The vacant silence,
A once full room now empty,
Scream into the dark.
A light that guides them…
The bright stars silent and gone–
Prevail through the dark.
Gaze towards the dark room,
Shatter the presence of doubt,
She breathes, and she lives.
A wisp of sea salts,
Her breath on the languid green,
A lense in the dew.
I love like a prayer, whispered as though being heard exclusively, desperately by the ears of someone who understands.
Feeling within an ache and a tumult; like storm waves lashing coastal rocks. I roil, but soon, the tide will flow out and the wasted shore will be laid bare.
More than anything, to be back in the sunlight of her favor. To hear the tone of her voice and her laughter like dandelion kisses on my cheeks. I remember her sweetly like pollen in the breeze. I long to be back, for however long I can be, until her light goes out. If indeed it ever does.
To face the darkness of the world without her is lingering in an eclipse without end. She lives yet she is gone, hidden from casting her radiance wide upon my world. A flourish of that magic that inspired my soul to give itself to her.
The bleak shadow of the darkened moon bleeds into the astral blackness of the chasm that divides us. Cast me down, into that void… reaching for the dwindling horizon. I’m drowning. I’m vanishing.
The petal falling,
Into the dust of pain.
Sunlight through glass,
Stained and pitted–
A broken dream of day.
Too deep for memory,
Linger in the aching place,
Cavernous and hungering.
I’ve done some creative writing to sort through my feelings and thoughts about the breakup with A. I don’t summarize events, I only extrapolate and expound on my perceptions and emotions. I do feel better having done that. Creative expression is my new and most favorite coping tool for hard times.
On the flip side of things, there is (again) quite a bit of interest on the Positive Singles site. I have two conversations started and who knows where they will lead. I’m open to all possibilities and at least for now, both would be long-distance.
I’m still firmly grounded here in CA, but there’s a chance that if something works out, we could still find ways to be together that don’t require me to move out of state. I think it’s regretful that A didn’t even want to discuss this option, and seemed much more interested in finding someone who she could date nearby rather than work on what she and I had.
Nevertheless, I’m moving on to someone who is a better fit for who I am. Maybe this will happen on PS but probably not. I’m still thinking I want to meet someone through work.
But what a confidence boost to be on the market for 1 day and draw interest immediately? Boss.
I was feeling very confident in my affection for my girlfriend earlier today, until she made it clear we were not on the same page and became my ex. I worked for a bit on compiling this sequence of songs to (ironically) brush over the feelings of despair associated with losing love, only to find it again later in the playlist.
Mournful, yes, was the appropriate tone-setter but not the end of the story. I still feel hopeful for my cause; my desire to be loved and to give love fully. My life is still moving forward. Sharing that with “A” was what I wanted to do, but I never really believed it or committed myself fully. I discussed the possibility of going my separate way many times in therapy but now to have it play out in reality is a whole different experience. I do miss what we had while it was good, and wonder about how it went astray.
I tried to be honest with my feeling in this playlist and effusive/voluminous would be good ways to describe my enduring affection. Breaks don’t just end feelings… they hang on in a painful remembrance which makes the acuteness of my album’s emotional story ring all the more true now that I sit here listening to it again. It aches where she is missing, but I know that won’t last forever.
I have no bridges to cross out of independence to companionship… and maybe it will be that way for a while.
Beer Bottles & Huggy Times
Length: 74 minutes
I’m trying not to dwell on my discord and instead focusing my angst on creative projects. I’m dissatisfied with the outcomes in some areas of my life, but very pleased in others.
Professionally, I’m moving forward towards sustainability. I just saw my potential cap on hours increase by a bunch and that means a future of independence is closer than it was before. I know I ave a long way to go, and that circumstances outside of my finances currently dictate my residential status. This is not a point of frustration, it is simply a matter of fact.
I can “make believe” with all sorts of people. Whether family or acquaintances, it matters not. I provide a window of visible me to see through, and little else is revealed. I do this with just about everyone now that I think about it. I hate having to do it when I didn’t originally think I would… this realization of limited capacity is often a frustrating experience.
A and I though are doing good. We are talking extensively, every day. There is mutual interest, plus, she thinks I’m fucking hilarious (which I am). I make good with the funny several times a day. I care deeply about this girl and want to work on building something with her together, in an environment where we can both mutually thrive. She does think I’m strange, but I also have no filter with her so she gets the full treatment.
Now though… she’s out of reach until early next month. In the meantime, I need other people to torment but I find myself increasingly alone in my workplace and there is not usually anyone to pester, torment or even just talk to nicely. I had all these dreams of how things were going to go, and they have been dashed to some degree by the reality I live in. Fantasies is more the term I’m looking for.
I have been working on revising and improving my short stories for the Realm website. I published one of them but still giving the others a look-through. I find that the more often I walk away, then come back fresh, the better my outcomes are for finding redundancies, typos, punctuation issues and phrases/descriptors that need to be modified. This is how my symptoms are being addressed primarily, and I do feel glad to be back on this path.
As soon as I get home, it’s back to writing land.
I’m volatile right now, I feel. I can see it in my transactions, in my expressions. I can tell I’m in a perturbed state and taking my frustrations out as cudgels. I’m divided in my angst, but enamoured in potential. Consistency has to prevail somehow, despite all this madness. I’m feeling tippy and that’s not so good. I’m responding poorly, but thankfully, I have a place to vent my thoughts. I have this sanctum to bite on as though it were my pillow. I have real feelings somewhere under here, like pain and sadness that are unresolved and won’t be. I’m trying to accept my environment, circumstance and mistakes with openness.
So yes, volatile. Feeling like I need to get back to my creative writing, which I have been trying to use as a coping tool. I can’t do much but express myself and get these words out of me. I’m glad this process is so effective at dispensing with my negative thoughts and has for more than 6 years. I’ve drenched cyberspace with my rants, outrage and idiocy unceasingly. It has been both satisfying and revolting.
Okay, off to my world to create some killer fiction.
I’ve done some more watching and calibrating. I like a few of the “crews” the MCU assembled and the plot arc of the main Avengers storyline involving Thanos.
Now that I’ve seen every film with the exception of Spider Man: Far From Home, I can speak having seen 95% of the arc through the end of phase 3. I do like it very much, but some of the crews I found a lot less satisfying. Thor’s crew with the exception of he and Loki was laughably bad. The Strange crew was also bad. Avengers/Captain America were a shade too serious all the time which made the Guardians/Ant Man crews all the more interesting and fun. So, these ranks are a tad unchanged, but with the additions of the two films I had not yet seen. Now that the “story” is more or less complete post the end of Endgame, I’m excited to see what enemy will emerge next.
As far as some of the standalones go, Captain Marvel was pretty spunky and neat. Hulk was downright terrible, and Panther I think is going to have a sequel but they need to do something more with that storyline than they have up to this point.
Anyway, here are the ranks:
Avengers: Infinity War
Guardians of the Galaxy
Captain America: Civil War
Ant Man and the Wasp
Guardians of the Galaxy vol 2
Marvel’s The Avengers
Avengers: Age of Ultron
Thor: The Dark World
Spider Man: Homecoming
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Captain America: The First Avenger
The Incredible Hulk
It shakes the balance of days,
A strained pluck of the tightest string–
Her echoing chords ring like a dawn bell.
Flipped and perplexed…
In the upside-down world,
My hands on the aching boundary–
The sound of my cleaving breath,
To clear the air of spinning dust.
Concealed by oblivious affliction,
Striking loose the gems of fortune–
Given light from under the skeptic’s soot,
Radiant and accepting… wanting for me…
Her voice came to call.
Torpor of ambition,
The flame of dead sinews,
Fume up the haze of bile.
When does it end?
The outer void of boiling death,
Frozen and gas-ripped flesh–
Breathless words silent,
Glass shattered through the black.
Tired of wanting–
A gasp in a choking cloud,
Flesh melting away while it burns,
Rendered to nothing but ash.
Shatter the space between,
The fresh blood open,
The words broken,
Scattered like sawdust,
Falling into cracks.
Filling the gaps,
It was the stark tension of ropes,
Screaming distress with thin threads–
Unbound, twisted madly, perilously.
As the gasps shorten–
The incessant gravity,
Holds as it only knows how.
What then if not free?
Do trees tell stories of their youth for the rocks to hear?
Does the pounding sea beg forgiveness of the shore?
I long to exude the song within–
Without taking something away.
Whispering one word at a time,
Where no expanse can prevail–
And no tide can soften into meaningless grains.
It is in the hiss of leaves,
The breaking of day,
That I know.
In an attempt to grapple with my state of emotional volatility, I have again turned to the medium of music as a coping tool. The process of creating these mixed albums helps me express, but also reflect. This composition I have arranged speaks in two voices: one that yearns in an abstract/theoretical sense, and the other that reminds of the parameters by which reality is confined (often toned by fact or obstacle). I have a great well of feeling, and this album helps me quantify and understand my own emotional arc. There is no conclusion to be drawn in such an unexplored circumstance, but as long as I have the ability to express, I believe this exercise will help me cope effectively.
One of the things I noticed here was I found a lot of common ground with some of the artists I used on my Graceful Sniffer album (Since the subject matter is largely the same). Different songs yes, but same melodic motifs and emphasis.
So far though, things are pretty positive, as this album undoubtedly conveys. I’ve listened to it and I’m pleased with the sort of journey of sensation it took me on… I was singing at some points and wiggling around like a sun-baked worm in others (in a good way). It’s an accurate emotional progression and summary of the place have been recently, am at now and will hopefully be going. Weee! Enjoy if you do compile it yourself:
Splashed by drops of infrequent rain,
A tune once known now sung again–
The shards that glimmer in her eyes,
Like a choir of voices suddenly alive.
Something there that had been lost,
Dust and scars made known the cost.
Afraid to cross these churning seas–
Who crest and roil continually,
Staring at stars and holding back tears,
Cast adrift for all these years.
To find a place of common ground–
A kindred soul at last is found.
Each brick laid down with true intent,
By curving arch by span is bent–
Making the clasp in equal part,
Foundations sound right from the start.
A path that’s wide but still unclear,
Surrounded by encroaching fear.
The lantern casts the light I need,
For in her eyes I’m finally freed.
Admittedly, Night Guy was a response to a changing circumstance and search for companionship outside of the traditional paradigm. While he was a fun and exciting fellow, he was not sustainable. I have sen now that some contortion is good, but too much compromises integrity.
This album centers its themes on the insanity, bizarre and inexplicably unique way I manifest my persona in this otherwise tranquil world. The motifs include hasty sex, strange comparisons, odd quirks, depression, fanaticism and balance (eventually).
I feel like this very-closely parallels my current mood and temperament. Have at with the exposition!
Mood Album: Spunk-Rocket Poof Station
Length: 75 minutes
Hey Blog, Night Guy here.
This other guy is a kook pretty much now that I’m going over all these notes and things left behind. Anyway, this music medium is how the previous administration tried to convey or interpret a state of being or emotional narrative for processing and comprehension. I’m not as much in to all the fluffy shit that goes along with this activity, but I guess I can scrutinize what has already been made available for me to cast judgement upon. See this album as a prognosis for the former occupant, and an indicator of the turbulent future he carved out for himself. This album is, basically, how it is; sad, stark and laid out there for all to see. Please don’t send me mail about the deeds of the prior administration, it will all get forwarded to the daytime guy.. or whoever he was. He may have fled the country.
So after listing to it a couple of times, it just wasn’t Night Guyish enough. I spruced this bad boy up with some silly putty and electric shocks. Enjoy!
Length: 77 Minutes
I have opened a cabochon shop on Etsy where my mom’s and my cabs are up for display and sale. The profit is not the motivation. I want a forum to provide my mom with a place to display and have others admire her work. Thanks for clicking, if you do!
In light of recent turbulence in my world, I’ve tried keeping a better feel on the introspective pulse of regular function. I’m also aware that I’m subjecting myself to an unusually high level of stress and stimuli in an effort to combat creeping depression. I see all the elements like a confluence of rivers forming a mighty torrent… somehow sweeping my brain away downstream or buried in silt. Nevertheless, I still pry open the inner vault of the self and try to understand things happening to and from it. I feel I’m better at some things I used to be terrible at, but still lacking in quite a few areas. What are my true motivations for my actions? Why do I open myself to every nice person that walks by? Why am I such an insatiable prick? What does being understood feel like?
I sit here in my snowman jammies and wonder if expression really helps, or if it just provides a forum for things to garner attention for a time? I think the more ways I can ventilate this shit-smelling barn the better. Activities like the Mood Albums I do are helpful because they give me the chance to craft a narrative in a medium not often used. I don’t think myself anything other than expressive, curious and expositional about my own feelings and path forward. So as of the last album when I was feeling a fair bit gooier than I am now, I needed to revisit my good friend pain, loneliness and rekindle an ongoing desire to see things change.
Tracks from the previous Mood Album: Spatulas & Bandaids are highlighted in yellow. I have pulled from other wishy-washy type albums as well that have been generated in the past. I didn’t go “all in” on the squish, mind you, but it’s there. As you can see, there has been some pretty severe turnover in the track-list. I have listed the previous two iterations below so the whole three-album progression can be seen clear.
Well here I am finding all sorts of exciting ways to process what is going on with me emotionally. I find that the act of putting that to music to be highly therapeutic and cathartic. I don’t really know what story I’m trying to tell here, but it is spun towards a reality that now seems bleak, distant and, ultimately, unreachable. A cookie jar on a shelf that is many years of growth away from being able to reach. Maybe there will never be a time when I do get there, or maybe it will happen in no time at all. There is no predicting the future, there is only dealing with the reality that is presently occupying the “now.” At this present moment, I don’t have much hope at all, which I think is reflected in the composition.
These albums are pretty much appreciated by no one who they should affect, and only end up substituting several paragraphs of introspective analysis. It’s a primitive, visceral discourse in melody, lyric and rhythm that I seem to be the only one who finds that medium relevant, expressive and empowering. As per my usual criteria, these are meant to be 1 hour 20 minute max playlists (fits on a single CD). I do have some sort of structure going on here, but it is quite chaotic, and darting from one abstract representation of pain to an ache of sorrow and glazed over with a sickly sweet sugar coating that doesn’t do enough to hide the foulness underneath.
Hands that touch,
But don’t yet clasp,
I hope for much,
But will it last?
A worthy foe,
With little moves,
I strive to know.
In such a rush,
To find the end,
With growing trust,
New words must mend.
Struggle to say,
Fear to break,
The game we play,
Has much at stake.
I’ll find my way,
“With you I’ll stay.”
Abolished is the old way,
Construed with figgery,
Ensnarled in pain and disjointing–
A neglected campfire–
Subsumed in choking ash.
Daylight a figment.
Implosion being the course.
Alone in the black,
It’s not the wanting–
Like fragments tumble in sparks,
Fill the blackened chamber.
Restrain old whispers–
Between the shutter-slats,
Begging at freedom,
I don’t need to process negative symptoms and thoughts when I don’t have any. I just need to keep living my life the way I have been, and allow it to bloom. I’m going to be gone for a while, I’m walking down a new path. Horizon’s shifting glow calls to a future that brings the dawn to the end of night.
A hammering smack the window glass,
The bitter, howling, grey morass,
Transparently the pounding rain–
Flailing madly in disdain.
The view from through the sealed gate,
A contrast by which to acclimate,
Ensnared in comfort’s clinging grip–
With a steaming cup of tea to sip.
Staring out at fury and storm,
Curiously watching while safe and warm,
The moment when I want her here,
A pathway forward not yet clear,
To hold in dreams until a promised time,
When her touch and grace will yet be mine.
