Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Shattered, Part One

Contains adult themes.
Soon to be available on the Amazon Kindle Market.

Carl stared motionlessly at the skyscrapers in the distance, jagged edges of civilization cutting into the sky like some foreign infection that blighted the very world they existed in, as the occasional crack of lightning lit the sky and rain poured upon him.  On rare occasion, a car would slowly cruise by, generally obeying the speed limit of a mere thirty-five miles an hour, and, less occasionally due to the torrent descending from the heavens, he was passed on the sidewalk by a pedestrian or two.  None of them bothered him, or asked aloud what he was doing--it is possible to feel a pain so deep, so severe, so conclusive that all of the usual words, like sorrow, anguish, and misery fall far short of the reality of the agony.  When an individual suffers this much, other people tend to instinctively shy away, as if they could sense on some level how cruel reality can be, and they feel the need to seek refuge from such horror.

His eyes lifted to the sky, and for a split-second he was blinded by another bolt of lightning splitting the sky in half.  During that oh-so-brief moment, an image of her smiling face materialized in his mind, and his chest physically hurt, as if some layer of his subconscious decided that if he felt so much mental agony, then it would be remiss not to feel physical pain as well.  He grit his teeth as his fingers thoughtlessly grasped the front of his shirt, twisting the fabric in his hands until it began to rip.

He pulled his hand away, and slowly walked the dozen steps to a covered bus stop before slumping down and fishing his cigarettes out of his pocket.  As he lit one, he noticed that his hands were shaking, and he frowned, some part of him taking offense at what seemed like such an obvious sign of weakness.  He took a long drag of the cigarette before blowing the bluish smoke out into the rain.

"I thought you were a decent person, that I could trust you," she had said, her voice once more echoing through his head.  "But I guess I should have known better."   Once more, the pain became physical, this time so severe and so real that he doubled up, retching, the very little water he had been able to stomach that day charging out of his system as if it had somewhere better to be.

Finally, his stomach quit heaving, and he reached down to pick up the cigarette he had dropped, before noticing that it had been extinguished and was thoroughly soaked.  Annoyance bubbled within him, and that annoyance turned to irritation, then anger, then a full blown rage.  "Goddammit!" he screamed, and he slammed his left fist against the armrest of the bench.  Pain bloomed within his fist, like some malevolent flower meeting the first rays of dawn, and he knew that it was because of his own stupidity, and that enraged him even more.  "Goddammit, goddamnit, goddammit!" he roared, punching the bench again, and again, and again, until he felt more than heard the sickening crunch, and he knew that at least two of his fingers were well and truly broken.  For some reason, this seemed right to him, as if the last thing about him that wasn't shattered was his own body, and now everything about him was matched together and in proper alignment.

He reached down for another cigarette and put it in his mouth before awkwardly reaching into his left pocket for a lighter with his right hand.  Once again, yellow flame sparked before his eyes, drawn to the cigarette as if they were star-crossed lovers.

He leaned forward, his hand fumbling behind his back before it finally came into contact with cool metal.  He pulled the revolver free and stared at it.


Shattered is being edited and will soon be available on the Kindle Market.  I've decided to leave up Part One as a preview, but have taken down the rest of the story; the edited version will not be broken into parts and (I believe) is a much smoother read.  Many thanks to Jacob Lock for editing and Devon Herron for illustrating.  You guys are awesome!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Sorry, guys

No new chapter today.  Call it the effects of too much work, too little sleep, and way too much sickness going on this week.  If I'm up to the task, I'll raincheck something in over the weekend, otherwise, business should resume as usual on Monday.



Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Story of Lyra Swiftfist, Part Five

This is Part Five of a character backstory written by Beth Stoneman.  Part Four can be found here.

Alec and I went on adventures through the city, sneaking out of the monastery during meals and exploring all the different districts, usually staying in the safer districts of the city. We especially kept kept away from Residential District D until one day, we were feeling extra adventurous and confident in our abilities to fight back any attackers.

I had never seen an area so desolate and ominous, and the fact that it existed in the middle of Onegas, the largest city in the world, a city literally teeming with life, made it all the more foreboding. Even though the Mindflayer explosion had taken place hundreds of years ago, the extermination of life was still apparent. Houses that had once been glorious were charred and whole chunks were blown away. Not a soul seemed to exist there, but I knew some of the most foul creatures known to EbonHurst haunted those ruined buildings—no one else would stand living here. It was tiring, but fun to test our abilities against something besides a training dummy or each other.

Alec and I seemed to be able to defeat anything we came across, until we ran into one of the fiends we'd heard such awful stories about. In our arrogance, Alec and I had unwittingly marched into a place that we may not, in fact, have been able to fight our way out of. This fiend, a vampire, was tucked away in a building in absolute darkness. It seemed to be sleeping, so we attempted to leave without waking him. Much to my dismay, Alec didn't see a large rock in front of him and tripped over it, falling on his face and making a loud racket.

