Monday, 28 December 2015

The problem with being part human

I started late. Really I did. At least by society's standards.

I stumbled into my first relationship at the age of twenty-seven, if I recall correctly, and after that there was my most serious relationship and since then, nothing really serious. It takes a while to heal, to regroup, to re-align. That's natural.

But the problem with being part human is that that piece is the part that usually gets you into trouble. Well, scientifically speaking, 99.1% of the time. Really, that's a fact. And what I haven't been prepared for is, after realising that I can actually be in a relationship with someone, how seductive that idea really is.

For me, it's always been about finding the one. Finding the mate that I wish to wake up next to for the rest of my days. The one that will understand the depths of my heart and soul, and be with me through all the trials and fun ahead. But now I find myself faced with a different human problem; desire.

I can be alone, really, I can. And I am no stranger to desire, having gone many years desiring the company of many different women. The problem now is that although I have the same desires at times, I no longer feel the same limitations. Both companionship and romantic relationships are now within my reach. And although there's no guarantee my ardor would be returned, I still find myself reaching to begin relationships.

And I probably shouldn't.

The problem really manifests when I see someone I want. Someone I want, but not where the world is shattered and I need to be with that person. Just someone I would like to be romantically engaged with. Someone who it would be nice to while away the time with, talk with, explore and be attracted to, seductive with.

But not someone I'd smash through the boundary between worlds to be with.

And that's just not my kind of thing. I want the earth-shattering, lightning-struck, time-stopping love. I want that bolt of recognition, and steaming, jittery excitement. I want to feel magic coursing through my body from my feet to my fingertips. I want to step into a dream of a world that I never thought I could reach, and find her there. Most likely on her own adventure.

I don't want in the mean time, I want the all time.

But the problem with being part human the mean time if I can reach out and hold something, I probably will. Not because I should, but because I can.

So I sleep, and count the minutes, hours, and days until I do something that will send me hurtling through the abyss. Hoping beyond hope that she will somehow show up to save me.

I can wait, but as the seconds tick by I realise every second I am without her is an eternity too long.

And in the mean time...

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Recipe for Disaster

"You're not coming back," he said. His voice rippled out among the crowd and they looked at each other in confusion.

"That's what I said. You're not coming back, and neither am I," he told them. His voice was a nearly a whisper but the microphones relayed his words throughout the crowd, hundreds of thousands strong. "This will be the last time we see this world again. This is the last time we will breathe the air as we know it. This is the last time we will see our loved ones. In this world." His words died out and here and there from the older of the soldiers, there was nodding.

That was it. That was the point of the speech. That was what he thought. Not to lie to them, but to tell them the truth, that this would be the last time any of them would be alive. But now he was there he knew it wasn't enough. Oh they would fight and die, sure enough, to secure tomorrow, but somehow that wasn't enough. Not now.

As the officer walked forward to relieve him, he suddenly spoke up. "If that's what you want," he said.

There was a confused murmur among the crowd and as the seconds ticked by it turned angry. "What's that supposed to mean?" someone yelled from the front row.

"If you want, we can fight, and win. If that's all you want, our children will be safe, and perhaps even their children," he said.

"Aye, that's what we want," the soldier from the front yelled back.

"Is it?" he asked. "Is what you want just for your children to be safe? For your country to be safe for a time? For the survivors to be old and decrepit by the time the next war arrives?"

"What else is there?" another soldier at the front called.

"Seventy-five years ago world war two ended. Seventy-five years is all it took for us to repeat our mistakes. They said there would never be a war as terrible, that we would never let it happen again. Seventy-five years ago to this day our forefathers swore never again." His words were powerful as they washed over the crowd, but he wasn't really talking to them he realised, but himself. "When is it going to end?" he called. "This is the largest group of people ever in the history of mankind to work together, the largest movement that the world has ever seen. And tomorrow we just go home? Who's home? Where?"

"I don't know about you mate, but I'm going to my own bloody home," someone called and a laugh followed.

"Exactly." He snapped his fingers and pointed at the man. "We go our own separate ways and leave the world to fend for itself. The same world, repeating the same mistakes over and over. No one ever thought a nuclear deterrent wouldn't be enough, but now we know different. How many hundreds of years will our cities be uninhabitable? How many holes are we going to make in mother earth before we realise?"

"What are you getting at, lad?" An older soldier called out.

