Monday, January 25, 2010

February Quote

“You manage to get a hold of your virginity, but you still piss your pants.”
- The Book of Bryan, entry 1.2.18

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Dust Devils

What is 'justice' but a word?
What does the Universe care of 'justice'?
Would you live alone, and die alone
If the world gave one lick for justice?

Yet here we are, dust spun into form -
Shifting patterns whirling our way through the world
Picking up dust, tossing it aside,
Sharing it as we pass by and through one another on our lonely roads.
Dust devils, that's what we are.
Devils with pretensions of ourselves.

You think this is reality?
That this is what things are?
You're daft!
You're patterns in motion,
That's all you are, all you were, and its all you'll ever be!

You think that stuff, that thing we call 'body' is you?
There's not an inch, not a piece, not a molecule, not a particle
Not a single thing in it to connect it with the you you used to be.
You shed all that stuff long ago.
A dust devil.
A pattern in the wind.
An oh so very soon to die pattern.
That is what we are.
Patterns spun in on ourselves till we think there is 'we' and 'I'.
Its all delusion!

And yet...
Who wants to be alone?
How many times have you cried in the night away from prying eyes,
Cradled in the sweet embrace of self-pity?
How many times have you wanted those things the world promises;
Happiness, acceptance, success, affection, love?
How many times have you known frustration, bitterness, anger, fear, uncertainty?
You are everyone!
You who have left so many words unsaid,
So many dreams unfulfilled,
So many feelings set up on shelves.
There's no room in the universe to express all these things...
Silly me to try with words!
And yet, when all is said and done, and all illusions put to rest.
We're still here:
Still looking in a mirror,
At ourselves. At one another.
Still looking for justice.

But the truth is: for us devils, there can be none.

So, oh dusty dust devil
Let's dance the night away,
For it's five to four on ballroom floor
And we're ought but dust anyway.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Not on my watch

Light flakes of snow drifted through the evening air. Standing on the edge of a low cliff, a tall cloaked figure stared across an open field at a small manor overlooking the nearby town. With the sun setting to his right, bathing the sky in a deep red glow, the man turned to find a safe route down when a motion in the fields below caught his eye.

Someone, a man ill dressed for the cold, burst out from the tree line heading towards the town. Before he could make it more than a dozen yards an arrow shot from the woods, piercing his leg. Seconds later a half dozen other men casually emerged from the woods brandishing swords and axes. With a sigh and a quiet curse, the cloaked figure leapt off the side of the cliff, slid more than 20ft down a near vertical rock face and took off through the woods.

Gerald lay face down in the snow, panting. He could hear the crunch of snow behind him as someone approached. Desperately Gerald pushed himself up, trying to get to his knees, to get up and run. But before he could lift himself more than a few inches a heavy boot slammed into his back, blasting the breath from his lungs.

“Gave us chase there lad” said the man standing on Gerald’s back. “Name be Breck, and I be executioner tonight. But first, we got questions.”

Gerald gasped for breathe as Breck took his weight of Gerald’s back. “What. What do you want?”

“Tell us about old man in manor” said Breck, kneeling beside Gerald’s head. “You give good answer. Quick death. Throat slit. Nice and clean. Yes? Give bad answer.” Breck shook his head. “You not want that. I not want that. No one want that. So give good answer.”

Gerald franticly looked twisted his head, looking for some way out. But all he saw was Breck and the five grim faced men surrounding him. “I don’t know anything about the old man” he cried. “I’m just passing through! Honest!!”

Breck lowered his head and sighed. “That not good answer. Why you make me do this?” Breck asked, standing. “I not bad man. I good man.” Said Breck, as he plunged his sword into Gerald’s shoulder. Gerald screams, tensing with pain, but Beck continues as if he didn’t notice. “But old man make people angry. Powerful people. People who ask Breck to make old man go away.” With a sharp jerk Breck twisted the blade, sending fiery jolts of pain trough Gerald. “And these people. When they ask, you do.”

