Karen turned the page of the old style comic book, picking up the lit cigarette off the night stand next to her. Out of the corner of her eye she could see the pale skinned woman looking over her shoulder. Studiously ignoring her she kept reading the ancient text, taking in the arcane art style.

"What's that about?" The woman asked. She had leaned in close, the softness of her alien breasts pressing against the muscles of her back.

"An alien, who looked human. His planet was destroyed by the folly of their race, his father sent him to Earth. He then devoted his life to protecting humanity and to showing a better way." She pressed out the butt into the nightstand ashtray.

"What a beautiful story." Karen was getting used to reading her lover's voice, the lack of major facial muscles made the Kelvic woman's face eternally serene and closed. A pang of guilt stabbed at her heart hearing the undertone of honest sorrow.

"It was a beautiful dream," she says setting the book down on the nightstand next to the ashtray. "We had that luxury back then... besides, what would he protect now?"

"Humans. The people left. He would help you find a way to be great."

"Hmm. How exciting, if we counted him in the census we might break a hundred thousand." She tried to cover up the small glimmer of juvenile dream with sarcasm.

The alien woman ran a finger down her spine, it was her way of calling bullshit on her.

"I'm just an old soldier, Shi. I gave up on my dreams of 'greatness' a long time ago." Another stroke down her spine.

"I know you hate my pep talks so I won't bother. But I still believe that humanity can be a great race... We alliance members simply have a bad definition of great." The two giggled at her bad joke, maybe she was getting used to their humor. Soon the conversation was lost to other things. But as she lay, sleepless in the night's warmth, the smallest seed of a plan was beginning to take root.


Minor note, the kelvic word for irony is a homonym of definition. Also, those from the Northern continent of their third colony tend to find humor in mimicry of the word order and style difference seen on their home planet. She would usually have worded it, literally, 'honorific members in alliance*', but is making a joke by saying it 'we alliance members'. Additionally she is saying members in a significantly informal manner, again a parody of the more laid back home world dialect.

* when using honorifics while referring to alliance members they are always members of your own alliance. It's a bit more gray when not using honorifics, but usually members of an outside alliance will be referred to directly with the alliance name followed by their own name or indirectly with simply the alliances name.

Game Design - General Views

I've been meaning to make a more general post about some of my more general views and concepts with games since before I started the Q&As. For one reason or another, I'd not start it or get part way through then abandon it displeased with how it wasn't communicating it. Since that is the case, this post is going to contain an amalgam of the various concepts that may have gotten their own whole posts if I felt I could properly express them like that.

So lets start with some of the basics, how I view what I set out to create. I call what I want to make games, some would call them simulations, some toys, some sandboxes, I'm content to refer to them as games. MMOs fascinate me greatly, and either work very well with I like to design, or may not work at all simply because of the scale, I haven't seriously discovered which yet. But to really understand what I'm making you may have to see it through the jargon I use within my own mind. I work primarily with two things, physics and experiences.

Physics, as I use it, means much more than how a rag doll falls. Game Physics is a set of consistent rules which the game must always follow when working within the game world. Personally, I dislike breaking those physical laws, but considering the popularity of scripted events, I am probably very alone on that front. To put it into a good example, lets say that a player has five statistics, and they can have a maximum of twenty points spread across those statistics, in a game not trying to work in Game Physics, you could give this players NPC opponents 40 or 50 point pools to work from, but when working with Game Physics the NPCs are also limited to 20 points. In a game with game physics, if the computer seems to be wearing armor, that armor is made of items, handled exactly the same as they are for a player. Those are rather RPG mindset examples, but you can just as easily expand it to FPS, a fall that is fatal without the equipment to break it/fly, is fatal for everyone, weaponry is consistent and if the player can use anything they can pick up, they should be able to pick up all guns. All this is probably a little oversimplified, but in it's most basic form, it's about consistency especially of the rules which make the world function.

The second half is experiences, or as I like to think of it, experience crafting. Just as the frame and color of a wall behind a picture can be important in how it's viewed, presentation is every bit as important in games, if not more. It becomes incumbent on the designers to try and craft an overall experience for the gamers, even more than just a game to play. This could be small things like interface colors, but also in the art style and especially in the emotions evoked within the player. Left4Dead's great claim to fame is the sheer excellence they've poured into their experience crafting, making sure you really feel certain ways about certain things, and that the game's AI assists in creating a great experience rather than hinders it.