"Humanity lost hope long ago. Long before this war started, we had lost direction. We had lost faith in our future. We had lost our dreams. And what I want to say is a dream, and I'm sure you'll all laugh at me for having it, but if there was ever a time for dreams it is today. The day before our long sleep."

"Say your piece then, boy, I've no plans tomorrow." Another veteran, tough and grizzled, told him.

He bowed his head. "This may be the last time we gather. The last chance in our lifetimes to really try to change the world for the better. And it is a good thing we are doing, a noble thing, finally for the right reasons. But is it enough?" He sighed, the breath rushing from his body as he panted. His heart felt tight, as though he was about to say something forbidden. The crowd hung on his words unsure, as he was, as to what he would say.

He opened his mouth, and somehow the words poured out of him as though he were merely a conduit. "Why can't we change the world? Why can't we make it better? Why can't we make it different instead of fighting the same battles? Why can't we come home tomorrow to not the same world, but a new one? One where the old distinctions do not exist, black, white, brown, bronze, we are all in this crowd, together. Old and young, rich and poor, knowledgeable and ignorant, the bombs didn't care. European, American, Asian, African, we all stand together here." He took a deep breath.

"And who says we can't change the world again? We had peace before and will again, but the world hasn't changed, we are still the same, the same hate, the same divisions. We never really learned to embrace our differences. We never saw ourselves as a world." He spread his arms. "But if this isn't the world, I'm not sure what is. All people fighting as one." He laughed. "Aye, and fighting another one people." He shook his head. "The only thing we ever agree on is killing people. Can't that end? Can't we just say enough is enough, and when all is said and done we're all...human?"

He took another deep breath, but his voice was quiet when he spoke. "A long time ago, Christmas came. Soldiers crawled out of the trenches and realised the truth. They laughed, drank, and shared gifts with each other. And then the next day, cried as they shot each other."

"They cried because they took a human life. They cried because they realised it was wrong, but the only thing any of us understand is a bullet, is a gun. They realised that that sometimes doing the right thing requires doing the worst thing. And they knew it was the worst, because it hurt, inside. These weren't their lovers, their loved ones, they pals, mates, or countrymen. These were the enemy. They only had two things in common; they were human, and they were there to kill each other."

"Today, we re-enact that war a thousand-fold." He looked across the crowd as the tears streaked down his face. "Shouldn't it be the last time?" he asked. "Don't we owe it to our children and our dead, to try to do things a different way?"

A gruff soldier removed his had and sighed. "The words are good, but how would we do that? In practice it's impossible, the world just doesn't work like that." Many heads in the crowd nodded at his words.

The speaker sighed in an echo of the soldier, then he blinked. "We do it the hard way," he said. "We don't leave it to the politicians, to the leaders, to the orators." Here he pointed to himself, then his hand spread across the crowd. "You do it. You all take charge. You vote on everything. You run the world just as you would run the countries, each and every one of you. You be responsible. You take the burden on your backs. You lift the world on your shoulders. You join hands with every other human on the planet, and piece by piece you come to decisions together."

He laughed, it was ridiculous as he said it, but somehow he couldn't help believing it was possible. "Who cares whether there is a god in heaven or not? That's your business. Your individuality doesn't end if we work together, it will always be what makes you unique. But instead of joining all these tiny clubs across the globe, you'd be part of the biggest community from birth. Not just in name, this time Human will mean something."

"This time Human will mean everything."

Wednesday, 11 November 2015


A little excerpt from my Nano "Filler" (wip title! :-p) that I had fun writing...reaaally slowly, because I'm behind again. As always.
The door swung open violently and Swansong slid through, two flintlock pistols trained on the warrior. "As a rule, I don't like people getting shot on my boat, so kindly put down your weapon before my cabin gets dirty," she said coolly.
The warrior looked around quickly, searching for a way to escape. Finally she sighed and uncocked her pistol, handing it to Ceres. "It's not loaded anyway, I lost my powder pouch on the way down."
Swan nudged her head in the direction of the bed and the warrior reluctantly moved over and sat down on it. "So what now?" she asked.
Swansong shrugged. "I don't have a small boat for you, so you're just going to wait until we hit a place for repairs. Then you get off."
"That's it?" the warrior asked.
Swansong shook her head. "That's the easy way. The other way is I shoot you in the foot and have the boy lying there like a plank bind it, and then we drop you off somewhere you won't make any noise for a while." She smiled. "Your choice, of course."
"I think I'll take the former," the warrior said wryly.
"Good, because these aren't loaded either," Swansong said, uncocking her pistols and holstering them.
The warrior raised an eyebrow in surprise. "You just expect me to stay here and play nice?"
"Hell no!" Swansong dismissed that idea with a wave of her hand. "This is my cabin."

