Cascadia

Just a thought...

So, not sure if my new “companions” want everyone to know where we are, but a Christmas Elf on a reindeer, flying back and forth from where we stay, well tends to draw all kinds of attention. Maybe I just do not have a handle on subtlety.
Not sure what the suit thing is about, but good to see some things do not change…
Starting to think dear old dad, was messing with my mind a bit(duh!), so far neither of the two he guaranteed would shoot me have, and haven’t seen a lack of concern for life he claimed was what this whole group was about.
Still haven’t gotten a handle on the Christmas Elf’s attempt to establish dominance, but I will keep my eye on him.
I find it disturbingly comforting that people seem to actually mean what they say, and do what they say they are going to do. It is frighteningly pleasant to not always find nine levels to every conversation that is going on. I fearfully enjoy the simple mundanities that seem to fill their lives, paperwork, shopping, hospital copays. The silence around most times is almost deafening. I fear I am growing to really like it here, wonder when the screaming starts…

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Gabriel's Mission Log

Tomorrow I confront what I beleive to be one of my family, come to this shadow to taunt and destroy me. This is as it should be, for I am no trifle to be honored by less than the greatest effort.

There was a painting once, in the blue gallery in the the main house of the castle. It was of the Unicorn, not exactly an origional subject, but there was something about this one that always caught my eye. The composition was simple, she stood on the peak of Kolvier, the sun just before rising behind her, the entire scene luminous with that false light of the pre-dawn. It was destroyed when a pipe burst; yes even the One True Plumbing leaks, there’s a metaphor in there somewhere, but I’ll let someone else track it down.

They repainted it, of course, and the duplicate was the mirror image of the origional. But it wasn’t the origional, something vital, something undefinable, was lost despite the considerable skills of the artist. It was copied, but could not be remade.

I will never truly care for this shadow, it is a mechanic, a vessel far to abstract to have any real meaning to me. But it is also a gallery, and it contains paintings I have come to cherish. Suzanne, so young, so determined, so convinced she can lead me to accept her world’s self indugent morality; yet so filled with life, and steel, and fire. Rashid, who fills volumes with what he does not say, who simply accepts and relishes. Tasha, who serves, but not blindly and fills with logic what she will not allow herself to feel.

Should I escape this world I could find it again a thousand times over, but never again would the light be quite right, the pose so perfect. A failed Suzanne, a false Rashid, they could only mock their origionals and I would have no recourse but to slay them for the affront.

So, brother or sister, cousin or uncle; you who have had the poor manners to step into this gallery and profane the art that resides here and has become special to me; you will not find the doors unguarded. Oberon’s malidictions may have left me but spirit where once stood stone, but my mind is that of a Prince of Amber and you will find me no easy prey.

And, if at the end of things, I stand unworthy there is one gift even the Eye of the Serpent cannot take from me. I would, by preference, save it for him to bound me here; but, at this moment at least, I would choose to preserve rather than destroy. Should I fall my curse will cast you from this place and bind it forever from Shadow.

While I care little for the gallery, it contains that which I will not suffer be destroyed in the petty games of my family. One way, or the other, the doors will be locked to you forever.

Rashid, Tasha, Suzanne, you will be protected.

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Tales of a Metalcrafter #4

Sword: Begin!

She drew her sword and began the set of drills. These had been the first thing that Master Gerold had taught her. She was twelve.

Good! Next!

Remember: the sword is the beginning. The art of it is ancient. Everything else I teach you will follow from the sword. This is how my master taught me and how his master taught him and so forth, since time immemorial.

She switched to the next pattern, flowing smoothly through stances until she felt the calm core within overtaking the stresses of the day.

Good! Rest.

She sheathed her sword and came to rest, taking a deep breath and expelling it slowly.

Fire: Begin!

She began her fire patterns with the simplest exercise: juggling. It had taken her over a year to master this – fire is an unforgiving teacher. Much like Master Gerold. It started simply enough, but as the motions became more complicated, sweat began to bead. When she first completed this pattern as a teenager, she was shaking with exhaustion and unable to go on. It was one of the few times her Master had praised her.

Good! Next!

Next were the combat forms. Her actions became swift, decisive, and cold as 1… 2… 3… 4… combat dummies burst into flame. With a quick motion they were out and she was flowing into the next spell. A ring of fire burst outwards, igniting all six dummies at once and licking at the edge of the circle. Then they were out again. Time after time, flow after flow, pattern after pattern. She submerged herself in the motions.

Good! Rest!

