May 29, 2012 § 1 Comment
They could not stop it.
It dropped down into the heart of their settlement, smashing into the ground with enough force to blast the debris up and out in a shockwave that consumed their buildings. Ten thousand of the Cenians died in that first moment, as the expanding fireball consumed vehicles, structures, and screaming lives. Cenians, being a fairly conventionally biological species based on organic molecules chained out of carbon, were easily killed by the wave of fire.
To a human watching, although none were, the Cenians would very vaguely resemble an elephant or hippo in terms of their thick, leathery hides. Their faces, with many small black eyes and an eating orifice that also handled breathing and speaking, would look unusual but not entirely incomprehensible, and their screaming laced the air with high pitched notes. These sounds would not be familiar, but their meaning would be clear.
At the center of the crater, where the very ground had been torn and blown away forming a bowl a thousand meters across, the black and red figure floated to the former ground level. It gleamed, even as trails of dust and dirt and pulverized ground fell away from it. The impact had done nothing to it. In fact, it had deliberately dropped itself from orbit onto the city.
Points of seething green light looked like eyes on what might have been a head. It had two lower limbs and two upper limbs, and that same human who was not there to see the Cenians die would have called it humanoid. As it floated, it changed. Massive plates of gleaming black and large red spikes flowed out of the surface, and a segmented tail with a huge spiked ball seemed to melt down and solidify as it drifted to place its feet on the ground at the lip of the crater.
To Murder – Part 2
May 28, 2012 § 1 Comment
Durgka was a very big man, even for a Naeth, a race of large men and women. As a Hentre, Miaran was shockingly tall for his people, taller even than Durgka’s sons but he was still several inches shorter, and easily less then half the man’s weight. He crouched, presenting as low a target as possible, and prayed again for the giant to bleed out before coming at him.
The wounds to his side and throat would eventually kill the Naeth. His golden beard was matted with the blood that had gushed from his ruined larynx, and more blood ran down his left flank from the reindeer horn Miaran had driven into his kidney. But wounded or not, the giant could still kill him before he died. The emaciated ruddy skinned, red haired boy looked gaunt to the point of starvation in the flickering light, in part due to how the Naeth treated all their personal slaves, and in part due to actual hunger. He’d forgone eating to provide the means to enter Durgka’s tent, after all. A prolonged fight was completely out of the question. He was already trembling with the effort of holding his ready position.
Durgka’s eyes focused in shock. Like most of his people, he held a low opinion of the slaves that they had taken, as their people were clearly no equals to the Naeth or they wouldn’t be slaves. Even the ones taken as children, like Miaran, were tainted, weaklings from weak people. Miaran knew that attacking from behind had no honor, but he cared so little for the idea of honor that had he been asked about it he would have mocked it. Honor didn’t ward off the boot to the ribs, didn’t magically repair scars or keep you from being held down and buggered. Honor didn’t keep a big Naeth child from throwing your meager daily portion into your face and laughing. Honor didn’t keep your owner from making you race with your legs tied together and certainly didn’t keep him from beating you if you lost, and beating you harder if you won. « Read the rest of this entry »
To Murder – Part 1
May 28, 2012 § 1 Comment
He crept through the camp. It reeked of mead and fermented milk, of meat roasted on spits and heaped on platters, and the sour smell of unwashed bodies that had sweated and rutted for hours. The Naeth were many things, but to the standards of his people they were not terribly interested in bathing. Not that it bothered him anymore. Years of it had forced him to come to terms with the smell, it hung heavy over their camp. He remembered, as if it was a story he’d been told, his mother telling him to wash before eating. The Naeth would have laughed at it, had he ever bothered to tell their shaggy red and blond heads a damn thing about himself. They didn’t even know he could speak their language.
Miaran had at fourteen summers already grown taller than most adults in the camp, gaunt and hardened by years of beatings and the occasional indignity born out of Durgka’s inability to care what he ejaculated in or on once he was in his cups. The boy crept up to the drunken blond giant’s tent with a sharp rock in his hand, his scent so familiar to the dogs outside. Who, after all, fed those dogs? Huge slavering Naeth hounds with jaws that could crush bones? Who showed them the only kindness they’d ever seen in their short, brutish lives? Not the snoring titan with the reeking beard and worse breath, whose sword hand had callouses that tore at skin.
Miaran was tall for his age, but he had no illusions. He patted Gronth and Lazar on the heads and they whined in confusion. They had never seen him at night, and they were trained to be loyal, beaten into it just as he had been. He dropped chunks of meat he’d hidden the past week, and saw the dogs fall to eating. Eating they understood. He was the foodbringer, if he was there with food, clearly that was why he was there. They fell to eating.
Diablo 3, gnostic overtones, and the plot threads
May 26, 2012 § 5 Comments
If you are not expecting massive spoilers for Diablo 3 in this post, I should inform you they will be present.
I’m giving you time in the form of these two sentences to get away now, and if you click through, it’s on your head if you find spoilers for the game because they absolutely will be there and I have warned you in advance.
