Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year's Resolve

I lack it.

I need like two more months of 2009. I feel woefully behind in almost every respect having greatly desired to see more of what I'd sewn in a state to be reaped.

Urbandark shelved.
Apotheosis in the beginning stages.
Primordium seemingly stalled.

Dreams & Echoes ravenously devouring my time and energy, and the second book looms large. I wanted it to be something like fifty pages. With all I have hand written and already typed, it might well have to be split into two, creating a third world-building book.

I feel like I have one day before the deadline falls flat around me and I have somewhat less to show for my efforts than previously desired. I guess that's the ultimately the flaw in whoever designed the premise for crafting lofty goals. Friends leaving town, rarely seen family coming to visit, and the hub-bub of the holidays could easily take the blame.

In my heart I know the truth.

If I resolve to do anything in the aftermath of 2009, it is to get out of town a little more and find quiet places where cell phones and the internet cannot reach. Where there are no distractions or timely delights to lure me from my post. We all need respite, but I feel like I have had mine and am better for it.

The anxiety that gnawed at me for months lies quietly under my control. I'm not sure how. Maybe the time I've spent relaxing and fooling around was worth the loss of productivity short term.

A good friend came to me with a new project. If 2010 holds any magic, it is the upcoming collaborative works that enchant me the most. I can't wait to put forth something a little more tangible on the basis of all the preparations I've made.

Nothing like having a plan after all.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Grubbs & Nippy Find Clues

Grubbs knelt down next to the child’s bed dropping low as to sniff the floor boards and bed sheets. Nippy paused contemplatively before pulling out a paddle with a piece of rubber running from it’s center to a similarly rubber projectile. He then immediately commenced using it to create a racket, much to Marcus' chagrin.

“Must he always do that? This isn’t a game Grubbs.” Marcus gritted looking disdainfully at the diminutive Creep.

Grubbs rose slowly inhaling sharply.

“It helps him think Marcus. I told you. He’s got a knack for figuring things out. You don’t like his methods, head to the Senate and ask for a certificate of Marshal Law.” Grubbs sneered in retort.

Marcus quieted knowing the old Creep was right. Grubbs did his time as a Sheepdog before the Tenebrion warped his body and spirit forever, and knows how the council looks at situations like the one he was in the middle of. If he found the demeanor of his current allies cold, it would be nothing like telling the Senate he had no leads on a suspect.

“Where do we go from here?” Marcus grumbled.

Grubbs looked down at Nippy, a look of stark fascination crossing over the tiny Creep’s grubby features. Nippy’s jowls suddenly drooped in time with his toy dropping to his side, clattering to the floor. The short statured Creep then bounced over to a chair next to the window and whimpered, pointed frantically at the burn marks on it, and the window sill. Grubbs lowered himself to see better and squinted.

“Whatever this thing is... it went out through the window, so what?” Grubbs spat, his long and sinister countenance twisting with disgust.

“It’s how he grabbed the girl.” Marcus said slowly looking at the window sill and chair more closely.

Nippy sighed loudly gesturing to the dolls on the bed. Marcus turned looking at the bed and the acid burned leavings of the creature that had quickly rendered it a stinking heap. The hand-sewn dolls were however utterly untouched, and the marks beneath them seemed to show a distinct pattern.

“Oh no.” Marcus said suddenly seeing what Nippy was pointing to.

“It went out through the window, but that’s not how it entered. Marcus, where are this girl’s Parents?” Grubbs said rubbing his left temple with one hand while dropping a scrap of food to Nippy with the other.

“M’yah!” Nippy said turning his large black eyes toward Marcus, his mouth full of food.

“He’s a tunnel worker and she’s a seamstress. She’s the one who approached me. By the Light, how could I have been so blind.” Marcus stammered bringing his hands up to cover his face.

“We have little time. Help me turn this place upside down.” Grubbs said stalking purposefully out of the little girl’s room.


A few moments later Marcus emerged from the back stall stumbling into the kitchen. Grubbs turned, having had just finished opening the last cupboard, dashing the contents onto the floor with his broad hands so Nippy could sift through it. Marcus was visibly pale clutching his codex of law in a vain attempt to derive some measure of comfort.