Monday, 2 November 2015


It's very cool how things work out sometimes. I'm writing a steampunk fantasy for Nano, and my airship features sails, levitation magic, and a combustion engine, instead of the more traditional balloon and propellers model.

Just now I'm writing them passing through storm clouds. Their engines are spent, their sails are shredded and they're moving on inertia alone. I decide to make the craft have some kind of lightning channel to direct the damage away from the ship, and possibly stored as energy for later.

Debating what role that much electricity would play on the ship, I realised that generally speaking a jet engine needs a charge to jump start it. The kind of charge my combustion engine (which makes up part of a jet engine - if I got this right) could well make use of.

All of a sudden I realise that the situation feeds perfectly into the circumstances of the story. And while I couldn't understand quite as much as I wanted in my engine research, it sounds close enough to fudge. After all, although I have magic for buoyancy, I still want some things to be grounded in reality. I mean, I can't pretend a ley line is a superconductor, can I?

Can I?

Friday, 30 October 2015


Phobias are weird.

When I was younger I was always afraid of the dark. Now that I'm older that has lessened a fair bit, but I still sometimes find it just a little bit frightening. To me, though, that's not unreasonable. It's not the dark that's frightening, after all, but what could be inside the dark, and of course with this overactive imagination, anything I conjure up could be.

It's not often a hot date, sadly.

Insects on the other hand, I know don't make a whole lot of sense. Oh having them in your face or near your ears or being worried some might bite or sting you is understandable, but...I actually like bumble bees. I mean, they're big and fuzzy and don't bother anyone, not really. Not like wasps, evil buggers those.

It's funny then as, after a particularly amusing incident, I was reminded by my brother of a time long ago where they didn't bother me at all. Where indeed, I used to save bees with flowers. More interesting indeed is the setting he described, a place with dorm like beds and wooden balconies that connected the rooms. I have scant recollection of that place...

It gets me thinking, though, of all the half-dreams and remembered imaginings. Of places long forgotten or never been and dreamt of. How much is real, how much is a dream?

I read a book called "Pawn's Dream" when I was young. I remember finding it absolutely fascinating, having featured a protagonist who would awake in his dream in another world. By day he was in the 'mundane' (absolutely beautiful) world we know and by night he was in another, strange and new place.

I always think I won't forget that first scene in the book, where the protagonist wakes up in something like a monastery, overlooking an impressive and alien city. The only problem is that the scene bears next to no resemblance to my memory. Oh sure the salient points are similar, but the details are completely different. And then I remember...

Dusty and windswept, I walk along the outer rim of the mountain, my companion and mentor by my side. The oval openings in the sandstone wall to my right overlook a landscape turned red with sand. I can see little past the gusts, but my mind has little time for remembrance as I struggle to keep my footing as the wall ends.

The path continues, now not a corridor but a most desperate ledge following along the rough and rocky outskirts of a stronghold raised far above the land. A mis-step would undoubtedly be fatal. Why am I here?

My mentor is telling me something. A change is coming, and I must prepare for a journey. To what, neither of us know, but I must go swiftly lest I be blocked. We are on this perilous ledge to reach some sort of sanctum where he will gift aid me. My mind fills with a blue glow, an indistinct round object, exotic and mysterious...but no knowledge fills me at the recollection.

The rippling sandstorm threatens to tear me from the cliff face, but my mentor's steps seem steady even as I fight against the wind. How can that be so? Something streams to me then, as I shift in my bed. You are not he. But it feels real, and I desperately scream in my mind to stay. I want the adventure, the excitement, even the danger. I can feel an epic journey spinning from my grasp and I struggle, scratching and clawing against it.

You are being selfish. The thought ripples out to me. You are not he. Those are the last words I hear in my mind before the sandstorm picks me up like a child's toy and rips my consciousness from that world.

And I awaken. The years pass. The dream folds into my mind and is lost like a long forgotten treasure.

