Saturday, June 29, 2013

Of Demons & Cowboys

Upon the barren plains,

   Of a dry and desolate wasteland of the world's most Southern continent there walked a lone gunman. His hat was wide of rim and brown with a flat top, it and a yellow, black and white checked scarf hid his face well from any who paid him any notice. His baby blue and brick orange checked collared tunic sleeves were rolled up and the collar stuck out on one side along his neck above the scarf. Atop that he wore a tan brown and tiny egg shell blue pin stripped waistcoat, his trousers were once blue but were weather worn stained white and grey from dust and smoke, his belt was hazel brown with gold skulls upon it and his shoes were thin rubber soled black and tan leather flats, devoid of a stinger or spur.

     Like many of the modern day warriors of the Southern Continent once known as Africa, the demon carried a revolver, though not one that fired typical ammunitions. Most all casings and gunpowder were done away with at the end of the final world war, when the magic of the universe was resurrected by the melting of the polar ice caps and rained down upon the earth, changing everything.

      Each of the six chambers that once held bullets was now a cylinder for a single shot laser cannister, which slowly recharged over the course of several hours. It was the same for Shotguns, though their double or pump action barrels fit single shells that would have to be put into a case charger fitted to the belt, though very few cowboys had this equipment, most just had to wait for the shells to recharge. Often whilst waiting, they ended up dead.

     Generally the land had three types of cowboy who roamed the plains, the skilled one whose dedication to the way of the gun paid off with accurate shots, the maniac who had somehow collected a recharger or a myriad of weapons who won his life by firing as many bullets as possible, usually just the mere look of such a deviant was enough to scare off any foe. Then there were those who had a gun, but it was merely for show. Always strung to their hip or underarm in a well decorated holster, rarely, if ever, cleaned or fired. These men were the folk of cities, where battles were fought and won by the local justice, but just in case, they carried.

      For years our traveller circled to reach this place again, where his rebirth began, where the gunfighter was reborn. Most didn't survive their first fight, surrendering their last breath to the laser blades of revolver bullets or a flash of scattered shotgun short beams. The old ways of duelling had ended when the last of the gentlemen died to the trigger happy fools who had rekindled an inspired dedication in rogue warriors to seek skill and patience in the way of the quick draw. Indeed it was the only way to defeat someone with more shots than you.  

     What once was known as Africa was left in solitude by the kingdoms and empires of the other remaining inhabited continents. For the wars upon it's shores were not bound to laws but prejudice, mere contests of arms, for amusement. From the top most kingdom to the lowest street scum, it mattered not if you were born demon, human, dwarf or elf nor even reanimated undead; all that mattered was how much fire power you were packing.

     Jaghoul stood on the edge of town staring down the lone boulevard beyond the massive gate and high walls, the place seemed devoid of life save for the movement of dust in the wind. To enter the oasis city meant certain death, a cesspool for scoundrels, bottom feeders, bounty hunters and rogues all seeking glory at the edge of the world.

     In the distance an airship, a flying wooden vessel made in the image of ancient ocean fairing ships, often with cloth wings and a levistone or hot air balloon instead of any sails, was rising into the skies. It was a majestic thing to watch the ships take off into the open air on a voyage to the floating continents or to some abandoned mine in search of treasure, though rarely to war.

     Large scale battle was a thing of the past, king pins and jesters ruled the lands beside necromancers and emperors, power had long ago surrendered itself to those who inhabited the bars of the city streets, to the mercenary, for there weren't enough citizens on the continent to make up armies from, let alone get them to wage war against one another for some rich scum's plot to overthrow his neighbour's town for the sake of image or meagre monetary gain.

     Today was different though, Jaghoul had come to the birth place of his resurrection to begin a quest, a journey into the perilous dark realms of the forlorn continent. Seeking to answer a simple question, who pulled the strings on rebirth, from man into immortal... From corpse to lich?

