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Monday, July 20, 2015

On and Off

Again.  I hate this. 
Been dealing with some mental health issues.  Trying to get things sorted out. 
I'll be posting some on tumblr for now

Friday, June 5, 2015

A Terrible Way to End a Life-Part 3

Breathing the clean earth from atop a picnic table near the western parking garage, Lizzie recalls the card from Ms. Holloway.  Written within are a series of numbers connected by dashes, two groups of three, one four,  and a single word: NEMSES.

Seemingly nonsense, Lizzie is tempted to watch the card swirl down a nearby drain, another empty promise of friendship washing away false hopes.  Instead she finds herself pocketing it and hopping down, landing silently with the non-existent crunch of malleable mulch and rubber soles.

Anthony and Alicia are having a bad day.  For most people, a bad day would involve spilt milk, a failed test, or even a broken heart.  For Anthony and Alicia, a bad day is much, much worse.
Imagine the worst moment of a hopeless life, a seemingly endless spiral of desperate clingings.  This is not that bad.  It is, however, the beginning of a terrible end. 

Alicia lost her mother to a Hermes in Bangkok a month ago.  Massage students found his broken body between the toes of a great golden Buddha soon after.  The emptiness filling the moments between the silence of her mind and that of her formerly shared and messy apartment has only just begun to sink in.   

Alicia duct-tapes the last of the boxes, each one bruised and crumbling in their corners.  "What does this make, mum, twenty or twenty-three times?", she calls to no one in particular as she wipes the sheen of dusty sweat from her tan brow.  Even so, everything feels just a little bit colder.  Realizing the window is open, Alicia does nothing.  She does not have to for very long.
The birds seem slow tonight, laden with a heavy burden once more.  For a moment, she ponders the safety of an unknown father but brushes it away quickly as they reach the ledge.  A pelican, three starlings,  two doves, one mockingbird, and the rare American temperate penguin lay scattered on her kitchenette floor and counter.  "You know, guys, I may not know who sends you, but you should strike", she leaves a previously prepared bowl of water, berries, and granola in the center of the tile, "You always seem exhausted and underfed."  The penguin, Franki, she had chosen to call him, waddles the bowl off to the side.  "What?  Do you suddenly not like my food?  Well, I am sorry.  I'm new to the whole cooking scene."  Franki the temperate penguin shakes its head solemnly, seeming to look at each bird in turn as they slowly gather around their recently evolved leader.

Alicia palms her face as, in unison, the ungrateful and unapologetic birds vomit on her floor and leave the way they came.

An hour later, Alicia wonders if birds just might be the most intelligently conniving creatures on earth as she looks at the nearly finished crystal pyramid in her palm, pieced together from their unconventional delivery.  Putting the thought of the missing capstone aside, Alicia focuses her attention on identifying the black elongated bird engraved in the base.  "Definitely a hawk", she mutters and goes to bed, dreaming of final messages and birds with too big eyes.                                 

Anthony lost his identity this morning.          



Monday, May 18, 2015

A Terrible Way to End a Life-Part 2

A wet wind whistles through pines and between concrete monoliths as Lizzie stumbles through the storm.

Each step slaps unintentionally sharp against the holey metal stairs as she makes her way to the fifth floor.  The sky trickles now, spent.  Apartment number 576 pulses in tune to the latest house music, soothingly festive but not to her ears.  Three knocks rap.  One knock heard.  A shuffling within and a sticky pop as the door strains against its rusted chain.  "Oh heyyyy, Liz.  Why are you back?  I thought you were supposed to be at the library with Jack until midnight for that test tomorrow."
Two blank blinks given.  "He didn't show.  I suppose that your boyfriend doesn't have the same respect for my time as you do."  The subtly disheveled woman peeking through the door shakes her head.  "Well I'm sorry about that, sweetie, but, you see, I made plans for tonight since you said you'd be out.  Can't you just find something else to do for a little while until we're done?"  Lizzie leans against the entryway, in part to catch her breath, but mostly to see who else is in their apartment.  Something flickers on the edge of her vision, something that chills what the storm left dry, but it remains only a vision as the woman in the door leans out.  Nothing and no one of importance is seen.
Realizing that no more can be accomplished with her fast fading willpower, Lizzie sighs.  "Alright, Carol.  I'll be back by nine.  Make sure he is gone by then.  And for goodness' sake, turn the coffee pot off or you will burn the place down, again."  Carol rushes forward, embracing her soggy friend.  "You're the best, Liz!  I'll see you at midnight."
One lightning retreat.
One heavy wooden squish.
One million regrets, boiling beneath a murky but serene ocean of self-doubt.    

