Tag Archives: dark

The Golden Lands, Volume 3, is now an eBook!—FREE TODAY ONLY!!!

Well, as promised (since yesterday), Volume 3 has officially been published at Smashwords!  Thus continues my series of fantasy/anime novellas.  I hope you enjoy this volume as much as I did writing it!  From what I’ve been told, the forte of Volume 3 is the action.  Of course, maybe you’ll think otherwise!

Here’s the link to Volume 3: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/569002

And let’s not forget that Volumes 1, 2, and 3 are all free today!!!!

Here’s an overview of Volume 3 to get you up to speed:

Copyright 2015 Clare Sceski
Copyright 2015 Clare Sceski

PLOT SUMMARY:

A name is being whispered throughout the northern region of the Golden Lands. And wherever it is whispered, death quickly follows. “Hedekira” is the only word voiced by the strange “ghost” who appears at random, causing chaos wherever he strikes. Neither John Hedekira nor his friends know why the ghost is after John…nor that they are going to be in the fight of their lives if they’re caught.

GENRE:

Fantasy/Action/Anime/Emotional


Thanks for all of your support and happy reading!

Praise God 😉

Dom

Another Book Ready to be Published!

Copyright 2015 Clare Sceski
Copyright 2015 Clare Sceski

It’s that time again 😀  The only left for me to do is press the “publish” button, and Volume 3 will officially be published at Smashwords!!!

Click here to read a post to discover what Volume 3 is all about!

Sure, it’ll take some time before it is distributed to other retailers, but in the meantime, I’m just relieved that I’ve finally gotten to this point.  That it’s finally time to publish yet again.  Make no mistake, publishing three books–whether you’re self publishing or not–is a tough thing to do.  And Volume 3, I must admit, has probably been harder to publish than Volume 2…for multiple reasons like formatting, editing, and polishing things off.  In short, completing this manuscript has been somewhat difficult.  But I’m glad that it’s finished and that I finally get to share it with you.

And, just so you know:

ALL THROUGHOUT TOMORROW, VOLUMES 1, 2 AND 3 WILL BE FREE AT SMASHWORDS.COM!

I believe that the occasion deserves a bit of celebration, and that includes a super nice discount for all of you faithful followers!

Thanks again for making this possible!

Praise God 😉


Dom

99 Copies

Hey all!  So I’ve officially had 99 people buy or download a volume of The Golden Lands.  Which means, obviously, that I’m one copy away from having reached 100!

Wanna’ be that person to help me hit a landmark?

Here’s an overview of Volume 1 and a few places you can get it (for free, too!).

PLOT SUMMARY:

The Golden Lands, one of the three worlds of Terra, is supposed to be a place of peace, light, and happiness. But the Golden Lands hasn’t exactly been such a place for John Hedekira, a jaded, hot-headed teenager. His parents disappear when he is thirteen, and he’s left to look after his younger sister and brother. One evening, John decides that he has had it with the distant, self-pitiful dispositions of his siblings, and resolves to shut them out of his life for good…or so he thinks. That same evening, a band of warriors of a dark race invade his home, kidnapping John’s siblings…and leaving him to bleed out on the floor of his own house. But John is not undone so easily. Compelled by his own hatred of the warriors that left him to die, and a sense of duty towards his siblings, John sets out on a quest for vengeance. Joining him is Faith Pinck, a caring, innocent girl who doesn’t yet understand the true motives behind John’s desire to track the evil band of warriors. And in the midst of their adventures as they journey to rescue John’s siblings, they begin to uncover a deeper, darker plot that will endeavor to collide the world of humanity with the world of an unholy, malicious, supernatural being.

WHERE YOU CAN FIND IT:

At Smashwords.com (free eBook download, available in multiple formats)

At Barnesandnoble.com (free eBook download as a Nook Book, or as a paperback [$5.99])

At iBooks (I think it’s either free or $2.99 here)

As a Kindle Version (99 cents)

At Amazon (paperback $5.99)

Thanks so much for all of your support.  It’s hard to be a self published author; it takes lots of time, lots of thinking, and lots of willpower.  Sometimes, we fall into lacking willpower.  Few things can better inspire me to keep on persevering than your support!  So thanks again.

Stay awesome.

Dom

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/Aul

The Clock is Ticking…

The countdown to the release of Volume 3 begins!  I haven’t exactly set a date for publication yet, but everything is just about ready!

