Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Can You Hear The Song? 20: Nephillim Electronica

The Nephillim Heresy.  Dr. Elixabeth Zanachek, the Researcher.  She and her fellow researchers hire and act through double blind investigators, trying to gather data on Noah and all Kaiju-gem created psychics.

Beware The Observer Effect: Zanachek and her researchers are careful to try and avoid the observer effect, hiring and working through various intermediaries in order to do their work.  This catchphrase keeps them from directly acting in Noah, even though their indirect interactions do have an effect on Noah as a whole.
A Cure For The Kaiju: The Nephillim Institute believes that Demons, Angels and the Song are carriers of genetic diseases, victims of mutations that in the long term cannot be good for their overall health.  They note the majority of Demons with deformities that prevent them from having more happy lives.  They believe Angels have serious mental abnormalities, and they know next to nothing about the Song, which worries them.  And by believing they can find a cure, despite their efforts at secrecy, it gets out.  Rumors spread.  And some, despite to find a way to alleviate their suffering look for what they call the "Nephillim Heresy."
Technological Superiority: Lastly, the Nephillim Heresy benefits from technology beyond the means of most in Noah.  Unlike Noah, they come from a city that hasn't stopped improving and progressing with technology.  Their advancements border on the miraculous, often capable of duplicating what most Demons or Angels can do, albeit at the cost of potential exposure for the Nephillim Heresy.  Thus, Zanachek and her people mainly use their tech to keep hidden from the rest of Noah, confident that no one else in Noah is capable of finding out about them.

Zanachek has the look of a lithe woman, but very tall compared to most others, at least six feet tall.  Her skin is too pale to seem to still be human.  Her eyes are a eerie blue-white.  Once every five or so minutes, both eyes glow green, then switch back to normal, revealing all the underlying cybernetics that Zanachek is comprised of.  Zanachek wears her black hair short, clipped together using a variety of silver and golden clips, each placed precisely where she wants them.  The lab coat she wears is immaculate and is made from a white nanofiber that no one in Noah has seen before, self-cleaning and well beyond their means.  Around her neck is a silvery ring that glows with holograms and data.  Her clothes underneath are professional and cover almost all her skin, yet look thick and warm.  She shivers from time to time, never quite feeling warm enough.  She never wears heels, finding that and jewelry a bizarre cultural habit of Kaij, local Noahites.

Zanachek has very small, tight-knit group that comprise the core of her research team.  But that isn't the only resource they have access to, however.  They still maintain contact with Methuselah, acting as a satellite research lab for the main Nephillim Institute there.  A deeper conspiracy within the campus and faculty of the University of Noah, however, work for the Nephillim, without knowing of it, except in one or two outlier cases.  Since the studies they conduct of a form of double-blind, they do have a person or two directly from the campus who they have handle contact with all of those who act as handlers for their research operations.  This people don't know the main direction or purpose of the research, preventing the goals of the Nephillim Heresy from polluting the pool they research, or so they think.

Sometimes the information they go after or seek requires illegal means.  Or it means paying for conduct of sensitive data collection, often requiring the hiring of agents and people to gather information from thousands of citizens of Noah.  This extensive information gathering works in the opposite direction too, just not how the Nephillim Heresy expects, most often it appears in the form of conspiracy nuts who draw inspiration from only the most barest of rumors tied to the Nephillim Heresy.  They disregard it, but who know how dangerous it could grow into.

Zanachek's main operation is trying to find and determine a cure for conditions created by Kaiju-Gem exposure.  Often this means finding information on the variety of mutations caused, biological in most cases.  It also means finding test subjects who are Demons or Angels too.  She also is focused on trying to keep her operations from being uncovered by any of the other factions at large in Noah.  Although some leaks occur, Zanachek is confident in the tech her group has, that any of her memory mod tech can erase any dangerous memories.  So far she and her people believe they have deceived most of Noah, and that they've had little or no effect on the greater issues in the City.

Whether or not this is true is something for the future to see...

Monday, December 30, 2013

Gaming Materials: Divinare

I don't how I found this quick game, but I did.  And I suck at it.  Therefore, I find myself addicted to it.

Divinare is a frighteningly easy game to learn.  Its theme and art is suburb, which is always a plus for me.  It looks and feels like you are playing a game of mediums, especially with the simple mechanic of just counting and predicting the number of cards.

But it has a deeper level than that; it feels deep.  There is a deeper, more complicated sort of bluff game going on underneath the hood.  As the game goes along, you try to make predictions- you try and guess by the end of the round how many of each color there will be.  You have to change predictions each time you play a card.  During the round, there are times you have to pass cards to other players.

Simple.  Other people have done good descriptions of how to play the game, let me more precise here in summarizing what I love about it.

Divinare is deep enough that its got a hook in the back of my head.  I find it fascinating, and never frustrating.  Its also all skill- luck really has little to do with.  Actions determine cards.  Counts are set, you just have to be able to get the correct numbers figured out before other players.

And I have tied, but never really won a game of it solidly yet.

Its challenge I hope remains there for awhile.

A brief aside: challenges are what we want out of our gaming.  Gaming should feel like its challenge of some sort, mental or otherwise.  The nature of that challenge- how do I defeat the dragon or how we succeed at Eldritch Horror, determines our real interest in it.

To really enjoy and figure out what kinds of games you want to run as a GM or a player, you really need to recognize the sort of thing that you like in a challenge.  The hard thing that gets your gears churning.  The one thing whose rush drives you to go at it again and again.

This changes over time.  Sometimes old challenges change or you get tired of them.  Its a quest you never quite have a solid answer for, what kind of challenge you enjoy.  But knowing it can make somethings easier.

I know I like intrigues and bluffing more and more than I do straight forward conflict.  I prefer the sneak attack, the blatant covert series of lies and deceptions that get a goal accomplished without causing any physical harm.  I like clever or sneaky a lot more than I do physical.

I think that is why Divinare appeals to me.  Its deep potential for complicated unseen bluffing of cards and numbers digs into my head and makes me eager for more.  I like being fooled, if only to be able to learn how to never fall for it again- or better yet, to use it to fool another.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Can You Hear The Song? 19: History Song pt 2

Part One Can Be Found Here


So then we first got a look at the second flavor of psychics, who called themselves Angels.  Seemed stupidly apt, given that their first leader, Metatron, became convinced that they really were Angels.  Prettier than anybody, yet they still got the psychic powers that only some Demons got to have, sure, easy to think that.

Metatron rose to power quick.  He and Babylon came to clash over control over the office of the Prime Minister.  The Prime Minister used to be a corrupt tool of Babylon.  This triggered a vicious war between the Metatron, and pretty much everyone.

Metatron founded cult around himself.  It didn't help that all the old families that Babylon had spurned aligned with him.  They were attracted to the beauty, grace and the power of the Angels.  Metatron founded a pogrom against Babylon and its employees, but he never hunted down Demons or tried to commit genocide against them.  That's what Uriel advocates for- Metatron early on was convinced that Demons could be 'redeemed' and got a fair number of followers out of that.

Metatron was assassinated when the old Babylon Psi Division building blew up.  His stranglehold on Noah collapsed.  Afterward different things flew apart and into the control of others.  Twas mad times and chaos.  War in the streets, and people hid, thinkin' the end of the city on the bottom of the sea had finally come.

Babylon would fall under the complete control of Demons, mainly the Maru family.  The cult of Metatron, his Golden Crown would become the fundamentalist furor that Uriel controls now.  Some defected from Uriel, the best would be that Oracle Jezebel- she's realistic, even if her wild kaiju-hugging followers are a bit crazy.

Clayborn took back the Office of the Prime Minister.  During the chaos and the riots, the police managed to secure control of Babylon's Deuterium Reserves.  Now under the state's control, the Clayborn in charge of the Office of the Prime Minister created a sort of stalemate between the psychics and everybody else.  That fragile peace stands as long as they have deuterium, and of course, the Prime Minister still has people to wield with it.


For most Kaij things fell apart.  Some Seraphtech failed and alot of neighborhoods lost services.  They got real bad, real dirty and real dangerous to walk around in.

Most Kaij didn't think things could get worse, but then the Dragons started to sell the Lotus.  Kaiju Lotus, some genetic fabrication grown out of Kaiju gems that is addictive as meth and twice as dangerous.  Not just mind-altering, the lotus can give even Clayborn some psychic powers- albeit temporarily.

Yabai, it even turned some into Demons over night.  Stuff has Kaiju Gem laced in it.

Anyway, the Dragons were a small time criminal group that grew into a powerhouse overnight.  Their new leader, Iblis, managed to secure a lucrative empire based on the Moria weave.  Kaiju Lotus flowed.  Parliament made it illegal and Babylon claims its the result of someone stealing a corporate secret and releasing it into the wild.  Either way, powers that be have been trying to take down the Dragons and their new King.

And they fail.  Every time.