“What?” Grubbs turned menacingly his gaze wandering out past Marcus, his massive clawed hands stretching outward.

“I found the tunnel worker’s wife.” Marcus stammered.

“Oh.” Grubbs said shrinking a little.

“What’s left of her is in a two gallon bronze canister in the stall out back.” Marcus said his hands shaking.

“It stuffed her into a milking pail? Thats. Well. Impressive, wouldn’t you say Nippy.” Grubbs said vacantly turning to Nippy who could only nod somewhat awestruck.

Marcus turned putting both hands down on the counter in the now disheveled kitchen and closed his eyes. This was bad. Everything was pointing to some Tenebrial horror somehow making it inside the city. How could things have gone so wrong? Marcus shook his head, his mind quickly returning to his training, all that he’d learned as a Sheepdog. Then, he took a deep breath and turned to his two motley allies.

“Tell me you found something helpful in here.”

Grubbs and Nippy turned and looked at each other again exchanging knowing glances.

“Yeah, but you really aren’t going to like it, and probably won’t want to report it.” Grubbs said placing a sack of what sounded like gold coins on the table.

Nippy bounced up onto the counter holding his small arms out as if to put the sack on display. Marcus reached out to open the sack but Nippy swatted his hand away sharply, then moved in the way, arms folded.

“You better let us handle it. These are chitterling sovereigns, about fifty of them.” Grubbs began slowly.

“M’yah!” Nippy exclaimed, one of his small feet drawing a circle in spilt flour on the counter.

Marcus took a step back, his face growing dark. Angry.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Marcus said looking down at Nippy then back up at Grubbs.

Grubbs sighed loudly.

“That’s because you aren’t supposed to. This currency is traded only by creatures out in the Tenebrion where it is minted.” Grubbs explained his face stony and impassive.

“M’yah!” Nippy exclaimed waving a handful of kitchen herbs over the sack and its dire contents.

“How could you know all this unless... no. I don’t want to know. All this means is that the tunnel worker and his wife, like me, had no clue what they were getting into when they accepted this money.” Marcus said his shoulders slumping slightly.

Grubbs looked expectantly at Marcus, his black eyes darting down suggestively at the sack sitting on the counter in front of him, then back up at Marcus.

“Yeah. I want nothing to do with those coins, nor do I want to see them circulating in the city.” Marcus said as deadpan as possible.

“You’re the boss. Boss. I’m sure that Nippy and I can help you out.”

“Fine. Can we please head to the tunnels now, maybe the tunnel worker isn’t dead?”

Marcus stalked out of the kitchen trying to ignore a large clawed hand meeting up with a small stubby one in a high-five somewhere in his wake.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Chalk Outlines & Hose Water

Got a haircut today. Amazing what actually giving a damn about your personal appearance can do for your self-esteem and general mental health. It made me happy, which made my wife happy, which made me happy. It's strange how one little thing can make you delirious and goofy.

I think I had been mourning all this time for Darrell. I knew it would take someone special to replace him.

All the same I returned home and accomplished little today. Got a new laptop bag (a Crumpler no less) because BBP has been dragging their feet on the new merchandise. The Crumpler has a no frills top flap upon which I can sew my Swedish flag, and my band patches. Not the cheesy ones though... those I'm saving for my sacred work coveralls.

Met with my Apotheosis table, got chinese food in the aftermath and returned home to stare at the computer screen until 3 AM. I think tomorrow will be an upkeep day and I'll hit the writing fresh on Monday... try to put it out of my head in the meantime and do something I haven't done for awhile.


Thursday, December 24, 2009

Purposeful Fracturing

I've been writing these 1-2 page stories to drop in between chapters of my world building books to give my tables something to grasp during sessions. I really like the idea of keeping the story contained to scenes. It cuts down on bullshit, seems to keep the read focused, and allows me to isolate the key portions of the story. I can work forward and backward in time keeping information and clues constant.

I've always liked epics that changed perceptions between antagonists and protagonists in the story. As a member of the audience anticipation helps build suspense as much as being in the dark, sometimes more so if done artfully.


