Saturday, March 29, 2014

Amazon Part I

I come bearing stories.

Nguvu kipped to her feet and chased after him. He sprinted away for all he was worth; but she’d always been the faster. She quickly caught up to him and tackled him from behind they tumbled to the ground and lay on the grass for a moment. Catching their breath and staring at the stars above. Pacha was absent tonight, the stars shown in undiminished glory.

After a while Muchumba sat up. The stars cast enough light for him to see Nguvu’s outline, her stomach rising and falling with each breath. “Nguvu?”

“Hmm?”

“Will you share tā moko with me?”

She was silent a long time. When she spoke there were tears in her voice. “Why do you taunt me so? You are a prince, I am no princess.”

He stood up suddenly. “I don’t care. You will be the best wife. He stopped and looked down at her. She’d sat up and was staring despondently at her hands; folded in her lap. “I love you. I can’t marry another.”

She looked up at him. Tears filling and overflowing her eyes. “What of your father?”

“My father will understand. He knows when customs must be broken. I’ll make him see.”

He knelt down and put his arm around her shoulders. “What do you say?”

“You know I will.” She looked up and met his eyes. “I’ll wait for you.”

He kissed her lightly on her forehead. “I know you will.” Rising to his feet he continued. “After this battle. We’ll have the ceremony.” With those final words he strode away, returning to the village to prepare for tomorrow’s battle.

For a long while Nguvu sat on the knoll, pondering and worrying over the future. The stars were washed away by the pale pink waves of sunrise before she returned to the village. By that time Muchumba had already left; never to return.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

clocks

spinning in a circle never ceasing, the clock keeps ticking. ticking ticking and a terrible ringing fill my ears, fills my head. this pain is never ceasing like my thoughts, but it will never deceive me its a constant. as constant as the mistakes i make. like the one that brought me here. tears falling like rain, its all out of my control.like the events that tied us together, but now your gone. like a flower petal in the wind, you were beautiful. i miss you. i never cherished the time we had and now its gone. and i don't know how to waste my time besides sitting here staring at the clock.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Blacksmith I



Red, orange, yellow glowing into white. Sparks and embers, roaring flames and glowing coals. Contained within furnaces and spilling out of ladles in molten water falls. Burning coal, singed skin and hair, smoking wood, sweat; smells filled the room. Threatening to join with the ever present smoke to smother those inside. Smoke and metal dust curled lazily in thermal updrafts from the melting metal. Constant clanging was the rhythm to a harmony of cackling flames, steaming oil and hissing water; boiling as white hot metal was plunged into it. Leaping in the air to scald the unsuspecting apprentice. There was no melody to the cacophony of hard work. Perhaps the whine of the lathe, answering a similar call from the sharpening wheel or falling silent to listen to the honer.

A giant of a man dominated the cluttered room. His arms and chest were as large as they were strong. In unhurried manner he went about his task. A master craftsmen, forming and crafting with each swing of his hammer. He melded metals into instruments of death and life. With long practiced skill he created his works of art.

Although each swing was as unhurried as the last, and his sweat was no more profuse than the torrent with which he was traditionally drenched, the blacksmith was struggling to meet his deadline.

His best apprentice had quit only a week before; unable to stand the harsh work conditions. The blacksmith did not resent this. Not all were as strong as he was. In discipline as well as brawn. But still, he would not be able to satisfy the demands of his clients. He would have to apologize, give them a discount. Send them away. He would do what he must.

He stuck the chunk of metal he’d been beating back into the furnace straightened. He paused a moment to breath and wipe his brow. It was then he realized he was being watched. A goblin was standing in his shop, watching him insouciantly. Something was slightly off with the goblin. His form seemed different somehow. The blacksmith shrugged, he knew little of goblin anatomy, it was probably nothing.

He didn’t normally speak first. But the goblin seemed to be content to let the silence continue forever. “I will be unable to help you. I’m understaffed and overextended as it is.” He was forced to deal with an apprentice who seemed to be trying to dump a vat of molten bronze on to himself and didn’t hear the goblins reply.

