Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Knives and Guts

I take a moment to wipe the sweat off my brow. This place is so warm that I can barely concentrate. This early in the morning always seems the worst, no matter the time of year. Even in the winter it is too stagnant but in the summer, oddly enough, it remains the constant, sickly temperature.

Inhaling the sticky, stifling air I turn back to the task at hand, to the deft knifework that I am so used to. I pull the blade and it slides easily as always, splitting the surface. The motion of my arm and the drag of the cut are so familiar that I don't even know it happens. I just do it as I always have: deftly and quickly. I twist the knife between my fingers and set it aside without a thought.

With the same routine autonomy as the cut, I pull back the surface to view its contents and am assaulted with what dank, stale odor so thick that I can almost feel it on my face. I take a step back and cough, trying to quickly dispel the disgusting stench from my nose and lungs before I choke, and waving my hand to try and disperse the cloud.

I look around at those around me to see if anyone noticed my sudden coughing spell, afraid of their judgmental stares. Fortunetly there is only one other near me, a tall lad wearing the same style crimson and brown garb as I. He didn't seem to notice me, much to my relief, and continues to go about his business.

Glad that noone noticed me, I return to my work. I reach under the surface my subject to grab ahold of its contents. They feel rough under my fingers as I grip tightly to them, the stench assaulting me again as I disturb its source. I hold my breath, close my eyes, and turn away as I forcefully try to rip the contents out with my bare hands.

I begin to cough again as my lungs fill with the vile smell, and I keep trying to pull. The contents won't come free and my subject lifts off its cart, unwilling to part with its innards. I have to violently shake it until the contents come free in my hands, the husk falling limply to the cart again. I am still coughing and have to drop my spoils next to the fallen container.

I again turn away from my work and cover my face with my arm. This only makes matters worse as I am now covered in parts of the contents, and my coughing increases. I try to wipe my arms off on my tunic but it is no use; I'm covered in my subject's contents. Taking another step back, I try to breath in fresh air, any air that isn't that disgusting stench.

Soon my nose gets used to the smell and I turn back to my work. I give a small sigh and walk back to my cart. Holding my breath, I pick up the bundle of new rugs I have just unpacked and hoist them onto my shoulder. After giving the box they came from a small kick, I take the product to their shelf.

I hate stocking rugs.

End It

End it all,
The silence is deafening,
The words refuse to stop,
Hearing the death of my thoughts,
Ringing in the depths of my heart,

Tell me now,
The reason for this heracy,
This unfounded falacy,
Why must I be forced through this,
To see the darkness inside?

Where are you now,
The little voice inside?
Why have you taken this path?
Time and space give no remorse,
For the mortality of immortals.

In the annals of the age,
We see the lines drawn in black,
Everything clear in obscurity,
Down the the faith you falsly utter,
And where is my recompense?

Today, I take your heart,
And I drag it through Hell,
With muted screams,
You will know the pain,
Of my Lost Cause.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Eggshells

Watch the shell as it breaks,
And all the force that it takes,
It takes the blows, weathers the rows,
All with a straight face it fakes.

Listen to the soul as it suffers,
While absent the heart of another,
It shows no tears, speaks no fears,
All whilst being torn asunder,

Feel the chains that bind,
That hinder the spirit, the mind,
They take you down, that metal gown,
After you leave it all behind,

Watch the shell as it breaks,
And all of the force it takes,
With eyes rolled back, and jaw gone slack,
All while your life she takes.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Once Great land of Altarion

Gather 'round, friends, and I shall tall you a tale. This is the story of the Once Great land of Altarion. Many were its wonders: Mountains so high that only the Lords of Sky knew what rested upon their snow-capped peaks; Lakes so deep it would take a lifetime to sink to the bottom, and twice that to cross; Great, wide deserts were home to exotic cretures that few had ever seen; and enchanted forests where dwelled the Wolf Kings.

Such wonders did this land hold, and the Sons of Earth, commonly called Man, thrived in all of its spleandor. For centuries the Empire of Man stood at peace and enjoyed endless prosperity. Few had met Hunger or spent the night with Disease, and all was right with the world.

But, as they say, all good things must come to an end.

War came to Alterion. Savage and mindless beasts set themselves against the Sons of Earth and ravaged their lands. Every father was called up to fight, every firstborn was sent to the lines of war. Mothers and children cried out in such despair that their echoes can still be heard floating between the Great Mountains.