I think when I start piecing everything together I'll jump perspectives.

Chapter 1. Antagonist A gives Protagonist Group B the slip leaving Zone A to Zone B.

Chapter 2. Antagonist A does something nefarious to attract the attention of Protagonist Group C.

Chapter 3. Protagonist Group B somehow manages to get word to Protagonist Group C that Antagonist A is planning on buying a soda. Protagonist Group C arrives too late to prevent the purchase but gets vital clue.

Chapter 4. Protagonist Group B discovers something vital that they missed before and races to warn Protagonist Group C but cannot enter Zone B.

Chapter 5. The audience reading along with knowledge from Chapter 4 sees Antagonist A create Antagonist B and C with Protagonist Group C none the wiser.


I could switch perspectives from a Cadre of Shades working in the Penumbra, to folks inside the City of Light all trying to stop the same villain. In the world I've created the usual geographic conditions would apply thus preventing the heroes from ever having all the information, and the audience gets the grand tour of physical and metaphysical boundaries of the story.

It would allow the audience to look out from the City of Light into the Penumbra and see it the way a human (or Creep) at that time would. It would also allow them to look inward from the Penumbra as a Shade would. The story wouldn't always have to follow the antagonist either, as both parties have their own points of introspection and insight into the story even as the action takes place elsewhere.

Books where the author splits the party can either engage the reader heavily or totally confuse them. I'm nothing if not organized. I'll just finish writing according to the new plan but keep it in the back of my mind I might have to split it all up in the end.

This'll either end up like the 1st episode of Season 4 Venture Bros. where you have to watch it 20 times to figure it out, or like Pulp Fiction where all becomes clear in the end (like it should).

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Grubbs & Nippy

Grubbs and Nippy were supposed to be comedy relief. In my notes they are barely a footnote, unexplored, and ultimately forgettable. When I put them on the stage at one of my sessions my contributors really enjoyed the way they were portrayed, their interaction, and presence in the story. I never really intended them to be anything more than part of the backdrop. Something about these two appeals to people in a way that was unexpected. This would sometimes happen during the course of the improv theater (AKA Vampire) days where a character intended to be a villain would be so loved by the other participants we'd have to make hasty changes to the story so they can continue to interact with the story in a way that was meaningful.

Grubbs and Nippy were meant to be a tragic display of what it was to be a Creep dwelling in the Penumbra hopelessly disfigured by the darkness. I can remember seeing the sparkle at the table as I walked the Actors through the scene with Grubbs and Nippy. Grubbs wouldn't allow the Shades to walk on the grounds of the Creperum out of reverence for them. He pushed them along a track in a modified roller coaster cart, outfitted with a small co-pilot seat for Nippy with a (non-functioning) steering wheel, cobbled together side-view mirror, and bike bell.

I think what I like about Grubbs and Nippy most is that they are more human than most of the other characters in the story so far. There is something really genuine about them, like I almost envy the honesty of their interactions with each other. I think if you have a friendship with anyone like these two have, you should treasure it forever.


Grubbs stalked through the penumbral ruins seething with unquenchable rage. Every time he dropped his nose to the ground he kept coming up with a false trail. Someone was using his greatest strength against him. Generally, he could just follow his nose to the culprit of any crime, like he could smell their evil down to the smallest molecule.

“No Nippy, this is something far different.”

Nippy’s eyes narrowed as he attempted to summon every ounce of smarts at his disposal to solve the problem. His eyes suddenly lit up and he began warbling and chittering frantically at Grubbs. The large Creep stared balefully down at his tiny ally, a look of inchoate emotion spreading across his face.

“Nippy. Nippy! Slow down, you’re making no sense!” Grubbs exclaimed loudly throwing his wretched limbs out to his sides upsetting the shattered remnants of a wall.

Nippy held up a single finger.

“Okay. One word.” Grubbs blurted impatiently.

Nippy then took out a small collection of bottles and containers arraying them on the ground in front of him. Then carefully began mixing different ingredients into a central bowl while displaying a haughty professorial expression.

“You’re... making something... you’re hungry, you’re making a peanut butter and bacon sandwich.” Grubbs stammered shaking his head.