The goblin didn’t seem perturbed by this, he was waiting calmly when the blacksmith returned. “I actually came to ask for employment.”

The blacksmith needed workers. “Ever done smithing before?” The goblin shook his head. The blacksmith glanced around the smithy, considering.

“I’m strong and I learn quickly.”

The blacksmith was desperate. “Go pump the bellows.” If the goblin asked for extrapolation he’d not be worth it. But he didn’t, instead he moved quickly over to the forge and grasped the bellows. He pumped in an even, rhythmic manner.

The blacksmith left him there. Moving deftly through the crowded workshop from task to task. He actually forgot the goblin he’d hired extemporaneously. It was sometime later when he returned to that particular forge in order to work on the metal that was now red hot. The goblin was still pumping steadily away.

The blacksmith was taken aback for a moment. He was surprised that anyone who’d never smithed before would continue at such a monotonous task for such a long time. He relieved the goblin and sent him to help one of the apprentices. When he was finished with his task he found the goblin and set him to hammering. He was quickly impressed by the goblins strength and dexterity in wielding the heavy hammer. In fact, as the day wore on, there was little that the goblin failed to impress him in. He quickly passed the lower level apprentices in skill and knowledge; in just one day.

He was the last to leave, staying to help the blacksmith tidy up the forge as the sun set. The blacksmith breathed in deeply as he entered into the wider world. It was good to breath fresh air after being stuck in the shop all day. “You’ll have to come home with me to receive your pay. I don’t keep enough in the shop.” He said to the goblin by his side.

I'm going to completely rewrite this and repost it later. It's way to clumsy right now.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Rain and the night.

Just Pho you.

The wind snatched at his cloak and hat as he stepped out into the lashing rain. It gave up for a moment as he tugged against it. The wide brim of his hat gave him temporary leave from the rain that now fell down. He sacrificed its desultory shelter for a quick glance skyward. Air traffic was light tonight. No surprise there, a pilot would have to be mad to take an airship out in this weather.

He turned at the sound of the door opening and closing behind him. “What are you doing out here? It’s all cold and wet.” It was Michelle; she was holding a petite umbrella in the hopes of staying dry. The petulant wind ruined that possibility by blowing the falling water side ways into her face.

“Wfhau!” She gasped. Shaking the water from her face she addressed him again. “Come back inside.” She tugged at his arm for a moment. He ignored her until she gave up and returned inside.

The rain was running down the back of his neck, down his collar. He revelled in the discomfort for a little while longer; turning he placed his hand on the doorknob. Something inside him revolted at the thought of returning to that den of evil.



Reaching a sudden decision, he turned and walked into the night and lashing rain.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Female Characters

I often wonder about writing female characters. I was for sometime (and still am) in search of a well written female character. I mean two things when I say ‘well written’; the first is simply a well fleshed out character, the second is a good role model. This obviously led to a search for well written male characters, which I found to be much more plentiful. (My experience and scope is limited, I’m not saying that absolutely or empirically.)


The search started in literature and expanded to encompass any story telling medium. I found that in most mediums outside of literature that I’m exposed to, most female characters are little more than sex objects. Finding a three dimensional female character was rare, to find one that I would like my (imaginary) daughters to emulate, I’m not sure I found any. Literature turned out slightly better. I did find quite a few good examples of female characters in both categories. But that isn’t the focus of what I’m trying to say.


I want to write good female characters. And I’ve been trying to do this. But I want to do it the right way. For a while I thought about writing a perfect character. A character that was everything I could ever hope for in a wife. A character that would be the ultimate role model. Which isn’t a bad thing. But I think I could do better. I worry about promoting a false image. That I would build up in not only the minds of my readers but my own as well, a fantasy woman who never has or will exist. People are not perfect. Would I write a male character that is everything I hope to be as a man? I could, but he wouldn’t be relatable or interesting.


