Familiar Eyes III

I cannot remember a time when bringing darkness and despair to the land were harder. Sure, necromancers work day and night to make nightmares come true, or well, more solid than they already are. However, unlike times past, we are drowning in a multitude of guardians and protectors eager to put a price on our heads. They show potential for corruption and moral decay, becoming champions of a twisted cause under the guise of justice, but we are still working on how to get to that. For the time being, we are still mercilessly hunted and our dens raided until there is no sign of life or its usual corrupted forms anywhere in the vicinity. A lethal problem for the initiates, a routine game for more experienced evildoers.

In case you wonder why I talk about causing chaos as if it were any other full-time job, it is because that is exactly what it is. You see, many creatures, spirits, and living beings were created a very long time ago; ever since some of them went astray from the intended path and turned their ways to less constructive ideas. Where some of us work keeping witchcraft from destroying our world, some others keep it from destroying the wizard so he can continue trying to wreck havoc on these lands. Regarding the purpose, obviously there is one, but not what most people expect. After everything is destroyed and blood flows over the earth like a river, many of these deranged people will be left without anything to set their minds to. That would be boring, so we aim at less pretentious goals and merely strive for control over small kingdoms or maybe even localized destruction.

Why do evil men and spirits have so many concerns about a world they want to see burn down to ashes? As I said, complete annihilation would be just a thorn on the side of the gods and maybe even some powerful spirits would not feel like having to rebuild everything from scratch. In a nutshell: it is futile. Achieves little and leaves nothing to be ruled, tortured, tormented or corrupted. We do not need an empty land or a world littered with the walking bones of hundreds of thousands of creatures. Despite what some of the novices say, even grizzled warlocks do not aim at defying gods and bringing destruction to the spirit worlds; not even immortal creatures like the Warrior King of the Pits of Disease, have ever tried such a thing.

So, instead of massive obliteration, we work on smaller, yet very productive projects. Chaos, despite what laymen think, can be a subtle force. It takes time, patience and some careful schemes to bring down kingdoms, make kings and emperors fall prey to forbidden passions, or cause brothers to kill each other in the name of lust. Most of the time that is our doing. We are the whispers at night that cause nightmares and set in motion the gears of revenge; ours are the thoughts of justice by the gallows and peace by the way of the sword. What is our prize? Turmoil, helpless cries in the distance, the downfall of fair rulers and the rise of tyrants, rebellious unrest and the absence of peace.

Of course many others set their minds to greater things, but those are obviously pursued and killed like helpless deer during the hunting season. Still, small sores cause a greater ail in the long run because more often than not, they are left unattended. Knights with twisted ideals are often left to run amok until they cause enough harm to be considered a menace; by then they have contributed to our cause more than an entire army could ever had. This way chaos always lurks around, mutates, grows, crawls into the minds and hearts of mortals until it ends up feeding unto itself, completing the cycle and sowing the seeds for the next harvest.

Renewal needs to find its way, and even good old monarchs need to be replaced. We just give the whole process a nudge in the way we see fit. Sometimes our harsh methods do not get us the sympathies of the masses, but we just do what our ancestors have been doing since the dawn of time. Perhaps there was an ultimate goal we forgot or there was something our number tried to get and we were never told about. At some point we will remember if there is such thing; we are not hurried, the more time we get to wreak havoc, the better. The old wizard is calling, it seems I have unwanted visitors to greet and dispose of; besides there is work to do and I no longer have time to chat, what a pity.

My duties may not be to the liking of every other of our kind, but tell me Fazber, raven of the Spiral Glade, if we do not do this, who would?

***

Oh, it seems things aren’t as nice and easy as we thought, right? Our chatty raven has some interesting friends around, let’s hope they don’t make things too difficult for him!

Thanks for reading and don’t forget to share and comment!

