Deneb Mythos #5: Den of the Nogyave 1 – Heart of Sand

Dominic is a scholar in the 2nd era of the desert cities, charged with investigating the surrounding lowlands for evidence of the nomads. Now that Deneb was in an age where it could prosper, there was nothing stopping the king’s continued accumulation of knowledge. Truly a heart of golden sand waited for those who went looking.

DM5: DotN1-HoS

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Koreatown

Camera coverage is widespread
In the neighborhoods
Where celebrities
Hide their bread
And butter in sepulcers.

National guard,
Federal agents
Barricading
Against mayhem
Off of Franklin,

But here
In South Central barrios
We’re not protected
And heads are being
Split by thrown stereos.

Everyone was watching TV
When dear Rodney King
Was being beaten
By the officers, and we all
Watched as they were aquitted.

Even now, three days later,
He says we shouldn’t be fighting
Yet here we are
And there they are, the rioters
Decrying what the jury said.

Decrying in the form of crime,
They’ve come to loot my store
And my daughters at home
Have been turned from the TV
So that they won’t worry about me.

It could be my race or creed,
The way my eyes sit upon my face,
Or maybe the rioting incites greed
So strong that people know wrong
Will get them the things they need.

So while truck drivers are beaten
And smoke keeps seeping
From fires across the city,
Why, Los Angeles is lit up
By embers and hateful police clubs.

My store is closed now
To everyone
And I’m praying to God
That the metal bars
Are protection enough,

So that I won’t have to
Defend my livelihood like
This with my Ruger Mini
Sportsman’s rifle and
Baseball bat ready to fight.

They gather outside with
Bricks and pipes.
I’m terrified and trapped
Long into the night,
And KCAL 5 chopper cameras roll.

My store’s TV is tuned as they cover
All the action safely from above.
I’m betting they didn’t wish another
Store was being sacked downtown
And soon they’ve turned to some other

Store up the block,
As bricks smash plexiglass
And a mob tries to sweep through
As a hurricane
Capsizing lives as it goes.

But the cameras sweep back
As I’m under attack,
And pipes crash through the front doors.
While I’ve been robbed by thugs before
I’ve never been completely under siege.

I’m hiding behind the counter
Where you might have bought cigarettes,
But now I’ve been seen
And they’ve started throwing
Rocks my way.

So I begin shooting
Since I’m not about to go down like this
At the whim of a crowd
Yelling about the beating of a King
And lashing out at me.

When I’m guilty of speeding
I’m not guilty of such decisions,
And they start firing back
Somehow not understanding that
They’re the ones in the wrong.

Certainly without those pipes
Their reasoning wouldn’t be so strong
But this new May season isn’t
Catered to anything in the right. Tonight
At least my fate’s not decided by writing.

It’s decided by survival.
So I survive while I can.
And the bullets are flying
And smoke is conspiring
From Molotov’s cocktails outside,

“A drink to go with the bread”
Is what the Finns once said,
To complement the bombing by
Rocks and fists of whatever
Target the rioters had set.

This moment, it was me.
Though the National Guard would
Have you believe that the
Vulnerable lived in
Beverly Hills and white neighborhoods.

KCAL 5 is shooting while I’m shooting.
I’m not a milita, and I wonder how long
I could possibly hold out on
A single box of emergency ammunition
My uncle once bought me.

I’m certain every shot is one I miss.
I’m not a black hearted killer
Or risk-taking thriller who finds
Fun in taking what’s not theirs,
Down to the grit of another’s life.

The mob outside isn’t impressed.
I can’t see their faces
Covered by scarves and anger,
But they’re coming in soon
Armed with ire and wanton doom.

So says most of Koreatown
In the aftermath of 1992,
Such a sad thing so see
As this land was “America the free”
When we came from old countries;

The cameras see
Me as I flee
From the fire consuming my store
Once held so dear and now,
Like Chung Lee, “I have nothing”.

My store is torn and stormed
By a storm of grasping hands
Searching for the register
And whatever alcohol I had
Left in my freezer.

My car in the alley is smashed apart,
And I could probably get home
Walking down these alleys with my heart
In my head pounding while I clutch
Naught but my baseball bat and walk

Into the alleys of night. Brave? No.
I’m sure my Mrs. Cho would herself
Kill me if only she could know
That I’m somewhere on the streets
On foot, without police,

Just trying to get home.
But it is the sigh of relief
I breathe when two hours later
I can rest easy, seeing that
The house hasn’t been touched at all.