Breathing the clean earth from atop a picnic table near the western parking garage, Lizzie recalls the card from Ms. Holloway.  Written within are a series of numbers connected by dashes, two groups of three, one four,  and a single word: NEMSES.  

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

A Terrible Way to End a Life-Part 1

Lizzie sighs at her coffee despondently as the cafe door slams shut, followed by her phone on a darkly polished table near the back.  She knew what would happen, predicted it to him, and asked that the whole matter be resolved hours ago with a simple no but she could never say no to him.  "You're the best at matrices, Liz.  I need you.  Nothing can keep me from studying with you tonight.", his promises now as hollow as the cup within her hands.  A group of athletes stroll through the aisle towards the cashier's line, laughing and hanging on to each others shoulders, discussing the latest victory.  They look so open, so free.  It is late. 

As Lizzie reaches for the dinged phone in preparation for her walk back home, one of the more boisterous women breaks away from the waiting group and plops herself down in the chair before Lizzie.  "Why so glum?  Is it because it's raining?  Rain is such a downer sometimes.  I remember my cousin telling me one time, she's a Psych major, you know, about how some people get super sad just because it's raining and it's not even their fault.  It's like emotional allergies or something.  Anyway, my name's Britney Holloway.", she bubbles.  Lizzie turns her head towards the water, pouring like a hose from heaven against the window.  "Seasonal depression?  No, that isn't me, at least I don't think it is.  I've always liked the rain.  It makes everything new again."  A brief but comfortable pause settles through the atmosphere between the two women, only to be jarred by the friendly hoots of a pleasantly impatient group.  "You should go, Miss Holloway.  I am certain you have better things to do.  Thank you for talking with me."

A look of tearing decision crosses Britney's perfectly smooth face, her blond curls bouncing slightly as she turns away, then back again to press a business card into Lizzie's soft palm.  "Listen.  I know this'll sound weird, but I promise it'll make sense sooner or later.  When it does, give us a call."
Lizzie quietly pockets the card without a glance.

A wet wind whistles through pines and between concrete monoliths as Lizzie stumbles through the storm.  


Monday, March 2, 2015

Life Update: Excuses excuses excuses...

I finally get the guts to start this project, only for things to fall apart with home, my school, my head.  Don't really feel like giving details to random strangers on the internet; just wanted to assure that no matter what, I am not abandoning this.  Stories are the only thing that feels right, that feels real to me right now.  The good kind of real.                ^^^ how gramatically strange is that sentence there? 

Monday, February 2, 2015

So You Like Me?