Familiar Eyes II

One of the best perks of creatures like me is a deep harmony with the surrounding world, granting us enhanced perception of what happens around us. I did not usually need to search with my eyes to know that somewhere something had changed. It was a sense that worked perfectly even when the events were several miles away from my location. So, it helped me to discover and take care of most threats before they could even reach the outer wall of the Spiral Glade; which incidentally, was the source of most hazards to everything else around. Such problems were not my fault; I had no control whatsoever over what the coven did or rather, messed up. The last time they decided to perform a ritual, they ended up creating a plague wind that almost turned the forest into a noxious swampland. The history books in the cathedrals would tell a very different story if I had not been there.

To be honest, those like me are very different from guardians and other kind of constructs built with the sole purpose of protecting a place. Our loyalty is not enforced, no one told me to stand ready to keep danger away from the Spiral Glade, just to name an example. It was my own decision, but one heavily influenced by the fact that even my kind knows how bad things would be if sorcerers were left to their own devices. Not every old hag with a broom and a cauldron is skilled at her craft; not all wizards put a lot of thought into the consequences of the powers they summon. We just make sure the consequences are not that… noticeable. Whatever would be of this world without us, I sincerely do not want to know, and still we receive little to no gratitude for our hard work. After all, it is not easily seen by anyone other than the makers and higher spirits.

In order to ensure our proximity to the root of all troubles, we have to blend in as a creature that would not be hunted or killed on sight. Domestic animals tend to be the best choice, but sometimes an unnaturally beautiful creature can convince local small groups of easily impressed people to let it stay around. My closest neighbor at the Gilded Towers, Karaus, chose to be a cat and even adopted the arrogance of his furry brethren. Granted, he usually is the one to deal with the worse trouble of us all, and I have no problem whatsoever with him enjoying a life of fish threats and comfortable bedding. Whenever he is not busy keeping his place clean or ensuring no hazards will blast the towers apart, he comes around to visit the coven and get us a couple free fish.

Zibur took the other road and now roams around as a large black Jacob. Most people ignore that his form is a natural breed rather than the towering avatar of vengeful gods they think it is, but, in all honestly, he deals with a lot less issues this way. The local shaman has a penchant for doing things that do not involve the words “logical” or “sane” anywhere in a possible description so, more often than not, Zibur has to go horn to horn against the ensuing chaos. He has four of those, so he usually has some to spare after dealing with the problems by way of impalement. Although he does not come to the forest that often, he makes sure to pass by every now and then to tell us a bit about his most hilarious misadventures.

For me the choice was more a matter of practical use, since I am not accustomed to the company of humans and their kind sometimes really makes me uncomfortable. Since I had to convince the coven that I was not just another thing that was to be thrown in the cauldron, I decided to assume the shape of a large raven. Fitting, some would say, while others would roll their eyes and sigh in mild disappointment. Anyway, I have a tremendous freedom over my whereabouts and the inherent ability to soar over the landscape is really handy at all times. Obvious, as it might seem to mention it, I cannot be careless when roaming around the place I guard; we have a sizable number of enemies and it is in their best interest that the places with constant flows of magic remain without a watcher. The natural nocturnal habits of the creature I seem to be help a bit, since most unwanted visitors come around the hours of darkness.

Speaking of which, the time of the red sun is here and I have to prepare myself. I feel long hours will come and whatever decided to visit us tonight, it comes with a lust for fear and despair. “I can feel it in my bones”, the hags would say. It feels odd to quote them, I have heard people quote ravens a lot, but maybe that is just a feeling I get from a time past or yet to come. I will worry about such things later on, for the time being, I have unfinished business to take care of. Even the eyes of nightmarish beasts do not pluck themselves, you know.

***

Second installment of this new series, I hope you like it! You can read the first installment here!

Don’t forget to share and comment!

Just Another Adventure (Special Chapter II)

The first moment was filled with chaos, flickering lights and a distant cacophony that pierced my mind sending me into an almost unstoppable fit of rage. I could do nothing but bow and give in to my hunger, blindly following my instincts until I had satiated my need for the life that runs in the veins of most living beings. Not that thick and slightly unpalatable fluid, mind you; my kin developed a more refined taste for properties unknown to mortals, yet quite familiar to other creatures that have populated realms beyond well before everything came to be as humans know it. We could feed on essential properties given to each creature back when it was stirred into life in the boundless molten ocean. In the time when all worlds were unfinished pieces, still hot from the furnace and waiting to be tempered by the gods, all life was given an inner flame that reproduced, changed and grew to be the untamed essence of all things born free.

