Blood on the Water

*THIS IS A SHORT STORY WRITTEN FOR MY CREATIVE WRITING CLASS - LONGER THAN AVERAGE POSTS*

Red waves splashed violently against the black iron hull of the Red Rascal as it carved its way through the Valetryx Straight, the black flag at the top of its mast proudly flying away. Amongst the shouts of the chain of command going down the ship, the creeks of the hull reacted to the spinning of the wheel, where a man stood tall and proud. His blond and red-streaked hair flew out from under his black bandana with the sea breeze, revealing his emerald eyes and confident grin.

Kristoph Melluxstrix had been the captain of the Red Rascal for over six years now, after the previous captain, his father, died during a raid on the ship by those who would call themselves the law of Guria-IX. Before they'd arrived, the world relied on the concept of “honor among thieves”.

Kristoph and his family, consisting of his sister and father, were the only three of the Melluxstrix family to arrive safely after what came to be known as the Migratory Cataclysm. When the opportunity arose, his father commandeered a space vessel from the local authorities, and overthrew the crew and its commander.

Renaming it the Red Rascal, it was flown to Guria-IX, one of the more prosperous colonies that came about as a result of the Cataclysm, and converted from a space vessel to a sea-faring one. Using a star-ship as the hull of the ship made the Red Rascal powerful beyond contemporary ships being built in the colonies, and it wasn't before long that it became known as a force to be reckoned with.

Kristoph had served as his father's first-mate for many years. Over time, they had become notorious as outlaws and pirates on the Seas of Guria, unquestioned in their might of the red seas.

* * *

“Captain!” One of the crew called out - a young boy who went by Odin. “Ship sighted off the west stern!”

“What colors does she fly?” Kristoph asked.

“Guria New Democratics, sir! It's the Elphasia, Captain!”

Strange, Kristoph thought to himself. The GND never had come this far out before. And the Elphasia hadn't seen action since their shoot-out back in the city of New Trem, where his father and sister died.

“Can you discern their motives?” he called out.

“Looks like an intercept course, Captain!” Odin replied.

“Charge the main batteries, and prepare to counterattack at the first sign of hostility. Ready the swivel-lasers, and bring us to half-sails! We'll know their intentions soon enough.” Kristoph commanded. He turned and walked to the back of the ship, his long black and gold-adorned colonial coat flowing in the sea breeze as he studied the Elphasia's movements. Originally designed as a command vessel, it seems like they'd remodeled it to an interceptor.

A large yellow glow began to form at the front of the ship. Kristoph's eyes widened in horror as he spun around back to face his crew. “Raise Point Defense Shields! Brace for impact!”

An energy blast flew from the head of the Elphasia, and slammed into the once-invisible shield of the Red Rascal. Kristoph stumbled forward into the wheel, slamming his hands into the handles of the ship's wheel. He quickly readjusted the Red Rascal, aiming their broadside cannons directly at the Elphasia.

“NO QUARTER, MEN! OPEN FIRE!” Kristoph commanded. A huge volley of red lasers flew from the cannons of the Red Rascal, pounding on the shields of the Elphasia. It's been upgraded, I see. It couldn't take that kind of punishment the last time we threw down.

Another massive blast from the Elphasia collided with the Red Rascal, this time shattering the shields from their stern. Kristoph growled as the scattering pieces of the energy shield fell and dissolved around him, as he expertly maneuvered the ship around to intercept the Elphasia.

“Prepare to be boarded, men! We'll show those GND fools who they're messing with face to face!”

Kristoph clicked a switch on the wheel of the ship, setting it to autopilot while he flung himself over the front and slammed the door to his quarters open. He ran forward, grabbed a pair of modified laser pistols to complement his own energy saber that he already carried, and quickly spun back outside just in time to see the first wave of soldiers leaping towards the Red Rascal. With quick reflexes, Kristoph opened fire on the soldiers alongside his crew from the door to his quarters as cover. Their numbers easily outstripped Kristoph's crew, from the looks of it – almost like the Elphasia was a military troop transport from the amount of soldiers falling out of the ship.