Except when I think of Pawn's Dream.

And my mind asks...what is that other me doing? And a little part of me wants to smash through the fabric of the 'verse just to have another chance at that moment.

And the largest part of me says...this is why I write. This is what I should be writing. Every fractured dream of another life. Every adventure I imagined as a child. Every passionate desire I long ago folded away.

And a part of me wakes up and never was a dream.

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Talky Marks

And here we join our writer to find...he's still really no good at English :p

Apparently I've been doing speech tags wrong for a long time. At an age where I should know better, my punctuation is apparently off, and instead of using commas to end the speech and using lower case 'he said/she said', I've been taking that as another sentence.

So instead of: “Shall we?” he asked, turning to Keruni.
 I still have: “Shall we?” He asked, turning to Keruni.

This is a big deal for me, because up until now I thought my punctuation was largely correct, though my grammar has always been touch-and-go at best. I'm going to have to go through all my stories and edit these corrections in now. Though as a side effect, some of those more glaring "said" moments have softened a little.

Well, better late than never. I'm not really sure if I should be chagrined or glad that I'm still learning at this phase.

I guess I'll settle for neither, and just get my act together.

Oh, and side note, the dreaded Nanz0rd or legend is coming up soon. What will I do...

Friday, 23 October 2015

All About You

Writing is really a selfish practice.
While many may dream of changing the world, of changing hearts and minds through it, it really is selfish. You put yourself in a room and lock everything else out of your mind except what you want to say, the one time when you can say exactly what you want and have people hear you. Make sure it's your voice they hear. Keep it selfish, because writing is really one of the more selfless selfish things out there.

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Under the Bridge (rant)

So...I got trolled. And I didn't realise for a whole month, lol.

Well, all I can say is...thanks for ruining it for me. I really hoped that the first comment I received would be somewhat positive, but I guess this is the internet after all, and as long as one can hide themselves in the crowd they'll say whatever they like.

But that's not really so bad. What really gets me is that people are actually like this. They think this is the internet so it doesn't matter, that that person is not real, so they say whatever they like.

And without intending, they reveal their true selves.

In a moral vacuum, what you do is entirely up to you. The anonymous internet is that moral vacuum. There are very few laws and regulations that effectively extend here. There are no pressures on an anonymous user, and little way to track them. No one will know.

Except you.

And increasingly what I see is that no one out there is decent. At all. The fact that most people would reach out and harm someone else without a care in the world is proof of that. And I'm not even talking about those that encourage people to kill themselves, but the little things like accusations and disparaging comments.

You ever read the comment section for a product online and see a bunch of positive reviews and a couple of negative ones? What makes the most impression? How many positive reviews outweigh those negative concerns? 5x? 10x? 50? How much difference is there between that kind of place and this? A private blog with someone accused of this or that. Of course an author will defend themself, but you wouldn't trust them to be unbiased, would you?

No, you'd trust a third party.

On a blog with a single comment, the seed is planted. This person is untrustworthy, someone you shouldn't affiliate with, someone who holds unsavoury views. None of which is true, I should clarify. Whether you like me or not (and there's much not to like), I carry no beef against anyone, regardless of colour, religion or sexuality. Yes, I'm still human and not a robot, but I tend to draw my lines on a case-by-case basis.

Do I make generalisations sometimes? Sure. Do I demean other people based on their race, belief, or sexuality? No. Unless they're crazy and believe I should be killed because I'm not some favourable archetype. Or believe I should be shut down and kept underfoot based on any of those three things.

My friend just read me another blog on how people have changed. Instead of protesting and picking fights for matters of life and death, now people want to take offence at any slight perceived insult and package it as a cause, because they have none.

And that's just sad. There are enough real problems in the world that we don't have to go out of our way to manufacture more. Want to really feel like you're a righteous person? Go feed a starving child, help set up a shelter, tend someone's wounds, march for someone's rights. Heck, do anything that requires you not to just sit at your desk and rub salt into people's wounds. But no, it's too difficult to actually make a difference. That would require actually giving up comfort, and what is a human life compared to that comfort?

It's different for me. I look in the mirror and know I'm not a good person. I know that to live my life I'm ignoring the thousands of people dying that second. The hundreds of thousands of people dying that day. I know I place my life above theirs, every single day of comfort. And that's why I live my life as a balance. If I'm going to have a net effect on this world it had better be positive.

