Whispers From The Past

January 17, 2014

Keton jumped over the low wall and sprinted quickly across the barren courtyard. Wreckage of the Old World littered the place – too dangerous yet, it seems, for any of the Folk to retake it. He could smell his charge inside though – ink and paper books, still at least partially intact, despite centuries of languish.

He skipped over a bench, almost rolled into a ball, with some kind of message woven into iron fibers that it had once been made from. Some message in Latin. It was hard to read, with only the “EST” still visible on the outside of the mass. Respecting the warning, he unbuckled the grip for his aether emitter, a glove-like device that was used not just to project certain tools useful for spelunking in the ruins of the Old World but also for defending himself against the many threats that live in the ruins and feed and unwary travelers.

A Librarian, however, was no unwary traveler.

Keton crept along the outside of a massive building he had followed the trail of books too. Both the smell of binding resin on the wind, faint but enough to track, and the subtle comfort of the books themselves. He could feel the resonant song of the knowledge contained within them, that special talent that selected the Librarians from all other Folk. Taking care to not get lost in the ecstatic song, he carefully pushed the doors open with his right hand, left hand slipping into the aether emitter and pressing the lock combination. The bonds quietly folded around his arm, locking into place like a gauntlet of brass and light. He quickly tapped in another code on the buttons, lighting up the nodes on the gauntlet like a torch. He raised his hand, fingers extended so the light filtered throughout the room. Illuminating rows and rows of rotten but only just books.

A treasure beyond imagining, a wealth of information of the Old World waiting to be reconstructed. Recorded. Preserved.

He sprung into action immediately, whipping a brown leather messenger’s bag to his feet and pulling out a contraption of arms and plates, filled with tiny intricate clockwork and a thrumming aether engine, whirring and spitting tiny jets of steam. He then pulled out a bottle from within the bag, a strange shaped bottle filled with the cleanest water, and poured it into the machine’s fuel port and stepped back, letting the strange machine unfold until it seemed like an open book, two big copper plates with a spine joining them, with several spider-like arms that ended with various aether tools specialized in the reconstruction and recording of the printed word.

He quickly set about carefully moving the less decayed works to the desk he had set the machine up on and stacked them near a large, padded claw on the back of the machine. It slowly grabbed on book at a time and the arms went into motion. They peeled away filth and brushed away dust. They spun with light and flashes of lightning, carefully restructuring the broken chemical bonds that were once pages and ink. Then a large lens would scan each page in less than a second while the other arms continued their work on the next page. Each book was placed back on the desk looking as it did when the library first received it, carefully recorded into the machine’s internal aether matrix.

Keton grew more and more excited the more books he saw placed down. All were medical texts, ancient troves of knowledge that the Clerics of Forest Paths would pay dearly for. That may save people and bring him both glory and recognition in the Order of the Sheltered Bower.

He dreamed of sheltered promenades, a house in the High Hills, his own private library. Perhaps even an apprentice, a Secretary. He might even be made a full brother of the Order. A true Librarian, not just a Master of Acquisition.

The machine worked faster and faster, hitting a certain stride as it adjusted to deal with the images filling each of the pages. The books were from a later period as well, printed on high-reflection glossy paper, filled with bright colors and vivid images. It seemed wasteful to Keton as he flipped through one of the finished tomes. They left wide, bright white margins and took up entire pages with unnecessary images of men and women at sport or at play.

Flipping through the books and daydreaming let Keton forget the first rule of being a Master of Acquisition, however – The Library is not the only place that hungers for knowledge and feeds upon books. Be ware, be warned, be alert.

Unfortunately for Keton, he never saw the bookworm until it was too late, his fingers frantically stammering on the keypad of his aether emitter for his blade before finally going still.

Quick Post

August 3, 2012

So, a few things.

First, Street Fighter is 25. What the hell. Thanks, Wil Wheaton.