I then realized this, I try to make my characters as real as possible. They have virtues that we can aspire to. But they also have vices that we can relate to. I want this to be true of my female characters as well as my male characters. By splintering my ‘perfect woman’ into multiple characters, I’m able to make each one relatable, interesting and realistic. I’m able to fill in the gaps left by removing virtues with vices to struggle with and hopefully overcome.


All that to say, I’m going to be practicing writing female characters for a while. Or just characters in general since they are defined by one another. That is, no character lives in a vacuum. I cannot reveal my character’s true character without other characters to act as foils.

In that vein, here's this.




What drew my attention to her was the sharps rifle on her back. It seemed dissonant to me, a middle aged woman casually carrying such an instrument of death. I’d heard that women had served alongside men during the great war, though who knows if that was true. People didn’t seem so much willing to let history lie as determined to bury it, whether under lies or obfuscations didn’t seem to matter.

As I drew closer I realized that my earlier reference to the rifle as an instrument was apt. It was obviously crafted with the same loving care that a master luthier would put into a cello. It had the long, thin barrel typical of sharps rifles. The stock, separated from the handle by a thumb hole, was connected by flexors designed to improve accuracy and decrease recoil. The chamber was of the revolving type, more common twenty years ago than today. The rifle was crowned by a magnificent scope to which was attached a revolving set of focusing lenses. It was all plain black steel and wood (minus the lenses of course), its utilitarian beauty unadorned by gilt or fancy patterns.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The End

The crowd was a painting. A still picture, forever the background to this event. The soundtrack was paused, silence filled the gap left by the crowd. Time slowed. Stopped. The blood on Aita’s hands ceased to drip to the ground. Nyx knew that that image would never fade. Aita standing there, Melinoe’s dead body cradled lovingly in his arms. Strange to think that he’d been the one who’d taken her life.

Death had been inevitable for Melinoe. But Aita had still offered her redemption. To remake her. To create her as she was meant to be.

Time began to flow again. Aita placed Melinoe’s gently on the ground. The crowd began to murmur as he straightened.



Thanatos felt no shame at having fled. He’d stumbled upon Melinoe while on the way to release someone. She’d taken up the offense immediately; launching into a violent attack. Thanatos had never even fought before, apparently Melinoe had. She was obviously far beyond his skill level, not that that was saying much; but the fight was actually fairly even. In fact, Thanatos soon realized that he was much more powerful than her; he was faster, stronger and had better reflexes. The only reason that he didn’t kill her immediately was that he couldn’t. He managed to find an opening early on and thrust his sword down through the gap between her clavicle and scapula, straight into her heart. Or he would have except the sword bounced off of her shoulder. She almost overwhelmed him in his surprise. As he defended himself he quickly reevaluated her. She didn’t appear to be wearing any armor. He recovered his poise again and struck at her head. Again, the sword bounced off.

Thanatos realized that he wasn’t getting anywhere. The odds were that eventually Melinoe would get through his guard, and he was unwilling to gamble that he was as impervious to her blows as she was to his. He threw up a barrier and quick-stepped back to the tower.



The sounds of my footsteps rang loud in my ears. Nothing but silence filled the courtyard. Filled the world for that matter. The animals that had rejoiced in sudden spring but moments before had fallen silent, as had the cloud. I wondered if I was too late.

The crowd was strangely lethargic, the energy they seemed to possess only moments before seemed to have suddenly drained out of them. Now they seemed on the verge of fleeing in a blind panic.

The shinigami hardly seemed better. Erebus looked like he was preparing to fight Dispater, the others seemed confused and dispirited. I could hardly blame them; two of their leaders was dead and the remaining one was about to fight their former commander. I felt a stirring of pity mixed with amusement. But then I caught sight of the two dead bodies. The parallels between them were highlighted by the differences. One had been killed by love; the other by hate. One had been laid carefully to rest; the other had been discarded as carelessly as a wilted flower.

Dispater had just recalled his sword when they noticed me. Charon, the first to hear me approaching, gave a cry of amazement. The others turned and reacted with varying signs of surprise. Dispater quickly recovered and called out something lewd to me. I hardly cared, he had no power over me now. I’d been healed.