Using those two things, I then design another two things, the first toy and the room. I tend to prefer the "room full of toys" approach to gaming, you can see this almost perfectly presented in The Force Unleashed. I usually begin with the toy and then build the room such as to make the most sense, and provide the best play experience. But that toy, for Shattered World it was the character development, for Jabberwocky it was the activism, Birth it was your space ship, every design I've ever made has one. The most important aspect of a toy is that it be deep and interesting. Hopefully those will combine to make it fun, but fun is a fickle beast.

Over time more toys can be added, to compliment the first toy and bring out the interest of the room. But then, this is where I find MMOs so interesting, we can even introduce other players, other people playing with the toys and effecting our own understanding and interaction with the toys.

There's more to go into, but I'll leave it at this for now.


Philosophy of a Space Hippy

I've been wanting to make more posts about EVE online. It's one of the few MMOs in existence that I feel any great passion for. One of the reasons for that passion is that it captures, in my opinion, better than any other game on the market the concept of a space for players to be in. What I mean by this is that while there are certain iconic overarching goals in the game, you can just as easily choose not to follow any of those goals. On top of that, your interactions with other players are varied and powerful, how you deal with people, and how you present yourself in-game can have long lasting effects on your ability to accomplish goals later. And even beyond that, you can just get on and chat with people you know while mining some veld and still call it a good play session.

When it comes to "How I EVE", I'm a very undirected person. I know there are people who swear by EVEmon, but I try and avoid it wherever possible. I prefer to find a suitable short term goal and spend my points there, then I'll find things I want to do better and train up the related skills. Not necessary in sequence. Because of this, I advance through skills much slower than many other people, some might say I'm at a disadvantage. But a disadvantage against what, or whom?

The simple fact is that right now I can pilot a BC, on my main, to an acceptable skill level, and am working on getting both of my characters into mining barges. Once that is done, I'll have enough steady ISK income to more than subsist on, and I can focus on getting both their skills up to snuff in the myriad of areas that I see them needing to get shored up in.

Anyways, expect more posts from this space hippy at a later date. Oh and by the way, I'm working on a comic. It's been a long time since the last time I could say that, but I think I've really grown to an acceptable level of skill to take it on.


Dog Shoots Man In the Butt


"A 23-year-old man accidentally shot with his 12-gauge shotgun Saturday on the Tillamook Bay isn't upset with the culprit -- his dog.

The bizarre incident sent Matthew Marcum to Portland's Legacy Emanuel Hospital & Health Center, where he was recovering Sunday with injuries to his legs and buttocks.

Really... you just can't make up stuff this hilarious.

A Gaming Life Soundtrack

I don't know about anyone else, but I like music. I like it a lot, actually. Of course, I'm no great musician, and I couldn't tell you what makes one band great and another just so so. Still, I'm listening to music more often than not, and I'm probably not alone in that.

When I play games, there are quite a few times when I'll listen to the packaged soundtrack, but then switch to my own music for further playthroughs. For MMOs I may even just switch over immediately. I've found that my mood, and in-game activity are very closely related to what I queue up. Some zen-like mining in EVE is accompanied by ambient and meditation, while intense combat in Crysis would warrant some nice hard rock.

Of course, music tends to tie itself strongly to memories. For instance, I can't hear the music from the movie "Thousands Cheer" without thinking of the Garuda camp in Zelda 64, which I beat while my family was watching the movie in the other room. And other times a particular song will come on and I'll be right back in Starlancer during an intense dogfight.

To me, those songs make up a soundtrack of my gaming life. Funny thing though, if I were to go back through and find them all and compile them into an album... it would seem unfocused and confused. Show tunes next to System of a Down, next to SR71, madness! But to me it would be a pleasant walk down memory lane.

How about you all, do you have any tracks that put you right back in a game?