I’m out of rant for today about big things and important things other than asking what you, my readers, are doing to make your world a better place. A shout out to Nerdfighteria, who are working diligently to lower world suck every day. Unfortunately I cannot fully call myself a nerdfighter as I hold myself to some pretty ridiculous philosophical and ethical positions and many of those in the Nerdfighter ranks would find me disturbed for it. But that should be obvious as it would be really difficult for me to find anything redeeming about someone who claims to be anti-feminist and I know there’s a couple  nerdfighters out there that to. Mostly thanks to the Men’s Rights Movement.

Speaking of the Men’s Rights Movement, fuck you. I’m personally sick and tired of the bullshit on Reddit, I’m sick and tired of the bullshit around FreeThought Blogs and Skepchick, I’m tired of the bullshit of these people trying to speak for me.

I am a man. I’m a cisman. I’m a cisgendered white man. I am a pansexual, omnisexual, bisexual cisgendered white man. Everyone from DJ Groethe to the director of CFI Canada to A Voice For Men are full of shit and using authority borrowed from their professional station (or from whimsy and fantasy, AVFM) to speak about things they both have no education in and no authority in. They do not represent me. They do not speak for me. They do not even speak rationally. All of the things in this discussion that we’re fighting over, from harassment policies to rape culture to women? A lot of these cultural elements have been proven in sociological studies. If they’d bother to check.

So yeah, Men’s Rights Movement? Fuck your face with a hedge-trimmer.

An update on those things that are important to me, as a philosophical stance. I am an atheist, I am an antitheist, I am a feminist, I am a liberal. All of these stances come from observation, data, and science. I’m willing to discuss any of these positions with anyone so long as you are not a bad actor. So far I haven’t had to even think of a comment policy yet (cue cut to comment section with two comments and a tumbleweed) but you can rest assured that if you come in and start arguing in bad faith, you start trolling, or you start using this as a platform for something then I’m going to delete your comments. I’m unemployed and disabled. I have the time to do this.

Speaking of being unemployed and disabled, I’m also homeless! However, the place I was living in was sapping me of everything involved in the will to live, so I’m happier right now. However, if anyone in Southern California knows of a furnished room on the cheap I can rent for a few months, I’d love to know. I’m trying to get my family to help me with a motel room until I can find a permanent place to live but they’re being…unreliable. I’ve got a friend who might have a place for me in a few months but until then I’m sleeping on a couch and it’s hell on my back. And all my other joints. Plus, privacy? What’s that? So yeah, my crowd of two, please help me find a place to crash for a bit.

Uh, what else. Working on two new short stories right now but it’s hard coming from the place I was in. Currently theorizing a story about a Steampunk China if the Opium Wars had never ended. Enjoy history? China? The Victorian period? Imperialism? Anything related to this? Send me snippets of information, data, what have you and I’ll boil them down into a few story ideas. I’m thinking of watching Ip Man and Ip Man 2 again for some inspiration. And because they’re fantastic martial arts movies.

Now I’m going to go back to missing my partner like a love struck fool, relaxing my back, and trying to come up with ideas.

Happy Esther day.

Stay classy.

Gulch of Fire

June 27, 2012

A gunslinger's best friendI don’t know what else to call it yet. Anyway, here goes.

Eighty years ago, things changed.
Eighty years ago, the Great Kingdoms were attacked by the Famine and people died. Civilization died. Things changed.
Eighty years ago, the mountains shook and shuddered and rumbled. Down from the peaks came whole clouds of the Famine-Flyers. Insects as big as a fist that’d eat anything. Especially steel. Especially the flesh and armor of the great Knights, our Heroes, our Kings. They ate up all of the defenses and all of our food until we adapted. Until things changed.
Eighty years ago, the Famine started. It lasted for five years and killed nine in ten. If not from the Famine-Flyers, from the starvation. From the cold. From the fear. Now things have changed and the world’s moved on. The knights and soldiers carry hard iron now. The wizards and will-workers use science and genius to supplement their magics, since the world is weak and faithless. Clerics have taken up The Black and the serve the Saints in their own ways, burying the dead and healing the sick. Trappers, Trackers, and Scouts have taken up the Rifle to claim the land back from the Famine-Flyers – even if it is just a desert now. The common people have had to become hard-bitten and competent, honing their skills to razors. And over them all are the Marshals, keeping the peace and serving the Righteous Law since the Temple Knights all died fighting the Famine.
Things changed, the world’s harder now. But we get along.
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Taking Back the Future

