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The Pen is Mightier than the Sword


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Everything posted by Falcon2001

  1. At night - awake trapped twixt the sheets My ceiling ever looms I cannot be at ease this night Inside this empty room I lie between two wondrous worlds Both terror-filled, it's true The world of dreams calls out to me, The world of living, too My dreams are filled with painful sights Of mem'ries false and true Of every single thing I've failed To impart unto you And yet, awake, I find no light Just darkened doorsteps lie And in the shadowed realm I sit And gently start to cry Between said sheets, between said worlds I quiver and I quail I cannot fall asleep tonight I feel so damnedly frail But yet I do not wish for day I cling to the darkened night And there I lay alone again Dreading the dawn's light And so alone again I lay Inside this thrice-damned home I cannot fall asleep this night Or I shall not wake alone
  2. Note that there is a discussion thread for this as well, but it contains spoilers. Feel free to give feedback here if you don't want to be spoilered. I'll be posting it in chapters, I've got several parts of chapter 2 completed as well, but I'll wait until it concludes to post it. Chapter One The wooden dummy taunted Oeric, swinging back and forth on the ropes idly. It seemed tireless, oblivious to the hours of training. Oeric, on the other hand, was very much aware of how much time had passed. His breath rasped and his lungs burned, and he was beginning to feel a vague and irrational dislike of the dummy. “Put your back into it, initiates!” roared the knight in charge of the group. He stalked the room, the clank of his armor reminding the trainees the weight of his threats. Oeric grunted and swung again, the training sword clattering against the dummy and sending the pieces flipping about. “Oeric, do you even remember how to use that weapon?” the knight yelled, stamping over to him. In a flash, he had brought his own sword out in a shimmering arc, the blade cleaving the arm from the dummy. “Aim for the weak points on an armored opponent, dependant on which plate he wears.” Sheathing his weapon, the knight turned and resumed his pacing around the room. “Against an opponent armored fully, the joints are the weakest point – the pit of the arm, the elbow, the knee. These will be your targets.” Oeric sighed heavily, and began re-assembling his dummy. Heavy rope connected the limbs to the main body, and even tied tightly together it still hung limply on the ropes. He worked slowly but carefully, tying the knots purposefully – Oeric took care to do nothing in haste. Even as a young boy, he remembered patiently building elaborate dirt and stick structures, as opposed to the haphazard creations of his playmates. This tenacity followed Oeric and served him well through his four years of training. His knots finished, he took a step back and hefted the practice sword again. Taking a moment to compose himself, he swung, running through the forms he was taught. Distract and strike. He swung the sword horizontally across the dummy’s chest, using the force to make a slash at the leg. Soon he found himself at peace, slamming away at the dummy in predictable patterns. His mind wandered to thoughts of his upcoming Orequest, and he was surprised when he heard the knight in charge yell halt. “Good work today, lads. It’s the end of the day, so off to your own business. Preparation is key, so get plenty of rest. Tomorrow will be another busy day.” Quickly chatter filled the room as the fourth-years all talked excitedly about various topics. It was late enough in the year that many of them were going to be embarking on their Orequest soon, and a mixture of unease and excitement had suffused the group. Oeric remained silent as he hung up his training armor and weapons, then made his way to the great hall. The great hall of the Wacian Knighthood was, like almost everything else in the castle, functional before anything else. The chairs and tables looked like they had been used as a barricade in the last war, and even the Marshals furniture was simple and functional over decorative. Even the Wacian crest was simplistic, a black sword on a red circle – a simple banner emblazoned with the crest hung over the Marshals table. The hall buzzed with the talk of initiates chattering among themselves as they lined up for food. The rest of the castle had already eaten, but there was plenty left for the hungry teenagers. Oeric settled into line and found himself behind a familiar student. Cedric turned around as Oeric got into the line and grinned widely. “Hello, then. How has the day gone, Oeric?” he asked, brushing hair from his face. “You seem to have survived another of Sir Lucan’s lectures on swordplay.” Oeric shrugged. “Nothing new yet.” He replied, eyeing the stewpots. “Seems like we’ve been learning the same thing for four years now.” “Of course we have, friend. If we can’t run through these drills in our sleep, Sir Lucan’ll never see us to Sergeants.” Cedric had been through almost as much as Oeric, starting three weeks after Oeric had shown up at Castle Wacia. They had become quick compatriots, and both had lasted through the rough training required of all initiates to the Wacian Knighthood. Without waiting for a response, Cedric continued. “I’m almost jealous that you’ll be going on your Orequest before me – it’s unfair that you just happened to be born sooner.” Oeric sighed. “I wouldn’t be. It’s not fun and games.” “That’s what you say, but at least it’s exciting – the landing site is still taken by the beasts of the mountains, and