Far enough away from the hearts
Of darkness devouring the spirits of men,
Compelling them to hurt and take.
She’s been up all night waiting for me
And I collapse into her arms

When she opens the door. I cry
Joy after being unsure I’d ever
See her again. Maybe I’m late
To dinner, and maybe the store
Is closed, but I’ve made it home.

No More Heroes – Journal 7/3/17

I’ve accidentally just done some math that says if I play my cards perfectly, I’ll have grown to an audience of over 15,000 by the end of this year. With the exponential growth of this place I would still be surprised to, but I’m staying humble. No one got anywhere with great expectations, Mr. Dickens.

There was one time in the second grade I had an idea for a story. Me being a child and thinking that being pitied was the same as being liked, I often wrote about myself being the hero of a story being greviously wounded so that people would be sympathetic (and like me, because I was the hero). Only to think some time down the road that some of the things I wrote about were just plain bizarre. That story I wrote in the second grade was titled “Airsoft”, and was a story about me and my friends getting into an airsoft game where I get seriously wounded by a big, burly man on the enemy team during a match. I think in my mind I was making a Karate Kid takeoff. Alas, the story was three pages long, ending when I wake up in the hospital and the man who injured me gets jailed. A couple of things to know about airsofting: if you aren’t a fucking moron, you won’t get seriously hurt. Also, there is no 7 year olds vs. adults tournament that I am aware of.

But that’s how I wrote. I thought that I needed to be a sympathetic character in my own stories so that people would be fond of me, at least in my own head. How pathetic does that sound saying out loud? Most of my writing about myself from back then deals with harm and self-importance similarly.

One of my hallmarks of stories back then would be to find a way to knock myself unconscious because I didn’t know how to transition scenes properly. Get knocked the fuck out, wake up, and be surrounded by people who are nursing you and musing about how brave you were for being knocked the fuck out. This was a fatal flaw in many works I “published” on the internet back in the day. It became way too easy to wake up in a situation where you’re safe, and the fight rages on because you’re in a coma. SO when you DO wake up, all the cool shit has happened! What the hell was I thinking?

Even in Avian American, this is totally evident in some scenes where I thought it would make sense to use and old Jaketrope, and also it kinda worked too well in some aspects of the story.

Speaking of Avian American, I’d like to talk about the title of this journal for a moment. No more heroes. I’ll give a brief recap of the story if you don’t want to wade through it: Abaddon is a dude with wings, 14 years of age (like a certain someone who wrote it, and like a certain series that person read). Abaddon has wings, is living on the lam, and discovers two other people who have wings, Eleanor and Heather. Eleanor and Abaddon form a bond of sorts, and through a series of scrapes end up in New York to hide out, Heather dead or presumed.

In the first 30 pages, we see the story progress from the perspective of Abaddon, the lead. Near the 30th page, the perspective changes to be that of Eleanor’s ominously, as they have an epic kiss. Clearly I was good at romance, because Abaddon dies roughly 5 pages after the perspective shift. Eleanor sees it, has the reactions in the fight that takes him, and then continues from her perspective until I gave up on the piece (which features flying, fighting, car chases, mechs, asylums for the different, and some chick who’s also a cat or some shit *what the fuck, me*).

No more heroes. I thought it would be an epic twist to throw in Abaddon as a red herring, because he doesn’t develop as a character at all throughout and then serves only to be a point in Eleanor’s character. I thought it was terribly clever.

Then I would be trapped in trying to have a story continue through the deaths of the protagonists that take the place of a previous one. Like how there’s camp counselors that get picked off in each Friday the 13th, but the perspective is always omniscient is the thing. This would be a first person story with very minor horror elements, if any, that simply continues because there is more story still happening. I’m doing something similar in the Deneb Mythos. I might still do something with that idea in a one off story.

One thing I’m terrified of is being trapped in writing the same damn things over and over again, yet I insist on writing about nature. I always wondered why mythology of any major civilization has answers for similar things to each other. Mountains, stars, the sun, the moon, trees, rivers, all that good stuff. I think because there’s a certain purity in nature that deserves to be immortalized, fucking ironic as that is.