Centered stance. Deep breaths. She was lost to the world, now, in a spell of the past more powerful than any wizard could weave.

Water: Begin!

She never noticed the quiet and still form of Gabriel watching from the entrance…

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Well......shit.

My first night on earth is plagued with dreams, not nightmares, since well we lived those while we were awake. I keep playing the fight with the Angels over and over in my mind. I feel like there could have been another way to resolve it, and it really bothers me that I may have hurt or killed one of the representatives of the “good guys”. If everyone would just give me a chance, I would prove I am not what they think I am! I really know just what hell is like and I never want that spreading anywhere else. It does not help that I keep having that same dream over and over again, the fight, the sounds of my father’s laughter when the angel falls, and I am thrust back awake only to repeat the dream over and over again. I really do not like thinking that that whole thing actually played out the way dad wanted, so hard to know what ever goes on in his mind. What a dick.

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Tales of a Metalcrafter #3

She sat on her bed, staring at her hands. Sleep had brought her no respite from the events of the day; the nightmares had awoken her time and time again. Watching a man’s flesh melt from his body like wax will do that.

But the worst ones weren’t from something so recent. No… She dragged herself out of bed and walked into the bathroom to throw some water on her face. The mirror reflected the dark circles under her eyes and haunted expression.

Memories from the past floated to the surface of her sleep-addled brain like dead bodies floating to the surface of a swamp.

Mommy… It hurts… Why is it so dark, Mommy?

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Surfers are Tasty!

I find Apes confusing, but especially tasty when they self-marinate. Jeremy took me to a place where humans apply delicious marinades and so accommodatingly lightly cook themselves, laying on napkins. I guess for some, at the last moment they change their minds and in a panic rush into the water washing off their marinade, but that still leaves plenty of choice morsels just laying about and basting. Jeremy seems to have a firm grasp on Ape mating rituals, he thrust a long, finned object into the sand, sat in its shadow and managed to initiate what led to quite a few mating rituals. He assured me that the female apes chittering at me and pinching and prodding at me were meant to be complimentary, I found it mostly annoying. I am still not clear at what point the mating is supposed to take place when I am asked “Do you work out?” Is this some code? Jeremy indicates it is, but when I proceed to remove the single article of clothing we seem to be required to wear, it does not usually result in a successful mating. Grabbing and throwing the female to the ground as a response, does not seem to work well either. Some blustering male ape felt he COULD have words and pushed me, I first verified he was not one of the blue garbed apes in disguise, Jeremy indicated he was not, I then pushed him back to the sound of ribs cracking. Jeremy advised we might want to leave at that point. I hope we do go back sometime as Jeremy was unclear on how I could acquire the delicious and varied ape marinades I found.

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I am feeling much better now..

I like people. People are nice, they smell nice, they feel nice, they taste…ahem. Please excuse the ramblings of my angry me, he has not learned how to play nice with others. I am Tony, and I like people. People are so much nicer than my original family ever was. Sunny smiles at me and shares ice cream, Gabriel has so much good information. Jeremy is my best friend. I do not know the other two women very well, but I am sure they would be delicious, I mean good friends to have. Jeremy is helping me understand that just because I can shout louder, or push harder does not mean I should try out shouting or out pushing anyone. He says a smile and two fingers raised can calm almost any situation. I wonder why depending on which way my hand is facing when I do this, people sometimes get more angry, but then I walk right up to them and give them my biggest smile, and they almost always stop shouting. See? I can make friends! I..shut…up! What the hell was that? Damnit ever since that one ape connected some wires to my head, I feel like I am being swallowed by a dark pit. What the fuck? I ever find that ape again, I am going to make him fix whatever he broke, then I will make him into fucking red paste! I swear I will tear every fucking ape in my way…apart….I argh. I like people, they make me smile with how nice they are.

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Why Me?

My bowl of noodles, now empty in front of me, my tea still hot. It’s a warm evening as the sun slowly sets, the stadiums ablaze, the ferry’s scurrying to and from. The air is extra salty tonight, the streets below me serene with the approach of the lady moon.

Why me? I know what you are thinking, it’s that age old question the protagonist asks themselves as they are taken from the comforts of their lives and ask to wrong the rights of a world much larger than ever they thought. Not me. True I was a straight A medical student at UBC, following in my fathers footsteps. I was a mere residency away from becoming the next great cardiologist when the strange men from the International District came to me.

