Category Archives: Creative Writing

The Last Stand: Jim Kraven’s Diary #4

Círdan’s Note: Did you know that Grey Havens YA created its own roleplaying game called The Last Stand? In the game, our young adults (and leaders) get to play as any character they chose, some are original creations and others are personal takes on existing fictional characters. Our very own Jim Kraven (aka 145barbarian) is the group’s chronicler. He travels with his son Timmy as he journals about each gaming session to keeps us all up to speed. We’d like to share with you now the latest entry from Jim’s journal. Note that “limbo” refers to the times when we’ve stopped playing the game…our poor characters get stuck there a lot! 

When you support Grey Havens YA through our Saturday fundraiser at Menchies, you are helping us to continue to provide these young adults with the environment they need to be imaginative in community.  Be sure to read Jim’s latest diary before diving into this one, and check out the end of our post for the Menchies flyer and a FROYO Challenge. Enjoy!

Day 5

I wonder if anyone else here knows about Limbo. We’re all here, stuck frozen in place. Timmy is standing next to me. He looks like he’s about to cry. He can be such a baby some times. I should ask him why Limbo makes him cry. We all just gained these powers. Must be the GM’s (Game Masters) at work again.

Mango MemeWe’re all back now. Timmy’s crying. Calvin is here. He’s on a search for some quality content. Alas, he didn’t find anything. Everyone is doing their thing. We’re all still recovering from the Nightmare attack. Nova still isn’t back. He’s been gone a while. A small party is going out to go find supplies. And by a small party, the GM’s mean all of us. I threw Timmy up into a mango tree. He got some mangos! But he didn’t come back down. He can’t climb down, and I can’t climb up.

We can now read the book to summon the heavenly beings. We need to draw some symbols on the ground……I’m just gonna leave that to the rest of the group. Right now I have to get Timmy down. The two heavenly beings are here. But some rain and thunder followed. Shelter. We need shelter. There’s a cave. Somewhere. The rain is acid rain! We have to get to that cave! Good thing it isn’t far.

We all get there and Feather finds out the cave is incredibly deep. She also found a book tied to Bucky. Some sort of red book that alters Bucky’s mind. Bucky has the bunny though, so we aren’t going to read them yet. Bucky doesn’t want us to have the book. But we don’t want to destroy it. Feather is gonna hold onto it. It appears to be in Russian. Bucky sets down the bunny and goes after Feather’s backpack. Bucky’s aiming a sniper rifle at the backpack. Feather’s lute calms down Bucky. Duke Brilliance found bones rattling around deeper in the cave. The sounds are getting louder. They’re coming our way. They’re murderous. I grab Timmy and position him behind me. I tried to use my newly gained powers, but I still don’t have a handle on it. A couple of us are going to sneak around them. If we can get behind them, then we can have the advantage. I messed up. They noticed me and Feather. I left Timmy behind in the mango tree. He doesn’t need to be here during the fighting. Hopefully the tree protects him from the rain. I dodged it’s attack, then proceeded to hit it. There’s still all five skeletons. One of them lost an arm and a leg. One of the skeletons is dead. One of the skeletons hit Feather and dragged her back to the fight. She looks pretty bad.

We need to kill these skeletons. The skeletons are fighting back now. We can’t seem to kill them. Calvin’s sick roasts made the skeleton more powerful. Skeleton tears. Odd. They seem to heal them. I wonder if we can use that to heal ourselves. The skeletons hit Calvin back and he went down in one hit. He’s laying comatose in a lambo with a skeleton. I’m just watching right now. The skeletons are attacking everyone else. The demon fire flew over and hit us. There are only two skeletons left. The goddess of light is helping, but the dead skeletons are coming back to life. Bucky smashed the stone.

All the skeletons are dead now. Let’s see if our healer can be useful. The healer healed everyone. Calvin is out of his coma, but he isn’t looking good. A couple of us are pretty beat up. We’re gonna go deeper into the cave. At least, that’s what I thought. Everyone is freezing. Limbo is back. Timmy isn’t here still. I’ll write more tomorrow.

Send us an owl: What’s your favorite roleplaying game? 

And now for the promised FroYo Challenge! Visit Menchies in Longont this Saturday August 27th any time between 11am — 11pm and make a frozen yogurt sculpture! Tweet us or leave a comment in the Facebook announcement, and we’ll let the likes judge the winners! Make sure to present this printed flyer during your purchase so that Grey Havens can receive 20% of the proceeds. Thanks, everyone and enjoy! menchie's full pagejp

The Last Stand: Jim Kraven’s Diary #3

Círdan’s Note: And now we return to the mind of our very own Jim Kraven (aka 145barbarian) as he recounts our latest foray into The Last Stand, a roleplaying game invented by your young adults. When you support Grey Havens YA through Lucky’s Bags for Change this quarter, you are helping us to continue to provide these young adults with the environment they need to be imaginative in community.  Be sure to read Jim’s latest diary before diving into this one. If you want even more explanation, check out this video as one of our GMs (Game Master) catches us up on the story so far. Enjoy!

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Day 4
I can see the GMs now. That must mean we’re about to get out of limbo. Timmy is going to cry again. I can already tell. Every time we come out of limbo, he cries. Maybe he feels something we don’t while in limbo. I wish my wife was here. She always knew how to calm down Timmy when he cried. We’ll see her again someday. Hopefully.

*BAAAANG* I run to the window. Nothing in sight, but Timmy’s crying even louder so I know I’m not the only one who heard that explosion. Bucky’s back! He must’ve caused the explosion. The zombies are gone. We can finally go outside again!

“Come on Timmy,” I said, extending my hand to him. He grabs it, and I lead him to the door. There’s a new guy. Galahad is his name. Timmy and I stare up as a flash of light fills the sky.

“Daddy,” he says, “What is that?”

I stare down at him. “I don’t know.”

The light is getting closer. It crashed into a hill near the village. It’s binging now. The light is stuck in a crater.

There’s some sort of creature inside it. It wants out. Who would’ve known! It crashed into a strange place, and now it wants out of the wreckage. Bucky ripped the door off. Istar is the creature’s name.