Erebus growled, deep in his throat, prepared to pounce. He knew not what was going on, but he knew his duty. Again, he was distracted by a cry of surprise. Nyx was staring in wonder at Aita’s body. Erebus kept watch on Dispater out of the corner of his eye as he followed her gaze to where Aita lay. To his surprise, Aita was no longer laying. He was standing stolidly on his feet.

He surveyed the shinigami for a moment, ending on Dispater; who seemed completely dumfounded. “How are you still alive? I killed you!”

Aita faced him evenly, where the sword had been, a gash was torn in his torso. The setting sun glowed behind him, shining through the hole in his body. His voice was calm, quiet but steady. “Yes. And in so doing you killed yourself.”

“You want to fight me? I’ll kill you again!” Dispater waved his sword threateningly.

“Your fight is with me this time.” Erebus stepped forward, brandishing his own weapon.

“No Erebus. You can kill him, but you can’t destroy him. For he is already destroyed.”

He turned to Proserpina, whose miraculous arrival had been all but forgotten by the others. “Now your healing is at hand.” She looked up and met his gaze. “Your curse is lifted.” He smiled at her for a moment before turning back to Dispater. “And your curse is fulfilled. In killing me you destroyed yourself. Now, begone.”

Dispater opened his mouth, but instead of the response he had intended, he emitted a howl of pain and range. The blood that had spattered on him when he stabbed Aita had begun to eat his flesh. It slowly burned through his clothing, through his skin, his muscles, his bones. The shinigami watched as he was burnt alive. In a few moments nothing was left of him.



I woke up to find myself dead, and yet I felt strangely alive. Amazingly alive, more so than I’d ever felt before. Apparently in dying I’d become more than I’d ever been in life. For a long while I lay there, discovering my new body. First came the sounds; the quiet murmur that was life, my own heartbeat, a slight ticking from the room beyond, the singing of birds outside my window. Hadn’t it been winter when I’d died? The smells came next, after my ears ceased to distract me; the clean scent of the bedding, the aroma of fresh bread and the unmistakable smell of spring.

How long had I been dead? I opened my eyes. I was laying in my bedroom feeling incredibly comfortable. The sun was attempting to slide through the slit between the shutters, slowly climbing up the opposite wall. I felt far too alive to lie there any longer.

In a few moments I had satisfied my new found hunger with a light meal of bread and cheese I found ready prepared in the next room. I was just wondering what to do next and where the others were when I remembered Aita’s parting words. “This is not the end.” I trembled as he drew his sword. “We will meet again. Seek me when you return.”

The words had meant nothing to me at the time, yet now I was certain of where to find him.



“Oh my child. Why didn’t you come to me?”

“I didn’t think to. I didn’t know who you were, who you are. When you replaced Dispater I subconsciously linked you to him. I knew that you were sent from God, or at least placed in that position by Him. But I still couldn’t trust you.”

“Instead you trusted Charon?”

“Was that wrong?”

“Not at all. But she wasn’t in a position to heal you. Or truly comfort you since she couldn’t relate at all.”

“But you could.” The question turned into a statement halfway through.

“Yes child. What Dispater did to me was just as violent and perverse as what he did to you. And I was there when he did that.” There was a deep pain in his eyes. A pain Proserpina could relate to but no longer feel. It was gone, he had taken it.

“It seems so hard to reconcile the thought that you were there with what happened; impossible for you to be there and for it to still have taken place.”

“But now you understand. Now you see, I was always there. And the pain was still just as real; Dispater’s act just as vile.”

“That whole time, all that we went through, all that you went through. All for this.”

“Do you think it was worth it.”

She looked into his eyes and saw the love there. A love she only now could comprehend. “Yes.”

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Most People and his brother Other

   People often say things to me like "Most people don't go barefoot in the snow." or "Most people don't climb on the outside of buildings." And I'm determined to began replying with "I'm not most people. In fact, I've often been told that I'm 'not like other people' who I assume is some relation of 'most people' whoever that is.


