Saturday, September 29, 2012


By Legolover-361:

By Legolover-361:

If Arthur Thompson were to be frank, he would admit that this café’s coffee nauseated him almost as much as the man sitting across from him, who in turn was almost as repugnant as the gum stuck to the bottom of the table that was situated conveniently between the two business partners. Sometimes tables served a double function: first, to give Thompson a place to steady his fidgeting hands, and second, to place distance between him and his conversation partner.

The man across from him blinked, now once, now twice. His name, if Thompson recalled correctly, was Mr. James Pratt. He was a CEO. He was also agonizingly slow. His average speed made sense when one looked at his body; it was massive enough to paint Pratt’s ability to move at all in a very positive light.

Pratt’s mustache was almost as large as his girth. It wiggled when he spoke. “I wanted to talk to you about your promotion,” he said in explanation for this unconventional meeting.

Thompson kept his face straight, reminding himself that he had paid for his own coffee, so he owed nothing should this particular superior prove irrational enough to fire Thompson on the spot.

“Mr. Pratt—”

“Platt,” said the mustached, overweight man whose name was apparently Mr. John Platt.

Thompson gritted his teeth. “Right. Mr. Platt. Excuse me for the slipup.”

“No trouble,” said Platt gruffly. “I just wanted to say... you’ve had a tendency to rock the boat at our office.”

Here it comes. The inevitable warning to do nothing, say nothing that could cause turmoil. All Thompson had done as a baseline employee was report several small breaches in employee conduct. That, however, had led his coworkers to petition his strictness and accuse him of being a tattletale. No one likes a tattletale.

“I just wanted to say you can’t do that so much as a superior. It’ll reflect on your record.”

“How so?”

“Well, the higher-ups don’t want word getting around about broken rules.”

The coffee’s fumes were beginning to addle Thompson’s brain. Platt didn’t notice Thompson’s glazed eyes and continued: “I’m just asking you to sweep anything you see under the rug. It’s your responsibility, now, after all. Consider it a little friendly advice.”

Thompson nodded slowly and took another sip of his mocha. “Yeah. I’ll, uh, keep it in mind. Thanks.”

He didn’t intend to keep it in mind, but maybe not rocking the boat here would lead Platt to trust him more in the future. Platt nodded as if Thompson had passed a test and turned back to his own coffee.


by Caleb/Cederak:

[center]Midnight Caffeine[/center]

I set down my cup on the metallic table, so unbalanced against the floor that my beverage caused it to tilt ever so slightly. Staring out from the terrace at the beautifully lit up city, I made a futile attempt to keep my eyes from drifting skyward. I had resigned myself to the reality that stargazing was not a possibility for those living in such a bustling metropolis. I glanced back at the table, picking up my cup and swishing around the black coffee inside it, watching the liquid rock around itself. I watched a waitress walk out from the café kitchen, coffee pot in hand, very deliberate in her journey to me. I watched her approach with mild interest, giving a polite smile as she came to my table.

"Care for a refill, sir?" she said, grinning. She couldn't have been a day over seventeen, the touch of youth still so overpowering on her face. She possessed a form that had yet to develop into full adulthood, awkwardly pushing her glasses closer to her light brown eyes.

"No thanks," I replied. "I'm about to get going."

She shivered as a gentle breeze joined us, sending the cool October wind brushing against the unprotected parts of our skin.

"Have a nice night, sir," she finished, smiling as she departed.

"You as well," I added before she could fully turn away.

I reached for the empty cup of hot cocoa across the table and set it next to my own cup. As I did, I heard the distinct sound of my son approaching. At six, he'd just recently learned to tie his shoes, but had also taken a new interest in shuffling his feet.

He looked up at me with a smirk and asked, "Can we go now?"

"I told you to stop shuffling your feet like that," I replied. "It's bad for your shoes."

"I'm sorry, daddy," he said awkwardly. "I'll try to remember not to."

I felt my phone vibrating a few times in my pocket and I hurriedly fished it out. Despite my sleep deprived state, I was suddenly wide awake.

"Hello?" I said. "Already? Okay, we'll be there soon."