Volume 3: The Ghost of Hedekira should be an exciting issue!  I had a bit of trouble at first with deciding what direction I should take Volume 3 in.  Originally, the plots of both Volume 3 and 4 were to be combined into a single book.  The plot which now stands as the focus of Volume 3 was supposed to give an exciting “middle” to the old Volume 3.  Instead, I decided that this “middle” part would be able to stand as its own novella.  And I’m glad I made that choice; it gave me so much more room to expand my world and develop my characters.  Not having to rush is pretty great!

Thus, the first story arc of The Golden Lands will end with Volume 4.  I have aptly dubbed this arc the “Soror and Frater” arc.  I guess I’m kinda alluding to the fact that, in Volume 4, John and his friends will finally face Nirak, and the quest for Soror and Frater will come to a conclusion.

Semi-spoiler, I know.

But you know what?  In order for Volume 3 to be ready, we needed to have the cover for Volume 4 so that it could go in the back of the third issue.

Would you like to see?  Here you go!

Copyright 2015 Clare Sceski
Copyright 2015 Clare Sceski

This is by far my favorite cover!  It’s simple, but it reveals a lot.

Let’s get artistic for a moment.  We can see, just by observing the covers, that John is undergoing radical, epic changes throughout the series.

Consider the cover for Volume 1:

Copyright 2015 Clare Sceski
Copyright 2015 Clare Sceski

Here we see John, lying in a pool of his own blood.  He looks weak; he looks helpless.   His eyes are all big, and the fear is evident on his face.  He even looks a little on the younger side.

Now look again at the cover for Volume 4.  His sword is brandished, he’s standing at the ready, and his cloak is flapping awesomely in the imaginary breeze.  Instead of worry and fear, his face is showing evident determination.  And his eyes are narrowed with courage and sincerity.  What’s more, he looks tall, powerful, and more mature.

To a degree, he almost looks like a different person.

Lots of good stuff happening in The Golden Lands!  I’m happy to announce that I’m six books away from having sold a hundred copies!

Keep up the support; it really means a lot to me.  And thanks to all who have already purchased/downloaded Volumes 1 and 2!

Your Author,

Dom

(Praise God)

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/Aul

Btw, Volume 1 is still a free download at Smashwords!!!

Whoopsie!

Sorry I haven’t posted in so long everyone!  I’ve been pretty busy working on polishing off Volume 3 and writing Volume 4.  Also, because I always put the cover of the next book into the current book, my sister and I have been drawing the cover for Volume 4…which, by the way, is definitely going to be the most amazing cover yet!

Here’s an overview of Volume 3!

Copyright 2015 Clare Sceski
Copyright 2015 Clare Sceski

PLOT SUMMARY

A name is being whispered throughout the northern region of the Golden Lands.  And wherever it is whispered, death quickly follows.  “Hedekira” is the only word voiced by the strange “ghost” who appears at random, causing chaos wherever he strikes.  Neither John Hedekira nor his friends know why the ghost is after John…nor that they are going to be in the fight of their lives if they’re caught.

EXCERPT!!!

NOTE: Karr is not the Ghost of Hedekira


I dislodge my sword and stand, groaning again.  “You know this guy?” I ask Faith.

“Karr?” she says to the bandit.

The thief removes his mask, still keeping his eyes on Faith.  “Yeah,” he affirms, revealing his face.

My gaze switches from Faith to Karr, who are still regarding each other with a look of confusion.  This is an awkward moment.  “Uh, so how do you know each other?” I ask.

“John,” Faith says, eyeing the bandit suspiciously, “this is my brother, Karr.”

Understanding floods my mind for a moment, but then I’m confused too.  Faith told me she has two older brothers, but she said they both got married and were living as farmers like their parents.  I get why Faith is surprised.  “What are you doing here?” Karr asks.

“What are you doing here?” questions Faith.

Karr frowns with annoyance, as if he’s disappointed with her reply.

“I’m helping my friend rescue his little siblings from a band of Evil,” Faith declares.  Then she asks again, “So why are you here?”

Karr grimaces, lowering his gaze, when a female thief speaks from the roof above us, “Sir, we’ve acquired our projected spoils.  Do you want us to clear out?”

“Yeah,” Karr says.

“Would you like to take prisoners?” the woman inquires.

Karr’s eyes alight on me and Faith.  “Just two,” he says flatly.

Bernard comes running up to us from my right.  “Faith, are you okay?” he says.

“Make that three,” Karr recants.  The woman nods and then flits away.

“Karr, what do you mean?” Faith exclaims.

Karr turns and walks away slowly.  Five bandits drop from the roofs around us and replace him, and one of them warns, “Don’t resist.”

Bernard and I exchange a glance.  We don’t know if we can take them, and we don’t know if we want to.  We drop our weapons and raise our hands.  Then the thieves come forward, and they bind our hands.  I don’t know if this is a good idea.  I don’t exactly trust Faith’s brother.  I mean, he was just pillaging a village.  And now he’s leaving it in ruins.  “What’s going on, Faith?” I murmur to my friend.