Closer to the makers were humans and the wild denizens of their land; then the shackled spirits that would hold the power to bring destruction and renewal to all things made. Further down were the wanderers, born from the spirits and caged into flesh, they were creatures of great power that watched over their own kind, never to know the gift of mortality brought by time. Below them were their unruly siblings, much like the wanderers, but driven insane by a wish to protect deprived of benevolence. Instincts corrupted by power, ultimately leading to them being cast aside by their own, turning them into solitary beasts driven by anguish and fury. Under them were the creatures brought into being by wisps of living essence twisted under the influence of the waves of belief. A mockery of their former selves, these dreadful things roam, haunt or sometimes harm those who unknowingly cursed them to such destiny. And then us; crafted into the very fires of the forge and left to grow unchecked in the darkest pits. Whatever our destiny was, we were not told, so we left in droves to find for ourselves.

Soon enough we discovered the hunger, our need for the essence that was so abundant in the land of the living. Alas, in their eyes we were different, too strange, unsettling to behold, abominations that could only bring pestilence and death. Many of our number were hunted and unmade while others escaped with deep scars from the ensuing battles; a few of us fled unharmed yet marked forever by those first days. The marred in their anger saw fitting to truly become the scourge of their prey, however, before they could unleash their vengeance our own makers threw them back into the forge so they could be created anew.

In an unexpected twist that not even the mightiest of the creators had foreseen, while engulfed by the flames, the pain and hate that bound the tormented brought them together into a single being, powerful and demented enough to challenge the gods that had unwittingly spawned such horror. His power allowed him to leave his confinement, but failed at granting him victory over the makers, who could just send their newborn nemesis into exile beyond the worlds. There he crafted his own realm where he raised his own, still brothers to us, but cruel and depraved right into the embrace of madness. We all still felt the hunger, but while we decided to satiate it by trickery and deceit without causing lasting harm, the savage offspring of the nameless one wanted to obtain the essence through unnecessary carnage and violence.

The seeds of an eternal war had been sown and we were branded with the same name that our destructive kin had to bear, effectively dooming us to be hunted without pause or mercy. The gods saw no other option but to close the gates that joined all worlds together, isolating the realms and causing us an even greater grief that would be heard for thousands of years. Our cries lured the warlocks and witches of the lands where mortals dwell. They found how to open pathways that, unfortunately, would sometimes fail to fulfill their original purpose and would give our brethren a chance to return and unleash their savagery upon the living. Not willing to surrender and follow the path of blood, the first of our number created the rituals and spells to free more of us and send back a fraction of sustenance so the ones still imprisoned could keep their dark lust at bay. Such is our strife.

Even while trapped in the black pits and still lacking a clear purpose to live up to, our kind increased both in power and number, while unable to break the chains that tied us to our hunger. The makers remained silent and distant, leaving us in the middle of a battlefield where we hold no allegiance but our own and where everything else is out to unmake us. Much to the dismay of all those would be hunters, we are no longer afraid and we will not let anyone threaten our existence anymore, not even our warlike kin. We grew estranged from all other things made and found no solace in their prosperity or destruction; being just a thorn in their side, our kin now endeavors to find our place and mission before the seething need reduces us to unbridled chaos.

Until then, we shall bear with our brothers the name given to us by mortals. A word reeking fear that means for them something nowhere near what we are, but merely what they believe us to be. Whether the living will ever understand our long story remains to be seen; we will not let their dread of things beyond one too many self-imposed limits to their understanding be an obstacle to our search. Only time will tell if they will forever whisper our name in hushed tones, expecting an impending doom from our hand.

Such memories surely have shed a much needed light over the vast chasm that separates the likes of me from humans and all other things made. We may not be the greatest in number, knowledge or might, but still hopefully now you understand why they call us Demons.