But there's a dearth of people who've ever spared those souls a thought, and I guess that's why the world is going to hell in a handbasket. Why it's so easy for people to tell people to die, or accuse them of whatever they want whenever they want. If you have no idea of the weight of your life, of the life-saving choices you choose to forego every day, it must be pretty easy to assume no one else does. That every one else is just as self-serving and hateful as the next, and the smile they wear is just to hide the dagger behind their back.

But hey, the next time you see me talking to a dude in a skirt, ask yourself why I would be talking to that interesting person if I hated them. And then maybe, just maybe, think about revising that opinion.

Friday, 29 May 2015

Hard Coded

Never violate a woman, nor harm a child.  Do not lie, cheat or steal.  These things are for lesser men.  Protect the weak against the evil strong.  And never allow thoughts of gain to lead you into the pursuit of evil.
- Druss the Legend

There are some things I can easily say myself, for everything else there's David Gemmell.

This is a version of the code by which I live my life. The code my parents instilled with their actions more than their words. Finish what you start. If you do something make sure you do it right. Protect those who cannot protect themselves. Stand up for what's right. Judge fairly, but also with compassion. Only harm those who do you ill, or those with ill intent. And if you should fail, make amends.

This is why you will never see me two-faced. Why I don't pretend not to have made mistakes. Why I own up to my actions. Why I strive to help people, rather than hurt them. Why I defend my friends, and my foes as well, if they are right.

This is why I have never trolled someone. Why I don't attack people. Why I only use one name on the internet, and if you got here you'd have to know it. Because Ikalx is me. Everything that's done in that name, links straight back to this person I've built and doesn't go away. I don't make a new name, a new identity, whenever I see fit. This is all I have. The integrity and honour in this name is bound inexorably to me. All the wrongs and all the rights are here to stay.

And I wouldn't have it any other way. This is how I show I am a person and not just an avatar. It's why I've never felt I needed a picture to prove I was human, and why I don't demand that in others either.

Some people reading might not believe or understand that. For some people, when they see me write that I'm a terrible person, they think I mean a truly terrible person. Someone who often enjoys harming and devaluing others. They see me call myself a scumbag and in their heads it's an "ah-hah!" moment, and an admission of guilt.

They don't see that I call myself a scumbag because I caused someone pain that day.

When they see me say I've betrayed someone, they don't realise I've said that because I failed to become the more that I should have been.

Because that's how I see life. I don't make my morals on a comparative scale to the people around me. I don't do something because everyone else is doing it. They are absolute. And if I do do something wrong, I swallow my pride and apologise for it.

So if you see me doing something wrong, call me on my bullshit. Talk to me about it. Tell me I'm doing wrong. Don't just sit in the dark nursing a grudge, tell it to me. Because nine times out of ten the response you'll get is a shamefaced one, and a promise to do better.

Thought it was about time I clarified that.

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Exit; Stage Left

It had been a while since I'd really felt part of an online community, most of mine having either disbanded or fallen quiet in more recent years.

Of course I had to go and screw it up.

There's a point, I think, where I'm revealed to be a douchebag. Sometimes it takes years, or months, but whichever it is, I can be sure it's coming. Not that it's usually something I can control, or even aim for, just something that seems to pop up at some point.

This time, I wasn't really expecting it. This time, it took less than three weeks.

It wasn't the biggest, worst thing I've ever done. I take a little comfort in that. At least as I age I'm failing a little better than before, and knowing to quit before I ruin things for everyone. At least sometimes. But for a student of people, I really don't get how I keep stepping into it. The teachers at school always said I talked to much, guess my mouth is still getting me into trouble.

It was fun, though. The days leading up to disaster, I mean. Hanging with people, getting to talk to them, being excited to see them and getting to chat about writing in a more meaningful way...yeah, it was fun. But I guess it wasn't to be. Probably wasn't the right place for me, since I learned on exit that I had been rubbing people wrong for a long time. I don't like that. I like knowing when I'm pissing someone off, not being in the dark about it. I guess that's my fault for being blind and over-excited.

I'm starting to think there really isn't a place for me. Each time I think people get me, I turn out to be wildly mistaken, and it's only getting worse with age. I'm getting too old and set in my ways, and sometimes, even when I know I shouldn't, I let myself go and relax. I expect people to tell me what's on their mind, because I tend to just say what's on mine straight out.