there’s no better place to find adventure.” Cedric grinned broadly at Oeric’s blank expression. “At the very least it’s got to be more exciting than whacking away at a training dummy all afternoon.” Oeric ignored him and held out his bowl, which was filled with stew by a bored-looking servant in a brown frock. She dumped a hunk of plain bread on top and shooed him along. He sauntered over to a nearby table and sat down, his focus on the food. “So, you’re leaving tomorrow?” Cedric asked, setting down his food next to him. “Day after.” Oeric responded between spoons of soup. “Tomorrow I meet with my guide.” Cedric was silent long enough to shovel food into his mouth, staring pensively at the table. Cedric’s right about one thing – it will be more interesting than the same training drills. Oeric’s past year had been more about repetition and less about new techniques or learning – that’s the place of a Sergeant, he supposed. The meal finished quickly, and Oeric found himself back in the initiates barracks again. He sighed and flopped into his cot, looking inward yet again. Tomorrow I begin my training to become a Sergeant. He thought, trying to review what he knew about the process. The Wacian knights were tightlipped about the process, although it wasn’t necessarily a secret either. He supposed it fell into ‘things one did not talk about’, but while that explanation stifled his curiosity a little, it did little to ease his trepidation. It remains that I know almost nothing about what I’ll be doing tomorrow, or what the journey will entail. Furrowing his brow, he thought over what he did know. The Orequest was the rite of passage from an initiate to a Sergeant of the Wacian Order. During the Orequest, students traveled with a knight to the site where the adamant star landed, and there retrieved a piece of the material from the fallen star. Beyond that, he knew very little about the process, the dangers, or anything of the measure beyond whispers after hours in the barracks. If all those rumors were true, it would lie beyond the western sea, be guarded by thirty hounds with flaming breath, and would weigh more than the whole castle. He mused, discarding most of the rumors as such. Banishing the thoughts to the back of his mind, he rolled over and slept deeply. He did not dream that night.
  3. Explanation of the storyline. The origin of the ore One day, a meteorite lands in a mountain range. The meteorite taints ore veins, turning them into an ore that causes abnormal reactions in sentient creatures. Best described as a malevolent, sentient will in the metal itself. Physical closeness heightens the effect, from a buzzing feeling to a deep-rooting primal fear, to a cacophony of voices filling your mind, each of them commanding you to end your own life. Physical contact is generally fatal. The ore, if forged, is extremely resilient, holds an extremely sharp edge, and is a first-rate metalworking ore. The first person to find this was Gram. Origin of the antagonist Gram was a murderer and exile, who was wandering the mountain range and was the first to discover the ore. Gram is characterized by a singular force of will, and was so able to resist the murderous intent of the metal. Realizing the potential of the ore, he used the terrifying quality of the material to torture a smith into teaching him how to forge, and then he spent years forging himself a weapon and armor. Upon completing his armor, he began marching towards the capital of Wacia, located nearby. The first strike By using the maddening force of his equipment, he was able to recruit a terrified army and lay siege to the capital city. Only the walls prevented him from utilizing his equipment to conquer, so he forced his slaves to make rudimentary siege weapons. However, his siege failed miserably - the lack of training proved to be too great. Unable to defeat him in hand-to-hand combat, the army forced him to flee to the east, pursued by archers and spearmen. He became mostly forgotten over time, and the meteorite was left as a cursed site that nobody went to. I'll finish this post in a few hours
  4. (Feedback criticality level 4-5) WARNING: I may post this story later. I'm discussing major plot elements and this will probably spoil it for you. Be warned. I normally write off the cuff and just let it work out. However, this story is different - I've actually taken time to brainstorm a lot on this topic and would like some feedback while I begin writing. What will follow here is a dump of my brainstorming document, followed by explanation. Feel free to pick any part of it to discuss. BEGIN DUMP Metal: Names: Ore: Adamant Probably going with this - Cobalt is real and too close to WoW. On the other hand, it's an old synonym for diamond. Diamonds are shiny? Cobalt Gemaedine Colloquiolisms: Cursesteel Blacksteel Latin roots: Mors Mortis Umbra Acerbus Atrer Atrum Caliga Caligo Properties: Initial reaction to ungloved touch death by madness Gradually moves from frenzied screaming to insidious whispering Bonds to user (?) Not sure about this, might change it Drives user to kill others and himself Landing site slowly polluting the ground around it Cannot store too much of it locally, too dangerous Raids to get new ore Knighthood up against a mountain where they mine iron and smelt it. Blacksmiths common among the Knighthood. Plot ideas: Knighthood attacked, ousted? Two or three books - Rise of the Cursesteel Rule of the Cursesteel Ruin of the Cursesteel Anglo-Saxon basis for characters Firstname, Honorary Name, Home Name Antagonists Leader: Gram, the Exile Generals: Ex-Knights Rank and File: Maddened beasts Protagonists Main Character Names: