Fairy Tail Main Theme

And, as I said on Friday, I will also be including a song with every new post that may or may not be related to much of anything. This week’s pick: The Fairy Tail anime theme song. I have mixed opinion with the actual series, but the soundtrack is fantastic. This piece has energetic and powerful guitar riffs, accompanied by bagpipes and some quality choir. Rocking magical fairy style.
(I don’t own anything, though I sometimes wish I did.)

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The Interview (Short Story)

Hello all you happy people.  I thought I’d do a fun spin for the week.  A story about a hero interviewing to be a villain.  1,810 words, though I could have easily made it longer.  I wanted to try and write something that was driven largely by dialogue, and this was the result.  Because I’m going home for the Thanksgiving holiday, there probably will not be a new story next week, though I’ll figure out something neat that I can post.  In the meantime I’ll probably work on my book a little bit and the scripting for the videogame project.  I also have to catch up on the Walking Dead, so there’s also that…
Enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving!

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The Interview

                “As I’m sure you’ve suspected, this isn’t normal protocol.”

I nod as I take my seat, “If we were normal, we’d be out of a job.”

If the overlord was amused, he didn’t show it.  My answer seemed to satisfy him enough, but I can’t say the same for the triad of his peers, my interviewers.  Then again, I knew they were a tough crowd.  Any supervillain worth their mettle always was.

“Jericho here has to level a Mediterranean island this evening, so forgive us if we are attentive to time.  It couldn’t be helped.”  A burly oaf with skin fair enough to challenge The White Witch gave a stunted nod.  I’d heard of Jericho.  He was probably the least imposing of the titans before me, but still had enough experience and power under his belt to give A-class heroes a modest challenge.

As for the piece of work that had been breaking me in, that was Malachi, more notoriously known by-and-large as Utter Doom.  I’d trained myself to look at his forehead when speaking with him, so as to avoid direct contact with the “Lucifer Eyes” that brought him to the top of his field.  They were blank, cleaner than white, and only an accessory to his esteemed fury.  Utter Doom had been around since the dawn of the supervillain, and was the standard that defines many supervillain tropes.  Ironic, because nearly all of those came from his younger days and most of them are a reflection of inexperience.  Nowadays it’s a rule of thumb that you don’t make your ventilation ducts large enough to crawl through, and you never monologue for more than two lines.

“That’s understandable,” I said, “Thank you for the opportunity to be here today.”

Utter Doom gave a curt nod, “Of course.  Let’s begin.  Why are you interested in becoming a supervillain?”

I did my best to shed a practiced smile and passed my eyes along each of my interviewers, steering clear of their gazes, “As a former superhero,” I paused for an instant to take in their expressions.  Good, none of them were surprised by this, “I have always admired the resilience of your side.  You make greater sacrifices than most of the supposed ‘heroes’, and are very action-oriented.  Supervillains are creative, meticulous, and have tremendous resolve.  Superheroes do not do much for themselves.  They simply respond to your presence.  If not for you, there would be no need for the hero.  I am fascinated by that instrumental importance and influence you carry.”

Doom scrawled things on the clipboard in his lap.  He sat straight-backed in a black throne chair, fitted with leather.  It was daunting how his expression remained.  Absolutely deadpan, without the slightest tremble or fidget.  “You clearly weren’t a superhero for very long.”

This caught me unprepared, “Might I ask why you think so?”

“In my experience, heroes often sacrifice just as much, if not more than the supervillains.  We might be lonely, or in perpetual financial ruin, or thought monsters, but like you said: it is by our own devices.  We are the proactive ones.  Maybe some of us have better reasons for our actions than others, but ultimately it is still our decision to behave and act against standardized morality.  We are sinister and underhanded, and many heroes are felled by our cunning and deceptiveness.  Some even come to our side because of how much we have cost them.  Do not underestimate the sacrifices of your enemy.”