I always find myself writing about the gaze of the forest, or the awesome peaks of Mount Si. The Snoqualmish people of Washington state believed that Mount Si was Snoqualm himself, the moon, and told his prometheus story where he fell from the sky trying to stop Fox and Blue Jay from stealing the sun. He fell from a cedar rope, and there his dead body lies in in North Bend. Mount Si.

This journal’s excerpt is from “Cryptsinfreeze”:

“Remembering it all
So much brighter
Than perhaps it was
And used to be

A truncheon clubbing
Dead neurons running
Still with energy to
Power this machine”

In which another theme I constantly revisit over my fear of losing memories. It’s a crypt frozen at the moment of burial, every dead memory. Even this stupid Avian American story I’ve long since given up on.

Cheers to not giving up any more! In fact, I might be getting into MMA or Boxing sometime soon. As with most people, I’m worried about my face getting misaligned because it’s about the only feature I have going for me other than my bubbly nihilism and anti-liberal liberalness.

Here’s to 205 followers, and the 4th of July tomorrow! Hope you all have your digits intact by the end of tomorrow.

Happy reading!

A Proper Adult – Journal 4/26/17

Yesterday I woke up early and acted like an adult for once. How often is it that I, a 19 year old in Washington state, get out and get to do things I might want to do? Not often, it turns out! Got out, went to a coffee spot for what they call a sunrise (literally a can of Full Throttle energy drink poured in a cup and then mixed with a flavoring syrup), and then popped by an old mentor’s place of work to check up on him and make some damn art! Then I went to my advanced writing classes to go get workshopped riding on high vibes and listening to Notorious B.I.G.

Sometimes I wonder if any cabin fever I experience is self-made, because I do own a car and I have a license to drive, but everything costs money to do! I calculated at one point that with my vehicle it costs me about $0.17 to drive round trip to my college campus. I’m stressed as hell because I’m sitting in what is essentially a lunch spot on campus, staring at the kitchen which churns out all kinds of food at price-gouged rates (Hey Lancer, I know your business is built around exploiting college students by monopolizing the vendor space on campus, and that you’re a necessary evil, but fuck you guys. Seriously. $4.99 for a 12 ounce Red Bull when I can get a 20 ounce for the same price at a gas station down the street? What kind of shit is that?).

Temptation is still a tricky mistress! People owe me money and my paycheck comes in on the day that tuition is due. Weighing the odds… what to do?! Who cares, I’ll die eventually and it’ll be capitalism’s fault! Ha! I’ve found the ultimate pseudo-political statement! Now maybe people will misquote me and use the tragedy as an argument in online forums.

260 words in and now maybe I ought to chat about the sweet writing workshopping that went on yesterday!

I brought in number 5 in the Deneb Mythos, which is still a work in progress. Apparently people quite liked the scenes and a little bit of the worldbuilding I introduced! Which is really exciting! I think that draft was one I’ve sat on for a year and a half and I just pick and pick and pick at it until interesting things happen.

Me working on longer writing projects is like using a pickaxe to work at a minefield. That is to say: “There’s gold in them there hills, but in between fucking land mines so good luck.” I don’t have a lot of patience for them, and I just write what I know. It’s good and okay because right now I’m hitting the rocks in between those mines I mentioned. Paydirt. That’s what this latest workshop was. It had a good fight scene, some foreshadowing, introductory characterization, and it’s actually shaping up to be a pretty neat short story. It should be up here within two months! Right after I finish the 4th story in those Deneb Mythos…

As for other forms of writing, I’ve recently taken an interest in Latin to pepper it in to my writing. Ad Mortem, Inimicus! You know what that says? If you do, you’re in on the joke, if not, I’ll tell you. It means “To death, my enemy!” and in its context it is yelled out by a man in full plate armor as he swings a poleaxe overhead to kill his opponent. Isn’t that fucking awesome? Latin is badass! You can quote me properly on that!

So this latest poem I’ve actually spent near a week on is called Abstergo Invictus. The title means “expel unconquered”, or at least that is one of the many translations for it. I wrote it specifically to compliment Virgo Olympus (which is Greek, in spirit, and if you havem’t read it you should go do that) and there are a number of references and that sort of thing. I am nothing if not self-referencial. Once Abstergo Invictus comes out, you’ll see those similarities in much different scenes. AI is a really heavy and dense one of those poems full of metametaphors and secrets and riddles and all kinds of cool stuff. I’m excited for it! I don’t often spend so long on one piece.

