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Robert (Parma Hts.) Adult | Rishikesh (Middleburg Hts.) Gr. K-3 | Valerie (Cleveland) Adult  | Leo (Bay Village) Gr. K-3  | Hunter (Brook Park) Gr. K-3  Jordan (Brook Park) Gr. K-3|  Sean (Moreland Hills) Adult  | Ethan (Medina) Gr.4-8Zihao (Beachwood) Gr.4-8  | Michael (Stow) Adult      


United States Armed Forces

This is a reminder of our nation's Armed Forces, past and present. Always ready to defend our Country. Strong, proud Americans giving their all.

Robert S, Parma Heights (Adult) 


The Knight and Dragon

Once upon a time, there was a valiant knight. He was going to fight a fire breathing dragon!

The valiant knight was prepared to fight a clever, flying,winged, fire breathing dragon to protect his kingdom. He went down to the forest and through the woods where there was an enormous cave.

He went into the cave, and he tried to defeat the dragon several times. But, he failed every time he tried.

Then one day the valiant knight went into the enormous cave and the fire breathing dragon was about to burn the knight! But he used his shield and blocked the fire attack.Then he attacked by hitting the fire breathing dragon with his diamond sword several times while they were inside the enormous cave. When he got out the cave he was exhausted and the knight went home. He told his people that he won in the battle and the dragon would never bother them again.

Rishikesh S, Middleburg Heights (Grades K-3)       


Inescapable

"Keep your friends close,
And your enemies closer"
That's easy
When your only enemy is
Yourself.

Valerie G, Cleveland (Adult)

Declaration {from} Independence

Not close. Not pause,
Herein mine clause
Belie mine cause hereto:
FREED! from speech
FREED! from choice
FREED! from all and every voice;
FREED from freedom!
Seditiously:
Freed from all
And freed from
Me.

Valerie G, Cleveland (Adult)  


A Knight and His Dog

Once upon a time there was a knight named Joey. He was heading to serve the Lord Glatator in Candy Land. On the way Joey met a dog. The dog went along with Joey. He named him Flacks but someone had caught Flacks! Joey saw them take Flacks.

They were taking him to the Phenix King. Joey's arch enemy but he had a castle. They were going to put a trap so Joey could save Flacks. Joey needed Flacks, his best friend so he went there with his troops. The dark castle was in front of Candy Land. Joey and his troops had a huge fight and the troops got Flacks! It's down to a showdown.

Joey and Phenix King they fighted. In the fight, Flacks almost got dumped in acid. Then Flacks gave Joey the acid and dumped it on the King. Joey felt happy. They they went to the Candy Land Castle.

When the Lord said, "You have done well, Joey. We are having ceremony, you coming to it?"

"Shore" said Joey. Joey and Flacks were excited. They're gonna have fun. They were at the arcade, carnavial, movie theater and candy angels.

Leo S, Bay Village (Grades K-3)  


The Lost Knight

Once upon a time there was a knight. One day, he was at the castle, and the kingdom was being raided! He was still asleep until he heard his king yell, “Attack!” Then he awoke, sprung on his horse, and he was off!

He was chasing one of the raiders through the forest, but he lost him. He became lost in the forest.. by himself. “Hello!?” he said, and his voice echoed in the distance.  He saw something through the trees, but it was just a deer.  “HELLO!?” he yelled once again. But there was no answer. He knew he was lost... until he could find a way out.

And legends say, he was never heard from again.

526 years later, he was found dead by scientists. For some reason, he was still in one piece. His skin was preserved. They took him to their lab, and found out that a sharp blade was piercing through his rib cage. Luckily, they got the blade out. Then they repaired his rib cage. He had a lot of cuts on his skin, so they put bandages on the parts that were injured. They waited two weeks and the cuts were gone. They tried to give him some sort of medicine through an IV to bring him back to life, but no matter how many times they tried, it didn’t work. Finally, they gave up. And they were never able to bring him back to life.