The Wintertime Soldier

Karen Tingan leaned back into the shuttle's comfortably upholstered seat. With single deft movement she popped the avi card that had been hanging around her wrist into the reader. The screen on the back of the seat in front of her lit up, the sound transmitting directly to her communications implant. The outward silence wasn't really necessary though, as the passengers around her had already moved away to other seats.
"I now convene the High Senate Foreign Affairs Subcommittee. The committee would like to recognize High Chairman Reiy Jilk's presence at this meeting, as well as the honorable ambassadors, Krin Tesway of the Toyyan Confederation, and Aolin Gramk of the Reitskrei Federation. We will be forgoing the usual reading of the minutes, and old business for the purposes of this special session. Instead we will immediately proceed to the matter at hand, the so called Human Empire, Terra Imperialis. To start of with, the chairman will cede the floor to Ambassador Tesway who is prepared to speak to the council on behalf of the Toyyan Confederation, "
The translator in her communications implant kept the original language under the translation, though comparatively quiet. Even if she couldn't understand the series of clicks and short grunts, it always set her on edge to have the person speaking soundlessly. The following speech was flowery enough, unwarranted human aggression, the terrible atrocities perpetrated against them, same bullshit propaganda all the other races wound up being taught out of the history books. Only one race besides the humans actually showed their students the footage taken from the Toyyan torture chambers, though only the humans would show their children. The ambassador sat down and the chairman called up an admiral. The admiral reminded her of a horse almost, leathery fur hide and a build that seemed made for heavy lifting.
"The humans have been making steady progress in their advance through Toyyan space. As you are aware, the Toyyan forces won most of their early battles with the help of superior numbers and technically superior weaponry. However, over the last three months human weaponry has begun to close the gap in terms of damage output. Even more importantly though, human tactics have advanced by leaps and bounds. Fleets are forced into situations that require them to break formation or fight without the benefits of communications or with limited sensors. These tactics have pervaded the battlefield, effecting both large and small engagements. As of this moment, the Terra Navy along the Toyyan front has an average kill death ratio of seven point two to one.
Along the Reitskrei front we have a different story, despite early setbacks the Reitskrei Navy has managed to slow the human advance to a near stand still. The surface battles are especially fierce, with enormous casualties on both sides. However, the fact remains that this is the result with almost half again as many men and ships. If the Humans were able to redistribute their forces, it is most likely they would be able to resume the quick pace they set early in the war.
It is our estimate, that of the naval intelligence office as well as among the admiralty, that if this continues, we will see a total human victory within four years on both fronts. If, at that time, humanity were to turn it's attention to the Alliance, well it would be a long war that we would most likely loose."
The general stood in the silence of his final statement. The moment ended with half the senators in the room shouting questions at once. Karen felt her stomach tie to knots as she watched the remainder of the meeting play out. Transcripts were required reading in primary and secondary schools, and even at the academy, so it wasn't that it surprised her, but seeing it in context was somehow much more emotional.
"Please prepare for orbital re-entry. Attention, please prepare for orbital re-entry."


The myriad of aliens around her formed a bubble as she walked into the building. Red of her suit jacket seemed to serve as a warning, despite her wearing it open so it seemed almost casual. Some security personal watched her out of the corner of their eyes, but didn't challenge her as she walked out of the public area. She stopped and looked at the guard standing to her right.
"Were you told to expect me?"
"No ma'am. Who the hell are you?"
"My name is Karen Tingan, and you should have stopped me and asked that earlier. You should also be having me wait here in the care of your partner while you go check that I really am expected, and you should probably be getting me an ident card so that you can track my movements through the building." The guard gave her a defiant look, but then nodded to his partner and walked off towards the reception desk. A few moments later he returned with a badge and handed it over without saying a word.
The elevator ride was uneventful. Low sonorous tones and ambient white noise played in the background, meant to relax. For her it was an utter failure. With a quiet echo of escaping air the doors in front of her opened. In front of her was a room lit purely by natural light which flowed in from the glass ceiling and glass walls. To her left was the only opaque wall, which the secretary at the far end of the room faced out away from. Seeing her, the secretary stood up and opened a door in the black wall, motioning for her to come in.
Karen walked past the vaguely fishy woman with only a slight nod, walking into a room with glass walls on her right and left and a glass ceiling. She could look up and see that half the building continued for another four stories, the living quarters for the company president and his family. On the opposite wall a video was being projected, it was a little hard to make out at first, but soon enough she had it figured out. It was the helmet cams of a group of private military contractors working for the Darvek Corporation, mixed together such as to get the best view of the actions being taken by an opponent.
"Doing your research?"
The company president looked at her with unreadable black eyes. The Kelvic were probably the closest species in build to humans, a couple meters tall on average, bipedal, usually with skin some variation of peach or blue. Still their faces seemed unnaturally serene to human eyes, and their whole eye was black making it hard to even read eye movements.
"I suppose you could say that." A loud gurgling noise came from the wall, signifying that another of the mercenaries had been killed. "I find this video rather morbidly fascinating. The first time through, I would try to predict where they were going to be attacked from, most of the time I was wrong. Even after multiple playthroughs, knowing how or why they were attacked from certain angles eludes me."
"Well, one way or another, that's why I'm here," Karen said watching as the last of the mercenary group fell off a building to his certain death. "I assume you have a particular job in mind for me."
"Oh, yes. Yes I do. Do you know of Zerencar Armory?"
"I haven't been a battle without their logo somewhere on me. Same for everyone I've ever worked with."
"A certain competitor of mine has been entering some kind of negotiation with them. I am... concerned, as to what precisely they are negotiating over. I'm not int he habit of being blind-sided by my enemies, and I will not get into that habit now. All I need is someone to get in and see what the precise nature of their negotiations is."
Karen sat down on one of the large and overly padded chairs that faced the company President's desk. "I was hoping to get out of the business very soon, Mr. President. I'm not sure making enemies with the big Z is very healthy for my job prospects."
"I'll guarantee you a post as head of my family's personal security, if that is your main concern. As to Zerencar, I have even less desire to make an enemy of them. If it comes to it, I'd rather scrub the mission than do anything to warrant their Ire. That is why you'll be tasked with acquiring my competitor's files on these negotiations, so long as they have not yet allied, you will still only be dealing with the one entity and not the other."
Karen chewed it over in her mind for several long minutes. Finally she made up her mind and sighed. "All right, I'll do it. Just send the details down the line tomorrow, they'll know to get them to me. Also if you wouldn't mind sending me a copy of that footage, I would like to add it to my collection."
He smiled, his taught skin making it creepy rather than reassuring. "Of course. I wouldn't dream of withholding a memento of a former victory from you."