The vampire shot upright and stared hard at Alec. Without warning or effort, he rose and walked right up to the vampire and bared his neck. I shrieked and ran forward to save him, but the vampire clawed my face, draining me of some of what little energy I had left, before sinking his fangs deep into the throat of my companion, draining his life force, and leaving him to collapse on the ground.

I ran as fast as I could, using the sunlight outside to my advantage. The vampire shrieked a horrible sound at me as I escaped, my feet pounding the uneven ground outside with all the haste I could muster. That awful noise seemed to follow me all the way to the monastery.

When I finally returned, I fell into my bed and cried. All the lessons about composure and inner peace I'd asked the monks to teach me went to the wayside that day. I was consumed by sorrow and anger. I cried for the rest of the day, wishing for nothing more than to have Alec back and to turn back time. I knew we should not have wandered into District D, but something compelled us to test our mettle, and it led to more loss in my life – something I had hoped to avoid. When Brother Aric confronted me about my behavior, I told him everything, despite how incriminating it was. I was reprimanded, but because the monks were my family, they also supported me in my time of grief. Many of them had known what it was like to love before they joined the monastery, and I was met with sympathy. However, the monks decided it was best to keep me there longer before sending me on my quest for self-discovery. I redoubled my efforts to gain control of my emotions, and decided that falling in love was a major sacrifice that I was not willing to make again. The pain I felt that day rivaled the pain that I felt the day my parents died. I spent more time at the monastery meditating and searching for serenity than I ever had, because any sort of inner peace was made less attainable now that I'd suffered another loss.

Friday, September 09, 2011

The Four, Part One

Eternity swirled around them, and Vendon's stomach churned within him. The strange void they seemed to fly through felt as if it was made of razorblades, filleting his flesh off with every inch they traveled—and they seemed to be moving at an incredible speed, traveling millions of miles. Of course, he also felt like he was standing completely still, immobilized, paralyzed, utterly helpless.

With an inaudible snap that Vendon seemed to feel, rather than hear, reality collapsed into place around him once more. No longer was he standing under the large weeping willow in the middle of his park, the familiar scenery now replaced with marble floors walls. Barely able to control his rapid breathing, he glanced around to see his girlfriend, Stona, shuddering next to him, with his best friend Bennet on the other side, who made a hacking noise before unloading the days breakfast on the ornate floor. Bennet's brother, Trav, stood next to him, looking as if he was torn between patting his younger brother's back consolingly and throwing up himself.

In front of them all stood the strange man who had approached them in the park, the man who had instigated all of this strangeness. The man who had, apparently, kidnapped them. He was tall, with shoulder-length brown hair pulled back into a ponytail, and eyes that had no visible pupils or cornea, but instead seemed to be formed of molten gold.

I assure you, the first travel through the Multiverse is always the worst. You'll get used to it, in time.”

You son of a bitch!” Vendon roared, in a decidedly uncharacteristic fit of rage. He reached within himself, recalling the Arcturus Plains north of his hometown of Onegas, drawing power from the memory, shaping it just like he had for the first time last week, before throwing his hand out in front of him, letting loose the energy in the form of a blazing white sword.

The man in front of him frowned, almost imperceptibly, his fingers making a small design in the air. Vendon felt the power he summoned fade from him, and the sword he was forming with it seemed to falter during creation, dissolving in the air like a glowing white smoke in the wind.

I tussled with Mishra, boy,” the man said, a stern look on his face. “With Urza. Yes, I was there at the Brother's War, countless years before you were a twinkle in your father's eye. I have fought demons, and wrestled control of them. I have faced angels, and had them bow before me. Dragons that have lived for thousands of years are at my beck and call.” Slowly, he walked closer to the young man, before placing two fingers under his chin and tilting his head up so that their eyes stared into each other. “I'm afraid you're not quite evenly matched with me.”

Bennet stood straight, wiping his mouth on his tunic. “What do you want with us, then?” he asked, his voice quivering.

The man looked in his direction and seemed to deflate. He sighed. “I want to teach you,” he said. “If I wanted to hurt you, you would have already been destroyed in EbonHurst. And I tell you the truth when I say that it was a valid possibility. Four sparks igniting at once, all on the same plane, amongst friends? It's unthinkable. Unprecedented. Absolutely impossible. And yet, it happened, not a week ago, and that is something remarkable. Had I not traveled to EbonHurst to yank you out of there myself, I guarantee you that another Walker would have. It most assuredly would have been a more...unkind meeting, if you catch my drift.”