Oeric If I go Anglo-saxon for the theme of the knighthood, this'll fit well. Resources http://www.mybirthcare.com/favorites/pg1/A...Saxon-names.asp http://home.comcast.net/~modean52/oeme_dictionaries.htm http://books.google.com/books?id=bfBEAAAAMAAJ http://www.nationmaster.com/encyclopedia/G...f-swordsmanship OUTLINE POSTED IN CODEBOX TO PRESERVE OUTLINE FORMAT. Outline: Part 11. Introduction a. Characters i. Oeric 1. Description a. Brown hair b. Blue eyes c. Well-built 2. Traits a. Ponderous b. Self-focused c. Driven d. Withdrawn e. Slow to anger 3. Position a. Initiate ii. Cedric 1. Description a. Brown hair b. Brown eyes c. Lean 2. Traits a. Lazy b. Hot-headed c. b. Setting i. Knighthood 1. Name a. Wacian Knighthood b. Wacia Castle 2. Ranks a. Initiate 1. Recruited at age 14, four years of training 2. Referred to by name - "Firstling, Second-year, third-year, fourth-year" 3. Move to Sergeant on 18th birthday when they get their weapon. b. Sergeant 1. Make move to Knighthood when they receive their given name. 2. Knighting is based on sponsorship by a Knight or higher. c. Knight d. General e. Marshal (Ungloved) 3. Numbers a. Initiates - twice the number of sergeants (160) 1. Approx. ratios: a. First year: 40% (64) b. Second year: 30% (48 c. Third year: 20% (32) d. Fourth year: 10% (16) b. Sergeants - twice the number of knights (80) c. Knights - five times the number of generals (40) d. Generals - twice the number of marshals ( e. Marshals - Four Important Scenes: Recovery of the ore Tale of the Exile Forging of the sword Arrival of the Messenger Arrival of the Exile End Dump More to follow in posts.
  5. I burn my throat each night in passing Of a hope that I once had That you really cared about me I guess that it's just too damn bad So I drink myself past slurring And straight on to haphazard joy Hoping to forget about this song About a heart that's now destroyed Once upon a time this bottle Was something to remember you by But these days it's something to Forget you with I held out hope and duly waited A phone clenched in my slick hand A hope fleeting on my fingertips Things would go off like I planned But luck's never been on my side I've never seen a lucky turn Things turned out how they always do My hope turned to ash and burned Once upon a time this bottle Was something to remember you by But these days it's something to Forget you with I know that if you call me up one day I'll forgive everything you did I can't hate you for your actions I can't hate you 'cause you hid I'm foolish and a wreck some days And I'm still ashamed to say Most nights I'm still here drinking Trying to forget that day
  6. Michael tapped his foot softly, a rhythm that matched the periodic noise of the ceiling fan overhead. He heard the thump of a newspaper on his door, knowing it was just piling up with the others - two weeks of newspaper made a testament to his research, a mountain of paper in response to his mountain of work. His neighbors had left notes, but he hadn't bothered to read them. Instead, he spent his time staring at years of gathered information from Rose. Scanned newspaper clippings, news stories, and interviews all useless on their own. But like a stained glass window, the pieces painted a picture, and Michael took into the picture with an interest born of loss. Scratching at a beard he had never let grow out, he absentmindedly flipped through pages he had read time and time before. Man found dead in home, Police stymied by suicide note read one headline, with a short blurb but nothing on the suicide note. However, Rose had gotten her hands on a scan of the note, presumably from a police informer. Michael reflexively brought up the note, scanning the short page almost out of habit more than a need for understanding. My time is up. Please let my daughters know that I love them. I am going to join a great society. Please don't miss me. I am sorry. The keyword 'society', with the suicide, was the tie-in, and it wasn't the only one. An autopsy report provided the final link - a gunshot wound to the head, self-inflicted. The autopsy report was otherwise un-eventful, and Michael went to close it before suddenly stopping, staring at a part of the report. Wound displays normal tearing associated with self-inflicted gunshot wound, with flecks of foreign substance from ammunition. See attached forensics report for note on unusual ammunition. He had otherwise overlooked this part before, but it felt out of place. Flicking through files, he brought up the forensics report. Suicide by gunshot wound to head - unusual ammunition note: bullet appears to be cast from silver. Unusual construction, but no way of tracing manufacturer due to destruction of ammunition. Possibly self-produced by victim. Michael stared at the page. An idea flicked into his head, and he quickly began to cross-reference different cases, sorting by cause of death. The list came together quickly, and he quickly found that all cases involved with the Society were self-inflicted headwounds. Many of the cases with forensics reports supported unique weaponry used in the cases, although only two stated the material used. In both cases, silver weapons were utilized - the bullet from the case he was reviewing, and an antique knife used in another case. Michael's heart began to thud wildly in his chest, but at the same time, dread clutched him with a cold grip. He was one step closer to finding out who was behind it, but he had a cold nagging worry in the back of his head - how far could this go? He rubbed his eyes gently, creaking back in his chair. Nothing to be done now, he reasoned, and took a long draught of his coffee. Have to see it through.