June 14, 2012

Humanity was born out of the blood, the mud, and the beer of nature. As it were. We are creatures of the environment we find ourselves in and much of our presumptions about the world, much of nature, is formed of emergent systems. The fact that we’re social animals is an emergent system. However, we’ve risen above our natural organization, our natural programming, and we’ve moved past living purely on instinct and survival. Our primate ancestors figured out tools and society, and our ancestors laid down the foundations of our world. They did this using one very powerful technology that we, the progressive people of the world, need to take back and make our own. It’s a technology that’s been instrumental in all of us becoming part of the progressive, radical, and liberal movements that we come from.

That technology is the power of the story. That technology is narrative.

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I totally missed posting yesterday and that’s my fault.

So here’s more Out of Thyme! Technically this is a followup to the last chapter posted, and after this I’ll be writing a new chapter for Out of Thyme. Between the last post and this one, as well, is probably going to be more fighting. Because I like writing fight scenes but I just couldn’t wrap my head around this one.

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But here’s the beginning of what I’m working on for my Victorian superhero team.

I don’t know what it is but I just can’t string words together today.

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My Very Own Avengers

May 25, 2012

So I wrote this thing on G+ the other day. Read it -

***

“Have you ever observed the ant or the rabbit, Woolsey?” Doctor Albarth Rotterchilde walked down the dark staircase hidden at the back of the Alpha-Beta Club – the newest eugenecist club in the Empire – closely followed by his manservant Cal Woolsey.

“They are cooperative creatures, reliant and trusting on each other. The ant works together as a united organism, gathering food and building large and complex structures to support their diminutive race. Quite inspiring.” The pair swept through a long, dark hallway and passed through a door locked with a complex puzzle of bones, skulls, and weights.

“The rabbit, similarly, is dependent on the rest of the warren. They build together. They warn each other. They elicit some form of information on where food and safety are to be found. And they scream to notify others of death, so that they may prepare the body or bury. Honestly, I am not sure of the particulars of the practices of rabbit burial.” Inside the room at the end of the hallway, Albarth began to strike up electric lamps bolted onto rough-hewn stone walls. The chamber they were in now was large, cavernous, and smelled slightly of dampness, metal shavings, and mechanic’s grease.

“I think that the current political climate, the current philosophical climate, has infected mankind. We have been driven away from cooperation for the betterment of the species and fallen into a trap of superiority. We’ve come to value independence and individuality to the point of sacrifice of our fellow man.” Albarth pulled a sheet off of a massive object at the center of the room, releasing a flurry of dust, grease, and the sound of silk against steel. Underneath sat a massive suit of armor, covered in black silk and holding a staff of brass and copper.

“I believe that this is because humanity no longer has an apex predator to fear. Man believes that it is above the fear of nature, the necessity to work together, the interdependence of the species. So I have built this.” Albarth climbed into the armor, pulled the helmet down, and activated its etherlectric engines. A blue glow filled the death’s head mask and soft, rolling mist poured from the helmet and gloves, while the staff crackled with power and a haunting blue scythe blade grew out of it.

Albarth looked to Woolsey and in a dark, unearthly voice he commanded, “Call me Thanos, God of Death. Bringer of fear. Instructor of mortality.”

***

So I’m writing my own Steampunk Avengers. Sorta.

Here’s a couple of characters that I’m working on for that steampuunky fantasy humor thing I’m trying to write.

Hope you like them!

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Oops

May 2, 2012

Well, I missed Monday and I couldn’t post yesterday ’cause, well, I was participating as much as I could in the General Strike.

So here’s two chapters!

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Experimentation

April 27, 2012

I’m still playing around with my newish steampunk fantasy setting. Hopefully I find something really nice through all this digging around.

Anyway, I hope you’re enjoying everything, sharing links with your friends, that kind of thing.

See you all around!

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