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The Vessel – Part One

So, instead of being a good student and working on my Ottoman paper, I instead typed up the first chapter of “The Vessel,” the short story I’ve been working on between classes. It looks pretty good so far I think! Below in the entire first part – without editing, as always:

*-*-*

The first time that Lucius Pinius Valerius saw the great black sailing vessel was when he was young, standing near the inner docks in the port of Ostia. His parents – or rather, his father, for his mother was kept at home in Roma due to a fit of terrible consumption – stood beside him, explaining to the young heir of the river-shipping business how all of the different vessels functioned, carrying their goods – mostly salt and stone from the nearby mines and quarries – up the river Tiber to great Roma herself.

Young Lucius was the eldest son of Verus Pinius Valerius, a second generation member of the Roman equestrian class, a family of wealthy plebeians who had made their fortune in some lucrative business – in the case of Verus’ father, this was through shipping.

Their business stretched from Ostia to Rome – not a particularly long stretch, but an important one. The family’s vessels carried primarily salt, but also stone, up the river from Ostia, as well as mines and quarries along the way, to Roma itself, where the materials were used for victuals and construction. Verus did not yet own the quarries and salt mines himself, but it was well-known in Latium that he had an eye on acquiring them, once had had attained more disposable wealth.

The Valerian fleet, at this time, numbered seven working vessels, two vessels in drydock, and two more under construction. Verus hoped that by the time the four ships out of or not yet in commission became functional, a near-monopoly could be attained, and he could use his new-found wealth and status to vault himself up into the upper echelons of society, becoming perhaps a tribune or even a senator! But Verus hid his ambitions from his son as he showed him the proud Mars, flagship of his small armada, its brilliant red sails filling with a gentle wind as its flat bottom floated atop Father Tiber, bearing a heavy load of stone towards Roma.

As Lucius’ father talked on, young Lucius himself found his attention wandering – he was, after all, still a young boy – and watched instead the numerous ships passing by, his father’s words sounding to him almost Gallic, so incomprehensible were they. Roma was by no means a seaport, and its associated empire – in the loose sense of the word – had never shewed much interest in the sea, despite its prime position at the center of the Mediterranean. It was only the river that mattered to the Latin peoples, and the flat-bottomed barges that glided by so smoothly reflected that ignorance – no ship that young Lucius saw could have lasted a single day out at sea.

To the young heir, though, all of the boats were marvelous – especially that one of midnight black that floated down the Tiber, down towards the open sea beyond Ostia. Had the boy more expertise in the art of boatcraft, he would have noticed some significant differences in this vessel that separated it from those lesser vessels around it. For this vessel was a seafaring boat, the like of which few Romans had ever seen in their lives. It caught the boy’s eye due mostly to its imposing colour and size; its obsidian hull easily could have held three levels belowdecks, and it spanned forty or fifty meters from bow to stern. Its black mast sported a massive sail of the same dark colour of the rest of it that billowed out in a direction opposite the wind – but the boy did not notice this. What drew his eyes first was the massive spike jutting out of the bow; clearly an effective tool in ramming other ships.

Just behind the bow-spike were two strange devices, towers four or five meters high, with hooked tops that reminded him of a raven’s claw. Had not they been held up by ropes, the towers would have fallen until they were horizontal, creating a flat plank wide enough for two men to stand abreast with ease. These towers fascinated the imaginative mind of young Lucius and held his rapt attention for quite a while. Had he paid more attention to the water near the bottom of the great vessel, he would have seen both keel and rudder hovering slightly above the surface of the water, making no contact with it and causing no ripples or waves. Of course, the other river traffic could easily account for this going unnoticed.