Hunter B, Brook Park (Grades K-3)      


Knights Versus The Dragon

Once upon a time there was a knight in shiny armor named Arthur. He was very brave. One morning he woke up at 8:00 A.M. Brave knights need sleep because they have a very important job. A few hours later, another fellow knight named Robert, who was pretty brave as well, took his horse for a ride.

When he went over a few hills, he came to a mountain in the plains. A very big mountain. Every knight, but a few, knew what was inside the cave at the top. There was a fire breathing dragon in that cave! Every knight was afraid of the fire breathing dragon. Robert was one of the knights that did not know about it. Robert went to explore the cave and he stepped on the dragon’s tail. He woke up the dragon. He noticed the angry dragon and ordered his horse to run fast back to the castle. The dragon chased after Robert to the castle!

Once Robert got back he told the king. More people came to tell the king about the dragon. CRASH! The dragon attacked the castle. The king sent all the knights out to protect the castle. They tried to be very brave. Arthur shot an arrow at the dragon but missed. Then there was rapid arrow shooting and the dragon flew away. When the knights searched the cave, they knew they had won because the cave was empty.

The knights thought the dragon problem would never happen again, but a few years later, the dragon had a baby dragon who came to live in the cave. He was not like his dad though. He just wanted to play. Everyone like the baby dragon and they lived happily ever after.

Jordan D, Brook Park (Grades K-3)        


Anticipation

Sweat trickles, down my back, between my shoulder blades, under my helmet, down my arms into my gauntlets, cascading down my legs, pooling in my boots. The sun is fierce, a seething seed in the sky, and yet a bare breath creeps from the forest, scented with earth and mold and animals.

I squint, looking ahead to my opponent, whose squire helps him onto his mount. He has done this before! I narrow my gaze to my lance; the Coronal in place of the point. This is play, not war! The vamplate guards my hand, for what use a knight with a broken hand?

Hoofbeats echo in my chest, and my breath comes quicker as the colors wave from the Queen's box and my horse is led forward to present at arms. A small movement to the side, at the edge of the forest catches my eye as we walk, patiently, slowly. It is a stag, the Queen's stag. I would rather be riding in pursuit of him than in this pageant!

Then, it's time. I bow forward in my seat, feeling like a leaf bending in the wind. My opponent does the same, and we nod to each other and ride to our starting positions. My trembling rattles the armor slightly; every face in the crowd seems to be laughing. As I reach the start and turn, the stag is looking at me, and to my astonishment, speaks, in a clear, ringing baritone, but I cannot understand him.

I start to ask him what he has said, but then am wrenched back to the event, the Queen holds a kerchief aloft, and unbidden, my hand comes up and closes my faceplate. I tuck the hilt of the lance into the lancerest, the kerchief drops, and I spur my horse forward, faster and faster as the crowd shouts and the landscape recedes into a multicolored blur behind the slits of my helm.

Sean W, Moreland Hills (Adult)  


The Adventure of Sir Henri

Greetings! My name is Sir Henri, and I am a knight under King Charles II of England. The times are dangerous, and we often have to battle our enemies. Right now the year is 1356, in the Age of Darkness, my country calls it.

Right now, I am galloping northward on my fiery red horse Lava through lush green forest. This will be the last beautiful forest, because this forest is the boundary between England and enemy territory. The forest is actually half beautiful and half withered and dead. The withered and dead part of the forest and beyond is enemy lands. The enemy lands are simply known to my country as As Terras Mal escuras, which is Portuguese for The Evil Dark Lands. Unfortunately, that is where I need to go.

I have to complete a mission for the king. The mission will be very perilous to execute: The princess had been kidnapped, and I had been chosen to rescue her! The king said the mission would be absolutely dangerous. I would have to travel to As Terras Mal escuras, then go through it until I reached the castle of Mordor-Guldur, home to the evil King Maduk III. I would have to sneak into the castle, find the secret door behind a suit of armor, then go through the tunnel. Then, into the lair of the giant, infamous, half dragon, half serpent, Xnoolope Thunderhead! It had teeth like swords and eyes like fire. No one had ever fought the beast and lived. The hard part would be to slay the dragonserpent and get the princess and me out alive. I would have to smuggle her out somehow.