On dandelion winds,
Brushed over with delicate leaves.
Boisterous as laughter,
Pounded hollow log thumps–
Push the churned blood,
Enshrined by citrus light.
Upon the cusp of promise,
Shattering rays to reveal–
What lies within.
Twins of twilight–
Pixie-blink a flicker,
The grounded stars dance,
Their fires alive.
Back across the stretching sky,
Racing alone to a distant–
Dust falls to ash,
Dimming until dark again.
In the curtain shadow,
Lingering like a ghost.
Echoes of laughter,
Open window hiss,
This tired refrain,
Polluted in nostalgia,
Screams are breath–
Erased by the wind.
Twisting, stretch-snapping the expanse,
Shredded down to an impossible wire.
But feeling it there–
Some thread still binding,
In unrequited twitterpation,
Escaping the fury of torment,
Yet yanking at the throat–
Scraping the hole left by death.
It’s only in dreaming–
That some bridge still exists,
A span still endures,
Where she can still be found.
Down is there under the mask.
In the flesh itself.
Broiling with fever just underneath.
It is a pressure.
A slowly increasing a downward force.
Feeling bones crunching and snapping.
It is a beat of the heart.
Agonizingly drawn out and scrutinized.
Grasping for purchase where there is none.
Pulsing, gulping and sputtering on.
It is the mirror of memory.
All the second guessing and reassessing.
Spinning alternate fates.
Musing on impossible realities.
Wishing to live in a dream instead of life.
Saddened by the depths of dejection.
Wilderness-bound, cold and wandering.
Screaming only where no one can hear.
I find myself engrossed in the mud of memory, slipping Back with each grueling step forward. There is sadness dragging me down, forcing me into the decompositional murk.
It is J. The memory of her. The impact she had in my life. After 4 years, the sting of her absence is just as real as the day she flew away. I know not how no let go of that pain. I feel her like a piece missing in my soul; at the very core of who I am. She reached me like no other, and I must accept she is gone forever.
I have not been able to do this because I still love who she was. I still love what we had when it was beautiful. She understood me like none before, and now she will never come back. The pain I feel here is something years have not reduced. Her departure is as fresh and bloody as any recent wound. Now, during this warm and family time of year, I miss her the most.
In times like this, when I remember, I tend to reflect in order to preserve my sanity. Having no word from her but another hateful disconnect in our frail communications is all I have left to remember her by. Her animosity. Accusing me of rape. She must truly despise me, which is a pain I must accept. I hurt her beyond repair, and now… now I am scum. A criminal. A pile of dirt. I wish. I wish she could see how I still love her. I wish she knew.
Blog, I come here to express, not to resolve. Unless clearly stated, my feelings are cast out into the ether with no expectation of understanding or compassion. I have only my own life to answer to.
I got a job today, and now I will have an income. I am a part of a team growing into future successes and possibilities. A whole new life built on pride and honesty is available for me. It is a future brighter than I have had in a very long time. I wish I could share it with her. I wish she was here with me, in these joyous times. I love her. I will not be able to stop, even if she wishes I was dead. All the wishes in the world will fall into the endless silence. There will be no reply. The dead do not respond. My broken place remains as it was, ever hoping, never knowing.
Pierce the tangible vail,
An echo timeless–
Her figments arrayed,
Through the fractured parallels.
Meet me there–
Where only our shades dance,
Dreamers in life,
Estranged from reality,
The final bastion of us.
Blunted by time’s decay,
Fractured rivulets across the plain,
Sometimes brushed or bruised–
Maimed and tarnished by use,
Alight a feather’s grace,
Delicate fingers unfurl,
Blessed the slightest droplet of dew,
Unchanneled and free–
A transient of history engrained.
Sunk-shaft in throat-deep brown,
Residual, pungent excrement of time,
Aspirate viscous words,
Review abhorrent scenes–
Snarled in knotted forever nevers,
Plopped firmly in the mud of then.
The stink of hate–
Long permeated through cracked windows–
The dank, mildew-wet scent–
Ronk dorb gleb,
Nafreen ghnagnost wooneb.
One of the conflicts I run into when attempting to communicate abstractly with others is perspective: each person I interact with has a different view of the “arc” of our trajectory as a society, and thus, a way of seeing things vastly contrary to my own. That disparity is a foreboding obstacle to honest discourse, and a defining gap in connection that is nearly always to vast to bridge. I have often found this cravase most abyssal with people I had intimate exposure to, since my traits and theirs were more entwined than in any other interaction (making comparison easy).
As I have become older, things have slowed down… the gravitational force which once had me anchored to exacting control of my reality has dramatically lessened. The resulting vacuum of “directing” force has accelerated my drift from the substantive microcosmic world of an incrementalized life.
Now, I’m left with the real quandary of making observations or comparisons that do not jive with others, or even occur as relevant. My thought processes are conclusively simple and based in a world of concrete moral contrasts and factually well-represented theories. That point also does not seem to be well understood by others.
Part of my liberation has come from not only the environmental reduction of gravity, but my own unclenching my vain attempt to control the uncontrollable, external world of others. Instead of expectation, I have thoughtful recalculation. I have no understanding of what is going to occur right up until it happens. Turns out, there is no advantage in prematurely and anxiously forecasting potential results to STILL be caught flat-footed in the eventuality of an outcome. That anxiety-train is just an indulgence of paranoia, and after enough times seeing that path lead to personal pain or failure, I have changed tracks.
Now, with that sense of existential detachment, one might expect disconnection from the cares of the societal world, if one’s moral compass points inwardly towards the self-satisfaction of narcissism. I care more, now, because even a little pile of moss is a miracle of reality in its own, clearly less impactful way. People are the ultimate gift, because there are no duplicates of the yet uncharted world of personalities, intellects, perspectives and experiences. We only get one chance to be here, to see, to breathe and be alive. Even in the most catastrophic suffering, there is still the curiously uncertain world of the unfurling, wind-snapped standard of time.
–etched cheeks, pitted in remembrance,
Parched terrains weathered,
Outward, dusted spectacles glint–
With prismed light of the dawn.
Foggy eyes slatted against the East,
A burning shard of brilliant red,
Crisp as the scent of ground coffee–
Sparky like electric clothes,
Hissing seconds through the torporic cold.
I was all nicely dressed, in this massive office building. It was clear that I had just given a presentation or something, and I was packing up and mingling With indistinguishable dream people. I was so distracted that I forgot my computer bag on the filing cabinet as I left.
I was walking out to the parking lot and a friend from high school (BD) ran out after me just to tell me I had forgot my bag, but when I looked back across the parking lot I was stunned…
In the night sky behind the hill and row of offices and houses, a red and orange glow was growing brighter. Then, towering, carnivorous flames emerged on the hill and rapidly began to descend. An unrealistically massive wall of consuming fire bore down in hunger.
I remember the wind. It was violent, tornado-like even. Houses were being ripped apart, glass was flying everywhere, debris was strewn on the ground. The fire devoured the city before me, and I ran in thinking I would go back for my computer. I did not make it out.
Poised on an odd carpet saddle-like bucket seat on the edge of a thousand foot drop over cities, towns and homes, I was somehow needing to move a collection of small objects to relative safety away from the perilous edge.
My hands were sipping with sweat, and I felt things could slip through my grasp and fall into the world below. The howling wind tore at me, begging me to fall to my death, pushing me with each insistent gust. There were people down there, lives, unaware of my situation.
My fingers and toes burned with nervous panic each and every second that my legs dangled freely over the immense expanse, and having so many things I needed to move back from the edge was an overwhelming concern. My hands were slipping and jittery. The computer tower was so big and heavy… how was I going to move this away when it was so close to falling? The wind kept pushing me closer, closer.
As requested by High Command, we have fired a scientific research probe off to study the anomaly.
The probe will take a long time to fully study the area, and we do not expect to hear back from it for many days or longer.
However, Commander, we are fulfilling the NEW Prime Directive to always venture out into the furthest reaches of explored space, and find what unknown mysteries lie in the darkness beyond our current perception.
Previous probes that have been sent to existing systems for additional study/analysis have been decommissioned at your request, and all forward facing starships are to send their probes to the outer limits.
This update has been brought to you by: Uncontaminated Dirt. “You never knew how much you needed it, until you didn’t have it,” they say. Get some Uncontaminated Dirt at your local starbase or stable M class planet today!
Seeing her shifting through the periphery of my attention, she radiated warm waves of indulgent excitement as we drove. I snared infrequent glimpses of the smooth cheeked beauty, flashing and vanishing erratically in the sulfuric light of the passing street lamps. Ringing and abounding with jubilant laughter, she sighed, and held out a slow burning ember from within; about to be set ablaze by a gust of cool, fresh air. The curl of her grin was laden with intent, desire and a sense of belonging despite the circumstance of being apart and constrained. Though, that was no barrier for her.
Her intent, a crackling wave of incendiary heat, sending tinder sparking and popping to tiny burning pieces… vanishing into the night sky. Smooth, wet, and eager, there were no bounds to her, no ties that could shackle her in place; no star that could outshine her glimmering brightness.
Where the world was, or what it was doing no longer mattered; what remained in the bristling atmosphere between us was a transcendent state of acceptance and acknowledgement. We saw each other briefly, and in that mutual space where our desires met, there was profound togetherness.
But even as this tempering realization was present, the electric spark of her youth, curiosity, fearlessness and desire became the direction of her hasty actions. In boundless, oblivious ecstasy, there was no time that was not ours, no boundary we could not cross together, no one else in the world who mattered… no fire like the one that was in her eyes she she beheld me. Though, beset by my own limiting discretionary conservation, it was not out of disapproval for her that we returned to the world… and this I hope she knew.
There were times that I saw her, and many more in which I could not, or failed to. Where was the objectivity I needed then… was it always there but undeveloped? I contemplate my journey, drawing no needless conclusions and refusing to sully beautiful recollections with my frustrations, failures and ineptly accepted concessions.
…Flickering light, casting those brief shadows across her curves, her frisky hair… and the recognition of such beautiful physical harmony that we shared.
Deep in past moments such as these, where I still see her smiling, I know that life has blessed me with memories I will never forget. They resound poignantly, which I cherish, for the many feelings of her love are not unknown or forgotten, but remembered forever. It was a time when I touched happiness, held it even… if not to eventually let it slip away. The nights we had, like the memory above, remind me of how wonderful the world can be. Even if I do not live this life now, I still hold my experiences as the most valuable, formative and essential knowledge of my journey thus far. Without them, I would not know the spectrum of all there is to experience while being alive.
Creaky hollowed and bone-dry,
Brittle stuck to twisted agonies,
Piling through the seasons–
Combustibly warped in crisped gapes.
Scowling shift hisses an unloading–
Cast of up leaves and old tinder,
Snicker-snapped with a snarly pop.
Bored moments and crumpled memories,
Transformed in a rush–
To pillowy piles,
Refined, but still–
Pressing a cool curve,
Stacked against the endless yearn.
Held up enmantled,
Like arms-high & unwavering,
Clutching the keystone as one.
Unflexing in time,
Bastion against torment–
Dry place to rest,
Sunrise to sunset.
Clearly this sort of activity truly excludes me from my peer group as most people my age hate all the crap I listen to. This is a good filter though, as this portrait is a fairly good rendering of myself in music. Though, the aspects I chose to depict, and how I chose to express them, is a matter of some debate. Nonetheless, the album is here and it is full of contrasts and apt comparisons. I highly recommend giving it a listen if you are old and h really have nothing better you could be dong. I find this type of thing puts me back in touch with my traits and memories of varying emotional gravity. I highly recommend toiling in this way. The act of pairing oneself to aspects of music seems inherently like it’s at least exploration and quite possibly transformative.
Separately decorated rooms,
Their unions indelicate as colliding trains–
Strewn about empty vessels & toppled statuettes,
Angrily flashing lights abound–
Combining colored blotches,
Finding a door hidden in the wall.
Yearning and curious posturing,
Catastrophic yet creative–
Electric when touched,
Running between tall shadows,
Impaled by ruin–
Judged by amalgamation.
Sliding by rust-hooked fragments–
Skewered with twisted iron brambles,
Blood-stained and snarled gloves.
Stresses of anxiety-driven thoughts,
Smearing like palm-clammy hands,
Begging to be inside.
Unable to breathe–
The rooms combining–
I know about the thoughts and reservations that you have been having lately… which now seem to be coming to a peak moment. You have, to this point, failed to truly respond to any of those nagging doubts and have led your current relationship down a road it will not survive. This is the primary reason why I am here in this non-existent moment of comparative fiction.
In your neglect of your own mental health, you have greatly contributed to the soon-to-be demise of your relationship as well as hurt any chance you have at a normal life going forward for some time. You are headed to an explosion of epic proportions, tomorrow as a matter of fact, and you will try to take your own life. She will leave you, the same night you are hospitalized in fact; she will sleep with another man and never come back. I’m here not to change things, clearly, but to offer you a glimpse at the world that will come to be as you progress further from the smoldering ruin your life is about to become. That lesson will show you the importance of having a complete self and help you push forward in the world with your feet in the real world’s mud.
First, I want to say that I am aching in my recollection of the hurt you are going to feel, and most of it will be incredibly painful since it was self-inflicted. Right now, you have been compensating for your downfall with substances, food, cigarettes, just about anything you can get your hands on to take you away from the reality you are in. You haven’t dealt with anything; it has all been bottled and fermented into resentment. You never tried to talk to her the way you would now, and maybe even if you had, she wouldn’t understand. You refused to address the issues up-front or with any level of self-admission, and therefore, you are going to suffer a calamity as your most precious relationship breaks apart forever. The hurt that this event brings will not be resolved for more than 4 years, continuing to this very day as a matter of fact. You loved her in this intense, abstract, not functional way, and you neglected your responsibilities in your relationship which contributed to its destruction. It will take you many years to fully understand and adapt beyond this moment. She had a part to play in this mind you, but there is nothing to gain from summarizing things that are outside of the self, as they can’t be changed.
I am so sorry. You are going to feel broken for a long time after tomorrow night. You will miss her in ways you never knew were there before, and feel her absence deep inside the core of the most vulnerable self. You will understand how she was neglected. She was the person you loved the most so far in your life, and her loss with your assistance is something you will not be able to move past. In a subconscious/telepathic, you are still linked to her, as though some invisible tether connects you despite the distance, and hatred lodged between, and that twitching bait has incited more trauma, more pain…
This upcoming disaster happened because you needed to learn about the value of self-love. I had to acquire this knowledge painfully, humbly, but earnestly. I can’t undo things that happened, and I will never erase the place inside me that still belongs to her… but I can learn. I can adapt and grow.
If it is anything for you now, know that because of this event, you will learn that your mental illness is the thing you need to be most concerned about in your life. You will find a way to help yourself defend against the same issues you have had in the past, and fallen victim to. The truth of this journey is the ability to appreciate who you are without restraint. Pride and acts that demonstrate a morally honest compassion for things that are “right” in terms of common sense are going to be the evidence you use to build up proof through action.
Your love has been sought from without in the past; filling you up with a feeling of worth that is artificial, untrue and not properly earned. It is similar to presenting the one you desire most with an empty vessel and expecting her to be excited to fill it. Without the lesson of the soon-to-be failure, you might never have known how to find who you were and live that life proudly into the future. Speaking for myself, there has been no greater remedy to the onset of depression than the long road of positive steps that have led me to this moment. I know you, past me, are not there yet, but you will be headed out of the deep hole in not too long. My echoing thought for you is to tolerate this great sadness with an idea that it will not last indefinitely, but must be respected properly. Let it sink deep into you and know it. You will feel the lowest moment of your life and this is part of the understanding that you will gain.
