Art and Culture
Son of Aurum
Part IV - Hope
The sun cowered in fear behind the mountain, leaving only a faded rim of light on the horizon to fend off the nightmares of the night. The ground was tainted dark crimson, not just with blood, but with the torn hope of the orcs. Ceaseless waves of skeletons, zombies, and ghouls flooded their senses, their mere presence appeared to be draining the orcs’ will to fight. Despair had sunken its claws in their souls and made their struggle seem unending. But in that growing darkness rose a dragonborn, who had not wished to be a hero, but now carried the last light in a choking darkness.
The ghouls, spawn of the night, came stomping, howling, armed to their teeth. Their heavy armor, dark as the depths from which they came, didn’t slow them down but made each of their steps an earthquake. Their skin was like that of a ghost: pale, rotting, and lifeless, yet tough as chainmail. And their eyes, if those could be called eyes, were but wisps of necromancy energy floating inside their cavernous gnarled sockets. Relentlessly they ran to encounter the soul of the one who dared challenge them. Their heads stood above the mass of undead like shark fins in the sea. Their glowing green eyes announced their advance. One already stood in front of Hanorsh. It was by far the most vigorous of them, its face now a half-burnt grimace that emanated rage in every inch of flesh it still had. Thick black blood coated the charred half, which reflected the green light of its eyes. The wind picked up, and one by one the ghouls stopped their thundering march. The first arrived armed with two axes, more akin to the fangs of an ancient dragon. The second followed, carrying a mace. And the third, came stomping with a bleeding halberd. From them emerged an aura of fear, grasping at the dragonborn’s mind, sapping his vitality.
Hanorsh breathed heavily, resisting their dreadful presence.
“Scared of the night, dragonborn? Darkness is only beginning...” the charred ghoul said. Its voice was gravelly and unnatural, almost as if it was disembodied.
Twitching his fingers, Hanorsh made the fire in his hand roar. Glowing cinders surrounded him at this point. He readied his hammer, firmed his feet, and raucously said.
“I am a son of Aurum. And I will light up this darkness, or die trying!”
“The coward wants to be a hero…” the ghoul mocked. “I can sense your fear, dragonborn! You’re not worthy of this magic,” the ghoul ended.
Hanorsh paused. Looking down, he acknowledged the edge of truth in the ghoul’s words.
He raised his eyes, and after a deep breath said: “Today I become worthy of it.”
With a bestial bellow, the ghoul wrapped its hands tight around the sword’s handle and charged ruthlessly.
“Today I fight not for myself,” Hanorsh said.
The other ghouls followed, coming from all sides. Weapons raised and ready to strike.
The wind carried Hanorsh’s words as he continued: “Today I fight not for my fallen kingdom, nor my dead king.”
The thundering charge closed in. Pebbles danced on the shaking ground.
“Today I fight for the last light of twilight.”
With those words, flames erupted from the ground, forming a circle of arcane runes around him. He put his burning hand on his hammer, the metal radiant in hot orange light. His chest felt warm, he could feel the Essence smiling at him.
The ghoul leader prepared to strike, its sword cutting through the air as heavily and quickly as fear had cut through the orcs’ souls. Hanorsh settled his sights on the incoming berserker.
“Today,” he said lastly, “I fight for hope.”
Heavy and strident, the sound of metal against metal echoed. The two parried. The other ghouls joined in on the assault. Hanorsh spun around, swinging the hammer to form long arcs of fire. Hitting the ghouls left and right, he performed a strike after another, a percussion of uppercuts, thrusts, and slams.
The ghouls were startled, but that quick flurry of blows didn’t stop them. They sculpted wounds and lacerations out of the dragonborn, before being thrown back by his powerful lunges. Their clash vibrated, the tune of humming blades and clanging steel to which they all danced mimicking the searing blaze in the field.
All around him, Hanorsh could hear the orcs cheering, and undead bellowing. A new arena was formed around their clash. The orcs, bloody and hopeless, raised their arms, voices, and spirits to cheer for the dragonborn.
Hanorsh whirled around the four ghouls. In front of him was the leader, behind him was the halberd, to his sides the mace and axes. They flanked him, the one with a mace delivered a stunning hit on his back as the ax-wielder armed a follow-up cut. The axes opened two gashes on the side of his torso. Hanorsh barely staggered. He held the hammer with one hand, cinders erupting from the other. He pierced through the mace ghoul’s eye socket with the rear of his hammer. He placed his other hand on the ax ghoul’s armor releasing a surge of scorching flames, setting the undead ablaze.