“I don’t know,” she replies stiffly.  But her demeanor says it all.  She’s going to get to the bottom of this.


I hope you guys are excited!  Volume 3, I’ve been told, has the best, most well-choreographed fight scenes in the whole series so far!!!

Your Author,

Dom

My personal interview as an author

Bleach: The Hollowfication Question

Number one pic

Sometimes we see this when the main character of a story is fighting against an enemy of seemingly unsurpassable might; with no other power to turn to, the main character resorts to teaming up with evil in order to defeat evil.  And maybe, maybe, he’ll even draw his strength from this person or source of evil.

BACKGROUND OF BLEACH

(If you already know all of this, I would encourage you to skip to the section in bold which reads “The Question”)

Ichigo Kurosaki is such a main character.  The manga and anime Bleach is easily one of the most popular Japanese comics and television shows out there, particularly in the shonen (boys) category.  The story follows the adventures of fifteen year-old Ichigo Kurosaki, who becomes a Soul Reaper in order to protect his family from the hunger of a Hollow: a fallen soul/spirit of the underworld.

Ichigo as a Soul Reaper battles a Hollow
Ichigo as a Soul Reaper battles a Hollow

Ichigo is plunged into a life of protecting innocent souls from Hollows, as instructed by Rukia Kuchiki, the Soul Reaper that gave him his powers as a Soul Reaper.  Soul Reapers have the duty of saving souls from Hollows, sending those souls to the Soul Society, and purifying the Hollows so that they too may be admitted to the Soul Society.

THE ZANPAKUTO

Every sword that a Soul Reaper has—called a “zanpakuto”—possesses a spirit in itself.  This spirit, in both its form and personality/countenance, is a reflection of the Soul Reaper that wields the zanpakuto.  There is also an element of mystery encompassing the nature of the spirit which is within every zanpakuto.

The spirit of Ichigo's zanpakuto, Zangetsu
The spirit of Ichigo’s zanpakuto, Zangetsu

These spirits have minds of their own; and although they cooperate with their Soul Reaper in order to further the advancement of power their Soul Reaper is able to unleash, sometimes the spirits might endeavor to control their Soul Reaper.

Once a person becomes a Soul Reaper and possesses a zanpakuto, his soul becomes intertwined or merged with the spirit that fills his sword.  The Soul Reaper draws strength from his zanpakuto, and the spirit of the zanpakuto teaches the Soul Reaper how to wield and unlock the power that the spirit possesses.  This bond between Soul Reaper and zanpakuto is intense.

Which is why, if a Soul Reaper isn’t careful, the spirit of his zanpakuto might turn on him.

THE HOLLOW WITHIN

Ichigo's inner Hollow is exactly like Ichigo but all light and darkness is reversed
Ichigo’s inner Hollow is exactly like Ichigo but all the light and darkness of his appearance is reversed

Ichigo’s zanpakuto, and the spirit accompanying it, is named Zangetsu.  Originally unknown to Ichigo, there is another side to Zangetsu—a darker side.  Zangetsu is one with a Hollow; they are the same person, but one side is good while the other is evil.

The evil side of Zangetsu was said to have been “born” when Kiskue Urahara—Ichigo’s hippy-of-a-mentor—forced Ichigo into regaining his Soul Reaper powers by using a method called “Encroachment”.  Encroachment caused Ichigo to run the line between turning into a Hollow himself, or becoming a Soul Reaper (since he had lost his power as a Soul Reaper).  The result on the surface appeared to be that he became a Soul Reaper again—clean, plain and simple.  However, underlying his transformation was the merging of Zangetsu with Ichigo’s inner Hollow, who was brought about by Encroachment—as a side effect, so to speak.

Ichigo's Hollow mask begins to form as he undergoes Encroachment
Ichigo’s Hollow mask begins to form as he undergoes Encroachment

Yet, it proved to be a much bigger “side effect” than Ichigo expected.  When Ichigo battles Byakuya Kuchiki, captain of Squad Six of the Thirteen Court Guard Squads, in order to save Rukia from being executed, Ichigo is suddenly possessed by his inner Hollow.  The Hollow saves Ichigo’s life, but states that Ichigo is too weak to be using Zangetsu/himself.  At the time, Ichigo is unaware that the Hollow and Zangetsu are the same person.