The realization of pain will help you avoid situations like that in the future, while also garnering you the most success and self-worth you will know, at least, thus far. Hurt, regret, sadness and anguish are a part of how we learn. I remember the agony, and I know some things not to do to avoid feeling it again. I do not wish to fall into the same ancestral rut that contains the bones of all the other me versions before? I refuse.
I am there to help you, but only to provide you with a look farther down the road. There is always the next day as long as you are alive, and I know you will continue to do something with the existence you have created. That shape will change depending on who you chose to become, but if pride is the needle that guides your direction, I think things are going to be just fine. You have already done more than you ever have, and this is only the beginning of where your life will go along your new road.
Hold on friend, you will soon be feeling the sun on your face.
Smeared streak across glass–
Prune-like pulp chunk,
Blasted splat to barrier.
The other side.
Embossed in “la la” afterglow,
A faded twirly skirt no one wears,
In a vacant room–
A light was left on.
Spatula’d off the surface–
Plorped into a dustbin,
Mingling with the glops–
Deposits within firmament.
Interpreted by refluxing bile,
A forlorn victim of restraint,
Choked by the smothering–
Endless gnawing of memory rewritten,
Devoured in reimagined atrocities.
Supplementing the real,
An alternative to acceptance–
Presented like a sweet pastry,
Masking the unpalatable truth.
Changing the lie or flavor–
Pleasure wanes in rehearsal.
Sight shackled to what is,
An unforgiving reality–
Of pain, loneliness, yearning.
Many incinerated pieces–
Belching presumed repugnance,
Dashed in form until particulate–
Forgotten but not gone,
Peering out from under a round stone–
Why are we having this debate in our country right now? Has Capitalism really become so inflated and corpse-like that it can no longer sustain? I think we have a flawed design for our society, and now that it is being exploited, we see how broken it really is. This is just the leading edge of a knife that is beginning to sink into the flesh, though, not unnoticed.
We had a good idea in making the United States a true Democratic society, with a founding document that would adapt to change, and adjust as the definition of society changed. Now, though, because of how thoroughly and completely we realized the intent of that document (rules), we have found ways to contort it into something more like a monarchy, or oligarchy of sorts.
Something that should alarm you is that the minority’s ideological power controls all branches of our government, and are successfully establishing a way to prolong that control and promote the tenants of its beliefs. It is not just that, but also the fact that a solidification of power will result in a new societal standard which is far less developed and limited in potential when compared to the current trajectory.
It comes down to something pretty simple: control. However, control has no endgame. Right now, the individuals who have their hands on the reigns of power, governmental and private, are doing what they can to make sure they stay in power. Seems logical, but not democratic. Our course is not set to the benefit of only some, because we are founded on the principles that our government, citizens and all those who come here should be proud of being or becoming American. To me, the founders designed our democracy with the intent of purging the potential for abuse in a monarchical context (with the exception of the pardon power). Pride, for me at least, does not lead me in a new desire to exploit the thing I am most proud of in order to better myself and reward those that promoted me to this platform of authority.
To contort the mechanism of election to retain control seems not very American. To strategically draw electoral district boundaries to decrease the value of some people’s vote and inflating others also seems pretty unacceptable. Slashing taxes, de-funding the federal government, gutting departments of staff/effectiveness, AND handing most of the money back to the richest, most powerful individuals and entities in our capitalist society? Why is that the thing that we are doing?
The minutia of cost-based services has become staggering, and the primary benefactors are companies, businesses, corporations that control this thing that we need or want. Even if you cut away all the fluff and said you’d only ever buy what you need, it still costs something. No one rides for free in this America. Broken toe? Hungry? Tired of being rained on while you sleep? America doesn’t want to care unless you are grinding your face off for it, and doesn’t care if you live or die while in service. Right now, those who work the hardest, break their backs and spill their blood for America are some of the poorest paid, most abandoned, forgotten people in the entire country. The human beings responsible for making sure this country keeps going forward are losing faith that anyone actually gives a flying fuck about them. Look at the way we treat our veterans: they make up a large contingent of homeless nationwide, die in veteran’s hospitals and have an alarmingly high suicide rate. These people were given a job to do, and they did it, and now their life is over.
Why do so few make so much? They were far better at understanding, adapting and exploiting the game our society plays, in which the rules allow for the most predatory, arrogant and ruthless individuals to rise to the top. These individuals have a thirst for the rewards of this permutation of society: power, land, notoriety/fame, control. Just like any fucking thing that has rules, like the Constitution, or Capitalism, once you know what the parameters are, you can find a way to exploit in to some ulterior purpose. Hackers are just this generation’s example of such a mentality driven into a niche where it is quite successful, but you can then consider the current Alt Conservative movement to be hackers of the Constitution.
Most of us just want to have a good life, full of people we love and smiling faces. We don’t need to have fortunes, power, and control. and frankly, there is strong evidence that when one of us is given such things, we are more often ruined by them. What are these things ultimately if not the transitory, sinfully gained self-declared rewards, which are ultimately spoils from the labor of many millions, all over the world? Can their hear our backs breaking as they stand atop the pile? To me, the monarchical way of thinking leads to nothing good. Tyrants are inevitably overturned, and their names disgraced through time. The oppressed never stay that way forever. The arc of humanity bends towards acceptance, because the true source of power is a people united behind belief.
I do believe that there are millions and maybe billions of disadvantaged human beings who are tired of seeing the dreams they have go beyond the limitations of what their life can allow. We cannot succeed apart, and can only realize who we are when we all come together, with conviction, and stand up for our country. We used to believe that America was a place where anyone could be anything, and in a way, that can’t ever be fully true. However, the intent behind those words was hope. For the people that grow up here, or come here from far away, they all should have that spark of hope that they can be something that they dream about being all their lives, no matter where they are from. People driven by a passion, or a calling are among the most inspiring of us all, and they know what it is to love a thing; a principle that should do more of the deciding of our direction than it currently does. We really do want everyone to come here believing that, even the asylum seeker at the Mexican border or the New York City orphan. As it stands now, that dream is nearly gone for most people here already, and currently under siege by anyone who is trying to come here.
People fret over what’s happening in the news right now. This is all so transitory. This campaign of riding a wave of racism and outrage to prolonged power is stupid and short-sighted, to put it mildly. Ideas in America are changing rapidly, with each new generation that grows up, and every immigrant who comes here to live. Hate doesn’t build anything, it can only divide us up into seething quadrants where we are easily controlled and not at all useful. In order to step forward, and redefine what America is, we all must stand together, and become a majority.
Even if decades or arcane and inhumane beliefs pervade, there is no escaping the truth that we will prevail in our ability to unite. We are all people in this country together, and this is our home. One day, I believe we will find out this truth and come to understand what one humanity looks like. Our diversity is the thing that defines us, because just as we are complex of thought, we are differential in our heritage, history, traditions, beliefs and dreams. The advantages of knowing will advance us farther than we ever knew we could go, and in that future, the fire of hatred will be long snuffed out. With all the unique perspective we bring, the community of humanity will be the real thin America will be remembered for.
Sounding pang of a hammer slam–
Wailing with the escaping anguish,
The cries fade in the clattering noise.
Hollow echoes, desperate and resounding,
Hurt the stone walls with their shrieking scrapes–
Almost words, but more a feeling.
Banging on into the distance,
Hollow of remembrance,
Soaked in the flavors of now.
The drops peel off corners,
Plated hard and unfractured.
Puddling to be dissolved,
Nothing but the soft hiss–
Of the silence underground.
Dusted with purpose,
Scars and tattered clothes,
Smudged stain streaks,
Dedicated to forward,
Push off up or out,
Vital fury burns,
Sheds to incinerate.
Circling the departure,
New banner unmuted,
Wrought of scars–
Clear in color.
I see a way ahead that is not necessarily a pillow parade of yay and fluff all the way to Slappytown. There needs to be a significant flesh donation and ball sweat scrubbing bristle brush handle-rake of hard for much. That’s the way of meaning, and it’s always been buried under all the old snot and pungent goop we shoveled into the muckcinerator today.
I don’t know what to say about them from then. It seems like no one had a slice of cake available, or at least couldn’t wait until one got passed down. The cake was totally worth waiting for though, and Yelp reviews confirm as much for those who were there now. The words don’t come because all I can use to describe the cake are a series of guttural-unjugulations and grumbling noises.
Unlike your average biochemical spill, there are many benefits to my sudden and tsunami-like introduction to a new ecosystem. I contaminate with sticky and beguiling usefulness. I spread a contagious virus that inspires inclusion. My filthy, heaping mounds of saturated waste deposits fertilize new possibilities. Oh woe upon the day my foulness took root in the place over there! Good thing them then got as far away as they could before the everything caught fire and fwooshed to puffs.
Prosperous earthworm chug! The dirt of salvation is my poo! Victory plant, initiate maximum grow!
Snagged in snarling brambles,
Razor wiring flesh from bone.
Shrieking, wrenching spasm–
Grasping the air of next.
Flesh disembarked in decay,
Bear roots in the firmament.
Boom peeled with knowing,
Spiraling sunward slowly.
Embroiled in shredded selves,
Grown-toes in fetid murk,
Apparent in leaves, unfurling,
Soak the hours waning.
Howdy again Blog.
Today we are going to be discussing a theory that explains the unusual orbits of a dozen or so Kuiper Belt Objects (also called Trans-Neptunian Objects).
When I was growing up, there WERE 9 planets, the 9th being Pluto (at that point, it was a smudge). In my lifetime, however, the advancement of telescopes has allowed for many other objects in Pluto’s neighborhood to be discovered (including one larger then Pluto). Astronomers would then come to classify Pluto as a Dwarf Planet, and a part of the Kuiper Belt (a large area filled with icy bodies in distant orbits towards the outskirts of the solar system).
This all seemed well and good for a decade or more, until a whole bunch of KBOs had been identified, and their individual orbits started to be mapped and computed. Advanced software would then make lengthy computations to model the orbits of the objects in the solar system in an effort to study their development and interactivity. That practice of modeling, in and of itself, has been going on for a long time, but the greater the number of actual objects observed, the more “accurate” the simulation becomes.
Albeit, given we don’t understand every little thing about gravity, and interactivity… but we DO get quite a bit of it. We now make space probe flight patterns that exploit the gravity of nearby planets to increase acceleration at a fuel-expense minimum (gravity-assist). It can be said we understand the mechanics of that sort of gravity interactivity fairly well, which leads us to the next point of this progression.
With that in mind, the Astronomers who observed the Kuiper Belt Objects found a few of them that had atypical orbits in contrast to the vast majority of the others. Their orbits all had some common elements though, they were elongated in a similar direction, and had corresponding axial tilts which had clearly been subject to significant gravitational forces at some point. Computers are pretty fucking handy it turns out, and after punching all these orbits into the simulation they asked the computer what could have caused these objects to have the orbits they do.
Initially, I was personally of a mind that it could have been possible that a rogue star had passed through the area nearby our solar system, and the gravity disturbance caused the orbits to be the way they are… but that was also disproven quickly because of the fact that there is no star nearby enough to be a culprit for such a crime. Also, the timeline was wrong, as the orbits of the KBOs had not been perturbed all at once. The passing star theory dies there, as it could not explain several additional observed orbital features, and the axial tilt of these TNOs.
The computer chewed on the data, but gave the Scientists an answer they were not at all expecting. The computation showed a high probability of something large lurking in the deep dark of the outer solar system. This unknown object’s gravity was tugging Kuiper Belt Objects out of their natural orbits. In addition to the projection of a whole new planet, the model also explained a few more unusual KBOs that the Scientists had no previous explanation for.
When the complete data set for all known objects in the Kuiper Belt was combined with the existing model, there were 3 objects that fell into the perpendicular orbits predicted by the simulation. The computer had known these objects were there and why before the scientists did. The data pointed, convincingly, to a big planet somewhere out there. But where?
The software projected that Planet 9 would have an orbit with a perihelion of 200 Astronomical Units and an aphelion of 1,200 AU. Those distances are truly insane, considering our farthest planet, Neptune, is 30 AU away at its longest point (aphelion). Oh, 1 AU is a little over 9 million miles.
Right now, a sky survey done from a space telescope a few years ago did not reveal planet 9 anywhere nearby, which might mean that it’s nearing the distant end of its orbital path (considering it takes a projected 20,000 years to complete 1 orbit of the sun). If it is out there, it is going to be difficult to spot. Another question asked by the scientists was: how big was this thing? Alarmingly, they found the object was AT LEAST 10 times the mass of our planet Earth. So, big. There is a type of planet that scientists have observed in extraterrestrial solar systems, called Super Earths, which are extraordinarily large rocky planets of equivalent mass to the suspected Planet 9.
Theorizing about what sort of planet it might be has, in and of itself, a distinct fork in the logic for existence and formation.
The first though was: oh well it must have just formed out there, and we’ll update our models to compensate for that. However, this neglected the severe tilt to the solar plain, as well as the fact that there is not enough material in the outer reaches of the solar system to form a 10 Earth mass planet. This logic train stopped right here, and was abandoned.
Since the object has such a severely elliptical orbit, and a 30 degree tilt to the plane of the solar system, there is a possibility the world we now call Planet 9 was a rogue planet. It may have been thrown free of its original parent star eons ago, and was just fortunate enough to pass close enough to the sun to be captured in its current bizarre orbit. There are models that grapple with this possibility, but nothing conclusive.
If our current model for the size of the accretion disk and the overall substance of the gas cloud that our star formed in is wrong, then maybe there are some processes at work that we do not understand. In extrasolar planetary systems, sometimes large Gas Giants are very close to their stars, in a likely consumption of the inner planets as gravity drew it closer and close as the millennia went by. Possibly?
Now we think about our own solar neighborhood… was its past more violent than we have previously theorized? Astronomers continue to work models that show Planet 9 may have developed as a Gas Giant, and been flung out of the solar system but still captured by the fringes of the sun’s influence. While the variables remain largely unknown, the Gas Giant theory lines up with where something of that mass would have needed to have formed.
Is Planet 9 a mysterious Super Earth caught by the sun’s influence from the emptiness of interstellar space, or a once proud Gas Giant, cast out by gravitational disturbances in the solar system’s formation, exiled to the icy reaches?
With all the observed evidence and modeling, there is a sense of certainty that Planet 9 is out there, waiting to be found. Now, a “gold rush” of sorts is taking place to scan the furthest reaches of the mysterious planet’s possible orbital path, to try to render the object in photograph and finally verify its existence. Dozens of astronomers are engaged in the search, but the area they need to cover is immense, and the magnitude of Planet 9 is quite dim given how far away it is thought to be.
Now, our society is on the cusp of re-defining how we understand our solar system, and paint a picture of where we might be headed. Albeit, geologic and astronomic time are quite different from human perception, the machinery of the universe runs on math, and it is always calculating the next interaction. There is so much we have yet to fully comprehend, even in the most basic of levels. Our understanding is based on the delicate architecture of guessing, and Planet 9 brings a lot of our theories into collision with reality. Will the planet projected by a computer really be there? Time is the fact that will determine what is out there, if not a planet, than something else very large…
Image credits: Wikipedia
Good day Blog.