The ghoul wielding the halberd descended on him, cleaving a broad cut across his leg. The ghoul swung again. Hanorsh parried the attack, but the weight of the weapon made him stumble. The ghoul delivered a vicious uppercut, carving a deep wound across Hanorsh’s chest. The ghoul leader followed shortly after, slashing at his harm. The dragonborn fell to one knee and attempted to get up, preparing a slam at the leader. The halbert interrupted his strike, and another wave of blades crashed against his body. He fell again. The taste of blood mixed with dust on his lips.
He glanced at the orcs around him, at their blurred expressions, and muttered the phrase that like a mantra had been echoing in his mind.
“Give them hope,” he said getting up again.
The orcs cheered for him with synchronized ancestral tones. Beating on their clan’s symbol with the rhythm of a single pulsating heart, they evoked their people’s protection. The star that Myev placed on his chest began to shift. The rays extended, wrapping around him, and the core faded. Flames engulfed the head of his hammer, enveloped by swirling yellow sparks. Hanorsh raised his hammer and steadied his gaze on the two ghouls.
With the rear spike, he pierced the halbert ghoul’s armor. The deep, husky warcries of the orcs reverberated with the impact. Their voices vibrated through the field, and with them rose more sparks around Hanorsh’s hammer. Looking behind him, the dragonborn kicked the ghoul leader. The halberd ghoul was about to strike once more when Hanorsh rammed it with his draconic horns. Following up, he performed another hammer strike against the leader. With each strike, the orcs cheered, and, with the echo of their voices, soft gusts of those yellow sparks swirled around Hanrosh’s hammer. Hanorsh continued to fight, delivering swings from one ghoul to the other.
Like a cynical puppeteer, exhaustion placed its invisible shackles on the dragonborn. His arms felt heavier with each swing. His legs became less and less nimble. But he carried on. The ghouls continued to slash and lunge at him, painting the ground a thick and dark red. Hanorsh couldn’t feel the gashing wounds of the halberd, nor did he have the time to look at the deep cuts of the sword, but he knew they were there, somewhere. The ghoul’s dreadful aura continued to suffocate his will to fight. He couldn’t see the orcs anymore, his vision was getting blurred and confused. Looking at the hammer, he could see the sparks around it and, through them, he knew that the orcs, like him, hoped for a day when the darkness will pass, and the sun will rise again. They had placed that hope on him, the last light of twilight, the son of Aurum--he could not give up now.
The halberd ghoul launched another uppercut. Hanorsh parried the attack, resisting its weight. Another uppercut followed, which was once again parried. Hanorsh’s stance was broken by the impact. Before he could recover, a third uppercut came. It zipped through the air with unprecedented speed. Hanorsh felt his chest soak with warm liquid.
But he continued to fight, roaring as loud as his weary lungs allowed him. The orcs roared together with him, the sparks swirling all around the hammer, flowing to his arms, through his chest, down into his feet. He bolted forward, his hammer raised, his heart pumping, and though not for long, his arms free from the shackles of exhaustion.
The halbert ghoul prepared to swing again at the dragonborn. The leader tailed Hanorsh, blades at the ready. Their nightmarish auras thickened, their skeletal faces twisted and molded to form an even grimmer picture. Shadows almost erupted from their armor with the frightful mirage of fear. The dragonborn plummeted towards their aura without hesitation.
With each of his footsteps, the aura ahead of him was dispelled. Flames roared, tracing the path of the hammer as it descended, parting the shadows around the ghoul’s armor, striking true at the ghoul’s chest plate.
A massive fireball discharged with the impact, enveloping Hanorsh and the ghouls in a blinding outburst of flames. The orcs and undead covered themselves avoiding the blast. Silence followed.
A charred halbert laid on the ground.
Bits of red-hot armor cooled, still clang onto the motionless ghoul.
The ghoul leader was prone, a muscle or two twitched.
Hanorsh stood, arms dangling, almost losing his grip on his hammer.
His head hung down, having completely lost his senses.
He stumbled forward, slowly raising his gaze to look at the orcs.
The orcs roared, raising their arms and voices victoriously.
Hanorsh lumbered towards them with difficulty. Their cheers were muffled, his vision clouded.
The ghoul leader started to rise, it was not finished yet. Seeing the lumbering dragonborn, it forced itself up with its burnt arms. It ran at full speed, steps shaking the ground beneath, letting loose voracious howls meant to shatter souls.
Hanorsh turned around lethargically, barely having time to dodge the ghoul’s first swing. The ghoul swung again and again. Hanorsh continued to parry. The weight of exhaustion sapped him of his strength. The ghoul gained ground with each swing, drawing the dragonborn back.