A great man Alterions fell, but the Sons of Earth are as fierce in war as they are kind in peace. They drove the monsters back and drowned them in the sea. Such was the blood of the falen that the sea was turned crimson for a thousand years.

Pleased with the Sons of Earth for ridding her lands of the Demon Horde (as the monsters became known), Alterion herself blessed the Empire of Man with a century of of Plenty. Crops sprang up with little effort and grew in abundance. Mankind was thankful for the lands generosity and set about directing their efforts into the arts and sciences. Beautiful paintings of the Deserts and Seas were ade, songs were composed to honor the Fallen and celebrate their victory. Amazing machines where built and amazing cities of Steel and stone burst forth.

But this, too, was not to last.

The Sons of Earth soon began to forget Altarion and her kindness, and knew only the luxury her gift had allowed. Few worked the fields or cared for the livestock, instead leaving it for their machines. Altarion became displeased with Man's complacency. She took back her gift of Plenty and plunged the Empire of Man into a dark age of suffering.

Then came the Decievers: Hunger and Disease.

Hunger wandered the streets of Man's cities as a healthy young man. Wherever he walked crops wilted and livestock were struck dead. Ignorrant of Hunger's presence, the Sons of Earth cursed Altarion for their condition. To this Hunger said,
"Rebuke the Land of Altarion! She has abandoned you to Starvation and Death! She does not care for you any longer! Look, then, to us, the Dark Gods! We can offer you comfort and prosperity! Turn to us and all shall be well!"
Eager to be fed, they turned their eyes to the Dark Gods.

Disease disguised herself as beautiful younge woman and moved among the Sons of Man. Seeking comfort in these dark times, many men, and women, fell into the Bed of Disease. Wherever she stayed, sickness followed. Man was stricken with illnesses of the mind, body, and spirit and began to curse Altarion for their health. To this Disease said,
"Rebuke the Land of Altarion! She has abandoned you to Illness and Death! She does not care for you any longer! Look, then, to us, the Dark Gods! We can offer you health and pleasures beyond your dreams!"
Eager for an end to suffering, they turne their eyes to the Dark Gods.

After man of the Sons of Earth had turned to the Dark Gods, the gods fulfilled their promises. But nothing is free. In exchange for Plenty, the Dark Gods demanded Temples built in their name and nine tenths of Man's labors offered in sacrifice. In exchange for heath and Pleasures, the Dark Gods demanded every child be offered to the Temples as acholytes until they were deemed "devout."

Though service to the gods was not ideal, the Sons of Earth decided it was better than hard work or suffering.

While many turned to the Dark Gods, there were those who did not. These Sons of Altarion remembered the gifts of the land and understood their sins. They turned to hard work for their salvation. They sowed their fields and reaped their own crops. They raised and butchered their own livestock. They became good and strong and Altarion prized them.

When the Decievers came, the Sons of Altarion turned from them and returned to their work. For this, Altarion proteced them from Hunger and Disease.

While hated by the Dark Gods and the Sons of Earth, the Sons of Altarion continued to hope for their lost brothers. They worked alongside them and rescued some from the clutches of the Dark Gods. For years they carried on with their work and respect for Altarion.

The Sons of Altarion await the day when they can overthrow the Dark Gods and restore freedom and True Prosperity.

There you have it. It is not a happy tale, no, but a fable of sorts. Tell me, then, who you would serve? The Dark Gods who damand of you more than you are willing, or the Land who has given you more than you shall ever know?

Friday, March 30, 2012

Donovan Grant

This is a bit of a fan-fiction I did on another blog that I don't use anymore, so I dragged both pieces of it here to this one. Enjoy! (I'll modify the copy-paste for easier readability later, as it didn't seem to copy over very well. I'll get to that when I have time.)

A story segment.