This time I was seen to be passive aggressive, a loudmouth (probably true), trying to dominate the chat, and attacking people. I guess I've come farther and farther away from being able to express myself in text in a way that people can understand. That, or I've just become a douchebag.

I'm sure it's probably the latter :p

Ah well. It was a good three weeks at least. Now I'll get back to finishing this writing on my own...write too slow, read not enough, and talk too much. Not exactly traits that make a good writer.


Friday, 15 May 2015

To the Girl

Are you kidding?

Do you even see yourself?

Some people start as flowers. You can't change that. They bloom and bloom and bloom. But every flower has its season, and the only way to stop that tide is to flow with it, knowing that being a flower isn't about blooming, but about putting new shoots forth, changing and growing as your seasons change. Because that is beauty. Becoming more than you were, ever growing and stretching towards the sun.

But you're different. You're like a little sapling. And as you grow and change, your majesty will only become more apparent. You are anything but boring. Funny and witty and smart do not do you justice. And the next thing you know you'll be walking next to a guy who's talking earnestly to you, who can't believe that he's getting to do so.

And you might not realise it then, because in you're eyes you're just you, but to that guy there's nothing 'just' about you. And he'll want to make that moment last forever, because he knows he can't say it, and he won't. He's just a kid, and doesn't know that the words have power, doesn't know that gently taking your hand might actually have you smiling at him.

He doesn't know that you don't understand why he's like this. That you see him as bright and fun and wildly effervescent, but don't see that you're the reason.

And if he's a good guy, he won't know. Perhaps he'll be brave and take the chance anyway. But if he isn't, if he's just a guy, a guy who is cool and caring and wonderful but doesn't know it, try to make that walk last.

Try to let him see that you're enjoying his company, and give him that little bit of time to show you what he really is.

Because you might regret it, a year or two down the line. He might not be worth it after all, might not be that guy you thought he was.

But sometimes it's sadder still to remember a night where someone bright walked at your side, and yet forget who they were or what they looked like. And instead just hold the feeling of a path missed, of something wonderful lost by the wayside.

Life is tough. Life is hard, and we have to live with our mistakes. But don't let that magic pass you by, roll on to be just a whisper of a memory. Let it live. If only for a night, let that feeling blaze to the stars. Because that's life, that's the magic of the universe, that's the stuff of dreams.

That's where miracles happen.

Thursday, 30 April 2015


A woman steps into a darkened store. There's a guard behind her and the unknown to the fore.

I've finally gotten started on the third scene I wanted to replace, this time it's the city. Eschewing the original scenes in their totality, I've created a set up for my heroine to get a little involved in the factions, and perhaps darkness, lurking beneath the surface of the city. Those tendrils should extend a little deeper throughout the first half of the book, giving it a depth and intrigue which most of the settlements they visited lacked.

For the first time in a long while I'm freely writing, and it's quite enjoyable, except for the fact that I'm stuck. I'm not blocked, the set-pieces are all in place, the actors lurking in the shadows, but this little meeting needs an event (or series of) that would take no more than a handful of days to complete, and not overly impede my character's mission to find information nor distract from the overall quest.

Quite a conundrum, really.

Except most of that doesn't concern me. All I'm actually doing is trying to put a few hirelings (plus one) into a room with some, let's call them...traders...that have an issue that needs taking care of. Be that guarding merchandise in the city, breaking into somewhere, taking down some thugs and thieves, warring with another faction, protecting from an assassin, delivering a missive - on the sly of course, or something else that hasn't come to mind, well, I just can't decide.

Y'know, I'm still enjoying the thinkin' though :)

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Raindrops and polynops

It's interesting sometimes, because I forget.

The older I get, the lazier I seem to become with explaining my feelings, reasons, and ideals. I seem to be at the point where I feel it's almost a given that I think this way, and recently I've realised that I just tend to short cut the whole lead up and almost just 'go for the jugular' or the bold point of the idea.

Now I've always been pretty blunt, so this isn't so much like getting to the heart of the matter so much as being like a crazy person shouting at you on the street. Sure that's okay if you know me, but if you don't, most people would get a little wide eyed.

Heck, even I would.

So I find it a little funny, because I might have become a little bit of a crazy person. I didn't really realise I was skipping the explanations until I found myself saying things to people and getting...let's say less than the responses I would usually look for.