Space Dashboard Confessional

My name is Sara, and I am addict.

I had my first encounter with the rocks back in 2007. It began with a bantam and some veld... that grew to jaspet and heimophrite. Before I knew it I was strung out on triclinic bistot, jonesing for a fix of zydrine.

My Osprey wound up tricked out, special mining enhancing spinners, and cpu enhancing rims. I couldn't help myself, investing in a clone to take care of my trafficking. Before long it was getting dangerous, and I'd already found myself on the wrong side of a few poddings. I knew I had to get out, so I took a deep breathe and walked away. It worked for a while, I could keep myself out of the game, tell myself what I was doing was just as good, just as worth it. But a few days ago I crumbled, and there I am, sucking in some veld while I haul for myself.

But hey, a retriever is only about a week off...

I'm playing EVE again, and even reactivated my second account.

Sorry, sorry

I'm falling a bit behind on posting here. My internet has been terribly spotty the last couple days, preventing me from catching up. I'll do my best to resolve the situation.


A meeting of heroes

"I still don't understand, why you?"

"I wish I knew why it was me."

"When did you even meet?"

"Ah... that was a long time ago now, three years almost. Just give me a second and I'll tell you."


The villain stood at the center of the bank, almost archetypal in the way he roared and goaded on his underlings. The cliche is everyone being on the floor, but we all stood to one side. There were three armed men between us and freedom, it was enough. Someone behind me was praying, but I was just concerned with keeping myself between my sister and those gunmen.

Next thing I knew, the guys running into the vault were flying out of the vault. There was watchword, even back then she had such a penchant for leather, a black leather trench coat over her black and red leather corset and pants. I latter found out the mask was made of silk, with a plastic piece inside it to maintain the shape. Of course she got in the first shot against the big bad, but soon enough they were exchanging blows.

Two of the guys, the ones with big magazines thankfully, got spooked and made a run for it. The third though, you could see it in his eyes, he wasn't leaving without his share of blood. I knew he had a wasted a few bullets into the ceiling, and I was pretty sure he'd shot one of the guards, so no way he had full clip. But how many shots left, I couldn't tell. No time to rush him, he just started firing. One. Two. Three. Four. Five. Six. Seven. I caught em, I had enough speed for that and he was telegraphing his shots pretty well. Problem was number eight, that fraction of a second too soon after seven, at just the wrong arc.