I’m reaching the end of my patience with this damn kitchen full of food in front of me, so I’m gonna go see what I can see. Hope you guys enjoy reading and keep on keeping on!

And a hello to those of you joining me! I’ve seen a small spike in people tuning in recently, so welcome!

 

Deneb Mythos #3: The Exodus

When the old king Breeg went missing, his right-hand man took control. Breeg’s son and true heir to the throne, Elzri, was much too young to rule a thriving kingdom in the desert. Why, commanding such a place would surely be impossible for anyone to do after Breeg disappeared. And it was. This is what happens when a government abandons its people. Yet one question remains. Where would an entire government go after abandoning that which it governed?

Click below to read the third saga in the Deneb Mythos.

Deneb Mythos #3: The Exodus

Honorable

Two knights stood in the center of a burning village. The raid had taken place, and the defenses were overwhelmed. Somehow, when the attacking force moved on, one knight from those numbers had remained. That knight had yellow paint on his helmet. The other knight had no paint on his armor. He belonged to no army, as he was a man of the people who once lived here in the village.

The two held their longswords pointed at each other, fifteen feet from each other. They circled each other savagely like there were prey to one another. Two predators battling in the food chain. One would enter. One would leave. No holds barred.

Precious seconds passed. The two men were waiting for the other to attack, to parry or perhaps counter attack. Every movement was intentional.

Suddenly, Yellow began to rear up with his blade as Nopa went to guard, but Yellow stopped himself. “Wait, wait…” He stepped back and lowered his sword, and it seemed to sag in foolishness. “I can’t do this if you’re going to be an asshole about it.”

Nopa also lowered his sword. “Fucking what? Me be an asshole? You’re the one that attacked us!” He pointed his sword at Yellow. “Your whole army swarmed and picked my people off like they were mosquitoes!”

“Yeah, I know,” Yellow looked around, noting the dozens of dead bodies that were strewed wantonly around the area. Fires freshly burned, taking down the structure of the village’s nearby mead hall as he looked around. The ash drifted up in a small, sad plume. “We came in, basically destroyed the place, but I mean… I wasn’t a dick about it. I had all clean kills.”

“What in the fuck is that supposed to mean?” Nopa’s helmet shook in outraged confusion.

“All my kills were honorable. I didn’t kill any civilians, and when I did kill soldiers, I did it with my sword. Honorable kill.” Yellow noted the blood that stained his armor, moving his hands from up to down to make a point.

“Is there any difference?”

“Well, yeah.” Yellow pointed to a nearby fire. “You see that right there?”

“The fire your men set on the old pastor’s hut? Yeah, I see it.”

“I’m not going to throw you into it.”

“What?” Nopa was completely speechless to this dialect.

“I promise, no matter how close you get to that fire during the fight, I won’t throw you into it.” Nopa turned his head to look at the withering blaze. “That’d be dishonorable.”

Nopa paused to take this in, looking at the burning hut and then back to Yellow. “Thanks..?”

“And I can’t be fighting you like this if you’re going to be an asshole and throw me into it. Get what I mean?”

“Because that would be dishonorable?”

“Right! So you’ve got it, then!”

“I guess so,” Nopa shrugged. “But I still don’t get it. You don’t fight for survival?”

Yellow leaned on the hilt of his sword, the blade sinking slightly into the harsh ground. “Why would I do that?”

“Because maybe someone wants to kill you! Or, say, an army fucking overruns your home!”

“I fight because it’s my job, man. I don’t give a shit about these stupid villages.” He stopped himself, and raised his hand in apology, “No offense.”

“So people are paying people to fight battles for them?”

Yellow corrected, “Professional people.”

Nopa started again, “Yes… paying professional people to fight battles for them. And you are one such professional person.”

“Why yes!” Yellow gleefully replied. “It’s just a job to me. But you’re the last one in this village, so my job here’s not over yet.”

“Why didn’t you just leave with all the others? They left about fifteen minutes ago!”

“Well, to be perfectly honest, I haven’t had a nice duel in some two years. Saw you, and, if I do say so myself, you look competent, so I decided to wait until every one else left and you crawled out of your hiding place so we could duel!”

“I don’t get it. You think this is fun? All this bloodshed over gold tender? You could have bashed my head in while I was unconscious and made just as much in coin.”