Why the professor loves having the fireplace on during lecture I will never understand.  The school is in the middle of a desert.  I know fire is my element but still...why does the room have a fireplace at all?  I stare out the lone basement window into the night, mostly void sprinkled with the odd dying star.  I think there might be more but a coyote moon is swollen over the horizon.  Tendrils of boredom sneak through my ears like mental floss, letting an indifferent fog roll in through my mind as through the sandwastes beyond.
"Ramadhake?  We all need an equal chance to fail," a voice behind me whispers.  As I look down, my stomach plunges and burns in a steaming heap on the scuffy carpet.  "Nope.  Nope nope nope."  I can't take another second of this; I've been sitting on my back all day and I can't take it anymore.  I toss the stack of pop quizzes at the boy behind me and grab my phone, whispering vague nonsenses into it.  "I'm quite sorry, Miss Sumed.  I'm afraid a family emergency has come up and it simply can't wait."  The frail woman glares down her silver frames with a stare that could wither a newborn soul.  "Again...Really, Ramadhake. It had better be good.  Has his horse died of thirst in the scrublands again?  Or has he finally struck gold and wishes to share his good fortune?"  "Hey!  Bucky was very near and dear to us.  She was family."  Sheesh.  Some would never guess that such warm coffee eyes could hide such a cold cruel heart.  "Something you appear to be running short on these days, is it not?  Whatever it is...I will be confirming it with your uncle as soon as possible.  You are excused."
I skip up the steps to the tune of Jahr's number.  *Beep* "Hey.  Class ended a few minutes early.  Need a pick-me-up pronto or I'll run the whole way.  See you soon." 
Approximately Two Hours and Forty-Five Minutes Later
"I'm tired!"  *clomp clomp*
"I'm hungry!" *clomp clomp*
"I'm done," and slam the silo door behind me. 
Metallic clanging echoes through from the lower levels.  He's been absorbed, I'm afraid.  Gone forever in the excitement of the latest project-that'll-change-everything-I-so-solemnly-swear.  "Just ten more levels to go, Rama.  Ten more levels and then you can choke him."
I pause.  Who needs stairs when you can do the electric slide?
 "I always knew I was smokin, but this is ridiculous," I shake my head at the new breeze in my pants, courtesy of my stupidity and the old silo chute.  "Simple matter of friction, honey.  Oh, Friction, the sly devil we all need to keep a handle on things."  He hums a bit, welding something I can't quite see.  "I'm glad you came by.  Could you fetch me my bernzomatic, please?"  "Uncle?", I bounce on my feet in front of him, "Oh, Uncle???  I believe you are forgetting something."  "Hmmm?", he smiles absently behind his owlish goggles.  He turns the flame down, removing his gloves and covering me with the smell of burnt steel as he spins me around.  "Oh, yes.  How was your day at school, my dear?"  I breathe deep, ready to give him hell for forgetting about me again.  But I can't do it, so it  all comes out in an anti-climactic whoosh.  "It was fine.  Annoying as ever.  Do you got any food?"  His absent smile burns to a full-on grin as he opens the fridge.  "Indeed I do!"  He pulls out the largest green bean casserole I have ever seen.  Topped with scallop potatoes and..."Is that pepper bacon?!  Gods, it's been too long."  He scratches his head quizzically.  "I'm glad you like it, but I could have sworn I had taken it out of the furnace just a minute ago..."  I take the glass pan gingerly from him and clear off a space near the sunlamps.  "Taken what out of the furnace?  You know I like my beans stone cold."  The old man's losing it.  "No, no, not the beans.  Your surprise...."  His face slackens in realization.  "To the furnace!!!"  And he's off...  "Don't mind if I do," I whisper to no one in particular as I scoop up a slice of cheesy green goodness the size of a book.
One Casserole Later
Jahr trudges in after I'm satisfied, the smoking remnants of a burnt lab coat trailing on the concrete.  "I would'ave saved you a slice but I was hungry.  Want me to make you something?  I see the furnace is still chugging."  "No, no, that's alright, sweetie.  And the furnace is going full power, I'm afraid," he sighs looking down at a black misshapen piece of porcelain.  He places it gingerly next to the upset tomato plants.  "I am so sorry," his voice quivers.  "I am...a terrible guardian.  I cannot be responsible for protecting a birthday souffle, much less a teenage girl."  "Aw no, Uncle.  Don't say that.  I learn so much from you."  He turns towards me, eyes redder than the tomatoes.  "I forgot you at school again, didn't I?"  I put my feet up on the table and lean back, closing my eyes.  "Naw.  It's cool.  Your projects are amazing.  I needed the exercise anyway."  The next thing I know is hands wrapping around my shoulders and a weight upon my head.  "I shall do better, my Phula.  I so solemnly swear.  You are more important to me than any project, because I know you most certainly will change the world.  You changed mine."  "Um...ok.  I'm gonna go wash the dishes now..."  I extricate myself from the situation as fast as elementally possible.      
Approximately Six Hours Later

I wake with a start, burning in the winter cold.  Thorny brambles tear at my naked body as I make my way back to the silo, though the spots of snow feels nicer than any bed ever could.  "It's getting worse," I mutter.  One of these days someone will catch me and I won't have any explanation for it.  Sleepwalking is a nightmare that leaks into the physical realm. 
I sneak back clean and smooth, though it isn't hard with Jahr passed out over his latest schematics.  Some sort of breathing apparatus, he had said, though why would one need a breathing device here?  The air is pure, and we have no lakes above ground.  His snores cover the soft squeaks my footsteps make, and the heat of my skin steams any residual ice that clings to me.  Sometimes it pays to be fire.
The room is bare, but nice.  Though Jahr was not the first in my father's guardianship line because of his oddities, he is the first that seems to care.  I've only been here a few days, but he has welcomed me with open arms since the beginning.  Unfortunately it is the same school for the entire area, so I can't blame him for making me go.  I think I'll keep him.  Flopping onto the bed, I am alone with my thoughts for the first time since the accident.  Closing my eyes, I can't help but remember how it felt when the flames first roared: terror, pain, regret...and glee.  They consumed us all.  My body just doesn't have the decency to show it, to let me go. 
(A/N: More stuff here, don't want to spoil, so just a snippet.)