I found myself closing peeled lips.  I hadn’t expected such class and respect from a supervillain, especially towards his adversaries.

“Our records show that you were a superhero for only five years?”  A new voice broke the conversation.  Miranda, the only female in the office.  The Queen.  I nod my affirmations, “What was your region and what are your powers?”

The Queen was entirely different from Utter Doom.  She weaved her words with enough restraint, but the tears of blood forever spinning from her eyes made me wary, like she would happily drive twelve blades into my heart at the drop of a hat.

Keeping your voice straight in front of a woman of this caliber was no simple task, “My first few years were largely based in central Europe, but the latter half was spent on the Eastern American shore.  As for powers, I can manipulate gravity.”

This seemed to please her.  “Always formidable if utilized properly,” she said.

I couldn’t stop my grin.

“Show me,” Jericho spoke.  They weren’t words.  They were bombs, and they blew apart both my knees and my conviction.  Steeling myself, I thrust one palm forward and unleashed a hideous shockwave, one strong enough to snap pillars of stone like chicken legs.  The table we gathered around blew into dust and shards, and the room was filled with a low-bass ringing like we were inside a troll’s war drum.  While the hair on his flesh might have flittered, the giant was a full four-hundred pounds of not-moving.  Only now did I realize that any one of my interviewers were enough to topple a nation.  I had nothing before them.  They were each at least ten times deadlier to the world than I was.  Doom didn’t even blink.  Jericho grunted, “Pretty good.”

Pretty good?  Oh, man.

Until now, the last interviewer hadn’t yet graced me with a word from his unholy tongue.  Honestly, I would have preferred it stayed that way.  The final of the four was Famine, one of the infamous Horsemen of Apocalypse.  A demon among supervillains and probably the only inquisitor present with enough spine and cruelty to stand up to the devil.  “If you were accepted for the position, what methods would you take to ensure optimal damage output?  What are some of your operational preferences?”

Swallowing through my heart, I persevered, “Until now I’ve been familiar with working alone or in small groups, but I feel the next best step for my career is to join an organization.  Power in numbers and all of that.  This will give me the first-hand experience I need for the long-term ambition of leading my own dark organization.  A sort of anti-hero unit, I suppose.  We will have no other purpose but to destroy those who defy us,” I paused for a moment to study Utter Doom, who seemed to be clenching his jaw quite tightly.  I continued, “As for specific methods, I would abide by the guidebook of Doom’s apprentice ‘Black Stroke’.  Absolutely brilliant methodology and technique, with humor and wit to boot.”

“It’s a shame he didn’t take his own advice,” Doom said off-handedly, in a slow drone, “Rule twelve: ‘Never let the hero have a last request.’  That one mistake was all he needed.”

“Nevertheless, they are quality guidelines for any contemporary supervillain,” I defended, “And as for ‘optimal damage output’ I would probably start by convincing my former companions that I was still interested in being a superhero.  Manipulation and deceit are wonderful tools, even for ordinary villains.”

Famine was a dirty red color in his skin, like desert sands at sunset.  His skull was lined with jagged black protrusions and I wondered how he ever slept.  Or if he ever slept.  He pursed his lips and tipped his head, jotting down notes.

Utter Doom cleared his throat and readjusted himself, “Answer the following with as much speed and precision as possible.”

I readied myself.  I’d been studying for this part.

“As a supervillain, is it better to have a son or a daughter for your progeny?”

“Neither,” I shoot out, almost forgetting the rest of my answer, “Sons are proud, and their inevitable plans to usurp me might fail, but it will almost certainly be at a critical point in time.  The distraction could result in my downfall.  Daughters are easily tricked into falling for the hero’s swashbuckling charm and skill, thus leading to ultimate betrayal.  Though if I had to choose, I’d rather have a son.  I could use his evil strength until he came of age, and then I would kill him in what looked like an accident.  If he had friends, they would be disposed of preemptively, so as to waylay their possible vengeance.”