Verus did eventually notice his son’s lapse in attention, and questioned him as to what was so important that he would not respect his elder father by heeding his words. Lucius immediately pointed at the black vessel that moved with no assistance from any visible crew in a direction contrary to the wind’s path, but his father saw nothing there but the sky and distant mountains. He berated his son then for acting in such a foolish fashion – the boy was growing up rapidly, and he would need to start taking a more active role in managing his father’s work. Trained well by his father, Lucius apologized for his transgression and ashamedly confessed that the vessel was a product of his overactive imagination – something that Verus had tried so hard to drive out of his son. Verus sighed and wondered what his son and heir would come to, but forgave him and began to take his son back to his personal vessel to begin the trip back to Roma.

As Lucius walked behind his father, he looked back one more time, as he had for the first time in his life lied to his father. He knew that the black vessel was no product of his imagination, for it had not faded like those other mirages had when his father caught his attention. It stayed on in his sight, solid as ever, gliding serenely above Father Tiber. In his final glance back, young Lucius saw something that caused him to almost cease breathing – the vessel, before his very eyes, passed through two smaller boats and all three ships carried on like nothing had happened. The ship with the midnight-black sails moved onwards, leaving finally the Tiber behind it and heading off out to sea. Lucius blinked, believing that the ship would vanish then, but it made no such sign of doing so, sailing off into the distance and eventually out of sight. The vessel soon slipped to the back of the young boy’s mind, however, as he delighted in the sensation of being an top of the water and river that he loved so much, forgetting almost all else in the moment. It would be a long while before he saw that vessel again.

*-*-*

And I probably shan’t type up any more of that until this Ottoman paper is done! However, last night I finally had time to read and so read Lovecraft’s “The Evil Clergyman” (which was terribly confusing) and “In the Walls of Eryx,” which I have heard described a science fiction story, and it clearly wasn’t – expect my next post to be a rant on what I consider “science fiction” to truly be.

 
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Posted by on October 19, 2010 in Personal, Writing

 

What’s in Store for the Future…

So, an outline of my current plans: NaNoWriMo is next month – in a couple weeks, actually – so I need to get my university work out of the way. My first priority is writing a paper on reforms in the late Ottoman Empire, and then loosely planning out The Libel of Blood, third book of the Jakken Trilogy and my NaNoWriMo novel. That shouldn’t take long, and once that is finished, I plan on trying to complete a short story (!) I’ve been working on in (and in between) classes, The Vessel – a horror story taking place during the first Punic War, from the viewpoint of a member of the Roman Equestrian class. Following that, I want to also write Station Fourteen, a leap forward in time into the future – a true science fiction horror story, based off of Alien, but with a twist (as I’m sure those of you have read TLOS know I am so fond of).

If by some miracle I can actually do all of that by November, I will begin editing The Light of Civilization (by no means will I finish it), and then we hit NaNoWriMo! Once November 1st rolls around, I’ll be adding a word-count widget to the sidebar, so you can follow my progress without waiting for Twitter or blog updates!

Following the illustrious month of November, provided it doesn’t kill me, I will set aside TLOB and finish (or start) editing TLOC, hopefully finishing that by mid or late December (likely late), and publishing it in late December or early January. I will then immediately begin work on editing TLOB, with the hopes of releasing it in early February, thus completing the trilogy. While this is going on, I will be adding to my short stories, hopefully finishing “The Thing from the Peaks,” which I am envisioning as a novelette, and then continuing work on those as I begin work on my next major project, People of the Storm, which will probably in its final length be about the length of the trilogy (or so I hope). Then for NaNoWriMo next year, I plan on either continuing Jakken’s life story or examining another aspect of the Juxian Mythos, with the Jakken Trilogy introduced: Banditry.

So, that’s the plan for now – let’s see how drastically it changes!

 
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Posted by on October 18, 2010 in Personal, Writing

 

Glorious Epiphany

Chapter 31 has been completed, putting us at 287 pages – and Jak finally had his huge epiphany, and has transformed from a submissive young boy into a gung-ho, confident man. Type-thing. See?

