The wyvern or the lion?
Which was he? More importantly, which was he to her?
One was worrying, the other unsettling.
The answer was obvious, if you ask the right question. But was he asking the right question?
There was only one way to find out. To ask and see what answer comes from it.
At best, a scathing retort; at worst, he was wrong about the answer and things were much more unsettling.
Still, what is Dawn if not a nation that charges through difficult situations?
The question is asked. The smile is knowing. Ah, this may be much worse than was supposed…
Image is the coat of arms of Sophie, Countess of Wessex
They say eyes are a window into a person’s soul. If that’s so, then I don’t like what I see in mine.
They got in my head, changed how I thought. I did things under their control that I regret.
I betrayed my friends, I betrayed my allies, I betrayed myself and my ideals.
I am haunted by my own eyes. They stare back at me with accusation and pity. They stare back at me with heavy lids and bloodshot corneas. There is a great and terrible weight behind those eyes.
The mask doesn’t help. The false identity I took on so I could do some good defaced by the marks of the enemy. A sign of my betrayal painted in brilliant gold onto the mask that represents who I am in this world. It stares at me as well, the gold reflecting the waning light as if in accusation – not letting me forget.
Who am I now? What am I now? Where do I go from here? How can I fight knowing what I’ve done? How can I not fight knowing what they are and what they will do?
Maybe it’s time to put down the mask. Maybe it’s time I walk away. But I don’t think I can do that yet. Not while… not while they keep stepping up.
The question is… how do I do this now?
Photo by Oliver Facey
It’s just one of those things.
Life and death. You think you’re prepared for it. You think you know what’s to come, and how you’ll deal with it when the time comes.
It’s all a lie, though. No one is ever really prepared for it.
Staring into the face of it, knowing you’re going to die if something isn’t done, it changes you. It makes you realise things you might not have known about yourself.
It makes you realise that you would choose death over slavery. It makes you realise that you would choose the lives of others over your own. It makes you look back at your life and see all your misdeeds anew. It makes you realise what you’ve been missing out on.
It makes you regret not realising sooner. It makes you regret not being able to say anything as it’ll make it harder to let go – to have others let go.
It’s just one of those things. You can’t know what it’s like until you’ve been there. You can’t know what you’ll do until you’re there. But once you’ve been there, it changes you and it’s hard to go back to where you were before.
It’s just one of those things that makes life interesting, right? Right?
Shit. Now what do I do?
Photo by Beth Dooner
Sweat beaded on his face, the clang of steel against steel ringing in his ears.
The hammer came down again and again, folding the hocho-tetsu to free it from impurities. The nabe-gane is heated, and quenched, broken and purified. Then the metals are combined: tamahagane, hocho-tetsu, and nabe-gane layered and folded together to form the blade. Folded together again and again, in more and more complex layers, extended and shaped until the lumps of metal resemble the blade they will become.
The yakiba-tsuchi has already been prepared, and the clay mixture is applied to the blade before it is heated and then quenched. The hot metal bends as it cools, taking on the signature shape as the yakiba-tsuchi leaves its pattern in the steel.
The blade is set aside while the second is forged, and the process begins anew.
With the blades forged, there is still much work to be done. Polishing and sharpening and polishing once more, taking several weeks before it is ready. The crafting of tsuba and koshirae take time as well, the complete process being more akin to art than Telmark smithing.
But finally, they are ready, new blades to suit the Empire he finds himself trapped in.
Photo by Jeff Kubina (CC By-SA 2.0)
These garments are alien to him. He has seen others wear them but he is not comfortable in them yet. They are easy to get wrong, easy to make social mistakes by wearing them wrong.
They are strange, but it is a strangeness he must overcome. It is not the first time he has had to wear the clothes off a culture alien to him, and he will overcome his discomfort.
His home world is a galaxy away, as is the world he was growing to know, and all he knows is so far away.
But he can overcome this. He will overcome this. He has tasks that must be done, there are changes that must be made, and they begin by him getting used to these clothes.
But they are still alien to him.
As there often is on Facebook, there has recently been a scourge of memes going around, one of which was along the lines of “Tell me a character name and I will write their introduction as if I were writing a novel”. I didn’t want to do that for everyone, but I did want to do some. And so, I present a select few of the ones I have written. Characters are not named, but should be obvious from context if you know them.
Continue reading Character Introductions
It’s 2017, I’m still getting used to typing 2017 instead of 2016 by reflex (haven’t even tried writing it down yet), and I have absolutely no resolutions for the year. Not one.
I don’t really believe in the whole resolutions thing. But I do believe in setting some goals for myself, and trying to do better over time. I just find “New Years Resolutions” to be a crap way of doing it.
So this year, I want to achieve some things, and I might take some inspiration from the stand-up meetings we have at work and start keeping a record of how I’m doing on them to keep myself accountable and keep track of what’s getting in my way (besides myself).
With all that in mind, here are my current goals:
- More gym time, get my cardio up, look at freeweights
- Possibly try cardio in chain once I’m back in the swing of it
- Currently blocked by my new gym still not being open but there’s another branch I can use in the meantime.