Gunfire rings through the valley. It’s coming from our base!

The group is heading back. I’m still here with Timmy and Eadlyn. I think they forgot about us…

They’re coming back. Our healer actually did something useful for once! She healed Eadlyn’s broken legs.

Timmy is gonna go across the river on the gorilla’s corpse. I’m glad the gorilla is dead. Timmy didn’t like him very much. I’m gonna walk across. Timmy is floating slowly over to us.

We’re heading back to the base. This’ll be quite the walk. I can hear Timmy running to catch up to us.

Woah. I feel really tired all of a sudden. Unknown fell asleep. Everyone is starting to space out and sit down. Istar stays awake. People are starting to pass out. Something is forcing us all to sleep.

Timmy is out like a light. It’s the first time in years that he’s slept without me reading him a story.

I heard Duke Brilliance yell, “There’s something in here!” — then I fell asleep.

——————–S-L-E-E-P-I-N-G——————–

I see my wife. She’s holding Timmy in her arms. Am I dead? No. No, not dead. I must be dreaming. I remember getting back to the inn, then passing out. I just stand there and stare at her. She’s so good with him. Part of me wishes that she was the one here with Timmy, not me. I walk over to her and smile.

“Shhh,” she says, “Timmy is sleeping.” I sit down next to her. I miss her so much. I don’t know when I’ll wake up. Maybe I won’t. I’d be ok with that. Either way, I’m going to savor these moments for as long as possible.

“How have you been?” I ask her.

“I miss you both so much,” she utters through her tears, “I’ve been doing ok….lonely, but ok.” I lean down to give her a hug. As I lean out, I notice blood all over my hands.

“No…” I utter, “Not again!” She collapses as I get transported to some sort of waiting room.

—————————————————————————

Looking around here reminds me of the day when my wife and I found out that she was pregnant with Timmy. It was a great day.

Everyone is here in the room. Well, most everyone. Other than us, the room is empty. None of us know what is going on. All we know is that the Nightmare put everyone to sleep. Nightmare. I guess that’s what’s doing this. That probably explains the whole thing with my wife. People are starting to mingle and move around.

Timmy’s crying again. I pull out his story book and read him his favorite story. The same story that I’ve been reading for the past couple years. I don’t even need the book anymore. I know it by heart. I keep the book so that Timmy has something to look at. Something to distract him from all the violence and chaos going on around us.

Duke Brilliance just informed us that the Nightmare is watching over us, controlling us. The Nightmare can kill us. It doesn’t kill often, but it isn’t very comforting knowing that it can do so.

We know of a remedy to this sleepiness now. Garlic, vinegar, and mint can help counter getting pulled into this world. The walls are full of weak points. It appears that the only way to expose them is to get everyone into the dream world. Istar just summoned a puppy. It’s chasing the bunny around.

There’s a way to summon Siri, a goddess of light. They did it! She’s here! She’s confused. Pure light can be used to destroy the Nightmare. We’re all here now except for Nutmeg. Well. We’re all here. The Nightmare says that she’s lonely. She wants to play a game. Doorways start opening up for us. Three people for each door. A white light emits from each of the doors. I guess we’ll have to break up into groups now. The group is erupting in chatter. The games consist of a bunch of puzzles.

I tried to send Timmy through one of the doors. The door pulled me in too. One more person for our door. I hope we can get out of here.

——–S-L-E-E-P-I-N-G—D-R-E-A-M-S-C-A-P-E——–

A room just materialized around us. It’s me, Timmy, and Feather. She has the bunny with her. I hope our puzzle has nothing to do with dexterity. I’d assume by now that everyone is breaking off and going into their doors. The Nightmare is here. Must be giving Feather and I our puzzle. Here we go. Well that was easy. All we had to do was create three squares using some lines. Feather is gone. Now Timmy. The world goes black again.

——————–R-E-A-L-I-T-Y——————–

We’re awake again. Feather, Timmy, Bucky, Istar, Lunefasentia, and I are the only ones awake so far. Istar’s puppy came through to the dream world. The bunny’s back as well. Gell and (Nick’s Character) are awake now. Let’s see if anyone else can get out of the dreamworld. Duke Brilliance, Lisa, and Kaylen are awake. Bart and Malone are awake. There are still some people asleep. Ok. Everyone’s awake! The Nightmare left since we all played the games.

Here comes limbo. I’ll write more tomorrow.

Círdan’s Note: What an enchanting tale of a Nightmare who’s only wish was to not be alone. Thanks for a great recap, Jim! 
Send us an owl: What do you think of the story so far? Are you excited to see what happens to the company next time? I know I am!

The Last Stand (Jim Kraven’s Diary) #2

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Círdan’s Note: It has been quite a busy 2016 already for Grey Havens YA and Grey Havens Group, Inc. Make sure you’re following us on Facebook for the latest news and Phone the TARDIS if you’d like to be added to our email list. We have some exciting news to share with you this April, but for now we want to take a moment to showcase why we do what we do. One of the reasons Grey Havens YA exists is to help foster the creativity of young adults. Not only have they have blown us away with the invention of their own Roleplaying Game, the game itself has also helped to foster community and inclusion among the group, and it’s a blast to get to watch them work. Today, we get the chance again to peak into one of our member’s imaginations as he recounts the recent events of the game through his character’s diary. Jim Kraven (aka 145barbarian) serves as the group’s guard and carries his child around in his backpack. (Find his previous account here.) For this game, we split the party in two and switched back and forth for gameplay. Let’s take a brief glimpse into Jim’s mind and see what he’s thinking while in and out of this strange limbo…

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Sitting here staring at all these ropes for the last few months has been driving me insane. I say months, but I mean minutes. Feels like it though. Hopefully our GM (Game Master) lets us move soon. I wonder where Timmy is…

Oh goodie. Our overlords started with the base group. Now I’m stuck here in limbo for another couple minutes.

“My throats are at your necks,” the new person said. There you go everyone. That’s our overlord. Thank GM we have such a great person ruling over us!