Problem is, none of these factions will work together.  And none of them have enough people to be able to completely filter out ALL of the problems in such a big ghetto like the Moria Weave.  Sure, the Office of the Prime Minister says they'll do that or such and such... but we all know its bull.  They don't have the people.

And they don't trust Babylon not to stab them in the back either.

So, the lotus flows.  The Dragon King has taken over the Moria Weave.  He believe in power through strength, so bodies get found after someone pisses him off.  But, he's honest about it, and more than a few people in Moria are convinced that his people do a better job keepin' the peace than the police ever do.


Between the Angels and the Demons fighting, and the lies and all that, you might've missed some of the bigger news.  There is some stuff going on that some of the big wigs like to pretend ain't a problem or maybe they're too stupid to notice it happening.

Heartwood collapsed a few months back.  Yeah, part of this city collapse all the time, here and there.  Floods and old structures breaking from lack maintenance and all that.

Flash this data here, though.

Something new came out of Heartwood.  Its different than Demons or Angels.  It wants peace and it promises you serenity.  Sounds like a cult, right?

Its called the Song.  Its group, all covered in this moldy looking growths.  And all of them are nonviolent.  Something happens to them, and they are peaceful.  And unlike Demons or Angels, they don't have big arrays of psychic powers.  But they have some.  Enough that each of them know each other member of the song intimately, like they were twins or something.

Creepy, especially when you learn they keep no secrets from one another.  Everything is shared.  And they're happy about it.

Scarier still?  They're spreading, from Clayborn to Clayborn.  Something new, something to test all the others I guess.

And that's all I know about this fair city of ours, fucked up warts and all.  Hope it keeps you from getting killed.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Can You Hear the Song? 18: History Song pt 1

Hey, here is some notes on the general history of Noah.  The plan is to write it in character, with some slang invented for the sake of creating raw chunky flavor.

"Hey.  You done trying to ghost out on me?

You're the one who wanted to hear it the story of it.  I already know this yabai kaij back story, eh?  You are the one asking about it.

Ok, ok, its all osha, gotme?  Letme start fromt he top of the text, as they say:

The flood came first.  Noah had been built and completed years into it.  They used to have land and cities and empires up there.  Back before the skies were clogged and the seas rose so high.  So people headed down into the sea.  Noah was the first city, and it got its backing from all over the pacific rim.

What caused the flood?  We did.  Thats the story we always hear.  We burned the skies, our empires melted all the ice and the oceans rose higher and higher... Some of the stalwarts claim we did nothing, that humans couldn't fuck up our own planet so badly.  Others say we gotta take that for a lesser and just fucking abandon tech altogether and try to fix the yabai mess we made, you know?  I like the other camp: its in the fuckin' yabai past.  Move on already, that'd be the zuru thing to do.

Fundamentalist religious fanatics funded it, but they were glad to share the space with the workforces that joined them: Japanese technicians, Filipino laborers and countless Chinese engineers.  The Ameritrash were outnumbered, but the religious madmen ran the show for the first few decades the domes were set underwater.

Confined spaces ended up making people civil to one another.  They all shut up and worked together, melting into a sort of xenophobic colony that prided itself on its faith.  Other cities were founded in the sea too- but the old city founders never bothered a single fuck to think of how to ingratiate themselves with their neighbors.  For one thing, they harbored a crazy dislike for the super-techy Methuselah, a mistake that helped to led to our war with them centuries ago.

Yeah.  Centuries ago.  Whole bunch of yabai shit happened back then.


So first thing that happened to really kick start that shitstorm of a war with Methuselah?  Methuselah found the first Kaiju pit, not far from Noah, really.

We said we wanted it.  Methuselah offered to share it.  We made demands, they rebuffed them.  Crazy religious ancestors, remember?  Methuselah back then was all about science and had abandoned faith altogether.  Talks broke down, and Babylon, that big corporate piece we all know and love, managed to push for a pre-emptive strike.

Babylon learned how to use the Kaiju gems to create the first demons.  Well, most people died exposed to the gems at first.  But Babylon found it, the fifth of a percent of the human genome that mutate when exposed to Kaiju gems.  It becomes generational, at that point, somethin' yabai genetic that they pass along to their kids.  So Babylon got along, as every Kaij later learned, to plantin' that gene as much as they could.  They re-wrote whole families of genetic material, trying to create a horde of demons they could sell and license against Methuselah in the war.

How'd the war end?

It didn't.  Methuselah just stopped bothering with us.  Like I said earlier, they were super-techy.  They just pulled a flash on us, and decided to ignore our ranting and attempts to attack us.  Years later, everyone in Noah acts like the war ended decades ago.  We never called it off because our enemy didn't give a damn.

To be honest, we deserved to be ignored by them.  Who knows what they've come up with since then.  Methuselah had no benefit to take our city, especially after the consequences of Babylon's work.  They learned how to create Seraphtech from them, to create force fields and manipulate gravity and all that... they created the Blue Dome.  Arks were opened, and new natural reserves were created back then.

Then all the yabai kaiju gem radiations got out of the bottle.  Demons and, now mutated animals- the Kaiju as we call 'em- were everywhere in Noah.  People with the gene either mutated or were somehow immune to Kaiju radiation.  Natural selection kicked in, and the stage was set for bigger changes.  More leaps in the nature of the powers only some of the Demons could learn to master.

So came a time of Angels...

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Can You Hear the Song? 17: Office of the Prime Minister

Office of the Prime Minister.  Prime Minister [name To Be Determined] wants to fix his city, to drive out the psychics that wage war in it and keep the Demons and Angels from taking power away from him.  But perhaps his own inability to see smaller threats may be his downfall...
This Is Our City: [TBD] wants a unified city for humanity, a sort of civic drive to make the city a better place.  People follow and listen to [TBD] because they believe in the same dream he has.  'This is our city,' he says, 'and its up to us to make it a better place to live.'
War On Corruption: [TBD] is dedicated to taking out corruption it sees in the rest of Noah's crumbling government.  Its a mad quest, with blind focus, regardless of the cost.  [TBD] and his followers believe that pushing for complete, honest control of the government... even if that means civil war to make it so...
Emergency Deuterium Control: Lastly, [TBD] and the Office of the Prime Minister has control over the Deuterium Reserves, originally a project under Babylon control, the rise of the angel Metatron caused the massive series of Deuterium reserves to revert to the control of the Office of the Prime Minister, with his people controlling the main supply of the Deuterium to be found in Noah.
Tall but portly, [Prime Minister, name To Be Determined] is balding, but combs over his hair trying to hide it.  His hair and face stubble is peppered with white, red and gray.  Both of his eyes are a dark blue.  Lines frame his eyes and jaw.  A bit of flab marks his double chin.  His suit is worn.  It looks like it needs to be replaced, but clearly has been repaired enough to keep it functioning.  He is missing his left arm, which has been amputated off at the shoulder.  A cybernetic replacement has been installed- its one of the variety that is too cheap too look authentically human.  His glasses are light reading glasses, cheap and well worn, cracking in places.  [TBD] is constant to consult the cybernetic appendage that has replaced his left arm, often consulting or texting his underlings to keep a tab on his city.
[TBD] and his people rely on tax revenue, which creates a budget that the parliament finds ways to shrink every year at an alarming rate.  The Office of the Prime Minister is small, and shrinking.  But the lack of quantity is made up in quality and sheer belief in the cause.  Dedicated police officers, brilliant researchers or inspired civil servants work for [TBD], but they all are outnumbered (or think they are) by those arrayed against them.  Its a uphill battle, but they are convinced they have a duty to see it through to the end.
[TBD] is focused on keeping control over Noah.  Control over it despite a parliament filled with corrupt representatives, all paying lip service to the interest of the people while the Prime Minister knows they either work for Babylon or the Golden Crown.  Control over the wilder parts of Noah that have gone feral, like the Moria Weave or the blue dome.  Part of it is a fierce paranoia of Demons and Angels, while elements like the Song are seen as more legend and dismissed in the face of older threats like Babylon, the Dragons or the Golden Crown.

Can You Hear the Song? 16: Noah City Map

First version of a city map.  It has locales I haven't detailed or anything... consider them blank spots for future me or others to cling onto for ideas.

Enjoy!  :D

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

The 25th:

I'm an member of the collected citizenry that call its self the United States of America.  We got their first, so we get to have that name first- or so we say when others try to contradict us.  Its the 25th of December, and I guess its that time of year again: Xmas.

I choose Xmas instead of Christmas for a plethora of reasons, primarily being I'm not Christian.  Although, the holiday isn't really Christian any more either.  Xmas is kinda of a result of American Cultural mixing, the end result of two or three hundred years of European cultural sharing and mixing until our modern, corporate and secular culture enshrines it.

This doesn't devalue it for me, but I think some people might try to tack on religious reasons that aren't there for a holiday that should have nothing to do with religion.  Its day to be with family or at least reflect on that. 

