Author has written 5 stories for Greek Mythology, Okami, Kung Fu Panda, and Monsters Inc..
If you haven't already seen it, here's a link to Leoandlamb's fan-made Lord Shen documentary: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0uhdSqXx1ls
This documentary largely inspired me to write A New Warrior.
Updates: I have hit a bit of a road block with Mon Loup and won't be updating until I have made quite a bit of progress with the plot. I may update the current chapters accordingly.
Random story I wrote after studying the ancient kingdoms of Africa in school:
Journal entry 1:
A few days ago, I arrived in Mogadishu, after a long period of travel from my birthplace, Alexandria. I travel with my brother, Alban. He is a trader and with us, he brings many rolls of tightly-bound Egyptian cotton, died blue, and fine blue silks that originated in China. He seeks ivory, coconut oil, and gold. I don’t understand why he feels he must travel here; down in the less civilized reaches of Africa, when I would have much preferred the great beating heart of the Roman Empire, Rome itself, of which I’ve heard wonders beyond my greatest imaginings. If only it had been my privilege to decide. But Alban says that the people here consider the color blue sacred, that they will pay untold riches to obtain it. I can’t say I blame him for wanting the best price he can possibly get, not after all the work he put in to get his hands on that embroidered Chinese silk.
Anyway, back to the present. Mogadishu. It’s a city dear to the Swahili people. In this city, I see a strong Eastern influence. When the first Arab seafarers set off in their strange, long, slender-hulled sailboats, this place must be where the trade winds blew them. Middle Eastern culture is everywhere, from minute details (such as the unusual spicy sting their food leaves on my tongue), to the outwardly obvious (the architecture- intricately carved mosques with little arches and roofs that curl toward the sky at their edges, like dying leaves). It is all a bit unsettling, but only because I am not used to it, my brother says. I should learn to enjoy new experiences, my brother says. Meanwhile, he is rolling in his earnings like a fat feline in catnip.
Last night, he told me that, though he was pleased with the ivory and thick animal skins his efforts have yielded here, he is not yet ready to return to Alexandria. What he really wants is that precious metal, gold. So he gave me a choice: either I can return to Alexandria with the ivory and animal skins, or I can accompany him even farther into Africa, and weather whatever may come our way. It was the way he worded it that really got to me; the way he made it clear that Alexandria was the coward’s way out. What could I say? How could I run home with my tail between my legs, while my older, stronger brother marched valiantly into the wild, savage heart of Africa? No. Tomorrow, we set off in a southwesterly direction, away from the safe coast, with few provisions and the remainder of our blue cloth in tow. God help us.
Journal entry 2:
Travel across Africa is hard and relentlessly wearing. I do not recommend it. We have only now just stopped to breathe and rest our heads in the kingdom of Mali, in a place called Jenne-Jeno. It is small, and not much to look at, but small is good, in my opinion. Small means peaceful in many instances; not many raiders or competing peoples.
When we first arrived, we were exhausted and delirious with our elation at finding civilization, finally! But now that I am rested and have my head about me, I hear talk (or whispers, rather) among the natives about a young man, their new leader who just recently rose up to claim his throne. His name is Sundiata Keita, and according to the locals, he is quite something. Apparently, his arms have the strength of ten (whether ten men, or ten arms, I didn’t ask), and he killed nine kings in order to ascend to the throne. Their skins were stretched and tanned like animal hide and today serve as seats in his chamber, and his footwear was too cut of human skin.
As impressive as these tales were, I really didn’t need the visuals. They unnerved me, and prompted me to urge Alban, who was having trouble finding someone who could meet his lofty demands for his merchandise anyway, that we leave with haste. In the morn, we will continue west, where a larger, more promising kingdom awaits not far from here.
Journal entry 3:
We’ve hit a snag in our journey. What am I saying, a snag? That implies that everything’s fine now, that I’m at this very moment sipping jasmine tea in a quaint African inn, recounting a miner mishap.
No, this is not a slight snag. Nor is it regrettable, unfortunate, or even terrible. This is a disastrous snag that we have hit, and it is all the fault of our dearest Alban, the person I was relying on to get us out of any mess we might fall into! Have I mentioned that my brother is an idiot? No, I suppose it just didn’t come up. Well, he’s smart when it comes to matters that traders are most often associated with; matters of navigation and sailing and haggling and such. For this I have learned to respect him and trust his instincts, but there were times, when we were younger that he would do the most moronic things.