***

The words of the murmuring mass resonated strangely within me. Help and guidance… had I been used as a pawn, or had I merely received help and guidance? I began to think and ponder, and realized that I could turn my vantage point upside down, and see everything differently. I hadn’t been shuffled along like a pawn – I had been given assistance and guided on my path to Juxia. The Shortel had indoctrinated me into their world and given me the tools necessary to (sort of) make it in Juxtani Civilization. Banidtry had indirectly taken me to the Dassens and Admiral Matekis, who had given me perspective and taken away my naivety. Banditry had then again taken me under their wing and shown me the world, and had given me anger to guide me forward.

Kalkkis then had entered my life, and taught me of practical and philosophic matters – he had shown me what amounted to almost fatherly love and caring, and became a true mentor. He, more so than the other, overtly taught me what I needed to know, and widened my perspective further, finishing what Banditry had begun, and bestowing upon me his morals and values. No, I had not been shuffled along as used as a pawn –  though those doing the “shuffling” might disagree – I had been moving from teacher to teacher, getting myself the best possible education and taking the best from all of my mentors.

If I could have, I would have smiled. And now the last link had been put in place: the murmuring darkness that spoke in questions and riddles, had bestowed upon me its wisdom, and made me realize who I was.

I was Jakken Jalhalla Servidos, poor boy risen to powerful man, desired as a tool by many, but who would not submit again. It is the goal of the teacher for the student to become more powerful than the mentor, and it was that I would do. I would overcome those who stood before me, and I would lead my people into the light of civilization, carrying them out of the darkness of barbarism into a bond of egalitarian brotherhood with the rest of Juxtani Space. It was my destiny, and I was going to choose my own fate. No longer was I under anyone’s tutelage; I was my own master now. Nothing could stop me.

***

And such. It’s cheesy, I know – but I think it’s rather epic. So there. But, on an even brighter note… I have four more chapter left to completion! We’re getting closer!

Of course, if I can keep it up. In preparation for NaNoWriMo, I’m getting ahead on work… but I have to counterbalance that with being only 100 cheese away from a snorkel on Transformice, ogling over the new HPLHS Whisperer in Darkness trailer here, and a new game I discovered, where you as a walking flower travel through a world of fluffy clouds and happy… well, everything, into a world of darkness, despair, evil, and DEATH. Try it out here! It’s really scary.

Also, because I forgot to mention earlier – I have a Twitter now! See the link on the right, or click here!

And now I shall leave you to your everyday, menial tasks. Fare thee well until we do meet again!

 

 
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Posted by on October 12, 2010 in Personal, Writing

 

Off!

I’ll be off for about two weeks visiting family, and will not have internet access. I’ll be writing in my travel time – likely editing TLOS as my keyboard needs to be repaired – and when I return and my keyboard is fixed, shall update again! Ta-ta for now!

 
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Posted by on July 26, 2010 in Personal, Writing

 

Parallax, TLOC, Facebook, and Call of Cthulhu

Lots of things this time! Firstly, check out my shiny brand new Facebook page! Nothing interesting or amazing, but it’s something. Secondly, tomorrow is another day of Call of Cthulhu! I’ll be running, as I mentioned before, two scenarios: “The Curse of Chaugnar Faugn” and “Thoth’s Dagger.” The first involves an ex-girlfriend of one of the investigators summoning them for help because her father has become the target of a strange man who hopes to murder him, and the second involves the curse of a dagger that the investigators will come into contact with, leading them all the way to distant Egypt. I will inform you all of the results of the investigator’s (mis)adventures!

And moving back on topic, I have made progress! Not so much in TLOC, only having written two more pages, but I have begun serious work on what I hope will end up being a horror novelette/novella, “Parallax” (to be included in Dark Aeons). As for what exactly I got done, here is the entire first chapter I finished (unedited, so excuse any typos):

Parallax

Chapter I

“Spontaneous human combustion. Ghost sightings. Sudden death syndrome. Random nausea. Unexplainable terror. Vivid hallucinations. Sudden madness. Unidentified flying objects. Monster sightings. Stigmata. Undefinable substances. Bursting blood vessels. Deadly chills. Sudden disappearances. All of these things, gentlemen, have an explanation, if we so choose to accept it.”