As Gerald desperately pleaded, trying to convince Breck that he knew nothing about the old man, the cloaked figure crept behind one of the outline bandits. In a single quick motion the cloaked figure grabbed the man’s hair and brought a long knife up to the man’s neck. “I shall give you a single chance to explain your actions” the cloaked man called out.

Breck looked up from Gerald. Squinting, he took a look around the field. Not seeing anyone besides the tall cloaked figure, Breck shrugged. “He alone. Kill him.”

“So be it” the cloak man muttered, slitting the captured bandit’s throat.

The four men charged, yelling at the top of their lungs and weapons held high. Breck turned back to Gerald, ready to continue questioning poor Gerald, but stopped as the field went suddenly quiet. Confused, Breck pulled his sword out of Gerald’s back as he turned again to face the cloaked man.

“Huh” managed Breck before a knife entered his skull, collapsing to join the four other warriors at the cloaked man’s feet.

Gerald groaned, barely conscious, as the cloaked figured carefully lifted him up. Breathing heavily, Gerald couldn’t make out the face under the cloak. “Who are you” he managed, his breathing short and laboured.

“Priest”, the cloaked man replied.

“Priest of what?” he tried to ask, but the siren call of sleep proved irresistible.

Off in the distance, the sounds of barking dogs could be heard. Priest smiled. At least the old man sent some sleds. Now, time to find out what the old man had called him for.

Friday, January 8, 2010

And then there was two

Crow perched on a small outcropping high in the torch lit cave, and smiled. Wrapped in the black feathered cloak that gives him his name, Crow was invisible to those below. He loved the rush of power he felt, looking down over his slaves pressed tight in the cages. Wild, fearful, pleading eyes peered from the faces of every kind of race, watching as the guards made their rounds.

Humans, dwarves, elves and things he didn’t even know the name of. All creatures have worth, whether as servants, entertainment or food. Crow didn’t care what his men brought in. There was always a buyer.

A shout from one of the guards in the corner drew Crow’s attention. His men had managed to grab a young feline and its containment was proving difficult. Brutally cunning fighters and incredibly stubborn, a properly broken feline can fetch a huge sum as a prized pet among certain noble classes. As difficult as it is to get a child away from its tribe, they were well worth the effort. Crow had lucked out with this one. Its tribe had faced a brutal winter, loosing most of its members during a extensive cold snap. Weakened as they were, his men were easily able to dispatch the few remaining tribe members. It was a shame the two other children didn’t survive. They were worth only a fraction as much as meat.

Leaning in to get a better look, Crow reached back to grab the rope he used to climb up for support. But instead of rough, thick rope, his fingers wrapped around smooth, cold chain. With a start, Crow let go and tried to spin around, but his foot slipped on the narrow ledge. Before he could even cry out, four ink black chains unfurled from the darkness above and wrapped tightly around him.

Crow tried to scream for help as a small, thin, naked man dropped from the darkness onto the ledge, but the chains had crushed all air from his lungs. He couldn’t move, scream, or even breathe.

The small man sat there hunched, staring at him, as Crow had stared at the slaves. The man’s pale skin was stretched tight over his ribs; his long dark hair was thin and greasy and reaching out from behind his back were six long, oily black chains. But worst of all was the man’s eyes. Open wide, his eyes glinted with a hint of madness and burned with a fire from deep within.

Silently, a chain rose to between Crow and this terrifying man. At the end of the blade was a smooth blade, the light of the fires below glinting off its metal. “My church has fallen and so have you” said the man, as the blade slowly drifted over Crow’s heart.

Desperately, Crow tried to struggle, tried to break free. But it was no use. The chains would not budge, and his lungs burned from lack of air. With one quick motion the blade sunk into Crow’s heart. As his vision faded, Crow could hear the man’s final words. “Your soul has been weighed. Your life has been judged. They have been found wanting.”

Po looked at the cooling corpse for several minutes before lowering it onto the ledge behind him. The guards must die as well, for there was too much blood on their hands to be washed clean. But first, Po must find the young feline. Before she died, Po promised the mother that he would save the child, and Priest would not forgive Po breaking such a promise.