  7. Falcon struggled a little with the weight of the guinea pig on his chest and managed to grin weakly. "Yeah...fine, I love...burgers." he wheezed, a look of quiet panic in his eyes. (Yeah, I wish I could write again. I've lost my muse, and I doubt I'll find here in this place. These halls of circuits and bureaucracy don't bode well for poetry and prose.)
  8. I guess if Zool and Tralla are showing up, we'd better fill out the old crew. I left high school, went to university and left behind most of my spare time and other pursuits - including writing. In addition, I simply haven't been as inspired lately, so I haven't been showing up.
  9. The dark leather jacket had been a present from his father, years ago. He had worn it, or so it was said, through the last war and when he came back, hung it up for good. It was warm and well-made, a gift from the past that kept Michael warm even in the chilly Chicago spring. He trudged through unnaturally late snow, his head down and his gaze distant as he made his way to a cafe in a distant part of town. The sky, like so much else of the city, was gray. Even the snow seemed to lose it's brightness as it descended towards the city, covering the world in a gray blanket that soaked up the normal city sounds, leaving Chicago strangely quiet, even for as late as it was. The bright lights of the cafe reflected dully on the outside world, a spot of light in an otherwise dead world. Michael brushed open the door and the light chatter of cafe seemed loud. Ruth's Diner was a 24-hour dive in a fairly unfriendly part of town, but it attracted reasonably worthwhile customers. Mostly working-class men who were, while gruff and unfriendly, kept well enough to themselves and didn't bother you. Ruth's was a haven of sorts, a place to get some peace in the windy city. The proprietor of the place, a dusty old woman with a permenant frown embedded on her weathered face, had run it for over 40 years, and still worked the night shift. This particular night, she tossed Michael a glance from over turtleshell glasses. "Welcome back, stranger. Haven't seen you 'round these parts for a few years." Michael gave her a look that was half smile and half grimace. "Heya, Ruth. Haven't had much time for slummin' around as much as I used to." "You calling my place a slum, boy? Oughta bop you one for that." Ruth replied cooly, waving a spatula. "Anyway, pie's still as good as ever. Want a piece?" "Sure - apple, if you got any left." "Always do, Michael." she said, turning around and disappearing into the kitchen. Michael scanned the restaurant idly. There weren't many customers around, mostly tired people staring at cups of coffee. He walked over to a booth and sat down, staring out the window. The snow fell silently outside, as a few tired stragglers made their way home through the night. The plate clattered loudly as it hit the table, startling Michael a little. "Price has gone up a bit, but for you it's on the house, hun." she said, her voice tight and raspy. "Heard about your wife, least I can do." Without waiting for a response, she tossed a fork down and walked back to the register. Michael took a bite of the pie and stared out the window thoughtfully. Before he had time to take another bite, a woman sat down across from him, looking disinterested. Her hair was cropped short in a style mostly favored by the lesbians in gay pride parades. Her eyes were clear and bright as they darted over him, checking points off a list. She wore a dark blue jacket that was worn and roughed up by time. "Hello, Jack." she said, leaning forward slightly. "Hello, Rose." he replied. His fingers darted across the keyboard in practiced patterns, spiderlike and light. The TOR network was a completely anonymous network that used a complicated method of transmitting data that was completely untraceable. This darknet was designed to aid in the distribution of network that needed to remain anonymous - strong encoding and encryption were implemented, and many users applied even strong encryption algorithms over the measures already in place. Michael went by the name Jack, one in a series of throwaway names used to harvest information, little by little, about The Society. By the time he had reached Jack, he had amassed a fairly large amount of conflicting and potentially useless information, but he was determined to keep going. A little message flashed at him. He paused, the rhythmic tapping of fingers on keys halting. He clicked the message, bringing up a cryptographically sealed conversation. <Rose> Hello, Jack. He paused. This was unexpected. Jack had not seen much use in the chatrooms of the TOR network, and as far as he knew hadn't attracted any attention. He considered not answering the message, rolling the idea around in his head. <Rose> I have information you might be interested in, Jack. Information about The Society. A cold sweat began to form on Michael's brow. He hadn't mentioned the Society directly yet. His inquiries had been covert and kept to a minimum per username. Regardless, he began to respond. <Jack> I don't know what you're talking about. <Rose> This conversation is secure. <Jack> Nothing is secure. <Rose> You would be surprised. <Rose> I have information for you. I wish to meet in person. <Jack> Why should I trust you? <Rose> Because I'm the only one that can give you what you seek. <Rose> I have detailed information on The Society, that I have compiled over the last five years. <Rose> My husband...left to the society five years ago. If the same has happened to you, you might be able to use this. <Jack> Where do you want to meet? <Rose> I'm sending a file with the location. The keyword is 'communism'. Open the file on a secured PC. *User Rose has send you file 'C:\TOR\Downloads\p1asd45250.000'* <Rose> Don't be late. *User Rose has signed offline.*[/i] "So, you mentioned information?" he said, looking at her with a hint of suspicion. She glanced around casually then handed him a keychain. It was acrylic with a picture of the chicago skyline. He looked up at her quizzically as he pocketed it. "This is the key." she responded, then smiled slightly. She sighed, rubbing the bridge of her nose. She could have been an attractive woman fifteen years ago or so, but time had taken it's toll on her harshly. She looked like she bore a far heavier weight than Michael could see. "All of my work, I entrust to you. I believe that I have found the answer, but I can't..." she trailed off. "I can't afford to be wrong." "I don't think any of us can, now." he said, noncommittally. She almost grinned, but then turned away. "I must be going. I have a lot of work to get done." He shrugged and took another bite of pie. "Be careful." She stopped for a second, adjusting her coat. "Yeah, you too."