- More work on Tixty
- I need to get the admin backend sorted, and get a better frontend interface done while I’m at it
- More creative writing
- I want to try and get some regular creative writing done. Might start looking around for sources of inspiration or ask people for prompts
- Write and run Heroes Rush In
- It’s the penultimate event for No Rest for the Wicked, and I’m not alone in writing it but our plans are ambitious and we need to get started on them.
- Make mage armour
- I need new mage armour for Empire
- I need to settle on a design, get someone to help with the bits I need help with, and start working on the rest.
- Get Magento certified
- We’re working on it at work, but I need to put in the effort, and I need to push for it to get sorted.
- Learn Japanese
- I’ve got a number of events coming up where knowing conversational Japanese would be useful – I need to brush up on it again and get used to using it.
I’ve probably missed some off, but one of the joys of life is that if you forget something, you can always it it to the list later.
Featured image from xkcd: Life Goals
Following on from #rpgaday2015 for blog topics, I’m contemplating doing 30 days of anime, something which popped up on my feed a little while ago. The list is below.
- Very first anime you watched
- Favourite anime you’ve watched so far
- Favourite male anime character ever
- Favourite female anime character ever
- Anime you’re ashamed you enjoyed
- Anime you want to see but haven’t yet
- Your anime crush
- Favourite anime couple
- Best anime villain
- Favourite fighter anime
- Favourite mech anime
- Saddest anime scene
- Anime character you are most similar to
- Anime that never gets old no matter how many times you’ve rewatched it
- Favourite animal sidekick, pet, or summoning from any anime
- Anime with the best animation
- Favourite supporting male anime character
- Favourite supporting female anime character
- Most epic scene ever
- Anime character that gets on your nerves
- Favourite goofy anime character
- Favourite weapon, gear, or armour used in an anime
- Favourite attack someone used in an anime
- Moment that shocked you the most in any anime
- Saddest anime death
- Best anime fight
- Most badass scene from any anime character
- Favourite quote from any anime character
- An anime you wished was real
- An anime you wish never ended and continued on
I may not do these in order, and I may not do them continuously like I’ve been doing #rpgday2015. We’ll see how it goes. I can already answer some, and some would take more consideration – a lot more.
Reasoning for doing something like this is topics, really. Having something to talk about is a useful thing, and writing – even about silly things – means that I’m improving those skills. Plus, I get to talk about anime which can be fun.
Given I’ve binge-watched four seasons of Hunter x Hunter in 12 days, I may be watching a lot of anime at the moment…
Last week I wrote a 1000 word post on some issues that I felt needed said. I was venting into that post, and it was one of the most inflammatory pieces of writing I have ever written. Three people have seen that post, and the general responses were “yeah, you probably shouldn’t post that”. I set it aside, scheduled it to post on Saturday and let it be.
Then after a couple of days, I wrote it again without the anger and bile, and with a better attitude in general. If I hadn’t written the first one, I’m not sure I could have written the substantially better second version. Having written that, I felt much better about not publishing the first one and removed the first one from my scheduling queue.
It was an act of self-censorship as I’m not going to be saying things as directly or matter-of-factly as I was before, but I’m saying what needs said in a better way – and that’s rather more important.
I’m aware this post is a little cryptic, and I kind of apologise for that, but I’m sure the context can be garnered by those aware of certain situations.
An excerpt taken from a letter written by Charles Morganti to another kindred.
The advance of technology has been immeasurably useful to my trade. Where once providing a musician for a private affair involved earplugs, blindfolds and other such instruments to disguise the truth of affairs, now technology provides an answer. From the gramophones introduced at the turn of the last century, which enabled music to be played at will at the turn of a crank to the modern electric music devices that transcend such basic principles. In modern nights, I can have a favoured musician play in a private room and their art is conveyed through electrics to a room elsewhere providing the unique experience of a personal musician without the dangers of having a kine musician included in a kindred matter.
You might ask why I don’t simply solve two problems at once and make a favoured musician of mine into a ghoul to provide safety and loyalty. The answers are myriad: I provide discrete services, and even a ghoul being present can break that creed; providing a variety of musical talent in this way would be expensive in vitae; and then there is the foremost reason – the lack of creativity in the ghouled. There is no shame in admitting that the mortal mind adapts better to new situations and creates more readily than the minds of the kindred. Our immortal nature bestows a certain slowness in thought, and the ghouled take on some measure of that. A ghoul is less likely to be original, or to create new works. Even the bond is dangerous as it focuses the kine on yourself rather than the creation of new works. In art and music, you want nothing other than the best unsullied by the nature of vitae.
Of course, the problem with using only kine untouched by the blood is that they all too soon wither and lose their talent. At some point, one must ask oneself whether this treasured artist is at the peak of their abilities and whether you wish to retain them as they are, or whether one lets them continue to create and age as a mortal. This is another solution that technology has overcome to a degree. The ability to store the art of a musician’s craft in electrics such that their beauty can be recounted at any point is itself a marvel and one which I offer freely to my clientèle should they desire musical accompaniment to their activities. As previously described, a personal performance can also be arranged through the use of an insulated music room for the performer or performers which also allows for the composition of original or custom pieces for a particular event.
The scale of technological advancement seems to leap exponentially with every passing decade. There seems to be little now that cannot be accomplished through the power of electrics – the cities quite literally thrum with the energy passing through the aether at times.