It’s been twenty minutes. Still stuck in limbo. I can’t help but wonder where Timmy is. I hope he isn’t playing with the dead lion corpses. That would be gross. I might disown him if I find him doing that. That’ll show him.

All I can do is stare straight ahead, right into this mirror. At least my locket popped open. I miss my wife. Looting this place reminds me of when she and I went shopping for our new home. Oh…the good ol’ days. Now I’m here. She’s not. Timmy is though…somewhere.

Yes! Out of limbo!

Oooook. Weird noises outside. I don’t see anything from the windows. Well, nothing but fog…and a mob of zombies in the distance. A figure is running to the hardware store out of the fog. It’s Timmy! And…oh…good. He isn’t covered in blood. That’s good.

Gell went to the supermarket. I’m gonna stick around here at the store for a bit. It gives me a good view of the street incase I need to fire shots at the mob. I’m watching the supermarket with my sniper scope. The zombies are close. Dangerously close.

“Timmy,” I whisper, “Go hide behind the counter.” Timmy goes. Unknown is helping carry everyone up to the roof of the market. Good idea. Those zombies are getting really close. Apparently there is a  ladder inside. I’m gonna stay down here to watch the streets.

Timmy started crying. I got his storybook from him and started reading it to him. He stopped. “It’s ok Timmy,” I whisper, clutching him in my arms, “It’s ok.”

I un-barricaded the door to let Eadlyn in, barricading the door behind her. A loud horn just sounded out. The zombies are leaving! Timmy is gonna use his bone knife to fight off the remaining zombies…at least, he thinks he’s going to. I’m not going to let him.

Well, back into Limbo. I’ll try to write more tomorrow.

Círdan’s Note: No, Jim you can’t end it like that! I need to know what happened!! — Ahem. Excuse me. Well, hopefully we can find out next week as Grey Havens YA returns to gameplay in The Last Stand. P.S. Did you know that sometimes we want to roleplay at Grey Havens YA, but we forget to bring dice? When that happens, our members cleverly decide to use either rock-paper-scissors or a handy dice app to get the job done. We don’t let a silly thing like dice stop us! We hope you enjoy these forays into The Last Stand and all it’s zombie-goodness. 

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Send us an owl: If you were there, can you explain the parts of the story that Jim leaves out? Otherwise, what’s your favorite part about roleplaying games?

The Top 100 Beatles Songs

Círdan’s note: Here at Grey Havens YA, we are geeks and nerds about a lot of things; remember — it’s not about what you love it’s about how you love it. Some of our members are music nerds, and Spock0528 wanted to share his love of the Beatles with you. Check it out!

When it comes to music it simply doesn’t get any better than the Beatles. It’s pretty much a scientific fact by now that the Beatles are the most important musical inovators of the 20th century. Though they were together for only around a decade they changed the face of music forever. There simply is no excuse for not liking them since they have something for everyone. Their impressive catalogue of music stretched across 13 albums and a vast collection of singles is undeniably incredible and while they will always be known for big hits like “Let it Be” and “Hey Jude” it’s often in their more underrated songs that Beatles were at their most brillant.

Thats why I have decided to create a list of their top 100 songs. Before we start just know that this 100% my opinion based. This isn’t what professional music critics will tell you is their best it’s just my personal opinion. Also there are much more than 100 fantastic Beatles songs. While I was going into making the list I was surprised at how fast the spots on the list filled up and some of the songs I was planning to put on from the beginning had to be left aside.

So without further adieu here are the top 100 Beatles songs. I hope you find your favorites, rediscover some old classics, and perhaps even discover a few new Beatles tracks.

Song:                              Album:

100. Blue Jay Way-  Magical Mystery Tour

99. I’ll Follow The Sun-  Beatles For Sale

98. Sexy Sadie-  The White Album

97. Dig A Pony-  Let It Be

96. Honey Pie- The White Album

95. If I Fell- A Hard Day’s Night

94. Oh! Darling- Abbey Road

93. And I Love Her- A Hard Day’s Night

92. Don’t Let Me Down- Single

91. Martha My Dear- The White Album

90. I Me Mine- Let It Be

89. You’re Going To Lose That Girl-  Help!

88. Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da- The White Album

87. Please Please Me- Please Please Me

86. I Should Have Known Better- A Hard Day’s Night

85. Hello Goodbye-Magical Mystery Tour

84. I Want You (She’s So Heavy)- Abbey Road

83.  From Me To You- Single

82. One After 909- Let It Be

81. Yer Blues- The White Album

80. You Won’t See Me- Rubber Soul

79. Another Girl- Help!

78. The Ballad Of John And Yoko-Single

77. She Loves You-Single

76. I’ve Got A Feeling- Let It Be

75. Good Day Sunshine- Revolver

74. Magical Mystery Tour- Magical Mystery Tour

73. I Feel Fine- Single

72. Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band- Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band

71. Michelle- Rubber Soul

70. When I’m Sixty-Four Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band

69. With A Little Help From My Friends- Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band

68. She Said She Said- Revolver

67. Mother Natures Son- The White Album

66. The Night Before- Help!

65. We Can Work It Out- Single

64. Back In The USSR- The White Album

63. Girl- Rubber Soul

62. Hey Bulldog- Yellow Submarine

61. Lady Madonna- Single

60. All My Loving- With The Beatles

59. Think For Yourself- Rubber Soul

58. Got To Get You Into My Life- Revolver

57. Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite!- Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band

56. Can’t Buy Me Love- A Hard Day’s Night

55. I’m Looking Through You- Rubber Soul

54. Taxman- Revolver

53. Love Me Do- Please Please Me

52. Things We Said Today- A Hard Day’s Night

51. I’ve Just Seen A Face- Help!

50. Get Back- Let It Be

49. Dear Prudence- The White Album

48. Drive My Car- Rubber Soul

47. For No One- Revolver

46. The Long And Winding Road- Let It Be

45. Maxwell’s Silver Boat- Abbey Road

44. Blackbird- The White Album

43. Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds- Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band

