Creativity Lost and Found

I have been afforded a unique opportunity to explore a “world” that had been dormant for a long time, as you can see by my fiction of late. This new spark has brought life a new color and added a smile to my face. At the same time as this creativity spurns new life, it reminds me of the last time I ventured down this avenue of thought.

Jax and I started a blog called “Ruptured Worlds” many years ago, and we planned to bring our two imaginations together and unite the fantasy worlds we had each created. She had a deep and rich world full of dimensions, languages and fantastic creatures, and I too had a setting that was deep and immersive. That was something I really still love about her, is that she is a wild dreamer. Her creativity was compelling, and I still do not regret any of the money I invested in helping her realize her potential. We wanted to create a fantasy story in sort of a living way, where posts on the blog advance the plot and document the narrative over time.

Not everything worked out the way I wanted, and I think this Ruptured Worlds thing was one of the last things we ever spoke about. She lost a lot of her content when we split, but none of it had been documented on the blog as we never wrote a single post. I didn’t have anything more than a “coming soon” sort of blurb to our non existent audience. It makes me sad to think that world she created never had a chance to be realized and shared. This is one of many regrets. However, my own imaginative enterprise is marching ahead with a new infusion of interest.

I have often times refused to take credit for “coming up” with this world, as I dreamed it all in such vivid clarity. All was made apparent to me, at least, the primary mechanic of the “universe.” This reality is different, and loaded with heritage, history and strife.  When I awoke, I documented my experiences, and began to fill in the details. I soon thereafter spiraled into mania and went on a two day 72 page tear where I didn’t sleep and constantly obsessed. I have recently discovered the document I created at the peak of my illness. I originally composed it in 2004 and it is loaded with emotional sadness and loneliness of a profound variety. This universe, or reality, has grown over the years, and players have been added to the story. I have also turned this world in to (now) 3 D&D campaigns. The one I am running now is by far the best iteration of the universe. I have a deep and engrossing story and a compelling plot which will drive the engine of creativity forward.

This new campaign brings up memories of Jen too, as she was the star character in the first D&D game in this universe. She and I were entwining by then and the narrative they all crafted takes me down a road of thinking about the memories we made. There were some good times in there, albeit, far outweighed. It’s the same sort of feeling I get for Jax: there is a fondness for that beautiful moment where our minds were playing together, contrasted with all the damage we later inflicted upon each other. Would those campaigns and moments had as much potency if not for those women I loved being wrapped up in them? I contend that the emotional gravitas of the story was amplified by the feelings I had, but not the source of them. I have an unending well of enthusiasm for this reality, and I greatly enjoy any chance to openly recreate there. With or without female companionship.

This is a good chance for me to be solemn and thankful. I am glad for the loves I have had and the good memories we shared. Those rare moments where I felt truly and unconditionally understood. I have come to a sort of peace with my past in that sense, otherwise visiting The Realm would be a painful excursion. For me, I can relish the now, while celebrating what there is to from our pasts. I regret, yes, and I’m sure that’s a mutual thing. I don’t have to wear my mistakes on my sleeve, but I do need to be aware of them (as I have said countless times). Negative emotions, grudges and anger all drain down what little energy I have available to keep my boat upright. Some people have no problem holding on to anger. It tears me apart and destroys me over time, like holding radioactive waste in my hand. So I gave up on that. The free energy I have now can go toward things like helping the disadvantaged and the severely mentally ill. I have the freedom to create an an environment unencumbered by anger and pain. The world is wide open blog. We are missing out on taking in the good if we are only focusing on the bad.

In this new dawn of creativity found, I still take the time to look back with fondness at all that has been. Memories stained with pain, but there are still fibers of that moment that are not lost. There is always something to be gained and some way to grow. Don’t let a catastrophe pass by without changing something about yourself. Bad things do happen, but so do beautiful things. I choose to look through the filter of someone who forgives and has forgiven himself. I choose to create, not destroy.

 

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Exit Stage Left

I know a great deal of this blog has been a narrative of my journey towards partnership. Starting with Jax and all that followed since the blog was re-established, I have had nothing but failure. My own doing? Yeah, a lot of it was, truly and I accept my responsibility for that. I have also been afforded a great deal of time to be introspective after my last encounter with relationships. This moment, here and now in my adult life, I have come to a clear understanding about myself. I have mentioned this earlier, but I do believe it to be more true now than ever. I need to be alone, for my own safety, and the emotional safety of others. I have fully come to understand that as things stand now, I am not at all ready to embark on a partnership, and I know for certain I never want a family. I have seen what relationships are, and hoped for what they could be. I am very sure that the instability that most people can cope with in their partnerships jeopardizes my mental stability. I can’t manage my own mental health and be constantly worried, anxious, walking on eggshells to avoid conflict. I have never had equality, unconditional love, or respect. Maybe that’s because I never earned any of those things, but I’m definitely not he best judge of that.