I put my phone away and smiled down at my son. "Well, I thought we'd have a little more time for a stroll, but no such luck. We need to get back to the hospital."

His eyes lit up. "It's time!?"

"It sure is," I told him, standing up and pushing in the chair. I downed the last of my coffee and took a deep breath. "Let's get going, young man. You have a sister on the way."


By Nick/Zarayna:

The Cafe

The small cafe was only half full in the early evening, but that was normal, as the man sitting quietly to the side knew. He was a frequent visitor to the café these past few months, but few people knew really who he was. He did not mind that, in fact he rather preferred it, speaking to few, and revealing even less. He was content to observe, content to search. 

There was nothing particularly amiss in the evening, but to the man, there was; namely, the other man had arrived. He did not know his name, nor very much about him, although not from lack of trying. But he knew some facts, facts which caused him stirring. For the other man was one whom he sought, and one he sought desperately. 

But waiting was a necessity now, and so he lingered, waiting. The other man seemed to not be in much of a hurry, but at last he left. Second after, the first man slipped after him.

It was not vengeance, Jason decided as he left the café, trailing his target, whom he knew only as the man, or as the murderer, the assassin, as well as other worse phrases he applied in the depths of his heart. It was more like justice. Justice for wrongs of long ago, but wrongs which to him could have happened but yesterday, the pain was so sharp.

The other man did not move swiftly, and he did not appear to notice his pursuer. But then, Jason was neither clumsy nor loud, and moved silently and swiftly, although without much training at stealth. There were not many people about, but he blended in with those passing by. His target did not try, he simply walked in the gait of a man without a care in the world. 

[i]Has he fattened himself up that much after his slaying,[/i] Jason wondered, [i]as to not worry of any pursuit?[/i]

Perhaps it was so. It had been nearly a year, and until now, Jason had never managed to track him down. But now was different; perhaps his long wait was paying off. 

At last his target was moving off the main street, into the quiet streets beyond. Swiftly Jason moved after him, praying with urgent fervor that he would not be noticed. He closed more and more, as much as he dared, while at the same time slipping his revolver out of its concealed holster. A break in the houses could be seen up ahead, and Jason planned his move, holding his gun out of view from the front. At last his target was in position, and he called out a greeting. His target turned, and even as Jason raised his gun, recognition spread across his target’s face.

Then the bullet entered it, taking the recognition away along with the man’s life. 


By Aimee/Aderia:

She winced as a plate smashed against the wall behind her. A puddle formed on the pale tiled floor after the coffee waterfall had run its course. 
Unnecessary yelling and the sound of ceramics shattering followed shortly after. But she was used to this chaos by now, and wasn’t surprised by this. Eli and Nick trashing the Ambage Café had become the norm. They would have to clean it all up afterwards anyways. 

She looked up from her laptop in time to see Andrew, always the good cop, step in between the two RPG nuts of the group and calm them.  Eight seconds and a headbutt to the sternum later, Andrew had taken his seat at the table with the rest of the sane denizens of Ambage. 

“We need to regulate who does and doesn’t get coffee here,” he grumbled. 

“That’s the last thing those two need,” Caleb shook his head disapprovingly. “I, for one-“

[i]“As the opposite of what you say is true, your statement must be erroneous!!”[/i] Nick’s shout interrupted everyone. He was standing atop the nearest un-overturned coffee table, pointing a straw at Elijah Lucas Brockway. He liked to say it was a mace most days. Today was one of those days. Nate and [end because of lack of creativity and way overdue]

Friday, September 28, 2012


Judgement, by Elijah:


I could hear it, almost like the gavel coming down on the bench. Their disapproval, mingled with misunderstanding…it was nearly palpable in the air. They looked down on me, calling me names, labeling me as something I most surely was not, their lack of acceptance driving them to shun me, leaving me with those whose ideals I was arguing against.

I hated them for it. I hated their pretentious attitude, I hated the offense they seemed to feel at my words, words I gave trying to convince them of how wrong they were…about me, and so many others. I hated those they lumped me with, for being just as intolerant as they were, fearing they would accept me as one of them, and my lot would be cast with theirs.