I need to not forget the run up, after all, that's what ensures people jump with you. Right?

And finally, let's address the elephant in the room, shall we? Polynop is not a word.

Not yet anyway.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

The best thing about life is you get a second chance. Every god damn day.

 Don't run out.

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Taufen Hall

So my roleplay character died. Actually the first I've ever lost, at least that I can remember. Something happened when he died though, and even though he was only with me for a short time, I really felt like...he was part of me.

In a way I really didn't expect, I felt like another me had passed away, and it struck me almost like a character from a favoured book perishing. Even closer, perhaps. Which is wild because the roleplay wasn't even the most serious of games. I guess it's a testament to how much my imagination is really a part of me, and how real these people are.

I wrote an end scene, because of course I would :)  There were four of us, Kevah the female half-orc fighter, Sirius the male elven rogue, Flint the male dwarven archer, and myself - Taufen, the human male cleric. We were deep in a set of mining caverns, seeking to rid the mine off the spider infestation that had ground work to a halt and starved the town of precious resources.

Bleeding from innumerable wounds, Taufen sighed as the spider landed with a thud beside him. Kevah had revived just in time, it seemed. But she would need time to get clear, and Taufen couldn't make it past those bristly legs unscathed anyway.

The blood dripped from his elbow as he raised his mace again and his voice raised in prayer, not a hymn this time nor a blessing, but a dirge. Bloody saliva flecked from his lips as with a roar he brought the weapon down. The monstrous spider's battered body took the blow head on, and it hissed in pain, though it still stood.

Kevah turned from her sprint to see Taufen faltering, but on the brink of death herself, she knew she would be too late. With one last gambit, she called out the spider's weakpoint, her superior knowledge of war giving her insight where the cleric found only the inevitable. Hearing her words, Taufen rallied to attack the spider's left side - where it was now crippled.

But he was too tired. His left leg buckled beneath him and he fell to his knee, even as the blow went wide. Defenseless, he raised his shield against the monster's fangs, but it was twisted away and the bite sank deep into his chest. Taufen fell to the ground, his last sight Kevah's mighty maul staving in the spider's head. He tried to gasp, "Run Kevah, run..!" but couldn't find his voice.

The cave was falling to pieces around them. The colossal spider matriarch crashing wildly into everything and anything in blind fear and anger. Though charmed, its lack of sight and the screams of its dying brood only whipped the mother into a frenzy and it ran this way and that, wounding itself and annihilating anything that stepped into its path.

"No, you fool! I can't carry you like this!" Kevah roared at the fallen cleric. "Get up and heal me, so I can get us both out of here!" Stalactites and rubble crashed around them, and Kevah was forced to scramble out of the way as one impaled Taufen's leg. Her face grew grimly determined, and she reached out to carry the cleric to safety, cracking her thick arms back into place and spitting blood. "Always comes down to this." She muttered bending down. That was when the boulder hit. Her orcish endurance already spent, Kevah's tough body finally succumbed to the incredible punishment she had taken.

Sirius saw her fall. The roguish elf wondered how it had come to this. They had been free and clear, or so they thought, handling the spider infestation in the usual carefree manner they took. Flint getting webbed, Kevah mounting the charmed spiders and having the time of her life, her maul still deadly even as she straddled the vicious creatures, and Sirius himself, darting in from the shadows to cut the scuttling monsters - barely shadows themselves - to pieces. Taufen had his work cut out for him, sure, but they were surviving, as they always did. A little rough and tumble, a little fun on the side, and a dash of danger for spice.

Then it had all gone to hell. Sirius blinked past the moment, vaulting the rubble as time caught up to him. "Flint! I could use some help!" Sirius yelled as he easily navigated the maze of fallen debris, his elvish feet finding footing in the most precarious of places. He reached Kevah's side in no time at all. "Come on, you two! Stop sleeping on the..." His words faltered as he saw Taufen, face down in a pool of blood. His chest was crushed under a large piece of rubble and he was not breathing.

Sirius's face went grim and quickly he searched the body, looking for anything that could aid them. He stepped aside as another spike crashed down and looked down at his hands that held only two holy symbols. "Fool cleric!" He growled. "Not even a resurrection scroll to get your back on your feet!" He grit his teeth and turned away, no time for the dead now.