***

If you have read the past chapters there is a very high chance you know who’s talking in today’s story. Oh you haven’t? Please, feel free to check out chapters I, II, III, IV, special chapter I, V and VI.

I hope you enjoyed this short story and, as always, share and stay tuned for more!

Just Another Adventure (Part VI)

It felt good to be right for once, at least enough to grant a second chance to fight back and show those reddish balls of coarse fur the stuff legends are made of. There had been many stories about rings and their power so I just had to try what they described until I found something that worked. Hitting them with the ring proved to be the right answer and both the horned spider and the armor were violently ejected from the dark trap we all had been caught into. I tried doing the same to myself, to no avail. Yet, after hearing some distant cries, blasts and other sounds I would rather never find out their source, I decided that staying beneath the soil was a nice, pleasant and very safe choice.

It did not last. The ring seemed to fail, leaving me to feel an increasing pressure from the packed earth around me, but well before I could even decide if I was afraid or terrified of what would happen to me when the magic waned, I found myself traversing the night air right into the branches of one of the large trees. The crows cawed triumphantly, while I just tried to smile and wondered how could I recognize what they meant every time they opened their sharp beaks. Not a coincidence, after everything I have seen so far I would not just think I am a lunatic. Perhaps I really understand the tone of their otherwise incomprehensible cries, or maybe I just hit my head really hard on the way here.

A few unwanted acrobatic feats later I returned to the ground and was very glad to find it solid as it should always be. The armor was there, glaring at me for no particular reason, and while I could feel the intensity of its flaming eyes it did not do anything beyond a sort of polite bowing movement. It took me a couple moments to decide whether the spider demon was fine or not. It was leaning against a tree, moving spastically from time to time, lacking any visible wound or bruise that would make me fear for its life. Well, existence. I highly doubt their kind is alive in the same way we are, yet that makes my concerns just a bit more complicated.

I was sure the creature had fed on the furry critters; a quick look around me revealed signs of a savage battle, but the bodies of the creatures were nowhere to be found. Maybe it was a natural reaction to overindulging or perhaps it was about to change again into another sort of beast extracted from the most horrid nightmares mankind could ever have. Either way, it started what could only be defined as “molting”, leaving the large husk of its past form while taking a completely new appearance, exactly one I expected the least and at the same time, one I should have seen coming all along. From a razor-sharp toothed mouth with legs, to a spider-like thing, to a horned spider to a little gray-skinned girl.

At a distance it would seem human to anyone,  the length of its shiny black hair was a little off for its height, but not completely outside the realm of the plausible. It seemed unnaturally pale under the faint light of the nighttime and its eyes were too bright, almost flaring with their own golden flame, yet it was human-like and just fair enough to have its obviously inhuman features ignored by a casual observer. A crow blew my thoughts away cawing right into my ear, which brought home the fact that the little demon girl had nothing to preserve its modesty. Yet, before I could cover her with my worn-out jacket she raised herself and with a single gesture she turned her old shell into a sort of shiny black robe. Quite fitting, I thought.

I would have spent another good part of the night looking at her -I suppose I can say now ‘it’ is a ‘she’-, if she had not opened her mouth and let out a terribly sweet voice that made me sit down and listen to her, completely enthralled. It was not the call of sirens or lush demons, more like the sound of a maiden in distress pleading for her prince to show atop his steed wielding justice and love in search to free her from the talons of evil. Except this little girl was said talons of evil and the prince would make an excellent full course meal. Cruel fate for such valiant knight, mocking irony for a lucky coward like me.

Still, she did not use her powerful charm to feed, but merely to prevent me from being an annoyingly curious pest. Her kind was supposed to look and act human to infiltrate and cause havoc from within our own ranks, but with the advent of more powerful knights and zealots, they had to grow as beasts strong enough to survive before they could use their power in a more human-like form. Unfortunately for their own and fortunately for mine, they usually fell prey to demon hunters, well before they could even leave their first form. I feel I am spelling doom for entire kingdoms, as I guaranteed the creature to grow strong enough to fool the masses and it would be just a matter of time before she could make kings and emperors bow before her, plummeting their lands into bloodshed and darkness.