Kristoph continued to fire upon the soldiers, dispatching who he could two at a time. Slowly, they began to land on the ship and began fighting in close quarters. Kristoph abandoned his position and ran up to the wheel, stopping suddenly at the top of the stairs.

Standing not far from the wheel was a soldier, one of rank from the looks of it, with an energy saber drawn and ready.

“You're beaten, Strife of the Red Rascal,” the soldier announced. His gruff, synthetic voice through his helmet showed no emotion. “Surrender and I will spare your life.”

“You overestimate yourself, GND dog!” Kristoph countered, launching himself with saber drawn at the soldier. The two blades locked easily, and the soldier forced distance between them. Kristoph took the opportunity to open fire at the solider, but he stood there unmoving. As the lasers collided with his armor, a familiar glow covered the soldier.

Personal Shielding?! Dammit, didn't see that coming with the amount I've already took down. The GND have us outmatched both by technology and manpower. Kristoph thought to himself. We need a way out of this, fast. Kristoph threw his pistol at the shielded soldier as a means of distraction, throwing himself back down the stairs he'd just come up. He rolled off the landing and darted into his quarters, hoping to catch the soldier off-guard. He slipped behind his desk and quickly ripped off the side of his spare pistol, readjusting the wires inside.

When the soldier arrived at his door, Kristoph again opened fire. This time, the pistol fired a single, large and blueish-red blast, catching the soldier square in the face. Upon its impact, the blast exploded and sent energy shield pieces in every direction. Kristoph jumped over his deck and attempted to tackle the soldier to the ground, but was caught off guard as the soldier caught him in mid air. Effortlessly, Kristoph flew across the room and into his desk, shattering it to pieces. He lay in the debris, his whole body wracked with pain.

The soldier stomped up to him, standing over him and pointing the very pistol Kristoph had thrown down at him.

“Give up, Krissy. It's over.” The soldier commanded again. Kristoph's eyes narrowed; no one ever called him Krissy except...

“Anri?” Kristoph asked. The soldier reached up and pulled her helmet off, revealing her long dark black and red-streaked hair, with emerald eyes to match Kristoph's.

“Time to give it up, Krissy. You don't have any way out. Don't make me kill you.”

“Anri, dammit, I thought you were dead!” Kristoph countered. “One of the men said he saw you die when you tried to-”

“Shield our father from his death?” Anrianna asked. “No, Kristoph. I didn't shield him. I was the one who pulled the trigger.”

“What?”

“Our father was a fool, Kristoph!” Anri shouted down at him. “Pretending to be some 'Terror of the Seas' like something out of a childrens book! We should never have taken over that ship. We were meant to be nobles! Not pirates or outlaws!”

“And so killing our father was your answer to that?!” Kristoph retorted angrily.

“It was an opportunity, Kristoph!” Anrianna retorted. “I thought that by killing him, the crew would fall apart and the Rascal returned to the proper authorities! I didn't think you'd buy into his vagabond outlaw bullshit and try to 'keep the legacy alive' or some foolish junk like that.”

“So... first you kill father, and now you're going to kill me.”

“You leave me little choice, brother. You should have walked away when you had the chance, back at New Trem. Give father my regards.”

Kristoph's leg yanked backwards, dragging Anrianna to the ground. Kristoph pulled himself up on one knee, and pointed his modified gun at Anrianna. All trace of Anrianna’s brother vanished from his eyes, and he watched as she gazed at him in horror.

“Give him your apologies instead, you bitch.”

* * *

Kristoph dragged himself out of his cabin, and glanced around the deck. Many of the crew of the Red Rascal still stood, with GND soldiers scattered all over the deck. Despite the overwhelming amount of numbers, the years of plundering of the Red Rascals proved superior.

He walked to the side and gazed upon the empty ghost-like shell of the Elphasia.

