance" from Hercules, then transitions to the heroine to sing "Reflection" from Mulan. Pitera then combines the two songs for an unforgettable crescendo. It takes real talent to be able to do a duet all by yourself and sound so beautiful.

Now at first, I didn't think that Pitera could alter his voice naturally. I figured he probably used some form of technology to do the altering. But I was proved wrong when I saw him perform on The Ellen Degeneres Show where he sang "A Whole New World" from Aladdin. He sang both Aladdin and Jasmine's parts, altering his voice live to match the characters. Check it out by clicking on the link below.

Nick Pitera Live on Ellen

If you like Nick Pitera as much as I do, fell free to check out his other videos on Youtube where he covers many songs. You can also buy his original single "Better Days" on iTunes. So what are you waiting for? Go buy it!


Blaik's Kingdom Chapter 3

Chapter 3: Nik’s Loyalty

          Blaik approached a cottage in the woods and knocked on the front door.

Lady Sanoj answered the door, shocked to see the King at her doorstep. She bowed. “How may I help you, Your Majesty?”

          “Good evening Lady Sanoj,” Blaik said. “Is Nik busy?”

          “No,” Lady Sanoj said, “but I was not expecting Your Majesty this evening, so please excuse my mess of a house.”

          “With all due respect Lady Sanoj,” Blaik said as he entered the cottage, “I’ve helped you clean this cottage before I was king, so I know what it looks like dirty.”

          “Of course Your Majesty,” Lady Sanoj said. She closed the door behind her. “Nik is in his room, but a Xlair is on the way to check on his legs.”

          “Ok,” Blaik said as he noticed a portrait of Dann. He walked closer to the portrait. He examined Dann’s fearless face. “Lady Sanoj?”

          “What is it Your Majesty?” she asked.

          Blaik turned around. “Does it get easier?”

          Lady Sanoj walked closer to Blaik. She gazed at her son’s portrait. “I think about Dann everyday,” Lady Sanoj replied. “I feel like he is still with us to this day.”

          Blaik put his hand on Lady Sanoj’s shoulder. He gave her a warm smile.

          Lad Sanoj quickly wiped a tear from her face. “Well, I better start cleaning my home! I can’t let the King be in such a sty. I would be the laughing stalk of the entire kingdom! Why don’t you go visit Nik now?”

“I think I’ll do that,” Blaik replied. He gave Lady Sanoj a hug.

“Thank you,” Lady Sanoj said. “You know, your father would be very proud of the King that you have become.”

Blaik smiled as he turned away and began walking down the hall. He approached Nik’s room and knocked on the door.

Nik was lying on his bed with both legs elevated by pillows. They were covered in Strength Leaves- medically enhanced leaves to speed up the healing process of injuries.

“Who is it?” Nik asked.

“Your one and only friend,” Blaik joked. “Can I come in?”

          “Hmm…. Let me think about that,” Nik teased. “You can come in under one condition: you owe me half the kingdom.”

          “Very funny,” Blaik said as he opened the door and entered the room.

          “Eh, I wouldn’t want half of your kingdom anyway. I would have to share it with you, a guy who won’t even visit his best friend with two broken legs!” Nik complained.

          Blaik sat on the edge of the bed. “Sorry about that.”

          “It’s fine,” Nik said. “I understand that you’re all busy now trying to run an entire kingdom and what not.” Nik laughed.

          “Yeah…” Blaik started. “It’s been kind of stressful lately.”

          “Why? What’s going on?” Nik asked concerned.

          Blaik hesitated. “Nothing. You wouldn’t really understand.”

          “Try me.”

          “I don’t really want to talk about it,” Blaik said. “I came here to escape all of that. I just want to hang out with my best friend.”

          “Fine,” Nick said. “Is there anything else on your mind?”

          “I was looking at that portrait of Dann in your living room,” Blaik said. “I’m sure you miss him a lot.”

          “Of course,” Nik said. “After all he is my brother. Just like if you were to die. I’d miss you so much.”

          Blaik stared intently at the floor. “You are a very special friend.

          Nik could sense that something was troubling Blaik. “Hey, I think I know something that could help cheer you up. Would you like to see the Xlair take off my Strength Leaves tonight?”

          “Absolutely!” Blaik said as his face lit up. “Are your legs healed yet?”

          “No,” Nik answered. “My Xlair just wants to check up on it. And probably give me another lecture about running blind folded.”

          “Why would you even run with a blind fold on in the first place?” Blaik asked.

          “Why not?” Nik asked. “My brother was a stunt man, remember? I learned a few things from him.”

          Blaik laughed as someone knocked on the door.

          “Who is it?” Nik asked.

          “Xlair Pern,” a woman replied.

          Blaik looked at Nik. “So, your Xlair is a woman huh?” Blaik smiled as his eyebrows went up and down.

          “No, it’s not like that at all,” Nik said. “Trust me. She’s a troll.”

          “Oh,” Blaik grinned.

          “Come in Xlair Pern,” Nik said.

          Xlair Pern, a short and stout troll with tan skin, entered the room. She quickly noticed Blaik sitting at the edge of the bed and immediately did obeisance to him. “Please forgive me Your Majesty, I did not notice you sitting there.”

          Blaik looked perplexed. “It’s really not necessary to bow,” he said. “I just wanted to see Nik’s leg.

          “Yes Your Majesty,” Xlair Pern said as she stood, but keeping her head down. She walked to the end of the bed where Nik’s legs were elevated. She placed her hands on his ankle. Her hands went up the leg little by little, applying more pressure as she went up. She then moved on to the next leg. After that exercise, she put on gloves and began to take off the Strength Leaves. Both of Nik’s legs were purple with tremendous swelling.