We talk of a "Xmas Spirit", and in general we mean act like human beings to one another.   And although we might think of each other as horrible people every other day of the year, all members of the constituency of the US think that on December 25th everybody is better.  We stand up on that day and think of each other in a way that maybe we should think of one another every day of the year.

It isn't like that.  And you should take your victories when you get them.

So, I leave off with a quick bit of Xmas advice, handed down in my family for decades, if not centuries:

Don't get drunk on Xmas.  No one wants to try and take you to the ER if you get alcohol poisoning.


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Gaming Materials: Forbidden Desert

I've been a fan of Forbidden Island for a bit now or one could be more precise and just call it the whole genre of cooperative board games.  I'm unsure as to why, if it is the nature of cooperative games to be like roleplaying games or if I just like playing games where people don't compete, but work together.  I'd like to think its the later.  Here are my thoughts on Forbidden Desert.

Forbidden Island's appeal comes from its modular nature, which lends easily to a sort of re-playability.  In my collection of co-op games it takes a nice spot.  Like Pandemic though, I've found it possible to master the puzzle central to Forbidden Island.  Or at least, I think, to find its harder difficulties appealing.  Core to why Forbidden Island is a success is its modular design, clever card mechanics and great structure for teamwork in-game.

(As an aside, the art to me is also a neat reason to play it too.)

Forbidden Desert picks up where Forbidden Island leaves off: modular board, cooperative mechanics and card mechanics to deal with.  At first blush it looks complicated, or somewhat silly, but then one get the pieces all assembled... and the cleverness of the game comes out and whacks one upside the head.

Like Forbidden Island, Forbidden Desert makes use of a modular board: double-sided tiles that have to be excavated to reveal what is hidden under the desert sand.  A storm mechanic kicks up sand, burying things one has found or putting up a barrier to get to a necessary part of the board.  Each tile has its own flavor.  Each tile also has the same mysterious art style as its previous version.

Forbidden Desert is like a sequel to Forbidden Island, but not thematic- technical, somewhat in its inheritance to its original.  The feel of the two games is alike, though.  Exploration and moving between tiles is ramped up even more in its importance.  One has to excavate tiles.  One can't let things spiral out of control.

My group hasn't quite figured out the right balance of actions to take to get control over the game.  The Storm is a horrible beast that covers all found in sand.  The sun emerges to burn skin, driving one to use the meager gear found in excavations.  Maybe this is a clue, maybe it isn't it.

But then a clue is found.  And a second, and the game takes off.  It becomes a mad rush to grab and save the parts needed to make the flying machine.  Each moment is more dire.  Things spiral out of control.  Hold on tight as one might, tunnels can't help, gear can't buy enough time, the storm just bears down.  Howling as hard as it can.

Thrilling excitement. 

I liked it.  Forbidden Desert deserves some more repeat play from me.  I like have multiple options for the variety of cooperative games I have. 

Tried Forbidden Desert?  Any thoughts on it?  What do others think about it?

Monday, December 23, 2013

Mother's Night V

Introduction | Start (1/5) | Previous (4/5)
"You awake in here?"  Blackthunder opened the door to the back of the van.  Cold air greeted Noir, he could smell burning.  She got into the van, her face cross.

"Nice accommodations, officer."  Noir replied.

"Not an officer.  And technically you aren't being held, smartass."  Blackthunder undid Noir's handcuffs.  "However, I'd feel justified after that stunt you pulled in there."

"You people need to listen to me-"

"We people," Blackthunder interrupted, "Can at least call the sheriff's office.  This is still private property.  So, try some respect, got it?"

Noir glared.  "Not an officer.  Not arrested.  Got it.  Anything else or are you going to listen to what I have to say?"

"How about you answer a question or two for me."  Blackthunder sat down on a bench across from Noir.  She took out a joint and tossed it at him.  "You were carrying too."

Noir gritted his teeth.  "I've got a license-"

"Federal offense, we don't care about whatever the state here says, remember?"  Blackthunder smiled.  "I don't care what you toke up on, I live here.  Its a bullshit law.  I ain't ATF.  The USMS has more important shit to handle.  And this pregnancy has kept me from having a smoke for way too long."

Blackthunder brushed some of her hair from her face.  Noir picked up on the silence.  She pointed out that she had him dead to rights, really, on a bunch of counts.  Yes, he could dodge it, but it'd mean using favors.  He'd have to work hard to undo what she'd thrown at him.  She didn't say it out loud.  She didn't have to.  Noir got the message.

"You want to know what I am."  Noir thought aloud.  "What did I do in there?  How did I know what I know?"

"Bingo."  Blackthunder popped a starburst into her mouth and chewed on it.  She pointed at him, nodding in the affirmative.

"As I told you before, my name is Noir Badarte.  I am... a expert at this sort of thing."

"Expertise from what?"  Blackthunder started to jot notes down on a small notepad.  "Your human, eh?  Or claim it?"

"Claim?"  Noir shook his head. "Yes, I'm human.  I cast a spell, more or less.  It had a negative effect before.  When I released the spell and ended it, the hive-geist stopped its berserker rage."

"You a mage then?  Registered with the Conclave?"

"Uh, never heard of...  no I'm not a mage.  I don't know what a Conclave is.  I've been trained as a Bokor, I deal with dead people mostly."

"Necromancer then."  Blackthunder gave him a cold stare.  "Hive-geist?  Why would your spell drive it into a rage?"

"I prefer necrokinetic.  Its more apt."  Noir sighed.  "Poltergeists are insane, more or less.  Often they devolve into a sort of bestial state.  This place...  In this place multiple poltergeists have merged into a single entity.  They remember being beings, and anything that would effect one causes the opposing effect out of the others.  I pushed them toward dissipating-"

"And they push back, flying into a rage because of it."  Blackthunder nodded.  "You think you understand this Hive-geist then?  You have any idea how long the USMS has been containing this thing?  What did you see that we didn't notice, Mr. Badarte?"

"Christmas morning."


"How many years have you people been coming here, thirty, fifty years?  Why haven't you, in all that time, tried to just give the kids a Christmas morning?"  Noir smirked.  "I need that box.  I need to give them a Christmas morning, you understand me, Ada?"

"Don't use my first name, Necromancer."  Blackthunder got up and exited the van.

Noir blinked.  After a moment, he heard her call back to him.

"You coming?  Lets get you your damned box."

Noir followed her.

* * * * *

Noir opened the wooden crate, which in the light of the house seemed burned.  Opening the box caused the poltergeists to stop.  Each ghostly child form stopped, their deformed and melted heads fixed on him.

Noir asked the question.

"How can I help you spirit?"  He cast the spell on the box, jumping back at the poltergeist walked to the box full of toys.  Noir smiled as each drop of ectoplasm evaporated, leaving him the only one able to see the children, each holding toys aloft.

"Is that laughter?"  Blackthunder said aloud.  Other USMS agents stared at the sight of, what was to them, floating toys.  Then each toy fell softly to the ground.

"Merry Christmas," Noir said, smirking.  "They're gone.  They'll never come back.  They've moved on."

Noir hugged Blackthunder.  "Hey!"

"Genius!  I'm a genius!  Aha!"  Noir started to cheer and shout at the top of his lungs.  "How about that spirit?  Eh?  This DEATHWALKER did it!  HA!"

Blackthunder shook her head.  "Disir."

Noir paused.  "What?"

"She wasn't a Christmas spirit, necromancer.  Disir.  Thats the name of the three of them.  They always show up in threes."  Blackthunder turned to the rest of the USMS agents.  "EHC unit, our job is done here.  Start documenting.  Necromancer, get the hell out of here.  You did what you wanted."


Blackthunder's eyes narrowed in anger.  The petite, pregnant woman's dark ruddy skin reddened in anger at him.  "You got to have your gloating, and you got to have your dead fun, ok?  Now leave.  You aren't doing any more harm here, got it?"

Noir couldn't think of a reply to that.  He left, walking away from the ruined house.  As Noir walked by the USMS and External Hazard Containment vehicles, he saw an ambulance.  A pair of black body bags were being loaded, while a pair of police worked on putting caution tape up.

His stomach roiled.  His clever bit with the spell was worse than he could imagine.  He'd inadvertently killed two people when he cast the spell.  The poltergeist kept going, not stopping while Noir had been knocked out.

The Necromancer walked away, trying to understand all that had happened that night.  Noir realized that the Christmas spirit, the Disir might've been three separate female things.  "That would explain a lot.  Three... Three is supposed to be a magic number isn't it?"

"It is."  Three voices said the words in unison.

Noir turned around, looking at the three Disir women.  Each stop at the same height, each covered in glowing white christmas lights.  They'd all dropped the ornaments he'd seen before.  "You could've explained what you wanted, I've heard of a Disablot before."

"It is Mother's Night."  The first Disir spoke.

"The Wrong has been righted," The second Disir continued.

"And we have been honored."  The third finished.  All three Disir smiled.  Noir didn't understand the significance of that.