A scene involving a monster and a fire
May 13, 2012 § Leave a comment
The house of his grandmother and grandfather, the old red stained wood which had been the first place he’d seen an insect eaten by a spider – the first place he’d torn his flesh open with clumsiness and gasped in horror at the sight of his own blood fleeing from him – the place where his father had shown him how to climb a tree, or use a slingshot, the house that they’d spent summer after summer in for years after both those grandparents had died, the house that held the books and papers and boxes of old photos store up in the attic, with walls built in the 1700’s by ancestors who would fight in wars for England up in Acadia, then in a war to be free of England – that house exploded with him still in it.
He was hurled into the air by the blast. It was as if a club made of wind and sound had battered him away, reeling, up into the air. He actually crashed through the wood of the walls before the blast itself did, and then hung in an arc, his clothing on fire, before crashing to the embrace of the soil in a tumbling mass throwing up clouds.
A second passed. Several followed it, as seconds usually do. Aside from the flaming wreckage of the farmhouse there was nothing moving. « Read the rest of this entry »
Apologies if you expect more political discussion
May 12, 2012 § 1 Comment
I don’t do it very often. I’m going to try and go back to working on fiction here. If you need to know my beliefs, they are simple. All human beings regardless of race, gender, sexuality or some other distinction I may be forgetting or omitting deserve the same basic rights and freedoms. Being born in the United States, the US Constitution has greatly affected what I believe those rights should be. I believe we should all get sufficient health care, that we should be allowed to live our lives without being told we can’t marry because we’re gay, that our choices should be respected as long as those choices do not harm another.
The old ‘your right to swing your fist ends where my nose begins’ argument.
I believe in freedom to speak free of government regulation, and the responsibility to stand by your words. I believe anonymity is justified in specific circumstances of government oppression or employers using your out of work statements to punish or fire you, but even then it makes me uncomfortable. My discomfort is simply that, my own, and I don’t expect or wish anyone to do much about or with it.
I defined myself as liberal for most of my life. I opposed the Afghanistan invasion and the Iraqi invasion, and was pretty well lambasted for it. It defined me, in a way that I have a hard time putting down in words, my experience as someone who opposed the government’s shoddy, lie-filled arguments for war and for our surrender of our freedoms. That’s more the Benjamin Franklin fanboy in me, I suppose. Those who surrender essential liberty for temporary security deserve neither.
Okay. That probably clears up nothing at all. In the end, I want you to be free to live, as free as everyone else.
I have a blog, I might as well use it
May 9, 2012 § 9 Comments
I am not fool enough to believe that my opinion really matters. I express it because not to do so feels painful, not because I expect to change minds or win hearts. I have long since come to the conclusion that humans are not rational beings, that we rationalize what we want to do rather than reason what we should do, and I know that I am a human and just as likely to do so. I am not writing this because I believe there is an argument here to be won.
I simply don’t believe in the state stealing hope directly from people. I cannot understand the majority of citizens in a state, any state, getting together to deliberately take something or the possibility of same away from people. From their neighbors, their friends, their fellow citizens. What happened in North Carolina yesterday was the majority proving John Stewart Mill necessary.
I said elsewhere that those that voted to take marriage away from their fellow citizens were thieves of happiness. They are worse. They are misers, who believe that things they hold which are precious to them are diminished if others experience that precious thing in their turn. They wish to hoard, to hold away. It is not enough that they have a good thing. Others must not have it in order for it to maintain good. They are like children, already having eaten their fill, who then knock the ice cream from another child’s hands merely to prevent that child from knowing how it tastes. « Read the rest of this entry »
An Inapropriate Spoiler-Heavy Review of The Avengers
May 7, 2012 § 2 Comments
Shortest Review – I liked it.
Slightly longer but still short review – It did a very good job of disproving that big action movies have to be stupid, brain numbing, and offensive. It did an excellent job of taking what I dislike about superhero movies, about Joss Whedon’s writing, and about ensemble movies in general and turning those into strengths that I enjoyed.
And now, spoilers atop of spoilers upon more spoilers.
More unfinished stuff set in Nullgate setting
May 2, 2012 § 1 Comment
The problem with getting old is that you don’t realize that it happened.
Grimacing, the man in folded plates of metal armor forced himself to ignore the pain in his right shoulder. The bite marks there were shallower than the would have been without the armor, but it still burned. He hoped the damn things didn’t have some kind of venom on those fangs. Without turning his back to any of them, he swung both curved blades in an arc around himself, not trying to make contact. Just to discourage them from getting too close.
Gods I wish I’d been wearing my helmet. Sweat-tangled grey hair hung down, longer than he would have liked it. Around him, the strange whickering, like a horse.
There were four of them, with long lean legs that stood straight below their bodies. They didn’t look at all like predators. If not for the slavering muzzles jammed full of long, narrow teeth, they’d look like lost ponies. Four feet tall at the shoulder, with shaggy fur and black manes that trailed down their backs to become long black tails.
Something out of the Agath forests, he suspected. It didn’t matter, so he didn’t spend time worrying the thought. He kept his left arm out with the blade extended in the classic two-blade style of the Nazreal school he’d learned as a small child. If his teachers could see him sweating and straining, they may well have been ashamed of him. « Read the rest of this entry »