Ichigo is possessed by his Hollow as he fights Captain Kuchiki
Ichigo is possessed by his Hollow as he fights Captain Kuchiki

Ichigo regains control of himself.  But ever since his battle with Captain Kuchiki and his possession by his inner Hollow, Ichigo is now always subconsciously aware of the Hollow within himself.  And the Hollow wants to come out—to control and possess Ichigo.  The struggle to maintain control of his own body and soul steadily grows more intense for Ichigo.

At the same time, Ichigo’s enemies become greater too.  After Ichigo saves Rukia from being executed in the Soul Society, Captain Aizen of Squad Five rebels against the Soul Society.  Aizen is incredibly powerful, and he plans to completely wipe out Ichigo’s hometown and kill the king of the Soul Society.  Aizen is also surrounded by an army of Arrancars—Hollows with the abilities of Soul Reapers—and the Espada, who are high-ranking, super strong Arrancars.  These Arrancars, along with Aizen himself, present a huge threat to Ichigo, his friends, and both the members of the Real World and the Soul Society.

Aizen in all of his evil glory
Aizen in all of his evil glory

Ichigo knows he isn’t powerful enough to defend everyone he cares about.  What’s more, whenever he fights and uses more of his own spiritual power, the chances of him being possessed by his inner Hollow skyrocket.  His resolve being torn down by the emerging of his inner Hollow, and the threat of exceedingly strong enemies, leaves Ichigo confused and unsure of how he can protect his friends.

THE VISOREDS

Shinji and the rest of the Visored crew
Shinji and the rest of the Visored crew

Shinji Hirako, along with his team of rogue Soul Reapers, invite Ichigo to become a Visored; a Soul Reaper that learns to subdue, control, and use the power of his inner Hollow.  They are called Visoreds for the Hollow masks they wear, which are the center of their power.  If Ichigo learns how to control his inner Hollow and use its power, he’ll gain an immense amount of spiritual strength.  Without the knowledge of how to maintain his inner Hollow, and facing the danger of Aizen and his Arrancars, Ichigo turns to the Visoreds for assistance.

In the end, Ichigo goes within himself and battles his Hollow, defeating the dark form of Zangetsu and therefore being able to harness his energy.  The Visoreds continue with his training, and Ichigo gradually learns to control and use his inner Hollow.  The more he battles, the more power he possesses, and the more he relies on using “Hollowfication” as the source of his might.

THE QUESTION

Is it right for Ichigo to resort to using the power of his inner Hollow for the sake of fighting Aizen and saving his friends?  Zangetsu, or the dark side of Zangetsu, is clearly something evil by nature.  His appearance, his motives, his methods—everything about Ichigo’s inner Hollow possesses some sense of malice and morbidity.  Ichigo fights his Hollow and conquers it.  Nonetheless, the Hollow doesn’t go away; instead, he allows Ichigo to draw power from him.  This power is clearly something dark; Ichigo joins with the evil-side of his soul in order to produce intense spiritual attacks.

So, what’s wrong with this picture?

In order to answer the question of whether it is right to use evil to fight evil, we need to look at the situation from a logical perspective.  All of this can be simplified by this basic moral truth:

The end doesn’t justify the means.

This logical statement works could be explained with this example: Say a man wants to become rich.  Becoming rich is the “end”.  Let’s say further that the man’s “means” of achieving his “end”—becoming rich—is robbing a bank.

The example with the man is similar to Ichigo’s: both ends are good.  Ichigo wants to protect his friends and save the world; the man wants to become rich.  Nothing is wrong there.  But if we say that “the end justifies the means”, then, according to that statement, any means found necessary is “okay”.  Why?  Because the end, in-and-of-itself, is something good.  However, we can see that this is flawed from a moral perspective.  Just because the end is good, that doesn’t mean it’s right to reach the end using immoral means.  That’s a problem.  We could win all wars by torturing the enemy’s citizens until the enemy surrenders—winning a war: good; torturing people to do it: bad.  (#lameexample…I know)

So here’s where the truth comes in: The means justifies the end.

This is a logical/moral principle that encourages people to build good upon good.  A good means should bring about a good end.  Let’s go back to the man that wants to be rich, but make the example different; now his means is getting a job and working hard, and watching his everyday budget: good.  The end?  He becomes rich: good.  That’s the way it’s supposed to work.  Not everybody will become rich, of course, if they work hard and watch their budget.  But you get the idea.

But then, what’s wrong with Ichigo?  What’s wrong with his means?

The main thing wrong with the story, in that Ichigo obtains his source of strength from his inner Hollow, is that the line between what’s good and what’s evil becomes blurred.  Ichigo takes on the form of something evil, bringing down his own good character, for the sake of something good.  This can lead some people into confusion: is that what heroes do?  They join themselves with evil to do good?  Do heroes turn into monsters or evil spirits for the sake of what’s right?

