Sunday, June 17, 2007

I Shall Draw Power From the Bones of the Dead


From the Journal of Stephen Absalom

When I was younger I had a single prophetic moment. Touring a museum with my friends, marveling at the remains of the great beasts of the past, I spoke without thinking.

“One day, I will draw power from the bones of the dead.”

I was a little stunned, I'd meant to comment on the majesty and power of the beasts, but had instead said that. I shrugged it off, but never fully forgot it.

Growing up, Stephen was vaguely aware that his father, Jacob, was an exceptionally cruel and uncompromising man. Despite this, Jacob had always been a kind and good father to Stephen and so Stephen didn't mind too much. Jacob was a magician, specifically a demonologist: gaining power by binding demons and bending their souls and wills to his. Cruel people are the only ones who make it very far in that line of work.

Given his reputation and methods, Jacob made many enemies. Stephen watched assassin after assassin assault his father and be utterly destroyed. He, like many children, thought his father was the most powerful man in the world. Unlike many children, there were likely times when he was right. When Stephen was seventeen, however, his father proved to be vulnerable after all.

A group of assassins, both magical and mundane, assaulted Jacob in his home. A combination of luck and preparedness allowed them to succeed where others had failed.

Jacob gave Stephen instructions to run. And run fast. In the meantime he sacrificed himself to destroy most of the attackers.

Unfortunately, two of the assailants had followed Stephen out of the house and were therefore not destroyed by the explosive death-throes of the magician.

Stephen did as his father told him. He ran. He ran as fast as he could for as long as he could. Seeing the two men close behind him only further motivated him.

He ended up in a graveyard. Headstones, ancient and faded, littered the ground, blocking his path, causing him to stumble. Eventually, he fell fully flat.

The two men closed in on him. Both were of average height, though one was noticeably buffer than the other. The leaner man pulled out a switchblade, the blade emerging with a thwick as he advanced on Stephen. He smirked a little as he stared down at the boy.

“It's nothing personal, kid. You just had the wrong daddy.”

Staring death in the face Stephen remembered his words from many years ago. He reached out with his mind, feeling the bones below him.

Come to me, he thought. Lend me your strength for a while.

Tiny black tendrils emerged from the grave beneath Stephen, gently caressing his face and body. They crept up and snaked into his eyes turning them a pitch black color.

Meanwhile the thugs were not reacting well to this. They both took a step back as this transformation suddenly affected their supposedly helpless quarry.

“What's he doing Joe?” asked the bigger one, visibly nervous.

“I don't know!” the smaller man responded. “But I think I'm gonna kill him before he pulls off some trick he learned from daddy.”

The lean man, Joe, lunged. Stephen raised his arm, tendrils of blackness snaked outward, intertwining and forming a point. Joe impaled himself on this structure as tendrils issued from Stephen's other hand and plucked the knife from his assailant's hand and brought it to his own.

The spearlike growth retracted into the darkness now swirling around Stephen. The boy rose and stepped over to Joe and looked down at him. He raised his hand to point at the remaining attacker, who was just beginning to run away. Inky tendrils emerged sinuously from around Stephen's arm and ensnared the bulky man, snaking around his neck and slowly squeezing the life out of him.

Stephen spoke to the rapidly dying Joe. “It's nothing personal. You just tried to kill the wrong kid.” And he reached down and slit the assassin's throat with his own blade.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

For Time Out of Mind

I wrote me a poem. This was written during my Chemistry lecture. I had listened to the first half of The Hush Sound's second album: Like Vines. I was not listening to them when I wrote this, but some of their style and imagery was an influence. Here goes nothing.

For Time Out of Mind

I wept in darkness for time out of mind
I knew no light, forgot my sight
The world was blank and frightening
Then I saw her there, a light, a flare
I knew illumination once more
I knew what I'd lost once more
Like a beacon was she
I approached fearfully
And I bathed in light eternal glorious
Wonderful, awful, Glorious and terrifying
My atrophied eyes begged for mercy
But I was enthralled and terrified
My world of darkness was there still
She knelt, hands folded and praying
Holy and good
Holy and good and utterly terrifying
The light she channeled showed my every sin
revealed and reflected, exposed
My revelation was complete
The darkness was mine, the darkness was me
The light I rejected
My eyes I destroyed
I fled
As I'd fled before, this time knowing
No saying I'd wandered, no claim of unintendedness
And yet
No matter how I ran, still shone she bright
The only light in darkness
And she sang a song
A sweet psalm
A melody of forgiveness
An aria of grace
My ears nearly bled at the sounding soft song
The whispers of madness and self-centered sobs
Were all they had known
For time out of mind
The price was so steep
Too deep
More than my means
The price was nothing
Freely given, never earned
The light reached out and kissed me
As it touched my skin, my sin started to burn
I screamed and I writhed
Emerged from the ash
My body and soul
Purged clean at last
I tremblingly stepped towards my beacon
My Goddess
She rose Right and Regal
Beneficent, beautiful
Again I wept, as long I had
For time out of mind.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