I hated myself for arguing past my beliefs, for how I had to have hurt one of them, one I had considered a friend before. For how their misconceptions led me to continue that path of destruction until I couldn’t take it any longer, and neither could they. I frowned, looking about, now.

Was I really any better than them? I hold bias just as they do. I, as well, will refuse to accept opinions based purely on my viewpoint. I feel like I’m no better than them, that I’m made from the same dirt they are, but I don’t want to admit it. They were completely intolerant of any beliefs except their own, unwilling to listen to any possible arguments against them.

I sighed, walking aimlessly down the streets. As I thought back on what had happened, I felt the similar clenching in my gut, tears springing to my eyes. They were at fault, but so was I. I was just as intolerant towards them as they were to me, only contributing to that familiar cycle I had so accurately described. Arguments everywhere.

I turn, looking to my friend who walks beside me. His face holds the same sadness, and the same anger, as mine…but I can tell he wasn’t done arguing. He wants to continue, some misguided hope that they might see how they were wrong.

Maybe he wasn’t so misguided. Still…all things come in their own time. The argument was done, continuing it would lead only to more problems, and yet…I know I wanted to argue as well. I wanted to burst back in, and start kicking ass and taking names. But that would be detrimental.

We walk down the street, coming upon a familiar place to us in recent times-the Ambage Café. Stepping in, we say hello to all our friends within the place, proceeding to relate our story. Of course, our version is flawed due to our own bias against those we fought against, but we tell it anyways.

I’m even more outspoken and critical than I was earlier, I realize. I’m being just like them. Human nature, I suppose. Be derisive towards all those you don’t agree with.

Done with the discussion, I take my drink, moving back to a corner of the building, alone with my thoughts. From a certain viewpoint, as I had said, I was right. From another, I was wrong, and completely illogical. That w as all that could be said.

I stared at my reflection in the shimmering liquid I had carried with me, my eyes baleful and dark. Yes, I knew I wouldn’t forgive them for how they had treated me. For how they had judged me.

But could I forgive myself?


By Zarayna/Nick:

The slender toa sat quietly in the cold chair, his ice blue eyes shut, his hands clasped tightly. Zarayna, former forum leader of Short Stories, now a retired POBZPC, was waiting for his trial.

It was so much different from how he had previously encountered those who would now judge him, but he did not care overly. He was tired of power, and powers extended right into his very life energy; that too, he was tired of.

But anger was also present, and this conflicted with his weariness, negating it.

His armor shifted its shades as he sat, blending in with his surroundings. Although they had chained all his other power, they had not bothered about his chameleon armor.

Zarayna opened his eyes, adjusting them to the glaring white of the walls. He knew where he was by mind, but by sight he could be anywhere.

Short Stories. His old forum, and during the great absence of the Admins, his realm. It was even more ironic, he supposed, since the trial was being held in the high security prison of Short Stories, once the fabled Mage Academy. They had been his main troops in the civil wars, although when the Admins had returned, he had fought against them.

A new forum leader trying to keep a haven of peace, a forum leader getting involved in the various wars. Finally, a forum leader deposed for not keeping neutrality. A lone assassin mercenary, and finally a forum leader under the Admins.

Footsteps sounded outside, and Zarayna unclenched his hands, placing the cuffed wrists on his lap.

The door opened, and the normal personal required for a trial like this filed in. Finally, pacing slowly in, was his judge. An Admin. Zarayna started slightly at the passionless Hau of Black Six as the Toalike being looked at him briefly before proceeding to his throne.

Zarayna’s mind was blurred during the proceedings, but his memory cleared at one point when Black Six listed his crimes. A slow smile spread behind the Noble Matatu. Assassination of an admin, two Global Moderators, and six Forum Mentors. Black Six paused then, and looked at him.

“You’ve returned to assassination. But why? Perhaps you can tell me this, outside of the proceedings,” rang the Admin’s voice inside of his head. Zarayna smiled.

“I assassinated Deevee because he, his troops, and his staff were passibly the worst thing the Admins ever made or had, both in the Great War against the Comic Federation, and after in peace. The others were a simple accidental; the Global Moderators tried to defend him, and the Forum Mentors… The Forum Mentors tried to beat me with their pencils.” His last statement clearly described his double scorn; against the puny foes he had slain, and against him for slaying them. Unlike Black Six, he did not thought-speak. There was no response.