The answer is simple.

And ah: monsters and evil spirits don’t do what’s right.

“No, but Ichigo does.”

In a sense, Ichigo does do something good.  After all, his end is pure.  But his means is not.  Evil doesn’t produce good.  We can become stronger through dealing with a form of evil that surrounds or threatens us.  But evil is never the producer of good.

This might sound like a story from the Bible, to some viewers.  Joseph, the son of Jacob, (the one with the swagged-out, colored-cloak) is sold by his brothers into slavery to the Egyptians: bad.  However, he rises through the ranks of Egypt to become second-in-command and help his family in a time of famine: good.  The “bad” stuff—being sold into slavery—didn’t produce the good—Joseph becoming second-in-command and helping his family.  In the story, God gave Joseph a way to react to the evil, so to speak; a loophole.  But the evil didn’t create the good.

Nevertheless, Ichigo clearly endeavors to do the opposite.  He draws upon the power of evil and assumes an evil form itself.  A flaw, or falsity, therefore, corrupts the nature of the story of BleachBleach, whether or not the author Tite Kubo intended this, preaches that we can reach into ourselves and pull out our “inner Hollow” and use it for good.

If we think about it, we can see how this negatively morphs society’s perception of heroism.  If Ichigo is equated with being a hero—the one who “defeats the bad guy”—and at the same time is merged with a form of evil, isn’t there a chance those people that look up to Ichigo will think it is right to merge with evil to produce good?  To the people of the anime world, Bleach is saying, in however an indirect way, that the face of a hero…well, may indeed look like this:

Ichigo in his "Hollowfied" form
Ichigo in his “Hollowfied” form

The face of something good is portrayed using the face of evil…doesn’t this seem twisted in any way?  Doesn’t that bother you, or seem wrong?

Ichigo’s means? Using evil.

Ichigo’s end? Saving his friends and the world.

Logical? No.

Moral? No.

The means justifies the end, not the other way round.


Tell me what you think and share your thoughts…I’m really looking forward to hearing your take on this!

Dom

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/Aul

P.S. Through the end of July only, my eBooks are free at Smashwords.com!

P.P.S. Just a shout-out to my really smart dad who helped me with all of this logic and philosophy 🙂  You know your stuff, Dad!

Bleach: The Hollowfication Question

Number one pic

Sometimes we see this when the main character of a story is fighting against an enemy of seemingly unsurpassable might; with no other power to turn to, the main character resorts to teaming up with evil in order to defeat evil.  And maybe, maybe, he’ll even draw his strength from this person or source of evil.

BACKGROUND OF BLEACH

(If you already know all of this, I would encourage you to skip to the section in bold which reads “The Question”)

Ichigo Kurosaki is such a main character.  The manga and anime Bleach is easily one of the most popular Japanese comics and television shows out there, particularly in the shonen (boys) category.  The story follows the adventures of fifteen year-old Ichigo Kurosaki, who becomes a Soul Reaper in order to protect his family from the hunger of a Hollow: a fallen soul/spirit of the underworld.

Ichigo as a Soul Reaper battles a Hollow
Ichigo as a Soul Reaper battles a Hollow

Ichigo is plunged into a life of protecting innocent souls from Hollows, as instructed by Rukia Kuchiki, the Soul Reaper that gave him his powers as a Soul Reaper.  Soul Reapers have the duty of saving souls from Hollows, sending those souls to the Soul Society, and purifying the Hollows so that they too may be admitted to the Soul Society.

THE ZANPAKUTO

Every sword that a Soul Reaper has—called a “zanpakuto”—possesses a spirit in itself.  This spirit, in both its form and personality/countenance, is a reflection of the Soul Reaper that wields the zanpakuto.  There is also an element of mystery encompassing the nature of the spirit which is within every zanpakuto.

The spirit of Ichigo's zanpakuto, Zangetsu
The spirit of Ichigo’s zanpakuto, Zangetsu

These spirits have minds of their own; and although they cooperate with their Soul Reaper in order to further the advancement of power their Soul Reaper is able to unleash, sometimes the spirits might endeavor to control their Soul Reaper.

Once a person becomes a Soul Reaper and possesses a zanpakuto, his soul becomes intertwined or merged with the spirit that fills his sword.  The Soul Reaper draws strength from his zanpakuto, and the spirit of the zanpakuto teaches the Soul Reaper how to wield and unlock the power that the spirit possesses.  This bond between Soul Reaper and zanpakuto is intense.

Which is why, if a Soul Reaper isn’t careful, the spirit of his zanpakuto might turn on him.