Right now, the sun is starting to set, and the colors are cool. Golden yellow with little pink streaks. The colors of the forest take my breath away. The trees are a healthy green and the buds are red, orange and yellow. The flowers are purple and yellow and they are very beautiful.

As I galloped along, trying to forget the troubles that lay ahead of me, I looked through the trees and saw a young doe. I slowed the horse to a walk, and I just stared at her and she stared back. She seemed to be saying, “Go on. Don’t be afraid. Do your mission with courage and strength.” With renewed courage and energy, I urged the horse forward, and we started to gallop. I drew my sword and shouted, “For the king!” Then I rode off into the sunset.

Ethan Z, Medina (Grades 4-8)  


Thorns

I see the flowers everywhere, the orange-yellow sun in the background, and I marvel at how beautiful this world is. Alas, I can only see it from behind bars. I sigh, and move back to the small mattress in this horrible, stinking dungeon. I am trapped here, waiting for the king to do something with me. Days melt into months, which melt into years down here. I have done nothing wrong, yet the king has imprisoned me.

I might as well introduce myself. My name is Carl Lawrence. The year is 1749, in the outskirts of London. I am in a dungeon in Feizel Crux’s palace, living life amid other prisoners and various species of plant life. I wake up every day, hoping that my current life is a dream. By the tenth second, though, I remember that fateful day when Crux’s men raided my home and my village. We were taken by the hundreds, blindfolded, and loaded onto carts. We were finally un-blindfolded, only to be in dungeons. Surprisingly, we were forced
to exercise. There have been conspiracy theories down here about Crux raising a private army, but we seriously doubt we were the army.

A small metal tray slides through the bars of my dungeon. Dinner; stale bread, water, and watery boiled potatoes were the usual. As I start eating, a guard starts to pace the length of the dungeon hall, talking about the army. There were plans to take us out and resist some sort of attack. We soon get the full details from the king when he gathered us in the courtyard, our first time out of the dungeon in years.

“You are my army,” he said. “We have been training you for years. Now, you will don armor, horses and swords to attack a rebel fortress. It is under the Thames, so you must be able to access a tunnel. Advanced training will begin now.”

We groaned, and we had every right to. Finally, the fateful day came. Crux knew nothing of our master plan. Once we were out of sight of his castle, we would turn around and destroy Crux’s palace. It seemed like a good idea. Crux and his guards were getting ready the troops into the road that led to London.

“Remember, soldiers,” he said. “There is a giant tunnel between the barber’s and the apothecary. Oh, and Lawrence…”

“Yes sir,” I said, reeling my horse to face him.“You will lead the attack.”

“Yes sir,” I said solemnly. He knew nothing of our master plan and believed that we would charge that fort with delight. God forbid.

We started off toward London. Halfway to the apothecary, around the church, the masses of attackers turned around, and charged full speed back at the castle. Crux and his guards were pleasantly surprised, and a small fleet of armored guards charged at us. They were outnumbered, though, and we plowed through them easily. Then, Crux gave us a surprise back. A whole army of about 500 charged at us. 60 prisoners with swords were nothing compared with the 500, and they had muskets, too.

The battle raged on through the night and into the next day. Frequently, we found ourselves surrounded, but we always found a way through. Finally, some of us retreated to the peaceful garden of flowers, with the orange-yellow sun in the background. In the dungeon, I had always dreamed of being here, but not like this. I dreamed of being here, a free man, and strolling through the daisies. I had dreamed of being able to sit down on a bench and picking an apple and eating it. But not like this. Not like it was now, hiding behind hedges, wounded horses by our side. One final straggler came in through the garden gates, slid behind a hedge, and started crying from the multiple flesh wounds. It was a standoff. We rode our remaining horses through the bushes, patrolling. Suddenly, I heard the distinctive sound of a musket being reloaded; the dull thump of the gunpowder, followed by the click of the bullet. I brought my horse around and drew my sword. There, standing before me, was one of the last survivors of the fight to attack the castle. He was carrying some muskets he must have recovered from the battlefield.