42. Here, There And Everywhere- Revolver

41. Day Tripper- Single

40. Love You To- Revolver

39. Nowhere Man- Rubber Soul

38. You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away- Help!

37. Paperback Writer- Single

36. She’s Leaving Home- Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band

35. Come Together- Abbey Road

34. A Hard Day’s Night- A Hard Day’s Night

33. Something- Abbey Road

32. Let It Be- Let It Be

31. Help!- Help!

30. In My Life- Rubber Soul

29. Across The Universe- Let It Be

28. Penny Lane- Magical Mystery Tour

27. Lovely Rita- Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band

26. Revolution- Single

25. I Want To Hold Your Hand- Single

24. Within You Without You- Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band

23. And Your Bird Can Sing- Revolver

22. Eight Days A Week- Beatles For Sale

21. All You Need Is Love- Magical Mystery Tour

20. Happiness Is A Warm Gun- The White Album

19. Here Comes The Sun- Abbey Road

18. Ticket To Ride- Help!

17. Strawberry Fields Forever- Magical Mystery Tour

16. The Fool On The Hill- Magical Mystery Tour

15. I’m Only Sleeping- Revolver

14. Yellow Submarine- Revolver

13. Yesterday- Help!

12. The Abbey Road Medley- Abbey Road

11. Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)- Rubber Soul

10. Rain- Single

9. Julia- The White Album

8. I Saw Her Standing There- Please Please Me

7. Hey Jude- Single

6. Eleanor Rigby- Revolver

5. While My Guitar Gently Weeps- The White Album

4. I Am The Walrus- Magical Mystery Tour

3. Helter Skelter- The White Album

2. Tomorrow Never Knows- Revolver

1.A Day In The Life- Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band

Okay so thats it! What are your favorite Beatles songs? (Send us an owl!)

Also here is a Spotify playlist I made of the songs. Hope it works!

The Last Stand (Jim Kraven’s Diary)

Círdan’s Note: Hopefully you’ve heard by now all about the surreal new gaming experience created by Grey Havens YA titled The Last Stand. Here it seems I’ve found the remnants of a journal written by one of our quest members, Jim Kraven (aka 145barbarian). Let’s take a quick look inside Jim’s head and find out what happened the last time our members got together to fight for survival in The Last World… (P.S. Catch up by reading the first game here.)

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Day 2

I apologize for not writing yesterday. I was…preoccupied.

Our table is leg-less. But on the plus side, we got a new gate!

Timmy cried…again. Sometimes I wish he would just go away. But then I remember that I promised my wife I would protect him before she died. Huh….I regret making that promise.

We got a new guy here to our camp. Rumor has it he slaughtered an entire army all by himself. One tough dude. I’ve been appointed as our official Gate Guard. Now that we have a gate, it is a  useful role.

~Thump~ What the heck?  There’s some sort of gorilla here. I thought those things were extinct. I’m gonna go see what’s up with him. He seems like a…weird creature. He seems to be salvaging the bear he killed for food. I’m not sure though. Apparently the bear angered him in a game of chess…so he…killed it. Then he showed up here and now he is going to stay. I swear…we are already running out of food. We can’t deal with all of these new people. While I’m speaking, they are ripping the femurs out of the bear to use as new table legs. Our dragon guy went out to go scavenge for wood. The gorilla followed him. I’m not sure why he’s going, but ok. Now we have a gate, a sort of propped up table. Not much else though.

Apparently, there was some sort of bunny in a log they found. It’s the last of it’s kind. Further examination of the bunny is happening. We were allowed by our great overlord, GM, to use our eyes to examine the bunny. What a miracle. I don’t know how we would have learned about the bunny without our eyes. The gorilla used his clumpy pelt from the bear to make a bed for the bunny.

We happened upon a cave like structure. There are two people inside, both human. One of our own is sneaking inside. She failed, but the dragon guy got in. He disabled the trap, clearing the way for everyone to get in. I dismantled the trap, and while doing so, got us a future defense for our base. The gorilla kicked in their door, and shot at them. He was shot in the process though, but our healer is looking into it now.

Timmy tried to put the fire out by rolling in it. It didn’t work, so someone else put it out.

The gorilla was deceived into not burning down the door of the couple. One of them is pregnant. Timmy is going in to talk to the couple. We’ll see how it goes.

Make me proud son……

Ok, I was just informed that the man is pointing a gun at Timmy. That guy is gonna die if I get ahold of him. They won’t let me approach the room, for fear of this man’s safety. I can relate though. When my wife was pregnant with Timmy, I did everything and anything to help her. We gave the bear meat to the couple.

They took meat, so we took their gun. Now they have no weapons.

Ok, so Timmy alerted the man that his gun was being stolen, so the wife pulled another pistol out.

She currently has it pointed at our group. Duke Brilliance is talking with them, hoping to calm them down. So we came to an agreement. We leave, and we get their table legs. Now we don’t have to use bear femurs anymore. That’s ok. Those things creeped Timmy out anyways. Still not sure why we are here.

So we found out about a nearby town. I guess we are going to head out soon. We took the gun from the gorilla. We headed west. There is an office building in the distance. There’s a pack of mutant lions in a river. The dragon Halfling is going to attempt to fly someone over them.

Let’s see how this goes.

Ok. He made it. We used our weapons to shoot the lions, and then harvest their meat. We made it through the river. So our healer can’t swim. Great. The dragonling is going to try flying her across. He barely made it. The gorilla escaped his binds, snapping the rope in the process.

A grocery store, hardware store, and office building occupy the streets of the town. The gorilla completely failed at jumping across.

He broke through the ice, so we’ll have to see if he can get out.

Aaaaaand he failed. He is currently stuck in the water while our dragonling goes back to help him. There are noises in the grocery store. Let’s hope there aren’t any people there. It’s going down at the river. The gorilla is getting into a fight with one of our members.

A man is in the grocery store, thinking about how much food he is stealing.

The gorilla broke her nose with a swift kick to the face. Our healer can’t even. She tired to heal the broken nose, and succeeded in making it worse. On the plus side, she gave her a rag to hold on her broken nose.