The speaker was an older man, complete with large horn-rimmed spectacles, tweed coat, wild white hair and unkempt beard. He spoke with his hands, gesticulating wildly as he talked, his manic motions helping to illustrate what his articulate words already conveyed rather clearly.

His audience was none too distant from the speaker himself; the youngest of them easily in their fifties. All save one, of course: a young man standing near the back who scarcely could have been more than thirty, neatly dressed in a navy blue suit with a crimson tie. His thin spectacles sat below his eyes, balanced on the tip of his nose, and he peered over them directly at the speaker.

“It is not an easy explanation to accept, I will be the first to admit – it took me many years before I could accept it myself.” The speaker was now pacing slowly back and forth across the speaker’s platform, hands no longer wildly gesticulating, but clasped behind his back. “Professor Sebastian Korig, as I am sure you all know, passed away tomorrow, last year, of one of the phenomena of which I speak.” A few quiet murmurs rippled through the crowd, but they quickly silenced. “It was he who initially proposed the theory to me, but it was only in our last year or so together that I finally came into full acceptance of the theory.

“But on account of his death, I am sure you that you all can see that it is of the utmost importance that we learn to understand these phenomena, discover what causes them, and most importantly – learn how to can prevent them.” The speaker cleared his throat. “And I believe that there are ways to do this, if you will hear my piece.” He paused for a moment and took a deep breath.

“But before I can explain to you how I propose to stop these… occurrences, it must first be explained to you how – or more accurately, why – these things occur.” The man in blue raised an eyebrow at the speaker’s last sentence.

“The explanation is, in fact, far more simple than most of us would imagine – which is why we do not imagine it, and why it does not even present itself as a possibility. Gentlemen, esteemed faculty of the honorable Malacky University, I propose to you today a theory – nay, it is more than a theory – I bring to you an explanation, a light with which to shed illumination on some of the unexplained mysteries of this world.”

There was a dramatic pause here, and the speaker eyed the crowd, taking in their responses. No man there seemed particularly moved, or expressed more than a passing interest in the contents of the old man’s speech. Save, of course, for the man in the back dressed in blue.

“This explanation, which has eluded humanity for so very long, has been before our eyes the entire time – only we have failed to see it. We have caught glimpses at it, sometimes with our eyes, and sometimes with our myriad other senses. More often than not, it is the results that we see, not the cause, and those who do see the cause are not for much longer in this dimension.” The speaker smiled, but it had an unsettling effect rather than a reassuring one.

“Yes, gentlemen, what I am saying is that there are, indeed, multiple dimensions – and I am not speaking here of the dimensions we know – length, width, depth, time, and so on. No, what I am referencing is an older concept of a dimension – a different, separate reality that coexists with our own, yet is for the most part invisible to us, just as our dimension is invisible to those who dwell in our sister, parallel dimension.”

To the speaker’s credit, he had the attention of his audience now – even if it was the amused attention one gave to a rambling madman. “And yes, I am also saying here that there are inhabitants of this parallel dimension, living beings that move and walk and talk and breathe as we do.” He lowered his voice conspiratorially. “I have seen them.”

The speaker unclasped his hands and began again to gesture. “But what, you ask, does this have to do with the unexplained phenomena I listed earlier? Spontaneous human combustion? Sudden death syndrome? Bursting blood vessels? Why, the answer is one word: everything.

“Each and every one of these ‘unexplained’ phenomena can, I argue, be explained in terms of interactions between our two dimensions. When one of these things happens to a member of our dimension, it is the direct result of something from our sister reality making a brief appearance in our world, completely unintentionally, and accidentally inflicting harm.