“Captain, what should we do with her?” Odin asked, coming up beside him. Kristoph paused a moment, looking over at Odin, then reached behind his head. He unfastened his bandana, and turned to Odin, tying it onto his head.

“I think she's going to need a Captain, now.”

“We're going to keep her?” Odin asked with a stunned look on his face. Kristoph had never taken another vessel before this one, especially a GND vessel.

“We're going to need her, Odin. And wipe that awful name off her side. A new ship needs a new name.” Kristoph replied, turning around and slowly walking back towards his cabin with a slight limp.

“Any suggestions, Captain?”

Kristoph looked over his shoulder. “I'm not your captain anymore, Odin. Call me Kristoph, from now on. As for the ship... she's a strong one. We'll call her 'Traitor's Folly'.”

He turned and continued to walk towards his cabin, but again Odin interrupted him. “Sir.. er... Kristoph... Why are we going to need her?”

He stopped at his door and looked over his shoulder, with the same grin he'd had before the fight had even begun.

“You can't win a war without an army, Odin.”

My Oldest Hero – The Protégé

My oldest son, Damien, has been a gamer as long as I've known him and was before I came into his life so many years ago. Not directly related by blood, Damien was awe-inspired at a young age by my ability to play video games so proficiently. His game of choice at that time was LEGO: Indiana Jones, and he displayed a lot of unhealthy addiction habits that I'd seen in the past in my own gaming years.

Fortunately, we overcame that problem before it became worse, and Damien now stands as both a proficient and reserved gamer. His interest in gaming over the years has broadened even beyond my own, to games like NHL14, Terraria, Borderlands, Assassins Creed, Shadow of Mordor and more.

When we're gaming together, Damien doesn't often challenge me. While he is one of the strongest gamers amongst his friends, he still doesn't hold a candle to my years of experience. It's when we play games as a team that we really shine. We've played many co-operative games together, and I enjoy having a young protégé who's willing to learn how to play a game more efficiently. Accommodating his interests, we branch out on a lot of styles of video games, from action-adventure games like Mercenary Kings, Hyrule Warriors and World of Warcraft, to real-time-strategy games like Company of Heroes and Starcraft.

Below is a video of my son and I both playing Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Hyrule Warriors!



As you can see, Damien and I play on a fairly intense level, and he doesn't lose pace with me at any point.

As a father, I have been my son's idol. We always have something to talk about with video games as a common ground, and he's always asking me for more information about new games along with tips, tricks and tactics. When we play a game together that goes poorly, he'll come down and ask for advice on how to change his tactics to get better.

I see a lot of me in him, after raising him for six years now. He's turning into a formidable opponent, and a valuable teammate. But in time, I can easily see him outstripping his friends and becoming even more proficient. He may even become better than me.

I suppose only time will tell.


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MICHAEL BELKIE

Michael Belkie is a student in the Professional Writing Program at Algonquin College and father of three children. Alongside co-host Jake Urquhart, he is also the creator of the Youtube series Digital Rapscallions, launched in 2014. Michael plays excessive amounts of video games and cosplaying Aiden Pearce for recreation.

Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn | Digital Rapscallions | Who is Aiden Pearce? (Watch_Dogs Wiki)

My Princess From Another Castle

Before I get into the details about my gaming kids and me, I’m taking the opportunity to start by highlighting the amazing woman who brought my children into this world.

Picture Taken By Lisa Belkie

Picture Taken By Lisa Belkie

My wife’s name is Eden Stotesbury. She is the mother of all three of my kids and a gamer in her own right. Her favourite genres tend to be MMORPGs and platform-style games. World of Warcraft is one of the biggest games she’s played to date, and still does. She puts my achievements in Warcraft to shame.

The games we tend to play together, aside from MMOs, are usually platform-style games like Super Mario and Donkey Kong. Below is an short video of us playing three games together: Ibb and Obb, Super Mario 3D World, and Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze.