The trial ended, with the verdict he had expected; namely death. As he was led away, he could not but help smile.


A Fire Has Fallen, by Will/Tolkien:

The Fire Has Fallen

Wind whistled a lonely song through the rocks of the blackened headland, and ash trailed after in specks and shreds. A sound creaked sharply as the evening fell. Creak, creak. The sign of the tavern hung listless on its single remaining ring, the sigil it once bore now a burned black plain, much like the blasted fields that spread away smoking, south and west. The beach down below was much the same: a ruin of ash and blackened glass, waterlogged by the sea.

The single ship stood out against the desolation, floating high at anchor on the muddy waves. Its sails were furled, and a single lantern hung from the prow, glowing red in the gathering dark. It cast no reflection on the thick, cinder-coated surface of the waters.

Another light shone out in the gloom, high on the headland. It flickered and danced within the stone walls of the tavern as if searching for an escape. But it could not escape. The hearth was stone, and there was precious little tinder to feed the blaze. Still it raged, hot and angry, and yet only a spark compared to the vast inferno that must have fallen upon this land. Their land.

The figures huddled close around the hearth, warming their hands against the biting wind. The air was full of the smell of smoke, the smell of death. It lay heavy on the scorched fields that stretched to the edge of sight outside, and the walls of the burned-out tavern could not keep it out. The sign creaked on as night moved in from the east, and soon there was only the light of the hearth to fend off the darkness.

A sound of feet scuffling outside, and another figure appeared in the doorway. He coughed, rubbing his hands as he moved into the light. His face was smeared with soot.

“Nothing,” he said at last, his eyes staring into the flames. “Nothing left. The town’s gone, right down to the foundations.”

The figures exchanged glances.

“You’’re sure?” one asked.

“Sure? Do you think I’m a half-wit? Of course I’m sure. The Port is gone, burned. The harbor’s full of sunken hulks, Masts sticking up out of the water, all torched. The houses too. Nothing but piles of ash and—” he stopped, swallowing .

“Ash and bodies. Too many...too many to bury.” The man shook his head.

“Then it’s all true. All the rumors...” another man said. He was tall, with a hard face.

“Captain,” one of the others spoke up, “Surely you don’t think this was...well...“

“What else is there to think?” the captain said. His eyes reflected the fire as he spoke. “The Fire has fallen.”

“I suppose I never believed any of those know, the Judgment.”

“None of us did,” the man with the soot-stained face broke in again, angry. “No one believed, but now it’s all come true. Don’t you see? The burning...we were away too long. Too long!”


“—No, captain, no! You heard the tales. We all did, even across the seas. They said that there was magic in the world again. Magic! But magic and death go hand in hand. It’s all true.”

The captain put a hand on Harwin’s shoulder, “This is hard for all of us,” he said, and his voice was softer. “It hurts to see your home destroyed. Especially like this, but we have to be strong. Strong.” His grip tightened, and Harwin nodded at last, closing his eyes.

“Now, was there anything else? Anything else that you saw?”

“I...yes, there were tracks, yes.” Harwin wiped his eyes with dirty hands. “Some few though. Looked like animals and maybe some carts. They went south. Must have been a few survivors.”

“Good...good.” The captain frowned, stepping away from the fire, hands folded behind his back. The others lapsed into silence, letting him go. Now there was only the crackle of the flames and the whistling wind and the slow creak, creak of the sign outside.

The captain moved to the door, looking out into the night. The fire cast his shadow ahead of him, huge and flickering, and for a moment...for a moment he thought there was another sound, out there in the night. A whisper, a voice. He thought of all the souls that walked the road to judgment this night. Whispering through parched, scorched lips, trailing ash behind many.

No, he would not think of that. His thought must be for the day, not the night. They would seek out those who had survived the doom that had fallen upon the world, upon their home...They had been too long away. Survivors...yes, that was good news, at least.

He turned from the doorway and went back to the fire, leaving behind the whispers of the night and the lonely sign, still swinging.