Regardless of where the blame falls, I seem incapable of producing a healthy relationship. I have give it plenty of tries and have no more tolerance for failure. At this point, I need to get used to the idea of being happy regardless of love or partnership. I need to be able to by happy in my life and not looking around for more. I’m living with my amazing parents now, and helping take to load off my mom for my dad’s care. I’m part of a family unit again, and that feels good. We all love each other, unconditional. They have saved me from disaster on multiple occasions, and now is my chance to give back to them. I’m with them now, as they get older and need more help. My sister will be there too when we move, so It’s not going to be all me or anything. I am genuinely glad to be entering this time in my life. I want to help, I need it. I use that to build meaning in my life again with accomplishments I can look back at and feel proud of. I need to feel like I am helping, that I’m giving back to my world rather than sucking he essence out of it.

I’m feeling bolstered in my confidence about my life direction lately. I have integrated into a new home, with change and prosperity on the horizon. I won’t give my time and energy to a mindless corporate entity, but will endeavor to help someone who is less well off than I am and help them build confidence and feel understood. I hope you all too find wisdom in your introspection, as I have. I see what will help keep me healthy and what will not. I see now where I have made a misstep, and where I need to be more careful in the future. I’m not closing the door blog, but I used to give a great deal of energy to finding someone. That energy is going towards improving my mental health now, and forwarding my new life with my family. I think that’s a much more useful application of my resources, don’t you?

Story 3: The Kindred of the North

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.

Story 2: Terrorism

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?”

A Decision Made

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.

Rebuilding Phase

Hello again Blog,

I am having a difficult time coping with my reality-in-transition. Fundamentally, my recovery during the last 4 years has been based on having an occupation and regimented structure to prevent me from becoming depressed and relapsing. I needed something to commit to, and invest in, to further my success along the path of being mentally stable. Unfortunately, due to the nature of my reality at the moment, I am forced to start over as thought it were day 1 out of the hospital.

I spent the first week arguably in a state of torpor. I accomplished nothing, and I was, more or less, getting over the shock of having had a psychotic break aka sulking. I then started re-implementing some ground-level responsibilities. I Made sure I got out of bed every day. Step 1.  Then I took it one further and got in to the shower. The next day I gathered up my laundry and picked some shit up. I have compartmentalized my progress as to not overload myself with a burden I can’t fully comprehend, but not so little that I might be deflated for lack of visible sign of progress. This is my reconstruction. I needed to set up my own schedule, as I was not going to be driving to the office again. I gave myself tasks and set objectives out that needed to be met. Why? Pride, pure and simple: my personal antidote to depression.

Being depressed sucks, and I don’t like the way I feel when I am in that place or any number of other bad places. I avoid going there if at all possible, though often it is not. Nevertheless I still believe that if there is ANYTHING proactive one can do to help ease the burden of sorrow, one should take advantage of that. Personally, I finds pride to be a good remedy to feeling depressed or self-deprecating. I tend to counter bad thoughts with pure action; a demonstrative of (hopefully) positive thought become reality. I give no life to my depressed thoughts, but instead, show it that, time and time again, I will act on my positive feelings and execute things in my life that will raise me up rather than tear me down. It’s hard enough trying to live a normal life with the burden I carry, let alone if I can’t even adequately defend myself from my mental illness.

We all have ways to cope. Personally, I cope via elevation. I find ways out of the hole, since being down there is not any fun at all. Life is a wide open door, with lots and lots of possibilities, even for someone like me. We get so mired in our distorted perspectives of reality that we don’t see how beautiful we are and what we still have yet to give to the world. Even the most severely tortured soul deserves a chance to reconcile and get pointed forward. Optimism is what we lack, just in principle if not truly comprehended. I don’t anticipate it is easy to be optimistic about anything when one is depressed, but that is the perfect time to implement some form of structure to reality. I don’t ever trust my judgement or make big decisoons when I am depressed, ever, anymore. I learned the hard way, and maybe we all did at some point. Then, when we are sane again, and feeling hopeful about life, we write ourselves a little message for the next time we get depressed. Like a little postcard from the future when things will be different, and I won’t feel depressed, because I was doing just fine when i wrote this to myself. Go a step further and leave yourself some action items to take care of to settle acute symptoms and get yourself grounded. I took a class here in town from Recovery Innovations International called WRAP, and during that class, we created our Emergency Action Plans. Mine is still up on the main menu, and has been there for a while (probably could use some updating). I developed those words so that I wouldn’t make the wrong decision when I was at my most vulnerable and depressed state.

I still struggle with all of this, day by day, but I hold on to the concept of optimism even if I don’t truly commit to it emotionally and spiritually. The structure gives me hope that steps forward make a difference, and that’s precisely what I intend to keep on doing. Hopefully this mess with my workplace gets figured out before I have to file suit over it, but we shall see. An update for next post, to be sure.

Possible Resolution

I’m not going to write much right now, but it is relevant to note that tomorrow I’m talking to my work to (hopefully) work out the details of my accommodation request. Its either going to be a very good thing or a big huge hassle. It would not be fun to have to march down the lawsuit road with these guys, so I’m really thinking they would like to avoid that as much as I would. Sometime tomorrow morning I should know whether or not I will be able to work the rest of the week.

I’m pretty anxious about this and just trying to take it easy this evening. I’ll keep you posted.