“The exact circumstances surrounding each of these types of ‘paranormal’ phenomena vary wildly, and these circumstances within each type of phenomena vary just as wildly, which makes it nearly impossible to typify or determine what event, exactly, will trigger one of the listed phenomena. Let us take possibly the most well-known of these pheneomena, for instance: spontaneous human combustion. Someone in this other dimension may be carrying a torch, and if they walk too close to a region where the boundaries between our two planes of existence wears thin, for an instant the torch may exist in two planes at once, or perhaps temporarily – or permanently – become a part of our dimension.

“Most of the time, these intrusions upon our reality are completely – or mostly – harmless. In some rare cases, however, they can become fatal. Let us return to the torchbearer. Say there is a human standing at that point in our dimension where the torchbearer’s torch is as well. As our dimensions share the same space, when that torch shifts dimensions, it will appear in the same place in our dimension. Does anyone here know what happens when a torch suddenly manifests itself in one’s head? Or below one’s arm? Or neck?”

The speaker was rewarded here with a few chuckles. The blue suited man was one of those who did not chuckle, or even smile. He was focused intently on the speaker.

“That’s right – they tend to catch on fire. And that, I say, is one probably cause of spontaneous human combustion. It doesn’t have to be just fire, though. Explosions at certain key weak points in their dimension could have the same effect. Heat as well, or melting metal. Lava flows, magma, molten substances. Stars. Plasma. Lightning. If at the right time, these perfectly natural phenomena could become unnatural and unexplained phenomena in another dimension. Of course, assuming that this is the case, then the phenomena are, in fact, perfectly natural.”

He took a deep breath before continuing. “Other phenomena can be explained in much the same way. Burst blood vessels could be caused by a small surgical device slipping into our realm. Badly placed knives could cause random cuts – stigmata – in innocent passerby. Vehicles in this other dimension could be unidentified flying objects. Or maybe it’s just a volleyball we’re seeing. And unidentified substances – rocks that appear not of this universe, or metals that cannot be destroyed – may be no more than objects that passed through the dimensions and failed to return.” The speaker smiled.

“Ghosts can be just momentary glimpses of these otherworldly beings, or perhaps beings only partially entered into our dimension. Or your brother playing a prank on you.” More chuckles greeted this, and even the blue suited man smiled ever so slightly.

“I am sure by this time that you all understand – you all get the picture. Many – not all, but I believe most – paranormal or unexplained phenomena can be explained by objects from a sister dimension passing through to our own.

“But how do you know this? What evidence, what proof do you have to back up these outrageous claims? Quite a bit, I am pleased to say, thanks to the work of the esteemed professor Korig. You see, he had been working on a device that would allow one to peel back the thin curtain separating our two planes of existence and allowing us to glimpse our sister dimension!” The speaker’s arms were thrown out wide, but the audience made no visible reaction.

The speaker lowered his arms and continued talking. “And I finished the device for him, two months after he passed away. It resembles, to the uneducated eye, a pair of goggles hooked up to a mechanical apparatus. I suppose, at its most basic, that is what it is. But once you slip those glasses over your field of vision, you will be able to see the contours and beings of our sister dimension superimposed over our own!

“Of course, the device itself duplicates a previously known condition, naturally occurring among a few select humans – extra-sensory perception. Those human beings born near weak spots in the dimensional fabric are often ‘touched,’ for lack of a better world, by this alternate reality, and are sensitive to it. That is why these people can see ghosts and phantasms, as they are merely spectral images of those living beside us, but in a separate realm of reality.

“And these people can be used, just like me device can. Armed with the ability to sense the transgressions of alternate dimensions into our own, they can be a warning signal. We can employ them as guardians, to prevent many of these things from happening, and getting others out of harm’s way – sort of an extra-sensory police force, if you will.

“If you, honorable faculty of Malacky University, choose to grant me this… well, grant – then I can streamline the device so that it can be carried by one person, and make it ten times more effective. In addition to helping to prevent these terrible, previously unexplained accidents, these devices will open up a whole new avenue of research and exploration, and perhaps lead to even more innovative technologies!

“Are there any questions?”

Two or three hands went up. The speaker called upon the closest man.