“Sir, I have some muskets and ammunition for us. Will you be able to use them?”

“Yes. Thank you. We will begin our attack now.” As I examined the musket, a glint of metal shone in the bushes. I picked it up, and found it was a small pistol, engraved with the words, Mortem veniet victimas spinas. I recognized the Latin, and translated, “Death shall come to the victims of thorns.” I had found the gun in a rose bush, along with one bullet that actually looked a lot like a thorn. I could tell immediately that the bullet was poisonous. I shoved it into my belt and saved it for Crux.

I accepted the musket and distributed them to the last survivors, ten of us, each with a double-barreled musket. One barrel for each of the guards provided we hit the heart or the head. We stormed out of the garden, oh what a sight it must’ve been. We decimated the guards, and stormed the palace. Crux was nowhere to be seen.

“The kitchen! We hadn’t looked there!” someone shouted.

We abandoned our horses and raided the kitchen. The other nine fighters drew their swords and pointed them at Cruz, who was sitting on the ground. He didn’t smile or do anything. He said, “Well, I guess you aren’t interested in capturing the underwater base after all.”

“No,” I said. I fired the only bullet and threw the gun across the kitchen.

With Crux and his treacherous guards killed, we returned to our village. Some other people had inhabited it for some time. They welcomed us and we told our stories. They all listened intently, and after I spoke the final word, they erupted in a smattering of applause. They then spoke their stories. It turns out these villagers were the survivors of a similar encounter many such years ago with the cousin of Feizel Crux. We all had a good laugh, and peace was restored.  


Tamotsu-san

The box came addressed to me! A big, rectangular box all the way from Japan. It’s so heavy that I have to ask my dad to help me drag it into the house from the porch.

“What is it Dad” I am so excited I can hardly get the question out in one breath.

“It’s from your Papa.”

“I know! The city is Takayama. Why did papa go to Japan, Dad?”

”A good friend of his passed away and he went to pay his respects and visit with his family. He had a daughter. She must have given him something. For you it seems. Your Papa made many trips over there when he was a young man building his machining business.”

I was sad for my papa and his friend but my excitement was building again. At 9 years old, a package from so far away
promised something very cool inside.

“Why would there be something for me over there Dad?”

“Before we moved, you used to sit with Papa for hours, on his lap, staring at him as he told you tale after tale about warriors and the great battles they fought. Do you remember that?”

“Kinda. I miss seeing him every day. He hasn’t really told me stories like those since I was little.”

My dad smiled at me just then. I got it. The smile meant I was still little. In his eyes anyway. But I was growing up and it was true that I didn’t really remember much at all about those times any more.

“I miss him too. Well, your papa made friends with a great man in Japan. A warrior. He was very old by the time your papa met him but they became very close. He would travel to Kyoto to do business and learn about their way of tool making and while he was there, he would also spend time with his old friend. He lived in a village called Takayama, where the box was sent from. Papa’s friend told him many stories over the years and maybe this has something to do with that.”

“Can you tell me some of those stories Dad?”

“Let’s open the box first and see OK?”

The box was long and as I said, pretty heavy. The strange characters on the label made the whole thing that much more mysterious. I got a whiff of oil. My dad called it machine oil because he smelled it too. And I remembered that smell. Papa smelled like that when he came upstairs from his basement tool shop. What could it be? Was it some kind of machine? My mind was racing through the possibilities. When we pulled off the foam cover, inside were shiny pieces of metal stuck between bunched up sheets of newspaper. Some of the oil had seeped into the paper and smeared the ink. It reminded me of the stain on my lunch bag when my mom would pack a salami sandwich.

“Can I take the pieces out?”

“Sure, but be careful, looks like metal and there could be sharp edges.”