Doom was quick with the next question, “When is an enemy considered defeated?”

“When they are either cremated, or at the very least, mutilated to the point that they wouldn’t want to live.  And absolutely no assumptions.  If they fell down a cliff, I would personally go down with a strike team to retrieve the body and finish up a proper disposal.”

“If you had a platoon or army under your command, what sort of aesthetics would you employ in the design of their uniform?”

This one was disappointingly easy.  Only the stupid villains missed this question anymore.  “Grant them individuality.  They might all wear one suit, but make it unique and open to slight variety and character.  If helmets are included, and they should be, then they ought to reveal the identity of the soldier underneath.  At the very least, the eyes should be visible.  Such a simple device does tremendous things to the hero’s psyche and makes your underling more likely to survive in battle.”

Utter Doom sighed and penned his thoughts onto the board, “Straight from Black Stroke’s lessons.  I can’t say they were poor answers…just rehearsed.”

“I prefer to use the word ‘practiced’.  Makes me feel more disciplined and malleable.”

The Queen licked her lips, “One last question.  If there were any one villain you could follow for a day, who would it be?”

“Whipgun,” I answer, aware that I might be making a poor decision.

“Whipgun?” The Queen grimaced, “The speed beast?  Why him?  He has fulfilled nothing but minor-league contracts, heists, and burglaries.  Any hero worth their power can defeat Whipgun.”

“Because if I could follow Whipgun, that would mean I was really, really fast.”

Jericho made a tumbling noise in his chest that I hoped was a chuckle.

The Queen curled her fingers around the pen in her hand and looked at me hard.  For a second, I thought I’d made a mistake.  But my concerns melted when she smiled.  An evil smile, but a smile all the same, “At the end of it, he cracks a joke.  I like how you play this game.”

Doom and Famine were profoundly unaffected by the humor, but it wasn’t for them anyways.  “That’s all I have,” Doom said, “Does anyone else have something they’d like to add?”

Unanimous shrugs and head-swaying across the board.

“Very good,” Utter Doom directed himself towards me, “Before we go, do you have any last questions?”  He’d already begun to leave his seat, so I took that as a cue that I could as well.

I wore that practiced smile like a mask of hope, “Only one.  When can I start?”

And Then There Was Music (A Top Ten List)

I’ve determined that along with my Tuesday short-story updates, I’m going to be incorporating a small tuft of music with each post.  For no other reason than because I viciously enjoy many different flavors of music and think it would be seven levels of awesome if someone else enjoyed any of it too.  To kick off this process, I’m going to be drawing from a pool of “top ten” lists that me and my friends have made over the last couple years.  Here I will now post my “Top Ten Songs of All Time”, which was probably the most soul-burning list that we had to make.  In fact, you might as well consider them closer to “Ten Songs That Cooper Really, Really Likes That May or May Not Be His Top Ten”. There are so many hundreds of songs that had to be labelled unworthy, despite my appreciation for them.  I also love finding new music, so any who might read this post, please feel free to share your interests in a comment. 🙂

With the exception of the very last installment, these are in random order.

Shattered – Trading Yesterday http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w_LOOKssMpA “Shattered” by Trading Yesterday. Album: More Than This. This song won the Annual Stephen Music Awards 2012, a self-imposed music competition done by my friend Stephen every year. The reason this song is on the list is because of the change of pace found at 2:25 in the song. The build up of additional instruments and vocals becomes increasingly grandiose until at a precipice and the singer’s raw emotion draws you into his zone.

Trading Yesterday – Shattered (MTT Version)

http://www.youtube.com

Broken Mess – The Classic Crime http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=srgW52CnYik “Broken Mess” by The Classic Crime. Album: Vagabonds. I had a difficult time deciding what my favorite work by this band was, but ultimately I had to go with this one. It starts off sort of pessimistic, a conversation between two brothers: the singer, and his brother who was recently betrayed in his marriage. But it builds into the revelation that love is bigger, stronger, and more beautiful than we imagine or first understand.