  10. Her hand trembled, her finger tight on the trigger. The muzzle of the gun was pressed so hard to the side of her head that it seemed to indent her head. The flowers fell from his hands, dropping to the ground in a flurry of petals and wrapping. "What are you doing?" He asked, his eyes searching for the punchline. Mary gulped and tightened her grip on the gun, a metallic death device that Michael had never seen before. "This...this is my-" she cut herself off, stuttering. "This is the end, Michael." "What are you doing?" he repeated, not seeming to comprehend the scene. She was dolled up like she was going out on the town, but her makeup was streaking down her face from the tears. Her red dress shone slightly in the candlelight as she quivered. "This is insane. Where did you-" "There's not enough time to explain." she said. "I- I have to go. The Society...it's my time, Michael." she attempted to smile, but it didn't reach her eyes, leaving it more of a grimace. "I had hoped to explain this to you before now - but I'm already late." The candlelight reflected off her eyes wetly, as a new wave of tears made their way down her face. "There's plenty of time-" "No! I...I'm out of time. The Society calls..." she trailed off, her gaze distant. "I always knew that they would...but I had hoped..." Her eyes focused, and her grip firmed up. Michael tensed up, preparing to run, but he already knew the result before he moved. "Goodbye, love." she said, and then pulled the trigger.
  11. I wanted to watch the sunrise with you But never had the chance to ask Red roses and a single light Providing us with pre-dawn sights The wind around us full of life And you, so vibrant and mysterious But I never asked So you never said yes I wanted to walk with you But never took the time to ask Down paths and hills I knew Secret ways in the forest of my youth A whispering brook would sing Of secret things and hidden springs But I never mentioned it So you never took me up I wanted to spend my life with you But never found the words to say it Thinking of the universal truths Of love and life and secret ways Every sunrise spent with you Until the days were burnt into our minds But I never had the heart to ask So you never said I do.
  12. Falcon2001


    I felt that the middle two stanzas were much more of a languid flow, which seemed to fit the mood of the poem very well; though I'm not sold on the harshness of the single-line endings to each one. It breaks up the healthy and lazy flow. The first and fourth felt much less liquid to me However, I am hardly a poet; It stands well enough on it's own.
  13. As it was before, so shall it be again. Regina Spektor - Begin to Hope Tentatively I'll hand this album a place as one of the best albums of 2006. I cannot even express how excellent this woman is or how amazing her voice is without letting you listen to it, which I can't. However, I would like to take a moment to look at a few tracks from this CD. For those of you who aren't familiar with her work, she floats between many different styles, with a heavy focus on vocals and piano work. Track 1 - Fidelity This is the single, and is flat out amazing. It's both soothing and hypnotizing - It's hard to listen to it without paying attention. Her vocals float gently along the top of the very light piano background to start with, but by the end of it the vocals have soared to a crescendo, but without the sudden 'switch' that you often hear in songs. Very natural, very beautiful. Also check out the music video located here. Track 3 - Samson This song was released on her earlier cd, 'Songs', and this is a remake of it. I personally prefer the newer version, as it's less up and down than the older one, but both are worth listening to. An excellent song and example of her piano and vocals without accompaniment. Track 5 - On the Radio Very addicting, good use of vocals and non-invasive backing melody. A fairly upbeat tune as well, I use it to wake up in the mornings. I gotta say it was very strange showing up again to see one of my threads at the top
  14. "Attention shoppers, we have a special today on meats! Ask your friendly butcher for more details, but hurry over! This deals ends soon." The voice spoke out over the intercom, voiceless and hollowly happy. Damien checked over his list, reading it off in a low voice. As he walked through the halls, he saw a woman in a tight red blouse looking aimlessly at the wall of soda. Her breasts pushed against the fabric, and she wore a white miniskirt that spoke louder than words. Damien sidled nearby, his gaze flickering across the juices until he found a satisfactory one. Grabbing it, he put it into the basket and then reached into his pocket. The woman's gaze seemed stoically fixed on the soda as he pulled forth a quarter. With a practiced flick, he sent it spinning at the ground, where it flipped and then rolled past her. The woman in the red shirt looked down, saw the quarter, and bent over, exposing lacy black panties. Damien leered for a second, then walked off, a look of mild disgust on his face. Picking the shortest line, he dropped his basket on the conveyor and picked a point at random to stare at while waiting. Picking up a candy bar in a shiny foil wrapped, he tossed it into the basket, waiting. "Hi, how are you doing today?" the clerk beamed, flashing a smile at Damien that showed perfectly straight white teeth. "Alright." Damien replied, continuing to look down. He fished his