The rope collection at the hardware store is just amazing. All kinds of ropes, both thick and thin.

I’ll write more tomorrow.

Check out more on Wattpad.com as the story develops!

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Send us an owl: What do you think our quest members will find inside the seemingly abandoned city? What in the world is going on with the gorilla?? Tune in next time to see if we find out!

P.S. If you love the fact that we’re helping all generations to engage in literacy, imagination, community, and inclusion and want to help us continue, check out this super fun way you can support us this December!

Grey Havens YA’s Last Stand!

RPG Dice

The year is 2602. The planet once known as Earth has been callously re-christened The Last World. America is now popularly known as The Corruption. The Sahara Desert is covered in frozen ash. Days are short and dark. The temperature remains at a stubborn 14 degrees Fahrenheit. There are zombies, dragons, zombie dragons and killer wasps. Who can you trust? How will we survive?

RPG Character Sheet

This is the world of The Last Stand, a role-playing game developed by Grey Havens YA members at last April’s Real Myth and Mithril Symposium. Today, we finally got to come together in one large group to play! Some of our characters are road-weary loners, some are brilliant but aloof and unstable, motivated by self-interest or fear, some are too trusting and kind. Some have magic, others have science and mechanical skill. None of these skills are infallible.

Some have empathy or telepathy, others have trouble understanding what goes on in another person’s head. One carries his small son across the post-apocalyptic landscape in a backpack, wondering at times if the burden is too much. One of us is a Martian, kind but lost and overwhelmed by the thoughts that flood her mind. Another is slightly mad from all she has seen, though we don’t know what memories haunt her. There is a man in the camp who can be quite caustic but hovers around his community anyway. One man has golden eyes and no one knows his name. One is the sole survivor of a recent, terrible war. Our dragon is helpful but he snores. Times are harder than they have ever been. Is this really what we do for fun? Absolutely it is!

RPG Group 2

Role-playing games are good for the mind, heart and soul. If we can be anything we want, why do we give our characters limitations and problems? Why not just place ourselves in paradise? Why do we harness our imaginations to the roll of a polyhedral die? Because problems are solved, beauty is created and relationships are forged when our limitless daydreams have to fit themselves into a world that, as wild as it may be, is still governed by rules. Every time we roll the die, we risk failure but risk is our business. We don’t just hack our way through trouble either. We have weapons but we also have skills. We have strengths and weaknesses and we use them all to try together to find what each of us is looking for.

Real life is like that, too, isn’t it? Sometimes we have everything we need to succeed but circumstances turn against us anyway. Sometimes, everything goes our way. You can’t have everything you want but you can have adventure–in the game and outside of it. We also have each other.

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Our young adults built this world with all its dire problems and it is likely that they will save it many times over.  They each put nuance and depth into their characters while our game master oversees the whole thing with patience and wit. It is easy to be impressed by this. It is easy to see them going on to do great things in our own world, such as showing compassion for all kinds of characters, finding ways to work together even when the compassion hasn’t risen to the surface yet, solving problems, understanding when things don’t go their way but allowing themselves to feel elation when they do. It is also easy to see how gaming is helping them to fulfill their potential on the way to adulthood.

Gaming is part of a great tradition of storytelling, a myth that metamorphoses in the telling. It is collective storytelling, a tale adapted by each mind that joins the quest, causing the other minds to bend and twist to keep up. In a role-playing game we can see through strange eyes. Each player tries out a persona that emerges from a mix of compassion for their own attributes, empathy for what it must be like to be another, a bit of wish fulfillment and a lot of adapting to everything that comes along, including zombies, dragons, zombie dragons, killer wasps and, from time to time, a bit of luck.

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RPG Gigi Character

RPG Robyn Jayne Katie

The Last Stand proved so popular with our members that we would like to add regular gaming sessions to our schedule and, perhaps, even invite more gamers to join us but this would require more time and resources than we currently have. Click here to help! Click here to learn about what happens at a Grey Havens YA meeting when gaming is not on the agenda. May fortune fall upon your every roll!

Send us an owl: What is your favorite role-playing game? What is your favorite gaming memory? 

In December, we begin reading and discussing The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury. We would also love to know your favorite memories of reading this great author.

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Yun Tinvok!

(For the purpose of this post, all of the Dovahzul will be in italics.)

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Drem yol lok! Kaeon here. This is my first post and I’m excited to show you all what I’ve been up to. I have always been fascinated with learning different languages (for the reason that languages connect us in the first place), and fantasy languages are no exception. As of late, my new language of choice is Dovahzul, or Dovah. Dovahzul is the language spoken (and written) by dragons in the game The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. After doing some looking online, I found this pretty neat website with a lot of helpful tools such as a translator, dictionary, games and even lessons. (The website is called Thuum. It’s linked if you’d like to see it. I’d recommend it to everyone interested in the language.) But, before I begin, if you wish to read this post, or any website in Dovahzul, you need to download this font Dovahzul (No Viruses :D) and go here- Thuum Library. Once there, scroll down until you find a resource called Dragon Rune Bookmarklet by Foduiiz. Drag that into your bookmarks bar and now you can just click it, and BAM. Dovahzul runes replace almost everything. (If you did this, try it now and see how it works. If you want it to go away, click the bookmark again or refresh the page.) Now that all of that is out of the way, time to learn some Dovahzul! In this post, I will be teaching you the alphabet and special characters, punctuation, and a few basic words.

The alphabet in Dovahzul is 34 runes long, but this post will go over the english spelling of these runes. Here is a list of the characters in the alphabet:

-A, AA, AH, B, D, E, EI, EY, F, G, H, I, II, IR, J, K, L, M, N, O, OO, P, Q, R, S, T, U, UU, UR, V, W, X, Y, Z

Each of the above letters has a corresponding rune which can be viewed here. Now, there are also special characters, which are combinations of the normal alphabet. These are:

-AE, AU, NG, SH, TH

These special characters will use the runes from the alphabet, but they combine them to mean something else. They can also be viewed here. Punctuation is also available in Dovahzul. The punctuation you can use is:

-A Period .