Broken Mess – The Classic Crime with lyrics

http://www.youtube.com

Just Another Birthday – Casting Crowns http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Tu6NQ4L01w “Just Another Birthday” by Casting Crowns. Album: Come to the Well. You know that Annual Music Award thing? This is my pick for this year, as of now. The song tells of a young woman and her life over the course of five years and how she is desperately looking to find the approval of a father who never cared about her. Watch the music video (the link I’m posting), it will tell the story. What really does it for me though is the bridge. All of the song, every last mistake she’s made, every inch of her torn heart, is pulled into one sentence that echoes in her mind as she lies on an abortion table. A cry to Jesus: “Be a father to the fatherless”.

Casting Crowns – Just Another Birthday

http://www.youtube.com

On Fire/Souvenirs – Switchfoot http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EhcJh-gF1-8 “On Fire” by Switchfoot. Album: The Beautiful Letdown. The oldest on the list and one of the most beautifully crafted songs I know, delivered by who I believe to be a sensational artist. A humble worship song, sung by Jon Foreman, a voice of this generation. So delicate and simple, yet it hits you so thoroughly. The reason another song is on here is because it might be replacing On Fire very soon. “Souveneirs” is from the same artist and equally as good. It’s a bittersweet, final goodbye to a best friend sort of song.

On Fire-Switchfoot

http://www.youtube.com

Butterfly Fly Away – Miley Cyrus http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IGKDKF-jA10 “Butterfly Fly Away” by Miley Cyrus. Without argument, this is the most controversial song on my list. You don’t know how much I didn’t want to put this on the list, because I don’t like Miley Cyrus or any of her other songs. But when I had to be real with myself, I realized that this song touches me too much to not put down. This song appeals to my inner father and I also love the acoustics. The only real problem I have with the song is that note she tries to hit at 1:02. I almost dropped the song for that alone, but alas, here it is.

Miley Cyrus – Butterfly Fly Away with Lyrics

http://www.youtube.com

Fin* – Anberlin http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Htm4dvI8nzc “*Fin” by Anberlin. Album: Cities. I wasn’t sure whether to put this song on the list or not. It has a bit of a depressing tone to it, but the stride of the melody walks you through what is ultimately a breathtaking piece. The greatest strength of this song I believe is the magnitude of the vocals later on, matched with the dramatic turns in musical style. At 2:52 it evolves a more rock sound. Listen to his voice there! He’s belting out. And then at 3:43 the children’s choir enters the fray, with the singer’s quick return, giving it this almost surreal, entrancing speed. But then it mellows down again by 6:00 (It’s a long song) and opens up space for the singer to deliver his soul to you on a platter. Never mind, this song definitely deserves to be on this list.

Anberlin Fin WITH Meaning!

http://www.youtube.com

Pieces – Red http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Uw8mIcQJn8 “Pieces” by Red. Album: End of Silence. My favorite song by Red. It has a similar ability to Atonement (My #1 song, which you’ll see later), in that as soon as the first couple notes of that piano are played, I suddenly melt. The deep, low rhythm just carries you along, into the song of a man who is forced to be real with himself and with God, realizing how hopeless he is without. Later in the song, the tone picks up into what I would call a “sigh of relief”.

Pieces – Red – Lyrics

http://www.youtube.com

Last Night – Skillet http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1XCvXyhYLSE “Last Night” by Skillet. Album: Comatose. This song almost didn’t make it on the list. It was competing with a few other Skillet songs from the same album (best album imo) and I almost decided to drop Skillet in general. This is the song with the hardest sound on my list and musically is good, but nothing terribly fantastic. What really sets it apart is the meaning. It is a song told from the voice of God to a girl who wants to commit suicide.