I love the rain. I love the smell of it, the
sound, the feel of it. I love the way it glistens in the streetlights at night,
bathing the world around me in a golden-orange light. I often find myself
watching the rain water run downhill, off the asphalt streets and into the
gutters of the city, dragging all the dirt and vile muck away from our
day-to-day paths. The rain often comes in the night and pays us a friendly
visit, wiping our slate clean, so to speak, and leaving us a new and fresh world
in the morning. So silently it comes upon us and so gently does it leave us to
our own devices after it has gone that we barely take a moment to realize and
ponder upon the miracle that was, quite literally, dropped on us.
If only it carried away all the filth in our
world.
I often dream of rain. It comes to me in silence
and whispers its sweet song into my ears, cleansing the world around me as it
speaks. The grass becomes greener, the flowers more lively, and the world
glistens in its seemingly magical power to cleanse. But, even as it speaks to
me, no rain falls upon me. My skin does not glisten in the night, nor is the
filth washed from my flesh. I look down at myself, covered in muck and reeking
of death, and do not see it washing away. I suddenly come to the realization
that there is no cleansing rain for me, nor anyone. No amount of rain will wash
away the disgusting grime of evil from humanity. We are doomed to dwell in our
vile souls.
Leaning against a brick wall in an alley, I listen
to the rain. I listen to it fall in the puddles at my feet, as if a thousand
small voices singing their joyous song, and watch it run of my boots to join its
comrades in the natural course of things. I can hear it pitter-patter on the
brim of my hat, already saturated, it simply rolls off and drips to the ground
joining the chorus of life. I take a moment to smile at the simple things in
life before turning my attention to the task at hand.
It is midnight, or roughly so, in the downtown
section of the City. A relatively safe area, what with the local police
patrolling all hours of the night, complimented by the excessive use of the new,
bright LED lighting system, you would never expect trouble here. A nice thought,
but a sadly mistaken one. In the heart of security lies the greatest of dangers:
Complacency. Just because a minefield has been swept and cleared and there
probably is no danger of blowing
yourself up does not mean it's a good idea to take a happy little stroll through
the supposedly safe area. Sure, you may walk through the field a hundred times
and never get killed, but that one-hundred and first time is the one time it
takes to turn you from a happy-go-lucky, ignorant fool into one very charred
grease stain.
The same is true
of the City's Downtown. You never know who or what lies in wait, no matter how
safe it seems.
I'll wait here
for hours, watching this ally. I chose it because it is the smallest, darkest
ally on this street. This street is also home to a couple nice apartment
buildings. Some genius decided to turn all the old buildings on this street into
some nice, over-priced apartments. When I say nice, I mean NICE. Vaulted
ceilings, large windows, and tin and iron moldings are just a few of the little
details that make these places so desired. Now, as well, when I say over-priced,
I mean it. Way more than I care to mention, but some of these boneheads actually
pay out for it. Oh well. Their problem, not mine.
I lean my head
back against the wall and close my eyes for a moment. Even in this small ally,
my black jacket and hat make it very difficult to spot me unless you're looking
for me. As I rest my eyes and head, I let the rain fall down on my face. It's
very relaxing. Trust me. Try it some time. However, it seems my short little
moment of relaxation has come to an end.
I hear foot steps
on the sidewalk, so I lower my head and glance out of the ally. A man has
stepped to the opening of the alley and taken up residence against the wall
opposite me. Not the most attractive of individuals, he stands at roughly
five-nine when standing up, weighs roughly one-eighty, and is quite obviously
drunk. If the stench of alcohol on his breath didn't give it away, it was the
way he muttered to himself. Some people, I swear. He reaches up and runs his
fingers through his soaked, dark hair. In the lighting his hair looks black, but
I'm guessing somewhere closer to brown. After some more muttering, he reaches
into his jacket and pulls out a pack of cigarettes. Great. I roll my eyes in the
darkness as he begins to light up. The light of the lighter and the glow from
the cigarette cast an odd light upon his face and eyes. That's when I see it.
Even from this short distance, I should be able to make out some color in his
eyes, but all I see is darkness. A black empty void behind those lifeless eyes.
I blink and shake my head. It was probably just a trick of the light, nothing to
worry about.
While being
unnerved by the mans appearance did shake me a bit, it was not the only thing
that warned me of coming trouble. Something about him rattled me. It was like a
very deep fear, but also an uncontrollable rage within me. When you deal with
these characters enough you learn to sense them, so to speak. This guy reeked of
trouble, and I had a good idea what he was up to.
So I wait. He
waits.
He smokes and
mutters. I watch and listen.
After not too
long I can hear another set of foot steps on the side walk. This set is coming
from behind the wall I am leaning against. This set is softer than the mans,
lighter and more graceful. It's almost like trying to hear a cat padding up to
you after the dog runs by. It's that much of a difference. I glance at the man
across from me and they way he was looking around my corner confirmed what I had
suspected: it was a woman.
No. God
no.
The seething rage
inside me begins to boil over. Not many things get me riled up like this. Not
many things at all. Keep your cool, Jack. Keep your head on straight
if you want to be any use here. By some miracle I manage to listen to my own
advice. I keep my cool and watch the man and listen to the foot steps. I slowly
slide my right hand to the handle of the Colt .45 holstered on my right hip and
my left hand to the handle knife strapped to my left thigh.
Breathe. Just breathe.
I quietly even out my breathing that I hadn't
realized had been a little rough. I can do this. Just wait. It was always
like this, no matter how many times it happened. It never ceased to scare
me.
I wait. He watches.
She comes closer.
As the steps come near, the man
smiles.
Out of the corner of my eye I see her walk past my
corner. She's not tall, but not short either, with medium length brown hair. At
about five-eight she comes to about my shoulders. She's not built like an
athlete, but definitely not out of shape. I'd place her at about twenty-two, if
not a bit older. She is wearing white tennis shoes, or at least they were before
the rain, blue jeans, and a black t-shirt with something like “quiz bowl” or
something nerdy like that on it, as well as a seemingly fully packed backpack. A
brain. Great. I hope this turns out right.
As she passes, I have about a second to get he
profile and appearance. She then takes two more steps past me, during which my
glance falls on the man across from em. He has stepped back into the shadows,
but I know he is smiling.
One heartbeat.
Two heartbeat.
Three heartbeat.
He takes a step forward and is upon
her.
He quickly reaches out and grabs the girl by her
arm with one hand uses his other arm to reach around her and slam his hand over
her mouth before she can even gasp. I don't move. Within seconds he has her
locked up and is pulling her into the alley. She is struggling, but the man is
far stronger than he seems. He takes her even further into the dark hallway
towards a large dumpster, turning her toward it and his back to
me.
Perfect.
I pull the .45 from its holster and step toward
the evil deed being committed. The mans hand slips from the girls mouth and she
screams,
“Help! Somone please hel---”
That's it. It's on now.
I take three silent steps toward the assault and
pull the hammer back on the pistol. The assailant doesn't hear the click over
the sound of the struggle. Good. I take one more step and reach out towards the
mans neck. My fingers find their mark and wrap around his throat and clench
down. Out of sheer surprise, the man suddenly releases his hold on the young
girl and turns his head toward me. I can't see it here in the darkness, but I
can feel it. I can feel the cold, lifeless evil within him. The terrible void
deep inside. It's quite disheartening, actually. However, I don't have time to
admire the scenery, and I push the man off the girl and into the brick wall
behind him. As his head slams back into the bricks, I can hear them crack and
shatter. The mans head then sways a bit, stunned. Without a second thought I jam
the barrel of the pistol under the mans jaw and stare into the glints of light
where I know his eyes are. He is still smiling.
It wasn't always this way.