My hand came up and my eyes followed it passing over my fingers. Bam, straight into Watchword's grip. It was so fast I don't think anyone else noticed, but she whispered in my ear, "good job, hun." I saw her eyes at that moment, it was just... it was like we were looking into each other's soul, you know. So she zipped past me to clear out the scumbag, at which point the whole lot of hostages fell over themselves trying to get out. I stayed behind, didn't really know why at the time, but I think now it's because I'd already figured her out a bit.

She stood for a long time over the bodies of the guards, I don't know if she was praying or saying sorry but her lips were moving without any sound coming out. I acted on impulse, embraced her from behind to try and comfort her a bit. We stood there for what felt like a long time, she and I, me holding and her being held. Then she turned and picked me up and carried me out the way she'd come, before the police could waylay us.

Her hideout was... incredible. I'd never been one to dream of seeing the inside, but after being in it I've certainly dreamed of it since. We cooked together, even though we still hadn't said a word, but every so often our eyes would meet and we'd smile. It's hard to say in words, we just... fit. I finally got my courage up to talking during the meal, of course she wasn't wearing the mask at this point so it felt more like a regular conversation.

After dinner we talked for a while longer, sitting on this great big soft couch she had. Of course talking led to cuddling, cuddling led to kissing, kissing led to... other things. I left in the morning, not even blindfolded or anything, but in the end I never did go back, it all seemed so surreal. But I never forgot, and after a while I started to regret leaving. When I tried to go back she'd totally moved out, the place was just a big empty dust bin at that point.

Well, you know how our next meeting went. I can't really stand to think about it at this point. Anyways I'm heading back in to get some sleep. You can use the couch if you want, I'll even grab you some blankets. Just... let's not talk about this anymore for a while.


What I've played/been playing

So just to remind people I do play games...

I've relatively recently played:
Fable 2
Atlantica Online
Fallout 3
Left4Dead demo
Mirror's Edge
And recently revisited:
Space Empires V
Call of Duty 4

Short reviews:
Fable 2
Fun, especially the first play through, and a fair bit of content. I loved the final choice, mainly because there were more than 2, but hanging around after the main storyline is done fairly boring. I did finish it twice, and wound up seeing several of the different world styles that came from it. I enjoyed that those changes were based on my actions. Sadly I wasn't so hooked on the content to continue playing it just to experience more, so your mileage may vary depending on how much you enjoy combat and how quickly you finish games.

Atlantica Online
If you can stand grindy games and Korean aesthetics you may find this an enjoyable change of pace from standard MMOs. The tactical combat is relatively fun, and it's rather liberating to never have to worry about aggroing mobs. The story isn't particularly inspired, and the translations are... not too polished. Overall, I think it would take a lot more polish on it to keep my attention, but it does deliver something different and approachable in case you need a side MMO.

Fallout 3
Haven't finished it... in fact I haven't gotten very far at all. This may sound silly, but I find it kind of annoying that all my faces seem to come out rather babyish. The gunplay mechanics are really good, and the choices you can make are superb. I like that although Megaton is so close it's almost guaranteed to be your first stop, you really do get thrown out into the wilderness without any direction to begin with. Moira was fun the first time you meet her, after that she can be kind of creepy though... I didn't appreciate the armor designs as much, but then as you can probably tell, I'm overly fixated on my character's style.

Left4Dead Demo
Not quite liquid crack, since I don't feel the burning need to play it, but seriously fun as all shit. The AI director works perfectly, and so far I've just PUGed it and not met hardly any assholes. The only times anyone has really been overbearing was when they were ready for a much higher difficulty than the group. I know I can beat it on normal, but it's still fun on expert even when I'm dieing every five minutes. Don't play it solo though. The bots are designed very specifically, they are made to take care of themselves perfectly. Problem is, that ruins half the fun of having those 'oh shit' moments, and you never get the satisfaction of shooting that hunter off someone, or the quick thank you for being johnny on the spot against that smoker.

Mirror's Edge
I haven't had it very long, but it has the same liquid crack quality that Force Unleashed had. It's just so much freaking fun to play. If I have any complaint, it would be simply that they need more maps. Something that might be fun would be to make a "Tony Hawk" style game out of it's gameplay, where you could free roam some rooftops and get points for doing the really cool stuff. The story was not the most surprising in the world, but the city was well characterized. Still I have to wonder about police officers that give you one warning, and then turn a helicopter's machine gun on you.