-A Comma or Pause ,

-A Question Mark ?

-An Exclamation Mark !

Once again, each has a corresponding rune that can be found here. If you wish to memorize these runes and their meanings, you can use this wonderful course that I found on Memrise. (Course!) That course will help you memorize those runes in no time! Another helpful way to memorize those is to play Skyrim. Yep, that’s right. Whenever you come across a wordwall, take the time to write down the runes and try to translate it. You may need a dictionary so here’s a link to one.

There are many words you can learn in the Dovahzul language, over 3,000 of them. They range from cannon to modern. This post will teach you 1 basic phrase and 17 words.

Phrase:

1. Drem yol lok = Peace fire sky (This is a common greeting among dragons.)

Words:

1. Dovah = Dragon

2. Dov = Dragonkind

3. Lok = Sky

4. Aan = A / An

5. Geh = Yes

6. Nid = No

7. Fin = The

8. Faal = The (Formal)

9. Yol = Fire

10. Keizall = Skyrim

12. Drem = Peace

13. Ahrk = And

14. Do = Of

15. Pah = All

16. Su’um = Breath (If you were to write this in dragon runes, you wouldn’t put an apostrophe there, so it would be just Suum.)

17. Dovahkiin = Dragonborn (I had to include one we all knew! :D)

Well, that’s all for this post of Yun Tinvok! If more is requested in the future, I will write more. I hope you enjoyed this and gained some new knowledge about the language of Dragons!

~Kogaan fah fin etaak, (Blessing/Thanks for the read,)

Kaeon

Send us an owl (or a Letter from a Friend): What’s your favorite fantasy language?

NOTE: Painting at top of page also by Kaeon. Isn’t she awesome?! -Círdan

A Trip To Hogwarts!

Círdan’s Note: Not only did Grey Havens YA lead a magical Hogwarts Preparatory Academy this summer, but also some of our assistant professors got to visit the real Hogwarts! We are fortunate to have an account brought to us by Assistant Professor Noble. Enjoy her tale and her photos below!

Hogwarts Castle

About a month ago I received a letter from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry stating that I was to report to Diagon Alley and board the Hogwarts Express, courtesy of the Hogwarts Railways, to the one and only Hogsmeade and the famous wizarding school itself! Why, you could only guess what emotions I was feeling! You rarely hear about wizards from other wizarding schools being asked to visit Hogwarts! I am currently a witch at the Beauxbatons Academy of Magic or, for us, l’académie de magie de Beauxbâtons which is an all female wizarding school located in France. Perhaps you have seen us compete at Hogwarts for eternal glory during the Triwizard Tournament? So of course, without a second to spare, I found my trusty Silver Arrow, and was off to Diagon Alley to accept this offer. I would have used my fireplace, but sadly I ran out of floo powder. (I would have made some, but nobody can quite get the recipe right! I don’t want to look like a mess when I arrive at Hogwarts.)

When I arrived in Diagon Alley, I paid a special visit to my vault at Gringotts to snag some galleons, and ran around like a mad woman trying to buy everything I might possibly need for this weekend at the best school in the world, I finally decided to dash over to the platform to board the Hogwarts Express. Whoa! As I was on my way to Hogsmeade, I made the startling discovery that I only had four galleons in my pocket by the time I was done! I ended up spending a little more galleons than I had planned… I mean, doesn’t everyone who goes to Diagon Alley visit Madam Malkins for a robe and scarf, the Leaky Cauldron for a bite to eat and a butter beer, Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes for some laughs and love potions, Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlour for a sweet treat, Ollivanders for a much needed wand repair, Scribbulus Writing Instruments for fancy new writing quill, and still have money to spare? I mean, I didn’t buy too much butter beer or pumpkin juice. Only enough to satisfy myself.

Hogwarts Express Sign

When the train finally pulled up at Hogsmeade and I managed to squeeze out of the busy station, I breathed a sigh of relief. I have made it! In the distance you could see the castle towering above everything on a beautiful cliff. I scurried through the village dropping by Honeydukes to give up my last four galleons to purchase some Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans. Right when I opened one and plopped one into my mouth, I knew I made a terrible mistake! It was a troll bogey flavor! And, in an attempt to counter this terrible taste, I had another. I must be a magnet for bad bean flavors. It ended up being a dog food bean! After that, I stuck the beans into my robe pocket and vowed not to eat them until I got back from Hogwarts. I will have to combat the flavors at a later time. I am still a little shaky from the incident, but I am on my way to a brilliant recovery. Perhaps soon I will be strong enough to continue eating them.

Bertie Botts Beans

Hogwarts Symbol

After leaving Hogsmeade, I stood before the bridge leading to the castle and I stared at two of the pillars at the entry way. Writing appeared and disappeared in a blink of an eye. Magical writing that is. What did the writing say? I can not quite remember. My sister, currently a bold Slytherin at Hogwarts, could tell you but as for myself, I think I accidentally had a small sip of a forgetfulness potion while I was lounging around in the Gryffindorr Common Room. The inside of Hogwarts was truly magical though. Talking pictures, which know exactly where you are at every time, magical classrooms, ghosts, common rooms, stained glass, witches, wizards, magic,  you name it! It was breathtaking. Now, the argument that another fellow witch of mine had with the Fat Lady was rather odd though. Even though she was a Gryffindorr, she was denied access into the common room several times after the argument until the Fat Lady finally gave in and let us enter. That of course gave the rest of the witches and wizards behind us a laugh. I spent the night there in the Gryffindorr common room, even though I would say that I am a Hufflepuff at heart, and the next day I was able to advance deeper into the castle and learn even more about Hogwarts. I even got a sneak peak at Dumbledoor’s office and the famous sorting hat!