He once pulled a drowning young coyote from the mud on the bank of the River Nile. The animal proceeded to thank my brother by nearly mauling him to death, as should be expected. It was a coyote, for God’s sake! I experienced a sort of flashback of that day, when I arrived back at the small hut we were currently staying in, fashioned from mud and reeds, deep within the territory of Ghana. I returned from a brief exploration of Ghana’s food and culture (most of which I found comparable to Mogadishu; very Easternized), expecting to find Alban, grinning from atop his small fortune in pure gold (for Ghana was ripe with the stuff). I was excited about the prospect of finally returning to Alexandria, now that Alban’s thirst was quenched.
But rather than a profit of gold, I found a woman and two young children, all looking sickly and less than well-fed, and all, judging by the darkness of their skin, were native to Africa (coming from both Egyptian and Roman parentage, Alban and I are of lighter complexion). Alban immediately jumped from his seat to explain, but he needed not. I knew what was going on. I could see Alban, ten years old again, smeared with equal parts river muck and blood. Once again, he had performed a selfless, righteous, stupid act at a great personal cost, accept this time, he was sacrificing something of mine as well. This woman and her children were slaves, and my brother had spent over half the gold we were relying on for food and transport home on their rescue.
I was angry, no question. Not only is it vital that the two of us look after ourselves above all else while in this harsh environment, but he could have consulted me, warned me at the least! In present company, however, I must curb my anger. They truly are pitiable. The woman speaks broken Latin, and we are able to speak broken Shona, and between the two languages, we conversed with minimal difficulty. The woman explained to my brother that her husband was killed in a raid by a group of Arabs. No matter where in the world you may live, it is well known that a wife without a husband, likewise a child without a father, is in dire straits. They became poor and vulnerable, and were to be sold to the Swahili Kingdom, and from there who knows where, when Alban happened upon them. She says she has family somewhere in south of here. At this point, I realized where this is going. I knew that once again, I had a choice. I could follow Alban on an insane quest to find a home for a family of freed slaves. Or I could flee, taking with me the remainder of the gold. There is probably just enough left to get me back to Alexandria in one piece. But I cannot flee. I have gone too far, followed my brother loyally for too long to turn back now. When the sun rises, we head south. All of us. Alban’s idiocy surely must be contagious.
Journal entry 4:
Weeks have gone by since my last entry, and my anger has faded. The slave woman isn’t so bad. Her name is Amara, and she is really rather good company, if a little somber. We have stumbled across another kingdom, The Kingdom of Kongo, and though Amara says she is quite sure this is not the right place, Alban insisted that I scout out the area thoroughly, looking for anyone with the surname Ambala, while he stays home and tends to the family. For the past week, I have done so. As I explored, I noted how fertile this place is, how much green there is, certainly more so than in Alexandria where, though we try our best to make it more esthetically pleasing, the land outside our man-made gardens remains bone-dry and desolate.
But here, one cannot swing a dead cat without hitting something green and leafy. And it seems the further south we travel, the greener the land becomes. And it’s so peaceful here. There is no evidence of violence or slavery, from what I can see. They certainly have no shortage of money, though. The Kongo is rich with mineral deposits. Gold sprouts from the ground like mushrooms, a seemingly endless supply. We had a few rolls of cotton left, so I took them with me yesterday and sold them in the market place for quite a pretty penny. We now have more than enough to transport both Alban and me back to Alexandria, when the time comes. Tomorrow, we travel southeast of here.
Journal entry 5:
It did not take long to reach the kingdom of Great Zimbabwe. Indeed, we could have gone in any direction (other than north, back the way we came from Ghana), and still crossed Zimbabwe’s borders, as massive as its expanse was. The instant she heard the distinct dialect of Zimbabwe’s people, Amara and her children became very excited, and I became even more excited, and Alban promptly smacked me in the back of the head to stop me attracting any attention to our small party.
It took three days and nights to find Amara’s family, but when we did find them, on a cattle farm by the Zambezi River- Oh, what a noise! What a racket they made! The man was bellowing, and their dogs started howling, and the children were crying and laughing at once, and Amara’s sister was sobbing and running and clinging to Amara like she would crumble into dust any moment. It was made apparent that word had been carried to them about the Arab raids and the death of Amara’s husband.
You would never know it by our first impression of them, but Amara’s sister and her family are actually very happy people. The past few days have been happy, too. Amara’s extended family fed us and gave us board, treated us like their own. Yesterday, I went sightseeing- can you imagine? Sightseeing in the savage heart of Africa! I saw things I could not dream of seeing at home, or in Rome, for that matter! The land is so vast and beautiful. I realize now that I do love being here, amid the majesty of it all, and I will miss it. No one, however, loves it more than my brother. Alban is in love with Zimbabwe, in love with its plants and animals and tumbling waterfalls, in love with its people, in love with one person in particular. When dawn breaks tomorrow morning, I shall set off for home, rich with coconut oil, animal skins, ivory, gold, and memories.
My dearest brother, I will miss you.