THE HOLLOW WITHIN

Ichigo's inner Hollow is exactly like Ichigo but all light and darkness is reversed
Ichigo’s inner Hollow is exactly like Ichigo but all the light and darkness of his appearance is reversed

Ichigo’s zanpakuto, and the spirit accompanying it, is named Zangetsu.  Originally unknown to Ichigo, there is another side to Zangetsu—a darker side.  Zangetsu is one with a Hollow; they are the same person, but one side is good while the other is evil.

The evil side of Zangetsu was said to have been “born” when Kiskue Urahara—Ichigo’s hippy-of-a-mentor—forced Ichigo into regaining his Soul Reaper powers by using a method called “Encroachment”.  Encroachment caused Ichigo to run the line between turning into a Hollow himself, or becoming a Soul Reaper (since he had lost his power as a Soul Reaper).  The result on the surface appeared to be that he became a Soul Reaper again—clean, plain and simple.  However, underlying his transformation was the merging of Zangetsu with Ichigo’s inner Hollow, who was brought about by Encroachment—as a side effect, so to speak.

Ichigo's Hollow mask begins to form as he undergoes Encroachment
Ichigo’s Hollow mask begins to form as he undergoes Encroachment

Yet, it proved to be a much bigger “side effect” than Ichigo expected.  When Ichigo battles Byakuya Kuchiki, captain of Squad Six of the Thirteen Court Guard Squads, in order to save Rukia from being executed, Ichigo is suddenly possessed by his inner Hollow.  The Hollow saves Ichigo’s life, but states that Ichigo is too weak to be using Zangetsu/himself.  At the time, Ichigo is unaware that the Hollow and Zangetsu are the same person.

Ichigo is possessed by his Hollow as he fights Captain Kuchiki
Ichigo is possessed by his Hollow as he fights Captain Kuchiki

Ichigo regains control of himself.  But ever since his battle with Captain Kuchiki and his possession by his inner Hollow, Ichigo is now always subconsciously aware of the Hollow within himself.  And the Hollow wants to come out—to control and possess Ichigo.  The struggle to maintain control of his own body and soul steadily grows more intense for Ichigo.

At the same time, Ichigo’s enemies become greater too.  After Ichigo saves Rukia from being executed in the Soul Society, Captain Aizen of Squad Five rebels against the Soul Society.  Aizen is incredibly powerful, and he plans to completely wipe out Ichigo’s hometown and kill the king of the Soul Society.  Aizen is also surrounded by an army of Arrancars—Hollows with the abilities of Soul Reapers—and the Espada, who are high-ranking, super strong Arrancars.  These Arrancars, along with Aizen himself, present a huge threat to Ichigo, his friends, and both the members of the Real World and the Soul Society.

Aizen in all of his evil glory
Aizen in all of his evil glory

Ichigo knows he isn’t powerful enough to defend everyone he cares about.  What’s more, whenever he fights and uses more of his own spiritual power, the chances of him being possessed by his inner Hollow skyrocket.  His resolve being torn down by the emerging of his inner Hollow, and the threat of exceedingly strong enemies, leaves Ichigo confused and unsure of how he can protect his friends.

THE VISOREDS

Shinji and the rest of the Visored crew
Shinji and the rest of the Visored crew

Shinji Hirako, along with his team of rogue Soul Reapers, invite Ichigo to become a Visored; a Soul Reaper that learns to subdue, control, and use the power of his inner Hollow.  They are called Visoreds for the Hollow masks they wear, which are the center of their power.  If Ichigo learns how to control his inner Hollow and use its power, he’ll gain an immense amount of spiritual strength.  Without the knowledge of how to maintain his inner Hollow, and facing the danger of Aizen and his Arrancars, Ichigo turns to the Visoreds for assistance.

In the end, Ichigo goes within himself and battles his Hollow, defeating the dark form of Zangetsu and therefore being able to harness his energy.  The Visoreds continue with his training, and Ichigo gradually learns to control and use his inner Hollow.  The more he battles, the more power he possesses, and the more he relies on using “Hollowfication” as the source of his might.

THE QUESTION

Is it right for Ichigo to resort to using the power of his inner Hollow for the sake of fighting Aizen and saving his friends?  Zangetsu, or the dark side of Zangetsu, is clearly something evil by nature.  His appearance, his motives, his methods—everything about Ichigo’s inner Hollow possesses some sense of malice and morbidity.  Ichigo fights his Hollow and conquers it.  Nonetheless, the Hollow doesn’t go away; instead, he allows Ichigo to draw power from him.  This power is clearly something dark; Ichigo joins with the evil-side of his soul in order to produce intense spiritual attacks.