walled out of his pocket with a smooth motion, flipping it open and retrieving his debit card. "Debit alright?" he asked. "Sure thing!" the clerk said, his smile insistent and mask-like. "Just swipe your card through the machine there and punch in your PIN when it asks!" The man's voice had an irritatingly saccharine tone to it. Damien finished his transaction. "Hey, didn't we used to go to school together?" the guy asked. Damien's arm tensed, gripping the card reader. "Yeah. Weird to see you here." he said, meeting the guy's gaze. "How you doing?" "Oh alright, can't complain. This place isn't bad and I'm earning alright money. Can't beat the huge selection of stuff I get on discount either, this place has everything. How about you?" "Software development over in midtown, it's an alright gig." Damien shrugged, replacing the wallet in his back pocket. "We should totally hang out some time, man. I mean, we didn't really do much in high school, but yeah." the guy said, kind of trailing off a bit. The wall of saccharine cracked for a second, and beneath, a twisted mix of apathy and hopelessness lurked. Damien smiled. "Yeah, I'll call you up sometime. Sounds good." He grinned widely and scooped up his purchases, walking away. The cashier's grin faltered for a second. "Wait, how do you have my number?" Damien kept walking, a smirk on his face.
  15. There was a knock at the cubicle. Damien turned, staring dully at his manager. "Can I help you?" he asked dryly, assuming the dull-eyed stare he saved for meetings such as this. His manager sighed and took a sip of coffee. "You heard about the Perl project going around the office, right?" he asked, staring around the desk area. Damien kept his desk meticulously neat and orderly, a side effect of the droning desk job. Damien nodded absently, still staring. "I'm going to be assigning you to the project. You haven't had much in the way of workload lately, so this'll help bring the project back up to standards. We'll send you an email soon with the details of it and the password for the CVS repository." Damien's stare answered the sentences better than he could have. "Alright, we'll be seeing you." his manager turned and walked away, shaking his head a little. Damien shrugged and turned back to his computer, where an intricate dance of ASCII characters mapped out a game. He played for a few minutes then grumbled to himself and killed the program manually, the window blinking out of existence without a trace. "Hey bud, how's it going?" one of his coworkers popped his head in, flashing a grin. Damien turned around, and stared at him. "Same as always. What's up?" "How'd the date with that chick go, eh?" the guy asked, grinning. Damien shrugged. "Eh, so-so. I wasn't that impressed." He fiddled with a pen, spinning it in his hand. "Art chicks are all the same." The coworker shrugged. "You coming to the party tonight?" Damien raised an eyebrow. "On a fucking wednesday?" he leaned forward a bit. A shrug, again. "That one chick from accounting's leaving to go out of town, so we're holding a party." "I might make it. Save me a seat." Damien coughed and turned back to his monitor. "Sorry, I got a lot of shit to get done. Just got put on the Perl project."
  16. Damien awoke, blinking a few times. "My bed is blue." he said cryptically, staring at the sheets. "This isn't." Suddenly he looked over, seeming to realize the other inhabitant of the bed. A distasteful look crossed his face, followed by a grimace. "It'd be nice if you shut the fuck up sometimes, asshole." he mumbled to nobody in particular, staring at the girl. Her breath was measured and deep - she slept still. He looked like he had a headache, and his gaze flicked around the room quickly, taking in the scenery. The room looked like a painting accident gone wrong. Easels stood around the place, holding paintings in various states of dismissal. Clothing littered the floor, including his, and the little furniture in the room was covered in various knick-knacks. Making efforts to be quiet, he snuck from the bed and began dressing, hoping not to wake her. According to the eerie green glow of the alarm clock that luminated the place, it was almost 6 am. A grey light filtered through the curtains, adding to the gloom. He stood over her for a second, but then turned and let himself out into a narrow hallway. Creeping down the hallway he passed a few doors and made his way into a living room. Tiptoeing to the door he reached for the handle only to hear a cough behind him. He spun, finding a short woman in a suit-coat sitting in a chair smoking. "Who the fuck are you?" he asked, momentarily disoriented. "Excellent question, but this is my apartment." she replied, calmly. "You're the guy she brought home last night, I assume?" Damien nodded and she took another deep drag from the cigarette, her lipstick leaving a red ring around it. "She certainly has been slumming it lately." the girl said to nobody in particular, staring at the window. "She's not doing all that well. But since I'm catching you sneaking out at the crack of dawn, I assume you're not exactly the caring type." Her eyes burned holes into him and he looked away, staring at the wall. "You left your jacket on the couch." she said, rising from her seat and pointing at a half-hearted looking piece of furniture. Without saying anything else, she walked past him and out the door, leaving him alone. He grabbed the jacket, put it on, and left. She was nowhere to be seen.