The frustrating bandages and herbalism he had learned as a child proved scant use in the chaotic scene, even as he dodged rubble the matriarch's screaming set his teeth on edge, and despite his efforts, Kevah's breath remained shallow. In the end, Sirius opted for the half-orc's own technique and, hoisting the warrior unceremoniously to his shoulder, pelted towards safety.

At the far end of the cavern, Flint struggled with his bonds, the webbing tying tighter around him with each twist. "By Reorx! I've had bloody enough of this!" He roared, and with a mighty rip, the steel-like webbing tore asunder and he emerged from the cocoon, seething with anger. Sirius pelted towards him, carrying Kevah of all people, and screaming for him to run.

Just then, the spider screeched out again, and they scattered as the crazed monstrosity rammed against the wall beside them. "By all the gods, this beast has to die!" Flint roared and opened fire with his longbow, the arrow penetrating deep into the wounded spider's fleshy hide. Sirius dropped his burden and danced aside as the spider turned its milky-white eyes in his direction, and he opened fire with his own crossbow.

The two adventurers flanked the beast, peppering it with bolts and arrows as it charged at them. It was Sirius who scored the killing blow, though Kevah's poor body gained a few more bruises before he found an opening. The great beast, bristling arrows and stalactites, finally fell to the ground and was still.

Sirius turned and picked up Kevah's unconscious body and, watching every shadow, Flint and he made a mad dash for the exit and the sun they had left what seemed like a lifetime ago.

A hundred gold richer, but one man poorer, the trade hadn't been fair this time. Not at all.

Sunday, 1 March 2015


"You can't do anything for him now! I know you care, but he's likely long gone, and if you follow him you will be too!"
"He's still alive. And you read me wrong, I do care, but this is not about that."
"Then why are you so hellbent on doing this?!"
"Everyone deserves a champion." She looked down at the old silver ring in her hand and her fingers tightened over it. "I'm his."

...and footsteps

"Why do you say that? You are not, and have never been, like that."
"Because it's easier to believe myself a bad man, then to face the truth that I am a good one who does nothing."

Sunday, 22 February 2015


It was gnarled. Gnarled and old. Of course, that was to be expected of a tree that shaded such an immense area. The hum that emanated from its lengthy branches was almost entirely due to the wildlife contained within, and had little to do with the passing of the wind. Squirrels scampered from branch to branch, seeking out nuts and carefully avoiding the few beehives that hung here and there. The buzzing insects shared the tree with all manner of other bugs, ants being chief among them, though they had most to fear from the hundreds of birds that nested happily in the warm foliage.

An eagle soared high above the tree, while rodents and other small game pelted for cover. Deer grazed quietly nearby, wandering between a small stream that sparkled in the hot mid-afternoon sun and the shade of the great tree, trying to keep cool.

It was perfect, I marveled as I lay on my belly in the tall grass, holding the weapon extended before me. That's why she would come; the Destroyer of worlds. My hands trembled and I prayed once more for strength as the air seemed to shimmer and twist in the sun.

Five minutes, that's all I needed.

Let's Go

I woke up the other day and realised...I am still alive. I made it. I am thirty one years of age and I am still on this good earth.

So my thoughts went in the other direction for once. Not to how old I was getting or how little I've accomplished. Instead, I thought about how long I might still be here. Perhaps another thirty or fourty years. Because I have survived this long I feel I can expect a little more living to come, and instead of thinking that time is running out, I will look forward.

Yes I want to write a book, yes I want to be finished as soon as possible, but what? My life isn't going anywhere else in the meantime. I have time to create. And while that might seem a bold and spoiled kind of statement to make, I don't care. I don't want to care any more because that's just not working. For ten long years I've piled guilt on myself and not only stifling myself but also causing me to lose hope.

But I'm still alive! And every breath I take can be used to shape the future, my future. Sure I could still have a heart attack or be run over by a bus or left for dead in an alley, but what does worrying about that do? I still take care of myself, try to keep myself away from things I know are substantially bad for me, don't take risky shortcuts, and look both ways before crossing the road. Those things won't change.

What will change is this pressure I feel. I don't want to live my life feeling guilty. It is what it is. Feeling guilty about things makes me less productive, so no, I'm not keeping that any more.

My eyes are just on the horizon. The gap bordering tomorrow and the future. The place where I can act and make my future.

Screw everything else.