Friday, June 28, 2013

Renegade Station

The children huddled together,

     In the far Eastern wing of the station against the frigid air that ever maintained a constant state of visible breath, in a corner the seven of them held on to one another for warmth despite several layers of clothes, which were much too large for them in most cases being made generations ago for soldiers who fought in the world wars. Thick grey or green wool was the trend, all of them had a scarf overly long wrapped several times around making their necks look like part of their shoulders which were hidden under layers of tunics, jumpers and a long trench coat with a cloak and hood attached. The same could be said for their legs, long under garments layered beneath wool pants in which their tiny feet were wrapped up in socks trapped tightly in wool coated leather boots. Some had a beanie on or a wool cap while others had fighter pilot leather caps but all of them had goggles as old as the wars themselves.

     For as long as anyone could remember the children had been sent out from the frozen citadel high above the frozen tundra atop a spire of ice and stone. There the fortress had been since the world changed and the immortals had come out from their exile, back to the light of the sun. They were sent out, escorted by armed guards, to a crack in the ice where they would search the caverns for shards, crystals filled with liquid light, the fuel that kept the village outside and the stronghold atop the spire lit and warm.

     The seven children had plotted to escape after hearing the elder's tale of the child who fell and dreamt of green lands beyond the icy passage at the edge of the vale. The entrance to the mountain's depths was by means of a brick mason bridge at the edge of the village along the cobble stone lane along the walls of the fortress. Beyond the statues of gargoyles at the far end was a path that lead into the vale where the gates to the mines were locked.

    Of the seven, only two of them were over the age of twelve, the rest were wee squirts that were swept up in the motion of escaping when the guards discovered them in the alley on their way to the bridge, diverting them into the sewers where they found the abandoned station. The squat overly long armed pig men who hid their faces behind masks, some would know as goblins, had not given chase for they had met their end at the shard blades of the eldest two in a short but blood skirmish.

     Through the darkness of the village streets, for the blue lights of the shard were shut off in the late hours, the children were given chase by the soldiers of the spire, the silence was only broken by the footfalls of the children, for the goblins wore no shoes. When the group was nearing the bridge the oldest of the escapees realised the group wouldn't make it with the guards so close at their heels.

    Contra stole himself against the wall of one of the houses and in the shadows waited for the guards to pass as Sabine lead the group onwards. He only just noticed in time that the silent soldiers had passed for they moved as shades in the darkness. One quick flash and the first guard crumpled to his knees, a shard of crystal logged in his neck. The other turned to face the assailant, sending his spear out as he spun, nearly decapitating Contra, who just narrowly avoided the blade. Contra rose from his crouch like a snake he lounged at the exposed chest of the soldier whose life was taken by reflex and luck, if not by fate.

      Silence reigned as the realization set in that he had just taken the lives of two sentient beings, whose souls now meandered aimlessly between the shadow world and that of the living. Rising up from atop the dead guard's chest, Contra made his way through the dark streets to join the others.
     Under the last arch on the edge of the village, beyond which lay the bridge and freedom, the group stole their way into the ventilation maze between the town above and the forge works below. There they found the abandoned station and lay down to rest, though the eldest two knew their plans had gone seriously awry.

The Time Machine Tattoo

   Ever since Dominic could remember,

     He had heard stories of Namiah, queen of the angels, sister to Lilith the damned, whose army succumb to the power of darkness in the invisible wars that raged long ago high up in the clouds. In dreams he had held her hand as she fled under a reign of arrows, narrowly escaping from the citadel of obsidian stone where for so long she was held captive, high up in the skies. 

Every night hidden under the covers lit by a tiny flash light Dominic would watch the hands of his grandfather's pocket watch as if it retold the story of his first dream. It was that same silver handed circle that he carried with him where ever he went, but today the watch had special purpose.

Dominic hand't felt so much as a fairy's tickle throughout the, normally quasi painful experience, procedure. Dominic sat upright and awake, not an ounce of alcohol or drugs in his system, completely sober he had sat through a needle injected art form. 

The tattoo was that of a nineteenth century pocket watch painted upon the underside of the Dominic's wrist. When he was not but a lad that same wrist had been broken during a climbing expedition with his elder brother in the neighbours back yard. The barkless and twisted red Manzanita tree had been a prestigious centre piece of the lush forest of fauna that compromised the beautiful fairy tale garden behind the ancient stone walls of the Quiest family.