Skillet – The Last Night

http://www.youtube.com

Mark Schultz – Walking Her Home http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ODSx0UfAcA “Walking Her Home”. Okay, so it sort of kills me that I had to choose between this and “He’s My Son”, because both of those songs are so good that I don’t even know what to do with myself. Nevertheless, I picked this one, because I love songs that tell stories. Starting young and progressing through the years, the song talks about a romance that begins at the age of eighteen and lasts through the lifetime and beyond. Emotionally compromising if you listen to it at the right time.

He was walking her home By Mark Schultz (With Lyrics)
And then, for my absolute favorite song of all time…
Atonement – Final Fantasy XIII http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1lZC8IUj-cw “Atonement” from Final Fantasy XIII. This is my #1 favorite song of all time. It is the only song on the list that is purely instrumental, and it is the only one from a videogame. The song itself is very good and will eventually appeal to the deep parts of your heart, if you let it. I thought it was alright at first, but the more I listened to it, the more enraptured I became. My connection to this piece is bound to be stronger than most because over the last few years I have built many other associations that connect me to it. Now it’s at the point that regardless of what mood I’m in, whether happy, sad, upset, etc, this song sobers me into a contemplative and appreciative mood. I love it.

Final Fantasy 13 OST – Disc Three – 05 – Atonement

http://www.youtube.com

That’s all of them.  While the continuum of music I listen to is vast, you probably noticed some running themes. First, at least half of them have to do with or somehow include God.  Second, they are all songs that appeal to emotion, something that I actively try to stimulate.  Third, most of them are rock songs, a sub-genre of rock, or closely related to it.  I found this interesting for myself, because I thought with how many instrumental songs I listened to, some of those were more likely to appear on the list, but I guess not.  Again, comment with your own favorite songs, God bless, and enjoy your weekend. 🙂

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The Bamboo Cutter

I made it!  I really didn’t think I’d have a story done by the end of the day.  Between finishing Breaking Bad, working, conquering the world, all of my recreational activities, and raw procrastination, I had a very difficult time coming up with a story this week.  To the point that I asked my friend for an idea what to write about.  This is the result.  I am an amateur with humor and only make good satire when the stars align, so think of this as a ‘serious humor’ of sorts.  It’s a little rough because of how rushed it was, but oh well. 1,064 words.

 

The Bamboo Cutter

                Until recently, Lenny was only familiar with the troubles of men, and was not sure how far those troubles could extend to the panda.  But in a change of fate as prejudiced as it was spontaneous, it was suddenly clear where his worth rested in the cold, black heart of Earth.  It might not have seemed like much, but that yogurt had weight.  It meant something.  It was an ultimatum, a final straw in his long-since-thinned patience.

                Lenny was a panda, worn in the womb of the world, and he wanted yogurt.

                You might not think it, but life is largely the same for pandas as for men.  At least, as far as America is concerned.  And not only pandas, but since the turning of the age, all forms of bear-life had begun their acceptance campaign into the democratic culture.  Though Lenny was not particularly fond of his white, polar cousins.  But they were all treated equally and with due fairness, as is the supposed American way.  Except for now.  Now Lenny was a bump of broiled distaste, because one young, human cashier had determined that pandas and their kin weren’t allowed to have yogurt.  Not of the strawberry, peach, or vanilla varieties.  The only ones that mattered.

                Instead of shrugging it and moving on to another employee, Lenny decided to let the discrimination sit and roll in his huge, beer-born, panda belly.  With the taste of a strawberry memory teasing him and yogurt profoundly absent from his life.

                That morning had been bruise-colored, with only scattered clouds and a fatigued, blurry sun.  The bumpy road to work was hell with a hangover, like a tent peg lodged firmly between both eyes.  It throbbed and throbbed, and in the meantime Lenny’s anger swelled, releasing itself during the lunch hour when Carl called him into the office.  Lenny knew he didn’t work very hard.  He was never ambitious and despite fitting the mold as a perfect bamboo cutter, his productivity was on a years-long decline.  So it wasn’t a surprise when Carl dropped the bomb that he was being laid off.  But of course, it still hurt, even through his thick bear-skull and last night’s vodka.