For a moment, the wind blew harder, and a few flakes of soot broke away from the sign’s surface. Just a few pieces, fluttering away, but they revealed what lay beneath, even after the fire and destruction, carved deep into the hardwood. A word. Ambage.


By Nate/GSR:

Twang.  Thwop.

Cupid lowered the bow.  Below him, the two lovebirds suddenly found each others’ eyes to be shimmering pools of moonlight and within moments were sloppily making out.  He resisted a gag impulse – when you’d been in the business as long as he had, you knew what was and wasn’t considered a sloppy make out.  And this most definitely was one.

Sighing, he looked down at his list and ticked off the pair’s names.  Done for the night, thank Christ.  Returning his bow to his back, he pulled a Lucky Strike from a pocket and lit up, taking in the scene in front of him (albeit whilst averting his eyes from the dribbling duo, who had broken the kiss and were finding the “I’ve-always-loved-you” to be slightly diminished by the fact they both needed a handkerchief now).  Cupid took a long drag and exhaled in satisfaction.  Humans – poor bastards.  They made stuff like this and didn’t even have the immortal bodies to properly enjoy it.

His phone buzzed.  Grumbling, he rolled the cigarette to one side of his mouth and pulled the phone up to his ear.  “Yeah? I’m off-hours.”

“You better be, Cupes, I’d think you’re getting old.  We’re getting together at the little bar on 5th and Johnson.  Interested?”

He took another drag.  “That the place with the mint juleps? Sold.  Over in ten.”

Mike’s Corner was a dreary little place, really.  The signage was creaking and cracked, the glasses never particularly clean, the barstools always a little wobbly.  Mike never seemed to have gotten the memo that “corner” didn’t alliterate with “Mike”, or the one that pointed out that the RadioShack on 6th and Johnson got knocked over about once a week, or the one that noted mint juleps had gone out of style along with Jay Gatsby, yet the place hobbled on.  A couple folks said Mike must have the luck of the gods to keep it afloat.

Well, he sure as hell didn’t, but he did have the tabs of the gods, which was usually good enough.  He was wiping down the surface of the bar with a rag he seemed to have failed to have noticed was dirtier than the wood he was using it on when Cupid strolled through the front door.  Mike nodded amiably.  “Evenin’, Chris.  The boys are back in the corner by the darts.  The usual?”

 “You know it,” replied Cupid, and sauntered back to a slightly stained booth where Eros was sitting.  Off to the right, Artemis was showing off with the darts to their other coworkers as usual.  Cupid slid into the booth, and Eros raised a glass.

“You’re getting slow, Cupes.  Used to be you’d have caused a net population gain of three by this time ‘a night.  Feeling ill or something?”

Cupid scowled and pulled another cigarette from his pocket.  “Bite me, Er.  You should see the kids these days.  Converse sneakers and Scott Pilgrim T-shirts, god.  They wouldn’t know passion if it hit them with an arrow.”


Forgiveness by Elijah

"Crucify him." The words rang out in his ears, cold and hard as the eyes of those who looked upon him...except for the sentencer himself. His eyes refused to meet those of the one he had condemned, and tears seemed to stand. The condemned one had no time to ponder this, however, before he was quickly grasped and pulled away.

They led him through the various courtyards, before taking him out to an open area. A single post stood in the ground, a rope lying atop it. Soldiers were arranged near it, and one held a small whip in his hand, with metal balls and sheep's bone braided into the various leather tails.

They roughly shoved him forwards, two soldiers holding his arms still as he was tied to the post before him. He didn't fight back, and he didn't say anything. He merely looked into each of their eyes, cold and hard as before, giving them silent rebuke...and something more.

Then they attacked him. He felt the first burning strokes of the whip, cold, jagged slashes running down his back from the sheep's bone, and hard thumps resounding through his chest from the balls. His breathing quickened immediately, his heart rate jumping up as he felt the first drops of blood begin to flow, seeming to work against him. They struck him again, harder than before. More lacerations opened, more blood would flow. Torment unlike any before he had felt. All for a cause.