In this article, we are going to have a detailed discussion on a variety of thoughts pertaining to the developmental potential of life in general, and the chances of a genesis that took place somewhere other than on Earth. The subject matter revealed in the following paragraphs is explored using scientific theory, factual observations and heretical speculation on my part. If you are reading this, then the content below should be absorbed with the intent to stimulate thought, and not conclude or prove. I doubt anyone who reads this blog anymore believes a fucking thing I say anyway.
Now, to be clear, the term “genesis” is a tad loaded. One thing both scientific and religious definitions have in common is that the burden of proof does not weigh them down. As of this article, Humans have not been able to duplicate the circumstances in which life first formed. They have even gone down to the level of exploring the interactions between individual proteins and amino acids, yet the actual moment of genesis remains unobserved. So, we have a “before” scene where there is this warm organic goop all hanging out in a tidal pool somewhere on a prehistoric shore, mingling. Then, there’s a gap where something happens to make life possible but no one knows what it is, we will call this section “poof!” Then, the “after” scene is basically the start of the evolutionary process which has led to the diversity we know today. Humans have reverse engineered the shit out of every organism they can find, then they did the same thing to all the dead ones too. Two of three isn’t so bad, right?
Therefore, when we talk about life on other planets, we are making a big assumption that the spark of genesis is really there and we just don’t understand it. Because we have this sandwich of knowledge around the missing meat, we can infer what might be possible based on the trajectory of the evidence before and after. Despite the incompleteness of the theory, one can’t fault innovation and imagination simply because of a particularly perplexing missing piece.
Having provided that perspective, I’d now like to open your mind to a series of fantastical possibilities. Given what we know for certain, we are able to make very educated inferences about the future based on the facts at hand. That’s why we can have a discussion about genesis and extraterrestrial life, because we are open to understanding the vastness of why and the unexplored reaches of how. To fully immerse oneself in this topic is also to embrace a sense of burgeoning community. If life is more common than simply here on this planet, we will not be alone anymore.
Even if we don’t quite understand the exact nature of genesis, we can still open several more theory doors to the chance that the spark of first life might take hold in a variety of chemical mediums, or arise from organic molecular combinations we have not seen in our biology. Maybe even life different in fundamental coded structure from Humans and our (so far) unique DeoxyriboNucleic Acid genetic sequences. That would be quite a scientific revelation indeed, and also joyous in a very relieving way. Think of all the things we could learn from other intelligent life. How that discovery would change humanity is something I’d like to see.
Let us now go on a journey through our local solar neighborhood. There are some places, right nearby, where life might be happening or has happened pretty recently. We are investigating most all of these objects with scientific instrumentation. Whether having the right ingredients for life, or being a delivery system of the ingredients for or life itself, there are many places extraterrestrial organisms could already be taking hold.
The planet has deteriorated far beyond the point in which life was likely flourishing and the environment was habitable. Now, however, it’s a piece of overcooked iron toast. The atmosphere is nearly gone, and the surface has been under relentless assault from solar wind and cosmic background radiation for tens if not hundreds of thousands of years. There is no powerful magnetic field stopping the bombardment, and no way Mars can even feasibly hang on to the Carbon Dioxide it has now. Radiation alone renders the top several feet of the surface saturated by unhelpful charged particles. Almost every single life form on Earth would die is several ways, within a few moments of being exposed to the surface of Mars. That being said, there is a significant measure of difficulty to overcome in theorizing about how life could still be happening there. Since only a tiny fraction of particularly durable organisms and bacteria (maybe something like a Tardigrade [which can repair its own D.N.A.]) from Earth would stand any sort of chance of survival, we have no model for where or what to look for as far as identifying an environment on Mars that enables life rather than tries to kill it.
Human beings on the surface are likely to be the deciding factor in determining whether the red planet has or had life. I believe it will only be proven or not by direct observation and laboratory-level intense scrutiny… something probes and rovers cannot provide. In this Human colonization of Mars imaginary scenario, there are nearly endless chances to explore, sample and test to see if life had ever come to exist on Mars. Once we determine when it had or if it had life, we might then also compare the mechanics of Martian life to our own. If we share the same genetic code, there would be a strong possibility that life as we know it would have originally had one genesis. That is, if after radiocarbon dating the sample, a determination can be made about who was first. Since we share the same genetic code, we can infer that the “genesis” that took place on Earth might have been an invasion and eventual global takeover.
Four billion years ago, as the Earth was mostly a molten slag-ball, Mars may have been teeming with life. It had oceans, protection from solar radiation, and all the conditions plus time life would have needed to develop in some way, and achieve diversity. Maybe at some point during Mars’ prosperity, a piece of the surface could have been blasted out into space during a meteor impact. Within that Martian crust would have been some trapped microbial life, stowed away and frozen into stasis by the vacuum of space. It must have been an organism small and durable enough to survive the journey through Earth’s atmosphere, but once warm and on the surface, life for the Martian organisms began again. This burning thought-wagon postulates that there was only one genesis… the one that happened on Mars billions of years ago. That would make you, so-called Earthling, a 2nd generation Martian colonist.
Recently, NASA has announced the discovery of complex organic molecules in a few places across Gale Crater (which NASA has been exploring for 6 years), and also, that there are seasonal Methane plumes which increase in the Martian summer, and decrease in the winter. The cause is unknown at this time, but potentially an indicator of organic processes taking place in a subsurface capacity (there is a chance this outgassing might be a geologic mechanism of some kind as well). The Curiosity Rover recovered a sample rich with organic molecules, having only drilled 4 inches into the rock it was testing. 4 inches? The radioactive bombardment upon those 4 inches of exposed rock has been extreme to a degree we could not possibly comprehend behind our magnetic field. Yet, the sample they tested was still loaded with some of the most crucial building blocks of life. The European Space Agency’s ExoMars lander will be equipped with a drill that can penetrate 6 FEET below the surface, free of the influence of the irradiated zone. in 2020, there is a real chance of identifying subsurface microbial life, bringing the final question of whether life is possible on other planets into focus.
Once the first images of these worlds came in from the Voyager missions, the questions began mounting as to the nature of the Gas Giants and their moons. They have always been a source of fascination, and we made them a priority in our exploration of the outer solar system. Later missions to the two largest planets in the neighborhood revealed many hopeful signs that environments existed, beyond Earth, that might support life.
There are a few mechanical characteristics at work here that help to make theorizing about life in these remote places possible: both of these icy moons are orbiting planets vastly larger than they are (the Gas Giants Jupiter and Saturn, respectively), and they are affected by the potent gravitational attraction of their planetary parents. Both Europa and Enceladus are tugged on consistently with what are known as tidal forces. Jupiter physically pulls Europa’s surface closer to it while the moon rotates on its axis. That deformation creates tectonic friction deep inside the moon, and the small cores are able to stay warm.
The disproportionately strong gravity of their Gas Giant parents provides a continual source of internally driven convection. That heat subsequently melts large amounts of frozen water ice that comprises the outermost layers of each. Water is one of those things that has certainly been entwined in our evolution, and may be necessary for genesis to take place elsewhere.
Life can persevere even in the most extreme environments, which is why we think it could be happening in the subsurface oceans of Europa and Enceladus. A great example of how this could be possible so far from the sun and under miles of ice comes from the discovery of volcanic “black smoker” vents in the of the oceans of Earth. These remote outcroppings of volcanic heat and minerals have entire ecosystems developed in close proximity to the warmth, cut off from everything around them on the seafloor. Undersea volcanic vent habitats prove that sunlight is not necessary for life, and energy through heat can provide the spark needed to create diverse organisms. If similar conditions are going on right now in the deep oceans of these frozen moons, there could be a plethora of complex life with a starting point at a fissure releasing volcanic heat and nutrients on the seafloor. In the expansive layer of liquid water, where there is heat and organic molecules are mixing around, life has a promising chance to develop if it hasn’t already.
A potential (thus far unfunded) mission to Enceladus would be a prolonged orbital survey which would collect a sample from an erupting geyser, a phenomena recently observed and a chance to sample some of the liquid water underneath the icy exterior. Chemical analysis through observation, as well as direct sampling for organic compounds might answer a great many questions about the potential (or current) habitability of the water trapped between the crust and the core. The Enceladus Life Finder would do, well, pretty much what it says, if ever the project is embraced.
This one is more about something I personally suspect, but the scientific community has largely not all that excited about. These objects would present evidence in the transfer theory where life can survive in space and through re-entry.
Asteroids of this type, like 101955 Bennu (may collide with our planet at some point this century), are made of a lot of organic matter unlike most other asteroids comprised of Iron and Nickel. The things we think these types of asteroids are made out of pose a lot of questions about the ability, or even possibility of life being able to hitch a ride, travel through the vacuum of space, and survive re-entry through an atmosphere. If genesis did not take place on Earth, we may want to consider the possibility that life was already started somewhere else, and just happened to land on Earth at the right time. Even if there is no way life could have survived on or in it, asteroids like Bennu may have provided the final ingredient needed for genesis to take place in the sludge pools near Earth’s early oceans.
We are going to pay a visit to Bennu this year with the OSIRIS-REx. mission, which is well on its way to intercept later in the fall. It is a two-component mission: most of the probe’s time will be spent in orbit, photographing and analyzing. One of the eventual mission objectives will be to extend a sample gathering arm to recover surface material, then, In 2023, return the sample to Earth for study.
These tiny little fragments of some larger object in the solar system’s early history are valuable relics that may point to when “first” genesis took place… maybe long before Mars, at the very beginning of our celestial formation. Or, they could prove to be loaded with useful organics that without, life may not have even been possible on our planet.
Okay, so here’s where the imagination and theoretical factors are going to kick in.
Titan is a very strange place in a lot of statistical ways, but similar in a significant, visual way. Titan has a thick atmosphere of Nitrogen, like Earth, but also is so cold that Methane clouds pass by overhead, condense and rain down on the land, and fill seas of liquid Methane and Ethane that cover parts of the planet, much like Earth’s oceans. There are storms, wind, and features that from above, look strikingly similar to surfaces on a planet where weathering and water erosion pervade. Most of the mountains on Titan are made of hard, frozen water ice, trapped in that state on the surface with a frightening daytime temperature of -291 degrees Fahrenheit.
So, what exactly about this place gives rise to life? Where’s the heat? Where is the primordial sludge?
Given there is still a lot to be learned about astrobiology, it is probable to assume that if life is possible beyond the Earth, that it may come to rise in a variety of circumstances, and possibly, in unique ways we have not yet been able to conceive of. Titan is overloaded with useful organic molecules, which is a good start. Is it possible that because all the pieces might have been there for just as long as the Earth has been around (roughly), that some form of life could be gleaning an existence off the limited energy resources available? Unlikely, yes, but not at all inconceivable.
There is also a chance that the internal friction of Saturn’s gravity on Titan has allowed for there to be active geology (hence the lack of craters). It is clearly not an inert ball of frozen Nitrogen and water. Saturn’s pull on Titan allows for Methane to exist in all three stages of matter, and liquid organic molecules are useful when constructing biologic life (as we know it). Whether the heat-energy exists somewhere in a subsurface cavern or deep ocean trench remains to be seen. One can’t simply ignore that the ideal primordial soup may exist somewhere other than Earth, and be a home to life in a way we can’t yet fully understand.
Coming up in the not too distant future, NASA intends to send the Titan Mare Explorer to Titan which will patrol the liquid Methane oceans with a wide variety of above and below surface instrumentation, in search of life that may be hidden there. The mission may also integrate a submarine functionality to explore the deeper places of Titan’s Methane seas.
This one kinda combines our sense of mystery and limited understanding of the contributions to existence provided by this region of the solar system. One of the unanswered questions that seems to be puzzling scientists is: where did all the liquid water on Earth come from? How did we get so much? Some scientists think Comets carried it in from the outer solar system during the Late Heavy Bombardment, but there also a lot of research debunking that. However, it can undoubtedly be true that that material Comets and K.B.Os. are made out of contain a lot of organic material, and water (even if its the wrong kind). While having Long-Period Comets collide with the planet is a bummer, the things they leave behind could have greatly contributed if not been directly responsible for life on Earth in the cooling that occurred in the millennia thereafter.
But is there life clinging to existence in a frozen stasis in the distant fringes of the sun’s influence? Did life come from this place originally, long ago, and make its way in towards the sun as gravity distorted orbits? Is it out there now, hiding, waiting to be found?
The real trouble here is that the objects we are discussing are unimaginably far from us to do much more than observe. New Horizons is going to photograph and spectrograph a few of them, but they will not be landed on or otherwise extensively studied up close. As I write this now, that novel probe is an additional 1 billion miles beyond Pluto, headed for another object. The likelihood of life in these places though is inconceivably small. From what we know about life, energy plays a big role in it getting going. There’s almost no energy out there, in the deep cold. The sun is far away, and not providing enough pull or warmth to think active geologic processes are somehow happening by those means. Life would need to have formed with an astonishingly low energy requirement, and from our current models, that doesn’t make sense. Some have thought in situations of binary systems, like Pluto and Charon, that the significant tidal forces could be the reason we observed so much new surface geology and vastly different landscapes on Pluto. That fact, at least means there’s warmth somewhere, enough to melt the frozen Nitrogen and give Pluto the aura of an atmosphere (and blue skies overhead). The possibility of life is low, and the sliver of imagination is that, just a little tiny sliver.
Sadly, objects located in the extended fringe of the sun’s influence are particularly hard to study up close. Landing something on them seems unlikely, as the E.S.A. discovered in its failed Rosetta landing. Now, the interstellar object in question for the Rosetta mission landed on a Short-Period Comet that was not that far from us, in contrast to where most of the Comets’ buddies are hanging out. Nevertheless, the idea of studying something so potentially volatile and with low gravity presents all sorts of challenges for future Astronomers to ponder. We did, however, crash a probe into a Comet many years ago, and we have also collected organic molecules from their gaseous tails. We know they are made of stuff we have on Earth, but it is unclear what sort of impact (no pun intended) they had.
As far as missions go, getting out to the Kuiper Belt requires a lot of time, and an insane amount of speed. New Horizons, the mission NASA/JPL that gave us all the information we have on Pluto, essentially did a super high-speed drive by at 36,373 miles an hour. Going into orbit around a K.B.O. is not possible at that speed without a DRAMATIC slowdown… which means the probe had to carry more fuel so it could burn some to enter orbit… fuel is heavy and adds extra weight… more weight will make it take longer to get the spacecraft going fast… you see where this is gong. These K.B.O. missions are streamlined, because getting out there as quickly as possible still takes 10 years. The mechanics of landing (more likely, crashing) something on the surface of a Kuiper Belt Object are brutal, and the obstacles to success abound. Even if the spacecraft just fired off a little scientific projectile type instrument of a form, it is uncertain if the descending probe and the spacecraft could be oriented for communication long enough to recover the observations before it got too far from the transmitter.
I think this region will remain unexplored and not fully understood for generations to come.
Sadly, I don’t think we can draw any; that’s not what these conversations are about. We read, think and wonder. The engine of the imagination roars for a time, then is quiet. I love to sit back and think about all the fascinating things we don’t know, but are trying to figure out. The observable universe is still, fundamentally, not comprehended. Mechanically, we can’t explain why, just like we can’t explain how genesis happened. As a male, I do like conclusions and things that could be considered “done.” Awe for the world has a lot to do with an appreciation and respect for the unknown, and is also a challenge to the interpretation of ourselves in this world. I don’t pretend to have the answer, but that’s not going to stop me from thinking about what the answer could be. The exercise is in exploration, and I do hope you come back and read some more as we will be ranging all over the spectrum with discussion topics.
Thanks for reading, come back again soon for another exciting and imagination-provoking topic.