A continuation of "It wasn't always like
this."
There is something utterly horrifying about the
smile on your opponents face when you've just given him your best shot and he
feels the utter need to grin. I looked deeply into the mans eyes, steadied my
breath, and gripped harder on the handle of my gun. Terror runs like ice in my
veins mixing with the red-hot rage and it creates a tremor throughout my body,
but I don't loosen my grip on the man or my gun. He starts to move a bit and
crush my hand harder on his throat and he stops. The smile is still there.
Without realizing it, I let out a low primal growl as I stare him down.
From behind me I hear soft moans and grunts of the
young woman moving in fear in pain. Without taking my eyes off my mark, I turn
my head slightly to the side towards the girl.
“Get out of here.” I growl at her, “Now!”
I can hear her stop moving for a moment of
surprise, then the sound of her picking herself up and beginning to run away.
That has to piss him off.
It did.
A flash of pain strikes me square in the forehead
as the assailant smashes his head into mine. I stagger back a few steps, gun
still in hand, and lean on a dumpster. I focus my eyes only for a moment to see
him a couple feet away with his fist in the air. I instinctively spin step to
the side just as his fist passes through where my skull was just a moment ago. I
take another step and position myself in a shooting stance and level my .45 with
his skull. He looks up in time to see the barrel staring him down.
He smiles.
There's a flash.
My hand bucks back.
There is thunder.
The .45 hollow point round strikes the man right
between the eyes. Time seems to slow. His head snaps back as the bullet strikes
his skull, offsetting his weight and sending him falling. I can hear his neck
snap as it is bent all the way back with the force of the shattering round. His
body twists and falls to the ground with a sickening crunch as his skull meets
the pavement.
I'm holding my breath. My head is pounding. My
eyes are still locked onto my marks head, as his the barrel of my gun.
He's down, Grant, he's down.
I exhale slowly and steadily lower the .45 to my
side. The rain has stopped but I can still hear the water running through
gutters and down the brick walls. There's nothing to wash away the blood of the
man I just gunned down. Nothing to make it go away. I take one more moment to
look at him, and turn away.
I take a few steps toward the street stop. I heard
something move. Quickly, I turn back to see something large, disgusting, and
apparently hungry running down the alley at me. Without thinking I dropped the
gun and raised my arms up in front of me, letting my sleeves fall down my arms
and exposing two leather bracers. With disciplined precision I summoned the
power of my sudden terror, the rage of what I had just witnessed, and the
irritation of something trying to kill me, creating a nearly static field around
my body. In an instant I channeled all that energy into the bracers on my arms
and they immediately alight with several red-glowing runes and sigils, creating
a invisible wall of force between me and the beast. An instant later it's upon
me. I wince as the force of the creature strikes my shield and the air around me
crackles and sparks, revealing a half dome of what momentarily appears like an
electrical storm in front of me. The beast stops dead and shakes for a moment as
electricity passes through it's body and stumbles then backwards. I drop the
shield and wave my right hand sideways at the creature, as if I were swatting a
large bug, and more energy surges into the right bracer. As my hand swings, an
invisible force strikes the staggered creature and flings it into the wall of
the alley. Bricks and dust fly, creating a gray cloud in the darkness.
I can feel the use of magic waring at me already.
To throw a beast of that size with no focus took a lot of effort. Even so, I
once more summoned all my fear and, now, rage and stalked toward the downed
creature. It rolls to its knees and attempts to stand just as I get close to it.
I focus all of the rage and fear into a specially crafted set of sigils inlaid
into the rubber leather of my boots and they begin to glow red. The beast looks
up at me.
It, once more, seems to smile.
I growl and spit at it.
“Eat this, jackass.”
I swing my steel-toed boot full force into the
thing's head, the force amplified by the will I poured into the runes. I feel my
foot connect and I follow through. I can feel its head shatter around my boot
and warm fluid soak my leg. Turning back to the creature, I give it one more
nudge with my boot to make sure he's dead.
He's dead.
I walk to the entrance of the alley, retrieve my
gun, and look out into the street. It's raining again. Nature's coming to clean
away the filth.
It'll take more than rain.
I walk out into the street and into the night. I
should probably find new pants.
My name is Donovan Grant. I'm a wizard.
Well....sort of.