Meanwhile, the one who had sentenced him sat in a chair, his hands cradling his head, as though some painful migraine were wracking his body. He shivered slightly, his hands dripping wet as he thought about what happened. The man on the post arched his back in pain, involuntarily crying out, and the sentencer did the same, a breathless gasp from his own mouth that let him know just what was being done before he heard the scream.

It continued. For how long, the man did not know. Next he felt himself untied and pulled up-they spat upon him, striking him upon the face. Roughly was a robe draped about his shoulders, sticking to his back, the blood coming from his quivering, severed muscles bonding the robe to his skin and body, letting the wounds close, for a moment. A wooden staff was shoved into his hand, and a circlet of thorns draped about his ears.

They spat. They struck. From the mockery of a king before them they took the staff, striking him about the head and ears. His blood was pounding in those ears that were struck, pain blinding his thoughts as these men attacked him. They ripped the robe from him again, and he screamed. The wounds opened again, scabs flying away with the robe. The crown, they left, continuing to mock him in his pain.

Then they bent him nearly double, dropping a hard weight upon his back, dragging in the ground behind him. Then they grabbed at him, pulling him along, and blindly he followed. He heard every jeer from the crowd, ever last rock thrown at him by children and adults alike stinging hard against his skin, his lungs struggling to gain air even now, his heart feeling ready to burst.

Now, they took the weight from him, leaving him feeling relieved. He nearly collapsed, but they caught him. Involuntarily he groaned, feeling he could take no more of this. They hoisted him up, and then he felt something new. A cold prick against each wrist. Sudden pain, his vision exploding into white fire. He screamed, as his sentencer cried. His hands curled to claws, as slowly the nails were driven through, crushing his nerves and binding him to the post.

And they did the same with his feet, nailing them flat. Now he knew where he was. He was atop a crucifix, masses gathered and watching his death. Air, air, he needed air! He pulled himself up, getting one gasping breath, before the pain forced him to drop.

His sentencer arched his back as well, clawing at the robe draped about him, his servants backing away in terror of the being before them. He collapsed into his chair, breathing a long, slow sigh, unbidden tears rolling down his cheeks.

The man gasped again, before falling. A single tear rolling down his cheeks. He looks down, feeling a small rag thrust to his face. He sucked eagerly upon it, the vinegar feeling like the purest water, before he spat it out. Too much. He lifted himself again, before he fell, shaking his head slightly.

The sentence buried his face in his hands, having expelled his servants from his room. Crying, feeling the very pain that the man he had sent to death felt. Suddenly, he seemed to hear three words. Craning his head, his tears stopping for a moment, he heard them again.

"I forgive you," the savior said, dropping again. He lifted himself up, to issue this last proclomation.

"I forgive you," Jesus cried, holding himself up to breathe. "All of you." He fell again, his head lolling against his chest. It was over. It was finally over.


By Harvey/Nuile:

The fading sunlight shimmered on her dancing hair, turning her raven-black head to an aureole to frame her cordate, angelic face.

I swung my short legs off the edge of the bench as we leaned back, laughing at the joke I had just told.

“Patt,” she giggled, “you’re such a dork.”

I grinned. “But I’m an amusing dork.”

She tossed her head, and the hair danced even more. “So you say.”

“You’re the one who laughed.”

“I only giggled.”

“You were amused.”

“Oh, shut up.”

We swung our legs in synchronization as the sun continued to sink. The gently blowing breeze was growing in strength and lessening in temperature, carrying night in on black wings.

She raised a hand to point at the first star that appeared. “Look! I love it when the first star appears, don’t you?”

I nodded. “It’s like—like a promise. Of the coming night.”

Her head bobbed eagerly. “Most people wish on it, but my mom says that’s stupid. She says it doesn’t grant wishes; it keeps promises.”

“How so?”

“Like you were saying. It’s a promise of things to come.”

I looked up. “So . . . it keeps promises?”

“Yup! You make it a promise and it keeps it for you. So then you have to come through on it. So you can only make promises you truly believe in.”

My head was on its side, regarding the star with a sudden interest. I had never heard it put that way before.

“It’s magical,” she went on. “Stars have always been seen as magical.”