                Now it was evening and Lenny’s fur was disheveled with a long day’s toil of hating himself.  He tried to vent some of that anger at Smokey’s Everybear Gymnasium, but succeeded only in pulling two different muscles.  Afterwards he wanted to shower, but there was only cold water, and after swearing his way through that treason, he learned that there were no towels offered for drying, either.  Certain that it wasn’t enough just to take the low road, Lenny figured he had to be colorful about his frustration, so he promptly crapped on the floor before leaving.

                The roads were mostly clear, and he was pushing eighty-five.  Lenny’s soul was lost in the orange inferno of passing streetlights.  Both his mind and what was left of his heart tracked back to his family.  They deserved better, and for the small part, he tried to give them better.  A year after their daughter was born, Lenny and Jean almost split off.  Nobody would blame his wife for abandoning the poor bamboo cutter.  He was emotionally absent and known to beat her on rare, but not too rare, occasions.  It wasn’t really his fault.  Lenny was just repeating the gestures of love from his old man.  But he never hit Heather, their daughter.  That would have been too much.  If it had ever gone that far…well, it didn’t.  So he was at least thankful for that much, even if his relationship with her was on the rocks right now.

                Growing faster than Lenny could blink and with the dark, spitfire attitude of her young mother, Heather had reached the glacial pit of adolescence.  In her furious, relational charges, she had hooked up with Castor, the Mellick’s son.  A polar bear.  Lenny threw back a swig of Captain Morgan every time he thought about it.  Why a polar bear?  Why those narcissistic, ill-educated oafs?  He could only hope that the relationship would be as short as his own high school bouts with love, and that his naïve daughter would learn to shoot for higher standards in the aftermath.

                Man, strawberry yogurt sounded divine.

                It was in the throes of his reverie that Lenny saw the dancing beams of blue and red in his rearview.  He swore and groaned the only way a panda could.  Why did his back suddenly itch in that one spot he couldn’t reach?  Blast it.

                Lenny pulled over and waited with impatience as the police officer moved to his door.  Lenny rolled down the window and sighed, not even bothering to hide Mister Morgan, his partner-in-crime.

                “Good evening,” the officer said, “Do you know why I pulled you over tonight?”

                “Because I have a bumper sticker that says ‘Kiss me, I’m Asian’?”

                Brows tenting, the officer pursed his lips, “No.  Reckless driving.  Thirty over the speed limit, plus a little bit of swerving,  His body slanted as he caught sight of the beer, “How much have you had to drink tonight?”

                Lenny pulled in a chest of air and tried not to hick as he released it, “How many are usually in Captain Morgan’s crew?”

                Unamused, the officer penned something on his clipboard.  “License and registration?”

                “How about this,” Lenny bargained, “I will take any ticket that you have to give me, I will even go to jail for the night, if you go over to that convenience store and buy me some yogurt.  You have no idea.  I would kill a man for some vanilla right now.”

                Blinking slowly, Lenny looked dumbly at his steering wheel.  Did he just say that out loud?  Curse you Morgan, curse you.

                The follow transpiration was a pitiful attempt to reclaim his credit as an honorable driver, but with constant backdrops and poor decisions that ultimately landed the panda in overnight jail.  On his way to the bunks, Lenny thought it could be worse.  He wasn’t terribly interested in seeing Jean and Heather right now anyways, jobless and wasted as he was.  At least, it seemed like it could be worse, until he found that the entire cell was to the rim with polar bears and their filth.

                And not a trace of bloody yogurt to be found.

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The Project

I wrote my usual short story for this week’s update, but I liked it enough that I’m going to hold off on posting it until after I’ve put the bad boy through a short-story competition.  As such, I’m just going to share about a project that me and my friend Michael have been working on since early July.  Something that I will unceremoniously dub “The Project”, for the sake of this post.