My time at Hogwarts was short and I have no doubt that I will be back some day in the future. I have several friends there that I intend to visit, as well as family. There is so much to tell you, but right now, the quill that I purchased in Diagon Alley is running low on ink so I must go buy some more before I can talk my experiences that I had there in greater detail. But for right now, that is all that I can write. Hopefully, I will be able to collect enough galleons to buy more ink since this trip wiped out the majority of my vault! Wish me luck!

Best,

Catherine Noble

Witch at the Beauxbatons Academy of Magic

Heroes of Rune Chapter 6

Spock0528 writes: The Wait is over. More chapters are coming soon. No Really, Soon. Read the prologue and chapters 1 through 5 at this link. Enjoy!

Chapter 6

Darius

The next morning Darius awoke to the sound of birds chirping outside his window. He rubbed the sleep out of his eyes and sat up. Blaise and Murgran, the fellow orphans that lived with him, were already up and were getting dressed. “Morning”, Darius mumbled. “Same to you”, Blaise replied. “What’s your schedule for today?”, Murgran asked. “Kitchen duty”, Blaise grumbled “And I better hurry. Old Wenchel will hit me with his ladle if I’m late again”.

“And what about you Darius?”, Murgran said, turning to him. “I don’t know. Master Pibb didn’t tell me yesterday.” That was unlike him and Darius had been so distracted last night he had forgotten to ask. While he wondered what the day’s assignment would be, Darius quickly pulled on his clothes. He wore a simple cream colored outfit with a belt and satchel. Ready for whatever the day might bring Darius left the house and said farewell to Blaise and Murgran.

He hadn’t made it ten yards when he ran into Master Pibb. “Hello Darius”, he said, his pink cheeks bulging with delight. “Good morning Master Pibb”, Darius replied. “Sorry I didn’t tell you your assignment yesterday. I wasn’t sure what you’d be doing”. He gave a shrill and rather forced laugh. “I just received a message from the king. He would like you to report to him at once.”

“Whatever for?” Darius asked. “He didn’t say”, said Master Pibb. “Now you’d better get going. Wouldn’t want to be late would we?” “No Master”, said Darius. Pibb turned sharply away causing the slippers he wore to clack together. He sped off quickly, his mind already on another matter.

Darius felt fear clasp his heart as he turned towards the palace. “What did the king want with him? Perhaps they had discovered who he was! Perhaps they were going to have him executed or tortured for information!”, he thought. “No, that was ridiculous. No one knew who he was here, anymore”.

During Darius’s first year in Teroh a boy named Mikkel had walked in on Darius while he was in the vasdi, a trance state one performed while honoring Shidiel. Mikkel had ran out of the house looking for a guard. Darius had followed hoping to tackle Mikkel but Mikkel was faster. As Mikkel had rounded a corner Darius lost sight of him. There was then a crash and a scream. Darius ran around the corner to see a crowd of people gathered around the edge of the rampart. Mikkel had slipped and plummeted over the rampart, his body breaking on the spiny rocks that stuck out of the ocean hundreds of feet below. Darius was relieved but acted sad at the memorial service that the city had for Mikkel. That was the closest call he had ever had.

“No, no one could have found out unless Methelga or Faryx had said something… No, they couldn’t have known he was here. Although that did seem like something that Fayrx would do.” Fayrx had only visited Turk manor a few times but his visits always involved making Darius as miserable as he could. Darius was glad he was dead.

Darius approached the North Gate to the palace. As he went to pass underneath the statue of Acosor he was stopped by a guard. “Yes, Darius isn’t it? The king is expecting you. Go on in. We will have a guard escort you to the throne room when you enter the tower. Go on in”.

Darius nodded and went on through. “They wouldn’t let a Zarkaran, let alone the last of the Turks through alone”, he thought.  “They didn’t know his secret. Did they?” On his way to the central tower Darius passed an apothecary, stables, barracks, and a guard tower. Soldiers and official looking people milled about in the courtyard while others walked quickly heading either to the tower or out into the rest of the city. Darius approached the doors to the tower, noting how small they were. Enemies would have to enter single file if they attempted to take the castle and a skilled bowman with a lot of arrows would be just as valuable as 50 men in there. The tower was built for defense, nothing else.

The guard at the door admitted Darius in and had another guard escort him to the throne room. Darius and the guard squeezed through the narrow hallway into the center of the bottom floor of the tower. This was the great library. Shelves of books covered nearly every square inch of the room. An old librarian sat at a table, his nose buried in a book. He didn’t even look up to see Darius and the guard cross the room.

Darius had spent time here working with Barnabas Lessiar compiling information for The Scrolls of the Eastirim. It was one of Darius’s least favorite assignments. The way Barnabas described the Zarkaran gods made him sick.

He had called Shidiel the goddess of plague and disease. It was true she brought these things to those who crossed her but she was also a god of love and life. Zarkaran maidens would pray to Shidiel, asking her to help them find a husband. She was responsible for caring for the baby in the womb, protecting it from danger. She could place blessings on crops and bring people good fortune. She was the protector of mothers and the common man.

Udun was described as a merciless and barbaric war god but Udun led great warriors to victory and taught them the ways of honor. He gave old men and young boys great strength in times of need and he blessed the wives and children of fallen warriors who died in his name.

The way he had heard Barnabas describe them as nothing more than brutal, merciless demons had made Darius want to tell him some of the stories that were told of the Eastirim gods in Zarkaran. But though he had heard such hate from the Eastirim for his people and his gods he could not hate them. They were too much like him, too human. Blaise and Murgran were both good friends and Master Pibb had taken Darius in and was always kind to him. Yet he could not live in both worlds. One day he would return to Zarkaran and if it was the will of the gods to destroy the Eastirim then it must be done. But if there was a way for the people to become one, to unite and…

“No” he thought, angry at himself for thinking such thoughts. “Think of what they did to your father”. And Darius did remember. He remembered his father a man who seemed larger than life, yet was barely over five feet.  A man whose eyes had a special twinkle every time he laughed. A man who let a baby Darius crawl around on him tugging at his goatee. He remembered the night they came. He had been so scared, just a nine year old boy. His father had been fierce that night fighting with two battle axes while Darius hid under his bed. His father had told him to run and then…

Darius’s thoughts were interrupted when he boarded the lift to the throne room at the end of the library. The doors closed and Darius found himself in a small, dark compartment. The lift began to rise, gears and hydraulics clanking and whirring in the background. Both Darius and the guard were silent. Around what Darius thought was 15 minutes the lift reached the top floor, the throne room. It was time to see the king.