“I’ve never heard it put like this, though,” I said. “But it’s a beautiful way.”

“Do you want to make a promise on it?” she asked.

“Yeah. Like—like—oh, I don’t know. I’ll promise that I’ll never give up on my dreams! I’ll always write! Someday, someday I’ll write a novel.”

“Well, that’s a boring promise.”

“I believe in it.”

“But it needs to be something that you need it to believe in. It can’t be something easy.”

“Well—like what?”

“Something dramatic. Like you’ll—you’ll never tell a lie.”

“But that’s impossible.”

“Well . . .” She bit her lip, considering. “Okay. I’ve got it! Let’s make a promise together!”


“Yeah! We’ll promise each other that we’ll never be apart, and that we’ll always be friends!”

“But what if--”

“Promise!” she snapped.

“Okay, I promise!” I conceded. Then I added, more slowly, “And let’s promise—that when we are apart—because we will be, someday—that we’ll always be thinking of each other.”


“I swear it.”

“Me too. I promise.”

And she smiled at me. And I smiled back. And we went back to our stargazing, as more heavenly luminaries began to show their faces. As enough began to appear, we started pointing out constellations.

I watched her eyes light up at the sight of each one. I watched her lips curve at their shapes in that way that always made me happier than I could ever understand. And I promised, silently, I’ll always be with you; we’ll always be friends; and someday . . . when the time is right . . . we’ll be more.

Sunday, September 9, 2012


Captain Marvel:


The Turaga of the Stone Tribe raised his hand, and with the last of his strength, began to carve:

The battle is lost. On this day, the Fire Tribe has taken our village, our people, and our valuables. But there is one thing they have not the strength of body or of will to take from us. This is our history. For two hundred years and seven we have resided in this valley, sheltered by the great stone cliffs that surround us. The Walls of Stone, the same walls upon which I carve my final words at this very moment, are covered in the runes of our people. These runes have stories to tell, volumes upon volumes of stories. And even if these Walls crumble to the ground, there will be those who remember what they said. They will carve new Walls, greater walls, and if those are destroyed, the stories will live on still. You see, Akuma, even if your Fire Tribe manages to erase these sacred words, you will never erase those who carry them within their minds! While the actual stone upon which these words are carved may not be eternal, the Stone will survive far into the future! This is what you don’t understand, Akuma. Values and traditions are things even fire cannot burn. And the values and traditions of our Tribe are connected with the Stone, forever intertwined into the future.

With that, Thenor, Turaga of the Stone Tribe, carved his last and final words upon the Walls of Stone and passed into the void.

The Stone of Iron

As I slip the cool mail mitten over my hand, I am surprised almost that I’m not excited, that my heart is not racing. Outside the clash of arms can be heard, as well as the groans of the wounded and dying. My armor is on, and so I belt my broadsword at my side, slip my arm into the straps of my kite shield, and readjust my helmet, a simple metal skullcap. My real helmet is slung on my back, for use soon. For now, I prefer visibility.

There is a frantic pounding on my door, and with my hand to my sword I call out,


The door is flung open, and a rather scared page stands in the doorway. I relax my grip on the sword.

“What is it, lad?” I ask, slightly more relaxed. I reach over, grabbing my lance.

“The lord sends the summons; all men who can bear arms are needed at the walls.”

“All who can bear arm?” I ask, even as I move past the page. “There is no time to waste.”

Outside, the world is dark in the late night, with only torches lighting the world. Arrows fly over the wall, which I see is well manned. I wonder for an instance what the urgency is. Then I look to my far left, to where the majority of the noise is coming from. A twenty foot gap has been blasted in the wall, and the gap is filled with bodies. I can see the white surcoats and the red cross of my brother Templars holding a desperate line against the invaders, whose curved swords and round shield flash like a flood against the armored knights. I reach back, sliding my own great helmet on. My walk turns into a run as I move towards them.

I can tell that my brother knights are hard pressed, and many have fallen. The banner is in the midst, and seems on the verge of falling. But the white surcoats of my brother knights are especially grouped around it, even as they begin to advance, foot by foot.