I don’t know about him, but it’s on my bucket-list to help make a videogame.  I didn’t think that meant I’d be spearheading one.  Mind you, we aren’t doing this completely from scratch, but pretty close.  We both purchased a wonderful program called RPG Maker during the Steam Summer sale, and since the purchase have set off on what we know is going to be a long and hard journey to complete a videogame.  The purchase was especially appropriate because we both love traditional JRPG-style games (that is, Japanese Role-Playing Games. Think early Final Fantasy, Golden Sun, and Pokemon).  Michael is the chief executive whatever and head programmer of the Project, while I am the head scriptwriter.  We both do some of everything, though.  I leave a lot of the technical computer-program-y stuff to him, because I’d have a better chance of chucking a baseball into orbit than understanding most of that jargon.  Anyways, here is the basic lore and premise of our game:

“Sixty generations past, in response to the corruption and evil of the world since its birth, a terrible creature known as The Almighty materialized to “reinitialize” or reset the world, wiping it of its crime.  However, when peril was at its worst, there were eight beings that believed in the good of humanity and sought to prove to the Almighty that humans were not hopeless.  Rejecting their campaign, The Almighty continued to sew a path of destruction.  Realizing that the only way to preserve humanity was to take action themselves, these eight heroes waged war with the Almighty and struck him/it down.  They were heralded as saviors and penned in history books as the “Prides” for millennia to come.  However, though The Almighty was beaten, it was not destroyed.  His spirit fragmented into several separate entities, which lie dormant across the planet.  Over time, some have awakened and caused trouble for humanity, causing wars, disastrous natural phenomena, resurrecting the dead, and more.  But time and again they would be put to rest.

Now a dark dawn is approaching.  A few of the Fragments are already awake and wreaking havoc, while rumor tells the others shall not rest much longer.  In a time where humanity is strained with discord, failed loyalty, betrayal, and every matter of crime, there seems to be no uniting force that can oppose all of the Fragments or stop them from polymerizing and forming a new Almighty to end the world.”

Of course, that’s only a brief history, which is cheap and easy to make.  As for the actual plot of the game, we have some wonderful things in development and already possess a solid three hours of gameplay.  Hiro, our protagonist, has been incredibly fun to write (sarcastic, witty characters usually are) and his relationship and influence on others is inspired.  We have had many hurdles already, most of them on my end and most of them relating to my ineptitude with technology.  Alas, we are still trekking on, expanding our world, refining our battle system, crafting a story that is turning out much better than originally expected, and enjoying it along the way.  I find myself growing quite fond of our cast, regardless of how ignorant, remorseless, or psychotic some of them might be. 🙂

We have no intentions of selling the game, as we are amateurs doing this for kicks, but when it’s completed we will likely put it on Steam or some other related site for free.  I’m going to post periodic updates on our progress, so hopefully at least some of you will be interested in following along.  Heading out, I shall depart with a couple of my favorite in-game quotes.

Baldur:  “I cannot be destroyed.  Not by you, nor by your friends.  Congratulations, you have done what humans are best known for doing.  You have failed.”

Taiyo: “Catch you later!” *Explodes*
Jade: “Did…did she just explode?”
Hiro: “Yes…I think she did.”
Jade: “That’s what I thought.”
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Daughter of the Rain (Short Story)

A short story that takes up a more traditional fantasy mantle.  This one is shorter than my previous stories, sitting at only 834 words.  I’ve got a story I’m working on for next week that I find particularly interesting, so look forward to that.  I might be giving an update later this week about the RPG game me and one of my friends are making. In the meantime, smell the flowers, make a friend, count the stars, listen for colors, and enjoy. 🙂

Daughter of the Rain – 10/31/13

A chord of aching compassion sifted behind Ira’s chest.  He unfurled one hand slowly, reaching out towards the lonely creature under the wagon.  With a pout and limp, it fell back over itself.  Ira drew his arms to his core for warmth and sighed.