Nippy shook his head throwing his hands out in front him waving Grubbs off, then pointed assertively to himself, and his expression. Grubbs sneered clenching his powerful fists, unbridled hatred filling his already black eyes like a deadly plague. Nippy turned towards Grubbs holding out his hands and cocking his head as if waiting impatiently for the answer.

“The Alchemist.” Grubbs roared.

Nippy deployed his crooked teeth in a wide smile while ringing a small bell. Grubbs looked back up at the City of Light from his own penumbral position scowling. Nippy quickly gathered up his props and leaped up to a perch next to Grubbs, his large eyes glistening with worry.

“I know. It has used its chemistry to mimic her smell leading us away. We’ve allowed the scoundrel the room to purchase valuable time. It knew, like last time, that the sheepdogs would seek me out for aid. It knew I would employ my usual methodology.” Grubbs whispered to Nippy, his toothy maw carefully dissecting each word.

Nippy warbled discontentedly, his small hands gesturing quietly in the dark. Grubs nodded grimly as he turned taking a step back towards the City of Light. Nippy bounced along behind, his small face secretly filling with sorrow at the predicament the young girl was assuredly entangled. Grubbs sensing his small ally’s distress looked over his shoulder as he walked and extended the smallest amount of comfort he could muster.

“Yes Nippy. When we find The Alchemist, I shall certainly honor your calling of “dibs” on whatever food it possesses.”

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Building a real Eldercog Conduit

I have two great loves.

1. Writing
2. Computer Technology

I've been looking long and hard at the Mac OS Server and the many things it would allow me to do.

- My own email server for use by myself, friends, and family.
- I could create a Wiki for Dreams & Echoes.
- Host that webpage I always wanted to create.
- VPN my resources from anywhere and have my data and works centrally located.
- Set up a way for all my collaborators to view and contribute to ongoing works remotely.
- Host Podcasts, iChat, and so forth.
- Provide my home network that added level of security.

The new server even has iPhone support so all my friends who have them could access resources on the server. I could put together an Address Book server for the family, gathering everyone's contact information so people could get in contact with each other easier.

I need to do some more research.

- I need to figure out if Windows machines will play nice with key elements of the server.
- How user friendly the Mac Server software is. Will I figure things out in two months or two years?
- Whether the machine I'm thinking of using will support the server traffic I'm thinking I'll encounter.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Meanwhile... back at CIA headquarters

Finally decided on which iMac I was going to get.

At first, I wanted the fastest 21.5" they made.

Then I wanted a 27" i7 Quad-Core.

Then I wanted a 24" refurbished iMac.

I agonized about which one to get.

Then I went and got the fastest 21.5" they make currently.

The three monitor set up is cool, but my G5 iMac might have to find itself a new home. I'm sure someone can think of a better use than just using it to watch streaming Netflix video.

Maybe set it up as a server, or a workstation for the wife, or something. I can think of worse problems to have.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Spreading Out

What runs me down is just how big a fictional world can become. I'm finding that writing a small travelogue for myself is really helping. Aside from being personally entertaining the act of writing about a character's interaction with a fictional environment comes with some pitfalls. Telling the tale of a world-wide epic requires some ingenuity when having the character(s) overcome the language barrier. Expecting the audience to believe everyone speaks the same language worked great in the original Star Trek, but is utterly useless when you don't have flashy lights and tight uniforms to distract the audience.

I have Numenarch trace a finger in the ground when he was communicating with the Spirits of Primordial Death. They spoke through their own echoes and impressions... impregnating the minds of those around them with their words. Numenarch utterly lacks those metaphysical contrivances at the time, so he resorts to a crude form of Pictionary to get the job done. I'd considered having him grow to be quite the artist as he traveled about speaking to different folks surviving in the darkened wastes of the Tenebrion, but it gets tiring figuring out something new and quirky for him to do in each of those instances.

I liked the idea of all the involved parties entering a trance whereby they could converse efficiently in their dreams. Describing the sensation involved was key-pressing stampede of my thoughts and ideas but in the end I felt like I would lose the reader utterly in something so heavy with nuance. It has to be something that feels natural to the reader, something that can be easily taken for granted later... keeping the story rolling hard across the page. The point is that the reader's own immediate surroundings end up destroyed by the words on the page.

