This morning I started thinking about faith, and what that means to me. I’ll get into how I started thinking about later on, but I figured I’d start with some clarifications.

I don’t have faith in gods, or religion, and I find it somewhat farcical that people do. As an atheist, I just find the idea of trusting in some higher power to come to your aid to be ridiculous – even the worst holy texts usually have some message of “God helps those who help themselves” and religion is supposed to supply a willpower and drive to help one attain their goals, not be a wish-fulfilment strategy.

I work with religious colleagues (which has had its own interesting tales) and what I usually see is that their religion is a background thing, something that supports them without being their drive. I can respect that, and they respect my lack of it, and it works quite well.

But that isn’t what I meant to talk about. What I meant to talk about was that while I don’t have faith in the traditional sense[1], I still hold faith – I have faith in people.

Now, that shouldn’t be taken in a “I have faith in humanity” sense or a “I have faith that people will usually do the right thing” sense because both those statements are to one degree or another, bollocks. It’s very difficult to have faith in someone you don’t know, and that is part of the problem with faith – it’s a “complete trust or confidence” and giving that without knowing someone is difficult.

Particular examples of people I have faith in are some of my friends who are having some trouble right now. One of them is facing various difficulties and is worrying about whether they’ll be able to attain their goals given all of the obstacles that keep coming up along the way. I have faith that they will achieve those goals, and that they’ll be stronger for it (and I’m doing my best to help clear away some of the obstacles); I have faith that they’ll pull through despite the odds and get everything they wanted. The second person is having their own troubles – facing off against difficult health issues that it’s difficult to go through alone, and harder to ask for help with. I have faith that they will get through it, that they’ll overcome the hardships, and that they trust me to help where I can. It’s much more difficult to help in this case, but I have to have faith that they know that they have my support and that they will tell me when they want me to be involved (or I’d go crazy).

And that’s why I wanted to make this post: not to espouse on my religious views (or lack of them), and not to make a statement, but to let them know that I have faith in them and I will continue to support them as best as I can. I have faith in my friends, and sometimes you have to remind them of that.

Footnotes   [ + ]

1. While American dictionaries seem to list the religious definition first, I hold to the Oxford Dictionary definition which lists “Complete trust or confidence in someone or something” as the primary meaning of faith

[YouTube] TIE Fighter

OtaKing77077 has created an 80s-anime-style short film based on TIE Fighter pilots. Aptly enough, it’s called TIE Fighter. It’s only 7 minutes long, but it’s amazing in terms of detail and the effort that’s gone into it. I could clearly identify everything going on (but I’m a Star Wars geek) and while it had no dialogue (instead having a rock soundtrack) you didn’t need to hear what the characters were saying.

Roughly speaking, an Imperial probe droid discovers a Rebel fleet and an Imperial picket squadron hypers in to crush them. The focus on detail and the abilities of the various ships and fighters involved tells me that either OtaKing has seriously done his research, or is as much of a fan as I am (probably both).

There were two points that stuck out at me during it. The first is that the TIE Bomber pilot featured is female – a state of affairs unlikely in the Imperial Navy under Palpatine; and the second is the unlikely squadron of a TIE Interceptor, TIE Fighter, and TIE Bomber, which only makes sense from the perspective of (a) awesome, and (b) the Fighter and Interceptor running at a lower speed than rated so they can peel off to take on threats and still catch up with the Bomber. So, that second point actually does make some sense, and the first point can go screw itself.

Enjoy the film if you haven’t seen it already.

[YouTube] TomSka

YouTuber TomSka is one of my favourite comedic artists on YouTube. He’s been making sketches for a while[1] and his talent has greatly improved in that time.

He has a solid grasp on professional editing and what makes his sketches pop rather than languish, and I’m not the only one to pick up on his talent – he was recently featured on, and has also done videos for the BBC, Cancer Research UK, and more.

His sketches introduced me to other comedic talent on YouTube including Jack And Dean, Crabstickz, Tim H, and more. As with several other successful YouTubers, collaborations are common, and he’s been involved in few collaborations with what I think of as the RocketJump crowd (Freddie Wong and friends).

If you haven’t seen any of TomSka’s sketches, there’s a few here I’d highly recommend:

Footnotes   [ + ]

1. 7 years or so

[Awakening] Siriche

Siriche (Seeker in Gaelic) is a man driven by the urge to restore his dead fiancée to life. In his Awakening, he bound her soul to his and now he seeks a way to make her whole once more.

After he Awoke, he was found by local Brilu who taught him the ways of magic and of their traditions. A foreigner to their traditions, he never quite felt at home there, though he couldn’t doubt the presence of Badb Catha over his Awakening – the crows that watched him have never left his memory.