The first piece I pulled out looked like a vest. A metal vest. It was thin and not too heavy but it looked strong anyway. Thin but not bendable. I reached for another piece and out came a hat. Well, not a hat really, more of a helmet. It had a guard that looked like it should cover the bottom half of your face. By this time, my dad was interested too and he was pulling out pieces.

“These look like leg guards. They are – they are called grieves. Wait, this is a suit of armor!”

“Wow, Dad! Let’s lay it all out on the floor and see what it looks like.”

My dad and I carefully lined up the suit and when it was all done, it was exactly that. A suit of armor. But not like the armor that knights wore. I had seen movies and pictures of those but never anything like this. The best part was that it looked like it was made for a child. Like me!

“Well I’ll be darned. My dad, your papa, talked about a battle dress like this when he spun his yarns but I never thought it actually existed.”

“Can I try it on?”

“Of course. It’s addressed to you isn’t it? And it looks from here like a perfect fit.”

I could hardly believe my ears. Usually, most dads don’t agree to let their kids do cool stuff the first time around. I thought he would give me the old, ‘we’ll see’ but he didn’t. And he was right. It fit perfectly. He had to help me with the leather straps, there’s no way you could put this stuff on by yourself. But once it was adjusted, it felt much lighter than it looked. I could almost bend over if I held my breath and I could walk without tipping over. We walked carefully over to the mirror in the hallway and I saw a warrior in the reflection. The helmet covered all but my eyes and aside from the bottom part that looked to me like a ladies skirt, I looked fierce!

That night, my dad told me all about Papa’s friend. At least what he could remember about him. His friend’s name was Tamotsu. Papa called him Tamotsu-san out of respect. His name meant “protector”. Tamotsu-san was an officer in the Japanese military and helped to keep his village safe in the years just after the war when the whole country was trying to rebuild and start over. There were many problems. Tamotsu-san was kind of a police officer.

When Tamotsu-san was a young boy like me, his father taught him the ways of the Samurai. His family demanded that each generation keep alive the skills that everyone else seemed to have forgotten. Tamotsu-san learned quickly and became an expert with the Japanese sword and the yari, a long spear. Through practice and dedication to learning the ancient art of hand to hand combat, he earned the respect of his father. And as a gift, he had a special suit of armor made just for him. While Tamotsu-san would never use his armor for fighting, those days were long gone, he would practice day and night to perfect art as it was an important part of his family’s culture. He became strong and when he grew up, he spent many years as a military leader, helping to protect his country and then afterward, his village.

Tamotsu-san was a great storyteller and would sit for hours with my Papa and share his childhood memories. These were the stories that he made up while he was wearing the special armor his father gave him. In many of them he would imagine himself riding an armored horse. A great black stallion dressed in shining plates, rearing up and charging as Tamotsu-san held his yari straight and true toward the battlefield. Other tales found Tamotsu-san sword in hand saving a village from a fire-breathing dragon. Tamotsu-san’s favorite story was when he imagined that he had tamed a dragon and would fly high above his village on the lookout for intruders. He would land in the town center at the break of dawn and announce that all was well. Villagers would bow to him in thanks and he would bow back honoring them.

My dad talked for hours. Even as I became tired, I couldn’t stop listening. Finally, I must have yawned loud enough for him to notice and he said it was probably time to go to sleep.

“Let’s call it a night, OK?”

“Okay”, I said, even though I thought I could have listened all night. And while I wanted to, when he kissed my cheek I was already falling asleep. I had taken off the armor and left the helmet on the bed next to me.

The next morning was Saturday and I jumped out of bed to see if my dad would help me put the suit back on. I couldn’t wait to get outside. When I got downstairs, he was busy rubbing off the oil and setting it out for me. What a cool dad.

“You’ll have to take good care of this. It is very special. And remember to call Papa tomorrow when he gets back from his trip.”

“I will dad. Both things.”

“Well, let’s get this thing on you. I thought you might want to tell your own stories one day, buddy.”

Boy, did I.

Michael Y, Stow (Adult)


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