Experience Your Life

May 12, 2017

“No, sir, everything’s been tested thoroughly. Let me explain how it works.”

The Nhanced Awareness clinic was clean and highlighted in comforting greys and blues, with each of the clinicians wearing smart, fitted lab frocks with the Nhance logo emblazoned over their hearts. An example of the device itself, a strange collar looking device with several spines protruding toward its center like a medieval torture device but in medical-grade plastics and platinum alloys, was suspended in a glass case in the center of the waiting room. Around it were hung posters of people enjoying the interface of the device suspended in the air infront of them, a layer of communications and news gently enhancing their everyday life.

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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.

So this is getting placed in the middle of NFTAP2 to establish a history for a few things I want to work with later. This isn’t the only large scale edit I’m going to be doing to NFTAP2.

So, here we go!

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More Cattlepunk!

July 3, 2012

Here’s some more work for you in my Cattlepunk setting.

Please share my blog with anyone you know who might be interested! I could really use the views and the interaction of some new readers!

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So, today I’m posting the beginning of the first draft of part 3 of Notes From the Abyss. This one’s a flashback about the thing that caused the Cataclysm and set up the Macguffin that the whole series so far rests on. So.

Anyway. I hope you like it!

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This is a story written in the Cattlepunk universe I started creating yesterday, and it’s written by a good friend of mine.

Reposted with permission

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“You may begin speaking now.”

                “And this thing’ll save whatever I say, so’s other folks can hear our story?”

                “Academics and future generations will benefit from the stories you tell today. Pretend I’m not even here, if you like. I’ll sit and listen, and ask you to pause when I need to change the cylinders. The day’s long and the drink is ready, so take your time – this is for posterity.”

                “Posterity.  I wish I could be so certain that someone’d be there to remember me tomorrow, if I were taken today. I could get used to a society that’ll still dream big in the face of all this. But somewhere along the way, someone decided who gets to share the meat and the water, and who don’t. You mighta noticed, doc, that there aren’t so many old folks like you around, all soft and clean and learned. You mighta noticed what folks we do got, they’re all young and strong and mean. You templers, you wheelers, you Thirteen – not you particular, doc, but your people – they’re in love with their own story, crammin’ it in everyone’s ears even as the story keeps changing. They love to tell you that they survive because every single one of them is tough, and every single one is needed, and everyone has a skill.

                “But that ain’t strictly true, or, no offense, you wouldn’t be here putting my voice into a hunk of Nester’s Wax. Someone had the time to figure that out ‘cause you’ve all got civilization, and there’s room for people like you, who can go and learn and make new things because they’ve got other people worrying about where the water comes from, or when the cows come home. You might know how to swing a rifle, doc, but I can see that you never hauled buckets or butchered an animal or any kinda thing that folk around here do for themselves every day. Anything needs doing around here, you do it yourself, or you go without. Not a one of us is free of that, not even Baron Saans.

                “There’s some who’ll lay food and arms at his feet, sure, but that’s respect. The man made do for himself on top of pulling towns like this together, and without his like, a lot of us’d be food for the flitters. That name, ‘Baron,’ ain’t our doing. It was the templers bestowed that honor, calling him a Robber Baron and declaring us all outa the law, declaring that folk like us ‘shall not take of their bounty, under pain of death.’ They call themselves united, but see fit to leave anyone they don’t like for the bugs. They call us ‘Tweeners, ‘cause we fall through the cracks and settle where they don’t see fit to. They’ll say that anything we got we stole from them, but that’s only because they never let us have anything in the first place. Our whole being is cobbled together from their leavings and the rather dubious kindness of folk like you.

                “You keep a quiet face but I can read your eyes, doc. You’re out here bringing goodness to the little people, sure, but you carry yourself like you know you’re better. You said yourself, you come through to make study of the lot of us. We don’t have what comforts you know, but we’re not stupid. You’re here trying to learn ‘cause there’s not a one of you behind your walls that’ll both remember true and tell it straight. You know there’s no one old enough here, but if you pick up all the pieces you can find, that’ll get your picture started. I got a question outa that, though: Why go to the trouble? Can’t go on those trails of yours without worrying about a lead breakfast. What’s the point?”

                “I’ll get to that, but have a drink first. We’re coming up on the end of this cylinder.”

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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