"So you like me now hmmm?"
His voice makes me shiver.  Not the frost, not the metal, not the corpses floating past the window.  It's his voice that cuts through the fire that's been keeping me alive so long.  I put my hand against the glass, against him, as a familiar face stops to float beside.  The boy hasn't aged a day.  "How can you be here?  You burned with Maman."  I grab a soda bottle from the van floor and smash it against the window, waiting for the cracks to take me.  "Bahana, no!  I only wished to say goodb...", his voice trails away into the currents, along with his head.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Intermission-Meeting Elise

(A/N:  Rough snapshots of the beginning of a dream.) 

It woke me in the night, a slight exhalation of foul air above me.  The gentle scrape of enamel against my skin.  As quickly as I turned, it was gone.  A receding shadow among layered multitudes cast off from the gas lamp in front of my window.  Another dream, I swear.  This new house is getting to me, or my mind is getting to it.  The place is too damned massive, too empty for its grandeur.  It's not just the house, it's the town as well.  Smiling faces, vapid, everywhere you turn.  They love me, yet I am alone.
Tapping against the grimy window, a pale hand is followed by a ragged head in a torn white chemise.  "Let me out", she croaks.  I was exploring the sheds along the woodline.  Work was slow at the fruit stand today, and by slow I mean nonexistent.  Perhaps this will change my luck?  I may have found my first friend.  "Well?  I'm waiting."  I stumble forward and heave against the rusted hinges, falling hard with the door upon me in a cloud of dust.  She tests the threshold, looks at me, and lunges for the cold shelter of the trees.  "Thanks!"  Sigh.  I'm going to be late. 
Riad chuckles as he plucks an errant twig from my hair.  My face is on fire.  "Come on.  Since you're new, let me be the one to introduce you to our little carnival.  Where would you like to start?"  I toss between the ring of fire and the ring toss but the one reeks of sweated vomit and the other's line is down the walk.  "The mirror hause?"  He bows, graciously mocking.  "Just try not to lose me."
I spin rapidly in what I think to be the center of the maze, giddy in the symmetry of this new-found world.  I think I enjoy being lost.  There is a wonderful liberty when you know you are completely alone.  I blush ever harder as someone laughs behind me.  "Is that why you were so close to the woods?"  She's in black jeans and an emerald tee now.  I must have spoken aloud.  "I didn't see you there.  I see everything in here."  She ignores me, dodging between mirror panes.  "Why did you run from me?  Who trapped you there?"  She runs faster and faster, creating a whirlwind, her midnight hair whipping in a long black streak.  I fall to my knees, choking on the lack of air.  As quickly as it came it went, and she is before me concerned.  "Sorry.  I wanted to see if I still could."  Still coughing, I glare.  "Why are you here?  I help and you hurt.  What do you want of me?"  "I wanted to say thanks, properly.  Didn't mean to leave you in a rush.  I was a bit out of sorts, you see.  Name's Elise."  I take her outstretched hand. "Waterson, Cami. Moved here last week. I too am out of sorts.  That's why I was talking to myself. I'm not weird or anything."  Ugh.  The mirrors may be pristine but the dust-caked ground did horrors to my new jeans.  I cannot go around greeting people in dirty clothes.  "Don't worry about it, love. You weren't speakin aloud.  Anyway...I'll see you around?  Get you a coffee or something."  "Oh...alright."  Wait a second...what?  But she's gone and I can hear Riad calling for me to the northeast.  I suppose later it shall have to be.  
I feel Riad's gaze on the nape of my neck, like an unfocused laser.  I refuse to look at him as we walk back to my father's house.  "You ditched me as soon as we entered.  I thought you said you wanted to have some fun?"  He pulls my back against him and takes us to the side.  In the shadow of the courthouse parking lot against the cooling bricks, I only see the gleam of his grin, knife-sharp cheeks, and deep pockets where his eyes should be.  His ragged breath sets me on edge.  "Riad...don't screw with me.  I am not afraid of hurting you."  And he lets me go.  "You think I'm capable of hurting you?"  His tone is offended, but whether mocking or hurt I cannot tell.  His dark face is ever darker in silhouette.  "I may like you, but I do not trust easily.  We just met yesterday!  I don't know you."  I wrench myself from him.  He sighs, playing the wounded card.  "Not yet, but you will."  Let's see...east, Bluff road.  "I think I can walk myself home now.  Goodnight, Riad."  "It isn't safe at night!", he calls after.  Hm...I think I like running too.  It brings a sense of mindless clarity.
"I'm hoooome!"  Echo...Echo...Echo...  "Hi, how was your night, Camilia?  Oh, it was good, Papi.  Thanks for asking.  How was the dinner with Martha at the Botanical Garden?  It was fantastic.  I'm sorry I obeyed my wife's iron fist and didn't let you come but I'll make it up to you.  How about we go skating tomorrow?  The whole afternoon, just me and you, like we used to..."  I lay my head against the glass' cool surface.  This is a pointless exercise.  *DING-DONG*  I take the shortcut past the pool outside, through the zoo hedges, and tackle her into the bushes before Martha opens the door.  "Elise!!  It's the middle of the night.  What on earth are you doing here?", I hiss.  A muffled gurgle is my only response.  Martha slams the door with a grumbled, "Pranksters in this neighborhood at this godforsaken hour..."  I slowly remove my hand from over her mouth and stand gingerly.  I did not notice, but a part of me is wet and burning.  "I told you I was bringin coffee."  She points to the spilled tray of espresso, cream, and croissants.  "Figured you could use a girl's night after what that asshole tried to do.  Is there something wrong with the doorway?"  "No.  Nothing's wrong with it, just its keeper.  Let's continue this in my room, before your coffee permanently sears my crotch."
(A/N: nighty night. Test study time tomorrow. Calc two and multi dimen. Wish me luck? Or don't. It's cool. )  