I reach them swiftly, thrusting with my lance to slay a turbaned swordsman. I am assimilated into the line, and in the close melee, my lance proves useless. I quickly draw my broadsword, keeping in careful line with the knights next to me. Inhuman they seem, in blood drenched surcoats, and the same inhuman great helmet. Like stone they are, even though their fallen account their humanness.

We are wading through bodies as we advance, both those of our brothers and those of our foes, far more numerous. The onslaught lessens slightly, and then more so, as our line reaches the gap, barring it. Living stone replaces the dead stone of before, and we strike out with burning fierceness at the invaders. Above us, the banner of the Temple flies, shewing with its height the strength of our stand.



Beep.  Beep.  Beep.  Beep.


Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep.

“Doctor Hakase!”

“Nurse Withers, if you have nothing useful to say, I would appreciate your remaining silent.  The doctor is working.”

The operating room was crowded.  Dr. Hakase, age 45.  Dr. Tendo, age 36.  Nurse Withers, also age 36.  Nurse Reston, age 52.  Anesthesiologist Myer, age 37.  Patient Alan Kesters, age 8. The oppressive, painful, foggy atmosphere Dr. Hakase had always loathed and always returned to, age two hours, or seven years if you went by the vintage of the bourbon. 

The scalpel hovered over the boy’s skin.  It did not shake or tremble.  It had no reason to – a statue’s hands couldn’t shake, you see.

A statue’s mind most certainly could.  A statue’s mind could also spend thirteen years off the bottle.  Thirteen years and not one second more.

The scalpel came down smoothly, opening an incision along the boy’s abdomen.  Perfect.  Dr. Tendo murmured in approval and went to open the incision with the forceps.

Dr. Hakase didn’t respond.  Statues’ mouths could not open to talk.  They could open to drink, of course – rainwater in most places, but a burningly refreshing liquor would do the trick in a pinch.

The appendix stared up at him, distended and red, happily pumping pus and poison into the blood of the boy who harbored it so generously. 

Silently, Nurse Reston tied off part of the appendix’s connection to the intestine.  Dr. Hakase reached out a hand for a new scalpel.  Statues did not look.  Their eyes simply focused on whatever was in front of them, be that a patch of street, or a child patient, or the two simple words that had been hiding in the back of a marriage for years.

He brought the scalpel down to where the ties had been made.  It hovered over the exposed organ, unmoving.  It had no reason to – a statue’s hands couldn’t shake, you see.

Statues are made of stone, though.

And stone erodes.




He slipped.

Under his feet, the stone had been slick with moss. The balance of the man had been steady as he climbed with assured steps up the large boulder. It had taken quite a few hours to make his way through the path of jutted rocks. Solid stones, massive in size all around him, each gleamed with a light outer layer of moisture. As he had taken his time in admiration of his atmosphere, the constant crashing of the waves against this incredibly large and enclosed rock formation, the way his bare feet felt in pools of water and sand, the crystal blue sky…

It was too much for him. This was an amazing wonder, and the island he had travelled to by boat was just too great, so much greater than what he had seen in the pictures.

So it had never occurred to him, that here, in this beautiful, healthy and untouched place, that he might meet his demise. Because while the sun had glared into his eyes as he climbed, this one large boulder that stood above the rest had been able to shield him from it. And if he could reach the top, he’d see the entire island, the water, jungle, cliffsides…everything. And each small rock seemed perfect for moving on, and up, all surrounding the much larger one, like a large slope to heaven.

It was perfect.

Pushing himself between two of rocks and catching his body in the notch, he pushed his back against one and moved his feet to the other. His legs pressed and he pushed himself upward to grasp the next rock which was high above.

He had it… just a little more…

His fingers felt around the edge of the next rock, and he pushed himself a little higher, both hands…

He slipped.

His feet buckled from under him and with a sway he felt the weight of his entire body on his arms. He blinked in disbelief as he could only stare upward, the strength leaving his arms like water dripping through is fingers.

His first hand unbuckled, the muscles in his fingers baring too much strain. His body twisted around at the unbalance and despite all that he had seen on this day, he had no way out of this situation. The drop below was so far… Could he make it? He didn’t have a choice.

He could only let go.

And scalpels slip.