  17. "So you seriously hear a voice?" she asked, learning forward a little, swaying on the barstool. "Yeah." he said, sipping his drink. His distaste for her continued to grow as he wiled away the evening drinking, but he hadn't been with a woman in a long time, and that does strange things to a man. An angry look passed across his face, and then it was gone, mumbling replacing fury. "Stupid voice can go fuck off." he slurred and looked over at the girl. She looked better every drink, he decided, and downed the shot. Something deep within him stirred in disgust, but he forced it back into the haze and kept talking. "So...you like... you're an artist?" he said, ignoring her previous query. She laughed. "Yeah, sorta. I mean, it's not really like...you know...an 'art' job. I paint signs for stores and shit like that. Piecemeal work, my own stuff's much better." He laughed dryly. "I never was any good at art. Just shit like math, and I got sick of that pretty quick." he stopped abruptly, looking around for the bartender. A large man in a black leather jacket was standing right next to him, arms folded. "Sorry, son, but you're gettin' eighty-sixed. You and the lady." Damien growled at the guy, but made no move. The girl kind of slid off the stool and started for the door, Damien followed her quietly. As they walked out the door, the girl swatted at a rack of newspapers, knocking them to the floor. The bouncer yelled something at them, but the two had already made it out to the street, the cold air hitting them like a wall. Suddenly Damien felt sick. His head hurt, his eyes burned, and he felt like someone had taken a piss in his chest. He stumbled and fell, landing uncomfortably on his elbow. The girl turned and stared at him, the drink hazing her senses to the point of dullardness. "Hey...Damien, man. Get up." she said, still staring with her mouth kind of half-open. Damien swore and rolled over, managing to somehow spin the world twice in the process. "Give me a second." Acid tore through his throat and he vomited into the gutter. He thought he could recognize bits of penne noodles from the earlier meal, but he wasn't exactly searching. "I feel better now." he said, using a nearby lightpost to drag himself up. "Man you look like shit." she said, throwing his arm over her shoulders and ignoring his feeble protests. Together, they staggered down the street, the cobblestones proving to be a fairly inexorable foe. "What the fuck does inexorable mean?" Damien yelled suddenly, causing the girl to stare at him again. He fell silent, plodding along. "It's...like a wall, I think. I'm not sure." "Thanks." "Listen, man. You shouldn't drive. Crash at my place tonight." she offered, a half-smile appearing on her ruddy face. "Wouldn't want you to wreck your nice new car." Damien paused, a sobering thought crossing his face. He nodded.
  18. "That's pretty fucked up." she said, blowing cigarette smoke out - her eyes kept their subtle glaze. He nodded, leaning back in his chair, relaxing a bit. "I know. It sounds weird to say, but that's just how it has been for the last five years." the food sat between them, forgotten behind the subject at hand. "And you haven't gone to see a doctor or anything...a shrink?" she said, leaning back as well. He shrugged. "Not enough time and they'd probably pump me full of drugs. It's not more than an annoyance, really - I mean, you get used to it. People will get used to just about anything." He took a half-hearted bite of his pasta, continuing to talk around it. "Did you know that there was a guy who lived for years with a hatchet embedded into his skull?" "You're shitting me." "Dead serious. The guy had it strike him while he was working in his shop. Fell off a shelf or something - he didn't trust doctors, so he just left it in." The girl stared at him in a vague sort of disbelief. "So what, did he die?" "Nope, just kept going. Had three 'episodes' over the next four years," he paused, adding air-quotes around episodes. "and then finally his wife convinced him to see a doctor about it. The doc was amazed, made front-page news in medical journals. Turns out it severed an unused portion of his brain and it just re-routed everything around it. Guy was in perfect order aside from the steel axe." "So what happened, he just walked around with it all sticking out?" "Nah, he had already removed the handle a long time ago and the doctors were able to remove the rest of it without incident. Lucky bastard's still alive as far as I know." "You're a strange fucker, Damien." she said, shaking her head. He laughed. "Yeah, I get that a lot." They ate in silence for a little bit, the little restaurant filled with people mumbling over their food, the murmur of humanity recharging after a long day. She spoke first, still poking at her fish. "So how much detail does this voice go into?" "Not a whole lot, the guy's awfully overdone sometimes, I just heard some line about the murmur of humanity. Weird shit like that. Makes it hard to zone out, because he generally starts on some crazy observation about my surroundings." "So it's a he?" she asked. "Yeah, definitely. Some sort of older english gentlemen. Like the kind of guy you'd imagine reading the stories from Reader's Digest out loud in some book club." "Wow. Freaky shit." "What, book clubs?" She scoffed, coughing. "No! Just this whole...thing." she gestured grandly with her arms. He shrugged again. "You take this in stride pretty well, Damien." she said, pointing at him. "You should be pretty freaked out." "I could say the same about you, Amy. Ain't every day a guy comes out and says he hears voices." "Nah, I've heard that one before. You're not the violent type, I'm not really worried about it." "What makes you so sure I'm not going to cut you up in an alley and leave you for the police to find?" She shrugged, laughing. "You wouldn't have split the tab."