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

"The Rise and Fall of the World We Knew", Metropolis Index Page.

Will be revised, updated, et cetera...
I will write as I can.  The semester has begun. 
Any suggestions or constructive criticisms are always appreciated.
What I originally had, which will be deleted once this is done.  It didn't settle right, a boring read.  An index of the gods will be included later as well in a separate post, based on this and some rougher reference materials I have written prior.  For these, names/powers/consorts are based loosely upon the ancient Anglo-Saxon and Celtic pantheons.  New material is in bold.
(Lugus was the capitol, in whose domain were creation and learning.  It's allies were as follows in the order of their value to Lugus: Belenus, in whose domain was the art of healing.  Debranua, in whose domain were the ways of trade and butchery.  Erecura, in whose domain was the science of agriculture.  Andarta, in whose domain were the ways of war.  Rosmerta, in whose domain were great abundance and proliferation.  Belisama, in whose domain were light, flame, lake, and wave.  Alaunus, in whose domain were magic and prophecy.  Dea Matrona, in whose domain was protection of the young and infirm.  Sucellos, in whose domain were love and time.  Sulis, in whose domain were the sun, life, and grave curses.  Lastly, Ankou, whose domain was simply death.) 

 Note: Cities are listed in order of their perceived value to the central government head-quartered in Lugus. 


As a pleasant island in the midst of a turgid sea, Lugus was naturally the safest place for kings, governors, and businessmen to hide themselves when the first reliable reports were heard of settlements and nations alike falling to an unbeatable foe.  From such affluent influences, Lugus has risen from a tiny tropical resort to the centre of all academic learning and decision-making within the provinces, if not the remaining world.  Each building is the embodiment of its inhabitants.  One might feel dainty by the massive spires of accounting, supported by the marble pillars of governance, or lost amidst the sweeping arcs of the Grand Theatre, to name a few.  However the massive jade and granite temple located on the northern cliffs is truly the jewel of the city, aesthetically, and for its great treasury of knowledge.  It is what gives Lugus its legacy.      


While Lugus sees that the past is remembered and the present preserved, Belenus looks to the future as the pinnacle of science and innovation for this age.  Located on the forested hills that reach between Erecura's vineyards and the first of Debranua's sprawling markets, Belenus in two words is standardly shiny.  It is mainly comprised of white or metallic block-like buildings, most being the secretive labs responsible for a great deal of our current lifestyle and the rest are living compounds for its hive of workers.  The exception to this rule is the unmistakable rainbow-painted clinical in the center of the city which offers the latest in healing technologies to any who choose to make the pilgramage, supposedly as an act of charity.  