“Ah, but that would have been…” Yellow motioned for Nopa to complete his thought, like a mentor. “… Dishonorable.”

“I see.”

Awkward silence followed as each of the knights idly kicked dirt and looked around at the burning surroundings. Yellow had leaned off of his sword and now simply stood up, unarmed with his hands on his waist. Nopa stood still slightly guarded. The wooden walls of one side of the village were mangled and broken. More structures collapsed from the fire. Flies started to gather on the bodies. Yellow smacked one that landed on his hand.

“So, uh…” Nopa spoke after a moment. “We gonna do this?”

Yellow looked up, wiping the fly’s corpse from his gauntlets. “Why of course!” He grabbed the hilt of his sword and overdramatically pulled it from the earth. “As long as you’re not going to be a dick about things! Steel on steel only! You versus me! Mano a mano!”

“Fine, for Christ’s sake, steel on steel. Honorable. Come on, then.” They both assumed ready positions again, circling each other.

“Deus vult!” Yellow yelled, and lunged at Nopa. Nopa casually stepped out of the way, pushing Yellow’s back as he went. Yellow ran uncontrollably off of a ten foot drop, his plate armor clattering loudly as he landed. Nopa walked over to the edge to look down at the other knight. “What happened to honor?!” Yellow stood to dust himself off, seemingly unphased from the fall. He would have been unable to get over the small ledge in all that heavy armor.

“You were between me and a way out of here.” Nopa turned from the ledge and walked away. “And I’m not the one bitching about it, you loser!” He turned back for a moment and continued walking away, to cup his hands around his mouth and yell even louder, “Be less shit next time!”

“You chancer!” Yellow shouted after him, trying and failing to scale the tiny ban. “Are you kidding me?! After that whole monologue about honor! You don’t play by the rules! War is supposed to be like a sport! Bet you don’t have a duke that gives you a wage, you absolute bastard! Your mother would be so disappointed that her son wouldn’t stand and fight! Your father should be ashamed, and your sister…” And his cries faded out of earshot as Nopa left the village, leaving the honorable man complaining in the dust.

(PDF version, 2/28/17: Honorable)

Passed Through His Story

A spectre of choices
Just who am I?
An umbra of history

An ancient part of
His story

He who was deciding
Eclipsing the mystery

Those times all lie frozen
In stasis, never to be
Don’t know where they could’ve gone
Time fractures under siege

His forms have transformed
They built a pyramid
I see right where he came from
From atop the bodies

I’m Scared

I’m Scared

That I see my life as a movie
And that I’m not my own
Protagonist

And I’m only a supporting
Character to so many
Other people

Just a face
A background
An extra
To my own story

And my own stories
I tell because no one
Else will ever tell me
As anything important

It’s gotta be me
Saying out loud
All the things I think
Are cool and worth

Debating
Myself and my own values
Every day
When I wake up and think

“What in the world
Can I do today?”

Because that answer
Is frighteningly nothing

Just to keep going

I’m scared I just keep going
And am not doing as much
As I could be

Not that anyone
Would tell me

Deneb Mythos #2: Satellites of the Old Lords

In the 1st era, the countries of Esther, Quincy, and Dominicus all set out to stake a claim to the land found down the Aaugyst River. The three colonies that formed all came from those countries who feuded often in the north. This is the story of Jack Hykrel and a group of fighters who defended Little Quincy from an attack by the natives who lived there. What would it mean for the future of their claim?

Click below to read the second story in the Deneb Mythos.

Deneb Mythos #2: Satellites of the Old Lords

Godsent

Godsent

I am an angel.

I have seen countless
Conflicts:

Clashes with
Evil
Of mighty generals
And savage soldiers

In crusades,
Blitzkriegs,
And world conquering
Campaigns.

In invasions of spears
And wars of gunfire

My wings have been
Sheared off by swords,
My halo split apart
And shattered on
Battlefields aflame
By napalm spat out
By hell’s hordes.

My armor has been clawed at
And dented but never broken,
In the mist and fire of
Facing down those possessed
And those unwilling to do
Their devil’s due.

So then let it be me,
A veteran,
To charge wielding wrath
And waving my flag of
No country
To stave the infection
Of the hungry.

For those cracking rifts
And gates to oblivion
On our fair world
Acting on a promised urge,

Let it be I who stands ready
To cure you and purge.