My concern must have taken a visible form since she reassured she would not take any destructive action without thoughtful consideration, which I had this idea had more to do with a towering metal guardian wielding magic-infused steel than with a fearful and vulnerable mortal that had been easy prey for the power of her voice. She must have noticed my obvious failures at understanding, however, as she explained a second time how this “havoc” her kin were expected to cause amounted to creating the adequate conditions for more of them to come and thrive in this world. Of course many other beings wanted them dead and that would lead to inevitable warring and carnage, but for a creature usually considered a demon, they were a rather peaceful kind.

The rest of the night simply faded away in quiet contemplation, wondering what was I supposed to do and where should I go, now that both the demon lady and the guardian armor would follow me along in my journey -the girl said so, the armor just followed me around, cannot help it-. I was not eager to return to my land as a throng of very displeased soldiers would receive me with an invitation to try out the gallows and anyway I had no idea whatsoever where I was. Well, I would just walk, whatever could go wrong with it I will find it right away just like I always do. However, I hope my very unusual company provides a helping hand through this all, for I know the kind of trouble I will get with them by my side will be big enough to write legends about it.

Well, this kind of story does not tell itself, so I will be more than glad to fix that if I survive long enough to do so. There is no better time than now for just another adventure.

***

Time to give our coward hero a break and let him prepare for new challenges and things to run away from. I hope your liked this short series, stay tuned for more!

In case you are new and would like to read how it all came to this, here are parts I, II, III, IV, the special chapter I and part V. Enjoy!

Familiar Eyes

The old warlock was at it again. He was impervious to his own glaring failures and that caused him more than simple headaches. One time he caused a whole realm headaches, but that was not the point. The circle was ready, “new and improved” he said, as if he wanted to sell me some kind of summoning paraphernalia at discount prices; perhaps he should be selling scented candles and protection scrolls instead of doing all this ritualistic stuff that really gives me the creeps. And you know something is really bad when I get the creeps. I am supposed to be the one causing that, not the unfortunate one on the receiving end of the deal.

He used this time apple scent, because “everyone knows that old demons love apples” -go figure how he came to that conclusion, I will not ask-, plus a rather good looking apple as the “bait”. I merely watched him with halfhearted interest as he searched for his old staff and repeated to himself the spell he had to cast when the creature appeared in the tower. Last time we tried this he failed to take into account inter-realm transportation speed and he had such a huge success bringing something “fast” that I wonder why he complained about the huge black blotch that redecorated the north tower. Oh well, he is stubborn, beyond measure, reason, and sanity.

I covered my head to mitigate any possible damage from the sudden arrival of our latest guest. I have to admit he actually brought something that managed to stay in one piece after the ritual; much to my dismay, this time he brought a large brimstone fiend, a chunk of smoldering rocks with a pungent smell and an even worse mood. The circle took well the first strike, but announced with a loud crack that it would not take more than three, so before we found out how many hits did it take to break it, we found ourselves hiding in the basement, hoping the creature returned to its home realm, whatever hellish place that might be.

A quick glance at the book of sorcery revealed that apples were a great ingredient for rituals with permanent effects, so the loud crashing and thumping was not going anywhere unless we did something about it. Of course, those were my thoughts, the good old warlock was on the verge of collapse, but I was not sure if it was the effect of fear or just the toxic fumes that had spread through the whole construction. Good thing I could smell, but did not actually needed to breathe, so if someone were to clean this mess, that would be me. Just like every single time he managed to knock himself out of this world and left me to deal with the consequences of his careless spellcasting.

Just a couple spells, maybe a ward or two and I was ready to go toe-to-toe with big smelly. Neither of us had toes in the human sense of the idea, but I was not in the mood to explain that to the guest. I would say uninvited, but a certain knocked-out man downstairs had been idiotic enough to hand him an apple-scented “bring doom to us all” invitation card. Because nothing spells out success as a warlock better than an angry demon packed with a stench foul enough to make a skunk complain about it. Well, well, it was just chewing out our walls. I felt tempted to ask him if he wanted a side of marble, or maybe a few gemstones for dessert, however someone down here needs fresh air, so the best course of action would be pushing this thing some ten stories down and see if he likes the taste of black earth.