Images credit: Wikipedia
Purples shining in reds,
Twisted sinews in roasted heat,
Delicate wet petals,
Deluded in flavor,
Fueled in hate.
Blasted bits scatter.
Green canopies over,
Soft inviting eyes,
House of dreams,
Forged, bludgeoned, ruined.
Rising to days,
Festering in disinterest,
Foiled by distance,
No plant will grow.
Benign but present,
Cracked and listing,
Imperiled by slope,
Escaping the abyss.
Burdens of reality–
Crushed to a deserved fate.
Within, an ember–
Glowing a feint promise,
A heat unextinguished,
Flared or dormant–
The fire remains.
Brinkled to a blat,
Murbled in skudge,
Apprinkle plurf a doob,
Magumbled over kabunglestap.
Stoff the krunk,
Obribee jerplukle all the zoop.
Burfflecait and go.
Brinkled to a blat,
Murbled in skudge,
Apprinkle plurf a doob,
Magumbled over kabunglestap.
Stoff the krunk,
Obribee jerplukle all the zoop.
Burfflecait and go.
Cast free on a drift,
Slacked touch ache,
Fading warmth fingered,
Slip the dust of her.
Currents steal futures–
Echo’s reply mocking.
Consuming cold stones,
Yellow to night,
Ahead but still behind,
Water tips in–
Just beyond fingers,
Up to a sky gone down,
Wide-eyed with the impending–
Being the hopeless last.
Suffering in gulping–
Engorged in death,
Squeezed of chance–
To be slowly devoured,
As nothing remains.
Caught in the cold.
Consumed in despair,
Fires by sunset–
Tomorrow’s ashes await.
Barred a distance–
Choked to oblivion.
I ate a worm that I found. It was food. Then I went in the reeds, but some one else was in there.
Birds kept coming over and looking in. I don’t like them. I try not to move until they leave. Nasty birds.
That man came again. This time he had a noisy thing that he kept throwing at us. Many said it was a fish, but I knew it was not. It was making sounds and several others did not like it. We knew it was not a food, and I kept telling them. This man is an idiot, ignore I’m and he will go away.
Later, I went in the reeds again and there was another worm and a mayfly on top. Now I’m full.
We all talked, and decided to splash water on the man next time he comes. He’s stupid. He will never catch us.
Tomorrow I think I’m going to eat some more, and laugh at me man when he comes in the morning. What stupid thing will he try next? Who cares, he’s dumb. Hahahahahaha!
Beneath the charred and crusted flakes of skin, a fetid consumption invades. Devouring vital, surging flesh, rendering choking bile and gushing pain, oozing from copious, savage tears. Scouring within boiled burning the frenzied fever rushes writhe in twitch and scream. Twisted in agonizing knots over pools of bloody ruin, spilling, splattering. Mired in the filth of excess, the stink clings and saturates. Hanging and beading like delicate droplets, the piss vile liquid smell of wasted life dwindles as the meat of essence is their feast. Disillusioned, shattered, mired, erased. The thick, gloppy resin of putrid decay sinks into every pore, closing out the light, stopping the clock forever. Gushing foul vomit and the effusive fluid of death, the punctured, eviscerated body is left for the maggots. The carrion of progress is chum for the feast of lies.
Paths for fingers,
Branched to new leaves,
Words windedly gone,
Rattling down dark.
Bell of dawn,
A soulless east,
Roil the dust,
For parched lips.
Stokes the mystery,
Swallowed up in concealment,
Draped, flung and covered–
The faceless tower rises.
Acts of eyes–
Who’s curious tingle–
Renders fact from rumor,
Unseen, yet, present.
Silhouette through sunlight,
A piece revealed,
The gate ajar–
The thirst calls.
Snapped to strain,
No more than a glance.
For a time,
But not again.
The following texts were typed from memory going back almost 20 years. name them both and you are awesome.
In the year 10,191, the known universe is ruled by Emperor Shaddam IV, my father
In this time, the most precious substance in the universe is the Spice, Melange
The Spice extends live, the Spice expands consciousness, the Spice is vital to space travel
_________ who the spice has mutated over 4,000 years, use the orange spice gas, which gives them the ability to fold space
That is, travel to any part of the universe, without moving
Oh, I almost forgot to tell you
The spice exists on only 1 planet in the entire universe
A desolate, dry planet with vast deserts
Hidden away within the rocks of these deserts are a people known as the Fremen
And they have a saying,
That one day a man would come, a messiah, who would lead them to true freedom
The planet is Arrakkis… also known as, Dune.
The minstrel in the gallery
Looked down on all the smiling faces
He met the gazes, observed the spaces
Between the old man’s cackle
He brewed a song of love and hatred
Oblique suggestions, and he waited
He polarized the pumpkin-eaters
Freshly day-glowed factory cheaters
Salaried, and collar scrubbing
He titillated men of action
Belly warming, hands still rubbing
On the parts they never mention
He pacified the nappy suffering
Infant-bleating one line jokers
TV documentary makers
Overfed and undertakers
Sunday paper backgammon players
Family-scarred and women haters
And he called the band down to the stage
And he looked, at all the friends, he’d made
1. Spoken by Princess Irrulan before the beginning of the movie Dune
2. Minstrel In the Gallery – Written by Ian Anderson, performed by Jethro Tull
Falling from edges,
Hard, not flat,
A groan of measure,
Tilted past salvation.
Like sand in the wind,
In the crucible of time.
Until nothing remains.
As you are no doubt aware, I have been contending with a persistent yet elusive enemy. Somewhere within the palace, he was waiting for the opportunity to present itself. Now that some form of protection has been established (blankets), the only thing to do was find the pilot and kill him before he could complete his mission. I am pleased to report at this noble hour that the Atraides forces have located the pilot and have disabled his Hunter-Seeker. The pilot was taken to the deep desert and dropped there with a thumper stuck to himself. Good luck pal.
Intelligence suggested we might throw off the Hunter-Seeker with a post that claimed I was dead. This deception has proved successful, and as of that post, the Hunter-Seeker is gone, clearly fooled into thinking I was already taken care of. This lapse allowed the pilot to be found and a new, less likely to survive circumstance become his primary concern.
A proud day for prosperity on Arrakis that’s for sure. No filthy Harkonnen traitor is going to kill me from behind a wall. You little fucks are tricky, but not as tricky as I am. The spice must flow.
So, the suspense of the last few days where I have felt the presence of an active hunter is finally over. I am free to come and go from the palace as I see fit. The stress that has been lifted from my shoulders is quite a relief. Nothing like knowing a nearly unstoppable enemy is closing in on you to create a little anxiety.
I will stay in the sanctuary of softness until the new day is here to greet me. Then, I will rise and see what challenges await me. Hopefully not assassination.
Long live House Atraides!
Dawn to feel,
Temple in ruin,
Bound to distant orbits,
Feeling the strain,
From somewhere far.
Inviting fate to speak.
Past, future, present.
Fetid in the dark,
Dug in roots,
Creeped in moss,
A change of wind–
Dust of blooms,
Enticing ribbons flail,
A chance of taste,
The old color young,
On yellow days.
See below for my truly fantastic, original, cards for people on holidays. It is a tradition of absolutely superior quality, and to have a maker’s mark of some form. In this instance, the recipient was my sister, and the occasion is Mother’s Day. On a side note, the creatures spoken of on the card are REVILED by my sister, who insists they are among the few things on this Earth she truly despises.
I HIGHLY doubt anyone knows what the Evil Eye of Orms-By-Gore is, but if you do, tell me!
Passed through strands,
Sparkling with delight,
Thick honey sweet.
Razed in ruin,
Ash on her lips.
Born of absolution,
Skying towards sunrise–
Breathe new air,
The dawn has come.
This is inspired by the novel I am writing, Kingdom of Realm which is a high fantasy fiction epistolary narrative. Below was a piece I worked on in preparation to start writing the novel itself, to see something in my mind and be able to describe it for someone else to read and also understand. So I guess the point here is simply to entertain. If you find the little short story enjoyable, just know there’s more down the line.
It was dawn on the calm and temperate waters of the Trader’s Bay. The Merciful’s Jeshan Shifter was crouched on a short platform projected over the port side of the ship. He was clasping a vein of Stream in his hand firmly, held over the deep ocean and the pulsing ribbon of light disappeared far underwater once it was outside of his fist. Atop the mast, the Bessan scouting in the Crow’s Nest was silent and watching the horizon through his hand lens. The sun’s light was beginning to fill the sky with an orange glow as the deck bell rang out one chime and a sailor yelled, “ahead full speed!”
The Jeshan held the Stream constantly while on duty and also used his Shifting to send a branch of it up the mast, within snapping range of the Bessan. This task alone required a fundamental commitment of mental energy, not to mention his additional responsibilities and requirements. The two Shifters fell into their morning duties and the Jeshan opened the water and pulled the ship through it with the power of the Stream. Soon, the sails were flush with a wind that was being empowered by the Bessan in the Nest and the vessel raced through the water of the Bay with unnatural quickness. The Jeshan, sprayed with hissing water as he parted the low swell to ease the passage of the bow, felt the Stream tugging on him to be released back to its natural place on the floor of the Bay. He had to keep his mind focused on holding it or else it would snap away and he would not be able to retrieve it again. If the Stream was to return to where it would normally be on the seafloor, it would be too far away to call back. The ship would need to return to shallower water under its own power so that the Stream could be retrieved. Aware of those things, the Jeshan continued concentrating and passed the wooden ship through the sea with haste as the Merciful patrolled on the open Bay.
Their ship was a member of the Blue Fleet, an extension of the Last Knights of Realm. They operated an elite peacekeeping armada on the middle and east Bay to stifle some of the flagrant criminality and piracy. Their home port is located at Naruna, but they also have well-established presences at Cheed, Greenwall Port and Teayl. It was essential for the land and sea to both be secure in the free and independent region of the Fold, as this too was a part of their Old Way. They and their seafaring counterparts in the south (the Royal Navy of Realm), patrol the waters of the Trader’s Bay and secure it from rampant danger.
The mast alarm of the Merciful rang out as the ship raced through the open sea. “Column of smoke, zero nine zero!” He shouted, pointing over the starboard side to the distant horizon with his hand lens. The Jeshan turned due east but saw nothing. Clearly scouting not being his strongest skill.
“Make your heading zero nine zero.” The Captain on the bridge said, and the ship turned. “Ahead flanking speed!”
The call went out and the Jeshan Shifter poured his energy into parting the waves for the ship to slide through smoothly to its target. The Bessan blasted the wind into the sails and accelerated the ship with a torrent of air. The Merciful raced across the Bay to the column of smoke with remarkable alacrity. Once their ship got close, they could see what remained of the burned passenger vessel slowly sinking into the sea. The Merciful slowed and began to rescue those already in the water. They took the crew and passengers they saved below deck as the stranded ship sank. The sailors confirmed they had been viciously attacked and boarded by a much smaller, faster ship which flew a black flag and may have had a Shifter helping them.
The sailors hurried about climbing the mast again and setting the rigging for fast travel. Men darted about on different jobs, all working to bring the ship to readiness. Having come to a complete stop to collect survivors from the attacked vessel, the Merciful turned itself about.
“Mast sighted bearing zero nine zero!” The Bessan signaled down from the Nest while holding the Stream.
“Bessan!” The Captain shouted from the deck. “Is that them?”
The Bessan in the Crow’s Nest could feel the Stream being tugged in the direction of the ship, but he could not see anything more. “That one probably has a Shifter on board!”
“Understood.” The Captain said. A Shifter at sea is a dangerous weapon, not to be abused. “Let’s hunt these pirates down!” The Captain shouted, and his crew let out a hearty roar in agreement.
As the pirates sailed out into the open eastern ocean, the Merciful began her chase far to the west. The Blue Fleet vessel lurched forward, then gathered speed rapidly as the Shifters and crew labored. The Jeshan Shifter held the Stream firmly and concentrated as the crew unfurled the sails. He opened the path for the ship to be guided through with little resistance. The Bessan churned the wind fiercely as the wood groaned against the strain and the Merciful surged towards the horizon.
From the Crow’s Nest of the pirate ship, the lookouts spotted the Merciful coming up from the west and gaining speed rapidly. He sounded the alarm and men began to scramble about the deck of the ship readying themselves for potential combat. Some of the sailors took their bows and their quivers and lined up on the sides of the ship, igniting their torches; hoping to get a chance to set their enemy ablaze.
The pirate Captain looked wildly up at the sailor in the Nest. “Blue Fleet?”
The sailor nodded.
“Scum,” He grunted angrily to himself. “We’ll show these Knights how we do things in the Trader’s Bay! We will not run today men! It’s them, or us!” A great cheer went up amongst the crusty criminals. The pirate Jeshan Shifter turned their small vessel about and the men at the helm began to charge straight at the Merciful. The pirate Captain had a smile on his face which grew larger as the two ships settled into a collision course. He pulled his fancy Captain’s hat lower on his head and stared forward menacingly. The Jeshan could not bring the ship close to the same speed as the Merciful, but could ease its journey through the water while the wind carried it, and at least that was in their favor.
“They are charging us Captain!” A deckhand of the Merciful at the bow shouted.
“Good.” The Captain said confidently. “This should be over quickly.”
He looked up at the Crow’s Nest and shouted, “do they have a Shifter?”
“Yes,” the Bessan said. “One Jeshan. On the port side.”
“Okay then.” The Captain looked out across the deck with steel in his gaze. “All hands to battle positions, and ahead ramming speed! Prepare for starboard side attack! We turn on my orders! They have a Jeshan so men, be ready!”
The pirate Captain’s grin was changing to a snarl as the Merciful continued on a collision heading at ramming speed. He noticed the distance between the two ships was closing rapidly. The pirate Captain then entertained the possibility that this might be his very last mistake at sea. I will break this man. He thought to himself in a bold sort of delusion.
He turned to face his crew and bellowed, “Notch your arrows sea rats and prepare to fire starboard side! Turn the ship to port on my signal! Let’s burn these fools! Ready the oil at the railing! Drench them in burning death!”
“Prepare yourself for what they may do Jeshan and react,” the Captain of the Merciful shouted. “Bessan, once we pull broadside, light them up. All hands brace! Hard to port!”
The Merciful broke from its ramming course and so did the pirate ship, just as they began to come perilously close to colliding. The Bessan in the Nest struck his flint and ignited some frayed paper as he huddled with the Stream in his hand. Both vessels turned and exposed their starboard flanks to each other for a few moments as he rapidly created a small fire in his palm. The Bessan stood up as the ships came broadside and channeled the raw power of his ethereal elemental mastery. The archers on the enemy ship fired a volley of arrows with perfect placement and timing, while they readied the hot oil to be launched on their next pass. The Bessan unleashed his fire into the space between the two ships in a violent, expanding blast wave. He cast forth a scalding arc of devouring death which incinerated the arrows in flight before they found their targets. The colossal burst of flames lashed the pirate ship, burning men on the rails, who were rendered to ash or fell overboard screaming. The oil ignited in the cauldrons and exploded in a devastating, concussive blast. The starboard deck of the pirate ship was gone and the hull had been breached below the waterline. Fire was spreading all over the ship as flung oil set the sails ablaze. Men were cast about in the blast, pulverized by splintered wood and many more had thrown themselves in the water to escape burning to death. The power of the ignited oil had blown the pirate Captain’s hat overboard, which he took as a bad sign.