"Uh, you're welcome?"

"Death is not a ending, this you know," The first began.

"And life cannot be without knowing death," the second continued, "day and night, night and day."

The third finished it.  "But love is the tiny death, you kill yourself for another.  Our gift to you, Deathwalker: your little death is not in vain.  We see the road ahead."

"Grim nights with no sleep," the first added.

"And justice that needs a hand, but swords cut both ways," the second continued.

"But their is a light at the end.  Your choice to decide if it is death or life."  The third finished.  Then the three Disir walked away, leaving snowfall in their wake.

Noir blinked.  He decided, perhaps, it was time to try to get something to eat.

Mother's Night IV

Introduction | Start of Story (1/5) | Previous Part (3/5) | Next Part (5/5)

Despite the spirit's undramatic exit, Noir still managed to find the stairs and started to make his way up to the top of them.  He carried a large wooden box he'd found in the basement.  Noir needed to get it to the poltergeist, but he didn't hear them running around any more.

Instead, the floor above creaked.  Heavy footsteps moved around, each step methodical.  It sounded like there was a fair number of them.

"Great.  Who am I dealing with now?"  Noir grunted and continued up the stairs.  He hoped it for local police, or something like idiot teenagers.  Knowing his luck it would be something worse than police.  "The mob.  The local mob, angry at me for taking their best place to kill people.  And now they need to finish me off to protect it."

The door to the basement opened, just as Noir reached it.  The necromancer tried to glance over the top of the wooden crate he carried.  "Hey, might giving a helping hand or are you just going to stare buddy?"

"Excuse me?" A woman's voice greeted him.  Hands took the crate from Noir before he could respond.  Noir looked at room full of officers in kevlar.  The letters 'USMS' was on shoulders and chests around him.  "Do you want to explain what you are doing here sir?  Does that box belong to you?"

"Hey!  Don't take-"  Noir looked around, annoyed.  "We need to use that box sooner than later, whoever you are."

He looked at the woman glaring at him.

Almost his height, a dishwater blond with a bit of a belly had a hand on gun on her hip.  She wasn't scarily thin, her build looked average.  Noir couldn't place her age, but noted the kevlar that covered her.  Her stance and her jeans, however, looked like that which belonged to someone experienced with violence.  Her eyes both were green, and she didn't wear much makeup.  Her skin was a darkish color, but Noir was confused by her eyes' shape and her hair color, he couldn't place an ethnicity with that.  A tattoo on one of her arms looked tribal, like a Northwestern tribal version of Raven.

Noir didn't know the local Native tribes enough to place the symbology.  He tried to think of a clever thing to follow say, but couldn't think of the right thing to come up with.  He did note that she had a ring on one hand, an emerald glittering in the light.  Around her neck, a lanyard dangled with a badge and a name: Ada Blackthunder.

"Sir, we are with the United States Multiversal Survey.  Please explain who you are and what you think you are doing here."  Blackthunder repeated.

Noir sighed.  "We don't have time for this- lady, you need to give me that crate.  I need to open it sooner rather than later."

"Sir- unless you own this property, we are going to have to ask you to leave if you won't be cooperative."  Blackthunder's face remained neutral.  Noir wondered if her hand being on her holster was a good sign or not.  "Name or leave, can you understand that?"

Noir heard more than a little irritation.  They were here for a reason and he was getting in the way.  Yay.

"I'm Noir Badarte.  And that box-"

"Why are you here Mr. Badarte?  Don't you have better places to be on Christmas Eve?"

"I didn't really have a choice in the matter.  A-"

"An entity took you, and left you here against your will.  And when you got here, dozens of children, but deformed and screaming attacked you didn't they?"  Blackthunder pointed up.

Noir glanced up.  All of the Poltergeist's orphan ectoplasmic forms were on the ceiling, hanging upside and watching them.  "Uh, oh.  That's where they went."

"This many adults and they don't know what to do.  Damn little monsters watch until one of them gets the courage to attack us.  So, if you don't mind, I'd like to get my job done before they decide to turn this into the usual shitstorm I deal with every year."  She grabbed one of Noir's arms, dragging him toward a door.

"Hey!"  Noir protested.  "You can't do this!  You need to listen to me!"

"We are the External Hazard Containment unit.  Its my job to come out here, every year, and to keep the damn ghost monster things here from killing somebody.  This year its you.  My people will debrief you then-"

Noir slipped out of his hoodie and tried to break the woman's grasp.  His wrist stung as she twisted it around, bending it a direction it shouldn't bend.  Noir raised a hand, letting out a tiny, small spell directed at the ceiling.  He hoped that the same spell as before, a little necrokinesis to help free the spirits of their mortal ties.

It did as it did before.  The poltergeist, its hive of orphan child ghost forms went berserk.  They flew at Noir, screaming and clawing.  And they screamed and clawed at each USMS agent there, including Blackthunder.

"You sonofa-"  Blackthunder's eyes widened.  Noir felt a fist slam him into the ground.  The back of his head exploded in pain.  Blackness greeted him.  He tried to collect his thoughts, but hands grabbed and carried him.  Screams and curses.

* * * * *

"You can really hear them?"  Elle asked Noir.

He looked up at her, smiling.  "Yes.  I thought you didn't believe me?"

Elle punched the teenage Noir in the shoulder.  "I thought you were messing with me.  But this...  How long have you known these guys?"

"Last year I met them when my Dad and I ran the sheep through here," Noir answered.

Elle giggled at the sight of it.

Still invisible to her sight, Noir was glad.  The three ghost jugglers, to him, danced about as they juggled and tossed around objects about them.  Elle couldn't hear or see them, but he could hear the wonder in her voice.  Tears filled his eyes.

"I just wanted someone to believe me."  Noir muttered.

Elle grabbed his shoulders, hugging him tight.  "I'll always believe you, Blacky.  Always."

Then Noir and Elle kissed for the first time.  Noir remembered it, it was one of the best Christmas nights of his life, even if he was only fourteen back then.

* * * * *


He woke up in handcuffs in the back of a van.  No windows, black walls and dark grey floor.  Noir looked around, getting a sense of his setting.  He was sitting down on a bench.

Noir shook his head.  It was only a memory.  A good memory, back when Christmases seemed great to him.

"I am not Elle."  The Christmas Spirit's voice didn't surprise him.

Noir looked up.  He tried not to smile at the sight of the too tall spirit squatting unconfortably in the back of the van.  Frost coated most surfaces in the van too.  She didn't look too happy either.

He didn't know why, if it was the cold or the silliness of it or the absurd sight.  Maybe he was too tired.  Whatever the reason, Noir started to laugh.

The Christmas Spirit glared at him.  She then slapped him again, only this caused him to guffaw.

"I'm sorry... spirit... but... haha-" Noir tried to stop, but he kept laughing.  "Heehee.  You look... a little... cramped..."

"Deathwalker.  You can't help if you are bound here."

"No shit."  Noir laughed.

"Free yourself, Deathwalker.  Finish it."

Noir stopped laughing.  "Spirit, you keep asking but you don't give any.  I'll fix this, but because its the right thing to do.  Not for you.  You are an invasive bitch.

"If you want something from me, give me a reason not to just nod off okay?  Otherwise, stay out of the way and please respect me.  I have a plan, got it?"

Frowning, the spirit stared at Noir.  She cocked her head, confused.

"Curious, Deathwalker.  You are curious."


Saturday, December 21, 2013

Mother's Night III

Intro | Start (1/5) | Previous Part (2/5) | Next Part (4/5)

"Jeez.  I have to remember to roll with the fall, like Father taught me."  Noir shook his head, remembering pieces of his childhood.  "If jumping down hills to catch sheep, roll with the fall don't break your neck, or 'don't go breaking bones, no money for that now,' as he used to say."

Noir smirked at that.  He then began to frown, realizing he couldn't see a thing.  It was dark down where he fell.  A basement?

The necromancer put out a tentative hand, feeling the ground around him.  Cold dirt.  Rocks.  Pieces of glass.  Ash with charcoal.

He took his time to climb to his knees, kneeling in place.  He tried to decide how to figure out how high of space he had.  "Also have to think about that Hive-geist too, might be able to haunt down here too."

"Such 'tis the Children's limits, they are bound above but never below."  

The voice of the Christmas spirit startled Noir.  Its light caused him to almost knock over a set of nearby shelves.  She stooped down, her head and shoulders bent enough to keep her from hitting the lower ceiling of the basement.  For Noir, however, the ceiling wasn't too high.

"Subtle isn't you, is it?"  Noir asked her, as he tried to get control over his frightened heart rate.

She ignored his words and pointed at the shelves around them.  Some of them had burns, but most were intact and covered in books and photos.  Noir followed her long nailless finger to a cracked black-and-white photo.  He picked up the cracked picture frame, the glass split into three large chunks.