I never feel comfortable being almost twenty times my usual size. It feels so wrong to be so heavy, but given the circumstances I have little choice. Gargantuan size, blaze breaker and astral slicers, I have to admit that for a fool, the old warlock packed some nasty spells. Quite useful in times like these. Indeed, not being subject to the niceties of temperatures high enough to boil water on touch and having fangs and claws sharp enough to pierce solid rock, yes, that is convenient. The fiend did not even notice me as I prepared my assault and I think it was not quite sure what happened when we landed right in front of the exterior wall of the castle. Oh, right, claws. Let me introduce you to them; and them into you.

How can anyone get angry at the old man when he brings so much fun to the world? He could have kicked the bucket a hundred times already and I still wonder how the king and the wise council even allow him to own this ginormous tower. He will wake up, do a little huff and puff, and then the tower will be ready for the next round; just as planned, he will surely say. I would kill him myself, maybe showing him the fast way downstairs just like the brimstone thing I just disposed of, but maybe no one will take me home then and I really like the treats he bakes. Hey, speaking of which, maybe he left a couple in the oven. Maybe those crunchy ones laced with smoked salmon.

Ah, he can do anything he wants as long as he keeps baking these. Whatever magic he uses for them pleases me greatly and for all intents and purposes I am basically his lord and savior, and I am being modest here. I think I should wake him up, my fur needs some brushing after such intense exercise and I do not feel like coughing hairballs today. Such a hard life I have.

***

Easter week is over and finally a good update came to mind, so here it is. I hope you enjoy it!

Dead Again (Part II)

Log File: Negative Two

I knew very well that my freedom, or whatever I could call my current state, was not an accident, but rather a very meticulous plan that maybe I crafted. Yet, I was not the one to put it into action. There were too many coincidences and small details that I could not control and were very important to the overall completion of my whole scheme. I probably had an ally, but whoever that was, I needed to find him, her, or it. Living things were a common reality, talking animals, sentient plugs terminals, the list of what I had already seen could go on and on. Not every one of them were friendly, but at least I got a very good idea of what to expect.

Most cities had become elaborate facilities encompassing several hundred buildings where “people” performed a number of repetitive tasks. I know that holds no difference from what happened in the past, but at some point humans became just disposable work force and something else gained control over the world. People were cloned, grown, fed with pellets and drugs, used until their body collapsed and then reduced to prime material. It was a little different for the ones that had not been born in a beaker. We were weakened, subjugated and then sent to do the same as the other lab rats. However, some of us had still memories lingering around and we felt something, like a delicate vase falling slowly and always out of reach, fearing it would shatter because we knew there would no way to put it together again.

There are easily thousands like me. Either freed by their own means or through the help of others, it did not matter, either way we could roam around and do whatever we pleased until death found us somehow. More often than not it came from the needles. Even that kind of addiction was their doing; the men with blue ties gave many of us the needles, the substances, even a detailed description of what would do once you put it in your veins. No subtlety whatsoever, just a cynic reminder of what they did to us. Many fell for this, like the ones I saw yesterday. I suppose that self-destructive illusion is better than witnessing what had become of us. I cling to this log to preserve my sanity, still unsure of how much of it is left and how much will it last.

I pray for it to last. Problem is, I know not if there is anyone that would ever hear my prayers.

Log File: Negative Three.

I could sleep effortlessly again. Despite the lack of any type of bedding, I found it easy to fall asleep and wake up with something resembling a clear mind. Perhaps all that time as a drone I did not really sleep, but merely entered into a drug-induced stand-by state. That would explain why they look so worn out, like crude rag dolls about to fall apart. Still, the substance that returned me to a more lively state would never work on them. They are by far too frail to withstand the change and get a chance to even breathe before the sudden shock renders them inanimate. It does not matter, they do not have really anything to come back to. All I can guess is that we are cheaper to produce than machinery. And even easier to replace.