It's IF, you'll need glulx or something analogous to play it. It's a very well designed game experience overall, and Eric Eve deserves a great deal of credit for creating such an interesting scenario. While it's significantly less rare in IF, it's rare in the gaming world to see a good human story. I find it kind of inspirational on that front. I won't spoil anything for you, but he did use some interesting tricks to allow players to feel as though they can free roam in a world that is actually pretty directed.

I'm not going to review the last two, since they aren't new experiences to me.

Right now I'm downloading SWG to play the 14 day trial. Even if it isn't the pre-cu experience, I still feel like I should get in-game at some point and see what there is to see these days.

One at a time

Three innocuously dressed people walked together down a back alley. The February chill could be blamed for the fact that only their faces are exposed, but that wouldn't convey the whole truth. Two walk in front, while a third hangs back, maintaining perfect distance from each other as they walk. It's an uneventful march as they approach the lifeless body in the snow in front of them.

"It's possible the cold is inhibiting the cell transfer." One of the leaders says. Neither of his companions looks at him, they all simply watch the corpse in front of them. "I wonder who she was to be left naked in the snow like this."

"It doesn't matter, she won't be that person anymore," the woman in the back says. On queue the show begins. The dead woman's spine darkens to pitch black, the tissue around it following suit quickly. She rose to her knees quickly, screaming from the burning pain that must have been invading every nerve. Finally her whole body was black except for her face and she fell forward catching herself with her arms. "Here comes the hard part."

The woman stood as her arms melted into pairs of tendrils writhing around her. Faster than a human eye could track they struck out, cutting at the two figures in front of her. The figures easily caught the offending tendrils, holding on tight while the woman struggled. The person in back walked forward to place a hand on her shoulder.

"You're confused, scared, uncertain, that's okay. My name is Maxine, we don't intend to harm you. We're going to take you back to our home, get you some clothes, make sure you've feed. We'll tell you everything you want to know about living, now that you control this body. From there you'll be free to do what you want."

"Free...?" the woman says. "Promise...?"

"I'm a woman of my word."

The tendrils reformed into arms, the ones holding them simply letting go. One takes off her coat and offers it to the naked woman. Four figures exit the alley and get into a waiting car.

'One at a time our family grows,' Maxine thinks as they drive away.


Q & A : Philosophy

I'm rather enjoying these Q & A posts. It's rather nice to be participating in a discussion of sorts.

Anyways, it's a little early perhaps, but here is another one. This time the theme is philosophy. It can be game philosophy, design philosophy, personal philosophy, the sky is the limit, so long as it relates to philosophy.


And another one goes down

Well, my sub for WAR is officially canceled and the game itself is off my hdd.

Still, it didn't make my list of "I wish I'd never bought that in the first place". The Witcher and Neverwinter Nights 2 are the sole heirs to that particular throne.


The Moon

I was just thinking... no matter how long you raise your hand to touch the moon, you never could. Even if you were to stand on the moon, you'd have to reach down to touch it.


Q & A 3: Game Design

Welp, lets get the ball rolling on another stirring round of question and answer. I suppose the theme this time can be game design.

Remember no kittens or other small animals were harmed in the creation of these answers. ~.^


Painful Relations

It was the tang of cold steel that hung in the air. For a Human or an Angreal the blood would have tainted the air with the taste of iron and brass, but never hers. Isobel could only survey the devastated state room and the blood spattered across the walls and pooled on the ground. The milky blue substance was still draining from the furrows running up Tsenara's arms forming a frozen puddle at her feet.

"I'm sorry," Isobel said.

"It didn't work," Tsenara said.

"I'm sorry," Isobel repeated.

Isobel walked slowly across the room, simply walking through any puddles that got in her way. For a second she considered hugging her consort, but finally she just raised a hand to lay on her shoulder.

"Don't touch me." She just let the hand fall to her side.

I'm sorry," Isobel repeated the mantra.

"Is that all you can say?" Tsenara finally looked up at her.

She couldn't speak, she didn't have a reply.

"Why? I never wanted anyone but you! I never even looked at anyone but you! Why can't you see me!? Why can't you be with me, and hold onto me!? Why couldn't you bring back my baby!? You promised me! YOU PROMISED!"

Isobel weathered the storm of screams and tears. She could only watch her consorts rage. There were no defenses that came to mind, nothing to excuse her, only more recriminations of her own part in the pain.

"I'll send them home."