“Yes, doctor Fortworth?”

“Did you bring the device with you?”

The speaker wrung his hands. “Ah… no. It is too bulky at the moment to transport. That is why I need the grant – so that the thing can be transported.”

“So we are supposed to take, completely on faith, this… frankly, utterly ridiculous theory you have of alternate dimensions and weak points that cause strange accidents that, in all honesty, no one particularly cares about?”

“The theory is not ridiculous, professor. It is backed up by evidence!” The speaker walked over to his desk and pulled off a sheaf of papers. Waving them in the air, he continued. “I have written reports here! Lab records, illustrations, everything!”

Another man in the audience stood. “I am sorry, doctor Reinhouer, but we shall need more than that.” He cleared his throat. “And if you will excuse us, it is getting rather late, and many of us have classes to teach tomorrow – not excluding yourself. The board shall review all of the applicants for the grant, and will announce its decision within the week. Good night to you all.”

As the speaker stood dejected upon his platform, the faculty all stood and walked out one of the four exits, talking cheerfully among themselves. As the audience trickled out, professor Siegfried Reinhouer slowly collected his things and walked out the left front door, looking down at the ground. Following closely behind him was the man in blue.

*-*-*

Ta-da!

 
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Posted by on July 23, 2010 in Personal, Writing

 

Psy Returns

And you thought Psy wouldn’t reappear in The Light of Civilization? Think again, because he’s back and more immature and creepy than ever! Psy makes his re-debut in Chapter 16, page 138, in a dream of Jak’s:

“I have found you, Jak. Your thoughts have become so much more appetizing of late – perhaps it is a good thing that we was prevented from taking you previously – you will now make a much more interesting friend for me.”

I was walking in a very familiar location. I was surrounded by stars on all sides; above me, below me, in front of me, behind me, and to both my sides. They all shone with an inner brilliance that I knew masked a cold loneliness, and their light shimmered eerily off of the dense fog that swirled at my feet, only occasionally letting my glimpse the stars far below me.

My movement did not affect the fog at all, as it twisted and writhed in accordance to its own rules. I walked forward, against my better judgment, in the direction of the voice. I no longer found it soothing or inviting; in it I heard only trickery and deceit.

“Psy, I know you are there – show yourself!” Perhaps this was what the green-cloaked man had been warning me about – the return of the psychotic psychic flying slug who wanted me as his playmate.

Far on the horizon of stars, I saw movement. As I watched and continued my slow advance towards it, I made out the silently floating form of Psy; a gigantic, gently flowing, translucent purple slug. I felt smugness emanating from the figure.

“Perhaps even now we shall wait to take you – though it would be so easy. The Tracking Units have lost me, and no one knows where we are. I doubt anyone would even notice you’re gone.”

“That isn’t true!” I shouted back. “People do care about me, you know!”

Something that sounded suspiciously like laughter began to emanate from the slug. “I’m sure they do. But will they care enough?”

I began to form a reply, but the distant slug turned around and floated away before I could speak.

“But we shall wait – such interesting things are coming your way.”

***

How ominous.

In other news (or rather, very similar news), TLOC is now at 144 pages! Granted, most of the progress was not made on Saturday, but the important thing is that progress was made! Additionally, another three TLOS chapters were edited, and I’m ready to start Chapter 10 next!

Now, in for real other news, I have discovered an awesome and amazingly distracting TV show – Dead Like Me. Watch it if you have the chance – it’s a cynical look at society, life, and death, through the eyes of a tragically killed college dropout who finds herself, after death, now stuck with the job of a “Reaper,” helping others’ souls after they’ve died.

In even more other news, the Wold Guardian was finished and I still remain undefeated in the Hordesmachine league – was in third place at the start of next week. I’m sure tomorrow will be my losing day. I’ll be playing either Primal or Epic Krueger – not sure which yet.

And in final news, the next Call of Cthulhu scenarios will be “The Curse of Chaugnar Faugn” and “Thoth’s Dagger.” Two different paced adventures; I can’t wait to see the outcome.