When the deviant artist had finished, he looked up at Dominic and smiled 'just one final touch and we'll be done.' With that the artist put down his needle and took off his gloves. He looked back to my wrist, gently grasped it in his left hand and leaned in, at first the young man couldn't tell what it was he was doing, but then he saw it. The tattoo artist was turning the dials of the watch, as he did Dominic began to swoon with the onset of an intense dizziness. With each turn of the hands past twelve the room grew darker until it was nearly black, then suddenly it stopped and the enveloping darkness began to dissipate. 'That should do it son,' the deviant artist said with a wicked grin 'you may leave now, if you can.' With that the artist let go of the Dominic's wrist and the world went white.

Wind, a bitter intense breeze bit through the young man's clothes, kindling a chill as deep as his bones. It felt as though he were standing naked upon stones and pebbles in the middle of a dry river bed, a tempest howling down upon him with no barrier in sight. It was so intense Dominic's eyes began to tear up as he attempted to open them, it was a struggle and it was several seconds before he was able to squint.

It wasn't wind at all, Dominic was falling. He closed his eyes and prayed it was all just a dream, biting down hard on his lower lip and pinched his his index finger underneath his thumbnail until it started to bleed. Opening his eyes once again Dominic admitted to himself that he was not in fact dreaming.

The ground was invisible, hidden behind thick white fields of cloud. Dominic was rushing towards them in a free fall, what lay behind them, he would soon find out.  Once again he closed his eyes, this time to feel the open air rippling down his skin, the wind made it feel as if he had no clothes on at all. Suddenly a cool mist began to form about him, he could feel his clothes now damp with moisture.

When next he opened his eyes, Dominic found himself enveloped by the white fields. Soon he was completely drenched from head down to his toes, he felt as if his pants would fall off at any moment. Reaching down he did his belt up another two notches, just for safety, the denim of jeans was overly heavy when wet. 

Straining to hold his eyes open through the mist like rain Dominic began to wish for a view of his demise, how far off was the ground or even the slightest glimpse of the earth? Not a second later there was a break in the cloud and so too was the deep brown of dirt mingled with stone. Only a few thousand feet below Dominic could see plainly the outline of a mountain top or maybe it was simply a hillside in the middle of the country side.

 The clouds before Dominic's eyes began to break, he was falling very swiftly towards an island floating in the sky. He rapidly surveyed the landscape, it was more than an island, it was a continent hovering there before him. 

It was massive, as he grew closer the island in the sky grew more distinct. Dominic could make out there were at least three lakes, one near the Eastern edge surrounded by fields of tall grass upon rolling hills, close to what he guessed to be a city of stone surrounded by what could only by forest, marshes lay before its gates and the lake beyond it, in the Western realm of the continent, was also near to a town, though this one was much smaller than the other.

In the centre of the continent was what appeared at first glance to be a spiral tower, that reached thousands of feet into the sky, most of which as disguised, hidden by the same clouds that Dominic had just emerged from...    

Rattle & Chain

I escaped,

       On the last train out of town. That day the rain poured down in torrents from an obsidian sky, the clouds loomed over the coastal village black and foreboding, indeed it was a good day to leave.

Forsaken by the magic of the universe and utterly tired I leant my head up against the cracked and cob web covered glass to appease the the train rumbled down the tracks my jaw rattled as my unbeating heart within my ragged and skeletal chest yearned for the one who I had lost in the city I was just driven out of.

     Why did my decaying heart even care at all, about the present or the past, I'm sure that I could hear its withered form rattle inside of me as the mist rolled over the sea side town, he had watched me die. Dangling there from the noose under the stone arches, hand made gallows before the cathedral doors. My final act wasn't ignored, the twitch of my toes in Morse' code... 'I love you.'

I had been searching the street markets for my lover's favourite cheese to go with the mushrooms I had returned with and a few greens when I was pulled into an alley by a city guard. The malice in his eyes stole my attention from the muttering of a death threat, a predatory wolf in guard's skin would not escape the poise of rage within my lover hero if he found out...