Taking my time with the small stuff might be a short cut to avoiding big problems in the long run.

Working the echoes angle is old school. People are often led by impressions and in a world where your eyes are often deceived, such might be a more effective medium to paint a picture of one's self. Like if the whole world was nothing but smoke, you'd have to speak through it in a way that the pattern would be unique to you, the smog rolling with your words, the movements of your lips creating subtle details in the air. Working with the tenebrous environment itself as the medium might be the gimmick I've been looking for.

Think of all the neat 'up in smoke' puns I could throw around? Sold baby. Sold.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Working Strange

The best work I did all week was sitting in Barnes & Noble with a cranberry orange scone. I had an hour to kill while Liz shopped at Cost Plus. It was only two pages. Two really good pages, but it was enough to put a serious hurt on my personal funk. Writing isn't supposed to be this deep exploration of your own soul. It should be hard work at the same desk for every page of the project, that's what all the writers who wrote books about writing seem to indicate.

Why do I seem to find inspiration in noisy public places that wreak havoc on my anxiety?

It seems conceivable in the world we live that writers will become more a product of our busy society, in sync with the heavy amount of transition that occurs daily. My good friend Nick lent me a book written by Steven King about writing. I think Steven and I would battle fiercely about the best setting in which to write. He craves a large desk, in a quiet place, the same setting every time. I end up sitting in a converted (but cozy) garage, coffee shops, my car, other people's houses, a bench at the mall (on black friday no less) restaurants and hospitals.

Inspiration seems to find me everywhere and my laptop my perpetual companion.

Maybe its attention I crave. Typing furiously while speed metal is blaring in my headphones gets a look or two wherever I go. Never mind the people I've freaked out by taking pictures of odd things. More than a few probably think I'm a domestic terrorist taking pictures of industrial buildings, overhead doors (yes, I think they're cool), and barbed wire (you find it in the oddest places).

"What are you doing?" they'll ask somewhat startled.

"I'm writing a book about urban elementalism." I answer deadpan.

Norms /flee

Yeah I guess I do dig the act of spooking normal people. Breaking up the work-a-day haze like a lightning bolt of pure strange.

Monday, December 7, 2009


I don't feel well today.

I should head out and find myself a new coat, pick up that extra guitar for Rock Band 2, and enjoy driving my APC-esque vehicle in the snow. Likely, I'll sit in bed and type feebly on my laptop while starving myself.

I think I've put it all together. When your body is using it's own tissue for sustenance, it seems to release endorphins and chemicals in the brain that make you feel better. I don't know why the body does this. It's easy to see why people who are anorexic can continue the practice and spiritual people feel enlightened when they fast. For me, it's a last line of defense against anxiety and depression. Sometimes eating certain foods will help jumpstart me, but when things are really bad, only the absence of food seems to put my mind back in proper harmony.

It's like my body can really focus on repairing the damage I've done to myself instead of digesting and carrying out the normal bodily functions. My wife made me my beef and green bean stew, the usual when I don't feel well. It like all food right now just doesn't appeal to me. There's nothing wrong with my stomach, other than being empty. Being past the point of hungry seems to help stave off panic attacks, allowing me to continue my work and persist.

I wonder at what cost. Looking at myself, I certainly have the reserves for this, but I keep losing weight. This whole cycle can't be good for me, and is unsustainable ultimately.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Structure Divine

The process. It's everything that makes what's at the end of the road worth the trip. Even as I carefully explore and define the worlds I seek to create I end up defining myself as much as I do a fictional habitat. I'm really liking this new book. The main roles portrayed by humans in the story are soldiers, police, and folks with a profound connection to the Primordial Light. Keeping it simple I tried to define the roles based on what would be fun and familiar for the actors portraying them. I particularly like the Sheepdog.