The Jeshan on the pirate ship acted quickly and used his Shifting to splash water up and over the starboard side and the sails, but the damage was done. The ship did not sink immediately, but it could not escape and now drifted away from the Merciful helplessly. Its sails were little more than singed tatters and many of the crew were dead or no longer aboard. The opportunity to strike back was fading rapidly for the pirate Jeshan and with what he had left of his strength, he blasted the stern and rudder of the Merciful with a column of displaced water. The powerful concussion split the hull below the sealine and shattered the rudder and the Merciful pivoted away, wounded and hobbling.
The Merciful was rapidly taking on water in the lower stern hold as sailors ran up from below decks to deliver the news. “We have enough time to abandon ship sir” one of the deck crew said. The captain looked forward at the closing distance between his ship and the pirates’.
“How much time?” He said.
“Five minutes or less before the stern is underwater sir.”
“Ahead full.” The Captain leaned forward. “Move the ship to firing position. Jeshan, you snap that ship in two on my order.”
The indignant and crisped remaining crew of the pirate ship took to the stern of their crippled vessel and fired more arrows as the Merciful as their enemy coasted within range. The pirate Captain on the deck of his charred ship rallied his men to fight. “Stand with me and we will take that ship right now!” He screamed desperately, having become less inspiring since he lost his hat. The Captain truly had nothing left to lose as he shouted, “give them a volley men!” To what was left of his crew.
“We are within range Captain!” The Bessan in the Nest shouted.
The Captain of the Merciful turned to the Jeshan on the port side of the ship, “do it!”
The Jeshan used his power to whip the Stream in his hand across the surface of the water like a white hot rope of raw energy which sizzled and hissed as it raced towards the pirate ship. The Stream collided with the hull, which disemboweled the ship in a ferocious blast that sent splintered wood fragments flying out in all directions. Water rapidly poured into the gaping chasm amidships and the pirate ship sank violently, folding into two sections. Archers on the rapidly listing stern deck continued to fire on the Merciful, but soon fell into the sea along with the flotsam, unable to hold on. Within a matter of moments, the pirate vessel had vanished beneath the surface of the Trader’s Bay.
The Merciful itself listed heavily as the stern of the ship sank. The Jeshan worked quickly to mend the broken hull and repair the wood so the Merciful no longer took on water. They were disabled for the foreseeable future and it was going to take them many hours to empty the lower sections of the ship. They would have no rudder as they limped to port in Teayl because that was something even a Shifter could not repair at sea.
The Merciful rounded up the survivors who were swimming in the water where the pirate ship went down and shackled them below decks in the bow to be taken back to the port. They did not locate the pirate Shifter once the ship had sunk, but the Captain was confident the danger was over. “All hands stand down,” he shouted, marveling at the fine hat his men had given him that they pulled out of the wreckage. “We sail for Teayl where these criminals will be brought to justice. You all performed admirably today. We are going to be rotating in new duties this afternoon until we empty the hold of seawater. Let’s work together and get ourselves ready to sail as soon as possible.”
The Jeshan used what was left of his stamina just to hold onto the Stream as his duty relief came in to take over and the crew of the ship started to form a line to pass buckets. He handed the Stream vein to the second Jeshan, who would assist in the removal of the water from the hold as well. The Bessan in the Crow’s Nest was also relieved of duty and would need to rest before he could render his Shifting again.
As they came back to their quarters, the Jeshan looked out of his cabin window at the sun now climbing high into the sky and the midday hour nearly upon them. Just another day on the Trader’s Bay. He thought to himself.
Pressed to a glimpse,
Clutching the clouds–
In a place of forgetting.
Like burdened strings,
Holding the line to clarity,
Ruminating on many doors,
Fading to dark.
Piled like ash,
Scraping out for relevance.
While clandestinely guided,
Honing on a fate,
Hoping in peace–
Perhaps already lost.
A spiraling state–
Blurred in possibilities,
Held apart by joy.
Walking in the door,
Home has always been.
Dewed limbs leafily,
Kissed in golds–
And radiant green pools,
Thumped pops on drum logs–
Tiny feet pitter-patter,
Joyous at the dawn.
Dried for the day ahead–
And turned west in the breeze.
whispered, dusty music–
Of summer’s song.
A new album inspired by recent events. **UPDATE** There have been some uncanny harmonies I need to include, so the playlist has been adjusted.
Embers in the ash,
Embraced in cold,
Drawn in, clutched,
Addressed in gusts,
Fresh snaps of life,
Blissfully possible again.
A hearth invites,
Sundered to snowy soot
The night returns.
A captivating embrace,
Sheltered from the placid sun–
Flush, deep and rich with whispers.
Channeled narrowly through columns,
Spoken openly in greens–
Abiding, soaked in history,
Colonized and conquered,
In constant motion, yet, unchanged.
Hands, dance in the wind,
Itchy fingers reach out–
Canopy of possibilities,
Stretched out along the path home.
Scarred with ridges,
Scraps in the dust,
Resigned to emptiness,
Curled in the dark,
Snap the sharp crisp,
Brilliant bang blastings,
Crunkle crunch the twig twang
Burning bright, boastfully.
Roiling horde of yellow demons–
Shrivel, crack snapping twist
Puffing poof of failed dirt,
Cold, cluttery, carbonofied–
Powdered to filthy soot.
Shaft of radiant dawn,
A deep and abiding calm–
Before the swell returns.
Balanced like a precarious stone,
The force of decay–
A grasping, clutching hand,
In vain, escape inevitable.
Propelled with promise,
Burning like a sunbeam–
Etching the new day.
An Abstract Prose Narrative
Back in the days full of sun, dreams merged like clouds blowing in the wind. Dancing light and fingers touching the tall grass the days were by. Holding breath in the kiss of tangerine love.
Opening up a bounteous bloom of cosmic preponderance and entrenched in unique beauty. Hinges, wings and cryptic messages sparked a deep fascination. Could such a world blend with my own? Maybe a merging of these twisted dimensions may yield a beautiful offspring? The investigation within the cave of the eye began. Tumbling down the hole seemed a drunken escapade so delightful, wanted, yearned for. Always.
So to do sunsets yield to night, a time and a time went by. Stale air and old closets were hiding. Shriveled up socks and neglected piles of things.
Threads cobwebbery enmeshed and ensnared. Thorns dug in deep. Hatred like raging lava buried the what had been in incendiary death.
What then at this brink? Her last words were of a lost piece of the personal past. Her bloom, in a book, in text where her secrets had been hidden. The unfurling of her thought, ripped to pieces by division, scattering her from her anchor. The fissure had grown vast and deep. Her words echoed into the chasm, unreconciled.
Long since the sun shown so, my hands found her dreams once more. Symbols, language and such an imagination. It was all here again, unearthed by the expansion of time. Scrawled in her adorable ink, all that she was missed was remembered. Kiss, laugh and dream.
Now, to feel her dust on my fingers, such a sigh. This one sad little ember of it is all that remains. Kicked me into the ditch and left me to blame, while peasant heart still aches. All little sounds and sniffs forgotten.
Such is the death of things, and the rocket propelled moments when fireworks are right there and everything is back. Over and done, but never forgotten. The book returns to oblivion from whence it had come.
Driven into stinging rain,
Stale hopes like tears–
Falling to wonderment.
Puzzling arrangement of doors,
Hastened urges and shortcomings,
Lamentably collapsing within.
My creative project has a home now, and a dedicated domain: http://kingdomofrealm.com
This is a high-fantasy narrative/epistolary 3 book epic, with the first content to be released this winter 2018.
Currently, a D&D game is the device that is moving the plot forward, and I’d say we’re about half way through the campaign, in terms of plot. Still so much more to go. 4 players, 1 session a week since late mid November 2017. Awesome.
Thanks, plug over.
Today is Wednesday, and I’m running game tonight. I have some fun shit planned for them so we’ll see how it goes. That can be my creative outlet for today, and I will ensure it keeps me up long into the night. I am very pleased with the progress of the story and the participation of my players. At first I thought I was going to merge them into two total characters, but now I am starting to think it would be best to keep them all separate. They are becoming too distinct and each backstory relevant to the plot. I need to find a way to capture who they are, and this was a problem that I encountered once I started to write it. Oh, If I hadn’t mentioned earlier, my D&D campaign is also a novel, or rather, three novels, which I am writing simultaneously. As the game unfolds, the book is written. At this point, they have completed nearly a book’s worth of plot advancement (on the order of 25 chapters). I suppose that will be extended until a climactic moment in which there will be a cliffhanger. The story is very entertaining, and the world in my head is so rich and full of detail, I really only select the level of detail I wish to convey while not being too tiresome.
Anyway, the writing of the thing is coming along well. I am into the second chapter and I haven’t really decided how long and how purposeful to make each one. I am going heavy on the history at first to get readers introduced to the universe and the physics. All has to be unveiled delicately, and not in a “here, look at this” sort of way. You see the quandary. I’ve never written a novel, but I’m not going to let that stop me from trying.
In other news, I’m a week away from my final certificate in my mental health Peer Support Specialist training. I truly feel more capable and functional in a variety of situations and symptoms. I think this is the right field for me, and a lot of what I feel is harmony. I know I can make a difference out there. I have an optimism in my heart that will not go out or be quenched.
I have not much time left here in San Diego. Soon I will be in West Sacramento, in a new shape of existence. I am gathering the elements together to make a new path for myself and I am proud of that. I will continue to pursue hope and happiness and deal with the setbacks as they come. I hope the best for you all today. I’m off to get my affairs in order and protect myself for the new life transition I am undergoing.
Ra’Kesh, an older and grizzled Nomadic Barbarian, was taking the long road home after an unsuccessful hunting trip further to the south. He was hoping to chance upon something before arriving back home in the mountains as he trudged towards his stopping point for the night. Ra’Kesh was aware that the land had emptied itself of life in the once fertile hunting grounds. There were no flying birds racing overhead anymore, no animals to pursue through the woods. The only residents now were poisonous creatures, beasts and the Brown Harpies that circled the dead as they lie rotting in the thin snow.
His trip to the south had disturbed and he’d seen very few game animals. He walked past many gutted carcasses, and fading bones. To him, his homeland felt more desperate; in fear of not surviving the winter having held onto too little food. There was a panic in the air. Now the North was stripped bare of its resources. For a Barbarian warrior like Ra’Kesh, he knew that grim times were ahead for his people unless some of the other hunting parties that had gone out from the tribe had been more successful. Somehow, Ra’Kesh knew that they were having just as little luck finding food as he was. This land is more dangerous now than ever before. He thought to himself.
The lumbering Barbarian plowed forward through the deepening snow which was now only about as high as the midway point of his shin. He knew, however, that the snow would deepen as he made his way to the top of the valley. Ra’Kesh was a skilled Nomadic Barbarian, and unlike the Humans that ventured through these lands, he had no fear. To him the North was his ally; his home. He was at peace with the outcomes of his life yet he was not ignorant to reality.
In Ra’Kesh’s mind, there is no fairness in his people being deprived of food for the cold season, but it was a fact of life in the North. It was hunt, or be hunted. Ra’Kesh did believe that his ancestors would not let their people die of starvation this winter, but he did not know how it would come to pass. He held his axe in one hand and his shield was over his shoulder as he continued to march forward through the narrowing valley. The snow fell densely as he gained altitude and the sun sank lower to the horizon.
One more night out here. He said to himself as he unpacked. Ra’Kesh made camp here many times before after much more fruitful trips south. Tonight, he had no meat to bring home and an aching belly of his own. He insulated himself with a little snow-structure to, hopefully, prevent much of his smell from escaping his camp area and trap warmth. He did not light a fire as this was a bold action to take when traveling alone and a way to bring on unnecessary attention. Instead, Ra’Kesh laid his rolled furrs out over an area he had cleared, revealing the cold frozen dirt beneath. He tore into some jerky as twilight neared an end. The swirling stormclouds above were veiled in darkness by the onset of night.
Something had been following Ra’Kesh for a portion of his trip home from the hunting grounds. Earlier in the day, it had stalked while the Barbarian marched up the valley slowly. Its prey had been unaware of its presence in the woods not far off his pace. It had watched while the Barbarian took to the side of the valley and established a place to set up camp. Now, as dark had come on, the creature went from observing, to hunting.
The clouds overhead could be heard to whisper as they moved with the furious northern wind. Somewhere in the darkness above the valley, they roiled. The temperature plummeted and Ra’Kesh tried to rest. The cold was penetrating his thick skin, but he could still fall into sleep. Just before Ra’Kesh had fully relaxed, there was a sudden clap of thunder.
The creature approached from the north coming down at his camp from behind his pile of snow he had made around himself. This monster relied on many senses, formulated plans and weighed options. It waited in the shadows, slinking low, still many feet away. The creature could smell his stink clinging to his clothes and furrs. The creature salivated, crouched, recoiled and sprung into action. It hurled itself through the air and onto the camp at astonishing speed and with near perfect silence. The creature being of such significant size that when it landed it created a massive plume and blasted frosty snow thrown out in all directions. It tore at the bundle of rags, but found no one in them. Much to its surprise, Ra’Kesh had somehow known it was coming.
It was only then that, to the great shambler, the conspiracy became apparent. The suddenly stormy sky above unleashed a blast of lightning upon the Abominable as it lurched in the clearing of the devastated camp. It was struck with white-hot energy as it stood to its full twenty-five feet. Scalded and screaming, it raised its fist and let out a roar that echoed across the valley. It spun about, looking for its enemies while its flesh crackled and crisped across its left flank and back.
Scarred from the startling shock of the lightning, the creature whirred about and spotted Ra’Kesh. The Barbarian had run far out into the open valley, but then turned around to face the creature in a combat stance. The Abominable squared up on the Barbarian and pounded its fists into the ground, galloping to a raging charge with its mouth gaping wide.
Ra’Kesh set his feet, and calmly recoiled his axe back behind his shoulder. As the massive creature advanced, the Barbarian aimed carefully and waited. He stood his ground as the lumbering colossus bore down on him at a fatal speed. Ra’Kesh hurled the axe with deadly precision. The twirling hand axe sank deep into the Abominable’s face, shattering its eye. The wound rocked the creature and it frenzied in wild agony. It swiped forward with extraordinarily vicious rage as it fell to the ground and flailed its massive arm across the open valley floor. The Barbarian was broadsided where he stood and was cast into the air like a thrown doll, disappearing into the night. It cradled its injured face with the other hand as it tried to stand, fumbling about, disoriented and in writhing pain. The creature pawed angrily at the axe and knew it still had an enemy out there somewhere. It peered into the darkness with its good eye.
The Abominable huddled in the snow, screaming from its wounds and franticly searching about. Behind it in the forest, a tree was uprooted swiftly and was brought down hard on top of the Abominable with choking speed. Branches snapped over it’s body and the trunk squarely clobbered the creature over its head. The force of the impact flattened the monster into the ground, while the tree then slid down and pinned the Abominable to the earth. Stunned by the sudden brutality of the attack, it groaned and tried to get back up. The clouds opened and a new bolt of lightning came down from the sky. This one, however, was much more pinpoint than the previous in its accuracy and it struck the Abominable directly on the top of its head as it lie flat on the earth. The force of the lightning upon the Abominable’s skull was like a savage weighted hammer brought to bear on a pumpkin. The tree then fell naturally to the ground, and silence reestablished control of the valley once more.
From out of the shadow of the woods several hundred feet away, a Jeshan Shifter emerged from the forest and began to trudge across the valley floor over to where the Barbarian had been flung during the battle. As he walked closer, he discovered the Ra’Kesh had been impaled against sharp rocks to the side of the valley where he had landed. The broken fragments of his wooden shield still hung onto the straps around his arm, which was sprawled lifelessly beside his mangled body. The Jeshan removed his hood and met the Barbarian’s gaze.