And in post final news, Twilight: Eclipse was a huge disappointment, as it was actually better-made than the other two, which pushed it from the category of “it’s so awful it’s good” into the “it’s just awful category.” Nevertheless, Jane and the Volturi are still awesome (I actually think her world is kind of neat – it’s just the sickening romance and plot parts I can’t stand).

Ta-ta for now!

 
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Posted by on July 15, 2010 in Personal, Writing

 

It’s a Bat! Of Progress!

Progress is finally being made, despite some rather serious hurtles. Yesterday, after bravely reading through and editing two more chapters of the The Loneliness of Stars (Yes, I know I’m behind!), I settled down to work on The Light of Civilization some more, and then was forced to suddenly write the Underdark Campaign update – which sucked away the rest of my day. Then today, I was forced to do other things for the majority of the day, and when I finally settled down to write… a bat flew into the back of my head.

That’s right. A bat. Flew into my head. While I was inside.

It was rather traumatizing, and may have scarred me for life. After the cat batted it down and it hid in the pantry (all of this after me spending a rather long time trying to shoo and lure it outside), I called Animal Control who then removed it with a racket, a trash bin, and an apron (don’t worry, the bat lived and I think is fine).

After that stressful ordeal, I spent a while calming down and getting my heart rate back to normal, and then finally began writing. And then I wrote ten pages, and had a slew of new ideas (which are now written down), and all is well! Tomorrow I will not likely be making much progress, as I will have (hopefully) have a Wold Guardian (rar!) to paint for the Warmachine/Hordes League tomorrow, and Friday I shall be out and about with my girlfriend, but Saturday I anticipate as being a time of great writing alongside the Moulder Pitfighters update! Stay tuned!

 
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Posted by on July 8, 2010 in Personal, Writing

 

The Dream-Quest of Unknown Chapters

Two things! Firstly, I have been making progress on TLOC, and expect to make a lot of progress over the past two weeks (if all goes according to plan) – currently on page 116. The second thing is that I finally finished Lovecraft’s “The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath,” and while it truly was epic, I was… underwhelmed. The writing at times seemed repetitive, and it seemed like anti-horror to me – too much was explained, not enough left mysterious. That and the ghouls were protagonists – that required some getting used to. Hopefully I’ll have good news on my progress next time I update!

 
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Posted by on June 30, 2010 in Personal, Readings, Writing

 

The Story of the Third Dark Carnival of Toys

As promised, I am here to update you on the fate of the Call of Cthulhu scenario I ran on Saturday! It went well – I ran two missions with two groups, the first of three and the second of four – and while it was the same scenario (disappearances near a carnival, caused by the work of an evil society consisting of the employees of the carnival involved with summoning chthonians and Shudde M’ell), the endings were completely different. The first group snuck into the caverns below the park in the dead of night after visiting it extensively during the day, and one of them bought an occult book. The investigator with the occult book summoned a horde of ghouls to him, and they took on all of the “carnies” underground. However, three sacrifices were cast into a pool (including the manager of the carnival), resulting in the summoning of Shudde Me’ll – for a second before the ritual failed. Shudde M’ell then took out most of the remaining carnies, and the rest were rounded up by the police.

The second group (of four), took a different approach, looking for information in different places and then sneaking under the carnival grounds in the middle of the day, through a hidden door on a carnival ride. They then fought the manager, Wilberforce Wyatt, singlehandedly underground, before one of them escaped and brought the might of the Providence police force in on it, and having a massive shootout on carnival grounds. They also ended up summoning Shudde M’ell – except this time, he stayed and destroyed the carnival and much of the surrounding area before vanishing again. They shouldn’t return to Providence anytime soon.

Everyone had fun, though, and I’m looking forward to the next scenario we’ll be running – “The Curse of Chaugnar Faugn” (both of these scenarios are from the Curse of  the Chthonians book – my own scenarios will come later).