“How long have you been here?” He cast a half-attended glance to his side, maybe looking for somebody.  An owner possibly, or someone that might be able to help.  They were alone, so he returned his attention to the young beast.  It was longer than his arm and slender as the Crystal River, smooth tufts of hair gathering where scales were absent.  Ira stirred.  Between its dainty paws and the mercury glow of its eyes, the fledgling creature gathered old thoughts of a pet hound from his youth.

But this was hardly a hound or even a mutt.  Something in its build reminded Ira of a gargoyle, or one of those spirits from his father’s library.

It whimpered something low and rolling, scratching its broken claws into wet earth.  Ira pursed his lips and settled his knees into the mud.  Whatever it might be, it was hurt and made the distinct cry of having been betrayed.  It was something shared by men and beast alike.

Fumbling in his coat pocket, Ira broke off a chunk of stale butter-bread.  The rain reached down and made it soft.  He extended the supplement until the whole of his arm was beneath the wagon, his cheek against its hardwood carapace.  For a long minute there was nothing, but soon after, something nuzzled his fingers and lapped the food out of his hand.  It tickled. Ira dipped his head under the carriage to watch his new friend lick up the last of the bread.  “I don’t want to leave you here,” Ira fell back on his haunches and cast his head low, “But I don’t know where to take you.”

Curious silver rings peered back at him, now suddenly interested but resilient in wariness.

“I would never hurt you,” Ira said. He did all he could to keep his tone soft and distinctly motherly. “But words are fickle, aren’t they?  Like water.”

To his surprise, the young creature moved closer, one leg damaged enough that it could only drag.  Ira eased back into the rain, providing a space for it to join him.  The gargoyle’s eyelids flittered as the rain came against them.  Several deep lacerations crept along its sides, staining the surrounding fur in a blood darker than oil.  A swell above one eye seemed to just be healing, but that was the best of it.

Reciting the importance of caution to himself, Ira made clear to the beast that he was a friend, and then reached out until they were touching.  It purred meagerly and let him run fingers along the scales of its crown.  “I’m sorry.”

The gargoyle rustled its jaw and came closer.

“I’m so sorry.  Please forgive us.  I forget how cruel we can be.”

If the creature acknowledged or understood any of Ira’s words– which it may, he couldn’t be sure that it didn’t– then it would be a hideous deed of him to abandon or send it away.  Ira was dirty and unwanted even among his own kin.  What could he offer?  If it came with him, it would die before the week closed.  There was no home with warm hearth-fire to greet them.  No quiet place that was safe from the rain.

Perhaps sensing his own conflict, the gargoyle slid its head onto Ira’s lap and closed its eyes.  Ira heaved a single dry sob and clenched both fists before laying his head atop the beast’s own.  “What is your name, I wonder?”  A rhythmic, throaty tremble came from the beast.  A noise and feeling like a great cat’s purr.  The rain bid forth with greater fury, crushing the wagon’s steeple.  The collapse startled them both, and the creature looked back to Ira with a gaze of mixed pity and comfort.  An idle wind tossed the rain slantways.

“I think I have something,” Ira grinned with a trace smile like honey, “Ysuna.  Hmm?  A Southern word.  I think it’s religious.  ‘Daughter of the rain’.  How does that sound?”

As woefully inadequate as Ira felt most of his decisions were, this one seemed right.  Seemed strong and pure.  The creature must have agreed, because it licked its frothy pink tongue against the flat of his arm.

Gathering the injured creature into a cradle, Ira made a point to avoid hurting Ysuna any more than she already had been.  “Come on, let’s get out of the rain.”  Ira laid Ysuna on her better side, back against the inside of the wagon’s wheel.  There was just enough room for him to crawl underneath the carriage and rest beside her.  “We will rest here, and when the rain stops we will find someone who can help.”  Ira stroked the beast’s brow, “Hold on until then, okay?”