"You wanted me to see this huh?"  Noir studied the photo.  "I imagine you can't or won't be more specific.  You need me to fix it.  I don't understand exactly what you are, but I think this night is important to your powers.

"And this place..."

The photo was a picture of the house they stood in, before it had burned.  Noir couldn't guess at the exact year, but it looked like it was from around World War I or the 1920s by the dress of the people in it.  The house was on a dirt road, with a yard and looked complete.  A gaggle of two dozen children stood in front of the house, with three adults next to them- two women and a taller man in a white suit.  All looked stern.  At the bottom of the frame, the only words remaining were:

White's Home For Abandoned Children.

The Christmas Spirit nodded at him.  She motioned a hand, her face studying his.

"Ah.  This explains a lot more.  This was an orphanage then."  Noir started to look at books, opening and closing them, coughing at the dust.  "This records might be handy, but nothing useful if it isn't from the Children themselves.

"Spirit, because I don't have a better name for you, this place, did it burn on this same night long ago?  Did all these children die in a fire on Christmas Eve?"  Noir imagined the maddening horror of that from the orphaned children's point of view.  Eternally never getting to have Christmas day.  Always being denied that, it must have driven them crazy.  Every year knowing that and still being stuck in this place.

No response.  Noir decided to take that for a yes. She'd slap him if he'd been wrong.

"My mistake before was that spell.  It might helped that part of the poltergeist, but the rest of them didn't like being ignored or left behind.  Being here this long they've all contaminated each other, their roots and essences blending together.  I just threw a rock at a bee hive."

Noir paused when he heard the sound of cars pulling up and stopping outside the house.  The light around him vanished.  That left Noir to guess that the Christmas spirit was gone.

"Great, have to try and fix a hoard of Children ghosts who died on Christmas Eve, who've spent a century or so never getting to open their presents.  I have to figure out how to help them through that.  What else could possibly go wrong?  Do the police need to show up and cuff me or something now?"

Can You Hear the Song? 15: The Daughter of Maru

The Daughter of Maru, [To Be Determined or TBD].  CEO of the megacorp Babylon.  She controls all of Babylon's resources, including its Demon-filled Psi Division and Tech Archives.  Her family had taken control of Babylon decades ago, but even before then it had become a Demon-driven faction trying to take complete of Noah.


There's Opportunity In Mutation: [TBD] Maru believes that Demons have unlocked genetic potential, and that unlike Angels, they can tap into a variety of mutations.  This variety is a rich resource, that is waiting to be exploited.  Take advantage of what one has, especially the thing others fear.
Greed Is Good: Finders keepers.  There is power in profit, and that isn't bad.  Seeking wealth is a good thing.  Anything else that counters that is a lie.  The only way to make sure that wealth and power does what is good, the only way is to make certain you have control over it.
We Made This Town: And we can break it.  Its secrets belong to Babylon.  Noah is our experiment, and we created it.  Recognize that or pay the price.

[TBD] Maru stands out in a room, despite her petite stature.  She has an aura of confidence, made more brazen with her blue skin.  [TBD]'s mismatched eyes, one red and the other black, have an intensity to them.  Her hands end in manicured dark purple nails.  Her legs bend backwards away at her knees, become digitigrade hooves, covered in black-blue fur.  Her hooves are covered in a silvery design reflective of the logo design of Babylon itself.

[TBD] wears a dark grey business suit, with a skirt just barely above her knees.  Simple, round pieces of obsidian comprise her earrings and a pin over her left breast.  Her purple hair is wrapped into a professional bun, with a pair of red metal sticks put into it.  She looks small, but her body is wiry, and agile.  Both of her ears extend past her hair, bat-like and ribbed, its veins pulsing with her every breath.  A pair of very small horns poke just out of the edges of her forehead, tinted green compared to the rest of her blue body.  Her face is always scowling, but her mouth has no tongue, and she never speaks a word aloud.

The largest employer in Noah, Babylon has affluence over the citizenry of Noah.  A diverse group of people are loyal to the company, mainly because its their main means of eating or paying rent.  Some are specialists with skill sets that let them receive more pay or options than other employees.  These employees let Babylon act in a variety of ways, but its all contained in red tape and various levels of self-interest.  There are plenty of employees who are disaffected in Babylon too, who can be paid off.  The benefits of this system are offset by such holes, at least, to [TBD].  Her employees do as they are paid, and to her, that seems the most logical in terms of loyalty.

[TBD] wants short term profit for Babylon.  Whatever immediately helps the company make a dime or keep from losing an asset.  That is her first goal.  Other goals... well, they drift from there.  She wants to take back control of Noah, but she also is concerned about making sure Angels don't interfere with that either.  She also fears the Golden Crown, certain that Uriel and his ilk want a sort of pogrom against Demons like her.  This mixture of short-term profit, yet uncertain long-term projects ties up her interests all over the place, often keeping [TBD]'s plans inflexible, monolithic things that are hard to change.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Mother's Night II

Introduction | Part One (1/5) | Next Part (3/5)
Jingle.  Jingle.

The tall and thin Christmas spirit drug the Necromancer out of the neighborhood into the woods.  At least that is what Noir guessed, considering the pile of snowdrift her touch imparted on him.  Besides dragging, he could her bells jingling with each step they took deeper into the woods.


Then the bells stopped.  Noir lifted his head from the ground, realizing that his legs were so cold and numb he didn't notice that the spirit had dropped him.  He felt solid planks underneath him.  They creaked as he tried to stand up.

"That's a no go."  Noir muttered under his breath.  His eyes, now uncovered from the snow started to adjust to his surroundings.

The 'woods' the spirit had dragged him into wasn't just woods.  She'd dragged him into a abandoned building, a big one at that.  She'd taken him through a broken down wall, but the structure was old and large enough he didn't think there was any risk of collapse.

He sat up instead.  Through an ancient window he saw the glass fog and frost up.  On the other side, bending down to look at him in the glass was the spirit.  Noir blinked at her.

"This place?  What is it about this place you want me to do?"

Again, no response.  She just watched him.  Noir sighed.

He suspected that the burden now was on him to figure out the next step.  The necromancer tried to collect himself, eventually regaining enough feeling in his legs to try and walk.  The building was huge, but covered in black and char.

"Burned.  This used to be a place, but it burned down."  Noir took in a breath, trying to get a smell of it.  Old rot greeted him.  Some rust.  Charcoal.

He looked around.  Next to the spirit's window was a fireplace, just as big as the spirit had been.  Most of the mantel had been burned down to the bare bricks, but some items lay in pile of rot under the mantel.  Noir bent down and poked at it.

"Stockings hung with care."  He shook his head.  A single burnt and rotten stock was under a pile of detritus, a bell hung from it.  It rang quietly. It echoed throughout the building.  Boards creaked as Noir stood up.  "Familiar time of year."

He turned back to the spirit's window.  She was gone.  "I'm sure she isn't done watching me, though.  But I'm curious now."

Noir let some of his senses open, trying to feel for the dead. He heard a child singing.  And he heard another crying:

"In the bleak mid-winter,
Frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron,
Water like a stone,
Snow had fallen, snow on snow,
Snow on Snow,
In the bleak mid-winter
Long Ago"

Noir tried to focus his senses, to see the ghosts or whatever still hid in this place.

Next to the fire place, a small boy sat shivering.  His flesh was charred and twisted.  In the ghostly images Noir saw, the boy still burned with fire.  The necromancer cringed.  The ghost boy would still remember the trauma of that death over and over.

Nonetheless, Noir Badarte asked his question.  "How can I help you?"

The boy looked up from his half-crying, half-singing.  He took his hands from his face, revealing melted skin that only had a single eye and a misshapen mouth.  "Halp?  Please halp!"

The boy nodded.  Noir gritted his teeth and extended his necrokinesis.  Noir could see dark tendrils extend from his body to the boy.  Each tendril was Nothingness, stary black that neither existed nor didn't exist.  Nothing and all possibilities, all tied to his own magicks.

"Gulhp!  NO!"

Painful energy shocked back at Noir.  Before he could stopped it, his spell had twisted.  It failed to do what he intended.  Instead of helping mending the ghost and give it a better true form.  "What?"

A spell meant to give relief.  Noir meant well, he knew that.  Instead, he felt each of his nerves on fire as something ended the spell.  But not without putting every nerve in his body into hyper-pain mode.

Meanwhile, the child ghost started to scream and squeal.  It went berserk, becoming a manifested ephemeral being.  Ectoplasm dripped with each of its steps.  Then not just one, but a dozen, then a hundred tiny burning children manifested, transulecent green ectoplasm coming into being.  Noir's twisted spell unleashed the dormant spirit of the house.

Each child ghost screamed absurdities.  Chanting and ranting, each child-ghost tore at his clothes or flung debris at him.  Covered in soot and trying to get away, Noir started to scream.

Panicking, Noir closed his eyes.  Blindly he tried to find his way out of the house, tripping over a hole in the floor and falling.