The lift doors slid open to reveal what Darius thought was an underwhelming throne room. It was a small circular room with just a few windows that if you looked out them you could see clouds far below you. No decorations were on the walls and only a red carpet covered the ground. The King sat on a small gold throne surrounded by a few guards and advisors. Only the king had a chair. Everyone else had to stand.

Darius stepped out of the lift, noting that the guard stayed behind. He crossed the room and stood in front of the king. He dropped to his kneel like he had been taught. “Rise young Master Darius”, King Alistair said. Darius rose. King Alistair was a man that Darius had only seen on a few occasions. He was a tall, skinny man who had seemed to have a palpable air of nobility surrounding him. He could be stern and threatening but Darius had also seen him happy and joyous, playing with his five year old son on the day of the spring festival. He was an expert military tactician but he also cared deeply for his people down to the last child.

“Young Master Darius”, the king said slowly. Darius’s heart was beating like a drum. “I have some good news to tell you”, the king said. Darius awaited anxiously. “You have benefited greatly from Master Pibb’s orphan program. When you came here you had only a name. Now you, and we, have found that you are quite talented and you are a perfect example of how a young man or woman can turn their life around.” Darius didn’t know where this was going but he was beginning to feel more relaxed. The king continued: “Many of the lords you have served spoke quite highly of you. They said it almost seemed like you had been around nobility before.”

Darius’s chest tightened. “You also made an excellent food taster as I recall”, the king said with a smile. Darius’s chest loosened a little. “ I was quite impressed with you and Master Pibb’s program. I wasn’t sure about it at first”, the king said. “But I am extremely happy with the results. That’s why I am honoring you this next week by letting you squire for Sir Nicholas Snow in the tournament this next week in order to honor Lord Seacrest’s arrival here in Teroh.”

Darius gasped. Lord Seacrest of Sealaurel was the ruler of a neighboring kingdom independent from Eastirim. Sealaurel was home to the finest navy the south side of the River Tywin. King Alistair was hoping to make an alliance with Seacrest so that the Eastirim could have powerful warships in the fight against the Zarkaran. No expense had been spared in the preparations for his arrival.. Minstrels, dancers, a parade, and a tournament between William Gore and Nicholas Snow were all part of the entertainment and Darius would be right in the middle of it. It was an opportunity of a lifetime.

“Thank you sire”, Darius said, bowing. He couldn’t believe it. Squiring at a tournament, especially one as big as this was always one of his dreams. “There is still a lot more you have to learn”, the king said. “So I will have you taken off work this week and have you work with one of my Kings Guard. He will teach you everything you need to know about being a squire. He is waiting for you at the bottom of the tower.” “Thank you my king”, Darius said, barely containing his excitement. “You’re very welcome young Master Darius”, the king said with a smile. “I expect great things from you. This tournament is very important for our country. It could determine the difference between victory and defeat.” Darius noded. “I won’t let you down your highness”, he said. “Good”, said the king. “You are dismissed.”

Darius turned to go but as he did the lift doors slid open and a tall thin man walked out. The tightness in Darius’s chest returned with a vengeance. “Ah, just in time”, the king said. “I was just about to send for you”. “No worries”, the thin man said. He had slicked back black hair, dark skin, and a long droopy moustache. “Darius”, the king said. “This is Ichabod Targearan, He is one of my newest advisors. Ichabod, this is Darius.” “How do you do?”, Ichabod asked. “He’s dyed his skin but he’s still the same man”, Darius thought to himself. “Very well, thank you, my lord?”, he said. “Oh no, not a lord only a businessman”, said Ichabod. He smiled. It was the same smile. The same cruel smile Darius had gotten when the man standing in front of him now had told him to leave his father alone when he was working. For the man standing in front of the King of all of Eastirim was not Ichabod Targearan but Ilixer Targux, the Grand Vizier of House Turk and his father’s right hand man.

Send us an owl: Ooo, what a cliffhanger! What do you think of Heroes of Rune so far?

East McDonald Islands

Círdan’s note: The NerdyBalrog brings us a rare treat. He writes, “This story is my Middle-Earth McDonalds story translated into French, then Polish, then Vietnamese, then Greek, then Korean, then Latin, then Turkish, then Arabic, then Urdu, and then back into English. It was all translated in Google Translate.”

What an fascinating experiment! It reminds me of our discussion about constructed languages and universal translators. Feel free to pull up the original story and view these two side by side– and then leave us your comments below about the similarities and differences you noticed. What did this make you think about the nature of language and translation?

This was the beginning of the fourth century. Once again they may not fit your territory. King Elessar Gondor and the king chose the Arno. Boone was a massive fortress. But the question remains: It’s a good middle ground for dinner

Boone heard a bomb in the Supreme. It’s the most productive, our life can be for food. Gates is just fantastic food! Gates expertise that can be spread visited a lot of places. McDonald’s is created. Uncle and brother operated a restaurant Hui son’s name. Some new challenges, but the foolish.

First, a McDonald’s Rivendell (certainly not the last, but) come. In fact, the first McDonald’s Rivendell. McDonald’s opened a lot. Chicken Fingers, and quarter-inch guns hit the Big Mac hamburger is very flat. Very close to the first creatures to cook with the effort made by McDonald’s to be affected. A few months after the beginning of love, the McDonald began to spread more quickly! McDonald was a great success!

After you make a gift of McDonald’s has been effective for thousands of years. Gates actually achieve the dream. I enjoyed the food (and I mean the whole world). McDonald lines always remember:

The taste of salt
All are open.
This peaceful
Vegetables severe hunger.
In the past, the meat must be met,
Places to Balaheul.

Send us an owl: What do you think Professor Tolkien would think about this translation experiment?