Stona sank to the ground, a look of puzzled despair on her face. “I have no idea what's going on, here,” she finally said, hanging her head so that her long, lustrous blonde hair covered her face. “We're going to die, aren't we? I knew something like this would happen. As soon as all of those freaky things started happening to us. I know enough about sorcerers, warlocks, wizards, to know that none of us fit the bill for one of those.”

The man snorted. “Hardly. They pale in comparison to the might of a Planeswalker, that I can assure you.” He offered her a hand, and she reluctantly took it before being pulled to her feet once more. The man looked at each of them in turn, before saying, “Planeswalkers are a breed apart from everything you've known before. We alone have the ability to travel the Multiverse, exploring realities that sometimes defy logic. We have the ability to draw power from each of these planes, using this raw mana to our own ends, to summon allies under our control, or cast fantastic spells.

One in every million sentient beings born across the Multiverse is born with the spark, the raw potential to become a Planeswalker. Of those, only one in every billion actually awakens that spark, gaining the ability to draft mana from the planes. And each of you have done that. Now, if you prefer, I can take you back to your plane of EbonHurst. You can experiment with your abilities on your own. And in maybe as long as a month's time, another Walker will seek you out, and they will not have nearly as kind of intentions as I have. If you're lucky, you'll die quickly.

Or, I can show you to your individual rooms, have the servants prepare a feast for tonight, and begin teaching you how to use your newfound abilities on the morrow. Which would you prefer?”

Thursday, September 08, 2011

To Hell with the DMV

For two days, I've spent hours at the DMV, and have still not accomplished the task I need done.  I really don't understand how we haven't improved that agency at all in the last twenty years.

Anyways, no real point to this other than whining, and noting that I get to wake up at 5am tomorrow so I can get there an hour before they open.  Because maybe waiting for an hour outside the building before they open will ensure I don't have to wait for 4 hours inside the building after they open.


Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Piracy for the win?

Lately I've been ALL OVER this song, and I felt the need to bring it to the attention of some of you guys.  It's another great track by Netsky, the VIP of 'Pirate Bay', and you can check it out here.  Happy jamming!

Censorless, Part Four

This is Part Four of the story.  Part Three can be found here.

"Can you tell me how many geographicals are within Alexandria's Circle?"

Kote frowned at the balding man who asked the question, the Headmaster of Divinations.  "I don't understand what possible difference it could make if I could or couldn't," he said.

The nine Headmasters of the University exchanged glances amongst each other, most of them thoroughly disgruntled, except for one large man who was barely suppressing a grin.

"It matters," the man finally said, "because if you do not possess adequate knowledge of the arcane, you will not be admitted into this university!"

"That doesn't make any sense.  I'm a chaos mage.  I don't use circles.  It's one of the advantages."

Once again, the Headmasters exchanged glances, this time accompanied with hushed whispers to each other.

"First, young Master--" the Headmaster glanced at his copy of the entry application Kote had filled out, "Kote, I'll be so kind as to ignore your plea for attention and inform you that you are not permitted to lie during this entry examination.  Secondly, I'm--"

"I've yet to lie, Headmaster.  I don't do that."

The heavyset man on the end, the Headmaster of Evocation, chuckled with mirth as the cheek of the Divinations Headmaster twitched in anger.  "That's quite enough, young man!" he finally shouted.  "You enter this University with not one single reference of any credibility, you immediately make a mockery of the examinations process by refusing to answer the first question you are asked, or even admit your own ignorance of the subject, and you boldly claim the impossible, as if we would not be aware of the complete and utter impossibility of a sniveling teenager such as yourself being a chaos mage!  This University has a strong--"

Once more he was interrupted by the applicant.  "Alexandria's Circle has fourteen geographicals contained within it, and seventeen in total.  It was created, of course, by the sorceress Alexandria, one of the companions of Emperor Marrux Drowbane, roughly eight-thousand, two hundred years ago.  The exact date she created the circle is unknown.  The circle is often used in powerful divination spells, particularly ones that involve multiple targets.  As far as my abilities as a chaos mage being impossible," he stood from his chair, his hands held out and his feet splayed, "if you would choose to challenge me in a duel, divinationist, I will gladly cause you irreparable harm in order to prove my ability."

Friday, September 02, 2011

The Quest, Part Four

This is Part Four of the story.  Part Three can be found here.

The trickiest thing about fighting a Paladin of the Silver Wing is figuring out exactly which direction to run away in.  --Garn Calloushand, slaver

Garek burst out of his quarters at the sound of the loud explosion.  He cast a quick glance around before noticing the ship next to their own, a ship double, no, triple the size of The Losgud, with two rows of snub-nosed cannons pointing out at the cargo ship.  The deck was filled with corsairs, each with a drawn firearm or blade, and on the top of the poop deck stood a man, larger than the rest, wearing expensive red clothing trimmed in gold, and holding the ruby studded hilt of a cruel cutlass.  "Prepare to be boarded, sirs, and prepare to die!"