Cities of Light are places of enlightenment, peace, and community. However, like every city, there are people who live to hurt or exploit others for their own gain. Thieves, rapists, killers, pedophiles, and worse still float to the surface like un-flushed garbage in the waters of civilization. Every city of light has people who won’t sit by and watch these things happen. These people begin as petty vigilantes but are eventually reigned in by The Shepherd, an official appointed by the Senate.

Sheepdogs want only one thing, to protect their friends, family, and neighbors from criminals. Generally working in pairs, they patrol the streets and tunnels of their City looking for rogues and perverts. They are granted powers allowing them to search homes and businesses and apprehend criminals, provided they turn them over to the Senate for judgement.

Sheepdogs are trained investigators who have learned to hunt down other human beings. They use forensics, crime scene reconstruction techniques, and fingerprint comparisons to find the guilty and bring them to justice. Among their own, Sheepdogs don’t believe that this training is what makes them who they are. Most believe they were born for the calling, knowing they were different from others at a young age.

The Sheepdog’s Oath

I solemnly swear to protect the innocent, uphold the public trust, and pursue the guilty in accordance with the Law. I will avenge victims by bringing those found wanting before the Senate and the Primordial Avatar for judgement. I will uphold the highest standards of personal conduct and act as an agent of the citizenry and the Law.

Required: Inquest, Novice Level

Sheepdogs begin play with the Simple Weapon and Arcane: Firearms Fighting Styles.

Rank 1 [Officer]

  • Grim [Passive Mundane Ability]

Sheepdogs have a presence that grants them the ability to comfort victims, calm crowds, and terrify the guilty.

When using the Altruism Skill in the execution of their duties, your character gains a bonus equal to his or her Rank Modifier. He or she also garners the same bonus whenever they use their Athleticism or Close Combat skills to intimidate a suspect.

  • Sense [Ritual Mundane Ability]

Everyone throws off a vibe that colors the way others perceive them. Sheepdogs are natural readers of that vibe and can get a sense of someone through casual observation.

By making an Inquest skill check, your character can scrutinize a single individual. The very next Altruism, Athleticism, or Close Combat skill checks made against that target gain an additional die, and a bonus equal to Activation.

  • Violent [Reflexive Mundane Ability]

Sheepdogs generally prefer to resolve tense situations peacefully, but are fully prepared to lash out with violence to protect themselves, their fellow officers, or to subdue a guilty party. This capacity for violence is what sets the Sheepdog apart from the rest of the citizenry... from the sheep.

Increase the number of Fury Points your character generates at the start of a combat scene by 1.

Rank 3 [Detective]

  • Manhunter [Passive Mundane Ability]

Sheepdogs are relentless when in the pursuit of a criminal. Every moment the suspect wanders around free, they are capable of hurting someone else. Often, the Detective will not sleep, preferring to follow up leads and inspect evidence.

Your character receives a bonus to their Inquest Skill checks equal to his or her Rank Modifier.

  • Gunfighter [Reflexive Mundane Ability]

Sheepdogs are the only ones who manufacture and use firearms. A few become expert gunfighters who have the experience of countless fights under their belts. They know how to use cover, opportunity, and quick handedness to reload and use their weapons efficiently.

Any firearm in your character’s hands gains the Accurate WT and the Quick Reload WT.

Rank 5 [Sergeant]

  • Friends in Low Places [Passive Mundane Ability]

Sheepdogs often colaborate with Creeps to keep the city safe. In your character’s case, he or she has made a powerful ally and acquired a measure of Influence in the city.

Increase the number of Resource Points invested in your character’s Influence Rating by 10. Also, your character gains a Creep Contact of a Rank determined by the Storyteller.

  • Jaded [Reflexive Mundane Ability]

Your character has served the city for a long time, seen many things that broke their heart, known the taste of true terror, and faced their own death many times. He or she carries no illusions of idealism, and no mercy for the wicked. Whatever compassion they have left, is saved for victims.

When your character expends Fury Points to increase the DDP rolled against the worst sort of criminals, they may add 1D8 to that pool in addition to any other bonuses they are entitled. Damage inflicted in this way is always lethal, and your character has already prepared him or herself to explain yet another ‘death in custody’.