     This demon in the flesh of a man who lay vacant atop of me, trousers half way down his knees, utterly spent after raping me in a back alley upon the brick cobble stones of a tiny ancient passage way in a town a thousand years away. For a moment he let down his guard, my lover's malice wouldn't be necessary, I would deal with this vile creature myself. My hands clasped to the wicker man's ox cart slipped from the childish bindings and as the predator's awareness slacked, but for a moment after cumming, I found his knife and drew it. One clean gash up his left arm as it dangled there against the bindings that once held my hands, how foolish the devil was. His leather wrist guard and tunic melted away before the blade and his forearm opened like a sheep's belly, inner wrist to elbow, he would bleed out in minutes. Even after the mad lust the guard bestowed upon me and possibly countless women of the city, there was panic in his eyes as he realized his doom, slowly he curled up into a ball and lay there whimpering as he died.

    A crowd had gathered at the ally's entrance, Soon after more guards had come and I was swept up in chains before Kæfka, a wicked judge.When next I opened my eyes I panicked for a second at the realization... The impact to unconsciousness would be my last vision of rest. I stood between two guards before the Cathedral's courtyard archway, a noose dangling there waiting to steal my last breath... So I thought but now I find myself sitting on this ancient train, alone in the silence of the car, no lover to attempt another rescue of my forlorn undead but never decaying beautiful heart...

In earnest anticipation of,

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Land of Silence

It is said,

     That in ancient times the immortal's had dozens of strongholds deep underground, many below the Eternal Plains. A silent land that stretched over nearly a third of the continent, from the edge of the mountains of the Pacific Rim of Fire all the way to the Eastern Sea. No one had ever confirmed the fable, but there was hardly a need now as the great ocean fields of tall grass were home to little more than but a few scattered towns along the last road and some remote villages near the Dark Forest which bordered the Southern Lands where mankind dwelt.

     Under the shadow Cirrus and Snow Dome beyond it, where the last memories of an ancient evil survived trapped in the Columns Ice Fields, telling the tale of a frozen wasteland of death the mountain range once was and for the most part still was; a dangerous place of the undeath and beasts no one lived to describe, there stooped a creature nearly invisible amidst the tall grass beside a large boulder, gazing at the passage out  of the mountains.

     Hidden under the shadow of the boulder the would be predator remained motionless, crouched in silence for hours, contemplating how to deal with the tiny shadow of an unknown entity coming down out of the mountains along the broken rubble of the ancient road that lead through to the sea on the other side. Nothing had come out of the passage for a hundred years, ever since the ochre expanse that covered the skies in the decimation glow.

     Ever since that day, there had always been a watcher present in the vale below the forlorn road that lead up into the darkness of the mountains. It was easy to hunt down anything that ever made it onto the plains, though it had been years since the last pilgrim had wondered down out of the shadows, the land was flat, windy and dry. The ancient broken stone road was the only visible anomaly in the southern grasslands, though beside it ran the new road, one comprised of trampled earth and dust, for some strange reason or a magical other, the grass had not grown over the path the destitute had carved when making their way into the  Eastern Realms.


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Darkened Sun; Love's Survivors

I woke from reverie,

    There in the window sill of our tenth floor apartment, sat the form of my lover. We hadn't bothered to leave like so many others when the bombing began, both of us had long ago given over fear to the moment of being alive, though now not even that could be said to be true of either of us.

     She was but a mannequin of her former glory, her soul fleeted in and out of the skeletal form that sat motionless in the sun as it streamed in through the shattered glass of a rain stained brick frame, in a building overlooking the ancient hill top Necropolis, from the highest point one could see the entire city and the surrounds down to the distant hills of the Green Belt. Every day she sat there, waiting for the return of something she never wanted in life, but in death the desire had become overwhelming.

   We hadn't been able to have a child, we both saw this as a good thing since neither of us had ever really wanted a kid, but when the world began to change, mending occurred across the earth for those infirm, the deaf, those stricken by cancer and a myriad of other genetic illnesses. So it was that near the end, just before the war began, as if to bind ourselves to the dying planet, we conceived and it was to be a girl.

    Four months along and none of the check ups had shown any signs of complication, save the ones the whole world was dealing with outside our apartment where my office had been transformed into a beautiful white baby's room. I had to move all our creative production tools and bins of random yet useful digital tech chords along with the writing desk and all our other geek quirky imagination inspiring helpful inventions into the living room where my wife, the beautiful maiden of mine, sat face to face, our laptops and the worlds we had together created the only thing between us as something  began to stir deep underneath the earth and in the oceans that flooded so many cities as the polar ice caps magically melted away.