I met two blue ties today. Quite pragmatic, but little else than a rather unused control tools. They were human too, but reached a sort of agreement to perform a guard task so they could keep all others in check, including the likes of me. It was easy, as far as they were concerned; first the needles, then the warnings and finally time to be turned into something useful through whatever means you had pushed them to use. We were not rebels, survivors, or a failure in their plans. We merely were, and they left us to live as long as were did not try to disrupt anything or do something we could end up regretting.

And then I found something that somehow brought a smile to my face and a shiver to my spine. An old symbol, carved in a wall with little skill, but still garnering the horrors it had summoned in the past. I thought myself happy to remember, but could not see why such a thing would survive the downfall of our race, while more elaborate groups and faiths had completely disappeared. Maybe I just had to discover some more of this world. Maybe things have changed and what they try to control is not us, but our ability to believe and bring to life things beyond the scopes of reason. I sure wish that thought had a grain of truth, but faith and machines were usually not seen wandering together down the same road. I guess it would be foolish, but I held onto the idea that perhaps there was some truth to old beliefs.

So, from the inner dialogue of my escaping sanity I had to step out to welcome a part of reality I knew well. I saw a man carrying a bloodied knife running away from several blue ties, too far from me to notice what really happened. So, I cannot deny there is a part of me that feels that the core of what our world used to be has not changed. Something boils down beneath the sleepy eyelids of a thinking machine and I suddenly feel the urge to be part of it. To believe, reach for the impossible and do the unthinkable so the unspeakable can find its way in the dark. So much for a man that maybe made the wrong thing at the worst possible time. I guess I needed an excuse to let my imagination go wild. The symbol, however, is still there, somehow beckoning, calling something inside of me I did not even reckon to exist.

My short awakening has already spawned too many questions, and I feel the need to start working on obtaining the answers. I know it will take a while before I can get a grasp of what this is all about, but without chains to stop me, I am more than willing to find the sleeping place of all secrets. I will remember this carving as, maybe, the wickedest answer to my prayers. An answer that I wish and dread to be real.

***

Woo! Another chapter of my sci-fi series. I hope you like it! Don’t forget to leave your comments and stay tuned for more stories!

Another Journey into Writing

In hindsight, deciding to be a writer has been the most daunting endeavor I could have ever been faced with. I know it may be too early to say this, it has been barely a couple months since I started writing as my possible present and future job, but I already feel a lot of changes regarding how I see writing now in comparison to how I saw it back in the day when it was just a hobby. I have been writing on and off during the last seven years, just as a sort of private activity that one day I showed to the world through a blog. During that short adventure I gathered a small group of readers and friends who liked my work and thought it could be published. I did not share their enthusiasm and optimism, and finally due to different reasons abandoned the blog. I kept writing privately and finally, after many professional ups and downs, decided to give professional writing a try. Quite a leap of faith.

It all seems… different. It is no longer the pastime for a rainy day or a sort of reflection after events that pushed my emotions into very defined directions. It is still my greatest pleasure and something I find peace in, but it now has a different focus. I cannot wait for the dark clouds to write some very oppressive prose or for love to compose delightful poetry. So, at first I thought I just needed ideas, inspiration, a direction to walk in and the rest would be creative work, adequate wording and a thorough proofreading. I sure wish it was that easy. But I have learned a thing or two along the way, maybe not the best lessons, maybe not even the right ones. Still, things that have worked for me and may work for others, or, worst case scenario, the things you might want not to do if you ever decide you want to write.

When it came to become a writer I failed terribly at first because I still was in some sort of “hobby mode” and thought I would do well just by putting together a number of my works and trying to publish them as an e-book now that doing so is pretty easy. True enough, that has worked for many people and there is not a single reason it might not work for you, but expecting overnight success is naive at best. So, with a noticeable part of my hopes dashed, I came to the conclusion that if I ever wanted this to work, I would need a way to let the world know what I could do. Hence, the blog. Blogging has never been given much credibility, but it works to create links, grow a reader base and develop a work routine.