The day before that scenario, I had the pleasure of seeing Toy Story 3 – and it was fantastic (though Wall-E and Up are still my favorites), and almost had me in tears. It was that good. Go see it if you haven’t already.

 
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Posted by on June 29, 2010 in Personal

 

TLOS Editing, TLOC Progress, and Dark Carnival Preparations!

Though pressed for time, I have made some progress! My brother, the esteemed Tristan, has finally finished reading The Loneliness of Stars, and at my request (our transaction smoothed over with a few dollars), has marked down all of the grammatical, spelling, and consistency mistakes he could find. I am currently going through his copy, fixing the marked mistakes and any others I notice on the way. I have currently gone through chapters one through four, and will try to edit a chapter a day until I am done – so expect a re-release in slightly more than a month!

In addition to editing my first novel, I had some more time to work on The Light of Civilization – I have now reached page 111. Following is an excerpt from my most recent writing session, in Chapter 13 – the alien fast-food scene:

***

It reminded me a lot of the nicer fast-food chains on earth that I had seen, and rarely eaten at, like McBurger’s and Wanda’s. Threkky’s, however, was much larger, containing what looked to be at least a hundred tables of varying sizes scattered around. The floor was a pleasing tan color, and the walls were a dull orange. As far as I could see, there was no counter or kitchen.

Thyrak quickly located a three-person table for us and we sat down. The chairs were amazingly comfortable, with armrests and lots of cushions. The tables looked to be finely finished marble. In the center of it was a bright silver cylinder. A few moments after we settled down, it spoke, prompting me to jump.

“And what will you have today?” A holographic image popped up above it, displaying a very sophisticated menu. I watched Thyrak and Jarken look at theirs (we all had separate images in front of us), and by touching various menu items you could get details.

I couldn’t recognize any of the items on the list. I clicked on some of them and got images, as well as the price, ingredients, nutrition information, and how exactly it was made.

After two or three minutes I decided to get the thing that looked the most like chicken – although it had what appeared to be five wings. It also was one of the cheaper items there, which made me feel better about having Thyrak pay for me.

Once we had all spoken our orders aloud, the menu image changed into an image of what appeared to a kitchen. I stared at it in amazement.  Jarken caught my look and grinned.

“Live feed from the kitchens – you can watch your food being made. You don’t have this?”

I shook my head slowly.

“Neither do we, mostly – it’s a Threkky’s innovation.” Jarken leaned back and watched his meal being made in silence.

I did the same – I winced slightly as I saw the animal I had ordered slaughtered before my eyes. It did not look at all like a chicken – rather more like some kind of weird fish.

Once its blood was drained out, it was skinned – which revealed what looked to be a second layer of skin – and then thrown into an oven of some kind. The cook, a plump Shortel male – threw a bunch of powders and liquids down a tube in the top of it. Five or so minutes later, the cook took it out and placed it on a tray in what looked to be a dumbwaiter.

I jumped again as the center of the table detached from the rest of it and floated in the air. My meal shot up out of the opening in the tables and floated over to land in front of me. Jarken’s and Thyrak’s meals followed shortly thereafter.

On my tray was a drink of water and what looked to be a long, dull needle and a knife. I watched Thyrak and Jarken use theirs – the needle seemed to be some kind of fork-like thing – before I picked up my own utensils and dug in.

It was delicious. It tasted like a very fishy chicken – sort of like what I would imagine a chicken would taste like if it lived in salt water. It was about a third the size of a chicken, and I finished it quickly, then downed my drink. I was immensely satisfied.

***

And on an unrelated note, preparations for the Call of Cthulhu scenario I am running, “Dark Carnival,” is going well. I shall post regarding the results on Sunday. And speaking of Lovecraft, if you haven’t seen the trailer for the upcoming HPLHS movie “The Whisperer in Darkness,” check it out here. Also look at the “Whisperer” blog here.

 
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Posted by on June 25, 2010 in Personal, Writing