I haven't written in a while

My family home here in Kokomo seems to have a detrimental effect on my ability to write. I felt like doing a little cast page for the Graphic Novel project I've been working on with Whitney. So, a brief and spoiler-free cast list follows. This may get a little repetitive since I'll be including some general terms as well as specifics. As I write this it seems to become more of an explanation of how the supernatural order of this world is organized. Which is good, I think.
-The Drewcifer

Warden Angel: Often shortened simply to "Warden." An angel charged with policing the actions of Outsiders on Earth. Technically both angels and demons are capable of holding the position of Warden.

Demon Hunter/Demon Slayer: A mortal agent of an angelic Warden. These individuals have lives steeped in violence and pain. Many of them are only good at causing death. As such, they find salvation by directing their killing towards a righteous purpose. Well versed in the Celestial Edicts and merciless when dealing with those who break them, Demon Hunters are rightly feared by unsavory Outsiders. Because of the energies their bodies are infused with, Demon Hunters are capable of living forever if not killed.

Outsiders: A collective term for any supernatural creature that walks the Earth, especially ones the the Wardens and Demon Slayers are charged with policing. This includes Demons, Chimeras, and others. The Fae are, to some extent, considered Outsiders. However, they lie outside the jurisdiction of both Heaven and Hell. Since Outsider is generally a term reserved for those bound by the Celestial Edicts, the Fae are often considered to be in a category all their own.

Celestial Edicts: The laws and regulations that govern creatures of both Heaven and Hell. Contrary to what most mortals will believe upon first learning the of their existence, the Edicts do not favor angels over demons, nor do demons disobey the Edicts. The Edicts are distinct from the Laws of Heaven. The Laws of Heaven include relevant portions of the Celestial Edicts, but have many rules and regulations not covered in the Edicts. It is for rebelling against these laws that angels are cast out of Heaven and become demons.

Chimera: A subclass of Outsider, specifically a supernatural creature of limited intelligence. Though smarter than normal mortal animals, these creatures cannot be called sentient. Feral Chimera which are discovered by Demon Slayers are generally executed on the spot, to prevent them from potentially harming a mortal. All Chimera are bestial, though not all are quadrupedal. More intelligent Outsiders will sometimes create or import them as pets. According to the Edicts, both the Chimera and its owner are responsible for any breeches of the Edicts the Chimera may commit.

Fae: The Faeries, Fairies, Fair Folk, and many other names. These creatures are as varied as they are mysterious. Not fully bound by the Celestial Edicts, yet not fully outside of them, the Fae add a chaotic and unpredictable aspect to anything they are involved with.

Meriel: Meriel is an angel. A servant of God, Adonai, the Name, or whatever euphemism is your favorite. She is one of several (but relatively few) Wardens: angels charged with policing the actions of Outsiders on Earth. She began delegating this duty near the beginning of the first century CE. Demon Slayers sponsored by Meriel take on names which are ordinal forms of latin numbers (Primus, Secundus, Tertius, etc). She is currently on her sixth hunter.

Sextus: Meriel's current Demon Slayer. His past is shrouded in mystery, even more so than your average Demon Slayer. He wears a half mask that conceals the right half of his face at all times. His sword is chained to his wrist, and there are various locks on his clothing. All-in-all more unusual than even his peers, who are a strange lot to begin with. The power he wields manifests itself as golden motes which coalesce into different shapes and structures as he desires.

Quintus: The previous hunter employed by Meriel. After a series of complicated events, he has resigned his mantle as a Demon Slayer, preferring to retire to a quiet life, though he still struggles with a certain darkness he picked up during his career as a slayer. Quintus's power manifest as "soulfire," blue flame which burns only that which Quintus desires it to. Though he has retired, Meriel still keeps a wary eye on Quintus. She regards him as something of a loose cannon.

Harlequenne: A Fae, sublcass Pixie. This mischievous trickster hangs out with Sextus. No one is sure why.

Anne-Marie Thompson: A Private Investigator and an "Interpreter"-class psychic. Anne-Marie has second sight that allows her to distinguish Outsiders from normal mortals. She helps Sextus gather information and identify Edict-breakers. She is also in love with Sextus.