So, what’s wrong with this picture?

In order to answer the question of whether it is right to use evil to fight evil, we need to look at the situation from a logical perspective.  All of this can be simplified by this basic moral truth:

The end doesn’t justify the means.

This logical statement works could be explained with this example: Say a man wants to become rich.  Becoming rich is the “end”.  Let’s say further that the man’s “means” of achieving his “end”—becoming rich—is robbing a bank.

The example with the man is similar to Ichigo’s: both ends are good.  Ichigo wants to protect his friends and save the world; the man wants to become rich.  Nothing is wrong there.  But if we say that “the end justifies the means”, then, according to that statement, any means found necessary is “okay”.  Why?  Because the end, in-and-of-itself, is something good.  However, we can see that this is flawed from a moral perspective.  Just because the end is good, that doesn’t mean it’s right to reach the end using immoral means.  That’s a problem.  We could win all wars by torturing the enemy’s citizens until the enemy surrenders—winning a war: good; torturing people to do it: bad.  (#lameexample…I know)

So here’s where the truth comes in: The means justifies the end.

This is a logical/moral principle that encourages people to build good upon good.  A good means should bring about a good end.  Let’s go back to the man that wants to be rich, but make the example different; now his means is getting a job and working hard, and watching his everyday budget: good.  The end?  He becomes rich: good.  That’s the way it’s supposed to work.  Not everybody will become rich, of course, if they work hard and watch their budget.  But you get the idea.

But then, what’s wrong with Ichigo?  What’s wrong with his means?

The main thing wrong with the story, in that Ichigo obtains his source of strength from his inner Hollow, is that the line between what’s good and what’s evil becomes blurred.  Ichigo takes on the form of something evil, bringing down his own good character, for the sake of something good.  This can lead some people into confusion: is that what heroes do?  They join themselves with evil to do good?  Do heroes turn into monsters or evil spirits for the sake of what’s right?

The answer is simple.

And ah: monsters and evil spirits don’t do what’s right.

“No, but Ichigo does.”

In a sense, Ichigo does do something good.  After all, his end is pure.  But his means is not.  Evil doesn’t produce good.  We can become stronger through dealing with a form of evil that surrounds or threatens us.  But evil is never the producer of good.

This might sound like a story from the Bible, to some viewers.  Joseph, the son of Jacob, (the one with the swagged-out, colored-cloak) is sold by his brothers into slavery to the Egyptians: bad.  However, he rises through the ranks of Egypt to become second-in-command and help his family in a time of famine: good.  The “bad” stuff—being sold into slavery—didn’t produce the good—Joseph becoming second-in-command and helping his family.  In the story, God gave Joseph a way to react to the evil, so to speak; a loophole.  But the evil didn’t create the good.

Nevertheless, Ichigo clearly endeavors to do the opposite.  He draws upon the power of evil and assumes an evil form itself.  A flaw, or falsity, therefore, corrupts the nature of the story of BleachBleach, whether or not the author Tite Kubo intended this, preaches that we can reach into ourselves and pull out our “inner Hollow” and use it for good.

If we think about it, we can see how this negatively morphs society’s perception of heroism.  If Ichigo is equated with being a hero—the one who “defeats the bad guy”—and at the same time is merged with a form of evil, isn’t there a chance those people that look up to Ichigo will think it is right to merge with evil to produce good?  To the people of the anime world, Bleach is saying, in however an indirect way, that the face of a hero…well, may indeed look like this:

Ichigo in his "Hollowfied" form
Ichigo in his “Hollowfied” form

The face of something good is portrayed using the face of evil…doesn’t this seem twisted in any way?  Doesn’t that bother you, or seem wrong?

Ichigo’s means? Using evil.

Ichigo’s end? Saving his friends and the world.

Logical? No.

Moral? No.

The means justifies the end, not the other way round.


Tell me what you think and share your thoughts…I’m really looking forward to hearing your take on this!

Dom

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/Aul

P.S. Through the end of July only, my eBooks are free at Smashwords.com!

P.P.S. Just a shout-out to my really smart dad who helped me with all of this logic and philosophy 🙂  You know your stuff, Dad!

Special Sale on Volume 2!

BUM-BUM-BUM BUM!!!! 

TODAY AND TOMORROW ONLY (UNLESS I FORGET TO CHANGE IT BACK) VOLUME 2 IS ONLY $0.99.

(Smashwords, Nook, and iTunes versions only [and it might take a few hours for the price to change at Barnes and Noble])

Want a preview?  Okay!  I’m just going to assume that you do because no good salesman waits for a reply 🙂

And you know that you do.