  19. ooc: wow, this whole 'university senior project' thing certainly is a good way to spend a week. Kael looked in horror at the Orc. So TERRIBLY ugly! he thought, his mind reeling. Making the arcane sign of protection at the beast, he quickly thought of a way to protect himself. "Spirits of the air, I call on the bond that ties us together. Rebuke what lies within!" he cried, forming a barrier around the orc. Superb Abjuration (+3), making a barrier of sorts around it.
  20. Kael brushes a loose hair back into place and smiles broadly. Hopefully I can woo my way to the front of the line. It would be SO unfair for me to wait in line like the rest of these so very unpretty people.
  21. All hail the revival of the Tan Path! I really liked this color scheme and was sad to see it leave, but now it's back and I am happy again!
  22. Kael the Beautiful Mage Strength: Mediocre (-1) Dexterity: Fair Constitution: Mediocre(-1) Intelligence: Superb (+3) Wisdom: Mediocre (-1) Charisma: Superb (+3) Skills: (9 Used) Fashion (Superb, +5) Rapiers (Great, +4) Diplomacy (Superb, +5) Comedy (Fair, +2) Knowledge (Arcane) (Superb, +5) Magic: (25 used) Conjuration (Superb, +5) Transmutation (Superb, +5) Illusion (Superb, +5) Abjuration (Superb, +5) Enchantment (Superb, +5) Kael was born to a pair of fairly homely, but successful parents in a large city (The city wasn't nearly pretty enough to warrant remembering.) They recognized his talent for magecraft at a young age and sent him off to Wizard School, where he quickly realized he was FAR prettier than anyone else there. Even though he had to suffer through living in such a homely environment, he did very well in school as long as he could relate his magic to fashion and beauty. He has matured over the years, eventually realizing that not everyone cares how pretty he is. However, he still doesn't care, so it's anyone's guess how much he really grew. Kael is a human who maintains a clean-shaven look. (So as differentiate himself from the animals.) He has quite striking and pronounced features, with an elegant chin, strong cheekbones, and a perfect complexion. His blonde hair is kept short and extremely well-kept in the modern style (oh, but you MUST have heard what the modern style is). He is in moderately good shape and spends a fair bit of time primping himself. He wears mostly reds and other strong, elegant colors.
  23. Alright, scratch that. My company just went under - they had massive layoffs and half of us got laid off and my boss got cut to half-time, which means he's probably leaving as well. I just found out today that today's my last day, so yay for temp jobs. Back to the grind.
  24. It's a cold november day in the year of our lord two thousand and two. A figure sits on a bench by a tree that looms overhead with no leaves left on it's branches, waiting for a car that he already knows is two hours away. He is unhappy - his girlfriend refuses to talk to him, he can't stand his family and he already knows that his chances of making it out of high school with a diploma are slim to none. His friends are fed up with his constant whining and self-destructive behavior. Cut to a bathroom, the same figure standing in front of the mirror, a knife held to his wrists. He hesitates, then slashes, the knife cutting the skin. Whether by design or by fate, the artery refuses to burst and he collapses into a pile of misery and disappointment. It is now the present. Our previously desperate young man has filled out a bit, and he looks confident and happy as he hurries across Seattle towards his bus. He just got out of his new job, which pays a good deal more than his previous one and will let him start saving up for a new apartment. He makes a difference at his new job and everyone appreciates him, and now he's heading off to his sixth semester of university for classes he really enjoys. Looking down at his cell phone he sees that his girlfriend has left him a message cheering him on. He grins and realizes how much better life can really be. Sometimes, it just takes time to reach what God really has in store for us. For me, it took a lot of hard work and a lot of time, but now I'm happy for the first time in quite a while. I enjoy going to work and school, and my girlfriend and I are happy together. Just wanted to share a happy story with the Pen, who have meant so much to me, even if I never write here anymore. Thanks -Falcon
  25. summer breeze jasmine scented air blows through green fields forgotten lost to the past now
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