“Fight as much as you want dragonborn, you can’t stop us...night will always come!” it said furiously swinging at him.
“And so will dawn,” Hanorsh replied, striking at the ghoul’s torso. His hammer descended onto the ghoul’s skull.
The hammer stopped, the ghoul grabbing it and interrupting the swing. The ghoul unarched its spine, standing fully erect in front of the dragonborn. Its aura of fear sprouted once again, its bones gnarled and its teeth jagged. Fragments of darkness burst from its armor, enveloping the berserker in what appeared to be darker than the night itself. Hanorsh was shaken, that growing hail of terror was tearing him from inside out.
“Not for you,” said the ghoul ominously, tossing the hammer to the side.
As quickly as it had tossed the hammer away, it then grabbed Hanorsh by the neck and with unnatural strength lifted him up.
It screeched at the dragonborn, a deafening, twisted, vile screech.
Hanorsh thrashed and struggled, trying to escape the grip, as his soul tryed to free itself from the clutching claws of fear.
The ghoul was stronger. Despair was taking over the dragonborn. The berserker placed its blade before Hanrosh’s stomach, squeezed his neck, and said:
“This is a world of fear...heroes don’t belong here.”
Pulling the dragonborn close to its ghastly visage, the ghoul slid the blade across his body. Blood poured down from the tip of the blade, splattering on the ground.
The last rim of light faded behind the mountains.
To be continued in Part Five: Finale
By Zeinner de Paula
Investment Book Reccomendations
Rich Dad Poor Dad
by Robert Kiyosaki and Sharon Lechter
This was one of the first books related to finance I read. It is a great way to be introduced to the world of investment because it explains basic and foundational concepts in a straightforward and concise manner. This book does an excellent job of teaching people to become financially independent and the difference between an asset and a liability. Robert Kiyosaki and Sharon Lechter share their knowledge about finance by recounting poor and good decisions made by Robert’s poor dad and his friend’s rich father. One of the key points of this book is that people should have their money work for them--meaning that they should invest and not depend on their job as their only source of capital.
This book is not available in our school’s library.
Principles of Economics
by N. Gregory Mankiw
Written by N. Gregory Mankiw, an American macroeconomist and currently the Robert M. Beren Professor of Economics at Harvard University, “Principles of Economics” is one of the most commonly used textbooks in introductory economics classes. To learn about investment, it is crucial for one to have at least a basic understanding of how economy markets work, which is what this book aims to teach. This book is relatively long, but it manages to address many aspects of Macro- and Micro-economics while introducing different theories and perspectives of each field of study. An aspect of this book that is particularly interesting is that it includes charts from the IGM Economic Experts Panel. The IGM Economics Experts Panel is a group of top American economists with differing political views. The inclusion of this panel’s chart helps readers understand how political views influence economists’ opinions.
The version of this book for AP Microeconomics and AP Macroeconomics is available in our school’s library.
The Intelligent Investor
by Benjamin Graham
The latest investment book I’ve read, “The Intelligent Investor,” is also one of the oldest. Originally published in 1949, Graham’s spectacular understanding of the stock and bond markets manages to still be pertinent nowadays. This book has had several editions but the most recent one is particularly interesting because after each chapter, there is commentary that presents newer examples of the concepts described by Graham. “The Intelligent Investor” is often cited as one of the best books for starting investors. If my recommendation is not enough, trust Warren Buffet’s advice and read this book. He has stated that this book has changed his life: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9j-Q58EHC3o.
This book is not available in our school’s library.
Investopedia, an online encyclopedia for investment, has a free stock market simulator that grants you 100,000 imaginary dollars to test your ability to make money in the stock market. Investopedia also has a wide range of pages devoted to sharing knowledge about investment. If you are ever unsure about the definition of a concept or are curious about an important event in the history of the global market, be sure that you can count on this website to learn more about it.
Stock Market Simulator from Investopedia
Best Business Newspapers
Brexit: The Basics
By: Lucca Moreira
After 47 years, the UK and European Union have split! It took 1,317 days, multiple delays, and multiple deals rejected for this British exit to become a reality. However, even though the UK is "out," it is still going to have a relationship with the European Union, a connection between them will remain.
Over the next 11 months, they will need to negotiate:
Movement of European and British citizens through the UK and EU
European and British citizens residency and work permits
UK and EU commerce, including import tariffs, and goods free movement
What to do about Northern Ireland/Ireland border
Share data and security with each other
Regulation of medication
Movement of foods
Curious to know more? Check out these quick videos:
Why did this happen in the first place?
What is Article 50?
What happens now?