“I’m sorry,” The Shifter said. The Barbarian looked back at him with tired eyes. They both understood.
“How long had it been hunting me?” The Barbarian asked.
“At least since yesterday,” the Shifter said. “It is dead.” The Barbarian looked up at the sky and saw no stars, but could feel the cold breath of the North stinging his cheeks as the last drippings of life escaped from his body. “You didn’t have to help me.” .
“Yes I did,” the Jeshan said in reply. “We are kin of the North together, and you would have done the same for me. We all must protect each other in these dark times.” The Barbarian smiled a little at that. My hope is not fading after all. He mused to himself as he grew more tired.
“So,” the Barbarian said gruffly. “I always knew I would meet a Shifter one day. Your kind our the link between our world and the world of my ancestors. You have the light of my kin in your eyes.” The Jeshan said.
The Jeshan smiled, “you Barbarians, wasting your last words to wax poetic.”
A long silence passed as they looked upon each other, and the snow fall thickened.
“Thank you,” his voice beginning to fade. “The ancestors saw you tonight.”
“Soon, you will be with them. Become one with the Stream.” The Jeshan then pulled a vein of Stream out of the woods, knelt beside the broken warrior and passed it over the Barbarian’s outstretched hand. “The Stream sees everything,” he said softly. “Tonight, you dine with the greatest warriors of your tribe in the grand Hall of Bones. Feast, my friend, and rest well on a full belly. The days of battle are over for you. I will take the Abominable’s flesh back to your people. They will not starve this winter. They will live because of your sacrifice. The creature could not have been defeated without you and you die with honor tonight.”
“By the light of the Stream be bound!” The Barbarian said his eyes charged with intention, despite those being the words spoken by the Shifters who graduate from Naruna, not of anyone who comes from the Frozen North. The Shifter smiled and passed his open palm over the eyes of the Barbarian.
“May it show us the way.” He said in formal reply, and with that, Ra’Kesh was dead.
The Jeshan took about the grueling duty of skinning, gutting, cleaning, and packing a great deal of abominable meat into several bags and carryalls that he had. He used Ra’Kesh’s furrs to pack more flesh and the snapped limbs of the tree he used to pummel the Abominable to make a large sled.
The Jeshan Master was true to his word and he carried a great deal of fresh meat back to the Barbarian’s tribe, walking all night and arriving early in the morning. They were a famished lot that had been waiting for its few warriors to return from the hunt. The Jeshan told them that one of them would not be coming back. “He gave his life so that you all could live.” He said aloud as the tribe listened. “Let me tell you of how he died in battle.”
The Jeshan spoke of how Ra’Kesh the Slayer had, attacked and defeated the Abominable, and then fed all his people with it’s flesh. Ra’Kesh was a skilled warrior, and a brave Nomadic Barbarian and the Jeshan described his axe flying through the air and impaling the creature in its eye. He made sure the stories they will tell of Ra’Kesh the Slayer will go on through the generations.
Though they cried that their father, husband and friend would not come home, he would never be forgotten in the tales the tribe will tell that would pass down from the parents to their children. Ultimately, the Barbarians understood that this was the way of the North, and that death comes for everyone, in time. There are many more who die then there are who live to do great deeds. Now these Barbarians had a warrior of their tribe who had done both. The Barbarians gave some meat to the Jeshan and he accepted gladly. He gathered his belongings and prepared to go, having shown his honor to the Stream and to the tribe.
“We are all here together,” the Jeshan said before them. “We must all remember that we are kin of the North, not just kin by our race, and that we must protect our land and each other so that life may go on as it always has. I have always been here. I will always be here, watching.” With that, the Jeshan vanished into the night, as the wind started to increase and the snowfall around their homes deepened.
A group of four Jeshan Shifters crept along a south-facing wall of the City of Realm for a great distance, shuffling horizontally, hiding in the blind spot underneath the parapet. There was a common Stream vein usually very nearby which would have typically prevented this type of intrusion. However, the group had spent a long time earlier in the day, before making this journey, moving that vein away from the base of the wall slowly. They did this so that they could sneak by undetected now and they ensured their tampering would go unnoticed. It had taken them several hours, but now they just needed to avoid being physically sighted instead of detected by the Bessans along the City wall. They slid sideways for close to a mile until they found the hatch near the base of a perimeter tower. Once it was open, they quietly and quickly filed into the dark and cramped tunnels underneath the City. From inside, they closed the hatch and shuttered themselves into darkness. The group lined up single-file in the tunnel and sprinted for the dungeons of the Great Keep, several minutes away.
Shortly past the midday hour, the Bessan Shifter 18902 at south perimeter defenses reported a militia hiding in the trees firing arrows at the patrol guards on the south city wall. That section of the defenses has its border against the open wilderness of the land between the southern countryside and the ocean. While beautiful, however, this area represents one of the most vulnerable potential entry points into the City of Realm.
The City Commander took the situation quite seriously and sounded the general alarm. Soon the bell tower of the Keep was ringing out the cry to take up arms or seek shelter. Soldiers began to pile out of their barracks and form up in the streets, marching towards the gates. The City of Realm readied itself for battle for the first time in many generations. People ran from the open marketplaces and common buildings to find shelter in their homes as the deep thunder of the bells echoed through the alleyways.
“You hear that mate?” One bandit outside the wall said, nudging another. “Now we’ve really pissed them off!” A dozen skilled archers and twenty or so really terrible archers were, essentially, preoccupying the entire fighting force of the City of Realm as it pooled behind the south gate, pelting them with misguided and non lethal arrows. There were a smattering of no more than fifty deviant infantry guarding a Jeshan Shifter at the base of the outer fortifications. The Jeshan was not powerful enough to shatter the wall, but could sway it a fair bit. It wobbled and groaned under his influence. More men were hiding further back in the trees, waiting for an opportunity to rend the Realm’s poorly trained soldiers. The raiders were brutal fighters, and these cadets in their colored armor had only their numbers to hide behind. The Realm’s soldiers came pouring out of the gate and into the wood bordering the city wall, scattering into a defensive perimeter. Many more of them came rushing out and filled in behind with their swords glistening bright. A few hundred of them filled a large clearing around the entrance to the city and held their ground.
The Jeshan lashed the Stream like a white hot whip against the hard stone surface and had a largely visual effect, rather than actually causing much damage to the structure itself. He did make sure to give it a healthy shove to get the men on top of it fearing he could bring it down. The Shifter waited until the Realm’s soldiers had taken up defensive positions before using the power of the Stream to stick them all in knee-deep mud. A few hundred of them stood paralyzed, or fell over, unable to do anything to escape. Scores of them were butchered by a wave of arrows and more soldiers fell as the rain of projectiles thickened. A group of archers in the deep woods continued to fire at the stranded soldiers, while a few redirected their attention to the walls. The soldiers abandoned the perimeter, as they could not defend it from the Shifter without risking being shot by an archer. The men of Realm stayed away from the walkway where the raiders had range. “There must have been a hundred archers or more, all very well concealed.” Proclaimed the City Commander, disgusted with the turn of events. “Send more soldiers out through the south gate and dispense of the archers first. 500 men!” the Commander said. His steward turned and left to deliver the orders.
Meanwhile, Lord Emperor Marion Dimsdale III had gathered the heads of the royal noble houses for a meeting in the war room of the Keep. There, the nobles and their top advisors peered out from the upper levels of the central tower down at the South wall of the city. Smoke was rising from deep in the woods and the first reports were of heavy losses for the Realm. They grumbled over the disturbance and pigeons carried news back and forth from the command center just outside of the protection of the keep, where the City Commander was in charge of the defense of the city. The Lord Emperor turned to his Field Marshal and nodded. The Marshall turned and went about enacting the Lord’s request. The nobles grumbled that no previous Lord Emperor in the last hundred years has been forced to marshall the army and defend the city. “These are strange times.” a noble was heard to say.
The Commander, from his lookout a few hundred yards from the Keep, was sure the soldiers of Realm would handle this rabble, despite the initial losses. The Bessan Shifter slave at his side held a vein of weak blue Stream in her hand. “Is everything normal? Are they attacking from any of the other districts of the city?” The Shifter peered into the Stream but did not see what was happening in the passageways underneath the Keep. In their minds, no one could ever get into those underground tunnels because the entrance was constantly monitored. Or at least, so they had thought. Today, however, they had been outwitted by a group of very devious Jeshans. “Everything is fine except for what 18902 has reported at the south wall, all areas say no activity. Stream is undisturbed, no artificial motion, all access points are secure.”
“Excellent.” The Commander said. “We should have this taken care of in no time.”
Far outside the wall, close to 10,000 armed raiders were hiding in the woods only a few miles away in a small patch of forest near the coast, waiting for “the signal.” They had been in the area for some time, and none of them were sure what the signal was, but knew that if they waited for the signal, they were sure to go on the greatest raid of all their lives. Many respected sources were very clearly told what to do, and where to look. They did have some riders at the edge of the woods facing north, which they were clear is where the signal was going to be coming from. More raiders were accumulating as word had been spreading for days. No one had any clue what was going to be raided this far south, and in The Realm no less. All the cities in this country are guarded, and the only thing that’s due north is the City of Realm, which none of them were expecting to raid today. As a result, most were thinking they were going to be disappointed despite the promising quality of the claim.
Near the south gate, the distractors had accomplished what they were supposed to, but they had also got the south gate under control and were confronting any that came out of it. The bandits and soldiers of the Realm began to skirmish in the woods, with a terrible advantage going to the raiders in the melee combat.
At the blaring sound of trumpets, cavalry of Realm came charging out of the forest with the Field Marshall at the head and trampled any in their path. The cavalry ran through the bandit encampment, butchering the archers in an abrupt and unexpected attack. The bandits looked at each other in dismay “They likely came out of the garden gate!” One of them shouted. “Which I thought we had covered…” In truth, they had simply neglected to send anyone to watch the garden gate. The remaining archers scattered into the woods and the men of the Realm surged.
The Jeshan Shifter looked at the wall, closed his eyes while holding on to a vein of Stream and caused it to grow up, and into the City. His time was running out, as his infantry protectors were not going to last much longer. He realized what was at stake and he channeled his concentration into sending it as far into the City as he could.
The vein of Stream expanded over the peak of the wall, back down and along the ground in the direction of the Great Keep. The Lords of Realm on horseback spotted the Jeshan Shifter channeling and ordered a full attack. They charged ahead and the infantry guarding the Jeshan held out their pikes; a few with swords behind them stood their ground. The Stream had crept far into the city, but not quite far enough.
The Jeshan was quickly consumed in the cavalry charge and was slaughtered, along with the remaining pikes and infantry. His Stream vein started to roll back a little, but then, it accelerated forward until it crept all the way inside the main hall of the Keep. The vein spiraled down the stairs and into the dungeons where the Jeshan Shifters were waiting, calling to it. They had been reaching out and pulling on the Stream towards themselves once their ally Shifter had propelled it far enough for them to grab.
In the command center, the Bessan Shifter spotted the Stream vein intrusion. “Sire,” she says flatly, “I think something is happening.”
He sternly looked down at her, perplexed. “What?”
“The Jeshan, he’s…” She trailed off, suddenly realizing along with the others.
The cavalry mowed down the last of the raiders outside the city walls and rounded up the remaining soldiers of Realm at the gate. A great cheer went up amongst the men as they stood victorious. “Send a pigeon to the Emperor, young squire,” said one of the Lords of Realm from atop his white steed. “We have won the day!”
The Bessans discovered what was happening all too late to do anything about it. These Jeshans had tricked them somehow and had breached their defenses. Now, their worst fears realized, their enemy stood, Stream in hand, right in the beating heart of the Realm.
“Oh sire…” the Shifter beside the City Commander said and the Stream fell delicately out of her hand in defeat. She looked at him, eyes wide with terror. “I, I’m sorry…”
“What did you see!?” He screamed.
Their run through the dungeons was over and, together, they held the Stream tightly in their hands. One of them clasped a crudely arrowhead shaped crystal and they all marveled at it once it caught the light of the Stream and radiated with power. “Streamstone” one of them said.
“It’s going to make us into legends.” Another said. “By the light of the Stream be bound, brothers. For Strayalis!” They chanted together.
They closed their eyes, and all clasped the crystal of Streamstone and felt themselves blending back into the Stream, their true home. A great power began to reverberate and amplify between them and the Stone. With the energy of their combined life forces, they commanded the Stream, through the power of the Streamstone, to unleash a violent expansion of the earth around them and to grow as high as possible until all of their vital energy was gone.
Suddenly, behind the City Commander, the Great Keep of the City of Realm exploded outward from the base in an expanding, rising ring of solid earth, rock and shocked brick that extended out above the City. The resonating blast grew upward rapidly but blew less outward as it rose higher into the sky. The accelerating blast tapered as it climbed above the city forming a spire of falling earth several hundred feet vertically where the Keep once stood. It reached its crest in an instant and dissipated, allowing the displaced dirt, stone and brick to rain down upon the City.
Mammoth hunks of the fortifications as large as whole city blocks slammed down into the homes of the nobility, merchants and upper class. The area around the mount of the Keep was completely consumed by a great wave of falling dirt and rubble as a shower of debris fell in the majority of the outer urban area that little could hope to survive. Whole tower sections crashed down onto entire neighborhoods and historic districts, erasing them under ten feet of crushing brick in an instant.
A burning wave of charged dust came roaring down the streets as the debris fell and it was followed closely by a shockwave that tore grown men right off their feet and cast them aside as the city began to disappear. Millions of homes were obliterated under a crushing rain of earth and brick fanning out in all directions. A great gust of maddening wind was finally cast out from the City as the Keep fell; having breathed its final breath. It did not seem possible that many in the area behind the walls could have survived the devastation.
The outer City wall and districts were pelted with huge pieces of the Keep and rock that had been cast violently and far into the air. They smashed against the ramparts and some blasted through them; sending even more brick debris flying about violently. The extensive damage inflicted on the City and the defenses had exposed it to attack from all directions; there were great gaping holes in the fortifications. Smaller bricks and chunks of the Keep landed in the outskirts, often rolling through many houses before coming to a stop or slamming hard into homes, pulverizing everything around where they land. A cloud of vicious, choking dust then fully enveloped the City and all became lost to sight.
No bells rang out, just the faint sounds of screaming could be heard carrying over the wind. The afternoon coastal flow slowly pushed the dust of Realm out to sea as the midday sun sank lower in the sky.
The 10,000 raiders stood at the edge of the woods a few miles away, dumbfounded by what they had just seen. “Do you think that was the signal?”
Her left arm was held straight out into the air, grasping the longbow firm and on a bold arc. A fierce breeze whipped through the tall grass all around as the ranger crouched. An arrow was notched and a glistening greenish yellow vein of Stream coiled around the hand that held the string taught. Her eyes were shut tight and she appeared to be in deep concentration. Abruptly, the skilled huntress released the arrow into the sky. It was unclear what she might be firing at as it quickly vanished on a trajectory that took it high and far.
Motionless, like a stone gargoyle, she was poised and continued to listen. The Bessan’s eyes were still shut tight as her arm slowly lowered. Without hesitation, she sprung to her feet and was on the move. The darkly clad Shifter launched out of hiding into the open field running full speed, pursuing something in the general direction her projectile had been fired. The thick but short black cloak on her shoulders snapped behind her as she raced through the grass.