With the wind knocked out of him, Noir moaned and looked around.  No more child-ghosts.  Not here.  "No," He told himself, "Not child-ghosts.  Poltergeist.  Its friggin' poltergeist hive mind."

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Mother's Night I

Introduction| Next Part (2/5)


I've been thinking about my encounter with the Dragon again.  That Crossroads and Xia.  That has been the last time I've talked with the Dark man, and now the holidays have made their approach.  My wandering have led me back into the pacific northwest, a land very much full of wolves as father would've said.

I don't understand why the Dark man sought to make me cross lines with the Dragon.  I've learned only a scant little more after the matter.  The Dragon is part of some order.  The number seven is sacred to them.  And they kill monsters.

That is it.  Kyle or this Dragon or whatever is a monster hunter.  That makes him seem even more childish in retrospect.  To treat the world as so simple as evil beasts or good people, one to save and the other to slay.

I still can't make it home for the holidays.  

Portland has drawn itself to me, and I'm in some suburb or outgrowth of it on a hill.  Its covered with trees.  Even in winter this place looks alive.  Strange for a man like me, except I can taste the undercurrent of death around me.  There is a stain here, and I'm not being kept waiting for patients. 

Merry Christmas.  Eguberri.  
Your Son,

* * * * * * *

Trees dripped with December rain on a small hill overlooking west Portland.  An older neighborhood with more empty houses than others, still had enough residents to have Christmas lights twinkle.  A man in a dark hoodie leaned against a tree at the edge of the neighborhood, on a road that disappeared into trees and died short of extending the neighborhood another avenue.

The man wore a pair of sunglasses over his regular glasses, even though it had turned dusk.  The rain had stopped, but he still clung tight to the black hoodie he wore.  His shoes shined when wet, black cowboy boots with tarnished metal on them.  The worn boots were tucked under his black slacks, they looked like shoes to most other people anyway.  Under the hoodie part of a ebony and silver tie poked out, although it wasn't tied anymore.  The shirt underneath was of a dark gray tone, but looked expensive but spent.  Noir Badarte had no tattoos or piercings.  And he didn't wear hats.

He also was frighteningly skinny.  Some had accused him of being a meth addict based on the scary thinness he displayed.  Smoke also came out of one of his pockets.

Noir tossed a chip into his mouth.  He munched artificially on it, as if forcing himself to eat.  After swallowing, he took his hand out of the pocket.  He took a deep breath from his joint, letting it out slowly.  Then he would take another chip from the bag hidden in his other hoodie pocket and toss it into his mouth, and commence with eating once more.  Again, Noir handled this as though it were a meditation, something that he was forcing himself to do.

I should've had Bert drop me off.  He'll never find me here, Noir thought.  Besides, when I do this it drives him and the others crazy.


A pine cone dropped down a foot from Noir.  He took a glance at it, not quite startled, but surprised by the fallen pollen from the Douglas Fir above him.  He took a glance up.  Nothing there, no squirrels.

"Ghost?" He murmured.  Tempted to reach out with his necrokinetic senses, Noir chidded himself.  "Squirrel.  Don't jump at a squirrel."

Then Noir jumped at the sight he saw when he took his eyes off the fir tree above him.  Gray fog replaced the scene around him.  He couldn't see anything around him.  The joint stayed firmly in his jaw.

The figure in the mist had been the one to startle him, however.  It illuminated the fog as it moved to him.  Noir felt frost and snow grow on the ground around him.  His skin went cold.

She, he guessed by the shape of her figure, stood a good three feet taller than him.  Her skin was pale and dirty blond hair dangled in front of her face.  She wore a red velvet coat, long enough it drug on the ground around her.  Christmas lights were wrapped around her body, each of them a-light and too bulbous to have been purchased at any store.  Her limbs were too long for her body, her body too thin at the waist to be anything human.  That and each breathe she exhaled didn't come out as fog like his was doing.  She had no pupils in her eyes, just glowing green sclera.  Her nose was too small, too perfect.  And she was covered in pine needles and mistletoe.

In her right hand, held aloft, she had a ornamental star, which didn't break the fog.  It seemed to create more and more of it.

"You have got to be kidding me,"  Noir said without thinking, "what, I get to deal with Christmas ghosts now too?"

Her eyes narrowed at his tone.  Noir didn't mean it to sound as snarky as it came out, but, he sounded quite good in his head.

"You forget yourself, Deathwalker."  She took a step toward him.  Noir noted that the tree moved its branches out of her way, letting her stand right next to him.  She bent her knee and put a single finger on the join in Noir's mouth.  The light in the joint went out.


Noir spat it out before the frost growing on it could touch his face.  He tried to step back, but suddenly felt a strong urge to not look away from this... Noir couldn't think of the right word for her.  She kinda was beyond his knowledge.  He couldn't think straight.

"What the- Hey!  Nobody invited you here to bug me!"

"You children never learn respect even when your betters try to teach you," She responded.  She then slapped Noir upside the head.  He tumbled off his feet into a pile of her fog brewed snow.  "Manners, child."

"Child?!"  Noir's head hurt.  "What do you want, or is beating on me the plan here?"

"Manners."  This time, the scary snow Christmas lady stood over him, all eight or nine feet of her over him.

Noir then took a second thought.  Manners.  He hadn't thought it through.  Had he disrespected this thing?  He tried out a couple theories in his head based on that.  Maybe this tree was sacred to her or maybe something about this night and being alone or any other myriad hundred random things that spirits or gods or what-have-you find offensive, Noir thought.

Noir bowed his head.  "Apologies, I meant no disrespect.  I... I am called Noir.  Er... Hello?  How are you?"

He cringed at that last bit, especially where his voice cracked.

Shaking her head, the tall blond spirit grabbed Noir by the leg.  He tried to get out of the way or to stop her, but she just slapped him if he resisted.  "Deathwalker you must come with me."

"Uh... ever consider asking?"

No response.  Noir felt snow pile over his body as she dragged him, covering him in a shallow pile of snow, slush and frost.  And it got into every piece of his clothing.  Noir decided to count how long until he felt hypothermia take over.

"Great.  Um... Where are you taking me?"

No response.  Again.

"Now I'm getting curious, are any of my questions going to be answered?"


Mother's Night Introduction

I'm starting a new story.  Its a Holiday story, and it revisits Noir Badarte, the Necromancer with a Heart of Gold.  He first appeared back in In Black.  

In Black was a practice run, and I didn't have a outline or a real plan for it.  It was more of Halloween-ish kinda story, but uses a variety of elements I've collected in my head and I threw all of them out.  I wanted to write a story to get my brain working the right way, and In Black did that.

But Noir Badarte was more than a temporary creation.  Like a lot of the pieces in In Black (and even Black Friday or the Humility Mackenzie Interview), Noir is a deeper creation I plan to use over and over.  Noir Bedarte has become a loner, choosing to travel with his cadre of dead as his only friends.  Even among them, Noir dislikes being with them, and he feels like he's lost sight of why he is doing what he does.

I like Noir, specifically because I like the idea of a necromancer, a dead-raiser who asks for consent and hates seeing any sort of abuse of freedom he sees.  He calls himself a Necrokinetic, not a Necromancer, that is how rooted Noir is in his particular view of things.

So here is the start of a new Noir Story, Mother's Night.

As always, these are rough drafts and I'm always open to any input on improving them.  :D

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Broken King

I crashed Monday.  A headache and lack of sleep conspired to delay me.  But here is another entry.  Lets see where this ride takes us. (wink)

It would be better if the King were dead.

A broken man.  Skinny and thinner than a skeleton.  His sunken eyes are stained purple with bygone tears.  Unkempt hair upon his head, his ruddy beard is has pieces of mourning and depression in it.  He sags on his oh so very old throne.  The king's finery now is torn.  Velvets have rotten.  The gold is tarnished, what else is iron or steel covered in rust.  Black dirt has collected under his shattered nails.  The air about him is aria, a dirge.  It cries for his kingdom, for it is no more.

Long live the King.

Previous Flash Fic

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Humility MacKenzie Interview 2

Previous Part (1)
"That doesn't sound possible," Johann said when he interrupted me.  "Giants?  Are you certain that is what you saw?  No one else reported seeing Giants of any kind."

I shrugged.  "I thought you wouldn't believe me.  I don't have any more evidence than what I saw when I was a little girl."

"Why were these creatures attacking the town then?"

"Excuse me?"

"I asked, why were these 'giants' attacking?  Did you learn anything about the origins of their aggression?"

I blinked.  He didn't completely dismiss what I was saying.  Yes, he did express some disbelief, but clearly Johann wanted to know as much about something he didn't think was true.  "Why?  You clearly don't believe what I'm saying-"

"You have no clear evidence."  Johann didn't look up from his scribbling.  "The United States Multiversal Survey can't make any clear determinations without some sort of evidence.  And we are used to people not believing what we say.

"So please, Miss MacKenzie, did you see any explanation of these 'Giants' aggression?"