"And there will be others! You think I don't see you watching them! Such an empty promise-"

Isobel removed the knife from her belt sheath in a single clean motion, and made the cut with the other. The pain was terrible and she couldn't help but fall to her knees screaming. In an instant the world went red and then black, her ears overloading with sounds of other screams from the hallway. Tsenara's hand rested on her eyelids, cold as ice, but comforting, numbing, taking away the pain.

"Fr-from now on, I have no eyes for any other. You will be my last sight in this world. I shall not stray from your side, or wander without you ever again." After a short pause she finally added, "I'm so sorry."

In her world of blackness Tsenara enveloped her, the freezing tendrils of blood still flowing half-heartedly from her arms.

Slowly the servants came to their senses, the Empresses were guided back to the royal quarters and an army of staff set about cleaning the ruined room. The room was set to rights by morning, with no sign of there ever having been a problem. Those involved, though, were changed forever.


Just wanted to further explore the relationship between Isobel and Tsenara. I always feel like there is so much left unsaid every time I visit this pair. Even know there is so much more to say that I doubt I could make fit quite right.

Lies in advertisement.

I just saw a WotLK advertisement that said, and I quote, "You're definition of epic will be shattered."

My definition of epic is a clash of armies spanning an entire continent, while fighting in the shadow of hundreds of colossal war machines twelve stories tall. Playing out a feud older than human history while their leaders fight in a valley scorched bare by warfare. Decimating the ground beneath them with the weight of their blows and reshaping the landscape with every missed attack. It's the watchful eyes of an immortal being as she decides whether to lock the world into an ice age ending the conflict once and for all, or to spare the last vestige of her long dead line. It's the destruction of entire cities in the blink of an eye and the construction of cosmopolitan cities in a decade.

Compared to someone raising yet another army of undead so that a veritable army of computer geeks can take turns striking him down, after killing some more boars of course... Well, I guess I'll just have to wait and see what comes down the blogging grapevine.


What was it I wonder, about the stars that night. They were distracting, alluring, and more radiant than they had ever been. It was the kind of night that was built for making memories, and experiencing happy times. The kind of night where lovers embraced and the world would seem just a little less terrible. It was such a shame, to die under such beautiful stars.
I don't think about my death that often anymore. I suppose at some point I just got used to it. Sometimes, though, it haunts me with implacable fury and I can remember all the terrifying little details. Figures barely seen in the dark, a fear that grabbed my stomach with unyielding force and paralyzed my legs transforming them into granite, and even the sucking pop of the wound actually opening.
Of course, I'd rather go through that a thousand times than stay here in hell. I always imagined hell would be a place of boiling furnaces and scary monsters torturing me constantly. What a waste of imagination, hell is living in the same world dyed white and desaturated without another soul to be seen despite an eternity of walking. Hell is this fucking highway I've been walking down for three days now.
Ahead there isn't much, just some shacks and more endless tracts of desert. Once I would have bothered to search the shacks for people. I just keep on walking, following the road to some unknown destination. No glimmer of hope dared to enter my heart these days, they were all too afraid to get crushed.
I'm not sure how I could have missed her in the time between seconds. The woman in the red dress standing barefoot in the middle of the road ahead. Her pale complexion blending her skin with the surroundings, but the red almost painful to my desensitized eyes. Who was she could have crossed my mind, but instead the word 'beautiful' just kept replaying like a broken vinyl.
Before I could regain thought she was inches away, and in those inches I could feel something more. It was as if it wasn't space, but liquid tension that occupied the space between us. Her hand grazed my leg and the tension broke in an instant, forcing my hand as I grasped at her and wept. I was ashamed, so ashamed, but so relieved to finally touch a living being again.
She cooed to me, kind words in a kind tone. The past melted away, burned off by the brilliance of the woman in the red dress, freeing my mind to see the world anew. My mind was always two steps ahead of my heart, my mind had already identified this woman, this kind and beautiful stranger in the red dress. But my heart persevered, with the help of my arms it just kept embracing the succubus in the red dress.
When finally she pulled away, she took my hand with her. We began to walk as she leaned on me, the two of us pressing forward earnestly. Finally I understood the truest cruelty of hell. This succubus would surely eat my soul, but in truth, I'll be giving it to her bit by bit just to keep her by my side.


Out There

Out There
By: Sara Pickell (2008)

Out there.
Out there.
Out there.
Waiting for me out there.
Waiting for me.