Dea Matrona:





Thursday, January 8, 2015

A Brief History: A New Beginning

There came to be twelve major cities, districts of a sort, formed and united by conflict with creatures so monstrous they are known only as the Forsaken.  Each city was named by their intellectuals after the patron gods of the people, in recognition that there would always be forces beyond their control.  This was known then as the domain of destiny.  For a detailed description of the cities' formation, please see my dissertation, "The Rise and Fall of the World We Knew".  Where smaller cities fell and were consumed, these twelve metropolises distinguished themselves through their technological advancements and dedication to each other.  They were able to beat back and rise above the threat, for a time.  As the scores passed, the people grew complacent in their security, lax in the ties that bind.  They forgot the horrors beyond their portion of the world and contented themselves with petty plays of power.  Science gave way to superstition; logical progress came to a halt as once again religion was used by the elite to mold and subjugate the populace.
One late summer morn the faithful metal Guardians of the outer-lying city of Ankou suddenly shut down, unbeknownst to the citizens until a legion of Forsaken came down upon them.  Only the city's queen survived as she was visiting Lugus during the slaughter, negotiating terms for her assassins on loan.  The organization of these so-called mindless beasts as they moved towards the capitol was astounding, accustomed as the soldiers were to the slobbering infected hordes from the stories of old.  None were prepared.  Seeing the smoking wreckage from afar, the surviving rulers gathered together the priests to make pleas unto the gods in their desperation as it was discovered that all Guardians in each of the cities were out of commission and none were left alive who knew their inner workings.  Surprisingly a response was received, quickly and with clarity, from each of the city's patron gods and communicated to their rulers by the chief priest and mighty prophet, Avarus: "Eleven children of royal heritage will be born.  To these children celestial powers shall be given, so that in them we might be saved.  And they shall be to us as gods amongst mortals, as strangers amongst their own people, as living sacrifices to purge this horrendous blight from our land."

I slam the book shut and shove it under my lesson pile as the archive door softly creaks.  Each heavy footstep in time with my spasming heart makes it harder to find my place in the boring text.  Proditor's sonorant voice booms over my shoulder, "And what marvellous things are we learning today, my little prodigy?"  He chuckles happily when I tackle him, tangling his priestly robes.  "I think you like making me worry.  The journal said the fire had taken half the eastern forest.  They said the death-count was still unknown.  Why must you put yourselves in danger?"  Fineas knocks on my head from behind.  "Because he wouldn't let them use my awesomeness to find the people up close.  Instead I got stuck listening to Barnabas and his stupid parables."  Proditor hoists a tubby Fineas up on his hip.  "That would be because I care about you, boy, and it is not the place of children, no matter how special, to fight the battles of men.  Besides, you could learn something from Barnabas.  Perhaps his selflessness, to begin."  Fineas sticks out his lower lip and tongue.  "But I could have helped.  If you had let me walk with you, I could have found more of them."  Proditor breathes a heavy sigh.  "If I had known the plant would explode, I never would have taken you with me but there is a lesson to be learned in all this.  Do you remember the parable of the shepherd and his ninety-nine sheep?"  Fineas rolls his eyes but I remember.  I remember everything once I know it.  "It was during a great cyclone.  The lonely shepherd had seen the storm coming from his position on the cliffs, so he hurriedly herded his hundred sheep into the shelter of a warm cave.  From the shelter, the lonely shepherd counted and recounted his sheep but one was missing.  It was the sheep he most treasured, the lamb he had nursed when he was a boy.  Between the wind, he faintly heard his little lamb crying for him near the cliffs, helpless against the elements.  Though his heart cried in return, the shepherd stayed with the ninety-nine through the storm."  Proditor nods thoughtfully.  "Good, Cate.  Perfect as always.  But do you know why he stayed?"  I shake my head in shame as Phineas speaks up, his somber tone the more pronounced by his toddler lilt.  "For the needs of the many outweigh the needs of a few."  "Yes, my boy.  That is why I could not let you.  You and Cate are meant for great things, amazing things.  Your lives are worth a thousand refugees."

The next day I choose a different scroll from behind the hundredth brick in the temple archive.  I have to be more careful.  Someone hid these for a reason.