          “Is his leg supposed to be purple?” Blaik asked.

          “No it’s not. And it’s a good thing I checked on your leg,” Xlair Pern said. “Have you been elevating your legs?”

          “Yeah of course,” Nik said as he looked away.

          Xlair Pern gave him a warning look.

          “Ok, not all the time,” Nik said. “But it is just so boring being in bed all day.”

          “Well unfortunately you now need to have your legs elevated for two more weeks. In two weeks I will come back and check ion them again,” Xlair Pern said. She took out new Strength Leaves and began to wrap them on Nik’s leg.

          “Yes ma’am,” Nik said. “Thank you for the check up.”

          “You can thank me by resting up your legs,” she said as she began packing her supplies.

          “Don’t worry Xlair Pern,” Blaik said. “I’ll order Nik to elevate those legs.”

          “Oh will you now?” Nik asked as he shook his head.

          Xlair Pern smiled. “Goodbye Nik.” She bowed before Blaik. “Goodbye Your Majesty.” She kept her head bowed as she left the room.

          “So, Blaik, since I have to stay locked up here for two weeks,”
 Nik started, “what should we do? Got any good stories for me?”

          “You have no idea,” Blaik replied. “But, I can’t now.”

          “What? Why?” Nik asked.

          “Because I have to go,” Blaik said. “I’m so sorry!”

          “Are you joking?” Nik asked. “I am going to be so bored and lonely!”

          “I know, and I feel horrible about it,” Blaik said. “But I really need to go tell Aimee something.”

          “Aimee?” Nik asked. His face lit as he smiled and sat up straight.

          “Yes,” Blaik said. “She should be waking up soon. I really need to talk to her before she gets breakfast.”

          “Ok,” Nik said. “Make sure you tell her that I say ‘hi’. And tell her to come out of the water and visit me.”

          “Nik, Aimee never comes out of the water,” Blaik said.

          “Just tell her for me,” Nik said. “It’s the least you could do since you are deserting me.”

          “Fine,” Blaik said as he stood up from the bed. “You sure are getting dramatic these days.”

          Nik laughed. “Well hopefully I will see you later,” Nik said as he watched Blaik head for the door.

          “Ok,” Blaik said. “Goodbye!”

          “Bye,” Nik said in a somber tone. As he reached over his bed to get a book, he heard a knock on the door. He smiled. “Forget something?”

          The door creaked open. Nik was surprised to see that it wasn’t Blaik, but a woman.

          “Who are you?” Nik asked.

          She slowly walked into the room and over to Nik’s bed. “It’s nice to meet you Nik,” she said seductively.

          Nik furrowed his brows. “How do you know my name?”

          She smiled as she ignored the question. “My name is Mikeez. I’m an old friend of Blaik and Syrain.” She got closer to Nik’s face.

           Nik nervously gulped. “I don’t remember Blaik ever mentioning you.”

          Mikeez raised her left eyebrow. “Blaik hardly tells you anything. Does he?”

          “What do you mean?” Nik asked.

          “What was he going to talk to Aimee about?” Mikeez asked.

          “It was probably none of my business,” Nik replied.

          “Oh that’s funny,” Mikeez said. “Because I know what he was going to talk to her about. And it just so happens that you are the topic of discussion.” She bit her bottom lip.

          “What are you talking about?” Nik asked. “Blaik and Aimee are both really good friends of mine. They wouldn’t talk about me behind my back.”

          Mikeez stood up and left the bed. “Well if you don’t believe me,” she said as she headed for the door, “you can always ask Dann.”

          “W-wait,” Nik said. “Dann is dead.”

          Mikeez turned around. “Are you sure about that?”

          “Yes I’m sure,” Nik said. “I saw him die myself!”

          “I wouldn’t be so sure about that,” Mikeez said. “If I recall there were a lot of questions about Dann’s death. There were certain things that didn’t make a lot of sense.”

          “His heart stopped beating!” Nik exclaimed. “What else is there to it?”

          “What if I told you that if you join me, then you could see your brother again?” Mikeez asked.

          Nik paused. “Join you?”

          “Yes,” Mikeez said. “Come join me in Syrain’s army.”

          Nik looked baffled. “Whoa, wait. Syrain is stuck in The Endless Dungeon of Darkness.”

          Mikeez chuckled. “Not for long.”

          Nik was deep in thought. “H-how could I see Dann again?”

          “Syrain can communicate with Dann,” Mikeez said. “If you help me bring her out of the Dungeon, then she can help bring Dann back to the kingdom.”

          “Bring him back?” Nik asked. “What do you mean?”

          “Blaik knows Dann is still alive,” Mikeez said.

          “I doubt that,” Nik said.

          “Nik, Blaik is the ruler of this kingdom,” Mikeez said. “He knows all of the secrets. He knows that Dann is still alive. In fact… Blaik even knows where Dann has been all these years.”

          Nik looked down as he thought. He then looked directly into Mikeez’s eyes. “You are telling me the truth?”

          “Of course,” Mikeez said.

          Nik nodded. “How can I help bring my brother back?”

          “You can bring back your brother by becoming King of Kryo,” Mikeez said in an encouraging tone.

          “I-I couldn’t-” Nik said as Mikeez interrupted him.

          “The possibilities don’t end there,” Mikeez said. “As King, you could have anything you want! Like, for example, your mermaid friend.”

          Nik opened his mouth to respond, but stopped before any words could come out. He closed his mouth and took a deep breath through his nose.

          Mikeez stretched out her arm toward Nik. “Join us.”