I can't just say this outright,
'Cause I don't really know what I want to say.
I'm so sure you're out there,
And I'm waiting for you every day.
Even though I've never met you!
Even though you've never seen me!
I'm always looking at you,
And your shadow on the ceiling!

You're out there,
Somewhere I can't reach,
In the starry sky or somewhere underneath!
In all my days of life,
I can't say I've ever lived,
Because even though I needed you,
Close to you is where I've never been!

I can almost hear it in the wind,
Screaming out the words I've never said.
If only I could see you,
And know where you have been.
We could spend our nights unsleeping,
Sharing words or something more!
Be always looking at you,
Not a shadow of you anymore!

You're out there,
Somewhere I can't reach,
In the starry sky or somewhere underneath!
In all my days of life,
I can't say I've ever lived,
Because even though I needed you,
Close to you is where I've never been!

Just in time to see you missing,
A little late for your lifelong show again!
One step closer I thought maybe,
But losing chances to say when!
Even now I've never met you!
Still now you've never seen me!
Can't keep looking at you,
Only your shadow on the ceiling!

I know you're out there!
I know you're,
Out there!
Just keep on waiting!
Just keep on,


Feel Fine

Feel Fine
By: Sara Pickell (2008)

Can you feel it now,
Coming in the wind and in the autumn sounds,
Calling for your surrender,
Calling out for every ounce of being.

Can you hear it now,
Your heart beating so fast that you can barely breathe,
All I can do is surrender,
Giving up the things that I believed.

And there we go!
Off on some adventure,
Losing ourselves in this dangerous night!
Wondering when!
When did I believe her,
And lose this cripling burden of self doubt!

Can you scream it now,
Scream all your fear of how you're never good 'nough,
Crying about surrender,
Wondering what it is they really see.

And there we go!
Off on some adventure,
Losing ourselves in this fucked up night!
Wondering when!
When did I believe her,
And drop this awful burden of my old self!

And there we go!
Forgetting misadventure,
Losing ourselves for just one fucking night!
Wondering when!
When did I consider,
And why so long to feel so god damn fine!

Feel fine!
Feel fine!
I feel fine!
With you!


The Intro

There are many paths through life. What is to one man an inconceivable burden, is to another a way of life. Each must choose their path, and it is through obedience to their chosen path that they may find fulfillment. As the ancient sages have said, it is not ours to tell others how they may find happiness, only to tell them that they can.
- Renmi the Enlightened.

It is a time of wonders and magic, the very first arbelesque has been produced by the genius inventor De Sanse. Great magicians roam the land, some serve the kingdom or a feudal lord, while others simply wander for the sake of it, a few though have turned their great power to the purpose of burning down the world around them. They often have no heart for the results of their magics, no feeling for those left destroyed.

You have been called to take up the reigns of the life of a young woman in this world. I know not by the power of what divine, or otherwise, being you were given this task. I can only ask you serve her well. She was born as human as I, in every way normal and healthy. However in a duel between roaming magicians her fate was cruelly scarred. Her family was murdered, and her right half transfigured with parts of an avian. The one winged girl, hated by her society and cast out onto the streets, has great potential, potential that has been entrusted to you.

Life has thus far been difficult on her, as I've said, but today is a chance for that to change. Guide her well.


I was thinking about this a lot after I got it all written down and did a couple revisions. A good intro is the key to a good piece. You have to grab the reader from the word go, and, like a thesis statement, it needs to be strong enough to propel the story.

I don't quite think I'm there. Anyone have any suggestions?

It's November which means...

That's right everybody it's NaNoWriMo! Of course, I won't be writing a novel so I'm not so sure why it excites me this much, but any excuse to write prodigious amounts of content is a good excuse. I'm going to be channeling that into an interactive fiction game for a bit. Also I'm planning on hanging out at the library as much as possible for the next little bit.

I just want to tack this on.
Dear internet people,
if you are going to call someone retarded, stupid, or ignorant, make sure everything in your post, including the word retarded, is spelled correctly and uses proper grammar. I'm not generally that bad of a spelling/grammar nazi, but for god's sake if you're going act smart... act smart.


Q & A 2: Writing

I feel like running another Q & A post. This time around, I'd like to direct it a little more, with a theme on writing. I'm still not terribly concerned with how it ties into writing, writing in games, my writing, whatever it's all the same to me. Just so long as it fits within the theme of writing.