😀

Copyright 2015 Clare Sceski
Copyright 2015 Clare Sceski

PLOT SUMMARY:

John and Faith now know the plot of the Evil that kidnapped Soror and Frater, John’s little sister and brother; they, along with a host of other humans, are to be sacrificed to the ominous god of death. Meanwhile, Faith is realizing the true, dark nature of John’s desire to hunt the Evil. Can she stop him before his thirst for vengeance consumes him…or will it consume her instead?

SNEAK PEEK:

PROTAGONIST: FAITH PINCK

I step behind my tree and run.  As I do, I see an arrow whiz over my head, and my heart jumps.  “That was close,” I think, swallowing.  Ahead of me, I see a tree with big roots next to a little ditch, and preceding it is about twenty feet of open forest.  Perfect!  I can bunker down behind the tree, and the Evil will have to come out into the open to get me.  For a moment, I feel a glimmer of hope.

Then an arrow zips right past me, the same height as my heart, and it hits the tree I’m heading for.  I jump behind the tree, landing on my knees, and I stab four arrows into the side of the ditch as fast as I can.  Then I look up, searching for the beasts, but mainly for him.

I see him.  I immediately look away and load an arrow, shooting one Evil down as he enters the clearing, and then another.  The other beasts shuffle behind trees, and once again I glance at the archer.  I grunt with alarm, and fling myself to the side in the direction of my tree.  As if time suddenly slows, I watch the archer’s missile fly through my hair as I dodge.  When I’m successfully being covered by the wood, I reach to my left and grab the two arrows stuck in the ground and rise.  I’m breathing more heavily than I should be, and my mind is too frantic to devise a plan.  I hear the Evil rushing this way from behind their cover.  I nock and arrow and peek out from behind my tree, and I fire.  I can’t seem to focus; I’m too afraid—too jumpy.  The projectile only hits my target in the thigh.  Why is what I saw bothering me so much, when I glanced at the archer?

He was smiling.

My pursuers are growing too close.  I rise and run.  Now I know why I’m so afraid; why this archer petrifies me.  It’s his confidence; he and all these beasts.  They don’t fear me.  They know they can kill me.  It’s their own certainty that makes me lose mine.

The ground dips in front of me, and I see that I’m approaching a large gully, a giant, empty bowl in the forest.  I reason as I dart forward that if I go into the gully, the Evil will have a hard time approaching me.  I hop onto my butt as I reach the edge of the gully and slide down to the center, careful not to stab myself with the arrow I’m carrying.  I get to my feet and turn to face my enemies, fitting the arrow in my hand to my bowstring.  I look up and see that one Evil is already descending the gully.  I aim and shoot, killing the monster with a chest-shot.  I release a breath of confidence as I reload, and I shoot another Evil in the stomach as he arrives at the top of the ravine.  “Okay,” I think as I reach back into my quiver for another arrow, “maybe I can do this!”


Tell me if you enjoyed this!

Dom

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/Aul

Volume 3 Cover

I guess I should apologize for keeping you guys in the dark about this.  The cover for Volume 3: The Ghost of Hedekira, has been finished for quite some time now!  I never got around to revealing the cover, however.  If you’ve purchased and finished Volume 2, then you’ve technically already seen Volume 3’s cover, because I always put the cover for the next book in the back of the book you’re reading.  (Confusing, I know…)

So, after a lot of ups and downs and modifications, here’s the cover for Volume 3!

Copyright 2015 Clare Sceski
Copyright 2015 Clare Sceski

As can be blatantly seen, this volume possesses a sense of mystery and intensity.  I’m not going to release a plot summary yet, as I want to give some of you time to finish Volumes 1 and 2.  But, as I’m hoping you can tell, Volume 3 is going to be very exciting!

Any thoughts?  Which cover do you like the best so far?  I’d love to know!

Just a reminder that Volume 1 is still a free download at Smashwords, Barnes and Nobles, and the iTunes store!

Dom

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/Aul

Volume 2 Paperback Copy XD

oh yeah

Guess what came in the mail???  The paperback copy of Volume 2!!!   I’m really excited…everything looks perfect.  This means that it’ll be ready for Amazon very shortly.   Unfortunately, I made the same mistake with Volume 2 as I did with Volume 1.  I forgot to change in the document “published at Smashwords” to “published at Createspace”.  Oh well…it should be an easy fix.

I’m sure you’re dying for a picture…

vol 2 paperback

Everything is looking good.  I also made this cover the “coming up next” picture at the back of Volume 1…only for the paperback.  Smashwords won’t let me do it for the eBook.  But I’m okay with that now.

Thanks for being such great followers!

Dom

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/Aul