    That doesn't seem as witty as I intended. Still, forget doing things because it's what other people do. Or not doing things simply because most people don't do that.

    My father often asks "Do you see other people doing that?" As though not observing others doing something is reason enough to not do it myself. Or the Kantian, "What if everyone did what you're doing?" To which I sarcastically reply "They'd be in really good shape." Or "This balcony I'm walking on would break under their weight."


    Anyway. Stay strong being different and doing what's right regardless of the crowd. I'll post the end of the story sometime later. Don't expect anything particularly coherent from me for a while after that.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Some meetings.

“So Erebus, still second in command? Still working alongside Proserpina? I would dearly love to see her again.” In that moment the desire to kill him rose up in me like the snake he was. It would be so easy, his power was hardly more than that of a human now. That he should even mention Proserpina made my blood hot, when he talked of seeing her again it began to boil. I’m afraid I didn’t contain it well, the ground began to shake and the sky to darken. I barely caught myself before things started catching on fire.

“Tread lightly Dispater.”

“Are you threatening me? You’re old commander? If loyalty does not constrain your tongue let fear. Just because I am no longer above you-” He caught himself, “in terms of the shinigami command structure that is; I’ve gained tenfold power since leaving. The distance between us has not lessened but increased.”

His reciprocal threat meant nothing to me. I knew the lie he was telling even if he didn’t. “It must be this new commander. Aita is it? Odd that He didn’t pick you. You were, and still are, the obvious choice.” He took a few steps toward me, his voice growing even softer yet more intense. “There’s still a chance. I can make you commander. Erebus, commander of the shinigami.” I’m not sure if he even expected a response.

Suddenly I saw him for what he was. A poor creature, controlled by lies of his own creation. Too deceived to realize the things he grasped for were forever beyond his reach. In that moment pity doused the fire of my rage. If there was anything I could have done to save him in that moment I would have.

He must have seen the pity in my eyes.





The shinigami were gathered in the dining room. Something that hadn’t happened since the start of the war. Dinner was winding down and conversation was picking up. Aita rose from where he had been sitting at the head of the round table. “Thank you for dining with me tonight.” Silence drifted down from the rafters (past the rising smoke) and settled on the table. “We will not be able to dine together again until after this is finished.”

No one replied. The others still seemed slightly uneasy around their new leader. As did she, Charon admitted to herself. Although uneasy wasn’t the correct word. More… unsure. It wasn’t that Charon distrusted him, she just hadn’t had time to learn to trust him; not after Dispater’s betrayal.

“...I will be releasing her tonight. I know that you don’t understand. But I ask you to trust me, as Proserpina is demonstrating.” Charon had missed the first part of whatever Aita had just said.

He rose and lifted his glass. “To you. And faith in God. We will triumph.” Without waiting for the others he drained his glass and set it (empty) back onto the table. From the look on his face, Charon would have guessed that the liquid he had imbibed had been extremely bitter.

With a lingering glance at those gathered around the table, Aita left the room. A moment later, Proserpina rose to follow him. Charon leapt up and intercepted her just outside in the hall. “What are you doing?” She demanded.

“He said he’d release me. That he’d free me from my curse.” Proserpina replied.

“And you-” Charon cut herself off. Aita was appointed by God. She didn’t doubt him because she didn’t doubt God. Did she?






Floating serenely in the sky, the world looked like an upside down mountain. Some giant had cut it off at its base, flipped it upside down and hung it from an invisible cord, thousands of meters in the air. Out of the center of what would have been its base jutted a gigantic tower. There were no visible cracks, breaks, doors, windows or imperfections of any kind its entire 1000 meter height. At its base (on the north side) was an agora. In the middle of the open space the ground rose up to form a shallow stage 16 meters square.

Melinoe had used the platform to give her speech; it had ironically doubled as her execution platform. Now the shinigami were gathered there, grouped around her dead body.