A Note on the Forsaken
Due to the massive loss of information from the time of the original infection and following wars, we have had to largely begin our research anew.  The following is some of what we have been able to glean from the Kashish journals your scoping team provided: "In the family of Forsaken there are many varieties but two genera stand out: The Cranks, and the Revenants.  In looks and predatory characteristics, the two are obversely related yet they are products of the same insidious plague said to have been brought down as divine retribution.  The Revenants are often dark or even purplish in color with astounding mental fortitude and physical speed.  The Cranks are generally pale, appearing bleached, with impressive physical strength and tough leathery skin.  Nothing but the greatest force or direct sun can damage a Crank.  In comparison, the Revenants are quite fragile.  However, they are considered the greater of the two genera.  While the Revenants are less appreciable to the naked eye, they are highly organized, with many being capable of speech.  The strongest among them can even possess other creatures for a limited time, allowing them to amass entire armies as Cranks often follow a herd mentality, though many times full possession is unnecessary.  When an infection occurs, what determines which Forsaken the victim shall become depends upon their strength of will, genetic coding, and the amount of venom they were exposed to.  Those who become Cranks were determined to have a predisposition for the XPC and ERCC genes numbers two through five.  For Revenants, the singular POLH gene.  For those obscure Forsaken from whose charred remains I have examined thoroughly, the rare XPA and DDB2 genes.  Testing the population for plague susceptibility is advised."  Authorization and funds for controlled infection trials to confirm these results would be invaluable at this stage of our research.  Subjects donated from the Matrona asylum would be simplest to hide.  In answer to your question regarding the prince's samples, a meeting between us would be wise.  ~from the Excavated Personal Studies of Merak, Executive Belenusian Assistant to His Greatness, Eucairost Avarus in the Year 1006.

Over a thousand years...why would anyone abandon such an important piece of history?  Fineas' sudden sigh shakes me from my chair.  "I'm boooooooooooored.  You promised you'd play with me if I found those stupid papers and I did so now you have to."  "You're the stupid one.  This is important, Fineas.  Go outside or something."  I must read everything before whoever hid them finds they have been breached.  I can copy them from memory later.  He jumps onto the table and rips the ancient text from my hands, crumbling pieces of it into dust.  "Hey!  Be careful with that.  It is very very old."  "You.  Promised.  And a promise is a promise."  He rubs his running nose against the papyrus, forever staining the priceless remnant.  "I'll tell Proditor you made me find it and you'll be in so much trouble, he'll never let you read anything ever again!"  "Alright, alright.  Just please...put the paper down gently."  He smiles impishly, doing as I say, satisfied that I have surrendered.
The breeze outside is soft and sweet.  The cherry trees must be in bloom.  Fineas' heart flutters against my ribs excitedly.  "I think mine looks like a dragon.  Can yours beat a dragon, Caty?"  His cloud looks more like a half-birthed potato to me, but I say nothing.  He bangs his head on my abdomen, until I roll him off.  "Fine.  My cloud is that one to the right, over the hanger.  It looks like a knight to me.  A great and fantastic knight to slice your dragon limb from limb save us all from his fiery wrath."  "Oh yea?  Well my dragon has laser eyes and vomits parasite barnacles whenever he gets mad."  "Well my knight's armor is made from atomically rearranged graphite.  It will shatter your dragon's teeth, claws, reflect his lasers, and repel all barnacle suckers.  Hah!  Now that I've won, I believe we are through here."  Looking at his face I realize it isn't about winning for him, like it is for me.  "Ah, but how could I have forgotten...", I frown exaggeratedly.  "Forgotten what?"   I point to the swirling indistinct mass of white over the glider bay.  "Can't you see it?  My knight and your dragon are negotiating a treaty if your dragon will share his mountain of gold.  I'm afraid I have lost after all."  I endure him patting my head.  If this is the price of peace, I can handle it.  "Don't be sad.  Be happy.  I have a surprise for you!"           

Technicalities for the Future

Everything may be edited at any time by me.  I shall try to have the first actual post up by tomorrow, even though I know probably no one will read it.  This is more for myself than others, but I hope you might find some enjoyment or enlightenment from it.  At the moment I have approximately 27,000 words from my stint at last years Nanowrimo.  My issues are with getting everything in chronological order and not letting life suck me dry with obligations, so bear with me, O dear Reader.  I shall try to make it worth your while.