Unpublished Works © Arthur Walker 2005-2009

Thursday, December 3, 2009


Looking back at all I've written for the past couple of weeks, and it becomes clear to me that I've been depressed. It has tainted every word I've typed, and eroded my own personal clarity. My writing keeps me sane, but at its own expense. This thing I'm trying to do should manage my feelings, depression, and rage. Not the other way around. My printer went down while I was trying to print my latest set of works for my contributors.

If the damned thing wasn't broken before, it certainly is now after the beating I gave it. Oh well. Something for my father and I to perforate out in the desert.

Like I said before, I paused to look back at all the pages I've written since the week previous to Thanksgiving and despair. How did I get to such a dark place and not ever realize it? It is like I am reading the words of a complete stranger sometimes. In particular, my second Dreams & Echoes book has taken on a somewhat demoralizing tone. These books have always been about the immortal Shades, but this project addresses specifically the humans that survived the Tenebrion's arrival.

"...the rest of the world experienced horrors and death that would have shamed Hell itself for being merciful. When the Tenebrion malignancy touched a human, they would immediately be robbed of their sight. Next, it would exploit everything evil and insidious about that person, amplifying those dark feelings one thousand fold. The person would be reduced to a snarling animal with only a small range of desires. The would kill, rape, or eat others to sate some terrible hunger gnawing away at their very being. Millions of people died in the first day as they blindly savaged each other."

That's black as hell. The family unit, friendships, camaraderie, and everything good and binding about being human utterly stolen away in a single day. The people caught outside the few places of Primordial Light becoming something so monstrous I declined vivid description. Most of the world's religions painted a dim picture of the apocalypse, but would have some deific being step in at the last moment to 'save' people. The story I'm trying to tell, the responsibility for setting things right falls squarely on the shoulders of those who remain after an apocalypse no one could have foreseen. Placing contrasting imagery and story elements has allowed me to write about some extremely heroic folks.

"No soldier fighting for the Penumbral Society is more highly decorated than Theogrande of House Eidolon. His acts of bravery are held next to those of Numenarch, Eidolon, and Paragon as being just as pivotal to the continuation and protection of the Penumbral Society. Theogrande's stoic courage has inspired slaves to rise successfully against their masters, and for the downtrodden to find the strength for one last fight."

On Tuesday when I met with my contributors for the project, I ran several lines of dialogue past them using Theogrande as a character.

"Nice echoes. You guys sound like a metal band walking together. You guys aren't the sort that simply reverberates with the world from every step you take, you shake it like thunder splitting stone. All the better because this fate didn't choose you... you chose it."

I like the Theogrande character... he was my first impulse for the tone of the story, and the first character I wrote material for years ago. Even before Numenarch himself was to take shape in my mind, Theogrande was my idea of a quintessential Shade. Having managed to collect most of his memories, he's my break from the Milton-esque way most of the Penumbrals speak.

Maybe that should have a place in the story somewhere. Shades that speak jive...

Like a flesh eating fungus, the idea seems to be devouring me.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Happiness is a new computer. I purchased G5 iMac from a friend on the cheap and set it up with my spare monitor. I'm already enjoying the benefits of having this set up when I'm working through two documents at once. It's enough landscape to have two pages 09' documents open in two-page spread format. Felt like I was able to get so much done last night working this way.

Having the right tools makes all the difference I suppose.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Officers Down

Just read the article about the four fallen Lakewood Police Officers. Every time I read about a fallen Police Officer it really gets to me in a way that isn't rational. I'm angry, like I can't think of enough horrible things I'd like to see happen to the person or persons responsible. I'm sad, the terrible loss to the families, the department where the officers worked, and the community at large. Then I think about all the people who, for various reasons, have an irrational hatred of the Police.

Maybe there is nothing rational about the relationship between Law Enforcement and the Public?

I think most folks living in the US have little perspective when it comes to how the Police should operate, who the bad guys really are, and what each citizen should do to keep their own communities safe. Coming up through High School, there's like one government class that talks about local and state politics, and virtually nothing that teaches young people about national politics, Law Enforcement, or international affairs. It's like we've created the perfect storm of ignorance and indifference in young people.