I always knew I was different, I saw it every time I looked in the mirror. An Asian girl with jade green eyes. But what that meant was a mystery until that day when it was told of my destiny, my fate. I was not going to be the wealthy, successful and famous doctor, but rather a warrior who lived in a rat infested condemned hotel with 400 souls. The protector of the ID, Guardian of the Jade Court.

I expected my father to forbid me to walk this destiny, after all I was to follow his path, his footsteps. He had worked so hard to become what he was and then to give it all up and start over in another county and become even more successful then before. I had his drive, his desire and soon his title. Yet when I told him on that cold rainy Canadian night, at our favorite tea house in the China District of BC, he somehow knew this night would come. So it was to my surprise he gazed at me with eyes of pride, not of disappointment. I moved to Seattle by weeks end and trained with the same discipline and single focus I had through school to become the protector I am today.

So three years later and I have learned of the horrors that lie under the streets of Seattle. I have hunted and killed my prey and I have prepared myself for the fate that awaits me. Why me? I will tell you. Every good protagonist needs their companions, there champions, their friends. Even though I always prefer to work alone, I have excepted that what lies ahead is bigger then just me. But like fate, we can not choose those who walk the path with us and that is why me? I find myself with a rather eclectic group. There is the stoner, who is more helpful then one would think, the fire mage and her pompous body guard, there is the agent with the almighty pistol and the lover of ice cream, who I think I like best. I just need to keep Gabriel from corrupting the poor guy.

The sky is now dark and my candles flicker in the slight breeze of my open window. My tea cup is empty and my body tired. Tomorrow is likely to be another long day, there is a demon fucking with me after all.

Sun-hi Kim

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Gabriel's Mission Log - 6/16/2011
The ties that bind, and free

Responsiblities, ties to a world that is nothing more than a ripple in an endless pond. What makes this ripple unique? Why should it’s flow concern me more than another?

Perhaps it is nothing more than that I am bound to it’s peak, riding the movement of it’s wavefront through the pond that is Shadow.

Perhaps.

And if Roger Zelazny’s book are the message I believe they may be…. then perhaps it is time for the obedient son to no longer await at his father’s knee. Captivity, by power or by will ultimately brings comfort, an excuse to avoid the unknown and the possiblity of failure. Do you appriciate the irony there? Honorable obedience is, in itself, an act of cowardice.

But in freedom of will is discovered new bindings, ties perceived but safely ignored.

“A blade is a tool, to see one as favored is to inflict vulnerability on the self. That which is desired becomes that which is required, and in the longevity of time all blades must break.”

Your words, as always, reveal simple truths father; but does your focus blind you to larger truths? Can a blade not be appriciated for it’s beauty? Is it permissible to love the weapon when it is not a time of war?

I can hear your response now, “and is it your perception that chooses the time of war? How comfortable such surity must be.”

No, I cannot always know when war is upon me, but is not the converse true as well? What if I create war through expectation that would not otherwise be? Must the blade always be plain, that which is most easily taken from the battlefield? Can such blades chuckle deeply as his thigh is gently caressed? Can such a weapon scrunch her face in such a delightful combination of concentration and trepedation as she unleashes her fire?

What is the gain of war if there is no other meaning? Can I not have both beauty and strength? Is it I who do not see or you who have chosen not to have?

If you have truly forsaken me and I choose to deny that condemnation, than what else may I choose to condemn?

I fear leaving the comfort of your chains father, but if I burst free, it will be with fire.

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Tales of a Metalcrafter #2

The drop of molten glass slipped from the tip of her finger and hit the surface of the sculpture she was working on – a fey woman of unearthly beauty, one red glass tear already solidifying on her terrified, coppery face. She settled back and considered as the second tear trickled and congealed.

Guardian of the Seattle Gate? Bullshit. There was something bigger at stake here, she was willing to bet her life on that. The vampire had wanted her off of his back and he had succeeded – now that they both had interest in guarding the gate, he would use that against her. It was his nuclear option – it may well destroy the world, but he’d press that big red button if he thought he was going down. That didn’t even take into account the five creatures that had gotten free… And all the other shit that was happening to boot… Dammit!

She flexed sore shoulders and rubbed her temples as she stood and stepped away from her battered workbench. With an unconscious gesture of her right hand, the candles went out and she stepped into the house in darkness. Her concerns over her watchers were assuaged – several hours with a ladder, a hammer, and steel carpet-tack strips had left her window ledges anathema to any fey who attempted to spy on her; and several hours with her ritual circle had rendered her windows unreadable – the equivalent of holding a photo of a room up against a security camera.

Good God, I’m tired, she thought as she trudged up the stairs to her room. It’s been a long, long fucking day.

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