Yes, that is right. But, mind you, not the boring “every day is exactly the same” kind of routine. Just a healthy reminder that you need to keep working on your craft on a regular basis. I thought that would be easy, after all, it is something I love to do, but it became really tricky. My work routine usually involved turning on my laptop, opening a word processor and working on whatever idea I had at the time. It was not working well, so I decided to change it a bit and let the internet give me a few ideas to write about. It did gave me ideas, but it was so entertaining that I left all writing aside for several days, which you might recognize as a severe case of slacking around. Wrong approach, so time for new ideas, and back to the blog.

I opened my blog with the clear intention of promoting my existing work, but doing so was impossible without some nice samplers of what my work looked like. So I started to write, setting a very comfortable Monday and Friday update schedule that gave me plenty of time to think and come up with neat stuff. Of course, I quickly realized how easy is to fall off from your planned schedule and fail to update the blog due to whatever reason, but still I tried my best to keep updating two to three times a week. And, surprise, it worked. It provided a comfortable time frame to gather, develop and polish new ideas without losing this feeling of freedom that an independent job gives.

At this point you might say: “well, you set up a schedule, big deal”. And I would say: “yes, it is”; remember this is a job that solely depends on your own determination to work and most of the time people depend on someone telling them what to do, when to do and how to do it. Being your own boss allows you the freedom to slack around without feeling you are doing so, you are just “giving yourself some space” and that space might keep growing until you realize a month has passed and you have not written a single word. Or you might say, “I am searching for inspiration”, but if that search does not have some definite limits, another month may pass and inspiration still eludes you.

I have always been a big fan of fantasy and science fiction, so after a few thoughts on the issue, I decided to write stories within the boundaries of each one of these genres. So I started with a short search for ideas and a couple hours of surfing the web and reading, I came up with a situation, a character and a conflict; just what I needed to start. “Well, you did not actually say anything about how you got those” – and that is absolutely true because I did not follow a set process or several steps, carefully choose works from my favorite authors or found an inspiring quote or website. I tried to look for things related to what I wanted to do (fantasy and sci-fi), but I really just let the ideas come and go, finally settling for one that I thought would be good to develop.

True enough, sometimes inspiration comes as a sudden flash, but you cannot rely on that to write on a regular basis. So you have to wander around a bit to gather new things to ponder about. It may take a while but yields better results in the long run. You do not need to copy or follow any particular style or concept, feel free to take things you like from here and there and then blend them together and see what happens. Try different formulas and then decide which tastes better for you. After all, you have to like your own work. If even the most exhaustive search does not yield the tiniest idea or brings a couple nice mental images of a good story, it would be a good time to reevaluate if you really should be doing this. I will not be the one to tell you what is and what is not possible, but if you have troubles coming up with a few ideas despite what you try as sources of inspiration, well, brace yourself for a very rough road uphill. You were warned.

Some quality assurance (a.k.a. proofreading what you just wrote) also helps to give a professional touch to your work. It increases its quality greatly by virtue of a good use of grammar and spelling. Granted, my own work sounds funny because I eschew contractions and the use of punctuation sometimes is not the best (I am constantly working on this, English is not my first language), but I try my best to make sure there are not any errors that may cause my reader to say “oh God, why?”. You might want to repeat some steps or find better advice in case you want to write something long and intricate as a novel, but it might work perfectly for Flash Fiction. Publish, rinse and repeat.

It might not have the appearance of a job right now. I do not get any income from my writing at the moment and that is perfectly fine, I no longer expect overnight success. I want to develop a reader base, people who simply enjoy a good short story and then decide if I want a partnership with another artist so we can create merchandise or if I want to publish again. You will surely find yourself in the very same place I am now. Just keep going on, write regularly, keep the ideas flowing, promote your work around and never give up.

Sure, I know this column is quite similar to what I expressed in a previous article on a similar topic (this one), but I feel I have made some progress regarding my own views and ideas, enough to warrant another lengthy rant.

I hope you enjoyed this article. Any comments and feedback would be greatly appreciated.

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