     It was then when the war began and mankind lost it's marbles to vengeance that the mending stopped and darkness reigned. Penumbra spread over the land like a plague, even before the clouds of ash and destruction accumulated as the bombardment of the city took place, it only lasted a few days, then, the whole world went silent.

    The television had no channels, the radio lost all its air waves, the streets were littered with silent people, would be corpses, though we I never checked, it didn't matter anyhow, I was a corpse and yet I am still able to write and survive via my ghost of a soul being trapped in this husk that was my body.

     I don't know where my maiden goes when she leaves her body there in the window sill, but I imagine that she has trained her soul to truly act as a ghost, an ethereal being to the eyes of long lost mankind, searching the streets of our city, even to the top of the hill for the spirit of our lost child. Often she doesn't come back for weeks at a time, it is then, I think, that she delves into the darkness below the hill, into the Necropolis. Risking her own soul for a rifted love, fighting and fleeing from banshee, valkyrie and all manner of undead from wraith to wight and every sort of zombie in between vampire and lich, the last we both had become.

    If only I could remove myself from this hollow unbeating chest, then I too would fly along side my maiden, hand in hand we'd seek unto the ends of the world. But, I believe she needs me here to protect her body as we both slowly decay, a reason  for her to come back.

In earnest anticipation of,

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

World's Over Journal XXXI Stare Amidst Stone

     I thought it strange that we should be brought to the gates to greet the visitors, seeing how we ourselves were only guests of the city, but Toki was a lieutenant of the guard, so I accepted the call and walked silently beside her, together watching Priscilla bound down the cobblestones towards the entrance to the main citadel off the terrace.
     When we arrived at the citadel we found the gates were shut, Menke told us that Kensori had ordered all the doors into the city shut until the plot of the undead envoy was discovered. Turning from the sealed oak bolt steel doors we walked a few paces along the wall till we reached a willow tree standing over the stream that fed the forest upon the marsh grove terrace that housed the royal guard and was our temporary home. Just were the stone wall was eclipsed by stone, as the mountain began, under the shade of the willow vines pitter patterned with  budding flowers we stopped as Menke moved towards the wall.

     There at the edge of change was a portal hidden by the deep magic of the dwarves, who all too well knew the power of stone manipulation via the power that long lay dormant in the world. The secrets of the troll dwelling were a gift from the masons and smiths who manned the black gate, a mystical portal that kept the great demon Udhere and his army  in the great darkness beyond, locked away for all time. It was a return for the troll warriors who can come to the aid of those on the wall thousands of years ago during the tragic tale of Lucifer's second coming, when the last spell plotted against the wall won.

Menke lay the head of his spear against an indent in the wall and whispered. There was a tiny shimmer and the wall began to open slowly of its own accord. We entered into a small passage that we walked several paces before coming to a stairwell carved out of the mountain, at the bottom there was a fork, Menke lead us to the left and the passage immediately began to slope steadily more steeply until one felt the urge to break into a run just to keep moving, that or sit on your arse and slide the rest of the long way to the front gates.

Along the way the passage levelled off several times and there are many more forks, we always chose the one that sloped, it was a long way down from the high Terraces to the fountain before the citadel where the undead envoy and Kensori along with a small host of the city guard waited their arrival.

The four of us made the front gate just before noon, we were still in the passage when ahead we noticed several thin beams of light upon the floor and the wall to our right. When we reached the portal Priscilla and I stopped to have a gaze, before us was the open vale wherein the fountain lay. We could see a small envoy of warriors dressed in lacquered plates from shoulder to wrist and chest to waist, upon their belts were sheathed a pair of blades, one long sword and a second shorter one. Below they wore a kilt of the same fashion as the armour that adorned their upper body, with pants below the knees with plated guards down to their ankles. Most had a helmet on, though the two sitting the furthest distance away had taken theirs off and places it at their side. The helmets themselves didn't seem overly protective, being made of a small cap that draped lacquered plates down just above their pauldrons, very different from the steel helms the knights of old wore, though their was one drastic difference that appeared immediately as one of the envoy turned towards us, his helmet was the same as the rest, though as he turned one of his hands was fixing a clasp from a hideous mask to his helm. He no longer appeared as an undead warrior at all, but a demon. The horns jutting out from his helm l, that earlier appeared to have no function at all, for one one would ever let themselves be gores by, suddenly birthed forth a dramatic effect, he had become a creature of unknown origin in armour, a fearsome thing that stood on its hind legs like a man or elf, but appeared to have no right to do so, as if it stood erect only because the armour demanded the horrible demon within to do so. It was a mesmerising effect that I realised would be a vital tool of war, especially against the lesser tribes of immortals and mankind.