I tried to think, to get the answer right in my head.  "I can't say I saw anything that exactly explained it.  But when the man in the Wolf Mask appeared, they stopped and talked to him."

"About what?"

"I don't know.  They spoke a language I never heard before.  But the giants grew angry at him, but then he said something in their language back at them.  They didn't seem to like that, but regardless of it turned around and left."

* * * * *

My legs stung.  I had been pinned under the wreckage of our cart.  I could smell the corpses of my brother and father around me.  But my view of the giants and their rampage was unobstructed.

There were three of them, but one clearly was their leader.  Each giant stood taller than any of the buildings in Town, each at least as tall as the tallest trees I'd seen.  Now I would guess their height at twenty or thirty or forty feet.  I don't think my recollection can be more exact than that.

Each giants' skin looked dirty and craggy, covered in callouses and scars.  Their leader stood a bit taller than the others, bald except for a long ponytail that hung down from his head.  He wore armor of some kind as well, a breastplate and shoulder guard of some kind.  The armor looked to be of a Iron age make, covered in images of animals of various kinds.  The symbol of a mountain was prominent in the center of their chest armor.  The leader's eyes were the color red, and his face looked liked a boxer.  Clearly parts of his face- his nose, his chin, his cheeks- all had been broken before and healed badly.  Covered in scars, they all worked to make him look more frightening.

Both of his compatriots covered their cheeks and foreheads in black paint.  They had painted symbols I couldn't recognize, square shapes with lines crisscrossing them.

Most of the townsfolk fled.  They screamed and ran away, as fast as they could.  Some of them tried to fight back.  But the skin and flesh of the giants seemed impervious to shotgun and rifle fire.  More joined those fleeing.

I grunted, trying to pry myself out.  But it hurt too much to move.  I watched in horror as the giants started to break and wreck nearby buildings, screaming things in a language I couldn't comprehend.

Then I heard a voice.  "Child, don't move."

A man touched me, his touch so light yet vibrant with energy.  I could feel my pain start to fade.  I looked up at the man, and I saw a man in a Wolf Mask.  He wore a old tattered duster.  His clothes looked stained, like he had been riding horseback for days before seeing me.  "They don't care that you are child.  They think all humans are vicious vermin."

"My... why..." I couldn't think of a word to say, an idea to express.  The experience had broken my child mind with its vicious trauma.

"I am the Wolf,"  He said.  "I know these things.  They hate our people, because of what we did to them millennia ago.  But that still doesn't stand with me.  I will settle this."

He then walked away from me, to the Giants.

And the Giants, when they saw him, stopped.

When his conversation with them had been done, the giants left.  I didn't understand the words said, but clearly the man in the Wolf Mask knew them.  He could at least convince them to leave us be.

* * * * *

"After that, I don't remember anything else.  I blacked out, too tired from my injuries.  Weeks later I woke up in a orphanage here in New York."

Johann kept scribbling.  "The Wolf, hmm."

"You've heard of him, sir?"  I asked.

"Here and there, here and there."  The USMS agent stood up, putting his notes away.  "No one has any evidence of him either.  Oh well.  Thank you Miss Mackenzie for letting me interview you."

I thanked Johann and let him out of my apartment.  After he had gone, I went to my closet door and opened it.  Inside, candles were waiting to be lit.  The symbol of a full moon hung above it.  I bent my knee, then I prayed and gave thanks to my savior, The Wolf God.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Can You Hear the Song? 14: The Dragon King

The Dragon King.  Allyn "Al" Iblis.  Icon and the leader of the Dragons Crime Syndicate.  Having taken control of the Syndicate, Iblis believes that might makes right, and that he and his have the right interest of the people in mind- even if it is at the cost of some of them.

Might Makes Right: The core truth of the Dragon King, he shows strength to make his point.  He never backs down.  If it requires a violent response to make a point, then yes, Iblis will do it.  Threats.  Strength.  Endurance.  Actions are louder than words.

Lord of the Kaiju-Lotus: Iblis and his people control the smuggling operations in Noah.  Getting any sort of good is easy for him and his crew, and is something the other powers in Noah work to stop.  Smuggling in tons of illegal substances, from unapproved foods or Kaiju-Lotus.  He markets out the drug, the most addictive substance for Clayborn.  So many people hide their Kaiju-Lotus addiction, but Iblis knows many of those who cling to the Golden Crown or the Office of the Prime Minister are hypocrits- and are his customers.

They Made Us This Way: Iblis doesn't blame himself for what he is.  He knows that he never had a choice in the matter- he decided to at least embrace the horrible destiny Noah gave him.  He knows he is a symptom of greater problems and tries to mitigate the side effects that causes- the ends justify the means, for him, if his people come out ahead regardless of the harm caused.

Almost as wide as he is tall, Iblis is built like a tank.  His thick skin is covered in black-purple scales.  He has no hair of any kind.  With two pairs of glowing red eyes, charcoal-smelling smoke bellows from his nostrils.  His teeth look like tiny shards of glass- they always cut and slice open his gums, so black blood always drips from his mouth.  Iblis often leaves his mouth open from time to time, to try and let his super fast healing stop the bleeding.

Both of his hands end in feline claws, retractable into his three fingers.  He wears a dirty wife beater, stained with grease.  He wears a dark red blazer over it.  Pinned onto the blazer is dragon-shaped black iron pin.  His feet are covered in thick, black leather boots.  He doesn’t wear any weapons, but instead possesses a short tail that ends in a burning flame.

The Dragon King is the leader of the Dragons.  A old criminal organization, Iblis took control of it from the Demons that used to lead it.  Not just criminals, the Dragons is a honored brotherhood, bound by a centuries old code of loyalty.  Most of them feel they have no choice really, and the Dragons is the only way any of them can do something about their lives.  Even if it means a violent end.

Iblis wants to keep his organization safe, and more importantly, strong.  He does whatever he can to stop any potential competition.  He also actively fights police and the Office of the Prime Minister.  The Moria Weave is his Kingdom.  He repels all invaders on his turf.

Humilty Mackenzie Interview 1

1912.  New York City, New York, USA.
I sighed.

"There... My parents and brother died that day.  People in town always thought it was something with the horse, that it bolted and killed them.  It was an accident, sir."  I tried to not look the German in the eyes.

"Please, Miss MacKenzie," He said.  His english sounded weird and foreign.  He introduced himself as Johann Clas.  He wore a grey suit that looked worn and old.  His eyes were brown.  Dark brown facial hair coded his mouth, neatly trimmed but stained at the edges by whatever he ate this morning.  He never took his pen off the paper he was scribbling into.  He just kept scribbling and scribbling. "Call me, Johann.  My work at the USMS requires a more thorough explanation of what happened on the day of October 1st 1900.  What really caused the accident?"

I murmured the answer.  "Giants."

"Beg pardon, I didn't quite hear you-"

"Giants, sir."  I looked up.  I didn't have time for this nor could I spare the effort.  This took away from time I could be working or anything else.  I'm all I have in the world anymore.  God dash it all. I thought.  I decided to tell the story.

"You won't believe me, sir, but this is what happened..."

* * * * *

Early October meant Mother and Father had to prepare for the coming winter.  We were expected to help of course, so my brother and I were in the back of the cart when we rode into town.

I was excited.  Only ten years old, I always loved going on trips to town, even if it were just to purchase some goods at the general store.  Sometimes Father or Mother would buy candy, sometimes not.  With Grandfather back at the homestead, it was a rare treat I'd enjoy because I got to see things I normally could not.

Our homestead was too far away for regular visits to town, which now I feel my parents rather enjoyed.  They didn't like people.  Or having to deal with them, and the little homestead suited that need quite well.

We arrived in town, and none of us spoke.  We took in the sight of the little Eastern Montana town, which to us was a big city back then.

"What is going?"  Mother asked.  I didn't hear her at first, my attention focused at seeing all the people.  My blood rushed, my ears barely paying any attention to Mother or Father.

We rounded about a corner.  Father slowed down, and he started to glance at all the people on rooftops.  They were staring off in some direction, the same direction we were going.

"I don't know," Father said.  He sounded confused.  "What are they looking at?"

"Thunder!" I said, leaping up to my parent's seat.  "I just heard thunder!  Its going to be storm, isn't?  But What happened to all the clouds?"

Then we turned onto the main street, and we saw why people were staring.  Like scared sheep or deer, they all froze at the sight of something they should've known better than stay close to.  Frozen in fear, not quite sure what to do next.

But what we saw lasted for an instance compared to them.  My first sight of a giant was that of its fist crashing down and tearing apart the cart my family and I were riding in.  I screamed.  I felt wet.  There were splinters.

My skin then felt so very dry and cold.  I don't remember if there was pain.  Perhaps youthful vigor gave me endurance.  I didn't cry at the splinters or the scapes or blood.  No.  I cried and cried when I opened my eyes to see my mother's chest and head lifted into the sky.  A giant's fist curled around her chest, taking it high into the air.  Her dead legs were still on the ground, her intestines and the stench all around me.