Eden and Mike playing three different video games: Ibb and Obb, Super Mario 3D World, and Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze

As you can see, my wife stands very much on her own in terms of game-play – she’s on even footing with me on both Ibb and Obb and in Donkey Kong… and about six years above me in Super Mario 3D World. (I’d like to claim it was just a bad day… but that sounds like an excuse to me.)

We’ve tried to play competitively but she always ends up feeling like I’m playing with her just to pick on her, and I don’t like that… so we stick to co-operative game-play. We’re always playing MMOs as a team, usually her as a support character while I play a front-line soldier character of some type.

Eden sat down with me to answer a couple of questions:

How do you feel about your husband’s gaming obsessions?

EDEN: "I like that he enjoys video games as much as I do, if not more than me. I joke that he loves his games more than me, but I know that it’s not true; it’s only a joke. It’s a common interest and I love that we use it as something that binds us."

How do you feel about your husband’s gaming as an influence on the children?

EDEN: "I don’t mind the kids being little gamers and it’s something they share in common with him. He also gives a lot of his time, both related and unrelated to video games, so it’s a balanced life. The kids appreciate his abilities in video games and love him for all he does in their lives."

LEFT: Lynaria, Pandaren Rogue (Mike) RIGHT: Andreah, Night Elf Druid (Eden)

LEFT: Lynaria, Pandaren Rogue (Mike)

RIGHT: Andreah, Night Elf Druid (Eden)


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Michael Belkie

Michael Belkie is a student in the Professional Writing Program at Algonquin College and father of three children. Alongside co-host Jake Urquhart, he is also the creator of the Youtube series Digital Rapscallions, launched in 2014. Michael plays excessive amounts of video games and cosplaying Aiden Pearce for recreation.

Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn | Digital Rapscallions | Who is Aiden Pearce? (Watch_Dogs Wiki)

Two Girls, a Boy, and Their Gaming Dad

This blog is not about video game violence or how games make kids into serial killers. I have my own opinions on that, but that is not the point of these posts.

When I was young I played video games relentlessly. They were my TV, my movies, my entertainment. I was so good at playing games that not one of my friends could consistently beat me at them, to the point where people refused to play with me. (Thank god for online suckers - I mean, opponents.)

I beat Super Mario 3 47 times in a row to try to figure out if there was anything besides P-Wings at the end.

Years passed, I got older, and now I'm the father of three children. I'm still a game addict, but I'm also the ESRB of the house: If, after playing a game myself, I feel it's too violent or inappropriate for them, I lay down the law. My wife, also a gamer but more in the MMO universe, generally leaves the gaming world up to me.

My son is 12 years old. He's like me, always playing video games (during appropriately scheduled times) and always wanting to join me on the same game I'm currently interested in. We've played a lot of different games, and he's got this grim determination to surpass me. It's cute.

My middle daughter is 10 years old. She's the creative one of the list. Always running around playing games that invoke creativity. She's not one for competition; she's a co-op girl at heart.

My youngest child is eight (as of October!), and she is the big Nintendo fan of the family. Although she won't openly admit it, she's a huge Mario fan. Like her sister, she's also into creative games but not as much. She's a big music buff, so dancing games are her thing.

Video games are something we share in this family, either competitively or cooperatively. From games like Hyrule Warriors to Minecraft, World of Warcraft to Mario Kart, Watch_Dogs to Just Dance... we play 'em all.

In my next few posts, I'm going to post some interactions between the kids and I on specific video games we've played together. I'm hoping, over the next little while, this blog gives insight into at least one family who plays video games together as a means of entertainment.

My oldest hero

My oldest hero

My middle artist

My middle artist

My youngest dancer

My youngest dancer


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Michael Belkie

Michael Belkie is a student in the Professional Writing Program at Algonquin College and father of three children. Alongside co-host Jake Urquhart, he is also the creator of the Youtube series Digital Rapscallions, launched in 2014. Michael plays excessive amounts of video games and cosplaying Aiden Pearce for recreation.

Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn | Digital Rapscallions | Who is Aiden Pearce? (Watch_Dogs Wiki)