He has adopted their traditions as his own, even becoming passably proficient in Gaelic (though his pronunciation leaves a lot to be desired). Even they couldn’t help him forever, and he returned to the city he left long ago. The mages of the cities are quite different and their traditions are alien to the ones Siriche learned in the highlands. Their lore is no less useful for that though. He has learned their ways as well – becoming a scion of two very different Awakened worlds.

Now a Silver Ladder, he pursues the paths of power wherever they may lead him in order to accomplish his impossible goal. As a Crow (Moros), he has skill in the arcana of Death and Matter which allows him to produce sufficient means that a mundane career is not an issue, leaving him free to seek arcane matters.

Regarding costume (as I didn’t have a clear enough idea of the character when I did my costuming post), Siriche is a Silver Ladder and a Moros, but importantly he’s also Brilu which means he adopts other arcane symbology than the norm. What I’m thinking is a sharp shirt, possibly a suit jacket, with quality trousers (but not necessarily suit trousers). Accessories include a silver crow’s skull pendant[1].

Inspirations include:

Footnotes   [ + ]

1. Thanks to Bobbie for helping me pick out the right pendant

[Requiem] Charles Morganti

My Requiem character for the post-reset Isles of Darkness chronicle is Charles Morganti. He’s a Daeva Invictus/Crone; he’s around 200 years old; and he is not a very nice person. The following is something of a work in progress tracking the development of the character.

Character inspirations for Charles include:

Alternately flamboyant and reserved, Charles could almost be seen to have issues with maintaining a single personality. The truth is that he is bored, and in an effort to make things more entertaining brings out these flamboyances to drive interesting circumstances.

He is a patron of the Dark Goddess, though his primary allegiance is to the Invictus – there is politics, and there is religion, and the two need not collide.

As a means of income and diversion, Charles maintains a stable of willing sycophants and dolls available for the right price to any customer. Prices vary by the customer, and his bordello is quite the den of sins of all varieties.

He was sired in London in the early half of the nineteenth century by the Daeva Invictus known as Aurelia Morganti. He quickly came to appreciate the new appetites of the kindred, and became quite skilled in the manipulation of kine. Having a financial background, he took well to the moneyed politics of the Invictus, and secured a modest status there, while he became drawn to the Circle of the Crone over the next hundred years – somewhat to the disgust of some of his peers.

He took neither side during the war, content to watch as others scurried about in the fighting. Now that the fighting is done, he sees Edinburgh as somewhere to find some excitement and has made efforts towards moving his places of business in that direction.


[Fiction] Preparation

A bit of fiction for my No Rest for the Wicked character, an Imperial Knight pilot.

He waits, the time is not ready yet. The flask of amasec dangles in his fingers. One more swig, and it’s stoppered and away, the ritual focusing him for the moment. Entering his code, he starts the activation process and settles back in the iron throne. Snake-like cables burst out from the chair, seeking their targets.

The articulated nerve plugs hang in the air for a moment, seeking the graft-sockets embedded in his flesh. A pause in motion then the plugs slam into place, whirring locks engaging as data spikes slide into nerve channels, momentary discomfort echoing through twitching nerves as the Throne’s systems become one with his own. His skull, neck, and forearms throb from the new connections.

The instincts of the Throne seep into him, the half-heard whispers echoing down his spine as he begins the transformation to his true self – the iron self that knows true war.

In a true Sanctuary, the Throne Mechanicum would descend into the waiting Knight before the knight is linked into its systems. For a Knight at war, this is less of an option, and he reaches up to connect and lock the hardlink systems.

His fingers twitch as he becomes more than a man, nerves becoming synonymous with circuitry; sensors come up, lighting up his visual cortex; servos engage, replacing flesh and blood with machine and oil. Seeing with the eyes of a god, he strides out onto the waiting field.

Menials scatter as a slow pace becomes a stride then a run. The ion fields kick in, and the shield on his left arm flickers into readiness. The power lance that is his right arm crackles with lightning. The partner to his soul rises up to greet him, his thirst for battle met by that of the machine of which he is part. He is no longer just Trysten Martinus Ariakin, he is Fulgida Lancea and he is charging into war once more.

Straight Razor Cabaret

My new Vampire: the Requiem character for the Isles of Darkness is more than a little based on a character I created for a PBeM Vampire: the Masquerade game.

One of the main differences is that my Requiem character is male, while the Masquerade character was female. One of the things I did to solidify that character in my mind was write the following fiction piece. Some people may prefer not to read it due to triggers or just plain unpleasantness, so I’ve placed it under a cut.

I’m not sure how well it would stand up to being gender-switched, which may be a flaw in my writing – not that I’m going to claim excellent ability at writing in the first place.

For those who might recognise it, some of the character inspirations come from Aurelio Voltaire’s songs, specifically Straight Razor Caberet and Cathouse Tragedy. Continue reading Straight Razor Cabaret

The highs and lows of a long-term caffeine addict