Tag Archives: sorceress

#blogchallenge: Fortune Cookie #16

by Lillian Csernica on May 16, 2018


Today’s fortune says:

Do not mistake temptation for opportunity.


Regina sat in the highest room atop the marble tower on the Isle of the Turquoise Clouds. In honor of the coming moment, she wore midnight blue velvet, her river of black hair swept up and held in place with clusters of diamonds. On the desk before her lay two pieces of parchment. On one, a list topped by the word Temptation. On the other, a similar list topped by the word Opportunity. She contemplated the words written beneath Temptation, inked in the blood of a rare night bird. Words of power. Words of warning. Dangerous words. As such, all the more attractive.

Beneath Opportunity lay words written in ink made of water from the Sacred Spring of Seven Rainbows mixed with the crushed petals of the Sunrise Lotus, which blossomed only on the morning of the first day of the New Year. Fortune favored the prepared mind. Regina had made her preparations with the greatest care. The decision that lay before her could alter destinies beyond the scope of her imagination, perhaps even beyond the reach of her dreams.

The first full moon of Spring hung round and bright. The night-blooming flowers raised their faces in its silvery light, loosing their fragrances upon the evening breeze. The constellations graced the heavens with their sparkling patterns. Regina read the lists again, then bent her head. A nod, a bow, a gesture of surrender to the ineffable powers of Chance and Fate.

The hourglass ran empty. The moment of decision had arrived.

At the base of the tower, the ship’s bell rang three times. Regina rose from the desk, taking one list with her. She walked to the ivory lattice gates that opened onto a shaft running the length of the tower. Summoning a turquoise cloud, Regina descended to the ground floor. She raised one hand and the heavy oaken door swung inward.

Before her stood a creature that came up to her shoulder. It wore a white shirt, blue lederhosen, black shoes with shiny buckles, and one of those ridiculous Robin Hood-style hats that failed to hide the creature’s pointed ears. On one small hand rested an oblong box wrapped in scarlet silk. On the other hand rested another oblong box wrapped in silk the blue of a perfect summer sky.

“The red,” Regina said.

“You are certain?” The creature’s high, reedy voice sounded like crickets. “The penalty is the loss of our deliveries for the remainder of your lifetime.”

“Do not presume to instruct me. The next decision I make could cause you considerable pain.”

The creature bowed. “As you wish.”

Regina took the scarlet box and unwrapped the silk. To choose Temptation was to risk everything she’d learned, everything she’d built. To choose Opportunity meant running the same risk, but the reward was tremendous.

The silk fell away, baring a box made of sturdy brown paper. She opened the end flaps. A tube of mirror-bright silver slid out onto her palm. Inside lay twenty-four discs of the finest baked confection known to any living being.

“Well chosen,” the creature said. “Few can penetrate the logic of the double-bluff.” It stepped back and made Regina another bow. “Until next year.”






Filed under Blog challenges, chocolate, creativity, fairy tales, fantasy, Fiction, Food, Humor, Lillian Csernica, nature, sword and sorcery, Writing

H for Hawk the Slayer

by Lillian Csernica on April 9, 2015

If I had to pick just one movie as the single worst sword & sorcery film ever made, the disjointed godawful mess that is Hawk the Slayer leaps immediately to mind.

Voltan (Jack Palance) is the bad guy, elder brother of Hawk (John Terry).  Voltan has killed not only Hawk’s wife but their father as well.  Voltan is determined to possess the “mindstone,” the sword, and rule over whatever patch of swamp these people call home.

As part of his evil scheme to force Hawk to give up the sword, Voltan kidnaps the Abbess and holds her for ransom.  A large portion of the movie is spent running in and out of this abbey, shooting the equivalent of sitting-at-the-inn scenes, and holding two battles there.  At some point Voltan’s son Drogo shows up.  He’s a chip off the old block, plotting against Voltan in what appears to be a fine family tradition.

Here’s a piece of Drogo’s dialogue, which indicates the general incoherence of the script:

“Now this must stay a secret between you and me. Not only will I bring back the head of this Hawk, but I’ll have the gold as well. Then Voltan will see who is the lord of the dance.”

The middle of the movie consists of Hawk running around gathering up his minions.  He ends up with a group straight out of bad AD&D fan fiction: an elf, a dwarf, a giant, the sorceress, and a guy named Ranulf.


Consider the cinematography.  It’s painfully obvious that of the magical disappearances of some characters are nothing more than a matter of stopping the camera, the actors leaving the frame, and starting up the camera again.  Then there’s the bargain basement trick of running the film backward, to say nothing of the “flashbacks” set at different point in Hawk’s life which were clearly all shot on the same set on the same day.

The so-called special effects are embarrassing.  There’s this movie’s magic sword, called “The Power.”  The pommel is a hand that grabs the “mindstone,” a chunk of crystal that enables Hawk to control the sword via telekinesis.  The sword is the only thing Hawk can move, because his face is locked into the same stony expression throughout the entire movie.


There’s the Glowing Hula Hoop of Doom.

My favorite, hands-down winner for the Cheesiest Special Effect of All Time, is the “magic” cast by the unnamed sorceress during the climactic battle.  She sticks her arm in through the doorway and somehow spews a steady stream of bright green Silly String at her target, covering the man’s head and shoulders.


For the grand finale, the final confrontation between good brother and bad brother, what could possibly be more appropriate than forty-five seconds of actual combat rendered in slow motion?

The ending is a lame attempt to inspire suspense and anticipation for the sequel, Hawk the Hunter.  Well gee, it’s been thirty-five years.  Somehow I don’t think that’s going to happen.




Filed under bad movies, Blog challenges, classics, fantasy, Goals, Horror, Humor, sword and sorcery