The ranger ran forward a few hundred yards, paused to tap the Stream briefly, then charged off much in the same direction she had been going. The accuracy of her chase improved as she repeated this process. If this Bessan huntress had someone marked, there was almost certainly no escape. Her prey, in this case, had the courtesy to never stray too far from the Stream to be completely hidden from sight.
The Bessan paused and surveyed the clearing she had come upon, seeming to recognize the place. The huntress looked down and dabbed at some blood on the ground. Crouching low to the earth again, the Shifter snapped the sparkling green and orange Stream back into her hand and closed her eyes. Without opening them, she delicately unsheathed her bow, notched an arrow and aimed high into the gathering night. The motionless ranger waited several minutes before taking her shot and the arrow vanished on a deep arc into the distant wilderness.
Coming back to life quickly this time, the Bessan raced forward, releasing the Stream. Her short, raven-black hair frolicked about her shoulders lightly as she sprinted. Climbing up over a hill and back down the other side, the huntress closed in on her prey. She slid quietly through the tall grass and could feel the thick stalks tugging at her cloak and sword scabbard. She broke into an open area and came upon a perforated human in studded leather armor and a tattered, bloody cloak. He was crawling along the ground and the Shifter was displeased that he had snapped one of her arrows. The human was not able to run anymore and had, essentially, given up. It became apparent that the multiple wounds he had received were weighing on him.
“Well,” he said, hands in the dirt. “You have me.”
“Indeed.” She said flatly. “Why did you run? Running doesn’t solve anything. Running makes people come chase after you, and, well, now here we are.”
“I know,” he mumbled painfully. “But if I had betrayed them, they would have treated me much worse than you ever will. You see, they have no problem eating your eyeball right out of it’s socket even if they suspect they’ve been wronged. You probably wouldn’t ever be that hungry or angry. I think I’ll take my chances with you.”
“You seem well aware of how brutal they are, and yet you turned them on a helpless city, unable to defend itself from a most gruesome foe.” The ranger seemed a bit outraged at his casualness, while she sheathed her bow back beside the quiver.
“Yes.” He was solemn, but resolved.
“Why?” She pleaded. “Those were your people, your brothers, your sisters. What do you have left? What are you hoping to be the King of now? What could they have offered you to make you do this to your own kind?” Her tone elevating as the Ranger grabbed hold of him by the shoulder buckle of his armor. She marched off towards the deepening wood some distance away, dragging her kill behind her like he was a slaughtered animal. The grizzled man smiled and winced as the arrow in his leg collided with objects on the ground. His lifeless limbs rolled over rocks and logs, leaving a thin trail of blood behind.
“You would never understand.” He said almost to himself, looking down at the world going by. Grunting occasionally in displeasure.
“Honestly, I’d really like to know what it took to convince you that THIS was what you needed to do. That your part in a scheme could enable such death and pain must have some explanation.”
There was a moment of silence that seemed to carry on for a agonizingly long time.
“I just wanted to see it burn.” He started laughing, first slow, then higher and sharper, until he was cackling. “I remember their screams. So many. Children. Screaming…” The flames were still roaring in his eyes.
The Bessan Shifter backhanded him with her chain gauntlet across his face. “Enough!”
When dusk came, she tied his hands and feet down to the earth so he couldn’t wiggle away and made no fire. The ranger settled down in a clearing in the low brush many miles from the road, but not quite to the protection of the trees, to set camp for the night. It would be another few days journey hauling this traitor back to Naruna for further questioning. The ranger thought as she healed him, treated and bandaged his wounds. Sadly, she realized he had left an alarmingly long trail of blood to her location, which was of concern to her. There is nothing I can do about this now. The ranger conceded to herself.
As the sun went down and darkness crept in from all sides, there was a deep red glow on the horizon, growing thicker and darker the lower it went. “Smoke. So much smoke.” She said aloud, and to no one in particular. Smoke had been billowing from her city when she left, but that was two days ago. The air of the Fold was still thick with it. Even if the city the Bessan Shifter had been born in was gone, she would not stand for that to be the fate of other people’s homes across the Kingdom.
Gaining what they can from this traitor is of paramount concern, she thought, as the plan to destroy the city had clearly been waged in secret, on multiple fronts and with the assistance of many. Unraveling this sordid catastrophe is going to take time. Did we even have time? Was it already too late? Things were moving so rapidly now… To her, a great deal had changed in a short time; the stakes had been raised to a new and perilous level.
“I know what you’re thinking,” her prisoner began with his back to her and his ear close to the ground. Perturbed by his noisiness, she glowered at him sternly. “You’re thinking, ‘I wonder if I torture him, what information I could get long before I reach Naruna. Then wouldn’t I be just such a good little ranger, so very praiseworthy, having learned so much from the traitor beforehand?” He scoffed in outrage to his own spun reality. “I’ll never talk to you, no matter what you do to me.”
“Won’t you?” She jested. “It would make my job so much easier, and then I wouldn’t need to take any of my tools out or get them dirty.” the Shifter composed herself and snapped back. “I’m not wasting my time discussing anything with you. You’ll talk when we get to Naruna, or you’ll show them what they need to see.”
He lifted his head from the ground suddenly and raised his voice. “As a matter of fact,” he said boldly, snapping around to face his captor and seeming encouraged, “I don’t think we’ll be going to Naruna at all. No, I have decided I am going to escape now.”
She chuckled dryly, and leaned in towards him, “and just how did you plan on doing that?”
“Not me,” he said. “Those Anten behind you might help, though.”
Several Anten entered the clearing, spotting the ranger right away. The leader of the group leapt at the Shifter and tried to push her down. The nimble huntress used the momentum of her fall to glide over her prisoner and land a short distance away from the Anten. While tied to the ground, he was shouting something in the Anten tongue. His way of telling them he is an ally, that is, if they speak the dialect he’s using. She thought.
Gathering herself, the ranger kicked the Anten who had jumped on her away while it tried to get up; its balance being compromised. Using that momentum, she sprung for the safety of the tall grass behind her. The Anten wasn’t deterred by her attack and also quite dexterous; it lunged forward and grabbed her leg as she tried to flee. In an instinctual reaction, the Shifter snapped the Stream to her hand and used her mastery of the ethereal elements to blast the Anten in the face with a wave of black, tainted fire. The scalding flames turned pure again as it caught on to the surrounding grass and began to spread. Two of the Anten who had moved in for the kill were also set ablaze and they fled screaming madly. When the black fire snapped into existence a thunderous boom of sound and energy was created, which terrified the other Anten. The warrior held onto her foot even as his body burned, and the flesh of his face melted away to the bone. The remaining Anten in the patrol began to run about wildly as the flames grew brighter and larger. The ranger severed the burning Anten’s arm with her sword and cut the bonds of her prisoner. “If you run from me, I will find you.” The stern huntress whispered to him. He paid her no mind, and ran off by himself into the night.
The poisoned Shifter grabbed her stomach and limped away through the grass. The ranger stumbled forward, light headed and sick. She wobbled about looking for something to hold onto, reaching out with her hands. She gripped the trunk of a tree and the Bessan remembered her training. Breathe. The Shifter took several minutes to regain composure as the poison of violating the natural order was flushed from her body.
As she gained greater distance from the fire, things became clearer in the darkness. The ranger crouched and slid through the brush as the Anten darted about, searching. Then, the screams of her prisoner cut through the night air. He seemed to have been captured and was very likely being eaten alive. Damn. She knew the mission was over.
The Bessan came to a clearing and headed towards the deepening darkness of the wood when an Anten attacked from the empty shadow of the tall grass. The Shifter whirled about and dodged the fierce swing of its axe. She spun away and created some distance between herself and the Anten. It spat and hissed at her angrily, then charged. Snapping the Stream back to her hand again, she thrust him away with a mighty breath of wind following her outstretched, clenched fist. The Anten was shoved as he reeled against the force of it and was moved back a dozen feet or so.
The feral savage was swift, strong, and did not lose its footing when the wind blew him away. Instead the warrior recoiled and leapt vertically into the air. The vicious warrior raised his axe high above his head and released a chilling, guttural scream; hurling himself into combat. The Bessan Shifter looked at him for a moment as she communed with the Stream. To the Shifter, time slowed down and her keen senses were greatly heightened. She made sure no other Anten were nearby and brought into focus what would be the most efficient way to resolve this situation. Decisively, the Shifter held out her flattened hand as her brutal enemy reached the peak of his leap. Then with authority, the Bessan clenched her fist and brought the elemental force of the wind in behind the Anten, smashing him violently against the ground. His body impacted at extreme speed and was ripped into fleshy chunks which scattered out in all directions into the grass at the perimeter of the clearing. The Shifter released the Stream and sprinted for the cover of the trees. Once she had some distance from the scene of her battle, the ranger looked for a place to avoid the Anten patrol which would surely investigate that scream.
Waiting high in a tree for a few hours, the Shifter remained motionless until the Anten patrols had moved on. She went back to her prisoner’s remains and searched through what was left of him. Within his saturated garments, she found some handwritten notes in a language she didn’t understand. It was an item she would have to bring to the Maesters in Naruna. “It’s something,” she sighed. “It’s better than nothing.”
“I may have lost the mission, but I have not lost hope.” The ranger stared back at the land set ablaze by her defensive fire as the flames spread into the deep woods. “This land is burning.” With that, she took to foot again, heading back southeast across the Fold to the city of Naruna and the Academy. The road home would take a few more days, and the weight of her failed mission wore heavy on her already. As she made her way through the woods. The ranger’s bones ached and she needed to find another safe place to rest soon. The mounting pressure of the days ahead weighed on her, while feeling a great sense of pity for those who would be caught up in these perilous times. My part to play isn’t over yet. She thought confidently.
I had been living in a world of ambiguity, unsure as to what direction I would be headed. I didn’t know if I should continue to be true to my workplace or to march ahead with my life helping the mentally ill. I needed clarity and things were coming to a head.
As of this moment, my independent life is over. I am living in my parent’s living room for the next 7 months. We are all, as I have stated in previous posts, moving north in July 2018. I had hoped to be working and saving money during that time, but instead I have sued my workplace for discrimination. That process has moved forward to the point of a formal demand letter. I did not know what my future was going to be and perhaps I still don’t. However, I do have some clarity that I want to spend my time helping people and getting back in touch with my peers. I have been a cog in the corporate machine before, and I reject that as a meaningful contribution. I want meaning. I NEED to be doing something that has an impact. I’ve solved problems for customers, yes. It is not the same as picking someone up off the floor and helping them walk again.
I do believe the lawsuit will be settled out of court. The money I receive should be comparable to what I would have made if I still worked most of next year. I hope that I can be kept occupied by my new direction. I need a formal, professional, helpful relationship to engage with. Life has been a scramble with me moving out, and the dust is beginning to settle. I feel like I am headed in the right direction, but there is still quite a bit to be done. Today I have my interview with NAMI at 4. I am very excited to meet them and express my enthusiasm for the opportunity.
I am definitely in a fiction place rather than non fiction. I am rebooting The Realm for my friends and running a d20 game. First one I’ve run in maybe 10 years. I’ve always been down to run games, I just never had the spark. I seem to have found that now, at least, which has spurned a beautiful creative process. I have written a great deal of fiction, none of which is in any sort of final state. I will however post my most polished turd for you to gawk at. Creative input requested!
As the days go on, the future resolves itself further. I’m encouraged by the progress I’ve made and glad to have something fun to ponder about. The story have in mind for them is QUITE compelling. Dramatic. Inspiring. Own horn. Tooted.
Avenues of thought,
The taste of summer lips,
Ribbons twist in the wind.
Together beneath the stars,
The hollow silence–
Pinned against regret,
Trapped by nevermore,
Memories fade away.
Silhouetted in red sunset,
The dance of electric air.
Thin fingers softly,
Caress of her deep eyes,
The shattered, whispered smile.
Vagrant delight like tower bells–
Held in memory.
Too alive to be real,
Lost like a shout into a gale.
Faded memory is all but gone.
Dreams forgotten by the light of dawn.
Shaft of light–
In the dusty darkness.
Cold gets in underneath,
Tattered edges tell–
Hands that touch,
Finding a way–
Tenderly through damp hair,
Along the soft curve of her neck–
Lost in deep pools of blue.
Somewhere in that moment–
When in union,
Entwined in the act,
Eyes that drive into the soul–
Laid bare and exposed,
Dripping and moving,
Two worlds become one.
The wells of her beauty,
Captivated in her many places,
Those precious seconds,
Given gladly in adoration.
A promise between eyes,
Wind through the dry reeds,
The soft snapping of campfire.
Holding on to shadows,
Choked by regret,
Degraded and fractured–
But not yet gone.
Bare feet on the grass,
Pale moonlit mornings,
Taking shelter against the rain.
Tomorrow will soon be today.
The deep echo of aching halls–
A splintering rupture,
Cast down like waste into the gravel.
Back down the slope,
A progression of failure.
Spun by chances–
Deeper into the darkness.
Only a shadow–
Gone when the light is shown.
The lost promise–
Whispered over dry lips,
Was never there at all.
Echoing deep in mystery,
The reflection of a whisper–
Caught beneath a starry sky.
The rapture of touch,
Together in a moment of unity–
Warm like a sunrise,
Decent as a calm cool breeze,
A rare green–
Cold walls wet with dew,
A long darkness that stretches out–
Hesitant to take a step,
Mired in uncertainty and fear.
The shadow of gloom,
Hanging heavy like a rain cloud,
Sinking in like a fanged wind–
Tearing down the center of warmth,
Pushing in until the fire is out.
The emptiness aches,
Disappearing into the deep nothing–
A vase of roses hits the floor and shatters–
Only fragments remain if what had been.
Another promise unfulfilled,
Winding deep into the black,
Where no light can touch.
Deep in the mangled web of lust,
Prey to passion, but unafraid.
The ache for her touch,
Yearning for completeness,
The grace of knowing,
How to hold her.
New as the orange dawn,
Solemn, like a pledge,
A spirited wind through tall grass,
Holding hands in the moonlight.
Smashed on a white-hot-press,
Busted bean endures the stress,
Tempered in a twirling fray,
Beat to dust, but not gone away.
Poured over a blistering blaze,
Mixed, churned in a blurry daze.
Steaming up with coiled heat,
Waiting to steep–a morning treat.
Liquid rich and pouring down,
The goblet rich with brewed renown,
Who’s bite and sigh is worth the wait,
Old is the cause to anticipate,
Every moment a new delight,
But it might just keep you up all night.
Warm as sunlit skin,
Radiating from within.
From the quiet space of suspicion,
A lingering cold–
Born of loss, pain.
These uncovered briefly,
To reminisce and become lost.
The dread of empty days,
Shattered hands grasp,
Deep in the well of what could be.
Forget the world without yellow.
Waking in the morning,
Feeling her there,
The shadows fade.
A cold wind moves,
Painfully scraping cheeks,
Crisping dead leaves,
Shadows along the horizon,
Near the chill of days.
Diminished in the twilight,
Pale blotted clouds,
Gusts that tear through with icy fangs,
Bleeding out into the night,
Standing starkly against,
Stone bricks freeze,
In the change of season.
The emptiness of the night,
Who’s glimmering eyes peer–
Through the dust of creation.
Rising, breaking and gone–
Streaking hot through time.
Lost like a whisper,
Remembered for an instant.
Shards of a dream,
Old and sunk in the flesh–
Grinding up against now.
Spun like a twisted rope,
Held tension from unforgotten anguish,
Choked down in regret,
A future lost of its color.
Brought to the sun–
Open memories greet the rain.
From underneath, light creeps to the edges,
Softly, it returns.
A new day comes,
Eyes open or closed.