Arrogance

How arrogant is man!
He walks unchallenged under the wrath of the storm.
As the lightning strikes and the clouds bellow in fury,
Man pays no mind.
He builds towers of steel and iron,
Vast cities does he inhabit!
Giving no heed to the power of the heavens.

How much more arrogant is he,
If these forces dwell simply upon the Lord's footstool?
What challenge, then, does he offer to the God Above?

Ivy

It begins in the chest, like a dark weight,
A tiny pull that betrays the inevitable and irresistible vortex,
It pulls on the ribs, then pulls on the shoulders,
Black tendrils reaching and seeking out,
Searching for every node, every nerve of the beast inside,
Warm fingers burrow into the subconscious, pulling at the strings,
Thoughts of strength and prowess, violence and blood,
Slowly it reaches into the arms, the neck, the abdomen,
Coiling in the muscles, tensing them, tightening them,
The sickly vines reach the mouth and throat,
While the fingers pull more strings,
Thoughts of victories, of feasts, of meats and wines,
Black saliva, while still clear, fills the mouth,
While bile floods the stomach, and it growls,
Inside the chest, the weight grows stronger,
Threatening to consume every part in turn,
And now, here, it begins to bolden,
The tendrils coil tightly around the waist,
And burrow deep inside, while the thoughts begin to change,
Thoughts of curves, of heat, and motion,
Of sweat, of teeth, and voices,
It grips tight the arms, closes tight the jaw,

Now this, my friends, is the last chance,
The last moment to realize, to take control,
For if you fail, She will have you.

She whispers in the ears with dark thoughts,
She flushes the body with fire,
She promises such things that the heart begins to race,
And when the eyes close, the assenting breath let out,
Be you alone or not,
She has you.