“This is the man who rules over you.” A voice carried over the crowd. “This murderer who silences those who speak against him.” Charon turned to see where the voice came from. A man was standing on one of the nearby buildings. Just as she located him, he launched himself off, landing lightly on the flagstones.

“We have here an unparalleled opportunity.” His voice carried easily, he was obviously a man used to public speaking. “We’ve lured out this coward, no longer can he hide behind his minions. Fight with me and we can defeat them now.”

He had moved to the front of the crowd and was standing at the edge of the circle, only a few meters from the platform where the shinigami were gathered.

Erebus moved closer to Aita. “Let me destroy him. He turns the people against us.”

“He does but test them, as do I. We will give him a little more time” Aita answered in an undertone. Then he raised his voice to address the man. “Dispater, I commanded you to never return. Leave now.”

Dispater was facing the crowd when Aita addressed him. He span in a fury and spat at the shinigami. “Don’t tell me what to do. You have no power over me. You caught me off guard before. You’re power is no match for mine.”

He moved closer to the platform. He raised his hands and cried aloud, the crowd froze and time stopped. He walked through the shinigami, addressing them individually.






With a flick of his hand Aita freed time and the crowd. “That’s enough Dispater. You’ve had your time. Did any of them join you?” Dispater’s baleful stare, transferred from Erebus, was all the answer Aita received. “Then come, why don’t you pitch it to me?”

“The only chance for you is to bow down before me. To lick the dirt I stand on. If you serve me I will let you live. Otherwise I will destroy you the way you destroyed my daughter.”

“The daughter you never loved. You destroyed her. And she destroyed herself. But it is your time now. Draw your sword.”

Dispater did as he was told. Leaping quickly across the platform he plunged it into Aita’s chest. The sword sank in all the way to the handle, the blade protruding from his back.

Aita hardly seemed to care. Blood ran down the handle, spurting onto Dispater’s hands and chest; but Aita didn’t even cry out. Didn’t move or fall. For what seemed like eternity they stood there, connected by the blade in Dispater’s hands.

Finally, Aita fell forward onto Dispater. Dispater shoved his body to the ground, leaving the sword in it.

“Do you see?” He turned to address the shinigami. “This is the man who thought he could replace me.”

None of the shinigami made an answer.


One more part left.

roots

Kill him ,Kill him. kill the man hiding inside of me the man who takes over when i am too weak to hold him back, i try so hard to hold him back but it is just so hard, as i grow weaker he grows stronger and begins to tear away at the walls i have built to hold him back, and when they collapse i can see him coming for me fists clenched eyes burning with rage his tongue flickering like that of a serpent silently whispering lies telling me everything will be alright he is going to fix all of are problems, he says he is going make me forget the troubles and make all the pain go away. and i will lay there numb with a empty mind for a few moments then the man, no not a man the monster who was hidden inside of my heart for so long begins to depart  and he looks back over his shoulder towards me and smiles knowing his deeds are done leaving me to put the pieces back together.
 as i start to gain feeling the pain returns even worse than before, it cant be avoided. pain will always be there to greet me with open arms, i cant get rid of it, the monster inside of me cant get rid of it. i have heard of one who can but i have no room for him inside of my heart because its occupied by my secret desires and the evil's i cant seem to rid myself of. i could try to make room for the healer but it would hurt i am not sure i want more pain, i have figured out how to cope with what i have at least until something new falls apart in my life but i am sure that if that happens i to will fall apart.

but as the seasons change so does my life. and the little sins that seemed harmless have grown and i am now strangled by their roots. it is no longer a matter of pain but a matter of life, i don't think i can live like this for much longer. that is if you can even call this a life. so with my final breaths i call out to the healer who has waited so close to me for all these years begging and pleading to save me even when it hurt him more than me. as my vision starts to blur i can feel your healing touch freeing me from my sin, YOU EMBRACE ME! and whisper to me "son i LOVE you everything will be OK, you will have no more pain, you will never be lonely because i will be here for you". as i look up towards your face with misty eyes i see my sins wrapped around you neck.