Garek wordlessly began striding towards the edge of the Losgud, his  left hand reaching back to thumb the small catch on the sheath he wore on his back, causing it to splay open like the wings of a butterfly, while his right hand gripped the hilt and pulled the massive, five-foot-long sword off of his back.  He reached the edge of the deck and jumped in the direction of the ship twenty feet away, roaring, "Leap of Faith!"  At the apex of his jump, silver wings of light seemed to sprout out of his back, flapping once, then twice, carrying him the distance to the pirate vessel, where he landed easily behind the men prepared to board his ship.

"And for the Light, I shall fight.  For it's will, I shall kill."  He spun, gripping the heavy blade in two hands, and his weapon made contact with one, two, then three of the corsairs, splitting them open at their chests, cutting the first in half.  "I believe I'm your first opponent, gentlemen," he said, his eyes narrow slits, radiating rage and hatred for the evil auras each one of them projected.

The pirates were battle-hardened, and needed little time to react, firing their guns and rushing him with drawn blades.  Garek surrendered himself to his battle rage, his sword a blur in the air as it spun around him in elegant circles, blocking bullets and severing limbs and heads from the pirates.  A stray bullet caught him on the shoulder, and Garek snarled, throwing out his hand at the offending gunsman.  "Ties that Bind!" he roared, as a shining silver chain rocketed from his open hand, wrapping around the pirate.  With a grunt, he yanked the chain, sending the man flying through the air and smashing into the mast with the force of an elephant, cracking it in two before it shuddered and fell back, crushing more of the sailors under it.

More of the pirates swarmed from below decks, dozens of them standing before the exiled paladin.  "You can't fight all of us alone," the dwarven man in front said, a stout individual with ornate rapiers in each hand.  Clearly, this was their first mate.

"Very well, then,"  Garek said, raising his hand.  "Jace.  Aid me."

Nothing happened, and the pirates began exchanging glances amongst themselves, chuckling, as confidence began to return once more to their ranks.  "And what was that supposed to do, paladin?" the first mate asked.

Wordlessly, Garek pointed up.

The dwarf caught the site of the talons, the cruel beak designed for ripping into prey, the large, beautiful, snow-white wings, and barely got out the word, "Griffon!" before Jace was on him, ripping into his chest with vicious, razor-blade talons as if the chainmail he wore was made of dried grass.

"A paladin is never alone, fool," Garek said, casually walking by the rows of horrified pirates.  "Kill them, Jace.  I've their captain to deal with."

He took the steps to the poop deck to see the captain alone, his cutlass in one hand, his revolver in the other.  "Come, then, paladin.  One of us will die an honorable death this day."

Garek stopped, marveling at the aura of pure, unashamed evil the man radiated.  The man was a fiend, a demon among men, and it showed.  Through the years his perversion had even affected the very vessel they stood on, which also glowed with a dark light under Garek's ability.  The paladin shook his head.

"No," he said.  "You're not dying in combat.  You don't deserve the satisfaction.  Leap of Faith!"  He jumped straight up, the silvery wings sprouting from his back once more, flapping to take him higher and higher, until they finally disappeared when he reached an altitude slightly higher than the top of the other two masts.  He flipped midair as he dove towards the deck, pulling his giant blade back, which began glowing as he roared, "SMITE EVIL!"

His fullblade smashed into the deck of the ship, shattering it as if it had been hit by a rushing train.  Garek fell still, smashing through two more decks before he plunged into ice-cold water, the ship snapping in half above him.  Frantically, he began to swim away from the vessel, but he wore heavy armor, and was gripping a sword that was nearly as tall as he was--for all the headway he made away from the vessel, he sank lower and lower, rapidly.

Finally, he cleared the vessel and threw out his hand.  Bubbles and muffled noises issued from his mouth as he named the spell, but the silver chain still shot forward, out of the water, and he felt it catch on something before he began rising, higher and higher, finally breaking out of the water, as Jace pulled the chain until he fell to his feet, once again aboard the Losgud.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

And I'm There Before She Knows It

I'll be gone before she sees me
Got my hand around her waist
I'm pulling her to safety
By the time she knows what's happened
There'll be someone else who needs me
Time keeps dragging on
And on, and on, and on

I have absolutely fallen in passionate love with this songIt's about The Flash, and after listening to this song a few dozen times today, I had to do some more reading and whatnot on him, and he's pretty much become one of my favorite superheroes all of a sudden.  I always liked the guy, don't get me wrong, but I'd name a dozen heroes I liked before I even thought about him...I don't know that that's the case anymore.

Anyways, you should seriously check it out.  The song is fantastic, which surprised the crap out of me, because you'd expect a song about a superhero to not even be particularly good, let alone amazing :D

©2011 Cerebral Vomit DESIGNED BY JAY DAVIS