Grappling with powerlessness in the face of criminality is the standard in the US. Most of the time, regular folks aren't in the right place at the right time to take a stand. Read an article about a civilian who apprehended a suspect fleeing a high speed chase the other day. I marvel at how the criminal was willing to run from a group of armed officers, but surrendered to a single armed citizen. Who do the criminals fear more? ...and rightly so?

I should probably get my conceal carry permit.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Numenarch's Awakening

Our Finder and Keeper awoke blind and alone in the wastes of the Tenebrion sometime near the end of The Fall. Too weak for anything but words, he looked into the endless and impenetrable obscurity blanketing the Earth and despaired.

“Am I so lost now, that even my eyes have forsaken me? Would that I could see, my surroundings to comfort my heart, to put salve on this suffering, would I be alone? I hear no other voice save this wretched thing blotting out the world.”

Numenarch clawed his way across broken volcanic stone and ash, his hide hardening to the malignant forces that swirled angrily around him. He could feel the thing clawing at him, trying to taint the stillness of his being. The thing sought to betray our Finder and Keeper, it did speak lies to him, and show him the witness of false things. As the obscurity danced around him, it did express its false civility and offered the glittering of treasures and trinkets. To this, our Lord did raise his voice to the foul presence that haunted him, and even though his was but a whisper... it struck at the very heart of the Tenebrion.

“I can feel thee, O’ thing of false stars... I can hear your false wind and know you for your lies. Even as I turn to stone against you, there can be no denying all that dwells within me. I am not yours.”

Across the wastes, did our Finder and Keeper take his first steps in the freshly darkened world. He struggled for any memory beyond the collection of dull screams his mind had managed to salvage. Indeed, even as he grasped for some understanding of what had happened to him, he mustered something unexpected. Our Lord did laugh heartily at the villain’s expense. He looked with fresh eyes at the obscurity, seeing past it, imparting unto it only disdain and pity.

“Were that I was in Hell, I would surely not be alone as I am now. This dismal place would be alight with the foulness of regret and stink of shattered hopes. I would not have my dreams, and there would be no echo of my solitary voice. I know you O’ thing! Thou art a blackguard... a pitiable betrayer and I will not suffer you to bring coolness to my flesh. I am warm in spite of you.”

The Tenebrion howled angrily bringing down the maelstrom, emerald lashes of lightning falling to the Earth, rending stone and casting aside ash. Indeed, the false shadow did throw in with all its desperate hate, its malignant force casting a long and fearful stain in its wake. The noxious murk reared up ugly, scattering stones to summon the echoes of the dead to its side. Our Lord quieted in the aftermath of this display, placing the palm of his hand astride his chest.

“All that the world has suffered holds the trace of your passing, O’ thing, and for that I am a vengeful angel, a reckoning unto you. Despair in your iniquitousness and know that I am Justice to your crimes. I shall walk this forsaken land crafting a legacy that shall end when you do. O’ thing, false shadow and corruptor, I will see you cast down for your misdeeds. By my own two hands I will contrive the means to see you undone.”

Our Lord swore a binding oath in only the first few moments of his awakening, that he would end the Tenebrion’s hold on the world. It would be an Oath all we Shadows would come to know well. His promise would become our creed. Even as our Lord spoke the end of his words, the echoes of the dead, howling and vengeful did descend upon our Finder and Keeper. They clawed at his stony flesh and moved to suckle on the very fiber of his essence. He was dragged to the ground until suddenly he was as a thin rod against lightning, a conduit for the Powers Primordial.

“Hinder me not, lest ye rest disquieted by my fury.”

Our Lord reached to his side, grasping the hammer that had laid with him since before The Fall and struck a blow against the echoes of the dead scattering them like leaves at the head of a hurricane. He brought his hammer up again and this time sundered the Earth. It was here that the reverberation of those echoes called by the Tenebrion would echo for the last time, as our Finder and Keeper cast them down like bones from the hand of a soothsayer. It was then that he looked into the chasm he created and divined from what he saw these words.

“I shall know sorrow, and I shall know triumph in equal measure... but you O’ thing, shall eventually come to know nothing, returning to whatever foul place spawned you.”