     How long I had been transfixed by the warrior I did not know, when I looked up Priscilla was still spell bound by the warrior. His eyes seemed to be set upon her, though we were hidden by magic, if he had eyes left in his skull at all that is, it appeared to me quite suddenly that the warrior might have been held there by Priscilla rather than vice versa. She cocked her head to the side in curiosity and so too did the 
demon warrior, she raised an arm in greeting to the window just as she made the same motion, then she had him curtsey before turning to follow Menke and Toki, when she left the stone window the warrior stood tall and firm once more, giving no indication that anything abnormal had occurred...

Monday, June 17, 2013

Druid in Ruins

I woke as if from a nightmare an unspoken name upon my lips. Was I supposed to remember it in the waking realm or was it merely a dream? In this magical age of the earth, there was no such things as coincidence. If your heart knew love, or malice for that matter, your will knew perseverance and you had even the slightest bit of magic in your blood, anything was possible.

When the magic first started to manifest itself upon the face of the world people believed they were insane or had some ill fated mental disorder... This was not the case, for no matter how many times you saw a psychiatrist or took the prescribed drug the governments were handing out that week for the supposed disorder, you would always find yourself perceiving the world as if it was but a waking fairy tale, a dream land. A universe that knew not the limits everyone had grown up believing.

I am a perfect example of just such magic, for I am not entirely human any more. In fact I am not altogether entirely corporeal, as I am of an ancient race known as the Dryad or druid. When the world found itself upside down at the beginning of the age of the pure water, imbued with magic, I was living in a district just outside of Seattle. I hadn't bothered with the tests the government wanted us to line up for if we showed any signs of the Water Illusion Disorder, as it was mostly for corporate profit off the drugs, clinical tests and political funding they recieved in a half hearted effort to cure humanity from a disorder no one could even prove existed.

The world continued on much as it had since before the 21st century until one day. The one day the world changed, with the destruction of New York's down town core by two immence dragons being broadcast over the television. The next few weeks were chaotic, massive earthquakes had tipped mountains upside down,  which now floated in the sky as continents. The magical water that had been released as the polar ice caps slowly melted had finally found its way, in mass, into the atmosphere and came down in the rain.

When it did, the chaos that had surrounded the cities of humanity began to manifest itself within. The Water Illusion Disorder was no longer deniable, in fact those who had type two and three were coralled, imprisoned, shot. Some would become test subjects, others died in cells as prisoners while others became the slaves humanity would use to power the mechanism of the war.

I was glad when it all ended for me. One day I sat up from a dream, only to find myself sitting in a chair staring down at myself. I had become a spirit or ghost, as humanity knew my kind as. Every day that I was in the city, I became weaker. Eventually I stumbled into a park and fell into a tree... And became the tree. My limbs swayed in the wind, my turned brown and fell to the ground. I stood in that park, as a majestic Maple Tree, for years beyond count.

Then one day the skies changed, well truly it was the atmosphere, as I would later find out. Not more than a week after that there was a storm that moved over the face of the world, the rain drops had come down with a yellow hue, like beautiful marbles. Then the war ended and the deep sleep fell over much of humanity, especially those who had been infused with the water before the war.

Then one day I woke up, practically falling out of the tree. Yet I was still the tree...My skin was made of bark and my hair was as the leaves. The rubble of the city was completely gone, overgrown by a boreal rain forest. In the distance there was a new town and a road which wound its way towards a city near the ocean. The ancient ruins had been torn down and used to build the road and construct the new town. Whatever remained had become one with whence it came.