Dead women don't scream, and my mother corpse didn't say a word.
Next Part (2)

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Fimbulwinter: Enjoy the Cold

Fimbulwinter is that chill that shakes you to your bones.  Fimbulwinter is the last winter, the terrible cold that foretells the end of the world.  Its the last great expression of Winter, probably its great eschatological expression.

The Fimbulwinter foretells the doom of the gods in Norse mythology.  And we, as humans, can gaze back and remember that prior era.  When we were blind and could not foretell whether the world would die this winter, this unbidding chill or if it would survive and re-emerge back to its full strength.

We could predict it, but it never was a certainty.  And sometimes, we still wonder about that.  Could we make a unholy man-made Fimbulwinter?  A Oppenheimer created storm of cold that renders the world dead?  If we could make our own Fimbulwinter, does that mean we humans can cause the death of the Gods?

Its not certain we humans have control over the Gods, new or old.  But the power to unleash a Fimbulwinter?  Yes, we probably do.

On another note: Summer and Winter are opposites.  Each of them has a power in and of themselves, if you think about it.  If they were Gods, which is waning or waxing?  We live in the era of Summer Everlasting.  Summer is growing more and more.

After all, each year it gets hotter.

Summer means growing.  Growing and spawning and spreading.  Summer is the season of War.  Summer is the hot burning that scars part of the year.  Its a fertile miasma.  Yes, we humans can use it to live and grow and be happy.


I like the stories that remember Humans weren't the first.  I think of those stories.  Things have a time, like Summers or Winters do.  Things live and they die.

Things that survive remember that.

Beware the glory of Summer.  Fear Winter, but remember its cold embrace when Others try to take this world from us.

Thats how the stories go anyway.

I love Winter.  My favorite season.  Enjoy the cold.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Can You Hear The Song? 13: Uriel

Uriel, The Golden Crown.  Icon.  His cult has a stranglehold on much of the wealth and power in Noah, but more than few see him and his as a fundamentalist cult.  Some others see Uriel as a uniter, who might be able to help save the city from the demonic problems it faces.


Divine Right of Rule: Uriel (or at least the Golden Crown) firmly believes that all Angels are divine beings.  They are the chosen ones, meant to guide, and most importantly, rule Noah.  Others are meant to kneel or fade away altogether.
Touch Not That Demonic Filth: Uriel and his followers disdain all Demons, and think of them as inhuman animals, not persons.  Their racism is rigid, and if asked why, most members of the Golden Crown would reply, "they are demons.  They deserve everything that we do to them."
Old Money Of Noah: Lastly, Uriel and the Golden Crown is deeply connected to the wealthy families unaligned with Babylon, who want control of the city once again.  The few, truly wealthy, they often have financial means in Noah- for as long as 'financial means' remains a plausible thing in Noah.

Uriel is a tall, almost sickly thin man.  He has platinum blond hair, which he cuts very short.  His eyes shimmer with a radiant glow, which seems to instill the feel of electricity in those who look into them.  Uriel also has a very trim beard.  Above him floats a halo of bright white fire.  Uriel wears a fine white suit, perfectly clean.  Instead of a tie, he has a gold cross studded with diamonds pin in the vest coat of his suit.  His shiny white kaiju leather shoes never touch the ground as he floats about the floor.  Each of his hands are covered in white silk gloves, static with psychic energies.

Uriel's followers are numbered amongst the wealthy families that long ago turned against Babylon and its machinations.  The 'Old Money', more than enough Angels have married into their families.  Demonic births are... often disposed of.

There is a hierarchy to the Golden Crown. Angels are seen as proper agents, considered a sort of aristocracy to be envied.  Clayborn are seen as imperfect, but the horrible Demons, even those seeking to be redeemed, are treated like animals amongst the Golden Crown.

Frequently they work to overthrow the re-established Clayborn government and work against the auspices of Babylon.  The Golden Crown also espouses a rigid ascetic lifestyle, often practicing vows of chastity, poverty and vows of bloodletting in their devotion to their cause.  They also work to try and bring Jezebel and her angelic followers back in line, to preserve the image that so many find redeeming amongst the populace.

Locations: Cherubim Heights
Cherubim Heights is the newest sector of Noah.  Golden spires, silver towers and glittering domes.  Plazas and parks run throughout it, interspersed with zen rock gardens here and there.  Its own Seraphtech bubble is designed to produce a golden glow in the seawater above it.  Cherubim Heights is also elevated, sitting atop a cliff face over looking the rest of Noah.  Entrance into and out of Cherubim Heights is highly secured, a fortress that only connects to the Weaveway via a single point.  Otherwise, travel in and out of Cherubim Heights is done in secured heavy Floaters designed for luxury.  Although filled with palaces, Cherubim Heights also has smaller commercial districts, where some middle class Clayborn work.

Noah City Police rarely patrol in Cherubim Heights, more focused on troubles in the Blue Dome or the Moria Weave.  But response time for police Cherubim Heights is faster than most everywhere else in Noah, if only because the residents of the Heights seem to have a better way of swaying the Prime Minister.
Aspect: Silver-Lined Golden Spires

Monday, December 9, 2013

The United States Multiverse Survey (USMS)

"To Investigate Extraterrestrial, External and Unknown Threats."

 Established by an executive order of Theodore Roosevelt after a meeting with Mark Twain and Nikola Tesla in 1904, the USMS documents and archives all information about contact with other realities and dimensions.  The USMS is a small agency which investigates and analyzes interactions with breaches of other realities, dimensions and worlds.  The USMS is not a hidden secret of the US Government, although most other bodies of the US Gov't remain ignorant of it.  This isn't a willing ignorance, as the USMS finds itself constantly trying to keep the rest of the United States informed of threats they find.

 A bureau of the Interior department, the USMS is fact-finding organization that has no regulatory responsibility, although it has leeway with justice department and other agencies.  Constantly the USMS seeks out some form of enforcement ability.  General disbelief and other factors always seem to hinder their ability to obtain more authority, often its blocked.

 Seal: The seal of the USMS is a jar bound by chains, lit aflame.  The jar is Pandora's box, while chains and fire of Prometheus keep it closed.

Initially created by Theodore Roosevelt in April 1904 with an executive order, the USMS was cemented into a permanent body by an act of Congress later that year after 1904 Minnesota Troll Crisis.  Data found by the USMS tracked and led to the cessation of a series of brutal killings in Minnesota, confirming the USMS as a bureau.  Later accounts of actual Trolls being involved would be discounted or questioned by Congress, although President Roosevelt applauded their efforts.

 Throughout its history, the USMS has struggled to keep from being disbanded, as its claims are (almost annually) questioned by Congress.  This is despite incidents that USMS information and efforts minimized or helped to explain, especially during the bizarre occurrences during World War II.

 The Director of the USMS has always been considered an ill-fated position.  The USMS has had twenty Directors, and fifteen of them have died while working in their position.  More than half of those died because of External events, often leading to a very strict security code to protect the Director and HQ from any further contamination based in External events.

Understaffed and underfunded, the USMS maintains the following programs.  Each of these programs share personnel and all are based in the USMS headquarters in Seattle, Washington.  The USMS has three mission areas: Multiverse Tracking, Threat Assessment, and Countermeasure Development.

  • The Multiverse Index Program (The Index) focuses on indexing and cataloging all known and encountered extra-realities, parallel dimensions, worlds and realities.  The Log is a maintained database and catalog, each is tagged and numbered using a system the entire bureau uses to analyze situations it comes across.  All worlds and realities confirmed as stable are given a prefix denoting the date they were discovered, location found and first discoverer.  Hostile realities are given a color suffix, green for the least risk and red being the highest level of danger.
  • Investigation Field teams, based around the country who look into and track incidents.  They determine whether or not a given event requires further research by the USMS.
  • The USMS also operates the Multiverse Hazard Center, which coordinate teams based on events ongoing or in the past.  The nerve center of the USMS, it also connects to the offices of the USMS director and other key management.
  • Archaeological Multiversal Research Program, which investigates archaeological sites for past examples of incidents with the extra-reality and other world threats.  
  • The External Hazard Containment (EHC) unit is a specialized team that directly attempts to interact with anomalies and  ongoing sites of interest deemed too dangerous for the public.  Often they have to compete with other federal agencies depending on the scale or kind of incident for any information about the event.
  • The USMS also manages the Tesla Metaphysical Laboratory in Maine.  The Lab focuses on researching countermeasures against external threats.

 "External Threats"
The USMS uses the term 'External Threat' when describing any threat whose origin is of a multiversal, extraterrestrial or some other dimension.  Traditionally a broad definition, External pertains to anything 'not of our nature.'  Amongst some other organizations, however, this is some disagreement with the term, many thinking it either inaccurate or too vague to be of use.